Can’t Wait Wednesday : The Slaughterman’s Daughter: by Yaniv Iczkovits, Orr Scharf

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 : The Slaughterman’s Daughter: by Yaniv Iczkovits, Orr Scharf

Slaughterman'sAn epic historical adventure novel—FIDDLER ON THE ROOF meets Tarantino—set in the Pale of Settlement during the final years of the Russian Empire.

The townsfolk of Motal, a small town in the Pale of Settlement where nothing extraordinary ever happens, are shocked when Fanny Keismann—devoted wife, mother of five and celebrated cheese farmer—leaves her home at two hours past midnight and vanishes into the night.

True, the husbands of Motal have been vanishing for years, but a wife and mother? Whoever heard of such a thing. What on earth possessed her?

Could it have anything to do with Fanny’s missing brother-in-law, who left her sister almost a year ago and ran away to Minsk, abandoning his family to destitution and despair?

Or could Fanny have been lured away by Zizek Breshov, the mysterious ferryman on the Yaselda river, who, in a strange twist of events, seems to have disappeared on the same night?

Surely there can be no link between Fanny and the peculiar roadside murder on the way to Telekhany, which has left Colonel Piotr Novak, head of the Russian secret police, scratching his head. Surely that could have nothing to do with Fanny Keismann, whatever her past, whatever her reputation as a wilde chayeh, a wild beast . . .

Surely not

Expected publication 20th February 2020

Ring in the changes

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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 is:

Changes In My Reading Life

The topic this week is relatively easy I think.  To be honest I think it’s quite natural that your reading habits will change over time – you change yourself as you get older and so it feels only natural that your habits, not just in terms of reading, will change too.  However, I would say that a number of my changes are probably more related to blogging.  Enough chat, here we go:

  1. In the last few years my reading has focused much more on speculative fiction.  I’ve always read SFF but I’d say that I read far less historical, contemporary or classic books now than I used to do.  Although, I do still try and throw a little of those books into the mix every now and again.  This isn’t something I regret, I feel like I’ve honed my own tastes in a way and that I have a much better understanding of what type of fiction I enjoy.
  2. I still read quite a lot – usually, slightly over 100 books during the course of the year – but I don’t read quite as much as I used to and this is obviously as a result of more time spent blogging and chatting with other bloggers.  Again, I have no regrets in this respect.  Chatting with other bloggers gives me a way to release my passion about books with other people who share similar tastes.  Blogging has also led me to authors I would never have heard of.  I love books/I love bloggers – I should get that on a t-shirt!
  3. I read far less of my own books now.  This is something that I would like to achieve a little more balance with.  Although, again, I can’t really grumble.  I receive an incredible amount of review books each year and I have absolutely no complaints.  My own books are very patient and they’re not going anyway, I’ll reach them eventually.
  4. I take part in more reading events.  In fact dare I mention that I’m currently taking part in an event that is all about raising awareness for the second book in the Tarot Sequence books – The Hanged Man by KD Edwards (due for release in December) and as part of that event there’s all sorts of things going on, quests, giveaways and a readalong for the first book in the series – The Last Sun (which I highly recommend).  Another event that I take part in is the Self Published Fantasy Blog Off which is a competition.  We start off with 300 self-published books and by a process of elimination end of up with one winner – There Can Be Only One.
  5. Related directly to the point above.  I read more self published books now than I did previously.  I have to admit that the above named competition has been an eye opener for me in that respect and really does demonstrate just how many excellent self published books are available.
  6. I very rarely use the library any more.  I love the library and I’ve always used it but I seem to have an increasing TBR of my own that I need to work on and so don’t as often feel the need to log on and check out books.  This is a shame really because I like to support the library – I think libraries are an absolute must.
  7. I’ve started to listen to audio books which I’ve never done before.  I wouldn’t say that this accounts for a lot of my yearly books, maybe only 10-12 per year but I’m actually enjoying this a lot more than I ever thought I would.  I think my initial reservations boiled down to me thinking that my mind would wander if I wasn’t focusing on the writing on the page so it’s been a very pleasant surprise for me to find that this isn’t the case.  And this means I can undertake easy chores and listen to a book at the same time.  Colour me happy.
  8. I mainly receive gift tokens for presents.  This is something I love and I admit that I’ve cajoled and pressured everyone into giving me vouchers instead of other gifts – although they do sometimes rebel and go their own way.   What can I say, receiving a gift voucher where I can spend on books, guilt free, well, it’s just something that gives me all the warm fuzzies.
  9. I confess that my green eyed monster, the one that used to live deep inside, usually sleeping with soothing music playing to keep it lulled and tamed into submission, well, it’s become a little bit out of control.  Yes, I admit it! I see all the books that everyone else has and I want them.  I want them all.  Is that bad?  Am I bad??
  10. I actually buy very few physical books now.  In fact I prefer ebooks.  Don’t get me wrong, I love books.  I always have, and there is something different about reading a physical copy, but these days I’m much more practical or pragmatic or something.  I can carry hundreds of books around on my kindle, I don’t have stacks all over the house and I like reading this way.  My books are always backlit so I can read when I’m out and about, even if it is dark.  It’s easy to search through my library, I have a dictionary that’s easily to hand and notes and highlights page.  It’s just easy and convenient.  And it means I can be very selective about the physical books that I collect.

That’s it for me – how have your reading habits changed???  Curious minds, etc, etc.

 

Dark Pattern (The Naturalist #4) by Andrew Mayne

DarkPatternI am loving the Naturalist series by Andrew Mayne, this is a series that has hooked me from the get go and every subsequent book has simply left me in awe of the things this author will come up with.  I adore these books – that much is fact – and Dark Pattern, well, as the name partly suggests is the darkest of the instalments yet.

All of these books are about serial killers and the material is, to put it bluntly, creepy, scary, and sometimes almost too lifelike – that’s not to say, for clarity, that any of the books are particularly gory or uncomfortable reads – more that they feel like events that could happen and this book has that reality factor in spades. The story once again sees Theo trying to hunt down a serial killer,  a killer nurse in fact.  I have to say that this storyline gave me the real chills.  The idea of a murderer, killing victims as they lie in need of care, is scary in the extreme.  It’s the combination of vulnerability and the stark reality that this isn’t unheard of in real life.

Now, to be absolutely clear, this is a series that you should start from book 1.  Theo is a complicated character and I think if you try to jump into this series without the benefit of reading from the beginning you will probably not understand him, at best, and quite likely dislike him, at worst.  Context is key in my opinion.  On top of this – this series is positively addictive and all the books, well, I’m convinced they read themselves they’re so fast paced and difficult to put down.  Don’t deny yourself the earlier books, trust me on this, they’re not only downright gripping but they’re necessary if you want to understand Theo and his character arc.

Also, if you haven’t started the series but are thinking of doing so then it’s possible that this review will contain spoilers although hopefully not.

I’m not going to over elaborate on the plot as I don’t want to give anything away.  As the story starts Theo is at an all time low.  Events from the last book are preying on his mind and he’s desperately worried that he’s exposed himself to a dangerous pathogen that could literally change his brain and possibly turn him into a killer.  It’s not a happy situation and Theo is having very disturbing thoughts about his options.  Reluctantly he agrees to follow up a lead about a suspicious death in a hospital and early enquiries start to point him in the direction of a particular nurse that people seem to suspect of wrongdoing.  all I will say is that things escalate and a huge cat and mouse style chase ensues with Theo becoming more desperate to catch the killer whilst many of the people in authority, particularly at the hospitals, are reluctant to even consider that a killer is on the loose.

So, if you’ve read the other books then you’ll be able to see a certain pattern with this one.  Theo doesn’t easily make friends or influence people.  He quite frequently comes across as arrogant and his people skills are lacking in the extreme.  I don’t think he means to be rude, he’s incredibly intelligent, able to make huge leaps and bounds with his theories and is usually so intent on his search that he leaves others in his wake.  He comes across as a little maniacal at times and is so focused on his end goal that he doesn’t have the time or patience to keep people on board or on side and to be honest this doesn’t usually endear people to him.  Like I said above, you really do need to read from the start.  Personally, I think Theo is a fascinating character to read about.

The story here is again compulsive reading.  I really didn’t see the direction we were going to go in and I loved that Theo almost seems to step back to his earlier methods in this story, using his computer models to predict behaviour patterns and come up with leads.  It really is a fast paced and gripping read and I couldn’t put it down.

However, I did have a couple of criticisms that didn’t spoil the read for me at all but did leave me with slightly mixed feelings.  The first thing is fairly minor but this story seemed to me to lack a little bit of Theo’s brilliance, or at least his powers of deduction.  Of looking at a scene from A to B and jumping forward to Z and skipping all the letters in between.  I just felt I was missing those special insights a little.  The ending however was the real issue I had here and I can’t quite make my mind up what’s going on.  On the one hand, the ending felt incredibly rushed.  Theo seemed to be spiralling and things got pretty bad pretty quick – there’s also a twist.  The thing is, these things were so abrupt that they took me at first in one direction, then stopped me in my tracks and kind of proved me wrong but then the final chapters were so quick that not only did they make my head spin but I felt like I had to go back and read them again.  Seriously, if I hadn’t known better I could have almost thought I’d unwittingly skimmed those last pages and missed something as a result!  Okay, having thought about it over the past few days I’m hoping this is some sort of tactic on the part of the author, although at the same time I have this awful niggling doubt that maybe Theo is going to go one step too far (well, okay, he probably already went one step too far but maybe next time he’ll go so far beyond the line that the line will be a dim and distant memory).

Enough speculation.

Overall, this is a gripping and powerful read and a great instalment.  This series is my catnip, I can’t get enough of it and I eagerly await the next instalment.  I have my fingers crossed for Theo and for everyone else because with his brain I dread to think what would happen if he turned to the dark side.

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

My rating 4 out of 5 stars

Review Rewind: The Last Sun by KD Edwards #ScionsofAtlantis #TeamTower

The Last sunToday’s post is a blast from the past.  I’m taking part in an event focused on the release of The Hanged Man by KD Edwards and as part of that I thought it would be a good idea to dig out my review for the first book in the series (The Last Sun – which is fantastic – if you want the TL:DR version).  So, without further ado here is my original post, slightly revamped, still gushing rather a lot, for which I have no regrets, and shamelessly and unapologetically typing to tempt you to pick up this series before the 2nd book is released.  You know you want to.

The Last Sun was a blast of a novel, refreshingly different and downright more reading fun than I had any expectations of when I picked it up.  For a debut novel, wow, I confess myself truly impressed.

I would start out the review by saying this book will probably steam roller you – obviously this is intended as a positive!  It’s crammed to the rafters with action and it’s written very much with the expectation that readers will hit the ground running.  There’s no hand-holding, the world building develops as the story unfolds and the action is intense, so be prepared to just dive on board and hold on tight.  This book is like the white water rapids of urban fantasy.

The story begins in an almost James Bond/Mission Impossible style fashion with a dramatic opening in which we encounter Rune Saint John as he takes part in his latest derring-do.  It’s a great way to start a story and certainly serves to hook you from the get go as well as introduce you to two of the main characters.  Rune and Brand.  It’s pretty easy from hereon-in to conclude that Rune and Brand are available for hire – they quite often work for a powerful character known as The Tower.  I guess they’re mercenaries of a sort and their latest job involves a mystery surrounding a missing person from one of the more influential families.

The world building is, to be honest, a little on the light side, but being the first in series this is something that will undoubtedly develop in future instalments and in fact it’s one of the things I really enjoy about urban fantasy series – the way each successive book adds layers until you’re so deeply wrapped up in the characters and the world that each new instalment is like revisiting a favourite friend.

The setting is New Atlantis – A city on an island – built after the destruction of Atlantis itself.  Here all sorts of supernatural types live alongside each other.  The noble families seem to be named for the Major Arcana of a tarot deck – Sun, Tower, Hermit, Judgement, etc.  Magic is wielded through the use of items, powered by sigils that can be ‘charged’ and worn – for example rings.  It’s a really interesting magical system although I don’t feel I’ve got a good enough handle to discuss it in depth just yet – again, this is something I anticipate learning a lot more about in future books.

To be honest what really sold this story to me was the characters.  There is Rune.  His past is dark and dreadful and you will hear more of his suffering as the story progresses.  It helps to get a handle on what he’s been through and also gives added impetus as to why Brand, who is a companion and bodyguard who shares a special bond, is so protective of him.  The relationship between Rune and Brand goes back many years, and Brand can be almost a little too overprotective at times.  The surrounding cast is made up of a young man named Max – who Rune has unwittingly taken as a ward and Addam – but I won’t elaborate because this will possibly lead to spoilers.  I just loved the characters in this story and really can’t wait to pick up The Hanged Man to see what the author has in store for them next.

The writing is very well balanced with snarky banter and slow reveals helping to lift the story and prevent it becoming too bogged down with action.  In fact I think my only real quibble here was perhaps that there is a little too much action and it becomes almost overwhelming to the point that I wanted to yell at the author to give these characters a break!  But, this wasn’t a deal breaker and I can completely understand the author’s desire to make this into a whirling dervish of a story. – something he really succeeded at with a fair amount of style and panache.  This is a highly creative world packed with imagination, strange creatures, ghosts, zombies, dark magic and more.

Without doubt I thoroughly enjoyed this story and I can’t wait to delve into this world again.  I hope to learn more of the mysteries behind the downfall of Rune’s family, the political background of which has been hinted at within this first instalment.

I have no hesitation in recommending The Last Sun.  A fascinating world full of intrigue and machinations, a wonderful cast of characters that are just easy to become attached to.  A thrilling plot that takes a dark turn and just a wonderful start to a very promising series.  I can’t wait for more.

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

Cover Reveal : The Ordshaw Vignettes Vol 1 by Phil Williams

Today I’m really pleased and excited to be hosting a cover reveal for Phil Williams Ordshaw Vignettes.  You may have noticed the blog tour recently in which a number of bloggers shared small snippets of life from Ordshaw?  If not my post is here for a quick taster.

The Ordshaw Vignettes Vol. 1 is the collected short stories from Phil Williams’ recent blog tour, complementing the release of The Violent Fae. This eBook anthology includes 12 self-contained flash mysteries where strange goings-on impact the lives of otherwise ordinary (mostly!) people. All the stories are already available to read online, so this book is offered for convenience, and for the sake of a spangly new cover (because we all love a spangly new cover).

Note the eBook will be up on Amazon for a nominal fee, and will be shared free for members of Phil’s mailing list.

Anyway, enough chat, this is the part we really want to get to – THE COVER:

OV_M

I’ve included some useful links below and also here are the rest of the books in the series so you can check them all out together:

Useful links:

Amazon: (https://smarturl.it/eyvl6s)

GoodReads (https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/48842405-the-ordshaw-vignettes-vol-1)

Author’s master post: https://phil-williams.co.uk/violent-fae-tour-ordshaw-vignettes/

Have fun reading everyone and thanks to Phil for including me in this reveal.

 

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