The King’s Hand – The Knight of Eldaran #2 – Anna Thayer

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Release date: June 11th, 2014
Publisher: Lion Fiction
Age Group: Adult
Pages: 523
Format: Paperback
Source: Received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Like many from his village, young Eamon Goodhand dreamed of joining the Gauntlet, the army of the overlord Eldered. Now he is about to complete his training and swear his loyalty to Eldered and his commanders, the Hands, who uphold Eldered’s tight control of the land. Entering into the service of the Gauntlet, Eamon’s gifts, particularly his potent Sight, quickly become valuable to his superiors and he advances to the command rank at a speed that arouses the suspicions of fellow officers.

However, Eldered’s bloody rule, and Eamon’s personal friendships, start to challenge the young soldier’s assumptions about what might be true, and worthy of service. And soon Eamon must conceal a fatal secret: he is sworn to both Eldered and to Hughan, the rightful king of the land. Yet he may not forswear the vows he has uttered in all good faith so however he serves, his name will be traitor.

As tensions and military skirmishes increase, Eamon finds himself trusted by both his masters. How can he possibly maintain his integrity, act justly to his fellow officers of the Gauntlet, and act on behalf of all the warring people of the land?

Review:

Following her debut ‚The Traitor’s Heir’, Anna Thayer continues her story about the brewing war between King and Master in the second book in the ‚The Knight of Eldaran’ series. The King is gathering his forces and threatening to take over the land from the usurper, the Master. Eamon Goodman, who infiltrated the Master’s seat, Dunthruik in the first book had a hard time coping with his double life, but seems to have finally made a decision in ‚The King’s Hand’.

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Blood Will Follow – Valhalla Saga #2 – Snorri Kristjansson

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Release date: June 5th, 2014
Publisher: Jo Fletcher Books
Age Group: Adult
Pages: 308
Format: Paperback
Source: Received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Ulfar Thormodsson and Audun Arngrimsson have won the battle for Stenvik, although at huge cost, for they have suffered much worse than heartbreak. They have lost the very thing that made them human: their mortality.

While Ulfar heads home, looking for the place where he thinks he will be safe, Audun runs south. But both men are about to discover that they can not run away from themselves.

King Olav might have been defeated outside the walls of Stenvik, but now Valgard leads him north, in search of the source of the Vikings’ power.

All the while there are those who watch and wait, biding their time, for there are secrets yet to be discovered…

Review

 

He’s done it again! ‘Blood Will Follow’ is the second book in the Valhalla Saga, following the fascinating ‘Swords of Good Men’. The story of Ulfar, Audun and Valgard continues after the battle at Stenvik and all the mysterious and baffling things that happened there.

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Cover Reveal: ‘Under My Skin’ by Zoë Markham

Typing this title and Zoë’s name has made me all kinds of excited. Zoë was one of the first book bloggers I got to know on the internet and I’m extremely happy for her that her debut YA novel ‘Under My Skin’ will be published the 31st of March! Today she revealed the stunning cover for her book and I want to share it with all of you. But first, let’s see what the book is all about:

Inside we are all monsters…

Chloe was once a normal girl. Until the night of the car crash that nearly claimed her life. Now Chloe’s mother is dead, her father is a shell of the man he used to be and the secrets that had so carefully kept their family together are falling apart.

A new start is all Chloe and her father can hope for, but when you think you’re no longer human how can you ever start pretending?

A contemporary reworking of a British horror classic, Under My Skin follows seventeen-year-old Chloe into an isolated world of darkness and pain, as she struggles to understand what it really means to be alive.

Set against the familiar backdrop of everyday, normal teenage worries, Chloe’s world has become anything but…

 

Doesn’t that sound absolutely fascinating? You can pre-order the book on amazon if you’re just as curious about this story as I am! Now it’s time for that fabulous cover…

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What do you guys think?

Spotlight: ‘Marked’ by Sue Tingey

After I received the lovely review package for this book I can’t help but spread my excitement about it. I’ve only read the first few pages, but I’m already captivated by the main character and her story. Keep this one on your radar, folks, I have a feeling it will be a great book!

About the book

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With no family and very few friends, Lucky’s psychic ability has always made her an outcast. The only person she can rely on is Kayla, the ghost girl who has been with her since she was born.

But Kayla is not all that she appears.

And when Lucky is visited by a demonic assassin with a message for her friend, she finds herself dragged into the Underlands – and the political fight for the daemon king’s throne.

Lucky, trapped in the daemon world, is determined to find her way home… until she finds herself caught between the charms of the Guardian Jamie, the charismatic Daemon of Death Jinx – and the lure of finding out who she really is.

‘Marked’ will be released in the UK on the 7th of May by Jo Fletcher Books.

About the author

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Sue Tingey spent 28 years with a major British bank before leaving the corporate life to work as Practice Manager for an Arboricultural Consultancy. She lives with her husband (and Koi carp) in East Grinstead, West Sussex. Marked, Book One of the Soulseer Chronicles, is her first novel. You can contact her on Twitter @SueTingey.

Your Brother’s Blood – The Walkin’ Trilogy #1 – David Towsey

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Release date: August 29th, 2013
Publisher: Jo Fletcher Books
Age Group: (Young) Adult
Pages: 336
Format: Paperback
Source: Received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Thomas is thirty-two. He comes from the small town of Barkley. He has a wife there, Sarah, and a child, Mary; good solid names from the Good Book. And he is on his way home from the war, where he has been serving as a conscripted soldier.

Thomas is also dead – he is one of the Walkin’.

And Barkley does not suffer the wicked to live.

 

Review:

If you’re picking up ‘Your Brother’s Blood’ and expect it’s just another zombie novel, then let me tell you: it’s not. Though the Walkin’, as they are called in this book, are basically zombies, this is not a usual zombie story. So don’t wonder if the zombie context has been used too many times or if this book will lack originality, because ‘Your Brother’s Blood’ will show you the theme from a completely different perspective.
Different from many zombie novels, this one is more psychological than action-packed. If you want a break from all the swordfights and space battles, this is the book you should pick up.

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Update – February

This month has gone by WAY too fast. It feels like I just arrived in the UK, but in reality this is the 5th week after I moved here. It’s been insane. I hadn’t expected that my campus was so secluded, so getting around and more importantly, getting food is a major struggle. That said, it’s really nice here. The work I’m doing is fun and the people I work with are fantastic. I’ve also read some really good books this month, which always makes me happy.

Read and Currently Reading

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In all the chaos of adapting to the new environment and the new workplace, I’ve only finished 2 books this month: ‘Your Brother’s Blood’ by David Towsey and ‘The Mysteries’ by Lisa Tuttle. Both were excellent books.

I’m currently reading way to many books at once, so here is a short overview:

  • ‘Graceling’ by Kristin Cashore
  • ‘Wolfhound Century’ by Peter Higgins
  • ‘Knight’s Shadow’ by Sebastien de Castell

 

 

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I bought ‘Graceling’ when I was traveling the first weekend I was in the UK and immediately started reading it, because I forgot to take the book I was reading at the moment with me. Though it is a compelling and a fun story, the writing doesn’t seem to click with me, so I’ve put it aside for now.

Higgins_WolfhoundCentury-TP

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‘Wolfhound Century’ is a book I’m reading rather slowly. Due to my chronic illness, I wake up a lot at night and I can’t fall asleep again without something reassuring to calm me down. I don’t like harsh light at night, so whenever this happens, I read the e-books on my iPad (with the black background and dimmed as far down as possible). ‘Wolfhound Century’ is the book I’ve been reading during those sleepless moments. I’m halfway through now and though I had a few doubts at first, I’m really getting in to the story now and liking it a lot.

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The main book I’m reading devouring now is ‘Knight’s Shadow’. It’s a book I’d eagerly been looking forward to. I hadn’t expected it to be such a massive book! I started it the day before yesterday and it’s tons of fun. I’ve enjoyed every page so far.

 

 

 

 

Movies and Series

I haven’t been able to see any Fantasy/SciFi movies since I moved, but I’ve been watching plenty of series. I’m now at season 4 of Merlin and still really, really liking it. The dynamic between Bradley James and Colin Morgan is just brilliant.

 

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Next to that I’ve also been enjoying the newest episodes of Arrow and The Flash. I had a bit of a loss of interest when it came to The Flash, but I’ve watched all the episodes I missed so far and I’m now up to speed again. The last few episodes were very good and Arrow, as always, doesn’t disappoint either.

 

 

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Another series, one that doesn’t really fit in to the whole SFF genre that I usually post about, but one I’d like to mention because it’s JUST THAT GOOD, is ‘How To Get Away With Murder’. Finally a series that can make me gasp in disbelief every single episode and that is so compelling I literally can’t wait for the next Thursday to come fast enough. The season finale last Thursday was fantastic and they kept me guessing until the very end about the identity of the murderer. The last shocking twist almost made me fall off my chair. Now we’ll have to wait 6 months for new episodes. The agony!

 

Then there’s this:

The first official trailer for Season 3 of Orphan Black! I literally bingewatched this series last year and I’m absolutely stoked that the 3rd season is almost here. They’ve been teasing us with short scenes and clips like the “This Is War” one, but now it’s time for the full blown trailer. The final count down to the 18th of April can now officially begin.

Posts in February

Cover Reveal: ‘The Rebirths of Tao’ by Wesley Chu

Another exciting book that hits shelves the 2nd of April in the UK and the 7th of April in the US is ‘The Rebirths of Tao’, the 3rd book in Wesley Chu’s Lives of Tao series. The cover for this book has just been revealed and it will look smashing next to the other two books in the series!

The cover was created by Stewart Larking and Bruce Hogarth:

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About the book

Many years have passed since the events in The Deaths of Tao: the world is split into pro-Prophus and pro-Genjix factions, and is poised on the edge of a devastating new World War; the Prophus are hiding; and Roen has a family to take care of.

A Genjix scientist who defects to the other side holds the key to preventing bloodshed on an almost unimaginable scale.

With the might of the Genjix in active pursuit, Roen is the only person who can help him save the world, and the Quasing race, too.

And you thought you were having a stressful day…

You can pre-order the book from Amazon, The Book Depository, Barnes and Noble and IndieBound!

 

About the author

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Wesley Chu’s best friend is Michael Jordan, assuming that best friend status is earned by a shared television commercial. If not, then his best friend is his dog Eva who he can often be seen riding like a trusty steed through the windy streets of Chicago.

Unfortunately, Chu’s goals of using Hanes underwear commercials to launch a lucrative career following in Marky Mark’s footsteps came to naught. Despite phenomenal hair and manicured eyebrows, his inability to turn left led his destiny down another road. Instead of creating new realities with his skills as a thespian, Chu would dazzle audiences with his pen. Well, it’s a computer really, but the whole technology thing really sucks for metaphors. He had spirit fingers maybe?

In 2014, Wesley Chu was shortlisted for the John W. Campbell Best New Writer Award. Chu’s debut novel from Angry Robot Books, The Lives of Tao, earned him a Young Adult Library Services Association Alex Award and a Science Fiction Goodreads Choice Award Finalist slot. The sequel, The Deaths of Tao, continues the story of secret agent Roen Tan and his sarcastic telepathically bonded alien, Tao.

Chu is currently working on the third book in the Tao series, The Rebirths of Tao, due out later this year. He’s also recently finished the first draft of a new novel from Tor Books called Time Salvagers, featuring an energy stealing time traveler with addiction issues.

Cannonbridge – Jonathan Barnes

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Release date: February 10th, 2015
Publisher: Solaris
Age Group: Adult
Pages: 272
Format: e-book
Source: Received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Something has gone wrong with history in this gripping novel about a lie planted among the greatest works of English fiction.

Flamboyant, charismatic Matthew Cannonbridge was touched by genius, the most influential creative mind of the 19th century, a prolific novelist, accomplished playwright, the poet of his generation. The only problem is, he should never have existed and beleaguered, provincial, recently-divorced 21st Century don Toby Judd is the only person to realise something has gone wrong with history. 

All the world was Cannonbridge’s and he possessed, seemingly, the ability to be everywhere at once. Cannonbridge was there that night by Lake Geneva when conversation between Byron, Shelley and Mary Godwin turned to stories of horror and the supernatural. He was sole ally, confidante and friend to the young Dickens as Charles laboured without respite in the blacking factory. He was the only man of standing and renown to regularly visit Oscar Wilde in prison. Tennyson’s drinking companion, Kipling’s best friend, Robert Louis Stevenson’s counsellor and guide – Cannonbridge’s extraordinary life and career spanned a century, earning him a richly-deserved place in the English canon. 

But as bibliophiles everywhere prepare to toast the bicentenary of the publication of Cannonbridge’s most celebrated work, Judd’s discovery will lead him on a breakneck chase across the English canon and countryside, to the realisation that the spectre of Matthew Cannonbridge, planted so seamlessly into the heart of the 19th Century, might not be so dead and buried after all…

Review:

‘Cannonbridge’ is one of those few books that demand a lot of thinking and are still very compelling. It tells the tale about Dr. Toby Judd, a man whose life crashes and burns around him at the very beginning of the book. In his state of mental instability he starts obsessing about Matthew Cannonbridge, one of the most famous authors in English history. Dr. Judd has a feeling that something isn’t right about his work. Something just doesn’t fit. When he decides to investigate the infamous author, he stumbles across a lot of mystery, death and secrecy. He makes it his mission to find out what is going on with Cannonbridge and what secret is so important that people would kill for it.

I loved the writing; it had sometimes bordering poetic or lyrical. It might be a bit too much for some people, but for me personally it really fit the story rather well. A large part of this book focusses on authors of the 19th Century in England and this writing style seemed to fortify the feeling of that age and that subject.

The story jumps from present to past, with the flashbacks showing famous English authors at a certain point in their life. Each and every one meets Cannonbridge and we can see the evolution of Cannonbridge’s character through these flashback. The man who started out as a polite, benign stranger ends up a weird and threatening man.
It was very interesting to have these flashbacks to other famous English authors. Most of them I knew (Oscar Wilde, Mary Shelley, Charles Dickens…), but some I had never heard of. It was fascinating to take a look online to find out about their background and the works they wrote. It helped me understand their parts in the story better.

The fantastical aspect to the story only became apparent later on in the book, but it intrigued me. It’s not something that’s easy to wrap your head around and it demands quite a lot of imagination. I thought it was very imaginative and original and I loved finding out how everything really worked. It still remains very complicated and though that has it’s charm, it might take away some of the punch, the impact of the big reveal.

Our main character Dr. Judd is that kind of character I like to read about. Very flawed, with a life in tatters. Smart, but still baffled by what he encounters during his journey to find out more about Cannonbridge. There are a few secondary characters that didn’t really leave that much of an impression, but still kept the story going and most of the times also gave the main character the means or the incentive to go on with his investigation.

The very end is heart wrenching, but somehow I’d felt it coming. I’m a bit disappointed that it was this transparent; it could have really been a shocker to end the book with. It’s also interesting to think what this will do in the future to the main character, how he will cope with it. Interesting, but like I said, you could see it coming from miles away.

I ultimately really liked this book; the mystery was tangible throughout the entire book, only revealing the full extent of the scheme towards the end. I could never entirely guess what was going on and I absolutely love it when a book can keep me in the dark like that. It maybe has its flaws and it won’t appeal to everyone, but I enjoyed reading ‘Cannonbridge’ very much.

Spotlight: ‘Knight’s Shadow’ by Sebastien de Castell

So much excitement! Last year, ‘Traitor’s Blade’ was announced with a pretty big marketing campaign that made many of us quite curious about de Castell as a debut author. After reading it I could only agree that ‘Traitor’s Blade’ is indeed a great book and that de Castell would be high on all ‘best debut authors’ lists at the end of the year. ‘Traitor’s Blade’ did get a lot of love in the blogging community and I hope it has spread far beyond that. On the 5th of March the second book in the Greatcoats series, ‘Knight’s Shadow’, will be published by Jo Fletcher Books, and I honestly can’t wait to get my hands on it!

About the book

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Falcio Val Mond, First Cantor, with the help of fellow Greatcoats Kest and Brasti, has completed his King’s final task: he has found his Charoites – well, one at least, and she was not quite what they expected.

Now they must protect the girl from the many who would see her dead, and place her on the throne of a lawless kingdom. That would be simple enough, if it weren’t for the Daishini, an equally legendary band of assassins, getting in their way, not to forget the Dukes who are determined to hold on to their fractured Kingdoms, or the fact that the heir to the throne is only thirteen years old.

Oh, and the poison that is slowly killing Falcio. That’s not even mentioning the Greatcoat’s Lament . . .

Add the book to your Goodreads reading list.

Pre-order the book here! Or here if you like.

About the author

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Sebastien de Castell had just finished a degree in Archaeology when he started work on his first dig. Four hours later he realised how much he hated archaeology and left to pursue a very focused career as a musician, ombudsman, interaction designer, fight choreographer, teacher, project manager, actor, and product strategist. He lives in Vancouver, Canada, with his wife.

Follow him on Twitter or Facebook!

Red Rising – Red Rising #1 – Pierce Brown

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Release date: January 16th, 2014
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Age Group: (Young) Adult
Pages: 382
Format: e-book
Source: Received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

The Earth is dying. Darrow is a Red, a miner in the interior of Mars. His mission is to extract enough precious elements to one day tame the surface of the planet and allow humans to live on it. The Reds are humanity’s last hope.

Or so it appears, until the day Darrow discovers it’s all a lie. That Mars has been habitable – and inhabited – for generations, by a class of people calling themselves the Golds. A class of people who look down on Darrow and his fellows as slave labour, to be exploited and worked to death without a second thought.

Until the day that Darrow, with the help of a mysterious group of rebels, disguises himself as a Gold and infiltrates their command school, intent on taking down his oppressors from the inside. But the command school is a battlefield – and Darrow isn’t the only student with an agenda.

Review:

*This review may contain some spoilers for the first half of the book*

Well, I joined the hype. When I requested this book from Netgalley, positives reviews were piling up on Goodreads and it seemed everyone was pretty wild about the book. I have to be honest though: I don’t like hyped books. Most of the times they don’t meet my expectations and though they might be pretty good, disappointment will make it seem like I didn’t enjoy it as much as I would have otherwise.

Luckily, Red Rising isn’t one of those books. In fact, it is probably one of the best books I’ve read last year. It has some similarities with books like The Hunger Games, Battle Royale, The Maze Runner or Ender’s Game. In all of these, teenagers or young adults are put in a certain environment where fighting to survive seems to be the main storyline. Red Rising does feel different than all these books, though I can’t pinpoint what makes it stand out exactly.

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