Read all about it…

milesThis is a little heads up.

Tough Travel is back!

Travelling through the tropes of fantasy is tough – it really is (the hint is in the title after all), but, pack up your spotted hanky, dig out your maps, tote your packs with dried beef, hard cheese and lembas bread because  we are once again embarking on our travels.

You may recall Tough Travel.  It was the brainchild of Fantasy Review Barn and was a very popular meme.  Fantasy Faction will now be picking up the mantle so keep an eye open for the initial post which is due any day now (the 1st of April I believe).

Basically, Tough Travel is a meme that looks at the tropes of fantasy.  Each month we will explore a specific trope where we all get to highlight specific books that we love that represent the particular theme for that month.  Tropes are tropes for a reason after all and this gives us a chance to display some of our favourite novels in a perfect forum for discussion. So, come and join in.

See you all soon I hope.




“Always winter but never Christmas.”

Posted On 24 March 2017

Filed under Book Reviews
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Here we are again with the Friday Face Off meme created by Books by Proxy .   This is a great opportunity to feature some of your favourite book covers.  The rules are fairly simple each week, following a predetermined theme (list below) choose a book, compare a couple of the different covers available for that particular book and choose your favourite.   Future week’s themes are listed below. This week’s theme:

Street lamp “He stood under the street lamp, sleet settling in his hair, hands fisted at his side”

You may have guessed from the title but I had to go classic with this – The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by CS Lewis – because Mr Tumnus!

And my favourite:

“Daughter of Eve from the far land of Spare Oom where eternal summer reigns around the bright city of War Drobe, how would it be if you came and had tea with me?”


Which is your favourite?  Next week – Casino

Future themes:

31/03/2017 – Casino “Whisky, gambling and Ferraris are better than housework “

07/04/2017 – Circus “You can get the monkey off your back, but the circus never leaves town!

14/04/2017 – Easter “The rabbit of Easter. He bring the chocolate”

21/04/2017 – Bridge “I demolish my bridges behind me…then there is no choice but to push forward”

28/04/2017 – Beach/Seaside”Oh I do like to be beside the seaside!”

05/05/2017 – Lion “If you place your head in a lion’s mouth, then you cannot complain one day if he happens to bite it off”

12/05/2017 – Phone “Don’t use the phone. People are never ready to answer it”

19/05/2017 – Plane “When everything seem to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it ….”

26/05/2017 – Mice “Of all the words of mice and men, the saddest are, ‘it might have been’…”

02/06/2017 – Moon “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars”

09/06/2017 – Mummy “It shuffles through the dry, dusty darkness”

16/06/2017 – Guitar “You couldn’t not like someone who liked the guitar”

23/06/2017 – Cat “In ancient times cats were worshipped as gods; they have not forgotten this”

30/06/2017 – Hat “It is always cruel to laugh at people, of course, although sometimes if they are wearing an ugly hat it is hard to control yourself “

07/07/2017 – Gold “All that is gold does not glitter”

14/07/2017 – Boats “The Owl and the Pussy-cat went to sea, in a beautiful pea green boat…”

21/07/2017 – Planet “Any planet is ‘Earth’ to those who live on it”

Friday Firsts : The Music Box Girl by K A Stewart

Friday Firsts
 is a new meme that runs every Friday over on Tenacious Reader. The idea is to feature the first few sentences/paragraph of your current book and try and outline your first impressions as a result. This is a quick and easy way to share a snippet of information about your current read and to perhaps tempt others.  Stop on by and link up with Tenacious Reader.    This Friday I’m reading : The Music Box Girl by K A Stewart.

Musicbox‘The thick coating of dust proved that no one had been in the attic for decades.  Felicia surveyed the vast expanse of the room, stretching the entire length of the enormous house, and wondered how they’d ever get through it all.

“Where do we start, Mother?”

The girl at her elbow, a budding young lady of almost thirteen, had her blond hair bound up in a tight tail, a cloth tied around her face to avoid breathing in the plumes of dust that billowed up every time one of them moved.

“At one end, of course!”  Casimir, his young nephew Peter thrown giggling over one shoulder, marched off under the eaves with lantern in hand.

Felicia shook her head in amusement at her brother.  He was trying so hard to make this a game, and not the sad and depressing task that it was.  “Start here, Josie.  We’ll sort out anything salvageable, and then the furniture can be hauled out by the automatons. Peter, why don’t you and Uncle Cas start on that wardrobe.”

Some of the things she recognised, Felicia realised.  A doll that she’d long ago lost and forgotten.  A picture drawn in her primary school days, lovingly kept but brittle with age.  An entire crate of baby clothes, though it was anyone’s guess if they’d been hers or Casimir’s.

My First Impressions

I’m intrigued – why are they sorting out the things in this dusty attic, it’s a ‘sad and depressing task’ apparently, have they fallen on hard times and are leaving their home?  Has somebody passed away?  I’ll have to read on and find out.

What you reading this Friday??

*The above excerpt was taken from an advanced reader copy and it is possible that the final version may have further changes.

The Collapsing Empire by John Scalzi

empire1Collapsing Empire is my most recent read and I will say it was a thoroughly entertaining one.  This book is a perfect demonstration of how tastes change, for me at least.  If somebody had told me five years ago that I’d be reading a sci fi book, with some sort of space craft on the front cover and a wide ranging political space opera to boot I would have snorted, literally snorted, with amusement!  And yet here I sit proven wrong and not ashamed to admit it.

Basically, at heart I’m the sort of person who expects to be overwhelmed by the sci fi elements of the book.  I just think they’ll go rushing over my head at the speed of light leaving a vacuum, a black hole, where comprehension should sit.  Not so with Collapsing Empire.  This book is not only understandable and accessible in terms of the sci fi elements but it’s also clever and complex enough in the plot to actually make me come away feeling pretty damn pleased with myself.  So, not only a good read, good characters, intriguing plot and understandable sci fi but general good feelings of smartypantedness which in my opinion = win:win.  Okay, I’ll write a review then!

Basically – the clue to this book is in the title.  Humans have travelled and broadened their horizons in a massive way, thereby creating an empire.  In this book people live on planets that are not only dangerous to their lives but are so uninhabitable that they require all sorts of support in order to sustain them.  And yet, here they are living upon planets that are so far flung that it can take months or longer to get from one to the other. Why, choose these planets?  Because they’re easily accessible by The Flow.  Described as a river I like to think of The Flow as being a series of conveyor belts, like in an airport for example, you stand on them (or in this case surround yourself in a protective bubble and travel in them) and you’re transported along in a kind of one way system. All these conveyor belts converge around a planet known as The Hub, the spaghetti junction of conveyor belts where The Flows meet, pass through and continue round in a circuitous, one way route.  One huge merry go round of accessible planets.  Well, until anything happens to The Flow that is and history has already shown that The Flow can sometimes change direction – leaving a planet and it’s millions of inhabitants stranded in space.

The empire has created a way of living known as the interdependency where each planet provides necessary provisions to the other planets to help them all survive.  A system that by it’s very interdependent nature helps to prevent war, although it doesn’t stop political manoeuvring and civil wars. At the centre of the hub is the Emperox, descendant of the original family that created the system that now governs all the planets.  As the story begins, many changes are afoot.  A new Emperox is about to take up office, a scientist on the furthest planet, known as End, is about to uncover data that could spell disaster for the empire, and a high ranking family are taking steps to position themselves to take power.

That’s all I’m going to say about the plot.  The rest you need to read about and uncover for yourselves.  It certainly is an intriguing story and it had me gripped so I don’t want to spoil the fun.

So, what else did I enjoy about this book.  The characters.  I really liked the characters.  We have Kiva – a daughter from one of the more important families, currently captaining a ship carrying cargo to End – Kiva, well I just found her a bit of a riot.  She curses up a storm, she’s refreshingly no nonsense, she made me laugh, she has no shame and I loved that about her.  We all enjoy the lovable rogues – well, here we have Kiva, the Hanna Solo of this particular space opera.  She’d no doubt sell her granny to the highest bidder but she’d also, no doubt, have a plan to steal her back when nobody was looking.  Put bluntly she’s one of the goodies of the plot.  We have Cardenia.  The new Emperox.  Cardenia, being the younger sibling finds herself in a position she never wanted or expected when her brother dies in an accident.  Cardenia hasn’t been brought up with this role in mind and yet now finds herself at the centre of everything, used as a political bargaining tool.  I liked her, she’s not been raised to this but having been thrown into the hot bed she’s making the best of it.  Marse is the young scientist, a bookish type of character.  His task is to convince everyone about the possible changes in the flow. And then we have the baddies – the family of Nohamapetan.  They’re basically a bunch of scheming manipulators who will resort to just about anything in their pursuit of power.  Don’t you just love a totally machiavellian type baddie.

I enjoyed the writing.  It’s very easy to get along with.  The opening is really excellent and the author also uses a couple of interludes to bring the reader uptodate with certain elements – I really enjoyed this way of providing information to be honest.

I think in terms of criticisms, the only thing that really stood out for me was a slight feeling of maybe things being a little bit rushed when moving from End to Hub – although I can appreciate that the author didn’t want to go into a long narrative about the ships exploits in space – this could have been a very unweildy book in that event.  It just felt a bit surprising when Marse reached his final destination so quickly.

This is undoubtedly the set up for a series but for me it didn’t have that set up feel – well, okay, it sort of did feel like a set up for future books but not in a bad way as the story stacks up well and ends on a very promising note.

I can’t wait for the next instalment – I suppose patience is a virtue although it’s not my most winning attribute.

I received a copy courtesy of the publisher for which my thanks.  The above is my own opinion.



Waiting on Wednesday : Rotherweird by Andrew Caldecott

“Waiting On Wednesday” is a weekly meme created by Breaking the Spine.  Every Wednesday we get to highlight a book that we’re really looking forward to.  My book this week is : Rotherweird by Andrew Caldecott.

rotherweirdThe town of Rotherweird stands alone – there are no guidebooks, despite the fascinating and diverse architectural styles cramming the narrow streets, the avant garde science and offbeat customs. Cast adrift from the rest of England by Elizabeth I, Rotherweird’s independence is subject to one disturbing condition: nobody, but nobody, studies the town or its history.

For beneath the enchanting surface lurks a secret so dark that it must never be rediscovered, still less reused.

But secrets have a way of leaking out.

Two inquisitive outsiders have arrived: Jonah Oblong, to teach modern history at Rotherweird School (nothing local and nothing before 1800), and the sinister billionaire Sir Veronal Slickstone, who has somehow got permission to renovate the town’s long-derelict Manor House.

Slickstone and Oblong, though driven by conflicting motives, both strive to connect past and present, until they and their allies are drawn into a race against time – and each other. The consequences will be lethal and apocalyptic.

Welcome to Rotherweird!

This sounds very unusual and totally fascinating: Due out May 2017


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