BOOK REVIEW | WE MEN OF ASH AND SHADOW BY HOLLY TINSLEY

Hey Bookish Folk and happy Monday!

It is a good Monday for me as I don’t work Mondays or Tuesdays! Though, I will be getting up stupidly early on Wednesday and rocking a 12-hour shift on Christmas Eve as well as working Christmas Day! It going to be a week for sure!

Today I am reviewing Holly Tinsley’s debut book ‘We Men of Ash and Shadow’.

A few facts about We Men of Ash and Shadow:

  • Title: We Men of Ash and Shadow
  • Author: HL Tinsley
  • Series: The Vanguard Chronicles
  • Published by HL Tinsley
  • Pages: 296

Synopsis:

Add It To Your Goodreads!

Amidst the gas lamp shadows former soldier-turned-mercenary John Vanguard hunts criminals at the behest of his corrupt employer, Captain Felix Sanquain. Shamed by his deserter past and seeking to make amends for his many misdeeds, a chance encounter with Tarryn Leersac – a skilled young would-be-assassin fallen from the graces of high society – leads Vanguard to become an unlikely mentor.

Charged with hunting down the killer of two guards left washed up on the banks of the canal, the further Vanguard delves into the underbelly of the city the more he finds himself entangled in a web of secrets and lies. A prominent aristocrat is missing. Crime lords, con men and harlots run amok and the city teeters on the brink of another revolution.

With his already precarious reputation hanging by a thread, Vanguard must piece together how and why the last war came to pass, find a way to earn redemption for his mistakes and come to terms with the past in a city where few survive, and even fewer can be trusted.

Review:

Here are a few things you can expect from We Men of Ash and Shadow :

  • Serious Gangs of New York Vibes;
  • An utterly fascinating world/city;
  • A unique and refreshing writing style;
  • Brilliant characters carved by a sinister world; and
  • A great start to this series.

On to the full review…

“We are men of ash and shadow. We endure the darkness so that others might see the dawn.”

This book came to my attention from the author, I’m sad to say that had Holly have not contacted me I’m not sure it would have come up on my radar! Thankfully, the totally polite and lovely Holly sent me the best review request I think I have had so it did, but this is not a review of Holly’s social etiquette this is a review of her grimdark fantasy We Men of Ash and Shadows

As I think back to my reading of this book I find that I am quite fond of this tale and its characters. Holly writes in such a unique way, I don’t really know how to explain it. I’ll try, obviously, and I will hope my wittering does Holly’s distinctive and brilliant writing style the justice it deserves.

One thing that Holly really excels at in her writing is her dialogue, I enjoyed every conversation that this book offered, which seems like a really bizarre compliment but they all felt really authentic and representative of the character’s personality, even the side characters. The more and more I read of this book the more I came to agree whole heartedly with my above statement.

“Henriette stood. As she went to leave she placed a hand on Vanguard’s shoulder. “Be careful what you show her. She will see the world through rose-tinted glass and throw herself into a pit of snakes thinking it’s a flower bed. Girls like her die outside these walls. I should hate to have to kill you.”

As I said above Holly has a really unique way of writing, it’s almost 50/50 show me and tell me. Now I know books get slated for telling you something rather than showing you but Holly has managed to do this, twist and remake it into something unique.

Now, having said that I want it known that all of the above is all complimentary to her writing style, so don’t think for one instance think this book is lacking in detail because of it, it isn’t, this book plunges you into the depths of it’s world and has you fully absorbed. There was just such a ‘tell me’ vibe to Holly’s writing style. And you know what? I really fucking liked it. It felt utterly new. Like I said it isn’t lacking in description or world-building. Holly manages to make the smallest things such as the wearing a nightgown and robe relevant to the scene at hand. It’s the little details that add to the tone of the upcoming conversation and the words spoken.

I think my only real criticism, which is one constructive in nature, would be that there could have been a degree more fluidity. There were a lot of characters we had perspectives from but the rate at which they switched sometimes became a tad bit jarring.

With this being a shorter book it meant that some relationships could have been a little more, it wasn’t so much lacking in detail but it could have been made better by more time being spent with them. I would have loved to have seen this book a little longer with more emphasis on character relationships and general characterisation because the characters that filled this book were amazing!

It took me a little bit longer than usual to read this book considering it is less than 300 pages long, but that is nothing to do with the book and everything to do with my work schedule! I have to admit though, I’m a little thankful as I wouldn’t have noticed my next point had I not have read it the way I did.

We Men of Ash and Shadow felt like an old friend, weird praise I know but hear me out.

This book felt like an old friend in the sense that I could not read this book for a few days, a week or however long and when I went back to read it , it felt like I had only put it down an hour ago. We Men of Ash and Shadow is so incredibly easy to slide back into, I didn’t need a moment to reacquaint myself with the characters or the world at all. I read a few words and I was once again absorbed into this world.

We all know the pros’s and cons of a books cover, right? Well, Holly truly demonstrated this to me. Don’t get me wrong I know the uses of a cover but it wasn’t until We Men of Ash and Shadow that I truly understood that the cover is as much a part of the story for some books as the writing inside is. It’s the start of the journey, I went into this world with just the book cover and it’s blurb and as soon as I read the first page the world burst from it’s pages. There is such a sly, unfair and sinister feel to this world and Holly incorporates it into every aspect. It is in the world-building, the character interactions and well, just about everything. Holly has got the tone of this book down! 

“There was a thin line between mercenary and soldier, and an even thinner one between mercenary and murderer.”

We Men of Ash and Shadow is a great book and the world that Holly has created very much reminded me of Gangs of New York just in Victorian England. It is filled with bloody crimes, sewer riddled districts and a bustling and territorial underworld. D’Orsee is a fascinating city and one I am eager to know the rest of its story.

I know I mentioned earlier that more characterisation and the relationships would have benefited from greater detail, but I also have to compliment those characters. It is something worthy of praise that I still loved the characters that filled this book despite my earlier criticism. Vanguard is such a compelling character and he is someone I am excited to see grow even more in any following books. He has such a rich and harrowing history and you can feel the emotions he feels, his tiredness and so much more. I also LOVED Mandego, and I would love to see more of him in the future.

“Mandego’s face changed. “You come into my home, with your hands dripping in the blood of my people and have the gall to insult me by telling me that you need my help?”

Every character in this book has been carved and defined by the world in which they reside and it has led to hardened people who have little choices in the direction their lives will go.

“They were both relics of the past trying to live in the new world.

We Men of Ash and Shadow is a thoroughly enjoyable book and a great start to its following books. The characters are brilliant and while the plot is more of a setter-upper it is still a great read.


THE RANKS: 

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

I would happily pick this book up in its paperback form, I really enjoyed this book. I would definitely reread this book when it comes time to read the second. The cover is great and oh so appropriate.


AGAIN Thank you for reading AND SEE YOU SOON!


BOOK REVIEW | DARK OAK BY JACOB SANNOX & NARRATED BY NIGEL PEEVER

Good Evening Bookish Folk!

This was planned to be an earlier post considering I’m currently at work 🙈 but I forgot to post it before leaving like a dope. Thankful, while I am currently sat on my break eating the most amazing Lotus biscuits I remembered. Yay me. So here it is.

Today, as the post title suggests I will be reviewing Jacob Sannox’s fantasy novel Dark Oak! I received this book free from the author in exchange for an honest review but I also listened to this via audiobook to. I usually listen to non review books via audio and treat them as my personal reads but I was a little behind with reviews and honestly the audiobook sounded great.

A few facts about Dark Oak:

  • Title: Dark Oak
  • Author: Jacob Sannox
  • Narrated By: Nigel Peever
  • Series: The Dark Oak Chronicles (Book One)
  • Published by Jacob Sannox (Createspace Independent Publishing Platform)
  • Pages: 314
  • Narration Length: 12 Hours 59 Minutes

Synopsis:

Add It To Your Goodreads!

Review:

Here are a few things you can expect from Dark Oak:

  • A high fantasy novel that is beautifully magical but with a darker core feel;
  • An intriguing and unique story concept;
  • INCREDIBLE creatures and magics;
  • Political intrigue; and
  • An incredibly raw and emotional punch from several aspects of this book.

A little bit about the narration…

This was a really good narration, it is the first narration I have ever listened to that has sound effects. Now, I know that for some the may not be a great thing but it really added to the story for me. I LOVED them. It wasn’t overbearing and it wasn’t disruptive my my listening experience. Well, for the most part, there was one single time that it became difficult to listen to, at the point when a group of Dryads were talking as one, pair that with the creaking of their wooden limbs and the throaty tone of their voices I genuinely didn’t know what was said. Luckily, I had the a physical copy so I was able to read that bit. Other than the once instance though I found I really liked the sound effects. They were, more often than not, subtle and only added to my listening experience.

As a narrator I found Peever to be quite good, his pace was easy to follow and his male voices were nicely distinct. Some of his female voices however sounded a like little old cackling witches…

Though saying all of the above, I will listen to the next book via audio narration. Thats how little it put me off.

Now on to the full review…

As I said above Jacob sent me a copy of Dark Oak in exchange for an honest review along with his two other books; The Ravenmaster’s Revenge and Agravain’s Escape. This book is currently sitting with 61 ratings and 25 reviews and has a decent rating of 3.67. I would love to see more people pick this book up as it deserves it, if you look on Goodreads it seems to have a bit of a mix of reviews so many people have loved and a good number haven’t but I would honestly give this book chance!

Dark Oak is a richly imagined world and one I really enjoyed journeying into, it is an incredible fantastical world that is very much in the traditional vein of high fantasy with creatures such as the Dryads, the water folk and even more wonderful elemental beings. Dark Oak gave me Lord of the Rings vibes in terms of its imaginative world!

Jacob does wonderfully at bringing his world to life through his writing and it is a story rich in detail and beautifully described. He brilliantly weaves in the magic that surrounds this world and showcases it impressively, especially the Dryad’s , yet all the while not making you feel as though they are infallible despite their evident power.

At the start of this book there is quite a bit of exposition, which is wholly appropriate and enjoyable. This isn’t the story of the battle that Queen Cathryn won that led our character to be where they are now but in order to fully understand the present you need to know the facts of the past. I really liked the exposition, it was magical and I felt like I was sat wrapped in a cozy blanket cradling a warm cup of tea in my ever cold hands while being told a grand old tale by a wisened old story teller! And that Is something I love.

Each of the characters you come across in Dark Oak are all really good, some I loathed but understood, others I saw the manipulation and others I was rooting for them with everything I had. Some of the character could have had a little more consistency and been a wee bit more well rounded but overall I really enjoyed all of them for some reason or another. While Dark Oak is very high fantasy to me, it has such a dark core to its world and its characters. I knew it had a darker tone before reading it but goodness I didn’t expect what I got! At all.

The Dryads…they are AMAZING! I was so impressed with them as a race, the things they can do, the power they hold and their origins were all so utterly interesting I loved every single moment in which a dryad appeared.

I think for me the strongest point of this book was Jacob’s ability to shock you so profoundly you are left in a state of both confusion and understanding. There are several sequences within this story that you do not see coming, even in the slightest, but once they do happen no matter how shook up you are you understand the reasoning behind it. Which is testament to Jacob’s ability to showcase his characters motivations and emotional states. In a world so vivid and creative the realness of his character and very human responses become all the more impactful, it is touching, sickeningly raw and quite intense at times.

There are times within this book that you see some inconsistencies in the characters voices, and it can at times feel a little jumpy from POV to POV. This book isn’t perfect and if you going in looking for little hiccups you will find them, as you would with many books, but if you are going in to experience a brilliant and imaginative world filled with REAL characters with REAL motivations you are in the right place. There is a rawness to this book and an emotional grittiness that you don’t see often in books and it was brilliant to experience it within Dark Oak’s pages.


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 would definitely pick this up in its paperback form if I didn’t already have it and would strongly recommend the audiobook if you don’t have an issue with narrations accompanied by sound effects, I get that might be a hard no for some people, but im not one of them and I loved it! I actually want to find more with it in so yanno, its a winner to me!


AGAIN Thank you for reading AND SEE YOU SOON!


BOOK REVIEW | THE THIEF WHO SPAT IN LUCK’S GOOD EYE BY Michael McClung

Good Evening Bookish Folk!

Today we have a review of Micheal McClung’s second book of the Amra Thety’s Series and it is another utterly enjoyable book.

A few facts about The Thief Who Spat in Luck’s Good Eye:

  • Title: The Thief Who Spat in Luck’s Good Eye
  • Author: Michael McClung
  • Series: Amra Thetys (Book Two)
  • Published by Mr McClung
  • Pages: 202

Synopsis:

Add It To Your Goodreads!

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. 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. . . .

Review:

Here are a few things you can expect from The Thief Who Spat in Luck’s Good Eye:

  • A feel good book;
  • Meddling gods;
  • A fast paced adventure;
  • Good Vs Evil;
  • Humour; and
  • AMRA, the witty, slightly prickly, honourable and utterly compelling thief!

On to the full review…

This is such a good second book to Amra’s story, yes that is correct Michael McClung has done it again he has given us the utterly compelling, slightly prickly and remarkably honourable thief Amra! I think I am with the many here in that these books are such fun and its mainly down to Amra. I think I would go as far as to say she is one of my all time favourite characters. I have read many books who have tried and failed to create their own version of Amra but they never quite catch the right balance so when you find a character like Amra you have to keep hold of her and not let go.

I’m with Amra to the end guys, that’s right I will get through all of these books. Promise.

And now I can add Holgren to the list! I really liked Holgren in the first book, and I wasn’t let down with this instalment. I still want to know more about him but this instalment was a nice taste of that pie, it didn’t give too much away, but kept in line with what we know of his character. Which isn’t all that much but I know we are yet to see all of Holgren.

This book is a little bit mare serious than book one in the sense that there is a lot more at stake here, relationships begin to develop and the characters are up against seemingly impossible odds. The whole story is much more ambitious as Amra and Holgren leave the confines of Lucernis and head to a ruined and long forgotten city of Thagoth.

I loved the injection of even more fantasy in this book, McClung has given us sorcery kings and monsters that only the deepest darkest parts of the night could conjure. Not only that but we get to see a little bit more of this worlds history and lore through the brief and enjoyable snippets of a gods POV.

McClung also, once again, manages to give you so much in 200 odd pages without overbearing you. I am constantly amazed at his ability to expand on this world, and with a good degree of detail too, yet it does not clog up huge portions of this books.

I really, enjoyed this book and I am excited to see the what the other instalments bring.

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. I am happy to say The Thief Who Spat in Luck’s Good Eye is one I would put in the BUY THE PAPERBACK rank!

  • It is a book I know I can just pick up during a slump and enjoy regardless.
  • I will read this again, along with the other books of this series and It will be really cool when I have the whole series sitting proud on my shelves.
  • This book is a little pricey for a shorter book, especially when the eBook is so cheap but honestly it is worth it just on the fact that Amra is amazing nevermind the writing, the world, the humour and everything else. I tend to buy these books here and there, I have the first three and will slowly get them all.

Sound good? I can confirm it is! If you want to pick up your own copy just head to Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com

AGAIN Thank you for reading AND SEE YOU SOON!


BOOK TOUR | FROZEN RAGE BY Steve McHugh

Hello Bookish Folk and welcome to my stop on the Frozen Rage Book Tour hosted by Storytellers on Tour.

I am absolutely thrilled to be partnering with an incredible author and an incredible book tour organiser again! Don’t stop here though, I am one of many incredible Bloggers participating in this tour!

For more details on who has already posted and who is yet to post simply head over to the Frozen Rage Book Tour Main Page.

Firstly, the giveaway…

Click on the picture above for a chance to win a paperback copy of the brilliant Frozen Rage!

A few facts about Frozen Rage:

  • Title: Frozen Rage
  • Author: Steve McHugh
  • Series: Hellequin Chronicles (Book 6.5 but can be read standalone)
  • Publisher: Published by Hidden Realms Publishing
  • Pages: 117

Synopsis:

Add It To Your Goodreads!

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. 

Review:

Here are a few things you can expect from Frozen Rage:

  • Serious murder mystery vibes;
  • Intrigue;
  • Shapeshifters;
  • A kick ass lead;
  • LGBT;
  • Break-neck pace filled with bloody and brilliant action;
  • CHAOS.

On to the full review…

If you don’t want to read it already from the above details then let me tempt you a little bit more.

This book is such an enjoyable read, I didn’t realise how much I wanted a fast paced whirlwind murder novella until I picked this book up. I had engaged with Steve on Twitter a bit in the past over games, so when I saw this book tour I couldn’t help but join in. I have been in a bit of a time slump at the minute so this book was perfect for my current circumstances.

Firstly, let me point out this is a technically a standalone and for me has acted as the perfect introduction to Steve’s series as a whole, having not read his other books prior to this. This wasn’t an issue for me as I still felt like I could follow the plot and connect with the characters involved. The only downside of this is there are a few mentions of previous events and previous characters within the world you don’t fully appreciate or understand and there is an assumption you are indeed familiar with the world and its races.

BUT LET ME REMIND YOU THIS IS MY FAULT AND NOT A FAULT OF THE BOOK. IT IS BOOK 6.5 FOR CRYING OUT LOUD, THE CHARACTERS ALREADY HAVE A SIGNIFICANT HISTORY PRIOR TO THIS.

This novella has actually made me want to read all the books prior to this series so I can get those details, I want to see the relationships between characters start and grow and the events that have made Nate such a bad ass!

Frozen Rage is actually a little bloodier than I expected, I’m not overly sure what I expected but I was shocked and impressed at the level of bloody murder within this book. This book is as Nick Borelli said in his review “an interactive experience”. One of the first things I noticed when reading this was that there is quite a bit of dialogue between the characters and it is this for me that made this read so much more interactive. I genuinely felt like I was a part of the conversations between characters, I was stood there nodding along and putting in my two pence about why Viktor is a dick.

Steve does great in this novella to show you the little realm of Dreich, it honestly sounds like somewhere i’d be happy to go, less the murder though! You can imagine the whole realm from the people that fill it to the landscapes that surround it.

The investigatory nature of this book is also well written, it is fast acting and unravels the way you would want a investigation to be handled. There is no lollygaggin between clues and revelations and you don’t stop until you have it uncovered.

Also, the ending….pretty fucking epic!!

A final note too. The Cover. OMG it is beautiful!

As you are now aware I rate on a buy the hardback, buy the paperback, buy eBook or borrow/sale scale. I am happy to say Frozen Rage sits nicely in the BUY THE PAPERBACK rank!

  • The novella is reasonably priced
  • I would read this again, though after the other books
  • THE COVER!

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

Or be a little more logical than me and start at the beginning! Book One is ‘Crimes Against Magic’ and can be ordered through Amazon.co.uk OR Amazon.com 🙂


About Steve …

Steve’s been writing from an early age, his first completed story was done in an English lesson.  Unfortunately, after the teacher read it, he had to have a chat with the head of the year about the violent content and bad language.  The follow up “One boy and his frog” was less concerning to his teachers and got him an A.

It wasn’t for another decade that he would start work on a full length novel, the result of which is now available to purchase.
He was born in a small village called Mexborough, South Yorkshire, but now lives with his wife and three young daughters in Southampton.

Ways to get in touch with Steve…

Author Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Amazon |

Thank you for reading!


BOOK HAUL | SELF PUBLISHED FANTASY MONTH & MY SELF-PUBLISHED BOOK HAUL…

Hello!

Self-Published Fantasy Month is nearly over and it has been such fun to experience. I have seen some incredible reviews and even better interviews. I loved focusing on the self-published gems of the bookish world this month, even if I didn’t read as much as I wanted because I was in a slump ( I loved all I was reading but generally struggled to find the time to read😩😭) I still managed to get some Self-published inspired posts out…

I hosted two giveaways featuring ‘Voice of War’ by the amazing Zack Argyle and ‘The Riven Realm’ by the talented Deck Matthews.

Order Voice of War: Amazon UK / Amazon USA | Order The Riven Realm: Amazon UK / Amazon USA

My Sundays Seven post featured 14 self-published book both read and to be read!

I partnered with Storyteller on Tour and Jesse Nolan Bailey to bring you the cover reveal for his stunning new dark fantasy novella ‘Amethyst‘.

GET AMETHYST FREE HERE

I managed to read…

  • The Lost Sentinel by Suzanne Rodgerson as a part of a book tour hosted by the incredibly hardworking and amazing Storytellers on TourReview Here
  • Deluge by Dark Asthon – Review to Come
  • The First of Shadows by Deck Matthews – Review To Come
  • The Heart of Stone by Ben Galley – Review Here

So, to end Self-Published Fantasy Month with a bang my book haul is going to be all self-published & INDIE bookS and here’s what I picked up!

**You can see by the picture if I bought them in paperback or Kindle**

Goodreads Link
Goodreads Link
Goodreads Link
Goodreads Link
Goodreads Link
Goodreads Link
Goodreads Link
Goodreads Link

What Self-Published/Indie books have you read this month!? LE me know in the comments or on Twitter 🙂

Thanks For Reading


BOOK REVIEW: THE HEART OF STONE BY BEN GALLEY

This is my first review with a new rating system, it is pretty simple but if you want further details then head to my Rating System Page.

So, the basics.

Rather than rate books on a numerical scale from one to five I am going to give them one of the following tags:

  • Buy the Hardback
  • Buy the Paperback
  • Buy the Kindle eBook
  • Rent from the library OR wait for a sale

There is still an element of loved it or liked it but I’m going to move forward with this and see how it goes. This is totally new and will likely end up with a few holes in the logic but I don’t mind, it is new and exciting! Also, if you really want a star rating I will still be using Goodreads which has the five star system.

I’m also going to start this review a little bit differently to what I usually start my reviews like. I’m aware that people read these on a time constraint or just want to get to the end summary or generally just want a shorter review. So this time I’m going to give you a few bullet points of the things you can expect within the story, it won’t be a review it will literally be something like the types of themes, feelings the books gives you or generally the elements we love to see in a book in bullet point form. Then you can read that and be like  ‘damn yes, I love brotherhood feels, battles or blood and gore’. Then from there you can either read the rest or just add it to your TBR. I mean I hope you read it all but I get it…Maybe ☺️☺️

A few facts about The Heart of Stone:

  • Title: The Heart of Stone
  • Author: Ben Galley
  • Series: Standalone
  • Publisher: BenGalley.com
  • Pages: 406

I read The Heart of Stone on my Kindle which is currently only £0.99 on Amazon (UK)! I would love to buy a physical copy too but alas it is only audio or eBook to my knowledge.

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.

Review:

As promised, here are a few things you can expect from The Heart of Stone:

  • Big brother/Little Sister Vibes – An utterly wholesome and well developed relationship which came across vey sibling like in my opinion;
  • Double agents, spies and political intrigue;
  • Brilliant word-building of a country ravaged by war;
  • Memorable characters who you will think about even while not reading the book;
  • Violent Battles and Civil War;
  • Dry Humour ;
  • HEART

On to the full review…

Bloody hell! Right, I have a really weird relationship with the beginnings of novels. I really do. I either love them or hate them, obviously there is a middle ground in which I keep plodding on but sometimes, just sometimes a book has me in the first page! And it doesn’t have to be anything huge either. I’ll tell you what it was for this book…it was the sentence:

”He felt heavier than a mountain.”

See what I mean, that’s odd right?!

But that sentence just gave my crazy imagination so much. To feel heavy as a mountain you have to be pretty drained, pretty tired and dang near defeated! Why? Who is this person? Why so heavy? What life have you lead to warrant such a feeling! Then to be followed by a writing style I can love which paints such a vivid picture in my head…I’m feeling like I’m onto a winner, no? YES. 

Now don’t get me wrong this can change but I’m starting a book with the best possible start when this happens.

While it seemed to take me forever to read this book, I really enjoyed it! This book has so many elements to it, of which are all beautifully intertwined to create a compelling and intriguing plot. Though, this books biggest success to me was quite simply its characters.

I really liked Task, I found his personality brilliant. What was likely not necessarily meant to be humour had me chuckling quite a bit. Task does not mince his words and has a dry and blunt personality. 

‘I didn’t hear you. Well done. Now leave me alone.’

Ahhhh, Lesky! Little Lesky (or leaky if my autocorrect had it’s way) was amazing. How can you not adore a driven young person striving to make better of their situation and with a dream big enough to guide her?! The answer is you can’t. You must love the spirited little love and I did! I adored her character and her budding relationship with a big grump of a golem. 

Lesky shrugged. ‘Mam says that fighters fight and survivors survive, but cowards cower. “You got to do what you are to be what you are”, and I ain’t no coward.’

This was the first book of Galley’s that I have read I was really impressed with the writing style, it was detailed enough to bring out such vivid and incredible images while not falling into tedious or the over embellished category. My first introduction to Alabast was marvellous and Galley’s ability to create such a brilliant world is deserving of much praise. I instantly liked Alabast and his introduction greatly reminded me of a certain character introduction from Jonathan French’s ‘The True Bastards’. I appreciated it then and even more so in ‘The Heart of Stone’ for the fact it sets up the character personality quickly and effectively! 

Another thing that I liked in this series was, and this is going to sound silly so let me try and explain it 🙈 so Pocahontas was my favourite Disney girl and colours of the wind was my favourite song yanno the bit 

”I know every rock and tree and creature has a life has spirit has a name…”

Yeah that, always loved it. Always will so when I saw hints at Task listening to the stones stories and feeling the current of the earth like they were whispering to him the secrets of battle I bloody loved it. Like I said a bit weird but we all have our clicks 😂

The mass of beating hearts, the nervous shiver of countless feet, the crashing of drums and shields… He felt them all, and through them he felt more than just stone.

I could really write a ton more on this book. The plot, the characters, the world and the writing are all amazing but I’m aware I have waffled a fair amount in this review..

So let me round this up by saying this is a great read, it is a solidly written fantasy with some dark fantasy feels too. It focuses on the characters and their growing relationships while maintaining a dynamic and interesting plot. Galley also filled a brilliantly written world with a great number of flawed, morally grey and wholesome side characters.

He could not fight for the Truehards; not for Huff. But he could fight for men and women like these. Men and women who were shackled by the sway of their betters, just like him.

Any way that’s it from me, and now as you are aware I will be rating my books on a buy hardback, paperback, kindle or rental/wait for a sale system…

The Heart of Stone is definitely (if it wasn’t just published for audio and eBook) a book I would get in paperback form!

  • It is a book I would read again
  • The cover is also great
  • I would feel honoured to have this on my shelves at home

Thanks for reading!


COVER REVEAL: AMETHYST BY JESSE NOLAN BAILEY

Hi there, everyone!

Today I am super excited to be taking part in the Amethyst Cover Reveal hosted by the incredibly hard working and brilliant Storytellers On Tour, and I’m so very exited to bring to you one of the first looks at Amethyst, a adult fantasy fiction by the amazingly talented Jesse Nolan Bailey.


The Blurb

Rashell’s brother has vanished. When the local villagers express no concern, she enlists the help of a stranger from a faraway city to find Teth.

Investigator Derrik discovers the people worship a massive stone known as the Amethyst. Even more bizarre, an ancient relic of a mummy fuels their reverence.

Given limited time, Rashell and Derrik confront these mysterious elements at play, all the while striving to uncover what happened to Rashell’s brother. 


Amethyst will be available September 24th 2020! and can be picked up here FOR FREE TODAY!

Genre: Fantasy (New Weird)

Keep scrolling for the cover and a little bit more about Jesse Nolan Bailey.

Without further ado, I am honoured to present to all of you…

JESSE NOLAN BAILEY’S AMETHYST

ABOUT JESSE NOLAN BAILEY…

Instagram | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Website

Enthralled by the magic that written stories contain, Jesse Nolan Bailey has always wanted to be an author. With his debut novel, THE JEALOUSY OF JALICE, and his shorter fiction, AMETHYST, released to the masses, he can now claim such title with re-lief. He lives in Durham, North Carolina, where he has embraced the equally-gratifying lifework of hosting a trio of spoiled cats and two mini-aussies.


Thanks for checking out our cover reveal! Have a great day!