TTT : BFFs

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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:

Book Characters I’d Love to Be Besties With

1.  Silas – This is a character that I met recently in Sorcery of Thorns and loved.  Oh Yes,I would like to be friends with Silas.  He certainly isn’t predictable, maybe a bit scary but yes, be my friend please.

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2. Nona from the Book of the Ancestor series by Mark Lawrence – she would be one scary badass friend to have.  But, more than that, Nona would be a true friend, even a friend who can forgive.

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3. Mercy Thompson – from the Mercy Thompson series by Patricia Briggs.  Mercy would be the most fantastic friend to have.  She’s genuine, likable, imperfect, she knows when to ask for help but at the same time isn’t afraid to dive in when needs must. Storm Cursed is the latest in the series.

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4. Toby Daye – I had to.  This is another fantastic series that is made so much better by the central character.  October Daye is a friend indeed and a great character.  I highly recommend this series by Seanan McGuire

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5. Yukemo from the Shadow of the Fox series by Julie Kagawa.  Yumeko is a Kitsune shapeshifter which makes her especially interesting straight away but on top of that she has a wonderful innocence about her, she doesn’t ask her friends to put themselves in danger but will relentlessly pursue what she thinks is right even if she’s alone in doing so.  Plus a great sense of humour and a wicked streak with her magic.

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6. Prof Cray from the Naturalist series by Andrew Mayne.  Okay, the professor is a little bit detached in many ways, and a bit awkward around people, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t want or need friends does it.  Anyway, he’s exceptionally intelligent and I love his thought processes.  Never a dull moment with this guy.

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7. Dru Jasper from the series by Laurence MacNaughton – to be honest I would like to be friends with Dru and all her friends.  Such a great circle with strong connections, they know each other well, this use their strengths to the best advantage and they try to back each other up.

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8. Reichis from the Spellslinger series by Sebastien DeCastell.  Really, who wouldn’t want a furry cat squirrel, harh talking, butter biscuit eating (when he can’t get eyeballs) feisty critter as a best friend.  I definitely would be friends with Richis whether he liked it or not –  probably not.

Spellslinger

9  Jean Tannen – what??  We could be very good friends.  It could work -I’m not crazy.

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Lord of Secrets (The Empty Gods #1) by Breanna Teintze

LordofSecretsLord of Secrets was a fun fantasy read with some interesting concepts particularly around the magic system usef.  I thought this was an entertaining debut, I wouldn’t call it a deep think or particularly detailed in the area of world building but after a slightly slow start it was an enjoyable read with a self contained ending.

As the story begins we meet Corcoran Gray, a young wizard who is on the run, desperately trying to avoid capture at the same time as relentlessly searching for his missing grandfather.  Both Gray and his grandfather have been living outside the law, practising magic without being a part of the Guild that regulates such usage.  Gray’s grandfather has been taken, and being quite a powerful mage, is being held at a secret location, Gray has been trying to find him, whilst on the run, for almost six months when he accidentally bumps into a runaway slave called Brix, who he discovers might be just the answer to some of his prayers.

The two of them are forced into an unlikely union of sorts, on the run but both with a purpose of their own.

Lord of Secrets feels almost like a YA read to me – but, I’m not an expert on this and sometimes miss things that would perhaps be unsuitable for a slightly younger audience so that comment should be taken with a pinch of salt.  I think what I’m primarily going off with that remark is the age of the two main characters, plus, and I don’t mean this in a bad way, but the world building doesn’t feel as thorough as it can be in some fantasy books, there’s a more upbeat/hopeful style than in some of the grimdark reads that are very popular and there is also a love interest element going on.

What I really liked about this, after a slightly slow start, was the magic and the fact that wielding magic comes with consequences – dire consequences for some in fact.  Gray is a young but highly inventive mage but he knows firsthand the toll that using magic can take and this makes him hesitate to throw magic at everything willy nilly.  I like magic with consequences which mean the characters have to think first.  I also really liked the story when it got into full swing with the characters entering underground tunnels to try and find an artefact.  As it happens they find much more, the result of which is we are introduced to a very interesting character indeed.

In terms of criticisms.  I hate to labour the point but there is a slightly sluggish start to the story and a feeling of the author not quite being fully settled into the piece, once that happens however the story flows much better with snappy dialogue and more adventure – it just takes a little patience.  I never quite fell in love with Gray or Brix.  I liked them but I just felt like I held myself back for some reason that I haven’t quite put my finger on, in fact I found that my favourite character was not really the one that you’re supposed to like – he was just very interesting and much easier to picture.  Which leads to my final little issue.   The ending.  Yes, this is a self contained story and I have a great deal of respect for that just by itself, but, I couldn’t help feeling like the ending, and the romance were a little rushed, abrupt almost.

Issues aside, this was an enjoyable read that once it got into its stride kept the pages turning at a great pace.

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

I would rate this 7/10 or 3.5 of 5 stars on Goodreads.

WeeklyWrap Up : 11th August 2019

Why do I make reading plans?  I don’t know why – foolish inconsistency perhaps.  Anyway, August is racing by like a man on a mission and the best laid plans of mine are going to hell in a handcart.  Never mind, I will press on undeterred.  Last week I read two books –  reviews to follow very soon.

My books:

  1. Lord of Secrets by Breanna Teintze
  2. The Truants by Kate Weinberg

I’m also now about two thirds into The House of Sacrifice and I’m hoping to complete that and the following books over the next week:

Next scheduled reads:

  1. The House of Sacrifice by Anna Smith Spark
  2. Storm Cursed by Patricia Briggs
  3. Turning Darkness Into Light by Marie Brennan

Upcoming reviews

  1. King of the Road by RS Belcher
  2. Queenslayer by Sebastien DeCastell
  3. A Little Hatred by Joe Abercrombie
  4. Cry Havoc by Mike Morris
  5. Lord of Secrets by Breanna Teintze
  6. The Truants by Kate Weinberg

I’d love to know what you’re reading this week.

Sunshine Award 2019

I very rarely take part in award posts these days – primarily because I forget I’ve been nominated if I’m going to be completely honest, but I was pleased to be nominated by Medieval Otaku and I like the questions so I thought I’d give this one a try.  So, firstly, my thanks for the nomination and let’s press on with the Q&A.

Here are the rules:

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  • Thank the person who nominated you and provide a link to their blog so that other people can visit them – affirmative
  • Answer the 11 questions put to you by the nominator – done
  • Nominate 11 bloggers of your choosing and provide them with a new set of 11 questions to answer – no and yes.  I’m not going to nominate anyone but suggest that if you’d like to have a go at these questions then feel free
  • Notify the nominees by commenting on one of their blog posts – see above
  • List the rules and display The Sunshine Blogger Award logo within your post or on your blog site. – done.

To the questions – and don’t spare the horses:

1. Are you fluent in a second language or studied enough to understand basic conversations in one or more?

Sadly, no.  I do have what I call ‘tourist’ French.  I can make myself understood, ask for directions, order a drink, but, I usually go into a bit of a spin if then somebody thinks I can understand and starts conversing with me at great speed.  I have a little bit of Italian and a little bit of Spanish and I am also trying my hand at Portuguese – but it’s very early days.

2. What is your favorite American comic strip?

This is a tough question – I think I would have to go with Peanuts.

Peanuts

3. If you had to live the rest of your life in another country, which would you choose?

This would probably be somewhere with a slightly warmer climate than the UK – and maybe with less rain.  Spain, Portugal, Greece.  Difficult to pin just one down.

4. What is your favorite city?  Or do you hate/love metropolitan areas so much that you can’t choose one?

I have a number of cities that I love. Paris and Venice immediately spring to mind.  Plus I love Granada.  But, if forced to choose I think i’d have to say Paris.  I had such a fantastic time there, it’s a beautiful city and there is simply so much to see.  Great food, fantastic wine, amazing atmosphere.  Art, riverside walks or boat trips, markets.  I’ll stop there.

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5. What is your favorite manga?

Well, unfortunately manga is not something that I really watch – not because I don’t like it, just I don’t really watch a lot of tv and then when I do I tend to binge watch a whole series.  I’ve watched plenty of anime and love the Studio Ghibli films.

6. What manga or light novel are you reading currently?  Or, what novel are you reading now if you’re reading neither of those two?

In terms of light novels I did start Neil Gaiman’s Sandman series and I’m really enjoying that and would like to complete the series at some point.

7. If you could have any book or movie remade into an anime, which would it be?

I have two suggestions for this one.

GirlWith

Firstly, The Girl with Ghost Eyes (The Daoshi Chronicles #1) by M.H. Boroson.  This is a fantastic book and I think it would be perfect for adaptation and here’s why:

It’s the end of the nineteenth century in San Francisco’s Chinatown, and ghost hunters from the Maoshan traditions of Daoism keep malevolent spiritual forces at bay. Li-lin, the daughter of a renowned Daoshi exorcist, is a young widow burdened with yin eyes—the unique abil

ity to see the spirit world. Her spiritual visions and the death of her husband bring shame to Li-lin and her father—and shame is not something this immigrant family can afford.

When a sorcerer cripples her father, terrible plans are set in motion, and only Li-lin can stop them. To aid her are her martial arts and a peachwood sword, her burning paper talismans, and a wisecracking spirit in the form of a human eyeball tucked away in her pocket. Navigating the dangerous alleys and backrooms of a male-dominated Chinatown, Li-lin must confront evil spirits, gangsters, and soulstealers before the sorcerer’s ritual summons an ancient evil that could burn Chinatown to the ground.

With a rich and inventive historical setting, nonstop martial arts action, authentic Chinese magic, and bizarre monsters from Asian folklore, The Girl with Ghost Eyes is also the poignant story of a young immigrant searching to find her place beside the long shadow of a demanding father and the stigma of widowhood. In a Chinatown caught between tradition and modernity, one woman may be the key to holding everything together.

Secondly,  Julie Kagawa’s Shadow of the Fox series – which is also proving to be a great series packed with imagination.  The synopsis is below:

One thousand years ago, the great Kami Dragon was summoned to grant a single terrible wish—and the land of Iwagoto was plunged into an age of darkness and chaos.

Now, for whoever holds the Scroll of a Thousand Prayers, a new wish will be granted. A new age is about to dawn.

Raised by monks in the isolated Silent Winds temple, Yumeko has trained all her life to hide her yokai nature. Half kitsune, half human, her skill with illusion is matched only by her penchant for mischief. Until the day her home is burned to the ground, her adoptive family is brutally slain and she is forced to flee for her life with the temple’s greatest treasure—one part of the ancient scroll.

There are many who would claim the dragon’s wish for their own. Kage Tatsumi, a mysterious samurai of the Shadow Clan, is one such hunter, under orders to retrieve the scroll…at any cost. Fate brings Kage and Yumeko together. With a promise to lead him to the scroll, an uneasy alliance is formed, offering Yumeko her best hope for survival. But he seeks what she has hidden away, and her deception could ultimately tear them both apart.

With an army of demons at her heels and the unlikeliest of allies at her side, Yumeko’s secrets are more than a matter of life or death. They are the key to the fate of the world itself.

8. Is a zombie or vampire apocalypse more frightening to you?

Definitely zombie.  They just give me the creeps massively – plus vampires are not totally stupid – they know they can’t kill us all because we’re meals on legs.  Hey, they might even be tofu eating, sparkly vampires who just want to get along with us humans.  You never know.

9. What counts as your most controversial post?

Haha – I’m not sure if I’ve had a really controversial post.  I do take part, as a judge, in the Self Published Fantasy Blog Off competition and some of these posts can be quite highly anticipated – particularly when choosing a finalist.

10. Do you ever write a draft of a post with pen and paper before typing it up on the computer?

I used to do this but very rarely these days.  It was more note keeping than anything else but I just tend to open a draft document and make notes there.  I do keep lists of my upcoming reads and tend to carry around a notebook with all things book related plus lots of sketches and doodles.

11. Are you more of a tea or coffee person–or neither one?

I drink both.  Coffee in the mornings – to wake me up. Usually two cups but no more after that.  Tea in the afternoon.  Coffee keeps me awake at night.

Thanks again for the nomination.

 

Friday Face Off : “I’m disinclined to acquiesce to your request.”

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, compare a couple of the different covers available for that particular book and choose your favourite.   Future week’s themes are listed below – the list has been updated to help out those of you who like to plan ahead – 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:

“I’m disinclined to acquiesce to your request.” – A cover featuring Pirates

Well, I love reading about pirates and yet I found this week’s theme a real struggle.  I could have had Treasure Island but I’m sure I’ve used that book before.  Red Seas Under Red Skies I didn’t think had any pirates on the cover – although I didn’t go and check and I couldn’t think of much else – I settled instead for a classic, Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie. I confess that I don’t think I’ve ever read JMBarrie’s original version, I know I had a Disney version and I also realise that they’re probably very different but I’m going with it!

Here are my covers this week – I didn’t go for all of them as there are quite a lot so I tried to go for covers with Captain Hook depicted or his pirate boat:

My favourites :

And my favourite is:

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Like last week I’ve added a Mr Linky here so that you can leave a link if you wish or please leave me a link in the comments so we can all visit and check out each others covers.  Thanks

I’ve updated the list and included themes through to the end of 2019 – I’ve also 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 that 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 featuring feathers

Future themes: (if you’re struggling with any of these themes then use a ‘freebie’ or one of your favourite covers)

2019

16th August – “The haft of the arrow had been feathered with one of the eagles own plumes” – a cover featuring feathers

23rd August – A cover that is a movie tie in

30th August – “I wandered lonely as a cloud” – a cover that is predominantly yellow

6th September “Warm September brings the fruit” – a cover that is seasonal for Autumn/Fall

13th September – Friday the 13th – unlucky for some!  A cover with ‘curse’ in the title

20th September – “Your hair is winter fire,January embers.” – A cover featuring hair

27th September – Freebie

4th October – “Feed me Seymour” – A cover that is 60s horror

11th October – ““And, though there should be a world of difference between the smile of a man and the bared fangs of a wolf, with Joss Merlyn they were one and the same.”  – a cover featuring an Inn/Hotel

18th October – “It’s your favorite scary movie, remember? He had on the white mask, he stalked the babysitters.” – A cover featuring a scream

25th October – for Halloween – pick any scary cover you like

(I’m hoping that November will once again bring to us SciFiMonth – Twitter @SciFiMonth)

1st November – A cover that is predominantly grey

8th November – “big badda boom” – a cover that features an explosion

15th November – “No thinking thing should be another thing’s property, to be turned on and off when it is convenient.” – a cover featuring a robot

22nd November – A cover that is Futuristic

29th November – “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

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.

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