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

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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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#Bookreview The Lost and the Chosen by Ivy Asher #tuesdaybookblog #urbanfantasy

I stumbled on The Lost and the Chosen as the series title is the same as my fantasy book The Lost Sentinel – book 1. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but even after reading the blurb, I knew I had to read it, and I’m so pleased I did. First the blurb…

Blurb

My name is Vinna, and I’ve been keeping a lot of secrets.

You would too if you’d experienced some of the weird shit I have: red-eyed monsters chasing me, markings on my body appearing out of nowhere, a strange power that crackles colorfully over my skin from time to time, and don’t get me started on the weapons I can conjure up almost out of nowhere.

Lucky for me, I have yet to meet someone whose ass I couldn’t kick, inside the ring or out. I put that to the test when I run headfirst into a fight that brings all my secrets, and reality as I know it, crashing down around me.

Now, I’m looking for answers and trying to piece together what the hell is going on. Paranormal is my new way of life. It’s not going to be easy, and I’m not exactly welcome.

That is, until I meet the boys, and trust me, they are anything but boyish.

I’m up against elders who think I’m too powerful, a family who views me as a threat, and something lurking in the shadows that’s been coming for me my whole life.

There’s not a chance in hell I’m going down without a fight. I’m not lost anymore, and I’m about to show this world exactly what I can do.

Author’s Note: This is the first book in The Lost Sentinel Series and ends with a cliffhanger. This book is a medium burn reverse harem story, intended for ages 18 years and older. This story contains strong language, sexual situations, and violence.

the lost and the chosen

My Review

First off, this is a very attractive cover and sets up a picture in your mind of Vinna and the story to come.

This is very different to anything I have read before. I see it as Urban fantasy, though the author classes it as Paranormal Romance. I think readers of most genres would enjoy this book, so don’t be put off by classification.

Vinna is a likable, kick-ass heroine right from page 1 when we meet her preparing for a fight. We learn she’s earned quite a sum of money in these arranged fights, besting opponents much bigger than she is. After the battle, she stumbles on a fight outside, between Casters and shifters.

From here the story gets even more interesting as she joins the Casters in their secret town, Solace. The community of Casters and shifters live under a magical barrier hiding them from the normal human (nons) world.

I found Vinna’s immediate friendship and attraction to a group of young Casters difficult to accept at the beginning, but stick with it; everything is explained and makes perfect sense. Especially now as I re-read the blurb and see the mention of a reverse harem! The title of the book also becomes clear.

There is a lot of swearing, but it fits with Vinna’s personality and feels natural. There are also a lot of sexual references and steamy moments, thus the 18+ warning.

I loved the magic and action running through the book and especially Vinna’s ability to conjure weapons from nothing. The last few chapters flew by as I raced through to find out what was going on. The half unexpected twist at the end choked me and I shed quite a few tears before being disappointed that the story was over and I would have to wait for the next book.

This was a fun and entertaining 5 star read. I recommend if you like modern day fantasy settings and stories with shifters, vampires and witches.

Check out The Lost and the Chosen now on Goodreads and Amazon .

Have you read this book? What do you think of urban vs paranormal fantasy?

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Note – The author states the second book is due out in January 2019 so we shouldn’t have long to wait to continue Vinna’s story. I can’t find any reference to it yet, but I’ve followed her on Amazon so that should inform me when the new book is released.

I’ve had a search around for a website / twitter for Ivy Asher but cannot find anything. If you know when the next book is coming out, please let me know!

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I hope you’ve enjoyed this review. As I stated in my post yesterday, I won’t be posting many this year unless I read tons of books I love of course!

 

You can follow me on:

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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?

34523623 sweet dreams

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?

Not Like Everyone Else by Jennifer Leigh @boundtowriting #bookreview #ya #mystery #tuesdaybookblog

This book really gripped my attention. I had to keep reading to find out was happening to Ryan and if she was as innocent as she thinks she is.

not like everyone else

Blurb

Ryan can’t seem to get her memories in order. When she breaks it off with her long-term boyfriend, Corey, she can’t help but feel free. But mysterious events keep Ryan asking “just what happened?” After her family moved to Ryton, after Carter goes missing, after Jacob is in the hospital. All of these afters, but Ryan can’t remember the befores. With Harper and Elliot by her side, Ryan can only hope that she does not forget… again. Will Ryan be able to recover her memory to figure out what happened when it all went dark?

 

My review

I love how you never know quite what’s going on in this book. Ryan is an unreliable narrator because she keeps losing her memory and as readers we are in the dark just as much as she is. Can we trust her to give us the correct information or is something more sinister happening in her head? The constant questions raised as the story goes along were a great driving force that kept me turning the pages. I was shocked by some of the revelations that I didn’t see coming and really enjoyed the suspense of trying to guess what would happen next.

It was a very fast read and one I recommend to those who love a mystery. I rate it 4 out of 5 stars.

I received an ARC from the author and chose to read and review the book.

Check it for yourself on Goodreads

 

Visions of Zarua’s Birthday Blitz – Part 2 #highfantasy #fantasy #blogtour

Hello again. Today I will share the remaining stops on Visions of Zarua’s birthday blitz which took place on Friday 16th November. 25 lovely bloggers took part with reviews, guest posts, extracts, Q&A’s and promo posts.

Visions now has a very healthy rating on goodreads – 40 ratings with an adv of 4.33 and 23 reviews. Amazon UK has 21 reviews and Amazon US 14. If you have read it, would you consider leaving a review too?

Yesterday I shared the first 13 blogs that took part in the birthday blitz, here’s the page if you missed it.

Now for the remaining blogs taking part in the birthday blitz

VOZ blitz

Extract – Jazzy Book Reviews

I shared a scene where Paddren makes an important decision. You can read it here.

 

Q&A – Bound to Writing

I had some fun answering questions here.

 

Guest Post – Booksaremycwtches

I discussed some of my most inspiration places here.

 

Recipe – Dash Fan Book Reviews

I shared my family’s favourite carrot and courgette recipe here.

 

Q&A – Donnasbookblog

I answered a few questions of Donna’s blog here.

 

Review – The Treasure Within

‘I loved the mashup between genres, and think that Suzanne Rogerson handled it really well – weaving clues with magic in a clever way, and being able to keep the book feeling like both an epic fantasy and a mystery novel and the same time.’  See the full review here.

Q&A – Nesie’s Place

Some more fun questions and a couple of fun photos of my cat. See it here.

 

Review – Seansbookreview

‘Magic is the cornerstone of a great fantasy read and this had a magic system that I liked. Its epic fantasy at its finest.’ Read the review here.

 

Guest Post – Writing with Wolves

I shared how Jago’s story and the dualtime of the novel came to life. Read it all here.

 

Promo – The Northern Witch’s Book Blog

A lovely promo post here.

 

Promo – The Magic of Worlds

Another promo post here.

 

Promo – Zooloo’s Book Diary

The last promo post of the day here.

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Thank you to everyone who took part and who read the posts. It was a lot of fun and now I’m ready for a rest! It’s back to work on book 3 of the Silent Sea Chronicles for me on Monday.

Don’t forget the giveaway ends today, but the ebook will be on sale for the next couple of weeks 99p worldwide.

Have you enjoyed the blog tour? Please get in touch. And if you’ve been inspired to read Visions of Zarua, please let me know. I love to hear from readers and if you have time to share your review it will make my day.

Until next time…

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Visions of Zarua Birthday Blitz round-up Part 1 #fantasy #epicfantasy #blogtour

Yesterday was an amazing day for Visions of Zarua and sharing the book birthday with so many people was brilliant.

The birthday blitz was huge fun and a great success as far as I’m concerned. I got to visit 25 blogs in one day and there were 10 new reviews for Visions all between 3.75 to 5 stars.

I would love to share every word here, but the post would end up being massive. Instead, here are some of the highlights from the first 13 blogs on the list. Tomorrow I will share the remaining 12.

Birthday Blitz round-up Part 1

VOZ blitz

Review from Nemesis Blog

‘Wow! Wow! Wow! What can I say?! This is an epic standalone fantasy. The world building Suzanne did for this book is incredible! …if you like fantasy, mystery, wizards, a bit of romance, the bad dude and monsters! I cannot recommend this book highly enough!’ Read the full review here.

 

Review On Odd socks and Lollipops

‘Visions of Zarua was a really enjoyable fantasy read, it reminded me of the older style fantasy novels I have read. It has a shattered timeline spanning 350 years, a mystery to solve, a host of vivid characters. I found the start was a little on the slow side, though it did set the scene well. The world-building was really interesting and I found that I really liked the world of the past, Zarua of 350 years ago.’ See full review here.

 

Guest post – Between the Lines

I shared the story of how Visions of Zarua will soon be traditionally published in Czech! Read the post here.

 

Extract – Laura’s Interests.

Read the scene that sparked off the idea for the whole book here.

 

Review – Pagefarer book blog

‘The characterisation is strong (I think Leyoch was my favourite), the world-building is very able and the story is well-paced…’ Full review here.

 

Guest Post – B for Bookreview

I shared character profiles for my 4 viewpoint characters. Read it here.

 

Extract – Read. Write. Inspire.

I shared an important scene from Jago’s perspective here.

 

Review – Jessica Rachow

‘I loved everything about Visions of Zarua! From the flawed, relatable characters to the intricately planned out world of Paltria, and the ancient, abandoned city of Zarua…this book had everything I want to see in a fantasy novel.’ Full review here.

 

Extract – Ali the Dragon Slayer

I shared a terrifying moment for Leyoch. Read it here.

 

Review – Splashes into Books

‘What a great mix of fantasy, magic and mystery this proved to be! The talented author has built a unique version of a medieval style world where there are barons, Kings, wizards, magic and monsters. You can never be certain just who you can trust…’ Read the rest of the review here.

 

Review – J Bronder Book Reviews

‘This is an amazing read and one that I strongly recommend checking out. Fantasy might not be your thing but definitely try this book. I think it will become a fast favorite.’ Read the full review here.

 

Review – Birdie’s Bibliotheca

‘The story itself progresses in a fairly standard manner: disastrous events lead to a staggering reveal which leads to a quest whereby more reveals are made, further inciting the need for the quest. The final climax is drawn out and convoluted, and maybe my favorite part of the story. Overall, I give this about a 4…’ Read the full review here.

 

Review – Jess Bookish Life

‘The author created an amazing world with relatable characters, many secrets, magic and a touch of romance in a great recipe for a wonderful fantasy standalone novel.‘ Read the rest of the review here.

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Thank you so much to the above blogs for featuring Visions of Zarua yesterday. Please visit them and show your support to these bloggers. A huge thank you to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources who made this possible. I highly recommend her services.

If you want to check out the remaining blog of the birthday blitz, visit this page for the links.

The giveaway is running until sunday night, so why not try to win a signed paperback for yourself. Visions of Zarua 3 book giveaway.

The ebook will remain on sale at 99p worldwide and you can purchase that here or check out the free sample below.

 

Thank you for following the birthday blitz and please join me again tomorrow for the remaining stops on the tour.

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#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.

#TuesdayBookBlog #Bookreview Poison Study by Maria V Snyder #YAFantasy

Poison Study is a brilliant, compelling read. Here’s the blurb…

Choose: A quick death…Or slow poison…

About to be executed for murder, Yelena is offered an extraordinary reprieve. She’ll eat the best meals, have rooms in the palace—and risk assassination by anyone trying to kill the Commander of Ixia.

And so Yelena chooses to become a food taster. But the chief of security, leaving nothing to chance, deliberately feeds her Butterfly’s Dust—and only by appearing for her daily antidote will she delay an agonizing death from the poison.

As Yelena tries to escape her new dilemma, disasters keep mounting. Rebels plot to seize Ixia and Yelena develops magical powers she can’t control. Her life is threatened again and choices must be made. But this time the outcomes aren’t so clear…

poison study

My Review

This was my book groups choice and I am so, so happy they chose it!

It is such a compelling book. I took it on holiday and I just couldn’t stop reading it. The beauty of reading an old paperback copy is that you can take it everywhere with you and sneak in a few pages when no one is looking! I had some very late nights with this book as well, and it’s one of those that if you had the next book handy, there’s no way you could resist picking it up and diving straight into the next adventure. I have now brought the next two books – Magic Study and Fire Study and I’m itching to find the time to read them. I have another holiday coming up so I might have to sneak them in the suitcase.

Why I loved this YA Fantasy.

In one word – Yelena. She is a brilliant character to follow and I liked her instantly. The first person viewpoint helps you build a bond with her and her story. At the start she is in prison for a murder that she never denies committing, but you have no idea of the details surrounding it. That’s just a small part of the intrigue that keeps you reading. On the day of her planned execution she is given the chance to escape death by becoming the Commander’s food taster. Of course she accepts but quickly realises this isn’t to be an easy life. Her master, Valek, turns out to be a harsh and sometime cruel master – but he really grows on you. Both Valek and Yelena are my favourite characters and I can’t wait to see what happens in book 2.

I loved the little details in this book, in particular the lessons on poison tasting. I’m informed this is all well researched and that really comes across. I would have liked more focus on this aspect in the plot, just because I love herbs, potions and assassins, but it was still a highly addictive read. Every chapter forced you to read the next. It is a masterclass for authors on how to craft a pager-turner.

There are some darker elements to the story that as adults you will pick up on, but I hope younger YA readers just take what’s on the page and not think too deeply about what’s happened. I am looking forward to my (nearly) 14-year-old son reading these books and I think in a couple of years my daughter will love them too. It is certainly a book I wish I had discovered in my teens, and I don’t say that about many books.

Highly recommended – 5 very big fat stars from me!

Have you read it?

Here’s the Goodreads link if my review has enticed you to find out more. With almost 120K ratings, 10k reviews and an overall star rating of 4.15, you can see this books has been loved by many people!