TTT : ‘Go to’ Authors


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 is:

Auto-Buy Authors

I’ve gone for an all female cast this week – maybe I should do a male version of this list too.  To be fair my ‘auto buy’ author list is expanding, I had well over 20 female authors at least for this list but decided to show restraint – this is Top Ten Tuesday after all – I may have cheated and gone for 11 but shhhh don’t tell anyone.

Sarah Pinborough – I haven’t read a book yet by SP that I didn’t love.  She writes in so many different genres.  Thrillers – Behind Her Eyes and Cross Her Heart; gothic style supernatural murder mystery – Mayhem and Murder, 13 Minutes; fairytale retellings – Poison, Charm and Beauty; and many more  I don’t pretend to have read all her books but I’m working on it.


Lauren Beukes – Again, I’ve not read all of this author’s books but the ones I’ve read so far have been fantastic – Zoo City, The Shining Girls and Broken Monsters – highly recommended.

The shining girls

Laura Purcell – I’ve only fairly recently discovered this author but I’ve absolutely loved the two books I’ve read by her so far – The Silent Companions and The Corset (or Poison Thread).  I can’t wait to read her next book Bone China.

Bone China

Joanne Harris – So many books that I’ve loved by JH.  My most recent was The Strawberry Thief which was absolutely captivating.  Read it – pretty please.


Alice Hoffman – Similarly I’ve read a lot of Alice Hoffman’s books and absolutely loved them.  She has a way with words and is the master of magical realism.  Most recently the prelude to Practical Magic – The Rules of Magic which was, well, magical.


Marie Brennan – dragons, dragons and more dragons (and other fantasy as well of course).  I love her books, I love the covers, I love Lady Trent and I am so excited for the next book due out soon – Turning Darkness Into LIght which is a new series starring Lady Trent’s granddaughter. Check out this cover and resist this synopsis if you can

Turning Darkness

Diane Setterfield – I’ve read three books by this author, The Thirteenth Tale, Bellman & Black and more recently Once Upon a River.  I love her writing and eagerly await her next book.  That is all.

The Thirteenth Tale.jpg

Susan Fletcher – my first book by Susan Fletcher was Witch Light.  When I first started reading the book I didn’t think it would be my cup of tea, and yet, as I was having that very thought the pages began to captivate me and before I knew it I was hooked.  I’ve read quite a few books since then – most recently House of Glass which was a beautifully told gothic tale.

Katherine Arden – The Winternight Trilogy –  need I say more.  Any author that gives me a fairytale style series with such fantastic characters, set in Russia and loaded with folklore wins the day for me.

The bear

Anna Smith-Spark – Queen of Grimdark and an author who can paint the pages red and yet instill the tale with a unique sense of beauty.  I’ve loved the first two books in the Empire of Dust Trilogy – The Court of Broken Knives and The Tower of Living and Dying and I’m about to start on the final instalment – The House of Sacrifice.  Excitement am I.






The Toll by Cherie Priest

Posted On 15 July 2019

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TheTollThe Toll is a tale of the supernatural full of gothic type goodness set in a swamp where more than alligators live.  This is a story of ghosts and hungry creatures waiting in the dark.  To be upfront about it – this didn’t scare me, which I think I was expecting after being chilled to the bone by The Family Plot, but, nonetheless it was a good read with an intriguing mystery at its core.

We start the story with an introduction to Titus and his wife Davinia.  They’re on their way to honeymoon on the Okenfenokee Swamp – and they’re arguing, chiefly about who had the big idea to go canoeing on a swamp in the first place, it certainly doesn’t sound romantic, then they come across a single lane bridge that looks a little bit menacing.  They’re reluctant to cross to say the least.  Visibility is poor and the aspect is ominous but eventually they set off, with misgivings.  Unfortunately their gut reactions, that were trying to get them to turn back and run, were only too right.  Titus wakes up in the middle of the road, the car stands vacant and his wife is missing.  Eventually he calls the police who, when they arrive, are adamant that there is no seventh bridge and seem to be taking Titus and his tale with a pinch of salt.  Although there is a good degree of eye avoidance suggesting that Titus and his disappearing bridge are already a known element.

So, welcome to Staywater, a place where people quite often become trapped.  They come for a holiday and stay for life – although it’s more out of necessity than love of the place.  This is a place where people are haunted by memories, by missing people and by the strange occurences that everyone just ignores.  Staywater is a dying place.  The number of residents has been in decline for years – of course persistent floods and whispers of a serial killer could explain some of the ways in which the population have been decimated but deep down everyone knows that something is fundamentally wrong in this place.

In terms of the characters.   Titus is the main character, he’s joined by a number of the residents, the local barkeep, a young man barely grown into his own moustache called Cameron and his aunts, Claire and Daisy.  Claire and Daisy are two old spinsters living out on the edge of the swamp.  Everyone fears them, even the ‘thing’ that can’t be named.  They have their own brand of magic and I confess that they were my favourite element to the story.  One thing about Cherie Priest.  She has a wonderful way of drawing a character and making them appear quite easily in your mind’s eye.  Alright, she doesn’t really try to avoid any tropes here but there is a lovely, almost tongue-in-cheek style that makes the familiarity seem fresh.

In terms of criticisms.   It’s difficult to pin down why The Toll didn’t completely blow me away.  There are so many elements to this story that are without doubt my cup of tea but there’s a vague feeling of things being incomplete.  I want to know more.  More about Cameron, about the two cunning aunts and more about Staywater.  I think in some respects this almost feels like a short story somehow and yet at over 300 pages that really isn’t the case although it does testify to the quickness of both the read and the pacing.  I can’t put my finger on anything specific to be honest.  I wouldn’t say this was a scary read and perhaps that was something that I felt the lack of – maybe because I went into the read expecting to be given a serious case of the heebie jeebies.  I loved the gothic feel and the whole mystery element but I think in a nutshell this lacked that certain something that would have really given me the chills.

On the whole though, well written and enjoyable and certainly a place that I would be curious to read more about.

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

Rating 3.5 stars of 5


Weekly Wrap Up : 14th July 2019

Posted On 14 July 2019

Filed under Book Reviews

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I didn’t do a weekly wrap up last week.  I’ve been having a kind of crazy chaotic July and things have simply got out of control, which has made it almost impossible to even crack open a book.  Anyway, this is my past two weeks wrap up – and it’s not very impressive in terms of numbers unfortunately – or reviews which I have now managed to get behind with again.  Why?  Is it asking too much that I simply catch up?  Really??

So, here’s what I’ve been reading:

My books:

  1. Soul of the Sword by Julie Kagawa
  2. The Toll by Cherie Priest
  3. This Is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone

I’m about a third of the way into Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia and on top of this I’ve read 30% of my first SPFBO book and started the second – I need to speed up a little to make sure I’m on track – but, as mentioned above, life sort of got in the way this week.

Next scheduled reads:

  1. Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia Storm
  2. Cursed by Patricia Briggs
  3. The House of Sacrifice by Anna Smith Spark
  4. Shadows of the Short Days by Alexander Dan Vilhjálmsson
  5. Good Girl, Bad Girl by Michael Robotham

Upcoming reviews

  1. King of the Road by RS Belcher
  2. Fire Touched by Patricia Briggs
  3. Silence Fallen by Patricia Briggs
  4. Soul of the Sword by Julie Kagawa
  5. The Toll by Cherie Priest
  6. This Is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone
  7. Queenslayer by Sebastien DeCastell

I’d love to know what you’re reading this week.

#SPFBO Cover Competition


The cover competition for this year’s SPFBO is now live.  See here for all the details.  Each blogger will now pick four covers and place them in their order of first, second, etc.  Check out some of these covers – there are some absolute beauties here.  It’s going to be a real struggle to narrow this down to four – at the moment I have at least 10 very strong contenders!  Which ones are your favourites:


Fantasy Book Critic

Lynn’s Books

The Qwillery


Kitty G

Thoughts Stained With Ink


The Fantasy Hive
Rockstarlit Book Asylum

Friday Face Off : A wrap around cover


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 – the list has been updated to help out those of you who like to plan ahead – 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:

 A wrap around cover

Firstly, apologies for not visiting everyone last week – I’ve been travelling and not had good wifi so my blog has been reliant on scheduled posts.  Hope you all found a cover you love.  Personally I love the Whelan covers and in particular the covers for Brandon Sanderson’s Way of Kings.  I had a few other ideas but I had to go with the Words of Radiance cover.  this is my favourite:

Words of Radiance

Like last week I’ve added a Mr Linky here so that you can leave a link if you wish or please leave me a link in the comments so we can all visit and check out each others covers.  Thanks

I’ve updated the list and included themes through to the end of 2019 – I’ve also included 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 that let me know in the comments).  I also have a list prepared for 2020 and so will set up a separate page soon for forthcoming themes.  As always, if you wish to submit an idea then leave me a comment.

Next week – A cover that is grainy or looks like ‘white noise’

Future themes: (if you’re struggling with any of these themes then use a ‘freebie’ or one of your favourite covers)


19th July – “You can’t choose between life and death when we’re dealing with what is in between.” – A cover that is grainy or looks like ‘white noise’

26th July – “Ludo ….. down” – A cover that is Upside Down

2nd August – “There are children here somewhere. I can smell them.” A cover featuring children

9th August – “I’m disinclined to acquiesce to your request.” – A cover featuring Pirates

16th August – “The haft of the arrow had been feathered with one of the eagles own plumes” – a cover featuring feathers

23rd August – A cover that is a movie tie in

30th August – “I wandered lonely as a cloud” – a cover that is predominantly yellow

6th September “Warm September brings the fruit” – a cover that is seasonal for Autumn/Fall

13th September – Friday the 13th – unlucky for some!  A cover with ‘curse’ in the title

20th September – “Your hair is winter fire,January embers.” – A cover featuring hair

27th September – Freebie

4th October – “Feed me Seymour” – A cover that is 60s horror

11th October – ““And, though there should be a world of difference between the smile of a man and the bared fangs of a wolf, with Joss Merlyn they were one and the same.”  – a cover featuring an Inn

18th October – “It’s your favorite scary movie, remember? He had on the white mask, he stalked the babysitters.” – A cover featuring a scream

25th October – for Halloween – pick any scary cover you like

(I’m hoping that November will once again bring to us SciFiMonth – Twitter @SciFiMonth)

1st November – A cover that is predominantly grey

8th November – “big badda boom” – a cover that features an explosion

15th November – “No thinking thing should be another thing’s property, to be turned on and off when it is convenient.” – a cover featuring a robot

22nd November – A cover that is Futuristic

29th November – “When a day that you happen to know is Wednesday starts off by sounding like Sunday, there is something seriously wrong somewhere.” – a cover that is 60s sci fi

6th December – Now is the winter of our discontent, Made glorious summer by this sun of York”  – a cover that puts you in mind of winter

13th December – A cover that features a temple/or religious icon

20th December – Longest Night –  a dark and foreboding cover

27th December – the festive season – a cover that is glittery or sparkling

(2020 – January is Vintage SciFi month so I’ll be including possible themes to take that on board.

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