“After a good dinner one can forgive anybody, even one’s own relations.”

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Every Tuesday over at  The Broke and Bookish we all get to look at a particular topic for discussion and use various (or more to the point ten) examples to demonstrate that particular topic.  This week’s topic is:

Top Ten Yummy Foods Mentioned In Books

It’s odd because food and drink plays a much bigger part in books than you think – especially once you start to really consider it:

  1. Joanne Harris – Chocolat?  Need I say more really, but also Blackberry Wine and Five Quarters of the Orange.  Delicious books.
  2. Scott Lynch’s Gentleman Bastard series – oh my lord, he conjures up some treats, A Ginger Scald particularly stands out – this is a drink that might give  you a serious hangover though.
  3. Jacqueline Carey – never fails to come up with all sorts of delicious foods depending on which series you’re reading and what travels are being experienced.
  4. Sunshine by Robin McKinley- lots of mentions of Cinnamon Swirl buns – oh yes, give them to me now.
  5. Seanan McGuire’s Toby Daye – coffee, Toby loves coffee, and so do I in the morning – not after lunch though.  Tea is for the afternoon.
  6. Speaking of tea, The Parasol Protectorate by Gail Carriger – lots of cups of tea, because everything is obviously improved by a good cup of rosie – isn’t it?
  7. Harry Potter – you have to give it to JKRowling – those banquets, not to mention the breakfasts – just wow!
  8. Cookies – everyone has to love cookies and Mercy Thompson (Patricia Briggs) loves to bake cookies when she’s stressing out about something – so basically every book she makes tray loads of them!
  9. Lambas bread – Lord of the Rings.  Bread that fills you up after a bite – bring it to me now.
  10. ??? this one is for you… suggestions???

 

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Boneyard (Deadlands #3) by Seanan McGuire

deadlandsI think, having read a few of Seanan McGuire’s novels now, I can safely say that she has a wonderful ability to write about the dark, the different and the downright creepy.  So, given that I love the dark and the different loving this book wasn’t really a surprise.  Plus, there’s just something so right about reading a creepy book at this time of the year isn’t there?

The Deadlands series is based on a RPG of the same name that brings together a strange combination of the wild west, steampunk and horror.  I have no idea what the game is like to be totally honest or how the books relate to it but I’ve read the first and now the third book and so can safely say that (1) there’s clearly plenty of material to go on (2) this is the weird, weird West; and (3) these books can all be read as standalones – although the completist in me is crying out to go and pick up No.2 now and I’ll have to do so otherwise it will just nag and worry at me.

The Boneyard brings to us The Circus.  Who can resist the circus really?  It promises delights at the same time as it promises something dark and mysterious, something dangerous maybe, and The Blackstone Family Circus and Travelling Wonder Show is no exception.  It has it’s very own collection of oddities.  A caravan full of the wondrous and unusual, run by the secretive Annie Pearl.  As the story begins we’re given to understand that this year the Circus is down on it’s luck.  It’s almost the end of the season and the coffers that keep everyone going during the leaner months just don’t stack up this year.  There’s nothing else for it – the Circus needs one more visit – the Clearing, an unusual place, set in the forests of Oregon.  The Clearing has it’s own strange stories – people who go to the Clearing don’t always return, but the people there pay well to be entertained and needs must when the devil vomits in your kettle, food doesn’t just put itself on the table after all.

The first part of the story is a little bit slower paced, but I really enjoyed it because McGuire takes the time to establish the main characters.  The primary focus is of course on Annie, she has a past that she’s running away from, the detail of which is steadily revealed, and she makes for fascinating reading.  A wonderful character to be honest, McGuire excels at drawing her characters in such a believable way that you almost feel like you know them personally.  Annie is travelling with her young daughter Adeline.  Adeline cannot speak or make any sounds although she was perfectly capable of doing so as a newborn baby.  Her father seems to be something of a monster (definitely gave me Frankenstein vibes), he had a plan that involved Adeline but Annie stole her away and has been on the run ever since.

I don’t want to go over the top about the characterisation but I have to just say that McGuire is a wonder at writing relationships such as the mother and daughter one displayed here.  It’s probably what makes her books so appealing to me because her characters are flawed, they’re not always capable of doing everything by themselves, they just feel ‘real’, she has a way of expressing emotions and feelings that is absolutely spot on.  Of course, she also delivers some other very appealing traits involving folklore, fairytales, dark forests, monsters, shadows and other things from your worst nightmares.

Two things that I must throw a mention in for are the forest – which is almost like a character in itself.  Surrounding the Clearing with it’s statuesque trees it feels sometimes as though it’s closing in, looming, if you will in an almost claustrophobic fashion.  The shadows seem to have a life of their own, they feel menacing and almost invasive, and all of this makes for an overall impression of being trapped, being watched, being stalked.  The second thing – Annie’s caravan of novelties.  I loved this.  I have a clear picture in my mind’s eye.  Huge poisonous pit wasps, killer spiders whose natural anatomy includes a skull on the back!  Piranha like fish that are always hungry, but, my absolute favourite – this strange corn husk critter with a pumpkin head – this one gave me the serious heebie-jeebies – given the chance it would plant itself into the body of a corpse – so that’s now inside my brain ready and willing to cause nightmares!  This caravan of oddities, seriously, I loved it.  And, the absolute best, not an oddity at all, a lynx cat that has been with Annie for many years.  I loved that lynx.

Basically as the story progresses the ante is upped with two storylines set to crash together in a most dramatic fashion.

So, any criticisms.  Nothing that spoiled the read at all for me.  I guess in some ways the two storylines felt almost a bit superfluous – like The Clearing would have been simply enough by itself, but, I’m thinking that’s probably linked to some element of the game and, seriously, I’m not going to complain about an over abundance of things to entertain me.  The horror side of things –  it’s got some gruesome and scary elements to the story but if you’re seriously into horror then I don’t expect it will scare you.

I really enjoyed this, a very entertaining read that feels perfect as the nights draw in.

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

 

#SPFBO My fourth batch of books

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I’m a little late posting my fourth set of books for the SPFBO, purely down to lack of wi-fi.  Thankfully I’ve already started to read this month’s selection.  They’re listed below in the order I’m going to check them out – five books a month for the next six months.  I will choose one book out of each of the six batches and then from those 6 potentials choose one to submit for the final stage.

Without further ado here are my books:

The Soul Guide by Kelly Stock

When university student Sybil is stung by a bee in the middle of a winter snowstorm, she finds herself chosen as the latest Soul Guide. With only a few days to reach the Veil; the place of souls, and complete the Passing Over ceremony, she begins to question everything she ever believed to be true. But dark forces will stop at nothing to prevent Sybil from fulfilling her destiny. Struggling with such a huge responsibility, and afraid for her life, Sybil has no choice but to put her trust in two complete strangers.

Meet Bertram, the Caretaker. Despite his anguish at losing the love of his life, he has a job to do. Sybil is his responsibility now. He must guide her to the Veil – no matter the cost.

Then there’s Alec, who’s drawn to Sybil the moment he lays eyes on her. Overcome by the sudden need to protect her, Alec will risk his life to ensure her safety. Or does he have darker designs…?

Can the reluctant Soul Guide, the grieving Caretaker, and the obsessive stranger work together? Only one thing is certain: the future of both Earth and the Veil hang in the balance, and the dark are rising.

This is a story of loss & grief, of friendship & love and the battle of light versus dark.

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The Apotheosis Break by Josh Rhodes and Mike Rutledge

The life of an airshipman is violent and short, but every sailor still breathing in the clouds has a tale of Anton Mikhailovich.

Vasili, his fourteen year old son, never knew the man. The swashbuckling captain died mysteriously when the boy was five, leaving only tall tales and long shadows. His father’s remembrance ever looming, Vasili wants to leave his tiny frontier village and become a skysailing legend of his own accord.

A charismatic traveler arrives on an airship, a bishop with robes as worn as his smile. He comes to convey a funerary Telling of Anton some nine years overdue. Late but still timely, the traveler hints that his vessel may be looking for a new deckhand. He could put in a good word for the son of Anton.

The twinkling lights of home disappear over the horizon and the boy begins his own adventure, starting his own tale as he learns the truth of his father’s.

But the world and its skies are nothing like Vasili’s books. The serendipitous airship is the famed Apotheosis Break, Anton’s old ship, filled with beguiling shard hunters now at the end of their rope. They have already lost good men looking for Vasili. They may still lose everything seeking the forgotten legacy of Captain Mikhailovich.

Vasili will learn that the memories you try to escape are the ones you will always carry with you. And if half of what his crew says is true, his father’s story was one of loss, betrayal, and madness. If Vasili is to survive in the skies he will have to be as clever as his father and twice as lucky. Otherwise a traveler will return home with a Telling of another Mikhailovich boy.

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Darker Things by Rob Cornell

Craig Lockman—no one had called him that in fifteen years.

Not since his days at the Agency. Not since he was trained to kill creatures that were supposed to exist only in nightmares.

Yet the teenage girl on his doorstep not only knows his real name, she claims she’s his daughter.

Before Lockman can learn how the girl found him, he’s attacked by a black-ops team of assassins. But these aren’t ordinary killers—they’re heavily armed vampires sent by his most hated enemy.

Forced on the run, Lockman protects his daughter from an onslaught of horrors while searching for who betrayed him and why. The investigation leads him to Detroit, where he unwittingly sets a plan into motion that could trigger a paranormal apocalypse and cost him his soul.

For fans of Jim Butcher, Simon R. Green, and Laurell K. Hamilton… Darker Things is an 82,000-word urban fantasy loaded with double-crosses, thrilling action, and shocking twists.

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Today is Too Late by Burke Fitzpatrick

A Reluctant Villain Starts A Rebellion

Dark armies burn the greatest city in the world. A girl is born who might end their dominion, but only if a fearsome warrior protects her from the demons of the Nine Hells.

An infamous warlord, Tyrus of Kelnor helped demons conquer a continent, but the birth of a princess tests his loyalties. The child is marked for death, and her fate is in his hands. Old memories haunt him, from before the sorcery and monsters, when honor and service had value. Torn between the empress he loves and the emperor he serves, he defies the empire he helped build.

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Cursefell by C V Dreesman

The coastal town of Stonecrest is an isolated haven for nursing wounds and hiding secrets. It can cure a heart or crush it. When one girl’s secret is revealed, a curse she does not even know she carries, the safe haven becomes her monstrous prison.

Seventeen year old Nathera Currey sees her curse as a death sentence, or at the very least a sentence of exile. But Thera has experienced death before and survived it. She has felt alone the last year of her life and endured that too. Accidentally uncovering her secret, she becomes the cold light of hope for some and a monster to be feared by others. If she wants to save herself and those she holds most dear, she will have to balance the scales of who she is against what she must become and life versus love.

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Weekly Wrap Up : 15/10/17

Posted On 15 October 2017

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Last week simply flew by for me, I don’t know why.  I’ve finally managed to update my SPFBO challenge – and today will post about my next five books which I’ve already started to read.  I went off plan a little bit with my reading schedule.  I did read one of my scheduled books but then I went and read one of my TBR books which I thoroughly enjoyed.  Here’s what I read last week:

  1. The Stone in the Skull by Elizabeth Bear
  2. A Matter of Blood by Sarah Pinborough

This week I’m hoping to undergo some catching up with review books that I’ve got a little behind with and so I’m thinking of reading:

  1. Spellslinger and Spellslinger 2: Shadowblack by Sebastien De Castell
  2. Hero Risen, Seeds of Destiny by Andy Livingstone

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Upcoming reviews:

  1. Deadlands: Boneyard by Seanan McGuire
  2. The Stone in the Skull by Elizabeth Bear
  3. The Crow Garden by Alison Littlewood
  4. The Beautiful Ones by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
  5. A Matter of Blood by Sarah Pinborough

Hope you have a lot of good reading to look forward to.

Let me know what you’re reading.

 

#SPFBO Thoughts on my third batch of books

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October is storming ahead and I still haven’t given feedback on my third batch of books – although that doesn’t mean I haven’t made progress – just that I’ve been travelling and finding reliable wi-fi is not always easy.  Anyway, this is my feedback for the last batch of books.  My next set of books will be highlighted tomorrow and I’ve already started to read them.

I am intending to read 20% of each book and if one really grabs my attention to carry on and complete that particular book.  At the end of the six months I should hopefully have read six books, one from each batch, and will then choose a favourite.

Without further ado here are my thoughts:

Faeborne by Jenna Elizabeth Johnson

 

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I think Faeborne made an interesting start, the writing style was good and very easy to read however I don’t think ultimately it would be a book that would work for me.  The two main players, Seren and Brennon, are both outcasts.  Based on what I’ve read so far it seems that the stage is set for the two of them to become romantically involved, although that’s only the general feeling I’m picking up so far.  And, I have nothing against that if it’s the case, just a general observation.  At this stage though it feels like everyone is against the two of them – in quite a strong way – and I struggled to understand why that was the case.  Obviously I’ve only read the first 20% so all things will no doubt be cleared up eventually but at the moment I wouldn’t say that Faeborne has grabbed my attention strongly enough to make me want to read further.

The Age of Mages by Ilana Waters

 

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I found myself quite intrigued with The Age of Mages and before I knew it I’d read more than the allotted 20% I’ve set myself for each book.  This definitely comes across as a fairly entertaining urban fantasy, I’m not sure if I’ll complete this one or not yet, I think I probably will read more because I’m keen to find out more about Joshua – and his whole family dynamic to be honest.  His father, Titus, was a Roman general, now a 2,000 year old vampire.  He’s quite a hard character as you might expect and he and his son seem to butt heads quite a lot from the chapters I’ve read so far.  Joshua, he comes across as a little bit petulant and seems to be constantly trying to prove himself to his father.  I liked what I read so far although, Joshua has a way of talking directly to the reader which whilst I quite enjoyed it, particularly as quite often his comments seemed to come along in answer to thoughts that I was actually having, this might not be to everyone’s liking.  I’m very curious as well as to why Titus hasn’t made more of an effort to locate his wife?  Yes, I think I shall read more – the jury’s still out on this one.

Jack Bloodfist by James Jakins

 

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I will definitely read on for this one – I”m just going to be honest and say that the cover did put me off a little bit and so I went into this one with a slightly mixed bunch of feelings – and then I ended up really enjoying the read and wishing to continue.  I’ve not read further yet but I certainly intend to do so to see how things work out.  Urban fantasy again, fast paced and entertaining up to the point at which I cut off.

The Lost Secret of the Faeries by Tiffany Turner

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The Lost Secret of Fairies made a good start.   I liked the young protagonist, Wanda, and really liked that the author has chosen a fairly regular, down to earth character.  She’s not really from the ‘popular’ clique but is something of a loner, although she enjoys her reading and is basically quite a happy sort of person.  I had no issues at all with the writing style and I think it could be an intriguing tale for a much younger audience, but, it didn’t work for me as it felt a little too young.  Admittedly, sometimes a book aimed at younger readers can work equally well for an older audience but this one just didn’t pull me in enough somehow although I admit it definitely has a lot of promise and I can imagine younger readers being taken with it.

Grace the Mace by Tirzah Duncan

 

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This is a strange one.  In one respect I really liked the writing, it’s really quite to the point, almost brutally so in some respects, and I think the author does an excellent job in coming up with what could potentially be a very interesting character in her hard boiled sell sword Grace.  But, and this could just be because I’ve only read the first 20% of course, I found it difficult to always like Grace – at least so far.  Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t dislike her either but at this point I don’t think she’s won me over and I struggled with some of the things she said and did which sometimes left me perplexed.  Overall, I found this intriguing but it hasn’t grabbed me enough at this point to go further forward.

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