#Tuesdaybookblog City of Lies by Sam Hawke #bookreview #fantasy @samhawkewrites

I was so lucky to have won a signed hardback edition of City of Lies last year. It’s taken me too long to get around to reading it, but now I’m really happy to share my review of this debut book, which is bloody brilliant!

First here is the blurb…

I was seven years old the first time my uncle poisoned me… 

Outwardly, Jovan is the lifelong friend of the Chancellor’s charming, irresponsible Heir. Quiet. Forgettable. In secret, he’s a master of poisons and chemicals, trained to protect the Chancellor’s family from treachery. When the Chancellor succumbs to an unknown poison and an army lays siege to the city, Jovan and his sister Kalina must protect the Heir and save their city-state.

But treachery lurks in every corner, and the ancient spirits of the land are rising…and angry.

city of lies

My mini review

From the very first line, I knew I would like this book, and I did. I really liked it! It had everything I could want in a book; mystery, intrigue, murder, assassins, love, relatable characters… I could go on.

I loved both the main characters, Jovan and Kalina, and enjoyed how the story was told from their POV in alternating chapters. I also loved the short notes on poisons, the affects and the proofing tells at the start of each chapter. That was a master touch.

The world Sam Hawke created was fascinating, especially the different rules that shaped every aspect of the characters lives and drove the plot of the story. I loved how the reader is often as in the dark as the characters about who to trust, constantly thinking you’ve solved who the big enemy is only to be led in another direction completely.

Towards the end the stakes were so high, the characters in such peril it felt like it couldn’t get any worse, but it did, again and again. This book felt like a masterclass on how to ramp up the tension and hook your reader, and I loved it.

I can’t believe this was a debut book; it was just so well told. This is definitely a book I wish I had written and I cannot wait for the next book to come out later in the year.

5 stars all the way for this book.

Check it out on Goodreads

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Suzanne Rogerson – Author of heroically epic fantasy

You can follow me on

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Mini #Bookreviews Scythe by Neal Shusterman & The Gutter Prayer by Gareth Hanrahan #fantasy

I’m happy to say both Scythe and The Gutter Prayer are great books. They are 5 star reads that I recommend to fantasy lovers. Scythe is dystopian, while The Gutter Prayer is more of a dark fantasy. See the blurbs and my mini reviews below…

scythe

Blurb

A dark, gripping and witty thriller in which the only thing humanity has control over is death.

In a world where disease, war and crime have been eliminated, the only way to die is to be randomly killed (“gleaned”) by professional scythes. Citra and Rowan are teenagers who have been selected to be scythes’ apprentices, and despite wanting nothing to do with the vocation, they must learn the art of killing and understand the necessity of what they do.

Only one of them will be chosen as a scythe’s apprentice and as Citra and Rowan come up against a terrifyingly corrupt Scythedom, it becomes clear that the winning apprentice’s first task will be to glean the loser.

 

My Review

I found the concept of this book quite uncomfortable at the start – ‘gleaning’ people as a job to control a population that can no longer die naturally.

I think it took me longer to get into the book as I was listening to the audiobook rather than reading it and I do not always like men doing female voices. I’m happy to say that I quickly lost myself in the story and listened to it obsessively over a few days. The story and the characters really grew on me and I found myself creating excuses just to listen to a bit more of the book. I really liked Rowan and Citra, and how they coped with the difficult situations they find themselves in as apprentice Scythes pitted against each other.

There are some wonderfully unexpected twists and I loved how the end played out. In fact, that was probably my favourite part and I wish I could discuss it right now!

I would love to see this made into a film or TV show and I can’t wait to get my hands on book 2 – Thunderhead.

Scythe was my book group choice and led to some very interesting discussions, particularly how it would be to live in such a society and if we would ever consider being a Scythe. I don’t mind killing people off in my own books, but real life… What do you think?

Check out Scythe on Goodreads here.

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The Gutter Prayer was my first ever request from Netgalley and I was so excited to receive a copy. I am a little late sharing the review as the book was published 17th January, but better late than never…

gutter prayer

Blurb

A group of three young thieves are pulled into a centuries old magical war between ancient beings, mages, and humanity in this wildly original debut epic fantasy.

The city has always been. The city must finally end.

When three thieves – an orphan, a ghoul, and a cursed man – are betrayed by the master of the thieves guild, their quest for revenge uncovers dark truths about their city and exposes a dangerous conspiracy, the seeds of which were sown long before they were born. Cari is a drifter whose past and future are darker than she can know.

Rat is a Ghoul, whose people haunt the city’s underworld.

Spar is a Stone Man, subject to a terrible disease that is slowly petrifying his flesh.

Chance has brought them together, but their friendship could be all that stands in the way of total armageddon.

My Review

I really like this cover and I feel like it’s a perfect representation of the book.

Right from the start I knew this was going to be something very different to my usual fantasy reads. I loved the story that slowly unfolded regarding the trapped gods and how certain factions planned to unleash them, while others worked to destroy them. Cari and her friends get caught up in the middle of it all, or so it seems!

I liked Cari and Spar the most, though there are plenty of characters to root for. I loved how different the story was having trapped gods, saints, ghouls, stone men, worm creatures, tallowmen and other weird and wonderful creations.

This is a brilliant debut novel and I had a great time reading it. It always surprised and shocked me, and often had me thinking what on earth is going on here!

The end was a thrilling page-turner, whilst still providing an emotional and satisfying conclusion. I want to continue with the next book now, so waiting until next year is a real bummer!

Take a look for yourself on Goodreads – The Gutter Prayer

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Suzanne Rogerson – Author of heroically epic fantasy

You can follow me on

Twitter  Goodreads  BookBub  Amazon  Facebook

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January 2019 Reading Wrap Up #amreading #fantasy

I feel as though I had a great reading month and managed to read 5 books in January. I wanted to pick a favourite, but with each book being so different I found it very hard to make that decision. Here are my reads…

The Lost and the Chosen by Ivy Asher (see my review here) 5 STARS

the lost and the chosen

This book really surprised me as I haven’t read any paranormal romance before. It was an addictive read and I’m really excited that book 2 is already out. I will hopefully get to read this in February. Check it out of Goodreads here.

I’ve been listening to the Audiobook for Scythe by Neal Shusterman. 5 STARS

My review will follow this week, but for now I will say this book is still in my head and I can’t wait to read the next book. Goodreads link.

scythe

This next one is my first ever Netgalley book – The Gutter Prayer by Gareth Hanrahan. 5 STARS

Again I will review this next week, but can tell you it was a great debut and I’m sad I have to wait months to get my hands on the next book. Goodreads link.

gutter prayer

Finally, and I have to admit this is a cheat, I read my own books! I wanted to get back into the Silent Sea Chronicles world before diving into the draft of book 3, so I read The Lost Sentinel and The Sentinel’s Reign back to back. I also read the draft so far of The Sentinel’s Alliance, but as it’s not finished I can’t count that one. Also as they are my books I can’t rate them, but I will say I thoroughly enjoyed having the excuse to immerse myself in Tei’s world again. I’m so excited to get the next book finished.

Goodread links:   The Lost Sentinel    The Sentinel’s Reign

My Goodreads challenge is to read 30 books in 2019. With these 5 books I am well ahead of schedule and feeling very pleased with my progress.

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Here’s a quick peek at February’s TBR…

I promised myself I would be more of a mood reader from now on, but I do plan to read these books in Feb. Any more will be a bonus!

 

Don’t forget to look out for my reviews of The Gutter Prayer and Scythe this week.

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You can follow me on:

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My reading plans for January 2019 and beyond #amreading #fantasy

Though I managed to reach my Goodreads target of 35 books in 2018, I decided to go for a more conservative figure in 2019. I want to focus on writing much more and don’t want to stress about reading. I’m aiming for 30 books.

I hate to be restricted in what I read so reading to a list doesn’t suit me. I found that the books I planned to read last year just didn’t happen. This year I want to go with the flow and read whatever takes my fancy.

That mindset will take over as of February, because I do have a couple of books that I need to read in January.

Currently reading my first ever ARC from Netgalley – The Gutter Prayer by Gareth Hanrahan. The official release date is 17th January and I want to post a review then. The book is going well so far, and is a very different kind of fantasy for me.

gutter prayer

Scythe by Neal Shusterman is my January book group choice, and I’ve been wanting to read this one for ages so I’m looking forward to it.

scythe

I still have to read the book I won a few months ago – City of Lies by Sam Hawke. As a competition winner, I feel it’s only fair that I review this book once I’ve read it, but it is a big book and I keep unintentionally pushing it down my tbr list.

city of lies

And there is a non-fiction book I’ve been meaning to read for ages ‘Writing short stories to promote your novels’ Rayne Hall’s writer’s craft series.

writing short stories

Plus I cannot forget to mention that I’m planning to re-read my own books (The Lost Sentinel and The Sentinel’s Reign) to fully immerse myself in the Silent Sea Chronicles ahead of completing the draft of book 3 – The Sentinel’s Alliance. I’m really excited to get stuck in, and can’t wait to show off the cover of book 3!

two book covers

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My thoughts on reviewing…

I fell out of love with reviewing books in 2018. I felt I didn’t have enough to say and some of my reviews were just going through the motions. So this year I only want to review books that I really loved and just have to share with you. I also want to read more writer’s guides and plan to review them and how they’ve helped me. I read a couple late last year. Once I’ve used the techniques mentioned I will share my thoughts on how they worked for me.

Tomorrow I will be sharing my first review of the year so you know it’s got to be a good book! Please stop by then.

My favourite shows, films, music and books from 2018.

I have been very quiet on my blog and social media lately and I don’t really have any excuses other than I just haven’t been feeling the drive to write anything. However, looking back over my reading year has inspired me to share with you a few of my favourite things from 2018.

TV Shows

Starting with TV shows. We recently binge watched both seasons of Sneaky Pete and loved them. Roll on season 3.

sneaky pete

Then along came Lucifer…

lucifer 2

Wow, I can honestly say I have never been so affected by a TV show before. We’ve just watched the last couple of episodes of season 3 and I really don’t know what I’ll do while I’m waiting for season 4. To think they almost didn’t make it at all! How could they even consider leaving the fans with such a cliff hanger… forever?

Lucifer has everything you could want in a show – emotion, comedy, romance, friendship, fun, action, murder, mystery, and Tom Ellis is a wickedly sexy and camp devil that I adore. I’ve never been one for angels and demons etc, but I think I’m going to try some books along this theme. Any recommendations?

A final word about Lucifer; if it can grip my 14-year-old son’s attention, who would normally rather game on his Xbox ahead of eating and sleeping, then anyone should be able to enjoy the show.

 Favourite film this year…

Venom – This is the easiest one to call as I loved this film so much that I wanted to stay in the cinema and watch the next showing. I can’t wait to watch it with the family when it comes out on DVD, only a month to go!

Tom Hardy was excellent and really, what more is there to say. Action, laughs, adventure, love…

venom

Favourite band

I’ve just discovered Halestorm, and wow does Lizzy have the most incredible voice or what? One of her songs has given me the inspiration I’ve needed to get on with book 3 in my Silent Sea Chronicles series. ‘I am the Fire’ is an amazing song and it reflects the book cover for The Sentinel’s Alliance, which I hope to reveal soon.

 

Books of 2018

I just about completed my reading challenge on Goodreads, managing 35 books which was the target I set myself. Only 2 of those are audiobooks, which is a surprise as in 2017 I think I listened to quite a few.

You can see my book challenge on Goodreads here .

Here are my favourite reads from 2018.

Fantasy / YA

I discovered a new favourite author this year – Maria V Snyder. The two books of hers that I read, Poison Study and Magic Study were my favourite fantasy reads this year. I was totally gripped by the characters and the story, and I’m so pleased to see that she has quite a few more books written in this world.

Here are my reviews of Poison Study.

Writers Guides

I’ve read a couple this year but the most inspiring one has been Take off your Pants by Libbie Hawker. It’s all about outlining novels, something I have struggled with in the past. I have lots of ideas but no idea where they are going. This guide lays out a way to outline your book and keep the pace exciting. I hope to do a proper review of the book once I’ve used the method fully. In the meantime, I really recommend giving the book a go. Goodreads link.

take off your pants

Thriller

I’m surprised to see that I haven’t read many thrillers this year. My favourite is by my writing hero fantasy author, David Gemmell. Rhyming Rings isn’t on the same level as his fantasy books were, but it’s still a great page-turning read and you care for these characters, which is a skill of David Gemmell’s I’ve always admired.

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Romance

I like to read a couple of romance books a year and this year I’ve really been spoilt with the quality of those I’ve chosen. They’ve all been excellent but if I have to pick a favourite I think I will go with The Cornish House by Liz Fenwick. Here is my review. I cannot sum up the story any better than Elizabeth Buchan does on the cover… Just read it!

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I’ve really enjoyed sharing my favourite reads from the last year, though these are not the books I planned to read during 2018. In fact I’d say my plan last year was an epic fail. I had good intentions of finishing a few trilogies and didn’t manage to complete any of them. It’s not that I don’t want to read them, I think it’s because I’m a mood reader and quite often pick my next read on the spur of the moment. Maybe in 2019 I’ll just see what takes my fancy and not put pressure on myself.

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What do you think of my choices? Have you read any of these books or watched Lucifer and Venom?

Join me again when I review my writing year and achievements of 2018.

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WWW Wednesday 5th December 2018 My reads to the end of the year #amreading and mini #bookreviews

I’m not very good with posting on WWW Wednesday, but I do enjoy sharing the books I have been reading when I get the chance. I thought today I would share my planned reads for the rest of the year and give a couple of mini reviews for the books I’ve just finished. But first here are the rules if you want to play along with WWW Wednesday weekly meme.

Answer these 3 questions…

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Then add a link to your post on Taking on the World of Word. Here’s the link to this week’s blog page.

Visit other blogs taking part.

www wednesdays

 

What are you currently reading?

magic study

Magic Study – Maria V Snyder

I’m half way through and loving it just as much as I did book 1 – Poison Study. See my review of book 1 here.

couch to 50k

Couch to 50K: How to write 50,000 words in a month without burning out – Rachel Tonks Hill

I’ve actually just started this book and am hoping for some insightful ways to up my word count. I’d say I have about 50k to finish on the draft of book 3 in Silent Sea Chronicles so this is perfect timing if we ignore the fact that Christmas is just around the corner!

 

What did you recently finish reading?

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Sweet Dream by Tricia Sullivan

This was my book group choice for December (we are actually meeting to discuss it tonight so I may share a bigger review at some point).

I was immediately drawn into the story by the strong first person narrative. Charlie is a very interesting character and her world is very strange. The fact she is a dreamhacker with narcolepsy should indicate that. At times it was hard to understand the world she lived in, but then dreams are weird and the book captured this element perfectly.

I really enjoyed the story and would recommend it to people who like something different, a unique blend of scifi and mystery.

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Gilded Cage – Vic James 

This was an audiobook read and I did enjoy it that way, though I wonder if I would have enjoyed it more if I’d read it. The narrator’s voice really worked well and brought life to the characters, but I did find some of the set up boring. I had a couple of times when I thought about DNF, but I’m so happy that I stuck with it. The last couple of hours were non stop action and I really enjoyed it. I will certainly be continuing with the series, that ending is just crying out for me to pick up the next book!

 

What do you think you’ll read next?

I’ve won a couple of books and feel that I should make an effort to read these as soon as possible – after all it’s what I hope for when I run giveaways myself. You know, Karma and all that…

So I want to read next – Tempests and Slaughter by Tamora Pierce and City of Lies by Same Hawke.

I also have my first ever Netgalley book. I don’t need to post a review until January, but I want to make a start on it asap because The Gutter Prayer by Gareth Hanrahan sounds really good.

gutter prayer

Finally I have my annual Christmas read by Rachel Caine. I really enjoy escaping into the world of The Great Library and this is book 4 in the series Smoke and Iron. I have it on good authority (my son) that it is brilliant.

smoke and iron

I also love to read a Christmas story around this time of year, but I think I have my work cut out with this list. If I do manage it all, then I’ve have smashed my Goodreads reading goal of 35 books. Dare I up the challenge next year?

What do you plan to read for the rest of the year?

My reading plan for 2018 #amreading #fantasy #ya #thriller

This year has been busy in various ways and I have not read as much as I would’ve liked. My Goodreads challenge was 35 books and so far I have only read 29. I thought making a list for the rest of the year would help me get back on track.

So here goes.

Currently reading – Magic Study by Maria V Snyder. As with the first book I find the writing totally addictive and if I read nothing else but these books this year I would be happy.

magic study

ARC – Not Like Everyone Else by Jennifer Leigh. This is a YA thriller I’ve been interested in since following Jenn’s blog and I am going to read this before 2018 ends.

 

not like everyone else

Self Published Fantasy Blog Off books – I bought lots of SPFBO books in the last SPFBO sale which I have yet to read. Here’s my post about the bargains I picked up. Now there is another sale 15th to 19th November so I will be getting even more books to add to my TBR list which already has 400 books! I really hope to read at least another one off this list and perhaps I may even share a surprise review from my husband who is currently reading one of SPFBO books – surprise because he has no idea I’ve mentioned this!

My Xmas Read – For the last three years I have read the latest Great Library book by Rachel Caine. This year I will be reading Smoke and Iron – book 4. My son started the series a few weeks ago and has already started the 4th book. I had planned to give it to myself as a Christmas present, but he begged to read it first!

smoke and iron

Audio book – Still listening to Gilded Cage by Vic James which has been enjoyable so far. I like the voice of the narrator and she has brought the story to life for me. It does seem a bit slow, but I’m happy to stick at it.

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Book Group Read – Sweet Dreams by Tricia Sullivan

This one sounds intriguing!

34523623 sweet dreams

Books I’ve Won – I have been lucky enough to win two books recently and I can’t wait to read them.  City of Lies by Sam Hawke and Tempests and Slaughter by Tamora Pierce. I would love to read and review these before the end of 2018.

So these books will take me to my Goodreads target of 35 books, but life and writing does have a habit of getting in the way. Fingers crossed I find some uninterrupted reading time!

 

#Tuesdaybookblog #bookreview The Game Bird by Aidan R Walsh #fantasy

I found The Game Bird during SPFBO 2018 promo sale. The cover initially attracted my attention.

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The blurb from Amazon;

An evil is growing. The Realm is under attack. A leviathan has risen from the depths and is destroying the fleets that feed Stormhaven.

Stuck ashore and drowning in debt, Captain James Faulkner resolves to hunt the sea monster and claim the enormous bounty on the beast.

Sophia Blake’s life looks effortless. But she carries a secret, an occult curse that is capable of destroying both her and her nation. Sophia knows her time is running out.

The Tallowman is a slowly decaying melding of demon and man. This monstrous assassin is desperate to capture Sophia and will let nothing stand between it and its prey.

Since his wife died, the sober lawyer Uriah Blake has wanted nothing more than to live a quiet life and enjoy what time he has left with his daughter, Sophia. When he learns that the Tallowman is pursuing her, he is forced to cast aside his books and his ink and join a shadowy war against a terrible foe.

As these hunts build to their shattering conclusion, Faulkner, Sophia and Uriah will be thrown together and forced to confront malevolent forces beyond their imagining.

The Game Bird is a swashbuckling black powder fantasy, wrapped around a spine of darkness.
Goodreads link

My Review

The story starts with immediate action and thrusts you straight into Captain Faulker’s life as he attempts to escape bailiffs. Stormhaven comes alive as a place I wouldn’t particularly like to live and I enjoyed the adventure right from the first page. The scenes on the ships are especially well written.

The ‘swashbuckling black powder fantasy’ was quite a new and unique reading experience. I got swept along with the tale and liked all the characters especially James Faulkner and Sophia. The mention of their childhood lives together and hints of a possible romance were a big plus for me. There are also creatures of legend – a leviathan and pegasus to add plenty of excitement.

I have to mention the Tallowman who is evil and gruesome, everything you want from an antagonist. I admit that I love an assassin story, but the Tallowman is genuinely terrifying.

I’m really pleased the self published fantasy blog off led me to this story, and I hope it goes far in the competition.

I rate The Game Bird 4 stars and urge you to read it.

WWW Wednesday 26th September #amreading #fantasy

It’s Wednesday, so it’s time to take part in the weekly meme by Samantha over on World of Words. To take part in www Wednesday just answer these 3 questions;

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Then link back to Samantha’s post and visit the other sites also taking part.

www wednesdays

What are you currently reading?

The Game Bird by Aidan R Walsh

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This is a book I picked up because the cover really grabbed me and it’s part of the SPFBO 2018, which I am also entered into. I’m enjoying it so far. I’m only about 10% in but I’m intrigued to find out where it’s going.

The Gilded Cage by Vic (Audiobook)

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I’ve heard a lot about this book so thought I’d give it a go. It’s also an audio experiment for me as I wanted to listen to a few fantasy books and see how they compare to reading fantasy. I am hoping to have one of my own books produced as an audio – more details to follow.

What did you recently finish reading?

The Exercise of Vital Powers by Ian Gregorie

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Very good read. See my review here.

The Copper Gauntlet (Magisterium bk 2) by Holly Webb and Cassandra Clare

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Another really good read. It’s a mid-grade fantasy that can entertain any age.

At last, I finished My Husband’s Wife by Jane Corry

my husbands wife

This is probably an audiobook record for me – I’ve been listening to it for over 2 months! It was such a slow book. Well written and it picked up towards the end, but I think it could have been a lot shorter.

What do you think you’ll read next?

I have so many books I want to read that I just don’t know where to start. I really want to support my fellow SPFBO indie authors, so perhaps I will go for one of these;

WWW Wednesday 12th Sept #amreading #fantasy #thriller

I haven’t posted anything for a while as I’m trying to finish the draft of my latest book. I have however been reading and am joining in the weekly meme WWW Wednesday to share some of those reads with you. Anyone can take part, just answer the questions below and link back to Taking on a World of Words.

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

www wednesdays

What are you currently reading?

The Exercise of Vital Powers by Ian Gregoire. I am about 80% through this book and am really enjoying it. It feels like there is a much bigger story to tell, so I’m really looking forward to the sequel already.

cover-artwork

I’m also reading The Copper Gauntlet – book 2 in the Magisterium series by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare. It’s a mid-grade fantasy that can hook any reader of any age. I am enjoying the second instalment almost as much as I did the first book.

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What did you recently finish reading?

Over the summer I reading Poison Study for  my book group and wow, I loved it. A totally gripping YA fantasy that I wish I’d read when I was a teen. I can’t wait for my children to read the book and I can’t wait to continue with this brilliant series. A full review of the book will follow soon.

poison study

I’ve also finally treated myself to reading Rhyming Rings. It is the second to last of David Gemmell’s books that I haven’t read before, so I was excited and nervous to start it. Thankfully I loved it! A review of this will also follow soon.

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I am still listening to My Husband’s Wife. It is very slow going. I do want to find out what happens, but I am not compelled to finish it. I think I heard somewhere there will be a TV adaptation of it, so I will finish it to find out why it has been picked more than anything.

my husbands wife

What do you think you will read next?

It is Self Published Fantasy Month so I want to continue reading some indie fantasy books. I have a good selection to choose from – see my post here explaining the books I picked up during the SPFBO 2018 book sale in August and why I chose them.

One I have fancy because of the excellent cover is The Game Bird by Aidan R Walsh, so I think this will be my first pick.

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I also want to read the How to book – Writing Young Adult Fiction, written by a very successful agent Juliet Mushens. I’m hoping this will give me an insight into the differences of writing YA and Adult fantasy.

writing ya fantasy

 

I’ve also been lucky enough to win two books over the last two months, so these will be going up high on my TBR list.

Thanks to Dan on Dan’s Book Blog (the site seems to be down at the moment so I can’t add a link) for my copy of Arm of the Sphinx by Josiah Bancroft – a former SPFBO entrant.

arm of spynix

And thank you to Liz at Liz Loves Books for this wonderful signed first edition hardback book of the debut fantasy City of Lies by Sam Hawke. The book looks and sounds amazing! I think this will be a treasured book to take my time over.

city of lies

That’s about it from me today. Happy reading everyone and don’t forget to visit others taking part today.