Waiting on Wednesday: Crowfall – Ed McDonald

Waiting on Wednesday: Crowfall – Ed McDonald

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Synopsis

Crowfall is a gritty epic fantasy for fans of Mark Lawrence, Scott Lynch and Daniel Polansky.

‘Dark, twisty and excellent . . . Grimdark with heart’ Mark Lawrence

A sorceress cataclysm has hit the Range, the final defensive line between the Republic and the immortal Deep Kings.

Tormenting red rains sweep the land, new monstrosities feed on fear in the darkness, and the power of the Nameless, the gods who protect the Republic, lies broken. The Blackwing captains who serve them are being picked off one by one, and even immortals have learned what it means to die. Meanwhile the Deep Kings have only grown stronger, and are poised to deliver a blow that will finally end the war.

Ryhalt Galharrow stands apart from it all.

He has been deeper into the wasteland known as the Misery than ever before. It has grown within him – changed him – but all power comes with a price, and now the ghosts of his past, formerly confined to the Misery, walk with him everywhere.

They will even follow him, and the few surviving Blackwing captains, on one final mission into the darkness.

Thoughts

book cover - 2019-04-16T211642.383I am honestly desperate to get my hands on this book. I read Blackwing – the first book in the Raven’s Mark series and I gave it five stars and it was on my favourite books of 2017 list. I then read Ravencry last year, it also got five stars and made my top books of 2018. It also made me cry and I really became attached to the wonderful characters in this unique and gripping fantasy series. Crowfall is the third and final book in the series and while I’m so sad that the series will be over I am just dying to know if my favourite characters are going to make it through. This series is so fast paced and intense and I just love returning to the world that Ed McDonald has created. I was lucky enough to meet Ed at YALC in 2017 and 2018 and my signed copies have pride of place on my favourites shelf. I’ve already pre-ordered Crowfall and it is without a doubt one of my most anticipated releases of 2019. If you haven’t had a chance to check out this series yet, you can take a look at my incoherent ramblings on Blackwing and Ravencry. Crowfall is publishing June 13th from Gollancz, so you have plenty of time to catch up on the first two books in the series!

Blog Tour: Sleep – C. L. Taylor

Blog Tour: Sleep – C. L. Taylor

BOOK REVIEW - 2019-04-09T230402.137.pngRelease Date: April 4th 2019
Publisher: Avon Books
Pages: 368
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 4.5/5 stars

Synopsis

All Anna wants is to be able to sleep. But crushing insomnia, terrifying night terrors and memories of that terrible night are making it impossible. If only she didn’t feel so guilty…

To escape her past, Anna takes a job at a hotel on the remote Scottish island of Rum, but when seven guests join her, what started as a retreat from the world turns into a deadly nightmare.

Each of the guests have a secret but one of them is lying – about who they are and why they’re on the island. There’s a murderer staying in the Bay View hotel. And they’ve set their sights on Anna.

Seven strangers. Seven secrets. One deadly lie.

Someone’s going to sleep and never wake up…

Review

book cover - 2019-03-24T181054.124I have only read a couple of books by C. L. Taylor but she is fast becoming my absolute favourite thriller writer. I read The Fear and thought it couldn’t possibly be topped but I was absolutely wrong. Sleep is dark, twisty and I was on the edge of my seat the entire time I was reading it. I ended up reading the last hundred pages in the wee hours of the morning because I just had to know how it was going to end. I am officially blaming this book for causing sleepless nights.

After a tragic accident Anna takes a job at a hotel on the island of Rum – an incredibly remote place in the Scottish highlands. Soon after starting some guests start to arrive and her safe haven becomes a nightmare. All the guests have something going on under the surface but one in particular has come to the hotel with a particular mission in mind: to murder Anna.

C. L. Taylor has this way of writing such fascinating and life like characters. I really felt like Anna was real and she was a really interesting protagonist to follow. Sleep is incredibly fast paced and I honestly had no idea what was going to happen from one moment to the next. Taylor always seems to bring something completely new to the thriller genre.

One of the things I particularly loved most about this book was the setting. I’ve never been to Rum but in this novel it is portrayed as an incredibly remote and barren landscape, giving the entire novel a tense and claustrophobic feel. The story was well executed with plenty of moments I didn’t see coming.

If you love psychological thrillers or you’ve read some of C. L. Taylor’s other books this is definitely not to be missed and I’m definitely already calling this as my favourite thriller of the year.
5 stars
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Blog Tour: Muse of Nightmares – Laini Taylor

Blog Tour: Muse of Nightmares – Laini Taylor

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Series:
Strange the Dreamer #2
Release Date: April 4th 2019
Publisher: Hodder and Stoughton
Pages: 528
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 5/5 stars

Synopsis

In the wake of tragedy, neither Lazlo nor Sarai are who they were before. One a god, the other a ghost, they struggle to grasp the new boundaries of their selves as dark-minded Minya holds them hostage, intent on vengeance against Weep.

Lazlo faces an unthinkable choice–save the woman he loves, or everyone else?–while Sarai feels more helpless than ever. But is she? Sometimes, only the direst need can teach us our own depths, and Sarai, the muse of nightmares, has not yet discovered what she’s capable of.

As humans and godspawn reel in the aftermath of the citadel’s near fall, a new foe shatters their fragile hopes, and the mysteries of the Mesarthim are resurrected: Where did the gods come from, and why? What was done with thousands of children born in the citadel nursery? And most important of all, as forgotten doors are opened and new worlds revealed: Must heroes always slay monsters, or is it possible to save them instead?

Love and hate, revenge and redemption, destruction and salvation all clash in this gorgeous sequel to the New York Timesbestseller, Strange the Dreamer.

Review

book cover - 2019-04-02T135442.190Strange the Dreamer was one of my favourite books of 2017, it completely sucked me in and so I went into Muse of Nightmares with the highest of expectations. I’m so happy to report that it was even better than I could have imagined. If you haven’t picked up this beautiful duology yet, now is definitely the time.

Muse of Nightmares picks up after Strange the Dreamer left off, taking us back to the characters we fell in love with in the first book. It was great to see them continue to develop and expand and I loved seeing how much they’d changed since the beginning of Strange the Dreamer. Muse of Nightmares also introduces us to some new characters – two sisters named Kora and Nova. I completely adored their story and was completely captivated in seeing how their story connected with that of Lazlo and Sarai. Laini Taylor writes these complex and multi-layered characters that are just a pleasure to read about – Lazlo Strange will forever be one of my favourite characters of all time.

Previous to this duology I had never read anything by Laini Taylor but I completely fell in love with her writing style in these books. It’s so beautiful and really brings everything to life that you cannot help but sink into this rich and magical world. The world building is excellent and it is put to good use in this book, giving us more back story and history of the gods. Muse of Nightmares delivers a fast and exciting plot and I was on the edge of my seat more than a few times. I think the story ended perfectly it was full of excitement and heartbreak and everything I hoped for. I for one am so excited to see what Laini Taylor is going to bring out next.

5 stars
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Book Review: One Word Kill – Mark Lawrence

Book Review: One Word Kill – Mark Lawrence

BOOK REVIEW - 2019-03-21T213135.133.pngSeries: Impossible Times #1
Release Date: May 1st 2019
Publisher: 47North
Pages: 260
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: I received an E-ARC of this via Netgalley
Rating: 5/5 stars

Synopsis

In January 1986, fifteen-year-old boy-genius Nick Hayes discovers he’s dying. And it isn’t even the strangest thing to happen to him that week.

Nick and his Dungeons & Dragons-playing friends are used to living in their imaginations. But when a new girl, Mia, joins the group and reality becomes weirder than the fantasy world they visit in their weekly games, none of them are prepared for what comes next. A strange—yet curiously familiar—man is following Nick, with abilities that just shouldn’t exist. And this man bears a cryptic message: Mia’s in grave danger, though she doesn’t know it yet. She needs Nick’s help—now.

He finds himself in a race against time to unravel an impossible mystery and save the girl. And all that stands in his way is a probably terminal disease, a knife-wielding maniac and the laws of physics.

Challenge accepted.

Review

book cover - 2019-03-01T143051.847Mark Lawrence has once again made me completely fall in love with a wonderful cast of characters and an intensely gripping story. One Word Kill follows Nick – a mathematical genius who learns he’s dying of cancer. Nick and his friends play Dungeons and Dragons to escape this harsh reality but when a strange man begins following Nick and brings him some dire warnings, the gang’s real life becomes crazier than they ever thought possible.

This book is a wild ride. From the very first chapter I could feel myself getting absorbed in this story and I really grew attached to Nick, Mia and the gang. The characters are so well described and I loved watching the different dynamics as they interacted with each other and I really liked seeing how things changed with the introduction of Mia to the group. Lawrence seamlessly weaves science fiction elements with worries about being able to dance at parties and it made for a really fascinating story.

The story is full of plot twists and I definitely didn’t see some of them coming. One Word Kill is multi-layered, dealing not only with Nick’s cancer treatment and the mysterious stranger, but also a dash of romance and the secrets of Mia’s past. I felt like each part of the story blended incredibly well making for a fast paced and incredibly gripping plot.

Mark Lawrence is one of my favourite authors and One Word Kill definitely wasn’t a disappointment. The story flows so well that I found myself sitting down to read a few pages and still sitting a long time later because I just had to find out what was going to happen next. Compared with some of Lawrence’s other books this one is on the shorter side and it has definitely left me itching for more in this series. If you’re a fan of Stranger Things, time travel and a rag tag bunch of kids trying to save the world, One Word Kill should definitely be next on your purchase list.
5 stars

Book Review: The Silent Companions – Laura Purcell

Book Review: The Silent Companions – Laura Purcell

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Release Date:
March 6th 2018
Publisher: Raven Books
Pages: 305
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: I bought a copy of this at my local Waterstones.
Rating: 5/5 stars

Synopsis

When newly widowed Elsie is sent to see out her pregnancy at her late husband’s crumbling country estate, The Bridge, what greets her is far from the life of wealth and privilege she was expecting . . .

When Elsie married handsome young heir Rupert Bainbridge, she believed she was destined for a life of luxury. But with her husband dead just weeks after their marriage, her new servants resentful, and the local villagers actively hostile, Elsie has only her husband’s awkward cousin for company. Or so she thinks. Inside her new home lies a locked door, beyond which is a painted wooden figure–a silent companion–that bears a striking resemblance to Elsie herself. The residents of The Bridge are terrified of the figure, but Elsie tries to shrug this off as simple superstition–that is, until she notices the figure’s eyes following her.

A Victorian ghost story that evokes a most unsettling kind of fear, this is a tale that creeps its way through the consciousness in ways you least expect–much like the silent companions themselves.

Review

Untitled design (17)This book has instantly become one of my favourite books ever. Dark, unsettling and beautifully descriptive, it will keep you up late on these cold winter nights. Elsie is grieving for the unexpected death of her new husband when she moves into his old country estate, but not everyone welcomes her arrival. The Bridge is full of secrets and servants who do not like her, not to mention something more sinister that hides behind locked doors.

This book genuinely gave me the fear. I love ghost stories and horror novels, but I find it pretty rare to be actually frightened by them. Throughout The Silent Companions I felt that pervading sense of unease, The story is wonderfully written and keeps you gripped right from the start – I couldn’t put it down even when I wasn’t sure I wanted to know what happened next.

I loved the characters too. They were so well written – complex characters who all held their own motivations – and often weren’t quite what they seemed on the surface. The story is told in several different narratives – Elsie in a hospital as she recovers from the traumatic events at The Bridge, Elsie as she relives her experiences with the silent companions as well as a diary from Anne Bainbridge, an old ancestor who lived at the estate 200 years before. I loved the different narratives as the were so multi-layered and each had their own exciting story line that I wanted to hear more from. When you have multiple points of view you tend to prefer one over the other, but I was completely engrossed in both Elsie and Anne’s story.

This book is atmospheric, chilling and will definitely send a shiver up your spine. What more could you want from a Gothic ghost story? If you love books by the likes of Shirley Jackson then The Silent Companions will make for perfect reading.
5 stars

Book Review: The Girl in the Tower – Katherine Arden

Book Review: The Girl in the Tower – Katherine Arden

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Series:
The Winternight Trilogy #2
Release Date: January 25th 2018
Publisher: Ebury Publishing
Pages: 364
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 5/5 stars

Synopsis

The magical adventure begun in The Bear and the Nightingale continues as brave Vasya, now a young woman, is forced to choose between marriage or life in a convent and instead flees her home—but soon finds herself called upon to help defend the city of Moscow when it comes under siege.

Orphaned and cast out as a witch by her village, Vasya’s options are few: resign herself to life in a convent, or allow her older sister to make her a match with a Moscovite prince. Both doom her to life in a tower, cut off from the vast world she longs to explore. So instead she chooses adventure, disguising herself as a boy and riding her horse into the woods. When a battle with some bandits who have been terrorizing the countryside earns her the admiration of the Grand Prince of Moscow, she must carefully guard the secret of her gender to remain in his good graces—even as she realizes his kingdom is under threat from mysterious forces only she will be able to stop.

Review

nightingaleThis is the second book in the Winternight trilogy. The first book has become one of my favourite books of all time and so I was incredibly eager to see what was next in store in this magnificent series. I was a little apprehensive that I wouldn’t love it as much as I did the first book, but if possible I loved The Girl in the Tower even more than The Bear and the Nightingale.

The thing that I love most about this book and in fact this series is the detail, the vivid and imaginative world that Katherine Arden has created. It leaps off the page and is so full of magic and folklore that you can’t help but fall in love with this beautiful world. The Girl in the Tower has a fantastic plot that kept me eager for more and on one occasion I almost missed my bus stop on the way home because I was just so absorbed in the story.

Vasya was my favourite character in The Bear and the Nightingale and I loved seeing her grow and prove herself in this second instalment. She’s brave, stubborn and the most wonderful protagonist. I can’t tell who I love more, Vasya or her fearless horse Solovey. There are a whole host of other characters which are well developed and complex, which makes the story come alive even more.

The story manages to encompass so much – not just magic and adventure but friendship, family, romance, politics and lots of other themes in between. The Girl in the Tower has something for everyone, and I cannot recommend it enough. The writing is lush and beautiful, I loved The Girl in the Tower from start to finish and my only problem now is waiting to read the last instalment in Vasya’s story.
5 stars

Top Ten Tuesday: Favourite Books Under 2000 Ratings on Goodreads

Top Ten Tuesday: Favourite Books Under 2000 Ratings on Goodreads

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Welcome to another Top Ten Tuesday! This week we’re talking about our favourite books that don’t have many ratings on Goodreads (under 2000). I thought it might be quite hard to find books on my read shelf that fit this category but it was actually pretty easy. I loved all of these books and gave them all four or five stars – so let’s dive in!

1. The Sisters of the Winter Wood – Rena Rossner (1,698 ratings)
Untitled design (96)I loved this book so much, it was so beautifully written and it was definitely a stand out book for me in 2018.

Raised in a small village surrounded by vast forests, Liba and Laya have lived a peaceful sheltered life – even if they’ve heard of troubling times for Jews elsewhere. When their parents travel to visit their dying grandfather, the sisters are left behind in their home in the woods.

But before they leave, Liba discovers the secret that their Tati can transform into a bear, and their Mami into a swan. Perhaps, Liba realizes, the old fairy tales are true. She must guard this secret carefully, even from her beloved sister.

Soon a troupe of mysterious men appear in town and Laya falls under their spell-despite their mother’s warning to be wary of strangers. And these are not the only dangers lurking in the woods…

The sisters will need each other if they are to become the women they need to be – and save their people from the dark forces that draw closer.

2. The Puppet Show – M. W. Craven (590 ratings)
book cover (98)This is a very recent read for me and it’s one that I raced through because it was so addictive. The first in a new crime thriller series, I’m already dying for more!

A serial killer is burning people alive in the Lake District’s prehistoric stone circles. He leaves no clues and the police are helpless.

When his name is found carved into the charred remains of the third victim, disgraced detective Washington Poe is brought back from suspension and into an investigation he wants no part of.

Reluctantly partnered with the brilliant but socially awkward civilian analyst, Tilly Bradshaw, the mismatched pair uncover a trail that only he is meant to see. The elusive killer has a plan and for some reason Poe is part of it.

As the body count rises, Poe discovers he has far more invested in the case than he could have possibly imagined. And in a shocking finale that will shatter everything he’s ever believed about himself, Poe will learn that there are things far worse than being burned alive…

3. The Gilded King – Josie Jaffrey (142 ratings)
gkThis exciting fantasy tale is the first in the Sovereign Series from Josie Jaffrey. I really loved reading this first instalment and I am itching to get started on book two and three!

In the Blue, the world’s last city, all is not well.

Julia is stuck within its walls. She serves the nobility from a distance until she meets Lucas, a boy who believes in fairytales that Julia’s world can’t accommodate. The Blue is her prison, not her castle, and she’d escape into the trees if she didn’t know that contamination and death awaited humanity outside.

But not everyone in the Blue is human, and not everyone can be contained.

Beyond the city’s boundaries, in the wild forests of the Red, Cameron has precious little humanity left to lose. As he searches for a lost queen, he finds an enemy rising that he thought long dead. An enemy that the humans have forgotten how to fight.

One way or another, the walls of the Blue are coming down. The only question is what side you’ll be on when they do.

4. Darksoul – Anna Stephens (150 ratings)
book cover (20)This is the second instalment in one of my all time favourite series, I loved this book and it was pretty much an instant five star read and I need book three like yesterday.

The Wolves lie dead beside Rilpor’s soldiers, slaughtered at the hands of the Mireces and their fanatical army.

The veil that once kept the Red Gods at bay has been left in tatters as the Dark Lady’s plans for the world come to fruition. Where the gods walk, blood is spilled on the earth.

All that stands between the Mireces army and complete control of the Kingdom of Rilpor are the walls of its capital, Rilporin, and those besieged inside.

But hope might yet bloom in the unlikeliest of places: in the heart of a former slave, in the mind of a soldier with the eyes of a fox, and in the hands of a general destined to be king.

5. Ravencry – Ed McDonald (841 ratings)
book cover (22)This is another second instalment in a series that I just absolutely adore. It got quite a lot of buzz on social media when it was released so I was really surprised it ended up on this list!

Four years have passed since Nall’s Engine drove the Deep Kings back across the Misery, but as they hurl fire from the sky, darker forces plots against the republic.

A new power is rising: a ghost in the light known only as the Bright Lady manifests in visions across the city, and the cult that worship her grasp for power even as the city burns around them.

When Crowfoot’s arcane vault is breached, an object of terrible power is stolen, and Galharrow and his Blackwings must once find out which of Valengrad’s enemies is responsible before they have a chance to use it.

To save Valengrad, Galharrow, Nenn and Tnota must venture to a darker, more twisted and more dangerous place than any they’ve walked before: the very heart of the Misery.

6. Witchsign – Den Patrick (161 ratings)
Untitled design (61)I really loved Den Patrick’s Boy with the Porcelain Blade so I was really excited to find out he was releasing a new fantasy series and I definitely wasn’t disappointed!

It has been seventy-five years since the dragons’ rule of fire and arcane magic over Vinkerveld was ended, and the Empire was born. Since, the tyrannical Synod has worked hard to banish all manifestations of the arcane across the lands. 

However, children are still born bearing the taint of the arcane, known to all as witchsign. So each year the Emperor sends out his Vigilants across the continent to detect the arcane in these children. Those found tainted are taken, and never seen again. Steiner has always suspected his sister Kjellrunn of bearing witchsign. But when their father’s attempt to protect her from the Invigilation backfires, it is Steiner who is mistakenly taken. However it is not death which awaits Steiner, but an Academy where the children with witchsign learn to master their powers – some at the cost of their lives. Steiner is determined to escape the Academy and protect his sister from this fate.

But powerful enemies await him at every turn, and Steiner finds himself taken on a journey straight into the heart of the Empire’s deepest secrets, which will force him to reconsider everything he has known about witchsign.

7. The Way Past Winter – Kiran Milwood Hargrave (270 ratings)
book cover (25)This is a beautifully told middle grade story full of magic and mystery. I absolutely adored it and it’s fast become one of my favourite middle grade books.

Mila and her sisters live with their brother Oskar in a small forest cabin in the snow. One night, a fur-clad stranger arrives seeking shelter for himself and his men. But by the next morning, they’ve gone – taking Oskar with them. Fearful for his safety, Mila and her sisters set out to bring Oskar back – even it means going north, crossing frozen wild-lands to find a way past an eternal winter.

8. The Ninth Rain – Jen Williams (962 ratings)
I binge read the The Ninth Rain and the sequel The Bitter Twins because the series was just so unputdownable. Jen Williams has created such a fascinating world and honestly I can’t get enough.

book cover (94)The great city of Ebora once glittered with gold. Now its streets are stalked by wolves. Tormalin the Oathless has no taste for sitting around waiting to die while the realm of his storied ancestors falls to pieces – talk about a guilt trip. Better to be amongst the living, where there are taverns full of women and wine.

When eccentric explorer, Lady Vincenza ‘Vintage’ de Grazon, offers him employment, he sees an easy way out. Even when they are joined by a fugitive witch with a tendency to set things on fire, the prospect of facing down monsters and retrieving ancient artefacts is preferable to the abomination he left behind.

But not everyone is willing to let the Eboran empire collapse, and the adventurers are quickly drawn into a tangled conspiracy of magic and war. For the Jure’lia are coming, and the Ninth Rain must fall…

9. Book of Fire – Michelle Kenney (76 ratings)
bfI loved this YA dystopian/science fiction story and thought it was a really interesting take on the genre. I have book two on my TBR and I can’t wait to find out what’s in store for these characters.

Life outside the domes is not possible. At least that’s what Insiders are told. Twins Eli and Talia shouldn’t exist. They’re Outsiders. 

Their home is a secret. Their lives are a secret. Arafel is a secret. 

An unexpected forest raid forces Talia into a desperate mission to rescue her family while protecting the sacred book of Arafel from those who would use it as a weapon. As Talia and her life long friend Max enter the dome, she makes some unexpected discoveries, and allies, in the form of rugged Insider August, that will change the course of her life forever. 

She’ll stop at nothing to save her family but will she sacrifice her heart in the process?

10. The Scarecrow Queen – Melinda Salisbury (1246 ratings)
cqThis is the concluding book to the Sin Eater’s Daughter trilogy and honestly this book broke me a little bit. I love Melinda Salibury’s writing and this series is one of my favourites.

The final battle is coming . . .

As the Sleeping Prince tightens his hold on Lormere and Tregellan, the net closes in on the ragged band of rebels trying desperately to defeat him. Twylla and Errin are separated, isolated, and running out of time. The final battle is coming, and Aurek will stop at nothing to keep the throne forever . .

So those are the top ten of my favourite books with under 2000 ratings on Goodreads! Which books made your list?