Friday Face Off : Freebie – choose a favourite cover

FFO

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:

Freebie – choose one of your favourite covers

A lot of the new themes are open to interpretation which might make choosing the covers and seeing other’s choices very interesting.  I can’t stress enough that this is all about your own interpretation and hopefully this new open feel to the meme will bring a larger selection of books and covers.  It’s not supposed to be hard work, there are no rules, just enjoy yourself.

The good old freebie – this should be easy and I can’t wait to see what everyone comes up with. Also, on that note, if I haven’t been visiting or blogging much in the past week and a half it’s because I’ve been having a bit of a slump.  Can’t think why (*scratches head in puzzlement??*)  Anyway, I just need to get over myself and pull things together.  So, if I’ve not been visiting, well, that’s why.  I’ll be trying to catch up as much as possible over the next couple of weeks.

So, to this week’s theme.  The lovely freebie.  Not many covers for this week’s choice as I’ve gone for a very new book and a recent read – which I loved (my review is here).  Here are the two (very different) covers, for my book this week:  You Let Me In by Camilla Bruce:

Difficult to choose this week.  I like the first one.  The colours and the way the branches are growing through the font.  The second cover is very pertinent to the read and it’s quite startlingly creepy.  I think on balance I prefer the second cover but then I keep going backwards and forwards.  Eventually, I chose the second version. I think the first cover gives me a murder mystery vibe –  which is an element of this story but not the overriding plot – oh dear, I’m all over the place.  Anyway, my favourite:

Youletmein2

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 – a trick of the eye – a cover that is more than meets the eye.

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.  

2019

3rd April Fools – a trick of the eye – a cover that is more than meets the eye.

10th April – Moody – a cover that is atmospheric,

17th April – out of focus – double vision or all a blur

24th April – Armour – ‘“Pretty armour doesn’t make a warrior.”

1st May – Canine – “And then there were cats, thought Dog.:

8th May – graphic novel cover – “Love belongs to Desire, and Desire is always cruel”

15th May – pink – as pink as cotton candy – any cover that is pink

22nd May – Sorrow – a cover that makes you feel sad

29th May – Silhouette – an island, a person, anything you like

5th June – Flight – any type of flight – to flee, to fly

12th June – The bodice ripper – exactly as it seems

19th June – Time – time waits for no one

26th June – Windows – windows to the soul?

#SPFBO Review : A Tale of Stars and Shadow (A Tale of Stars and Shadow #1) by Lisa Cassidy

ATaleofA Tale of Stars and Shadows is my fifth finalist review for the SPFBO.  I’m obviously behind with my reviews for the finalists so April will be the month of catching up for me!

I have to say I really had a good time with A Tale of Stars and Shadow.  As far as fantasy stories go this isn’t exactly breaking the mould or coming up with anything particularly unique but it’s a tale well told and it has characters that you can really get on board with even if it takes a little time to do so.  I enjoyed the world building and having finished the first in series I can say without doubt that I would like to read more.

This is a tale with two POVs.  The central character is Talyn, a Princess and a warrior who has recently suffered the loss of her partner and her confidence.  Talyn has been putting off being given a new placement.  Following the death of her partner she took the unprecedented move of standing down as a Callanan warrior and instead taking up the role of Kingshield and this move sees her being placed as, well, bodyguard to a ‘winged’ prince in the country of Mithranar and given the unenviable task of recruiting and training a squad of guards for protection purposes.  Talyn’s arrival in Mithranar is something of an upset though.  The city is divided into two.  The arrogant winged folk who live in the upper echelons, they seem to have very little regard for humans and see them as little more than grist for the mill, and the people who live in the lower city, mostly underfed and living in poverty.  This is a society that feels a little ‘behind times’ in certain respects.  There are no women recruited to the Falcons (the winged army) and Talyn’s appearance as a female bodyguard definitely throws a spanner into the works.  She is given very little assistance and forced to choose recruits from the prison cells – basically, she’s being set up to fail.

The second POV is the Shadowhawk.  A mysterious criminal who stalks the city, robbing food to give to the poor.  A Robin Hood character if you will.  I loved his opening scene which really was a great set up and pulled me into the story very easily.  I enjoyed the chapter switches, the Shadowhawk provides a way for readers to look at the story from a different angle which is something I always enjoy.

What I really liked about this was the world building.  Whilst I wouldn’t say that everything is yet fully fleshed out this makes a really good start and has definitely whetted my appetite for more.  I’d like to know more about the forests beyond the walls of Mithranar and the creatures that live there – there’s a definite tale in the making if you ask me.  I’d also like to know more about the winged people and the magic they use, and how this relates to the humans who also have magic.  There’s a lot hinted at in this first instalment and it definitely intrigues me.

In terms of the characters, we have a bunch of misfits being trained into a purpose.  There’s the constant threat hanging over them of ‘make this work or else’ and the carrot and stick scenario of being pardoned if successful.  I can’t say I really became attached as such to any of the characters in particular but as a group I enjoyed their exploits and felt myself cheering them on.  Nothing like a tale of underdogs rising up against the odds after all.

Talyn and the Shadowhawk.  Well, Talyn is a bit closed off at first and it does take a little while to form an attachment to her but I ended up quite firmly in her corner.  I found myself constantly frustrated by the obstacles she met and the discrimination and in fact found myself wishing her to really tell it the way it was.  The Shadowhawk is, necessarily so, a mysterious character.  I didn’t quite understand his motives at first although having now thought about it, I can see a little more about why he felt compelled to act the way he did – I just can’t share it here!,

In terms of criticisms.  I think this could probably have been slimmed down a little.  Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t struggle to read this, I was always keen to pick it back up, but, given the length there isn’t a great deal plot wise – although, in fairness, the author is taking the time to establish things and give a feeling of camaraderie for Talyn and her group of trainees.  there are aspects to the plot that are really good – like the flooding and the way everyone banded together to get through it, but then there’s the big emphasis on a football match, which, okay, I can see what that was about to some extent but then in another way I could have equally done without it.  I also have to admit that I didn’t really find the mystery of the Shadowhawk to really be a mystery at all – in fact I guessed who he was very early in the book – I’m not really sure that it matters though and in some respects I think it might have worked better if this hadn’t been kept a mystery and we could have had a little more insight from his pov.

Overall, I had a good time with A Tale of Stars and Shadow and find myself very keen to read more about this world and these characters.

I would like to thank the author for the review copy.  The above is my own opinion.

My rating 4 of 5* or 8 of 10.

 

 

Can’t Wait Wednesday : The City of Zirdai (Archives of the Invisible Sword #2) by Maria V. Snyder

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 City of Zirdai (Archives of the Invisible Sword #2) by Maria V. Snyder.  I’ve enjoyed books by this author in the past and this one sounds very good.  Here’s the description:

CityofZirdaiThrough her courage and tenacity, Shyla Sun-Kissed has awoken the power of The Eyes of Tamburah. But this feat only marks the beginning of the challenges that the magical order, the Invisible Sword, faces to free the underground city of Zirdai.

Though they have allies among the monks and splinter cells inside the city, Shyla knows the Invisible Sword doesn’t have the strength to win. With the group fracturing due to the strain of losses from their latest ordeal, thinly veiled suspicions and endless disagreements, it’s up to Shyla to forge a new united order.

When both the draconian Water Prince and brutal Heliacal Priestess learn of Shyla’s new powers, life becomes even more complicated as they will stop at nothing to capture Shyla and take the magic of The Eyes for themselves. Hunted at every turn and unable to hide, Shyla and the Invisible Sword must use every resource at their command – and unearth new ones – in their race to save the city from destruction. But their enemies always seem to be one step ahead. And the cost to win the battle may be more than Shyla would ever be willing to pay…

Expected publication : June 2020

Friday Face Off : a selection of covers

Posted On 20 March 2020

Filed under Book Reviews
Tags: ,

Comments Dropped 8 responses

FFO

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:

Brown – a cover or covers that are brown

A lot of the new themes are open to interpretation which might make choosing the covers and seeing other’s choices very interesting.  I can’t stress enough that this is all about your own interpretation and hopefully this new open feel to the meme will bring a larger selection of books and covers.  It’s not supposed to be hard work, there are no rules, just enjoy yourself.

I always enjoy the themes that have a colour theme and can’t wait to see what everyone chooses:

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 –  A freebie – choose a favourite cover

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.  

2019

27th March – Freebie – choose one of your favourite covers

3rd April Fools – a trick of the eye – a cover that is more than meets the eye.

10th April – Moody – a cover that is atmospheric,

17th April – out of focus – double vision or all a blur

24th April – Armour – ‘“Pretty armour doesn’t make a warrior.”

1st May – Canine – “And then there were cats, thought Dog.:

8th May – graphic novel cover – “Love belongs to Desire, and Desire is always cruel”

15th May – pink – as pink as cotton candy – any cover that is pink

22nd May – Sorrow – a cover that makes you feel sad

29th May – Silhouette – an island, a person, anything you like

5th June – Flight – any type of flight – to flee, to fly

12th June – The bodice ripper – exactly as it seems

19th June – Time – time waits for no one

26th June – Windows – windows to the soul?

You Let Me In by Camilla Bruce

Posted On 19 March 2020

Filed under Book Reviews
Tags: ,

Comments Dropped 7 responses

This book was brilliant. I loved it utterly and completely and frankly I’m flabbergasted that it’s a debut – it’s just so impressive and I can’t fault it at all.  That being said, you’ll have to decide whether this is something for you and I’ll try my best to help with this review but I really don’t want to give away spoilers so let’s see how that plays out.

I didn’t really know what to expect going into this and from the description was expecting something more akin to a mystery.  I guess this is a mystery in it’s own way, although maybe not of the traditional style that I was expecting.  What this actually delivers is a stunning and beautifully written tale within a tale and, frankly, there’s no clear cut decision to tell you which is truth and which is fabrication. I know what I think was going on here but I’m guessing this book will have different mileage depending on the reader.

So, what we know.

Cass, had a troubled childhood.  One of three children she had a picture postcard perfect sister and a quiet and withdrawn brother.  She was different than other children, didn’t make friends easily and seemed abrasive or confrontational – in fact other children were frightened by her and she was constantly at war with her mother, who seemed to be an angry, thin lipped woman.

As she grew into adulthood she seemed to have a brief respite, an interlude of ‘normality’ if you will, marrying a handsome man and becoming the perfect housewife – to the outside world at least.  Until everything ended in blood.

Cassandra Tipp is a famous and reclusive novelist. As the story begins she has been missing a year.  No body has been found but she is assumed dead and her wealth and property have been left to her niece and nephew upon condition that they read her final manuscript. Given Cass’s past you better believe that they’ll be reading this manuscript – anything to find out some answers to the strange  history that brought such death to this particular family.

Those are the things I can tell you without any potential spoilers.  I will try to keep my thoughts organised and give away as little as possible for the rest of this review.

I mentioned that Cass had a troubled childhood and this is one of the elements that plays into the ‘is it real’ or is it a figment of Cass’s imagination elements.  Cass has an unseen friend – not your usual ‘imaginary friend’ but a fae person who she calls The Pepper Man. This is an unusual relationship and sometimes quite uncomfortable to read about as Cass’s narrative starts from a relatively young age.  However, this is a consistent part of her life and leads her to make other fae ‘friends’ who dwell in the Mound within the woods.  I can’t deny that I loved this aspect of the story.  It’s so well written, so well imagined and makes for absolutely compelling reading.  These fae are definitely not relatives to Disney fae.  They are unusual looking and they feed off those they become attached to.  They operate on a totally different moral compass to humans but at the same time do form attachments. The relationship between Cass and the Pepper Man being a perfect example of such.  Both become dependent on the other even if it’s not always totally healthy.

The writing here is stunning.  I have to say that I was pretty much hooked from the beginning, I admit that I have a tendency to love stories where I’m reading a narrative style like the one here.  Here Cassandra is talking to her niece and nephew through the pages of a manuscript and relaying to them the story of her life.  If they choose, at the end of the narrative, to continue with the inheritance then they will have at least been warned of the potential consequences.  Sorry, went off track there a little.  I was talking about the writing – it’s beautiful, it’s evocative and it was perfect for me.  This is one of those books that is totally immersive.  I went in and couldn’t get back out.  Sometimes I was angry, sometimes I was sad, but I was always fascinated and couldn’t gobble up the words quickly enough.  And, on top of this everything was perfectly imagined in my mind’s eye.  There were no little irritabilities that sometimes pull you out of the story. I simply loved it and this is an author that I will now watch with great interest.

The characters – well, Cass is the main character and you’ll need to decide if she’s an unreliable narrator or not.  Personally, I don’t really think she’s unreliable in a certain respect – because she believes with all her heart the story she’s telling.  You, the reader, will have to decide what else lies between the lines on the page and reach your own conclusion in that respect.

The only other thing I would mention here is that there is a sense of discomfort at certain points during this read.  Admittedly, nothing here is written for shock value and in fact everything that the author writes is necessary to the story.  Just be aware that some of the aspects to this are dark and they may be triggers for some readers.

To conclude.  I’m not sure if I’ve really spread any light on this novel or whether or not you might want to pick it up – I think the only thing I could say is this could be a very dark tale of the fae, or it could be a tale of a young girl with mental health problems brought on my trauma.

That being said I absolutely loved this book. I could literally read it again right now and I’m desperate to talk to everyone about it.

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

My rating 5 out of 5*

 

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