#SPFBO Author, Cover Share: The City Screams by Phil Williams (An Ordshaw novella)

Today I’m really pleased to share with you the cover for a forthcoming novella written by Phil Williams.  The City Screams is a standalone novella set within the Urban Fantasy world that I first read of in Under Ordshaw.  You can find out more about the book below but first here’s the cover:


Tova’s getting her hearing back. She’s going to wish she wasn’t.

Alone in Tokyo for experimental ear surgery, Tova Nokes is finally shaking up her life. But when she starts to hear things she shouldn’t, all she wants is to make it home alive.

There’s a voice saying it’s where she comes from that makes her special.

If she can only survive violent stalkers, and the terrible screams, she might figure out why…

The City Screams is a stand-alone thriller in the Ordshaw urban fantasy series.

This sounds great and it’s due for release on 9th April.

Goodreads link provided here.

And, here are the first two books in Phil’s UF series and my review for Under Ordshaw:



The Confessions of Frannie Langton by Sara Collins

Confessions ofThe Confessions of Frannie Langton was an impressive debut and an intriguing read.  Ultimately it’s the rather sad story of one young woman’s life.  Born into slavery, Frannie Langton spent her first few years on a Jamaican sugar plantation, ironically called Paradise, before being taken by her master to London and given away as a house servant.

I enjoyed this read, it was certainly told in a compelling way and in spite of a few issues I think it was an impressive debut.

Frannie is in prison.  She’s accused of the murder of her former employers and due to stand trial.  With very little hope of being found innocent she decides to write down her own story.  She takes us back to her earliest memories on the plantation and slowly but surely gives us her account of the events that led up to the murders.  What makes this account so intriguing is that Frannie is well spoken and can read and write.  She was an experiment of sorts, her master at the plantation wishing to see how far he could take her education.  Her sharp mind and ability to learn land her in difficulties, she becomes invaluable to her master as a scribe, taking down notes of his experiments which unfortunately are of a very grim nature.  One thing leads to another and Frannie is taken to London and left as a servant in the Benham household.

I would say that this story has two aspects to it.  There’s the mystery of the murder and events leading up to it and there’s the mystery of Frannie’s past and the links between her former master and her new employer Benham and the hideous experiments they undertook together.  Personally, I felt like this story would have worked better if it had focused more on Frannie and the murder mystery.  For me, the experimentation side of the story felt like it was added in to create a sensation or maybe to come up with new territory but I didn’t really feel like it added anything to the murder/mystery aspect of the story and in a way the mystery behind the experiments and the build up to the revelation felt like it stole some of the thunder from the events that led up to the murders.

What I really enjoyed about this was the writing and the ease in which the author depicts life, either at the plantation or in the Georgian home that Frannie is taken to.  Frannie has a lovely narrative voice and is very easy to read.  She’s maybe not always her own best friend, she certainly doesn’t make friends easily but I can’t really fault her for sticking up for herself even if others think her headstrong.

This is at heart a sad tale.  Things were never really going to work out well for Frannie.  She becomes addicted not only to laudanum but also to the love of her new mistress.  Marguerite is trapped in an unhappy marriage.  In a way she’s almost like a slave (although a very pampered, indolent and privileged one).  She practically lives in one room of the house, brought out as little more than decoration when it suits her husband.  To be honest I didn’t really like Marguerite.  Of course I felt sorry for her in a loveless marriage, she was trapped to an extent but I also felt like she also played with the lives of others with little regard for their welfare.

Frannie meanwhile has become something of an Eliza Doolittle.  With her well spoken manner and ability to read and write she’s definitely out of place.  She doesn’t fit in with the downstairs staff and she doesn’t fit in with the upstairs quality.  She quite literally becomes besotted with Marguerite which eventually leads to petty jealousies and a rift that sees her banished from the household.

I won’t elaborate on the story.  There’s a mystery to be uncovered here that is best discovered whilst reading.

Overall, I thought this was a good read.  I think the pacing was a little slow in the first half but it wasn’t something that really bothered me too much as I was enjoying Frannie’s account.  Personally, I think there’s a little too much going on in terms of the two different storylines but I enjoyed this even if, as I mentioned above, it’s a sad tale.

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



Friday Face Off : ‘A horse, a horse, my kingdom for a horse’


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 horse, a horse, my kingdom for a horse’ – A cover featuring a king

Mmm, I didn’t have an easy week with this theme.  I considered using a book with ‘King’ in the title which would have increased my book choices but then decided to go with a trusty favourite.  The Return of the King (The Lord of the Rings #3) by J.R.R. Tolkien.  As you may imagine there are a lot of covers for this book – a lot – I’ve restricted myself to just a very small selection:

The covers:

My favourite this week is:


This is a lovely special collector’s edition cover produced by Harper Collins.

Which one is your favourite?

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 featuring a unicorn

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


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

26th April “The sunrise was the colour of bad blood” – A cover featuring a sunrise/sunset

(May is the month of Wyrd and Wonder – details here, Twitter: @wyrdandwonder)

3rd May  – “How sweet to be a cloud, floating in the blue” – A cover that is predominantly blue

10th May  – “As full of spirit as the month of May” – A cover featuring a festival/party/celebration

17th May –  “The dark fire will not avail you, flame of Udûn. Go back to the Shadow!” – A cover featuring a fantasy beast

24th May – “bibbity, bobbity, boo” – A cover that features ‘magical things’

31st May –  “simples” – A favourite fantasy cover 

7th June  – “One swallow does not make a summer” – A cover that makes you think of Summer 

14th June – “Coraline opened the box of chocolates. The dog looked at them longingly.” – A cover featuring something sweet

21st June – Summer Solstice – the longest day of the year – Pagan rituals/standing stones/blazing suns – a cover with your own interpretation

28th June – “And who decided which people wore the striped pyjamas” – A cover that is striped

5th July – “The question of whether or not we are alone in the universe… has been answered” –  a cover featuring something/somebody historic 

12th July – A wrap around cover

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.)

Throwback Thursday : The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

Throwback Thursday, is a new feature created by Tenacious Reader with the aim of  highlighting books from your reading past. This can be virtually anything, a book that you previously read and loved, a book that you want to highlight again, maybe it’s a book in a series and the next book is due out shortly so you want to focus some attention on the series.   Anything goes – so long as your book isn’t a current release as there are already plenty of ways to highlight the latest books.  

The book I’d like to highlight this week is : The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

The Secret Garden is a classic piece of children’s literature written by Frances Hodgson Burnett.  I read this many years ago and would like to return to reread it if time ever permits.  I understand that this is once again being adapted into a movie with an impressive cast including Colin Firth and Julie Waters so this could be the perfect time to pick up a copy – or is it just me who likes to read the book first?

The Secret GardenThe plot centers round Mary Lennox, a young English girl who returns to England from India, having suffered the immense trauma by losing both her parents in a cholera epidemic. However, her memories of her parents are not pleasant, as they were a selfish, neglectful and pleasure-seeking couple. Mary is given to the care of her uncle Archibald Craven, whom she has never met. She travels to his home, Misselthwaite Manor located in the gloomy Yorkshire, a vast change from the sunny and warm climate she was used to. When she arrives, she is a rude, stubborn and given to stormy temper tantrums. However, her nature undergoes a gradual transformation when she learns of the tragedies that have befallen her strict and disciplinarian uncle whom she earlier feared and despised. Once when he’s away from home, Mary discovers a charming walled garden which is always kept locked. The mystery deepens when she hears sounds of sobbing from somewhere within her uncle’s vast mansion. The kindly servants ignore her queries or pretend they haven’t heard, spiking Mary’s curiosity.

The Secret Garden appeals to both young and old alike. It has wonderful elements of mystery, spirituality, charming characters and an authentic rendering of childhood emotions and experiences. Commonsense, truth and kindness, compassion and a belief in the essential goodness of human beings lie at the heart of this unforgettable story.

Can’t Wait Wednesday : Soul of the Sword (Shadow of the Fox #2) by Julie Kagawa

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 : Soul of the Sword (Shadow of the Fox #2) by Julie Kagawa:

One thousand years ago, a wish was made to the Harbinger of Change and a sword of rage and lightning was forged. Kamigoroshi. The Godslayer. It had one task: to seal away the powerful demon Hakaimono.

Now he has broken free.

Kitsune shapeshifter Yumeko has one task: to take her piece of the ancient and powerful scroll to the Steel Feather temple in order to prevent the summoning of the Harbinger of Change, the great Kami Dragon who will grant one wish to whomever holds the Scroll of a Thousand Prayers. But she has a new enemy now. The demon Hakaimono, who for centuries was trapped in a cursed sword, has escaped and possessed the boy she thought would protect her, Kage Tatsumi of the Shadow Clan.

Hakaimono has done the unthinkable and joined forces with the Master of Demons in order to break the curse of the sword and set himself free. To overthrow the empire and cover the land in darkness, they need one thing: the Scroll of a Thousand Prayers. As the paths of Yumeko and the possessed Tatsumi cross once again, the entire empire will be thrown into chaos.

Due for publication : June 2019

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