November : My Month in Review

Posted On 1 December 2019

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Well, November just went speeding by.  I’ve been so busy this month, I’ve taken on various ‘projects’ around the house and it seems every time I finish one thing I add another two to the list. I’m exhausted.  On top of that we’re looking after our next door neighbours two dogs which is also an extra chore – I don’t mind really but it is time consuming.  And, well, I’m so tired by the end of the day that I’ve been doing very little reading or blogging.  I’m hoping things will calm down this month maybe and I can chill out – although December isn’t really known as the month for ‘chilling’ is it – chilled maybe!  Plus, there’s no sign of the neighbours returning yet, they said they’d be gone for 5 days, week maximum – it’s now been 10 days and not a hint of a return.  On the happy side of things I have completed Stage 1 of the SPFBO competition and to be honest it’s always a relief to finish the first part – not because I don’t enjoy it but it’s much more pressure than the second half because there are 30 books to be checked out and a winner chosen to go to stage 2 – and this year’s batch was rather excellent, which was good on the one hand, but just heaped even more pressure on in terms of choosing a finalist on the other.  Anyway, enough of that.  I’ve managed to read 8 books this month plus post a whole bunch of reviews and I’m about 30% into The Hanged Man and the God of Gnomes.  My month in covers can be found here and here’s my November in review:

Books read:  this month = 8

  1. Songs From the Deep by Kelly Powell
  2. Dark Pattern by Andrew Mayne
  3. Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo
  4. Never Die by Rob J Hayes
  5. The Blade Withinby Jackson Lear
  6. Vortex Visions by Elise Kova
  7. River of Thievesby Clayton Snyder
  8. Sir Thomas the Hesitant and the Table of the Less Valued Knights by Liam Perrin

Backlist books


Unfinished series completed:


Books Bought: 

None – behaving myself before birthday/Christmas 😀

Audio Books Bought:


Review Books:

Not too excessive this month:

  1. Realm of Ash by Tasha Suri
  2. The Assistantby S. K. Tremayne
  3. Dead to Herby Sarah Pinborough
  4. The Shadow Saintby Gareth Ryder-Hanrahan
  5. Stormsong by CL Polk

Hope you’ve all had a good month.this

November : My Month In Covers

Posted On 29 November 2019

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November has been a busy month, I’ve not read quite as many books as I would have liked but I still have December to catch up.  I’ve also finished Stage 1 of the SPFBO competition – my final post is here – this was a tough decision to make but I’m relieved to have completed the first part of the competition.  Anyway, my covers this month:

Friday Face Off : A cover that is 60s sci fi


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, compare a couple of the different covers available for that particular book and choose your favourite.   Future week’s themes are listed below – I’ll be updating the list next week to include themes for 20202, 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 is:

 “When a day that you happen to know is Wednesday starts off by sounding like Sunday, there is something seriously wrong somewhere.” – a cover that is 60s sci fi

This week I’ve gone for a book that I think I’ve used before but I’ve chosen it because it is a book that was originally published in the 60s and I’ve decided to use all 60s covers.  My book this week is Dune (Dune #1) by Frank Herbert.

The Covers:

This week my favourite is:


Which is your favourite?

I’ve included 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).  I also have a list prepared for 2020 and so will set up a separate page soon for forthcoming themes.  As always, if you wish to submit an idea then leave me a comment.

Next week –  A cover that puts you in mind of winter

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


6th December – Now is the winter of our discontent, Made glorious summer by this sun of York”  – a cover that puts you in mind of winter

13th December – A cover that features a temple/or religious icon

20th December – Longest Night –  a dark and foreboding cover

27th December – the festive season – a cover that is glittery or sparkling

(2020 – January is Vintage SciFi month so I’ll be including possible themes to take that on board.

3rd January – New Beginnings – “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”

10th January – vintage sci fi – “Live long and prosper.”

17th January – Horizon – “Your “beautiful” ship killed its crew, Doctor.”

24th January – Chinese New Year – Year of the Rat

31st January – First Contact – “Ack, Ack, Ack, we come in peace”

7th February – Lion- “Is that a lion with horns and a pitchfork?”

14th February – romantic – “thus with a kiss I die”

21st February – meringue – the puffy dress?

28th February – Leap Year – One Ring to rule them all – A cover with a ring

6th March – Skeleton – them bones, them bones, them dry bones…

13th March – Exotic – ‘That which yields, is not always weak”

20th March – Brown – a cover or covers that are brown

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?


#SPFBO Semi Finalists and Finalist Announcement

Posted On 27 November 2019

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Today sees, for me, the completion of Stage 1 of the SPFBO competition.  I’ve really enjoyed the first stage and I have to say I had some incredible books in my batch.

Firstly, the following books are the ones I’ve completed fully and reviewed (I’ve provided mini reviews for my other books as I went along.

Cry Havoc by Jack Frey

Healer’s Ruin by Chris O’Mara

The Lore of Prometheus by Graham Austin-King

From the Shadows of the Owl Queen’s Court(Yarnsworld #4) by Benedict Patrick

Never Die by Rob J Hayes

Sir Thomas the Hesitant and the Table of Less Valued Knights by Liam Perrin

Vortex Visions by Elise Kova

The Blade Within by Jackson Lear

River of Thieves by Clayton Snyder

From the above I have chosen five Semi Finalists, to be fair to the authors I would stress that all of these books were very good and I definitely recommend them all.  And in fact I am hoping to be able to go back and read fully some of the other books from my batch – time allowing.

My five semi finalists:


And this is where the really tough decision kicked in and kicked me to the floor (not at all dramatic)!

I’m not going to deny that it’s been very difficult to choose a finalist.  The nine books above were all very good and I recommend them – narrowing that list down to semi finalists was tough enough – going further and choosing just one – well, it was stressful and if it made me feel like that then I can’t even begin to imagine how all the authors feel.

Basically I narrowed my choice down to three.  I made a list of all sorts of pros and cons and was then left with two choices – which I really couldn’t choose between.

I don’t always score my books but I rated different aspects of both books in this case to try and find a score for each and see if that would help. Even with that in mind it’s been difficult to stick to one decision and there has been lots of to ing and fro ing and a tiny bit of dithering.  In the end I’ve chosen my finalist but I would stress that this was a really difficult decision.





My finalist:


My congratulations to the author 😀


I would also like to put forward under the ‘Senlin Safety Net’:



My apologies to the other authors from my batch.  I’ve had a fantastic time reading all these books and I wish that I could choose more than one but that’s the nature of the competition.  Thank you so much to all the authors for taking the time to enter and for taking the risk to put forward your work.  You definitely get my round of applause.



River of Thieves by Clayton Snyder


RiverofRiver of Thieves is one of the titles on my list of books for the fifth SPFBO competition and was one of the books that I decided to roll forward after having read the first 30% with the idea of reading and reviewing fully.  In this respect this is my final review from the books I rolled forward. My next post, hopefully Wednesday, will reveal my semi finalists and finalist. So, straight to my review of River of Thieves.

River of Thieves kicks off to an immediately intense start.  One of the characters is cursed – and although the very nature of a curse is to be something bad – he and his partner Nenn seem to have turned it into something advantageous.  Although, I can’t deny it’s not the most pleasant scheme that they’ve come up with! There is stabbing, blood and plenty of ick.

Cord and Nenn are the two central characters, and Nenn is our storyteller.  They’re always on the lookout for that ‘one last job’ that will really set them up.  Although, at the same time they barely seem to care about money.  Cord eventually lands upon that ‘one thing’, he has a plan in mind, a heist, the king of heists in fact.  The two set off, Nenn barely knows what’s going on from one day to the next, Cord keeps his cards close to his chest, but the first step is to gather other members to their little crew before setting off to find trouble.

Again, I’m not really going to go into the plot, it’s best discovered whilst reading.

So, what I really liked about this book.  It’s harsh, it’s dark, it’s grim but it has some great banter to bring some light relief between events.  Cord and Nenn make a great pair and just continually snipe at each other.  It’s highly entertaining – in between the other goings on.  The start is fast and furious, it pulls you in immediately and leaves you in no doubt that you must continue to find out what’s going on.

It’s very imaginative, in fact a little bit horror filled and gory – but this is offset somewhat by the funny aspects and constant references – which I’m sure I missed a good deal of.

The writing is also strong.  I’ve not read anything by Clayton Snyder before but I would definitely love to read more and hopefully from this series?  I’m not sure if more books are intended but I have my fingers crossed.

Without elaborating on the plot the action is split into three distinct sections, each dealing with different adventures which keep the story fast paced and intense.  Briefly, monsters, pirates, unusual spiders! magic, corruption and the fight to do right – even if it’s kind of wrong at the same time.

In terms of criticisms. Well, the only issue I had was I think I kind of lost the plot a little bit in the middle, I still don’t quite understand how or why but I seemed to lose the thread.  Don’t get me wrong, I knew what was happening  with each of the individual sections but kind of lost the bigger picture.  That’s my bad to be honest and I feel like I should go back and reread what was going on.  To be fair – I did not skim any part of this but maybe I was just reading it too fast with that dose of eager anticipation that sometimes occurs when you’re all cranked up as a reader.

Overall, I had a really good time reading this.  It’s dark humour and quite near the knuckle but it feels really fresh, like the author just thought ‘what the hell, I’m doing this and lets see what happens’ it’s a little bit liberating in some respects and shocking in others but it works.

The strangest tale of not-heroes, they’re out their righting wrongs and injustice, kicking ass and getting themselves into a lot of danger.

I also absolutely have to call attention to the cover – which is awesome.

I received a copy courtesy of the author for which my thanks.  The above is my on opinion.




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