Friday, 11 December 2020
Friday, 27 November 2020
So, I finished reading a book last night and while I enjoyed it for the most part there was also a point where I almost walked away from it (it was only just over 200 pages so I stuck it out).
The issue I had with it was the harm done to two dogs. One was a loyal dog who was trying to protect his owner - this one was smashed in the snout with a crowbar (but had no sign of injury the next morning) and also had it's tail hacked off for no real reason other than to prove the villain of the piece was a sadistic bastard. The other was an old dog encountered again by the villain in an otherwise empty house - this one had it's throat slit and the body dumped in the front garden.
And this got me thinking, why is it that characters go through all kinds of misery, harm, pain and torturous death in fiction all the time and it doesn't bother me one little but as soon as animals start getting hurt I find a problem with it.
Anything goes in fiction but leave the animals alone
Friday, 20 November 2020
Wednesday, 18 November 2020
Tuesday, 17 November 2020
It doesn't seem like 10 years since I got my grubby claws on an arc copy of Way of Kings, the first in Brandon Sanderson's Stormlight Archives but I guess it must be. And now the much anticipated 4th enormous volume, Rhythm of War, is out. I was fortunate enough to be offered a sample of the first 100 or so pages last week for review so, obviously, I snapped it up.
So, here we go. RoW starts, as all volumes have so far, with the prologue which gives another point of view telling of the events that kicked this whole thing off. This time it is Navani we follow on the night of Gavilar's murder... and a very interesting POV it is too! Nope, no spoilers here, sorry.
Then we move on to the story proper. Unlike previous volumes which carried straight on from the last (more or less) RoW kicks off around a year after the events of Oathbringer but there's not a lot of time for catching up. Straight from the off we are into the action with Kaladin and his Windrunners battling a host of Fused. I would say this is what Sanderson does best, the big epic battle scenes but to be honest that's only a part of it. His world building is off the chart, his character development up there with the best of the best. And it's not just the big part characters - even lesser players in this tale feel like they deserve to be there.
And then... The SkyBarge. Just WOW!! That's all I can say really (y'know, the whole 'no spoilers here' thing).
I know the majority of Sanderson's work ties into his Cosmere and there were moments here that reminded me of his Mistborn series. It's going to be interesting to see see how the whole thing develops over the years.
But anyway, back to the book. The sample I recieved is only a small part of RoW but there is so much there that when I get home tomorrow and start on the book proper I'm going to start right from page 1 and experience all this awesomeness again.
Once again Mr Sanderson you have knocked it out of the park - and then some
Thank you to Gollancz and Will O'Mullane for the sample chapters and the invitation to join this Blogtour. Please visit the other bloggers (below) to see what they thought
Monday, 16 November 2020
There's something big going down in Edinburgh, it's 'need to know' and, as if that's not enough, a civilian member of staff at the Edinburgh nick has gone missing.
Obviously Tony McLean is, as usual, up to his neck in it, getting a strip torn off him by his superiors and, well... just being Tony really.
As usual for this series there is a weird vibe to the story but not as supernatural as some and it did catch me out a few times which is always appreciated.
So, yeah, I enjoyed this as much as I have all the McLean series. Oswald has built up a good set and I will be looking out for the next when it comes out next year.
Highly recommended 4.3/5*
During the early part of this year, as you know, the country went into Lockdown due to this bloody virus and because of this I had to Shield for just over 4 months due to health issues. During this time I got through a lot of books (and I mean A LOT! - well, I was stuck at home the sun was shining and I had a lawn chair - What's a Wyrm to do 😉). It was in the early days of Shielding I discovered the Tony McLean books and James Oswald's other crime fiction and I have devoured them all. Books have the power to take you away from the day to day world and even if the places you visit in books are grim at times that escape is sometimes just what you need to get by. Oswald's books (among others) were what I needed when I needed them so James, if you're reading this, I tip my hat to you Sir and say thank you
Thursday, 12 November 2020
Saturday, 7 November 2020
Monday, 2 November 2020
Well, here we are, the nights are drawing in and the time is just right for curling up with a decent collection of Horror Short Stories. And (in my opinion) this collection from Flame Tree Press, edited by Mark Morris is just the thing.
There are stories from established names here and from lesser known authors too but the quality of the stories and the scares is high across the board. I have had a copy for a while and spread the reading out at a rate of 1 or 2 a week which, in my opinion, benefits the collection as it allows each story time to settle with the reader rather than run into each other.
It doesn't seem fair to single out stories in such a high quality field but I will anyway. The ones that stood out for me were
Butterfly Island by C J Tudor (I have a butterfly phobia so flesh eating butterflies 🦋 😲🦋)
Branch Line by Paul Finch (proper scary)
We All Come Home by Simon Bestwick (this one had me pleading with the main character all the way through 'please don't go there/do that etc)
All in all a job well done by Mr Morris and his authors and, as it makes a nice change to have a collection like this with no stories that fall flat or feel out of place...
4.5/5* Looking forward to more collections from this editor and publisher
Tuesday, 27 October 2020
4.5/5* and I'm going straight into book 2 now. See you on the other side
Monday, 19 October 2020
Well now, this is going to be a review of two halves guess. I picked up Blood Red Roses (a novella) because one of the later books in the series was on offer for 99p and I'd snapped it up as I like my crime fiction both Scottish and Noir and this ticked both boxes.
Blood Red Roses is a prequel novella to the Rhona Macleod series which, as you would expect, introduces us to Rhona, a forensic scientist, her life and her team. The story has a bride to be murdered on her hen night and although a fairly short story there is plenty going on. I was really engaged with the story and the characters and enjoyed it so much I downloaded the 1st in the series - Driftnet ...
Driftnet was, to be totally honest, pretty terrible. The story was promising enough - Rhona is called out to a murder scene in the early hours where the victim (brutally slain) bears an uncanny resemblance to Rhona herself. Could this be the son she gave up for adoption seventeen years ago? He even has the same birthmark so - well, you'd think so wouldn't you.
Someone is grooming and killing young men for sexual excitement/gratification and it's up to Rhona and team to get to the bottom of it.
So, the problems I had with this are many I'm afraid. First up, the murder victim (SPOILER WARNING) looks like Rhona, has the same birthmark in the same place as the son she gave up but isn't her son. Its JUST A COINCIDENCE (and one that isn't really resolved). Next up is the next potential victim - who is the son of a politician who is on the crest of a wave. Said politician is also an ex partner of Rhona, and the father of the child she gave up for adoption - what a coincidence eh!
And then there is Rhona's love life. Her partner is a musician and after a disagreement goes off to Paris. Rhona then falls for a computer whizz working for the police and who just might be a little dodgy or is he just doing his job?
I could go on but I won't. I'll just say that this was, in my opinion, a terrible book that could have been much better.
And that brings me to a problem. Through reading the prequel novella which was written later it's obvious that the author has improved massively but am I prepared to slog through the series waiting for the point when the writing level rises. Unfortunately I don't think I am. Which is a shame but there you go
Blood Red Roses 4/5*
The year is 1893 and witches and witch raft are no more. Salem is burnt to the ground and now women are fighting for the vote and to throw off the shackles of servitude.
But what if witchcraft could be brought back and combined with the the suffragist movement? Three estranged sisters must reunite, settle their differences and, together champion and fight for the rights of women.
That's the general premise of this, the second novel from Alix E Harrow but it is very much more than that. It doesn't just focus on women's rights, there is an lgbtq+ angle as well and all put together with beautiful writing (which is pretty much what I was expecting after The Ten Thousand Doors of January - and if you haven't read that yet, well... what are you waiting for)
Hats off to whoever did the cover art too, it's gorgeous.
Many thanks to Orbit for providing the review copy
Thursday, 24 September 2020
Thursday, 17 September 2020
Welcome to my spot on the Blogtour for Joe Abercrombie's latest. I'll start by saying that, due to late arrival of the book (this troublesome time means the postal service is stretched to say the least) I haven't quite reached the end so my review is on what I have read so far.
War is a nasty business but what happens when the fighting stops? That is exactly the situation we have here. The fighting is over (for now) but in this lull the battles of the general people come to the fore. Businesses will rise and fall, people will rise to the top and sink to the bottom while some struggle just to stay where they are. . . and the war is still on the horizon.
What has really impressed me with Abercrombie's latest series is the way the world has moved on to an industrial phase. No more Middle Ages here (well, not much). As someone who spent a lot of his career on the industrial shop floor I can vouch for the realistic feel of the factories, the unions and the workers. It would be no stretch to say a lot of the characters in this industrial landscape wouldn't be out of place in a Dickens novel.
And, as I said, war is still on the horizon so I'd better get back to the book. A full and updated review will be posted when I'm done.
Thanks to Patricia Deveer for inviting me onto this tour. Please try and find time to look at some of the reviews by the excellent bloggers on the tour.
Sunday, 13 September 2020
Thanks, as always, to Anne Cater for inviting me onto the tour, to Flame Tree Press for providing me with a review copy and please, if you can find time, have a look at the reviews by the other bloggers on the tour
Saturday, 12 September 2020
Thursday, 10 September 2020
Glam was the big sound of the 80s. The sound, the performers and (especially) the hair were huge. This book takes a year by year look at where Glam came from, why it vanished and 'why nobody admits to being a Glam Rocker anymore'. The anecdotes are brilliant (like when Slash was an errand boy for Motley Crűe - he lasted one day and nicked $100 from them into the bargain). As for where it went - well, it's no secret that Grunge came along and sucked all the fun out of Rock.
It feels like the author has a real feel for the era and I can certainly say that this book took me back to my youth and 'the good old days'
Highly recommended 4/5*
Thanks, as always, to Anne Cater for inviting me onto this blog tour, Unbound for providing the review copy and please, if you can, have a look at the posts by the other reviewers.
Monday, 17 August 2020
In the far North War is coming. The Christians are coming to convert the Norse - whatever it takes. Lives will be forged in the flames of battle... and, in Thilde Kold Holdt, a new name joins the ranks of great Storytellers.
I'll be the first to admit I have a passion for Norse stories and Viking tradition so as soon as I heard of this book I was after a copy. And it turned out much better than I hoped (and I had high hopes to start with). I love a story that takes you from wherever you are and transports you to the author's setting and this worked well here. Imagine, if you will, the far Northern lands, snow on the ground, cold winds blowing, a frost that bites. Now, when you are sat in the garden reading on a blazing hot day but you sense the cold rather than the heat - that is the mark of a good author.
And a good author is an understatement when it comes to Holdt. She writes from experience, having been a crew member on a Viking ship her knowledge comes through in her writing.
The world Thilde Kold Holdt has created is one I believed in and enjoyed spending time in, her characters feel real and I am very much looking forward to the next volume in The Hanged God trilogy - I can only see this saga getting better.
What surprised me (even though I knew already) is that this is a first time author - nobody should expect to be this good first time out. There are a lot of quality authors in the genre right now and with this debut it's time to make an extra space at the top table.
Northern Wrath - so good I read it twice 5/5*
It's only August but I can't see anything beating this so I'm naming Northern Wrath as The BlogCave's Debut Of The Year 2020
Saturday, 15 August 2020
A family’s past pursues them like a shadow in this riveting and emotional novel of psychological suspense by the Amazon Charts bestselling author of All the Little Children.
American journalist Rose Kynaston has just relocated to the childhood home of her husband, Dylan, in the English village of his youth. There’s a lot for Rose to get used to in Hurtwood. Like the family’s crumbling mansion, inhabited by Dylan’s reclusive mother, and the treacherous hill it sits upon, a place of both sinister folklore and present dangers.
Then there are the unwelcoming villagers, who only whisper the name Kynaston—like some dreadful secret, a curse. Everyone knows what happened at Hurtwood House twenty years ago. Everyone except Rose. And now that Dylan is back, so are rumors about his past.
When an archaeological dig unearths human remains on the hill, local police sergeant Ellie Trevelyan vows to solve a cold case that has cast a chill over Hurtwood for decades.
As Ellie works to separate rumor from fact, Rose must fight to clear the name of the man she loves. But how can Rose keep her family safe if she is the last to know the truth?
Monday, 3 August 2020
Family Business is the story of Graham, a librarian and history buff and his wife Janet. When Graham loses his job things look bad for them but then they meet Andreas - the previously unknown result of a drunken night in Graham's student days.
Or is he???
Turning up at just the right time Andreas offers Graham a job with his haulage company and somewhere to live and things just get more dodgy for them from there on in.
I thoroughly enjoyed this crime novel from Sheffield born Author Mark. It hits the perfect spot between cozy and dark with an ending that caught me out. I had read Mark's previous Novel, Sunbeam, after finding out he was a local lad and doing an event at my nearby library*. That was a very good and well written tale - this is even better.
Highly recommended 4/5 stars
*thanks to Covid this event hasn't happened yet so I have only met Mark online and the fact I know him online does not affect this review at all.
Thanks, as always, to Anne Cater for inviting me onto the tour and to Netgalley for providing a copy to review.
This may be the final day of the Blogtour but that means there are plenty of other reviews before mine for you to look at, so please do if you get a moment, thank you.