Skysworn by Will Wight

I apologize for my delay in getting, well, anything up. At work I’m alone in a unit of what should be four people. It’s been exhausting to say the least. Enough of that though. Here we have another review on the Cradle series by Will Wight. This will be a continuation on my journey with book 4 Skysworn. I have to say before I get started each book is better than the last. I’m behind on writing so I have actually also got through book 5, so that still stands.

Will Wight’s magic system and character depth grows with each passing book. In book one I was pretty eh on Lindon, but the kid continues to develop into an impressive character. Yerin also goes through the mental ringer as well. Of course, the big event in this book we have been waiting on is Lindon vs. Jai Long. This does not disappoint. Interesting enough an even bigger issue that turns this story sideways is Jai Daishou, Patriarch of the Jai Clan. He seemingly is losing his mind wanting revenge against Eithan for defeating him, ok and Eithan did temporarily kill him. I mean sometimes you got to let things go Daishou!

Let’s get to the book which is called Skysworn. The military elite of the Blackflame Empire. Apparently, they do not like anyone using the actual power of Blackflame though, oops. I mean it is based on fire and destruction, what’s the problem? Sooo Lindon is imprisoned, but that doesn’t stop Eithan from breaking into every jail cell Lindon is locked in so he can keep training him. Its comically amusing to see him casually get into prisons, stay, and aggravate the Skysworn to make certain Lindon is ready to fight Jai Long. I really thought that battle was going to be the icing on the cake. The finale of the book. However, it comes faster than expected. While it is a great battle sequence and use of sacred arts by Lindon; the stakes get wilder and more dangerous at the end of their duel. In case you haven’t gotten into it this book fully the results will be left hidden here. I’m happy it went the way it did for character development reasons. That said Lindon was impressive.

As the battle ends Jai Daishou is off his rocker and tries to kill Eithan but ends up awakening a Dread God instead. Can’t be too bad right? Jai Daishou uses an artifact that could kill everyone at the site, but luckily for them Jai Chen puts an end to it. A favorite side character of mine that I’m not sure we will see ever again after this book, but way to go girl. Unfortunately, the followers of this Dread God, Redmoon Hall, are inspired to invade the Blackflame Empire. They just wholesale slaughter anyone in their path. They are pretty freaky people, definitely don’t invite to dinner parties. Their invasion is swiftly moving across the land and an Underlord of Redmoon Hall arrives to where our protagonists are working on a plan of escape. This Underlord and his army use blood madra. They can use spilled blood to create bloodspawn to fight for them. Imagine your own wounds not just being a detriment to you, but then your blood is used to attack you. That is damn horrifying. No thanks, I’m out of there.

They eventually escape battered and beaten. I mean if they didn’t the series would end. After they get safely to the flying fortress Stormrock (cool name) Eithan is sent on a mission to get help from the Akura family Monarch. The Akura are essentially the real power in the area that protects places like the Blackflame Empire from even bigger threats. The emperor is more of an overseer of the Blackflame territory because they could replace him in an instant if they so wished. That leaves Yerin and Lindon with Orthos on their own for now. What do these crazy kids and a dragon turtle do?….well the title of the book, they join the Skysworn. The Skysworn don’t trust them so unsurprisingly they are put into a special group with another character that is quite intriguing, Mercy of the Akura. She is caste out from her family to survive on her own, I guess? Honestly, she seems quite clumsy and very much the opposite of Yerin. I enjoy her character so far for very different reasons. They get sent out which causes Yerin’s Blood Shadow to gain strength. I mean she has a Blood Shadow; we have Bloodmoon Hall attacking? What could go wrong? Well, alot apparently. The Skysworn even try to toss Yerin away, pun intended! Chaos ensues, but luckily the Akura Monarch comes help one of the territories under her family’s domain. This was not guaranteed and will not be in the future. So much going on and it seems multiple Dread Gods are starting to stir on this world. That sounds a tiny bit ominous.

All in all a riveting read. Honestly because of the expected ending being in the middle, this book felt like the longest in a good way. A lot happened here that was fascinating in terms of learning more about the magic system, battling, political landscape, but also character growth all around. We get to learn more about the mysterious Eithan and his connection to Ozriel an ancestor of his. I don’t talk much about the the Abidan and what is happening there because its just so far above this one world with its own mechanizations I’m kinda just letting that story unfold, focusing more on our main group of world bound characters.

Will Wight seems to write better with more experience he gets under his belt. It is a steady thing I have noticed with each read. I’m looking forward to this steadily curving upward. Again, though Will Wight’s strength is his devotion and evolution of his magic system; it’s impressive. As Lindon levels up we learn more about the intricacies of madra, sacred arts and aura that surrounds everything. I mean honestly, living in this world sounds awesome and terrifying all at once. Besides our characters working hard to become better sacred artists, I’m never quite sure what craziness they will get into next. If I wrote this before book 5 I would never have even guessed what happens in that book. Wight’s world seems to have endless wonders and things to discover. I mean the Blackflame Empire is a second-rate territory that we are still in. Who knows what else Lindon and the gang will get up to in the future? So, stay tuned as I report my thoughts until I catch up to book 10.

See Previous Blackflame Post


BOOK REVIEW | COLD FROM THE NORTH BY D. W. ROSS

Hello Bookish Folk!

Today, I am reviewing the first instalment to a new self-published series by D. W. Ross, and his debut no less. A massive thank you to D. W. Ross for sending me a copy of this book I exchange for an honest review.

You can order this book through the affiliate links on the page, of which, I will earn a small commission for qualifying purchases at no extra cost to you.

A few facts about this book:

  • Title: Cold From The North
  • Author: by D.W. Ross
  • Published by Self Published
  • Pages: 365

Synopsis:

Add It To Your Goodreads!

Driven by the promise of an ancient prophecy which will bring the dark ways of an old god back to power and prominence, an army of invaders swarms Ogulf Harlsbane’s homeland slaughtering all those who oppose them.

Along with his people, Ogulf must seek refuge from this savage force. In his search of sanctuary, he is tasked with finding the one person who can put a stop to the onslaught.

Doing so will send him across lands and seas, have him and his closest friend navigate the intricacies of a civil war, and try to win the help of the princess fighting for her throne.

If he fails, darkness will prevail and the reign of the Onyxborn will begin.

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

Review:

Here are a few things you can expect from :

  • A solid debut;
  • A travelling tale that showcases a brilliant nordic/viking’esque world; and
  • A world rich in lore and an oh so interesting history.

On to the full review…

Cold From the North is a very well written debut, it has a very well built nordic inspired world and it is an enjoyable read.

As I said this is a nordic-inspired story and that made for a great world, Ross has gone to great lengths to build this world and make it feel authentic and real. It is in the little details that you get to see this, and it is woven into the plot quite well. I love nordic tales, it is a time and setting I always have fun reading and never seem to get tired of.

This book is a fairly plot driven book, and you are constantly moving forward within the story though it does lull at times and I personally would have liked more action fitting to this world, but as a first instalment it is somewhat expected. Having said that however, when the action did happen it was very well written, I loved that it felt bloody and battle-like.

I enjoyed the character’s Ross created, they were interesting and each felt worthy of your time but I would have liked more by way of character development and dialogue. I found I could go quite a while and not see a conversation, this is an utterly personal criticism though and really isn’t a huge issue, it is just some I noticed while reading.

While reading this I found myself enjoying the lessons in history of this world, I always like past tales and often think to myself, I could read a story about that!

Overall, this is a great first instalment to a series, Ross does not write like a newb and his writing is elegant and well written.


THE RANKS: 

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

BUY THE EBOOK…Despite enjoying this I had a few personal preference points that meant this would be an eBook purchase for me.


AGAIN Thank you for reading AND SEE YOU SOON!


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!


SUNDAYS SEVEN | 7 WINTERY BOOKS THAT MATCH THE COLD OUTSIDE…

Happy Sunday Bookish Folk! You might need your duvet for these books…

I hope you have had a nice and relaxing weekend. I will be returning to work on Tuesday after Lockdown 2.0 just as it is getting icy, perfect for a girl who rides a motorbike. NOT! Hopefully, it won’t get too bad and I don’t have to worry.

Winter technically doesn’t start until 21st December, but I walked the hound a few nights ago and there wasn’t a single puddle that wasn’t iced over so I’d say its pretty wintery about now!

I don’t know about any of you but come winter I am all about nights in with my fire all but roaring and a book in hand. Both autumn and winter seem to be the seasons to read in my opinion. Also, they say we read for escapism so why not find a book with the white winter wonderland we all dream of having!

So, in order to satisfy my need for a white winter I am going to share with you seven books that will show you lands in which the snow sparkles like crushed crystals and leaves you wanting to grab an extra blanket and fill up your cup of tea!

TO THE BOOKS…

THE BEAR AND THE NIGHTINGALE BY KATHERINE ARDEN

Here we have Russian folklore, demons, a frost king and so much snow filled winter goodness!

ADD IT TO YOUR GOODREADS!

At the edge of the Russian wilderness, winter lasts most of the year and the snowdrifts grow taller than houses. But Vasilisa doesn’t mind—she spends the winter nights huddled around the embers of a fire with her beloved siblings, listening to her nurse’s fairy tales. Above all, she loves the chilling story of Frost, the blue-eyed winter demon, who appears in the frigid night to claim unwary souls. Wise Russians fear him, her nurse says, and honor the spirits of house and yard and forest that protect their homes from evil.

After Vasilisa’s mother dies, her father goes to Moscow and brings home a new wife. Fiercely devout, city-bred, Vasilisa’s new stepmother forbids her family from honoring the household spirits. The family acquiesces, but Vasilisa is frightened, sensing that more hinges upon their rituals than anyone knows.

And indeed, crops begin to fail, evil creatures of the forest creep nearer, and misfortune stalks the village. All the while, Vasilisa’s stepmother grows ever harsher in her determination to groom her rebellious stepdaughter for either marriage or confinement in a convent.

As danger circles, Vasilisa must defy even the people she loves and call on dangerous gifts she has long concealed—this, in order to protect her family from a threat that seems to have stepped from her nurse’s most frightening tales.

THE WITCH’S HEART BY GENEVIEVE GORNICHEC

A norse inspired story with a banished witch, norse gods and more wintery woods…

ADD IT TO YOUR GOODREADS!

Angrboda’s story begins where most witches’ tales end: with a burning. A punishment from Odin for refusing to provide him with knowledge of the future, the fire leaves Angrboda injured and powerless, and she flees into the farthest reaches of a remote forest. There she is found by a man who reveals himself to be Loki, and her initial distrust of him transforms into a deep and abiding love.

Their union produces three unusual children, each with a secret destiny, who Angrboda is keen to raise at the edge of the world, safely hidden from Odin’s all-seeing eye. But as Angrboda slowly recovers her prophetic powers, she learns that her blissful life—and possibly all of existence—is in danger.

With help from the fierce huntress Skadi, with whom she shares a growing bond, Angrboda must choose whether she’ll accept the fate that she’s foreseen for her beloved family…or rise to remake their future. From the most ancient of tales this novel forges a story of love, loss, and hope for the modern age

A GAME OF THRONES BY George R. R. MARTIN

Winter is coming.

ADD IT TO YOUR GOODREADS!

Summers span decades. Winter can last a lifetime. And the struggle for the Iron Throne has begun.

As Warden of the north, Lord Eddard Stark counts it a curse when King Robert bestows on him the office of the Hand. His honour weighs him down at court where a true man does what he will, not what he must … and a dead enemy is a thing of beauty.

The old gods have no power in the south, Stark’s family is split and there is treachery at court. Worse, the vengeance-mad heir of the deposed Dragon King has grown to maturity in exile in the Free Cities. He claims the Iron Throne. 

COLD COUNSEL BY CHRIS SHARP

The longest winter, a drive to conquer more, revenge, trolls and ravaging elves and obviously a cold a snow filled mountain!

ADD IT TO YOUR GOODREADS!

Slud of the Blood Claw Clan, Bringer of Troubles, was born at the heart of the worst storm the mountain had ever seen. Slud’s father, chief of the clan, was changed by his son’s presence. For the first time since the age of the giants, he rallied the remaining trolls under one banner and marched to war taking back the mountain from the goblin clans.

However, the long-lived elves remembered the brutal wars of the last age, and did not welcome the return of these lesser-giants to martial power. Twenty thousand elves marched on the mountain intent on genocide. They eradicated the entire troll species—save two.

Aunt Agnes, an old witch from the Iron Wood, carried Slud away before the elves could find them. Their existence remained hidden for decades, and in that time, Agnes molded Slud to become her instrument of revenge.

For cold is the counsel of women.

BEARTOWN BY FREDRIK BACKMAN

I couldn’t not put this on having recently talked about it and finding out is has a cracking audio narration…

ADD IT TO YOUR GOODREADS!

The #1 New York Times bestselling author of A Man Called Overeturns with a dazzling, profound novel about a small town with a big dream—and the price required to make it come true.

People say Beartown is finished. A tiny community nestled deep in the forest, it is slowly losing ground to the ever encroaching trees. But down by the lake stands an old ice rink, built generations ago by the working men who founded this town. And in that ice rink is the reason people in Beartown believe tomorrow will be better than today. Their junior ice hockey team is about to compete in the national semi-finals, and they actually have a shot at winning. All the hopes and dreams of this place now rest on the shoulders of a handful of teenage boys.

Being responsible for the hopes of an entire town is a heavy burden, and the semi-final match is the catalyst for a violent act that will leave a young girl traumatized and a town in turmoil. Accusations are made and, like ripples on a pond, they travel through all of Beartown, leaving no resident unaffected.

Beartown explores the hopes that bring a small community together, the secrets that tear it apart, and the courage it takes for an individual to go against the grain. In this story of a small forest town, Fredrik Backman has found the entire world.

FROZEN RAGE BY STEVE MCHUGH

A fast paced murder mystery novella filled with intrigue and great characters, what’s not to love? Oh and its in a snowy magical realm…

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.

ANCILLARY JUSTICE BY Ann Leckie

On a remote, icy planet…

ADD IT TO YOUR GOODREADS!

On a remote, icy planet, the soldier known as Breq is drawing closer to completing her quest.

Once, she was the Justice of Toren – a colossal starship with an artificial intelligence linking thousands of soldiers in the service of the Radch, the empire that conquered the galaxy.

Now, an act of treachery has ripped it all away, leaving her with one fragile human body, unanswered questions, and a burning desire for vengeance.

There you have it, seven books that I have found that are lovely and cold!

Thanks for reading.


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

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

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

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

A few facts about Voice of War:

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

Synopsis:

Add It To Your Goodreads!

Listen To the Audiobook Sample:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Review:

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

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

The Audiobook…

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

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

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

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

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

On to the full review…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


On to the rating…

THE RANKS:

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

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

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

AGAIN Thank you for reading AND SEE YOU SOON!


BOOK REVIEW | 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 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!