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.

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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.

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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.

***

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.

***

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!

#Tuesdaybookblog #bookreview The Exercise of Vital Powers Ian Gregoire @lonelyboy1977 #selfpubfantasymonth #fantasy

Here’s my short review of The Exercise of Vital Powers by Ian Gregoire. But first the all important blurb;

Some Lessons Must Be Learned The Hard Way

Since its inception, The Order has been dedicated to the prevention of the misuse and abuse of magic. For seven decades this mandate has guaranteed peace and stability throughout The Nine Kingdoms. But a potential threat to the peace has emerged, and its source is much closer to home than the leadership of The Order may realise.

Arrogant, manipulative, confrontational and angry. Undesirable qualities in a person at the best of times, but more so in a young woman born with the power to bring kingdoms to their knees. Kayden Jayta, precocious apprentice of The Order, is all these things and more, yet wholly unwilling to acknowledge and rectify her many troubling traits.

Unbeknown to anyone, Kayden’s resolute determination to join the ranks of The Order is born of a secret that puts her priorities at odds with the precepts of the organisation, setting her inexorably on a collision course with the most powerful institution in The Nine Kingdoms.

If Kayden is to be dissuaded from walking the path she has chosen, averting tragic consequences in the process, two unanswered questions must be answered: What is the dark secret guiding Kayden’s actions? And, why has a legendary figure within The Order, with a secret of her own, taken undue interest in Kayden’s future?

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The Exercise of Vital Powers was entered into SPFBO in 2017 and was a semi finalist in it’s group, which is a very big deal in my opinion. Having followed the author for a while (and appearing on his blog last year) I know he made the brave decision to unpublish the book in order to re-edit it and source a professional cover.

It was re-released in July 2018 and I was quick to snap up a copy. If the cover is anything to go by, I’d say Mr Gregoire made the right choice. I adore this cover and having just finished the book I feel it depicts the main character, Kayden, perfectly.

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I enjoyed this novel very much. It takes place over a few days in Kayden’s life when so many things change and she learns much about herself. The Order and the magic system are well thought out, and the world brought to life with descriptive writing. I really liked Kayden’s mentors Fay and Ari, and Kayden is pretty cool once you get past her arrogant front. At points I just couldn’t stop reading and stayed up way past bedtime because I had to know what happened next.

I felt there was a little too much information at times, which slowed the story down. However, there was a lot of historical battles and background to get across, and you need these slower passages to understand the current situation in the Nine Kingdoms. I think it also sets up possible ideas of the troubles to come in future books.

I can’t believe the author managed to fit so much in over so little time. I feel this is the start of a great adventure and I am very much looking forward to the second instalment of what I believe will be a 5 part series.

I give this book 4 stars and recommend to those who love detailed world building and love being transported into magical worlds.

Why not check it out for yourself on Goodreads.

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.

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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.

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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.

#Tuesdaybookblog mini #bookreviews of my favourite #fantasy books in Rainne’s Five on Friday feature

During my blogging break I shared some mini book reviews of my favourite fantasy books over on Rainne’s Rambles. Please pop over to take a look at the Five on Friday feature and see what books inspired my love of all thing fantasy.

Rainne's Ramblings

5onFriday

Five Books – Five Authors – One Reviewer

Looking for a new fantasy to read this weekend?
Try one of these books, reviewed by Suzanne Rogerson


I finally have space to bring back my Five on Friday feature and I’m kicking off with a guest reviewer:

Suzanne Rogerson is a self-published author of epic and heroic fantasy, who loves reading books almost as much as she love writing them.

“When Rainne asked if I would like to take part in her Five on Friday, I was excited to have a go and share some book love. But after many false starts, I just couldn’t work out which books to showcase. It’s so difficult to pick just five. In the end, I’ve opted for five fantasy books I’ve loved but never reviewed on my blog. Here they are…”

Title: Dream-weaver
Author: Jonathan Wylie

2030986As civil war threatens the land of Ahrenia…

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WWW Wednesday 8 August 2018 #amreading #thriller #fantasy

This is a weekly meme now hosted by Taking on a World of Words. To take part simply answer the three W questions;

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

Post a link to your answers on the above site, and don’t forget to visit other blogs taking part and share the book love!

www wednesdays

What are you currently reading?

Poison Study – Maria V Snyder

poison study

80 pages in and I’m loving this book. I don’t want it to end! Which reminds me, I must look up the rest of the series.

 

I’m currently listening to – My Husband’s Wife – Jane Corry

my husbands wife

I’m still plodding along with this one. I have found it to be a slow paced book, but it is still interesting and keeping my attention, I’m just not compelled to listen to it all the time as I have been with audiobooks in the past.

What have you recently finished reading?

Lie With Me – Sabine Durrant

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This was an unplanned read, one I’ve heard good things about and just picked up to pass a few minutes before bedtime. I won’t be reviewing this as a separate post on my blog, so here’s what I thought of it – A little slow to start with and I was a bit unsure if I would get into it. However the mystery and intrigue soon kicked in and I was literally taking the book everywhere with me because I couldn’t stop reading. Paul Morris is not the nicest of characters and he really acts in horrible ways at times, but by the end of the book you sort of feel for him… a little! Great book. 5 stars.

 

Anthony Ryan’s Collected Non-fiction

I follow Anthony Ryan’s newsletter and this was offered as a free download. I haven’t seen it on Goodreads or Amazon. It’s a collection of essays or blog posts to do with his writing and editing, his ‘overnight’ success, fantasy and David Gemmell amongst other things. Very interesting reading.

What do you think you’ll read next?

David Gemmell – Rhyming Rings.

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I have been saving this book for over a year – I hope I enjoy it!

Then perhaps I’ll pick an indie book from my TBR pile. See my post here on some of the great books I’ve picked up recently during the Self Published Fantasy Blog Off promo.

 

I look forward to sharing my reviews of the above over the next few months, especially David Gemmell’s book (please let me love it!).