Top Ten Tuesday: Ruby Tuesday

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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 :

Books with Colors In the Titles

Many of these books are pre-blogging so I haven’t linked to any reviews for this week’s themes.

Woman in WhiteHalfofaYellowOrangeRed RisingCrimsonVioletVirginBlueAnneof GreenGreySisterWomaninBlack

 

 

The Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel

GlassMy TL:DR Five Word Review : Could not put it down

To be honest, I requested a review copy of The Glass Hotel because I loved Station Eleven. I didn’t read the description and when I picked up the book I’d only read a couple of reviews and had very little idea what to expect, although I was becoming a little nervous because on the face of it the premise seemed a little outside of my comfort zone.  In fact, if somebody was to try and give me an idea of what The Glass Hotel was about I think it would probably come across really badly and I’d undoubtedly run a mile.  So, basically, I’m not going to talk about the plot at all because I think at best I would end up tying myself in knots and at worst maybe even discourage others from reading this because of my botched attempt at summarising the gist of the story.

Here’s a snippet from Goodreads :

‘From the award-winning author of Station Eleven, a captivating novel of money, beauty, white-collar crime, ghosts, and moral compromise in which a woman disappears from a container ship off the coast of Mauritania and a massive Ponzi scheme implodes in New York, dragging countless fortunes with it.’

So, I’m going to focus on other things here and it’s all going to be positive.

On the face of it a story spread over a couple of decades with a backdrop that examines the financial crisis of 2008 particularly centring on ponzi schemes couldn’t sound less appealing to me even if it tried.  And yet, here I find myself absolutely loving this book and wanting to wax lyrical about it. To be blunt, I simply can’t believe how much I enjoyed this story.  I feel like I’ve been mesmerized or hypnotised or some special magic has been worked.  I read this in one day, ignoring the everyday mundane banalities such as eating or chores and in fact staying up until the wee hours to finish it and even though I was shattered when I eventually crashed into bed I couldn’t stop thinking about it.

This book is complex.  It goes back and forth between people and times and yet it all comes together in perhaps one of the most satisfying ways I’ve ever encountered.  The characters are so well imagined that I feel like I know them and the strong emotions that this creates really contributes to the overall experience.

On top of this the writing is brilliant.  I take my hat off to the author for pulling together such a myriad of tales using what can reasonably be described as quite ‘dry’ material and yet managing to make this into a compelling tale filled with mystery, sadness and unexpected depth.

To be honest, I’m not going to say too much more because I feel like my review has taken on the semblance of a headless chicken running around hysterically.

In a nutshell I loved this book.  It’s a haunting story, beautifully written, that depicts people in many guises.  Like a pebble dropped into a pond it look at the ripples we cause through our actions, sometimes knowingly, sometimes whilst fiercely in denial and sometimes by pure chance. It’s not a heartwarming tale of love and laughter.  It’s not a tale of swords and sorcery.  But it’s a book that managed to overwhelm me in the most unexpected way and, because of that, I love it.

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

Rating 5 of 5 stars

 

 

 

#SPFBO : My Third Batch of Books

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The 1st of June marked the start of the sixth Self Published Fantasy Blog Off (details here.)  My Introductory post is here.  You can find my first batch of books here and my update here, and my second batch of books and update here and here.

As with previous years I’m hoping to read a batch of books each month.  I will read at least 30% and hopefully will choose one or two books from each batch to roll forward and read fully and review before choosing semi finalists and a finalist.  My book list is chosen randomly and the six books I will be reading this month are outlined below:

 

Spitting Image by Patrick LeClerc

SpittingImmortal Sean Danet can heal others with a touch. Over centuries he’s learned it’s safer to hide in plain sight, moving and changing his identity often, but finally, after too long as a rootless vagabond, he’s found a place he belongs. Friends he can trust and the love of an intelligent, beautiful woman. The life he dreamed of and never expected to attain.

When a sinister new adversary targets him for his abilities this tranquil existence is overturned––he finds himself unable to trust those closest to him, unable to trust what he sees. Can he untangle the mystery and outwit his latest foes? Or is his only hope of safety to return to a bleak and lonely fugitive existence?

Spitting Image is a tense, twisting, face-paced adventure which finds Sean confronting both deadly enemies and the consequences of his decisions as he chooses once and for all what is worth defending.

After a devastating power outage wipes out most of Tucson, survivors Liam, Noah, and Ellie have more than the hot summers to worry about. In the absence of modern technology, ancient spirits awaken and the Sun God and Rain Goddess resume their timeless war over the elements. Friendships are tested and lines between good and evil are blurred as the humans are thrust into a strange and dangerous journey that reveals the mysterious forces ruling the desert. When the Rain Goddess is injured and the temperatures rise, Liam, Noah, and Ellie must find a way to restore power to the city before they all burn.

Author InfoTwitter

Website:

 

The Usurper (Brutal Saga #0.50) by James Alderdice

UsurperWhen a tyrant wears the crown, a hero must become an Usurper…
The Fates weave a tapestry of life and death for young Gathelaus the Sellsword. Now an unexpected opportunity presents itself for the famed mercenary, he has but to claim the blood red crown…

But once you wear the crown, how long can you hold it until that power is turned against you? Follow Gathelaus on a journey through a life of magic, action and intrigue; battling gods and monsters across a mystic realm …

The Usurper is an action-packed heroic adventure in the vein of classic pulp fiction and heroic fantasy. If you like Conan the Barbarian, The Witcher and Logen Ninefingers along with vengeful sorcery, savage duels, larger-than-life characters, and witty humor, then you’ll love James Alderdice’s barbaric tale.

Author Info:

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Night Warrior by Jordan J. Scavone

NightWhen a bolt of lightning strikes seventeen-year-old Viranda’s home during a severe thunderstorm, she awakens, dazed, to find a strange blood-covered man sitting calmly on her bed. This man claims to be Cillian Balor, The Night Warrior, the same character Viranda herself had created in her novel. Cillian believes Viranda to be the Goddess of Fate from his homeworld of Lingard. However, Viranda claims there is no Goddess of Fate in Lingard; she should know, she did create it after all. When other characters from her book begin to appear in her world, Viranda fears what would happen if the likes of Finn Razorclaw, a deadly werewolf and the arch-rival of Cillian, or the feared witches of The Black Cat Clan arrived as well. With the help of her best friend Bee, and a protection gnome named Mo, Viranda and Cillian must discover the secret to Cillian’s existence and prevent catastrophic damage by powerful supernatural beings.

Author Info:

 

Jacob’s War by Mark Hood

Jacob'sMeet Jacob Williams.

A survivor of the First World War, forever changed by his experience.  Now he’s facing down the terrors that conflict unleashed upon an unsuspecting world.

Weak spots have always existed between our world and that of the Fae; stone circles help to keep the most dangerous sealed shut. But now Stonehenge is failing…

It falls to the members of the Fae Defence Society to repair the ancient monument, protect humanity from the terrors it holds back and prevent another disastrous war.

Jacob and his wartime comrade Harry are on the front lines in a supernatural battle which threatens everything.

Author Info: Twitter

Website: https://www.thefairieswantmedead.com/

 

The Hammer Of The Gods: So You Want To Be A Star (The Druid Trilogy #1) by Andrew Marc Rowe

TheHammerPitted against a perverse pantheon of warring deities, Gudleik Sigbjornsson and Rosmerta O’Ceallaigh are two dreamers living worlds apart, hoping to create a better life for themselves by following their dreams. It won’t be easy: Gudleik’s soul is the battleground between two gods of Asgard. And Rosmerta is supposed to do as her parents have done: offer her life to the service of an ancient Celtic fertility god. But the gods are only half of it… the biggest foes the two will face are to be found within their own minds.

Can Gudleik overcome the ugly blessing of a trickster god and prevent Ragnarok? Will Rosmerta find the courage to forge a new path? Will there be a whole load of dirty jokes and comments on the human condition?

Yes, yes, there will be… to that one, the third question.

Also, check dis out: there is a bunch about Merlyn and King Arthur of Camelot, a Goblin King, an ancient fell jellyfish god, encroaching Christian zealots, characters whose proclivities are too crude to mention here, because, well, gotta make the advertising copy pop, you know?

An epic fantasy comedy as blue as the cover art, get your copy of The Hammer Of The Gods today!

Author InfoTwitter

Website:http://www.andrewmarcrowe.com/

 

The Story of Evil – A Hero’s Downfall (#1) by Tony Johnson

StoryofDuring an entertaining jousting tournament, a mysterious villain attacks the capital with his army. Because of this disastrous event, Stephen Brightflame, a nineteen-year-old who aspires to become a knight, embarks on a quest to save the kingdom from further destruction. He joins up with a convicted felon, an arrogant warrior, and a Halfling woman, but quickly learns their pasts are just as dark and disturbing as his own. Experience the first book in an epic fantasy trilogy that’s been called, “fascinating and captivating” featuring “well-rounded, enjoyable characters, intense action scenes, and riveting twists”

Author Info:

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Once again, good luck to everyone.  If you’d like to visit my blog for a guest post, excerpt, etc, then leave me a note in the comments.

#SPFBO : My Second Batch of Books – Update

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The 1st of June marked the start of the sixth Self Published Fantasy Blog Off (details here.)  My Introductory post is here.  My first batch of books post is here and my first update is here.  My post outlining my second batch of books can be found here and today’s post provides my update for that batch.

The aim of these updates is to provide feedback on each batch of books.  I aim to read at least 30% of all my books and then make a decision whether to roll any books forward from that batch.  Any books that I decide to roll forward I will continue reading and provide a review and a decision about whether that book will be a semi finalist.  I will provide mini reviews for the books that are being cut.  I will not rate these books as I think it will be difficult to do so having only read the first third of the book.

Below are the books from the second batch and my decision about which will be cut or rolled forward.  I realise this is really difficult for all the authors and so I want to state plainly that I don’t find these cuts easy to make or enjoyable.  However, I do have to make cuts.  I can have only one finalist by the conclusion of the first half of the competition and so 29 books will eventually be removed.

 

Burn (Desert Deities, #1) by G. E. Hathaway

Burn ecover - G.E. Hathaway - Vickie L. H.

Burn is a book that I was really curious about and to the point that I read up to was a very engaging read.  Set in Tucson this has a post apocalyptic feel.  The world became over reliant on modern technology and so when everything crashed life became almost impossible.  I must say this gets off to a very good start and pacing certainly isn’t an issue.

We meet a few characters who become entangled in helping an unusual woman who has strange abilities and who is being followed or chased by another very powerful character.  Liam, Noah and Ellie are the main characters and the unusual woman and man that they are helping/running from are the deities referred to in the book’s description.

At the point I read up to I found this intriguing and easy.  I had a few minor issues but nothing that spoiled my enjoyment and I would be interested in returning to this book to complete at a later stage.

Conclusion : Cut

Ranger’s Oath (Arc of Radiance/Fall of Radiance #1) by Blake Arthur Peel

Unfortunately Ranger’s Oath has been withdrawn from the competition so I will not be providing a review at this point.

 

Knightmare Arcanist (Frith Chronicles #1) by Shami Stovall

Knightmare

At the point I read up to I really enjoyed this one and so I’m rolling it forward and will provide a review at a later stage when I will also make a decision about whether or not this will be a semi-finalist.

 

The Edge of Nothing (The Lex Chronicles #1) by Crystal Crawford

Edgeof

The Edge of Nothing is a book that gets off to a very quick start with the introduction of Lex who seems to be being held captive although he has no idea why.  Lex manages to escape and makes the acquaintance of a young woman.  The two immediately encounter some very unusual events and this coupled with the fact that Lex seems to have no memory of who he is or where he is, coupled with the fact that he is experiencing strange visions does make for a slightly perplexing start.  I have mixed feelings about this book.  I thought the writing was easy enough to get along with but at my cut off point I hadn’t really been able to fully engage with the characters or story.  Partly, this is a result of the author maintaining the mystery of what is actually going on here and I recognise that reading further would probably start to uncover answers, unfortunately, at the point I read up to I find that the Edge of Nothing isn’t quite working out for me.

Conclusion : Cut

 

Mid-Lich Crisis by Steve Thomas

midlich

I have deferred reading Mid-Lich Crisis to a later batch as I will be picking up the audio version which will be available shortly so no review at this point.

 

Chains of Blood (The Chaos Cycle #1) by M.L. Spencer

Chains

This is another book that really does hit the ground running.  As the book begins we meet Rylan Marshall, a soldier returning home.  As he walks home he is viciously attacked, he discovers his son has been murdered, his daughter abducted and himself in the strange position of having magical power forced upon him and also being forced to make a dark oath that really bodes very ill.

In fairly short order we discover that Rylan isn’t quite who he thought.  He’s the son of a demon, a man hated by many but also believed a hero by others – all depending on which side of the fence you’re sitting.

At my cut off point things were really hotting up, war seemed imminent and Rylan had already had a couple of attempts on his life.

This is another of my books that I would like to return to if time allows but at this point I’m rather reluctantly setting it to one side.

Conclusion : Cut

 

 

 

Friday Face Off : As pure as the driven snow – a cover that is white

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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 (this doesn’t have to be a book that you’ve read), compare a couple of the different covers available for that particular book and choose your favourite.   Future week’s themes are listed below – 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:

White – a cover that is predominantly white

I hope you all had fun with this one and that there were a few books to choose from (I wonder whether anyone will have gone for a montage of white book covers this week – I do love it when that happens.  Anyway, this week my choice is an excellent book: The Poppy War (The Poppy War #1) by R.F. Kuang and, not surprisingly, there are a few stunning covers to choose from so take a look.

My favourite this week (and it really wasn’t an easy choice because I liked a lot of these) bt this cover is just so stunning and dramatic:

Poppy3

Do you have a favourite?

I’ll be updating the list in order to include forthcoming 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 then let me know in the comments).  As always, if you wish to submit an idea then leave me a comment – or if you’d like to host a week then simply let me know.

Next week – Action – a cover that depicts action of some sort

Future themes: (if you’re struggling with any of these themes then use a ‘freebie’ or one of your favourite covers) (I’ve added some new themes – some of these are slightly different, in order to avoid too much repetition I’m trying to make the themes more of a suggestion that everyone can interpret how they like.  

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7th August – Action – a cover that depicts action of some sort

14th August – Glasses or spectacles – “One could mention many lovable traits in Smee. For instance, after killing, it was his spectacles he wiped instead of his weapon.”

21st August – Potions –  hubble bubble

28th August – Dark road – ‘the road goes ever on and on’

4th September – Cold and crisp – any cover that gives you winter vibes

11th September – A cover with a pattern

18th September – Minimalistic and lacking clutter

25th September – A very busy cover full to bursting with detail

2nd October – A standout font

9th October – Mist/fog – “A thin grey fog hung over the city, and the streets were very cold; for summer was in England.”

16th October – Spider web – “Farewell, Aragog, king of the arachnids, whose long and faithful friendship those who knew you would never forget!

23th October – Ripped/torn – interpret it as you wish

30th October – Forest/jungle – ‘None of the Jungle People like being disturbed.’

6th November – Planets – “You’re on Earth. There’s no cure for that.”

13th November – Bright – ‘The future’s so bright, I gotta wear shades’.

20th November – Words only – “Words are pale shadows of forgotten names. As names have power, words have power. Words can light fires in the minds of men. Words can wring tears from the hardest hearts.”

27th November – Modern sci fi

4th December –  Fae – or fairy??

11th December – Lake – the mysterious lake

18th December – Highly Stylised

25th December- Freebie – or day off.

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