Top Ten Tuesday : Summertime reading

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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 :

Books that Give Off Summer Vibes

Well, predominantly I read the same type of books regardless of the time of year, but, that being said, I do recognise that as the nights close in I tend to opt for more murders/horror and dark urban style reads as oppose to summer when I’m probably more likely to pick up retellings or magic/fantasy books.  With that in mind here are some of my forthcoming books for the next few months:

Feathertide by Beth Cartwright : ‘The hunt leads her to the City of Murmurs, a place of mermaids and mystery, where jars of swirling mist are carried through the streets by the broken-hearted’

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Grave Secrets by Alice James – I couldn’t resist, ‘croquet, romance, vampires and zombies’

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Automatic Reload by Ferrett Steinmetz – quirky, genre-mashing cyberpunk romance  a high-octane adventure about a grizzled mercenary with machine gun arms who unexpectedly falls in love with a bio-engineered assassin – what’s not to love about all that?

Automatic

Flyaway by Kathleen Jennings – “half mystery, half fairy tale, all exquisitely rendered and full of teeth.” Flyaway enchants you with the sly, beautiful darkness of Karen Russell and a world utterly its own.

Flyaway

A Chorus of Fire by Brian D Anderson – the second in the epic Sorcerer’s Song trilogy.

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The Doors of Eden by Adrian Tchaikovsky – doorways to other worlds, Bodmin Moor, Monsters – I don’t care what time of the year it is I’m reading this one very soon

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The Glass Hotel by Emily St John Mandel – tbh, I really don’t know what to expect with this one but – come on, it has ‘hotel’ in the title so it makes me think of vacactions – although I’m sure it has nothing to do with such things!

Glass

Magic Lessons by Alice Hoffman – every month of the year is a good month to read this author

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The Once and Future Witches  by Alix E Harrow – There’s no such thing as witches. But there will be.  I can’t wait to read this book.  Wtiches!

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My tenth spot is left open for suggestions please ??

Wyrd & Wonder : Event recap #WyrdAndWonder

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IMAGE CREDITS: Flaming phoenix by Sujono Sujono | Decorative phoenix by Tanantachai Sirival

June is here and didn’t that rush up on us, probably because we were having such a great time taking part in Wyrd and Wonder.  I had a fantastic time, I didn’t necessarily stick to plan but I had some good reads, joined in the readalong and kept my eye on all the daily challenges.that were sweeping/swamping twitter.

So, check out my post pre event to see what my original schedule looked like  – this was maybe a little ambitious and I didn’t totally stick to it but I did okay and enjoyed my reads:

  1. The Goblin Emperor  by Katherine Addison – the readalong book. (Short recap of my thoughts to follow soon)
  2. Night Of The Dragon by Julie Kagawa (reviewed)
  3. The Obsidian Tower by Melissa Caruso – I’m 30% into this one
  4. The Court of Miracles by Kester Grant (reviewed)
  5. The Angel of the Crows by Katherine Addison – just completed, review to follow
  6. Silver in the Wood (The Greenhollow Duology #1) by Emily Tesh (reviewed)
  7. Hollow Kingdom by Kira Jane Buxton (reviewed)
  8. The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix – review to follow

Finally, I’d like to thank our lovely hosts imyrilLisa and Jorie.and say how much I’m looking forward to taking part again next year (too soon?)  Seriously, though, see you all again for another Wyrd and Wonder next May.

 

SPFBO6 : Cover Competition

It’s difficult to believe but the next SPFBO competition is about to start (more details and links can be found here) and in traditional style we begin with a cover competition.  So, posted below are the 30 books that I’ve been assigned (which I’m excited to tuck into – in fact who am I kidding I have actually started already).  I will be posting an introductory piece but thought I better make my selection for the competition.  Below are my covers and my final 3 that will be submitted for the cover contest (follow this link to see all the other contestants):

 

My three covers:

 

Which are your favourite 3?

Silver in the Wood (The Greenhollow Duology #1) by Emily Tesh #WyrdandWonder

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IMAGE CREDITS: Flaming phoenix by Sujono Sujono | Decorative phoenix by Tanantachai Sirival

SilverMy five word review: Green man myth beautifully reimagined

Silver in the Wood is a book I picked up for part of the month long event Wyrd and Wonder (details here).  This book wasn’t on my original schedule to be honest, but rules and schedules are meant for breaking.  I saw this, I wanted it, I bought it, read it and here we are. Simples.

This will be a short review for a short and beautifully written story.

The story centres on a character known as Tobias Finch.  A giant of a man, wild and woolly with twigs in his hair (or is his hair twigs?), who lives in a small cottage set deep in the forest.  A cottage that is impossible to find unless Tobias and his protective dryad allow it.  Tobias is the Green Man of ancient myth.  He roams the forest (like an ent) protecting the flora and fauna.  He’s feared and revered by the local folk although in essence he is a gentle character.  His world is changed when a young and beautiful man called Henry Silver enters his domain and steals his heart.  Of course there is more to the tale but I don’t want to give too much away.

The writing is what made this story for me.  Tesh is a talented author and I love her descriptions of the forest.  I wanted, and indeed did, immerse myself fully in the place she has imagined.  On top of this there is a lyrical feel to the writing which is exactly what I expect and long for when I’m reading a retelling – in fact a fairytale retelling because this book does include a fae character known as Red Fay.  This is the sort of story that makes you want to wander into the forest and see things with fresh eyes, is that a face in the bark of that old tree? Did you just see something dart into the stream out of the corner of your eye?  It’s a book that takes you back with almost childhood wonder to a time when stories were much more simple but, at the same time, it’s a story that really looks at some of the darker elements and early beginnings of those childhood tales.  There is darkness here which isn’t to be underestimated so be aware, or, beware.

There’s also a feeling that everything is much more than it is.  Not a great description I realise, but for example the names.  They all feel like they lend themselves to the tale and in fact feel like they have much deeper meanings.  Tobias Finch, Henry Silver, Bramble, Fabian, Greenhollow Wood.  They don’t feel like names simply pulled out of a hat – they lend themselves to the story and the descriptions and give it more power somehow.

I’m not going to say too much more.  This is essentially a love story, a tale that is dark and foreboding that concludes on a hopeful note.

In terms of criticisms.  Like with all short stories and novellas, well, I wanted more and in fact I think the story told here really demanded it, particularly given the style of writing.  If this had been written more in a simple fairytale style the shortness would have been easier I think but, for me, this is screaming to be given more page time which had it been forthcoming would have given the characters and their feelings more depth.

Slight criticisms aside this was a very quick and satisfying read, even if it did leave me, like Oliver, wanting more.

I bought Silver in the Wood and the above is my own opinion.

My rating 4 out of 5 stars

I would definitely pick up more books by this author.

 

The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison : readalong, final week #wyrdandwonder, #TheGoblinEmperor

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Today is the final week in the readalong for the Goblin Emperor and things are certainly hotting up.  This is part of the Wyrd and Wonder event taking place during the month of May.  The details of Wyrd and Wonder are here and the readalong details are here.  As always, beware of spoilers which will be lurking.

Here’s the reading schedule at a glance:

  • Week 1: Wednesday 6th May, Chapters 1 through 9
  • Week 2: Wednesday 13th May, Chapters 10 through 17 (end of part 2)
  • Week 3: Wednesday 20th May, Chapters 18 through 26 (part 3)
  • Week 4: Wednesday 27th May, Chapters 27 to End (part 4 & 5)

Lisa at DeerGeekPlace is hosting the readalong .  The questions will be posted weekly in  a Goodreads group page, and will also be tweeted out weekly from the @wyrdandwonder account using the hashtag #TheGoblinEmperor, as well as the standard #wyrdandwonder tag.  so without further ado – to the q&a

Let’s start with Maia’s grandfather! What do you think of the Avar, and his budding relationship with Maia?

I really enjoyed this aspect of this week’s reading.  It felt like they took almost shy steps to begin with but eventually their relationship developed so well and I can’t help thinking that will make such a huge difference in relationships with the goblins moving forward.  Avar was very easy to read – a real force of nature tupe character that swallows up page space as soon as he arrives on the scene.  And, finally, I loved that he left a small army contingent behind to look out for his grandson.  Sometimes actions speak louder than words.

Another plot against Maia is foiled… Were you surprised by the reveal of Tethimar as the one behind the late emperor’s murder? And what are your thoughts on this reveal, in light of the way this part of the story played out?

I wasn’t so much surprised by Tehimar’s involvement in the plot but I was surprised at his method.  It seemed a little crazy storming the dais with a knife – a death wish by any other name really.  In fact, I’d say the plots against Maia were probably, for me, the weakest part of the storyline.  I think I was expecting something with some thought or subtlety – that being said I guess Tethimar was driven a little crazy with hate.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m very, very happy that neither plot succeeded but I was a bit surprised at the weakness of both attempts.

For all of the enmity that’s shown to him, our emperor has a much more hopeful nickname by the end… Looking back, are you satisfied with/pleased by the way Maia handled all of these situations in which he had to make or break relationships? Was there anything you were left questioning or that you feel should have gone differently?

Maia is the absolute star of the piece.  I love the way his character has grown during the course of the book.  I love the way he handles himself, others and situations.  He is genuinely caring and even when he lacks confidence his interactions are a joy to read about.  He’s strong when you least expect it and also forgiving.  I can’t help but notice how everyone has warmed up to him, he even turned the ‘we can’t be friends’ issue on it’s head and found a compromise.  And I especially like the ending with the bridge analogy.  The bridge became something much more than a structure.  It helped Maia achieve confidence in himself, it demonstrated his progressive attitude to change and to listen and it also worked as a comparison with the bridges he was building with others.  Even when he acknowledged that he wasn’t able to build bridges with everyone.

I went into this read not really knowing what to expect and ended up loving this.  This is not a sweeping epic drama, it’s much more character focused and Maia is a great character to read about.  I can’t wait to see what comes next.

Thanks to Wyrd and Wonder for this fantastic month long love of everything fantasy and also to Lisa for hosting this readalong which definitely gave me the motivation I needed to pick this up.

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