Friday Face Off : ‘We are men of action, lies do not become us’

FFO

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 (this doesn’t have to be a book that you’ve read), compare a couple of the different covers available for that particular book and choose your favourite.   Future week’s themes are listed below – if you have a cover in mind that you’re really wanting to share then feel free to leave a comment about a future suggested theme.  I’ve also listed events that take place during the year, that I’m aware of, so you can link up your covers – if you’re aware of any events that you think I should include then give me a shout.  This week’s theme:

Action – a cover that depicts action of some sort

Well, I had no shortage of action covers to fit this week’s theme – what I did have a shortage of was titles with more than one cover to compare. So, I’ve gone back a few years to a series that I still have to complete: The Desert Spear (Demon Cycle #2) by Peter V. Brett

I really like the bottom four covers the most out of this selection but my favourite is

Do you have a favourite?

I’ll be updating the list in order to include forthcoming events that I’m aware of so that you can perhaps link your themes up where possible (if you know of an event you’d like to share then let me know in the comments).  As always, if you wish to submit an idea then leave me a comment – or if you’d like to host a week then simply let me know.

Next week – Glasses or spectacles

Future themes: (if you’re struggling with any of these themes then use a ‘freebie’ or one of your favourite covers) (I’ve added some new themes – some of these are slightly different, in order to avoid too much repetition I’m trying to make the themes more of a suggestion that everyone can interpret how they like.  

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14th August – Glasses or spectacles – “One could mention many lovable traits in Smee. For instance, after killing, it was his spectacles he wiped instead of his weapon.”

21st August – Potions –  hubble bubble

28th August – Dark road – ‘the road goes ever on and on’

4th September – Cold and crisp – any cover that gives you winter vibes

11th September – A cover with a pattern

18th September – Minimalistic and lacking clutter

25th September – A very busy cover full to bursting with detail

2nd October – A standout font

9th October – Mist/fog – “A thin grey fog hung over the city, and the streets were very cold; for summer was in England.”

16th October – Spider web – “Farewell, Aragog, king of the arachnids, whose long and faithful friendship those who knew you would never forget!

23th October – Ripped/torn – interpret it as you wish

30th October – Forest/jungle – ‘None of the Jungle People like being disturbed.’

6th November – Planets – “You’re on Earth. There’s no cure for that.”

13th November – Bright – ‘The future’s so bright, I gotta wear shades’.

20th November – Words only – “Words are pale shadows of forgotten names. As names have power, words have power. Words can light fires in the minds of men. Words can wring tears from the hardest hearts.”

27th November – Modern sci fi

4th December –  Fae – or fairy??

11th December – Lake – the mysterious lake

18th December – Highly Stylised

25th December- Freebie – or day off.

Final Cut by S.J. Watson

Posted On 6 August 2020

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Final cutMy five word TL:DR Review: Not quite what I expected

Final Cut is one of my little forays into psychological thrillers.  I read Before I Go to Sleep by this author and loved it so had no hesitation when it came to requesting a copy of this book.  A young woman returns to the sleepy seaside village that she ran away from years ago, she has no memory of why she left but she soon starts to uncover the dark underbelly of the village and puts herself into a dangerous spot by asking too many questions.

On the face of it this story has the makings of so many things I love.  The setting is really well done and plays so well into the plot.  Sleepy seaside village, now suffering from economic decline, hit further by the disappearance of a couple of young girls and the suicide of another.  There’s a general feel of despair about the place with the villagers themselves having an almost desperately sad quality.  When Alex arrives at the village to shoot a documentary that sadness turns into distrust.  This little documentary could shine a spotlight on the village and maybe promote recovery or it could simply be a wolf in disguise, raking up past troubles and dark histories that the inhabitants would sooner forget.  Then we have Alex, she doesn’t want to go back to Blackwood Bay and yet she’s not altogether certain why, her earlier memories being so sketchy.  There’s this overall creepy feel that something downright nasty is going to be uncovered and I confess that the story gets off to a great start.  And yet, this didn’t quite wow me as much as I’d hoped or expected – and that’s the rub with expectations I suppose.  To be clear, I read this very quickly and had no trouble with it but at the same time I didn’t quite fall in love with it either.

What I enjoyed about this was the small village town feel that the author does a wonderful job of portraying.  The place is very easy to imagine and I had a clear vision of what it looked like.  On the one hand there was the quaint cobbled streets, tiny cottages and shops, the local pub and the windswept moors, the history of smuggling and suggestion of underground tunnels, but this is then countered by the foreboding house that sits atop the cliffs, the tacky arcades and the young people huddled together, staring at their phones with an overwhelming sense of boredom.  There’s also a lot of dark and seedy material here which the author handles well.  Alex has experienced some scary situations and  lived life a little on the edge and this element becomes clearer as things progress.  There’s also a split timeline with ‘then’ and ‘now’ being explored which is a good way of dropping extra clues (or red herrings) along the way.

Now, I’ve struggled to really understand why this one didn’t quite blow me away.  I think there is an element of not being surprised by either the mystery or the eventual twist in the tale – both of those felt a little obvious to me but I’m not sure if that would normally have such an impact on my overall feelings.  I think I felt a slight irritation with Alex and the whole lack of memory issue, I don’t know why, it feels like a rather overused trope of the genre and that, coupled with a feeling of going round in circles and yet finding out nothing new for a good chunk of the story really started to change the feel somehow.  It seems like Alex is continually chasing her tale, sneaking around taking videos of people, telling all sorts of fabricated stories to try and get people to talk to her and yet by the end of it all, apart from feeling a little exhausted, she’s usually learnt very little in the process and that starts to feel a little frustrating, particularly, when the actual mystery is pretty much staring you in the face. Plus, I do have at least one issue that really doesn’t add up for me but I won’t mention it here as it would be a definite spoiler.

I don’t mean to be overly critical though.  As I already mentioned I had no problem reading this one.  The writing is enjoyable and I wanted to discover what had taken place.  In that respect, I would just mention that this book could be potentially triggering for some readers.  I wouldn’t say that it overly focuses on events that take place, more alludes to them, there’s certainly no graphic details, but certain parts of this story might be disturbing for some.

I would rate this 3.5 of 5 stars.

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

 

Written in Red (The Others #1) by Anne Bishop

WritenMy Five Word TL:DR review:  Great Start.  Loving it already

I’m always happy to find a new urban fantasy series and The Others is my most recent venture and one that I’m very happy to say has got off to a very good start.

Written in Red introduces us to the world of The Others.  The Others basically embrace just about everything supernatural that you’ve ever encountered in a story.  There are shapeshifters, blood drinkers, elementals and other characters who are so terrifying that even the other creatures give them a wide berth.  The humans in this world are prey and a fragile truce exists between the two as a result of humans being creative and inventive and the Others developing a taste for the products humans create.  But, one step out of line and entire villages and towns have been known to disappear, almost overnight.

This first instalment introduces us to Meg Corbyn, on the run in the middle of a snow storm, freezing cold, weary and on the verge of collapse.  She makes it to a sanctuary of sorts – a Courtyard, a place run by the Others that tolerates humans but operates on its own rules.  Meg is being chased and is hoping for the ‘rules’ of the Courtyard to protect her.  She encounters Simon Wolfgard, alpha male within the courtyard who gives her a job as the Human Liaison, mainly because he’s being badgered by someone else about the role and this gives him the ability to swiftly terminate any further discussions – the job now being taken.

As I mentioned above, Meg is on the run, she’s a cassandra sangue which basically means she can foretell the future – but in order to do so she must cut herself, her own blood bringing forth the vision.  Strangely enough, this ability is what makes Meg so interesting to the Others, she isn’t quite human, or at least she’s something more, and so within fairly short order, and maybe because they realise that Meg is being pursued by people powerful enough to use the law to suit their own purposes, the Others decide to take Meg under their wing and protect her.  Of course, this leads to problems in the form of outside attacks but these events only serve to create a firmer bond between Meg and the other members of the Courtyard.

As first books in series go this one really worked out well for me.  I often find that the first book in a series can be a little lacking in some respects, particularly in terms of forming attachments to any of the characters as there’s usually such a lot to discover.  I didn’t have that experience with Written in Red, maybe because it’s a tad longer than I would normally expect, and also maybe because the author writes in a way that assumes the reader will already have some knowledge of the supernatural.  She gives a fairly brief but easy to understand idea of the world set up and then moves on quickly to the story with the expectation that you’ll be on board and I really enjoyed this approach.  Other information is offered up as and when needed without huge exposition or the need to over explain everything.  There’s a gentle touch in terms of leading readers forward and letting them enjoy the plot and get to know the characters.

And, the characters are great.  There’s a lot here that’s easy to like.  Meg works her magic fairly quickly, she’s almost childlike in her innocence and lack of understanding of the wider world and this naivety quickly endears her to many of the others from the Courtyard.  There’s also a certain chemistry developing between her and Simon that is quite enticing to read about and I think I will enjoy that element of the story if it is indeed going to take a turn down that route.  Personally, and I often find this, I really enjoyed some of the side characters and there is surely no shortage to choose from here.  One of my favourites was Tess.  She runs the coffee shop but she’s one of those characters that you really don’t want to mess with – and her hair gives a good indication of her mood so definitely take heed – furiously curling and turning toxic green and you might want to consider leaving, quickly – before things go from red to black!

In terms of criticisms I didn’t have too much really.  I mentioned above that this felt slightly longer than I’m used to and there is a lot of attention to the smaller detail, such as everyday humdrum elements like eating, dressing, showering, driving to work – but, at the same time that this can feel a little monotonous at some points at the same time I kind of liked the attention to detail and dare I say that, in a supernatural world of bears, crows, vampires and other unnamed critters, those little details can be quite grounding.

To cut a long story short I very much enjoyed this first instalment and have in fact already picked up the second in audio and started to listen.

I’m so happy that Lisa (Way Too Fantasy) and I decided to buddy read this one.  We, of course, ended up reading at different paces but the idea of reading the series together definitely provided the incentive I needed to kick of this series and so far so good – and of course, being incredibly late to this particular party means I don’t have to wait for the next books in series – win:win.

My rating 4 out of 5 stars.

Copy bought for kindle.

Can’t Wait Wednesday : Paris By Starlight by Robert Dinsdale

Can't Wait Wednesday

“Waiting On Wednesday” is a weekly meme that was originally created by Breaking the Spine.  Unfortunately Breaking the Spine are no longer hosting so I’m now linking my posts up to Wishful Endings Can’t Wait Wednesday. Don’t forget to stop over, link up and check out what books everyone else is waiting for.  If you want to take part, basically, every Wednesday, we highlight a book that we’re really looking forward to.  This week my book is : Paris By Starlight by Robert Dinsdale.  This sounds amazing and I loved The Toymakers so I’m very excited for this release:

ParisEvery city has its own magic…

Every night on their long journey to Paris from their troubled homeland, Levon’s grandfather has read to them from a very special book. Called The Nocturne, it is a book full of fairy stories and the heroic adventures of their people who generations before chose to live by starlight.

And with every story that Levon’s grandfather tells them in their new home, the desire to live as their ancestors did grows. And that is when the magic begins…

Nobody can explain why nocturnal water dogs, only native to Asov, start appearing at the heels of every citizen of Paris-by-Starlight like the loyal retainers they once were. There are suddenly night finches in the skies and the city is transforming: the Eiffel Tower lit up by strange ethereal flowers that drink in the light of the moon.

But not everyone in Paris is won over by the spectacle of Paris-by-Starlight. There are always those that fear the other, the unexplained, the strangers in our midst. How long can the magic of night rub up against the ordinariness of day? How long can two worlds occupy the same streets and squares before there is an outright war?

Expected publication : August 2020

Top Ten Tuesday: Ruby Tuesday

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme where every Tuesday we look at a particular topic for discussion and use various (or more to the point ten) bookish examples to demonstrate that particular topic.  Top Ten Tuesday (created and hosted by  The Broke and Bookish) is now being hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl and future week’s topics can be found here.  This week’s topic :

Books with Colors In the Titles

Many of these books are pre-blogging so I haven’t linked to any reviews for this week’s themes.

Woman in WhiteHalfofaYellowOrangeRed RisingCrimsonVioletVirginBlueAnneof GreenGreySisterWomaninBlack

 

 

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