Weekly Wrap Up : 17/06/18

Posted On 17 June 2018

Filed under Book Reviews

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Hope you’ve all had a great week.  I’ve not managed much reading this week for one reason or another.  Just the one book: The Burning Chambers by Kate Mosse:

  1. The Burning Chambers by Kate Mosse


Next Week’s Reads:

  1. Bitter Sun by Beth Lewis
  2. Witchmark by C L Polk

Upcoming reviews: –

  1. Starborn by Lucy Hounsom
  2. Envy of Angels by Matt Wallace
  3. School for Psychics by K C Archer
  4. Noir by Christopher Moore
  5. Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough
  6. Cross Her Heart by Sarah Pinborough
  7. The Wisdom of Sally Red Shoes by Ruth Hogan
  8. The Last Sun (The Tarot Sequence #1) by K.D. Edwards
  9. The Burning Chambers by Kate Mosse

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


Friday Face Off : Live in the saddle.  Die on the hog


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. This week’s theme:

Live in the saddle.  Die on the hog – a cover featuring riders

This week I thought I had a cover but I thought wrong so I had to dig around a little and came up with Firebrand (Rebel Angels #1) by Gillian Philip (although I could have used the book that I took the quote from – thought I’d keep that one for future themes maybe):

Only two choices this week.  I really like the first because it’s the book I owned but I like the action in the second.  On balance I think my choice has to be:


Which is your favourite.

Next week – a cover featuring a murder scene

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

22nd June -‘Murder most foul, as in the best it is’ – a cover featuring a murder scene

29th June – ‘Lips as red as the rose’ – a cover that is predominantly red

6th July – ‘The north wind doth blow, and we shall have snow, ‘ – a cover that is windswept

13th July –‘There’s more of gravy than of grave about you’ – a cover featuring a ghost or spectre

20th July -‘In winter with warm tears I’ll melt the snow’A cover featuring icicles or snow

27th July – “I saw huge buildings rise up faint and fair, and pass like dreams.”  – a cover that is steampunk

3rd August – “Moonlight drowns out all but the brightest stars.” – a cover featuring a starry sky

10th August – ‘…Christine, who have torn off my mask and who therefore can never leave me again! – A cover with a mask

17th August – ‘Knock, knock… ‘who’s there?’ – A cover featuring a door ajar or closed

24th August – ‘To be a legend, you’ve either got to be dead, or excessively old!’ – A cover with a title featuring the word ‘legend’

31st August – ‘“Come buy our orchard fruits, Come buy, come buy’ – A cover featuring a goblin or dwarves

7th September – ‘Mirror, Mirror on the wall – A cover featuring a queen

14th September – “He had killed man, the noblest game of all, and he had killed in the face of the law of club and fang.” – A cover featuring a wolf or wolves

21st September – ‘I wandered lonely as a cloud’ – a cover featuring clouds

28th September – Eyes wide shut – a cover featuring eyes

5th October – “He sounded like a man who had slept well and didn’t owe too much money.” – A cover that is ‘noir’

12th October – “The impossible could not have happened, therefore the impossible must be possible in spite of appearances.”  – A cover for a mystery novel

19th October -“If I cannot inspire love, I will cause fear!”  – A horror cover

26th October – Trick or treat – A halloween inspired cover

2nd November – ‘Remember, remember the fifth of November,’ – A cover inspired by Bonfire Night

9th November – ‘All right! They’re spiders from Mars! You happy?’ – A cover feturing a critter of the eight legged variety

16th November – There is no terror in the bang, only in the anticipation of it.’  – A scary cover

23rd November – ‘The child is in love with a human. And not just any human. A prince!’ – A cover featuring a mermaid/man

30th November – “..the children of the night. What music they make!” – a cover with a vampire

7th December – ‘I am Aragorn son of Arathorn; and if by life or death I can save you, I will.’ – A cover featuring a hero

14th December -“Heavy is the head that wears the crown”  – A cover featuring a crown

21st December – ‘ho, ho, ho’ – A seasonal cover

28th December – A freebie – choose one of your favourite titles and compare the covers


4th January – A cover that is fresh – New beginnings for a New Year

11th January – ‘I know I have the body of a weak and feeble woman, but I have the heart and stomach of a king’ – A cover that depicts a novel set in the Tudor period

18th January – A cover featuring an Amulet – either in the cover or title

25th January – ‘Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.’ – A cover featuring a monk/priest/person of the cloth

1st February – A comedy cover

8th February – ‘Hi little cub. Oh no, don’t be ssscared.’ – A cover with snakes

15th February – A heart – for Valentine’s day past

22nd February – “Woe, destruction, ruin, and decay; the worst is death and death will have his day.” – A cover with abandoned building/s

1st March – ‘who will buy this wonderful morning’ – A cover featuring a shop or market

8th March – ‘Two little fishes and a momma fishy too’ – A cover featuring a fish/fishes or other sea creatures

15th March – ‘Beware the moon, lads.’ – A cover with a shapeshifter

22nd March – ‘A horse, a horse, my kingdom for a horse’ – A cover featuring a king

29th March – “I thought unicorns were more . . . Fluffy.”  – A cover featuring a unicorn

5th April – ‘nomad is an island’ – A cover featuring a desert landscape

12th April – ‘Odin, Odin, send the wind to turn the tide – A cover featuring a longboat

19th april – ‘It was the best of times, it was the worst of times – A cover featuring a school

Legendary (Caraval #2) by Stephanie Garber

legendaryLegendary is the second instalment of Stephanie Garber’s Caraval Trilogy.  It’s another colourful confection with sumptuous descriptions of balls, palaces and tricky games played out following a trail of cookie crumbs.

I think it’s probably safe to say that if you liked Caraval you’ll almost certainly like Legendary.  I admit that I enjoyed both books although on balance I probably liked the first the most. I found myself having reservations along the way and both books definitely led to a feeling of indulgence – which, I think stems from the fact that I’m aware of the issues that I have and yet I still can’t help reading in fairly short order and just plain enjoying the read.

To the plot.  The story this time around is told from Tella’s POV.  Tella has her own reasons for wanting to succeed and it seems that she’s made a pact with an unknown man who seems to be of a risky persuasion.  Tella and Scarlett’s mother disappeared from their lives many years ago and until now her whereabouts have been a mystery.  Winning Caraval could change all of that.  Names are powerful things and it seems that somebody is very keen to have Legend’s true name.  Can Tella succeed in finding out about the man behind the spectacle.

The characters.  Well, as mentioned, this time the story is told from Tella’s pov.  She’s playing the game and although Scarlett wanted to join in she seems indisposed for the majority of the story.  We do have the addition of two extra characters.  One called Dante who seems determined to follow in Tella’s footsteps.  Dark of hair and of nature Dante is a conundrum and yet somehow he feels fair rather than foul.  The other character, Jack, has a more dangerous feel.  Both of them are mysteries when it comes to their identities.  Of course we have other secondary characters who are there as props of the game and we of also have a few flashbacks to Tella’s mother.

The writing is again lush and although I can see how some might find Garber’s flowery prose a bit too much I find myself wallowing in it.  I just like her style and find it very easy to read.  It’s sugary sweet and uses all sorts of colours, feelings and food to pull together descriptions.

My criticisms are probably similar to the first book.  I don’t really buy into the strength of feelings between the two sisters – which might be simply because they barely spend any time together in either of the books.  I thought Legendary lost some of the fun of the game itself – but again, I think that’s because the author is taking things down a slightly darker route – the potential outcomes certainly seemed a lot more dangerous, in fact when I really think about it there was very little of the actual game involved this time.  And, there is a romance taking place – not really a criticism to be honest just thought it worth mentioning.

In terms of what I really enjoyed.  I liked the introduction of the Tarot cards and the fates all being intertwined.  As with the first I loved the creativity and magic around Caraval itself.  I thought we had a real opportunity to find out more about Tella and her strengths and weaknesses.  And, can’t tell a lie – I enjoyed the romance elements and I think plenty of other readers probably will do so as well.  The conclusion leaves the way open to a number of possibilities and I’m certainly intrigued to see what comes next – not least of all who the POV of the third instalment will be.

Overall, I had issues with this book but at the same time I found myself completely unperturbed by them.  This was an easy read for me and an enjoyable one in spite of any quibbles I picked up along the way.

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

Can’t Wait Wednesday : A Witches’ Yuletide by Ami McKay

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: A Witches’ Yuletide by Ami McKay.  I enjoyed The Witches of New York and think this next book sounds great – plus I’m just a pushover for anything with witches.

Halfspent.jpgDuring the nights between Christmas and New Year’s, the witches of New York–Adelaide Thom, Eleanor St. Clair and the youngest, Beatrice Dunn–gather before the fire to tell ghost stories and perform traditional Yuletide divinations. (Did you know that roasting chestnuts were once used to foretell one’s fate?)

As the witches roast chestnuts and melt lead to see their fate, a series of odd messengers land on their doorstep bearing invitations for a New Year’s Eve masquerade hosted by a woman they’ve never met. Gossip, dreams and portents follow, leading the witches to question the woman’s motives. Is she as benevolent as she seems or is she laying a trap. And so, as Gilded-Age New York prepares to ring in the new year, the witches don their finery and heard for the ball, on the hunt for answers that might well be the end of them.

Due for Publication: October 2018

Where Loyalties Lie (Best Laid Plans #1) by Rob J. Hayes

whereloyalties lieWhere Loyalties Lie is a winning combination of pirates and grimdark that isn’t for the faint hearted.  No Disney style pirates here but plenty of raucous banter and bloodshed on the open seas.

As the story begins we make the acquaintance of Captain Drake Morass.  He’s just made port at one of a number of pirate islands and he has a dark tale.  It seems like the Five Kingdoms and Sarth are joining together in a bid to clean up the waters and they’re not taking prisoners.  They’re destroying pirate townships, literally killing everyone and burning the place to the ground – and these are the good guys – so that might help to shed a little light on what you can expect from the rest of this book.

Basically, if the pirates are going to survive they need to wise up, pool resources and stand united under one leader and Captain Morass figures himself to be just the man for the job.  Of course, being a lying, cheating, murdering, swindler and double crossing no good son of a so and so (characteristics which I might add are running amok amongst most of the pirates) most of his fellow pirates are reluctant to believe his story and smell a rat.  What Captain Morass needs is an ally and he has the very fellow in mind, in fact he’s been told unequivocally that Kellin Stillwater is just the man to get the ball rolling. Now, there’s more to the plot than I’m outlining here – there are twists aplenty, what with pirates trying to outdo each other and all but I think that probably gives a fairly good flavour to whet your appetite.

So, lets get to the world building.  To be clear from the start this story takes place very much on the high seas.  Yes, I hear you – it’s a pirate story – but, really, seriously, the majority of the action takes place off terra firma so if you don’t have your sea legs you might like to take that into account.  I just loved it to be honest.  There’s such a lot of creativity going on here ranging from tempestuous sea Gods that might just kill a whole bunch of superstitious pirates on a whim, Islands with monsters living beneath the sand and tropical forests that just might lull you to sleep so that insects can slowly eat you.  On top of that there’s magic, wielded by Arbiters and the like who hunt witches and burn them at the stake.  There’s plenty going on here and no shortage of things to entertain.

The characters are up for scrutiny next.  What to say really.  They’re not a nice bunch in fact I spent a good part of the build up really puzzled about whether or not to like any of them – until they began to work their magic and win me over, some of them at least.  The main characters are Keelin, Drake, Tanner Black, his daughter Elaina Black and an arbiter named Beck.  For the most part the POVs switch between the occupants of the different ships which is a great way of varying the landscape and giving us a different perspective on things as they develop.  I admit I’m impressed with the way the characters are built up.  They slowly reveal little bits about themselves and there are a good deal of skeletons in closets.  The whole lot of them are firmly in the area of grey – apart from Tanner Black who is literally a downright nasty piece of work and deserves his terrible reputation.  But, two things that are worthy of mention.  Firstly, grimdark really lends itself to the area of pirating.  Let’s be honest now, these are people who, no matter how charismatic or charming they might appear, kill and rob on the high seas.  The majority of them have little compunction about murdering a crew or torturing someone for information, they’re not nice people.  That being said there is a certain camaraderie that eventually makes you view them slightly differently..  They begin to understand the predicament they’re in and just how desperate things are and they begin to pull together in real underdog style.

The writing here is really good, the dialogue is sharp, the pacing is fast, there is never a lull in momentum and the writing manages to show the restraint necessary to keep a good balance between action and intrigue.  However, I can’t stress enough that this is downright dark and brutal and I feel that I must point out that there is rape and torture amongst the bloodshed.  Now, I didn’t feel like any of the content was gratuitous, in fact I felt like it was relevant in really highlighting that these pirates are nasty and in fact some of them are downright evil.

In terms of criticisms.  I don’t really have any.  I think there was maybe a slightly slowish start but nothing that really stopped me from wanting to read on and I definitely had  moments where I felt like I might struggle to like any of the characters and I worried that might be an issue.  That didn’t turn out to be the case though.

I thoroughly enjoyed Where Loyalties Lie.  It’s dark and twisted.  It’s brutal and bloody.  It’s entertaining and creative.  It kept me hooked to the page with the intriguing plot and creative landscape.  I loved this nautical adventure and look forward to reading the next instalment.

My thanks to the author for providing a copy for review.  The above is my own opinion.


My rating for Where Loyalties Lie is 9/10 which equates to 4.5 out of 5


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