Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance by Ruth Emmie Lang

“We built a bonfire outside, emptied everything from the refrigerator into a castiron pot— beef, potatoes, onion, black beans, tomatoes, garlic, rice—and let it stew over the open flame. We crouched over our stew like Vikings, hair falling into our bowls, scooping it up with chunks of bread and slurping the rest.”

This book gets one of my rare fives. It is well written and immersive.

The story is about Weylyn Grey, his life and those around him. Some would say his life was magical, I think Weylyn would disagree.

His tale is told through the commentary of others who are part of his life and occasionally of Weylyn himself.

He first appears as someone to whom a young girl named Mary is tasked to make a delivery, by her father. Mary makes further deliveries after this initial one, then when Weylyn’s money runs out and he is forced to move on, she runs away with him.

Mary eventually gets reunited with her father and Weylyn is fostered by a Reverend and his family.

Sadly Weylyn is destined to move on from his new home and from many of his future relationships. He spends his life leaving people behind, in his own mind, to protect them.

This book was very involving, instead of a straightforward telling of Weylyn’s life from one viewpoint, it is told from the eyes (and voices) of many. This keeps it fresh and engaging. There were many points in the story that grabbed my attention.

My favourite bit was when Weylyn and another had a meal and “crouched over our stew like Vikings, hair falling into our bowls, scooping it up with chunks of bread and slurping the rest.”

I don’t really want to spoil the book for anyone, so I’m deliberately being vague – part of the enjoyment is the discovering for yourself. What I will say though is that this book was so well described throughout and extremely enjoyable. I really recommend it to anyone who likes a bit of fantastic, natural, magical storytelling.

I received an e-ARC of this novel through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. NetGalley does not allow for paid reviews.

5/5 Stars (What this means…five-stars-applied-carefully)

Get your copy [click on the image for more information]:

Read it on Kindle [click on the image for more information]:

Official description:
Ruth Emmie Lang teaches us how to find magic in the ordinary in her magical realism debut Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance.

Orphaned, raised by wolves, and the proud owner of a horned pig named Merlin, Weylyn Grey knew he wasn’t like other people. But when he single-handedly stopped that tornado on a stormy Christmas day in Oklahoma, he realized just how different he actually was.

As amazing as these powers may appear, they tend to manifest themselves at inopportune times and places, jeopardizing not only his own life, but the life of Mary, the woman he loves.

Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance tells the story of Weylyn Grey’s life from the perspectives of the people who knew him, loved him, and even a few who thought he was just plain weird. Although he doesn’t stay in any of their lives for long, he leaves each of them with a story to tell: great storms that evaporate into thin air; fireflies that make phosphorescent honey; a house filled with spider webs and the strange man who inhabits it.

There is one story, however, that Weylyn wishes he could change: his own. But first he has to muster enough courage to knock on Mary’s front door.

Save on your mobile:
Get a free giffgaff Sim

Advertisements

A Thousand Rooms by Helen Jones

“The edge of the little pool is fringed with sea anemones, purple and green tendrils like soft feathers waving in the water. Dad reaches in and gently tickles the middle of one with his finger and I squeal with delight as the tendrils close around his finger.”

Katie has died! And she doesn’t know what to do. She drifts from place to place and time to time, trying to find out how to get to where she should be now. Seeing her friends and family grieving for her is so difficult, as she feels guilty for dying so inconsiderately!

Katie has to find her own way after her death. It seems to take forever for her to find out how to get to heaven, but she has to do it the right way. She gets thrown out of one or two places that she thinks are heaven on her way to her destination! She does eventually find her soul mate, Jason, who comes along later to help her adjust to what and where she is.

Then a guardian comes along and reassigns him, which Katie finds devastating, but she has another person to help her along.

This book had so much going for it in terms of the subject matter, but I so struggled with the way the author had written it. It was so simpering and in the style of a romance story. I struggled to continue reading it, but ploughed on to see how it actually went on to finish.

Unless you like romance, I really cannot recommend this book.

If you like romance stories, then this book is a fantastic read, you should enjoy it totally. And in that case I would recommend this book to you.

I received an e-ARC of this novel through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. NetGalley does not allow for paid reviews.

2/5 Stars (What this means…five-stars-applied-carefully)

Get your copy [click on the image for more information]:

Read it on Kindle [click on the image for more information]:

Official description:
You don’t wake up expecting to die.
Katie is thirty-four, single, and used to work in advertising, She’s also dead. A lost soul hitching rides with the dying trying to find… wherever she’s supposed to be.
And whoever she’s supposed to be with.
If Heaven has a thousand rooms, what will it take to find hers?
Save on your mobile:

Get a free giffgaff Sim

Sorcery for Beginners A Simple Help Guide to a Challenging & Arcane Art by Matt Harry

“It may seem cruel, but young people who endure traumatic moments such as this one often make better spell casters. Perhaps it’s because a happy and content existence leaves little motivation to improve oneself.”

This is a book that tells you how to do sorcery. It is also the story of Owen MacCready, whose mother has left him, and whose father has relocated him to Las Vegas.

Owen is being chased by bullies when he comes across a special bookstore and ends up with a special book, one that will teach him magic!

However, the book may teach him magic, but it comes with conditions, the most important one being that he must not let the Euclideans get their hands on it.

Of course the Euclideans want that book more than anything, so Owen has a huge battle ahead of him, without any other problems that may occur along the way.

Throughout the Tale, you ‘learn’ the same spells as Owen, so if you fulfil the sorcery requirements you should be able to cast spells like him (maybe better).

The book is very visual and includes diagrams and text boxes to supplement the story and spell casting instructions, you may see sections similar to these…

It was a good story and although it could be interpreted as a bit predictable in places, in the main it was interesting and innovative in its telling. I enjoyed the story. It will definitely suit young readers and those who have an open mind about magical stories. Try it, you may be surprised.

I received an e-ARC of this novel through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. NetGalley does not allow for paid reviews.

4/5 Stars (What this means…five-stars-applied-carefully)

Get your copy [click on the image for more information]:

Read it on Kindle [click on the image for more information]:

Official description:
Five-hundred years ago, sorcery began to fade from the world. As technology prevailed, combustion engines and computers replaced enchanted plows and spell books. Real magicians were hunted almost to extinction. Science became the primary system of belief, and the secrets of spell-casting were forgotten. That is … until now.

Sorcery for Beginners is no fantasy or fairy tale. Written by arcane arts preservationist and elite mage Euphemia Whitmore (along with her ordinary civilian aide Matt Harry), this book is a how-to manual for returning magic to an uninspired world. It’s also the story of Owen Macready, a seemingly average 13-year-old who finds himself drawn into a centuries-long war when he uses sorcery to take on a school bully. Owen’s spell casting attracts the attention of a ruthless millionaire and a secret society of anti-magic mercenaries, all of whom wish to use Sorcery for Beginners to alter the course of world history forever.

Save on your mobile:
Get a free giffgaff Sim

Thinblade (Sovereign of the Seven Isles Book 1) by David A. Wells

“He had been burned, marked with the glyph of the Reishi, only a moment after the warning spell had washed over him. The spell that had just warned the whole world about the coming of Prince Phane had marked him.”

This is an epic story, judging by this the first of the series.

It starts with a wolf hunt, a murder and a magical marking of the son of a minor noble. The bloodline of the family has a curse on it and Alexander will find out from his father what the magical marked burned into his skin will mean for him, his family and everyone else in the Seven Isles.
“You are the one marked by the Rebel Mage. The old story says that you must defeat Prince Phane or the world will fall into darkness and tyranny for a thousand years.”

The battle starts straight away and Alexander has to continue the fight throughout the entire story with little let-up or reprieve.

I’m hoping that this series ends up being as good as ‘Game of Thrones’, if it carries on in such a good vein I will be very happy to keep reading this series by David A. Wells.

4/5 Stars (What this means…
five-stars-applied-carefully)

Get your copy [click on the image for more information]:

Read it on Kindle [click on the image for more information]:

Official description:
When second son Alexander Valentine loses his brother to an assassin’s arrow, he discovers that his family protects an ancient secret and reluctantly finds himself at the center of the final battle of a war that was supposed to have ended two thousand years ago.

Pursued by the dark minions of an ancient enemy, Alexander flees to the mountain city of Glen Morillian where he discovers that he is the heir to the throne of Ruatha, one of the Seven Isles, but before he can claim the throne he must recover the ancient Thinblade. Seven were forged by the first Sovereign of the Seven Isles and bound to the bloodline of each of the seven Island Kings in exchange for their loyalty to the Old Law. Each sword is as long as a man’s arm, as wide as a man’s thumb and so thin it can’t be seen when viewed from the edge. Thinblade is the epic fantasy adventure story of Alexander’s quest to find the ancient sword, claim the throne of Ruatha and raise an army to stand against the enemy that has awoken to claim dominion over all of the Seven Isles.

Save on your mobile:
Get a free giffgaff Sim

The Last Librarian (Book One of the Justar Journal) by Brandt Legg

““I am not running, I am seeking. I am not hiding, I am finding.” “Where do you go? What do you do?” “I’m just dancing with time, and occasionally wrestling with it. Like my daddy used to say, ‘Time’s a funny thing.’ But I’m not laughing.” He sat next to Deuce again. “It’s almost over.””

This is a story set in the future, when all the books except those in the last library have been destroyed. Books are only available digitally now and the government agencies have decided that the last paper books are no longer necessary. The library is scheduled to be destroyed. The Last Librarian is Runit Happerman and he wants to save as many books as he can before ‘they’ come in 10 days to destroy his world, he just needs a little help with that.
His best friend Nelson is an author, he offers to help and gets his sister Chelle Andreas involved too. Runit is concerned about his son Grandyn becoming embroiled in the rebellious act, but is unable to prevent him joining the growing team and also bringing his girlfriend Vida along, as well as his Treerunner colleagues. Surely all those would be enough to achieve the saving of 100,000 books.
There are of course other factors involved, but to write them here would be to spoil the story for the next reader, so trust me when I say that it is a massive task, made difficult by shifting parameters and personal interactions.
The story could be considered a prophetic tale, with the prevalence of digital books, many people nowadays don’t need the paper books anymore. But who keeps the records of what the author intended to be read?
This was an interesting and involving read and I did enjoy my time with it.

4/5 Stars (What this means…five-stars-applied-carefully)

Get your copy [click on the image for more information]:

Read it on Kindle [click on the image for more information]:

Official description:
USA Today Bestseller “Never let them catch you reading!”
In the year 2098, there is no more war, no more hunger and no more pollution. The world is secure and Earth’s 2.9 billion people are healthy and happy. There is also only one remaining library that still houses physical books. In addition to the dusty volumes, the library holds many secrets. But the government has decided to shut it down and burn the contents. Unless an unlikely trio can save the books, humanity will lose more than just what is printed on those antique pages.

With a single government ruling the entire planet, one currency, one language and no religion, the population is unified and enjoying the prosperity that comes with more than seven decades of peace. Free healthcare for all and guaranteed employment make the future a dream. But this future may only be safe if they can hide the past. The books must be saved . . . the impossible task is up to an angry author, a brazen revolutionary and the last librarian. When everything is perfect, the only thing left to fear is the truth.

The Lost TreeRunner (Justar Journal #2) available now – The Lost TreeRunner (The Justar Journal Book 2)
The List Keepers (Justar Journal #3) available now – The List Keepers (The Justar Journal Book 3)

Save on your mobile:
Get a free giffgaff Sim

Blood and Stars (Legend of Rhyme Series Volume 1 Book 5 ) by Jaime Lee Mann

“Sibley sucks in her breath as the statue disappears. And Elora— in the flesh, in a long black gown— blinks her eyes, stretches her arms, and smiles. “Mother.””

Once again I read Jaime Lee Mann in one day, in one sitting. The stories she writes are so engaging!
This one covers the continuing adventures of the Caine children.
It is usual with this series to flick back and forth between the main characters to keep the time line development in sync for the reader, as this book is no exception.
I liked that the story of Teagan continues in an undersea world of mer folk, that Asher is still susceptible to the Darkness in the world. There are some new characters introduced to give depth to the story and these have back story to describe how they fit in.
Jaime Lee Mann manages to write such good stories, they are enjoyable for adults and children alike. Do give her Legend of Rhyme stories a read and then share them with your friends and family.

I received an e-ARC of this novel through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. NetGalley does not allow for paid reviews.

4/5 Stars (What this means…five-stars-applied-carefully)

Get your copy [click on the image for more information]:

Read it on Kindle [click on the image for more information]:

Official description:
Thirteen-year-old Ariana Caine has woken in Coraira, and is torn between finding her brother Asher and learning how to rule the magic realm while Calla is under a protection spell.
Beneath the sea, Starla the mer-queen is bringing her apprentice, Teagan, to the Chamber of Memories to learn more about her parents. But when Starla is beckoned by one of the Ancients, Teagan is approached by a stranger, who promises to lead her to her mother and father. Meanwhile, the sea witch and her sisters are poised and ready to usurp the queen’s reign, and will stop at nothing to gain her powers.
On top of it all, Elora, the infamous witch who has caused so much heartache, is now asking for trust one last time.
Will Ariana choose Coraira over her brother?
Will the sea witch have her wish?
What are Elora’s true intentions?

Save on your mobile:

Get a free giffgaff Sim

Assassin’s Fate (Book III of the Fitz and the Fool trilogy) by Robin Hobb

“Beware! Wolf-Father warned me. Spring away! But I was a cub and I did not see the danger.”

Robin Hobb writes detailed stories with characters that are realistic and full of history. She then places them in a world that is complete, that contains danger and delight.

This particular story focuses on Bee and her father FitzChivalry Farseer who hail from Buck in the Six Duchies. Bee has been taken and is being dragged across countryside and ocean as a prize for a group of cruel rulers.

FitzChivalry believes Bee dead at the hands of those who attacked them. He is intent on vengeance, recruiting others to his cause as he travels to Clerres with the Fool (also known as Beloved).

This book takes some reading, it is not a short tale. And, it is book three of a complete set (the first two being Fool’s Assassin and Fool’s Quest), so if you read it first, you really are missing out!

I have enjoyed continuing the stories of the Fool and FitzChivalry and have found it hard, waiting to read them. Now this book is published, it is a signal to all to start immersing in this tale.

I received an e-ARC of this novel through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. NetGalley does not allow for paid reviews.

5/5 Stars (What this means…five-stars-applied-carefully)

Get your copy [click on the image for more information]:

Read it on Kindle [click on the image for more information]:

Official description:
The much-anticipated final conclusion to the Fitz and the Fool trilogy. 

Prince FitzChivalry Farseer’s daughter Bee was violently abducted from Withywoods by Servants of the Four in their search for the Unexpected Son, foretold to wield great power. With Fitz in pursuit, the Servants fled through a Skill-pillar, leaving no trace. It seems certain that they and their young hostage have perished in the Skill-river. 

Clerres, where White Prophets were trained by the Servants to set the world on a better path, has been corrupted by greed. Fitz is determined to reach the city and take vengeance on the Four, not only for the loss of Bee but also for their torture of the Fool. Accompanied by FitzVigilant, son of the assassin Chade, Chade’s protege Spark and the stableboy Perseverance, Bee’s only friend, their journey will take them from the Elderling city of Kelsingra, down the perilous Rain Wild River, and on to the Pirate Isles. Their mission for revenge will become a voyage of discovery, as well as of reunions, transformations and heartrending shocks. 

Startling answers to old mysteries are revealed. What became of the liveships Paragon and Vivacia and their crews? What is the origin of the Others and their eerie beach? How are liveships and dragons connected? But Fitz and his followers are not the only ones with a deadly grudge against the Four. An ancient wrong will bring them unlikely and dangerous allies in their quest. And if the corrupt society of Clerres is to be brought down, Fitz and the Fool will have to make a series of profound and fateful sacrifices. 

ASSASSIN’S FATE is a magnificent tour de force and with it Robin Hobb demonstrates yet again that she is the reigning queen of epic fantasy.

Save on your mobile:

Get a free giffgaff Sim

Samhain Heartsong by Doranna Durgin

““I had not intended to intrude. Your song—” “Yes, let’s talk about that,” she said. “I’ve been doing it since forever. No one ever emerged from elsewhere into my arroyo before.””

Doranna Durgin wrote this short story as part of a featured read on a publisher website and she very kindly sent me a link to advance read it.

I read it straight away way back in March and didn’t get round to writing a review, so I have just re-read it to make sure I remember it true. I think I pretty much did, except for the names.

The outline of the story is that of Arlie, who likes to sit by a tree-lined gully on her land and create music with her voice. It is as she does so that a pair of fighters cross into her gully from nowhere.

The scenario repeats over time, with one of the individuals against other opponents. Arlie starts to look forward to the occurrences with anticipation and is badly affected when they stop.

The rest of the story takes an even more paranormal turn and builds what I think would be a really good basis for a series; if Durgin ever considers it. I would like to read more of this and whatever happens next.

On my first read I originally gave a 5/5 stars, however, on re-reading I have reduced that – in order to comply with my own rules of ‘5-stars applied’.

I received a preview of this short story from the author  in exchange for a fair and honest review.

4/5 Stars (What this means…five-stars-applied-carefully)

Read it on Kindle [click on the image for more information]:

Visit the author’s site:

http://changespell.com/index.html

Official introduction from the Author:
While I was finishing work on my final Sentinels book, I was invited to write this daily Featured Read for the Harlequin site–a paranormal stand-alone, relationship-oriented as all the Nocturnes are. It had to be under a certain number of words, divided into equal chapters, and complete unto itself. Also, because it ran the entire month of October, culminating on Halloween, it needed to touch on the season. In the end (to maintain my own sanity) I wrote the story to the targeted word count, divided it, and created transitions as necessary. The story itself was as magical in the writing as I could have hoped for–it had its own character and epic fantasy tone, and flowed readily from my brain. It’s one of my favorites now, and I won’t be surprised if it always is. ~Doranna

Save on your mobile:

Get a free giffgaff Sim

Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor

“She fluttered briefly as her ghost shook loose, and then her hands relaxed, shedding fistfuls of freshly picked torch ginger buds.”

Warning: this book may make you weep. There is a lot of emotion wrung out of the characters and Laini crafts her story well. I still feel it now, even though I’ve finished the book and I’m telling you about it, it’s like a feeling of loss, almost.

Lazlo Strange is the main character in the book. We join him as a child at the monastery where he has been placed as an orphan. His play is beaten out of him, but his love of stories and dreams is not. As he grows up he is sent on an errand to a library and so instead of becoming a monk he becomes a librarian, feeding his love of stories.

It is that love of stories that helps to set him on the biggest adventure of his life. The one about Strange the Dreamer.

I suggest you read the book to find out about Weep and its inhabitants, about Lazlo Strange and about the blue skinned goddesses and god who live in a mesarthium citadel, abiding by The Rule that they set for themselves.

I received an e-ARC of this novel through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. NetGalley does not allow for paid reviews.

5/5 Stars (What this means…five-stars-applied-carefully)

Get your copy [click on the image for more information]:

Read it on Kindle [click on the image for more information]:

Official description:
The dream chooses the dreamer, not the other way around – and Lazlo Strange, war orphan and junior librarian, has always feared that his dream chose poorly. Since he was five years old he’s been obsessed with the mythic lost city of Weep, but it would take someone bolder than he to cross half the world in search of it. Then a stunning opportunity presents itself, in the person of a hero called the Godslayer and a band of legendary warriors, and he has to seize his chance to lose his dream forever.
What happened in Weep two hundred years ago to cut it off from the rest of the world? What exactly did the Godslayer slay that went by the name of god? And what is the mysterious problem he now seeks help in solving?
The answers await in Weep, but so do more mysteries – including the blue-skinned goddess who appears in Lazlo’s dreams. How did he dream her before he knew she existed? And if all the gods are dead, why does she seem so real?
In this sweeping and breathtaking new novel by National Book Award finalist Laini Taylor, author of the New York Times bestselling Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy, the shadow of the past is as real as the ghosts who haunt the citadel of murdered gods. Fall into a mythical world of dread and wonder, moths and nightmares, love and carnage.

Save on your mobile:

Get a free giffgaff Sim

The Hand in Shadow by JD Lovil

“”I see that you are the Hand in Shadow in this world. Know that what you must do is necessary, lest the Night-Wolf and the World Serpent descend upon your world, and bring about the Twilight, which is Ragnarok.”

This book is a bit sci-fi, a bit mythology; there are snippets from many different theologies introduced in some of the minor characters, but I don’t think it would detract from the story if you were bothered by that.
Essentially, John lost his wife and child to a demon and since then has learned to meditate to help him through the pain. As a consequence of his meditation he has opened himself to releasing his innate skills as a shadow walker and has been recruited by the resistance to help save humanity.
His companion throughout the tale is Barney, who is only one of two who are able to enter John’s Mind Palace, a safe place in his imagination. The other is ‘Monk’, a blind guy, who doesn’t give John his real name, so John calls him Monk in deference to his appearance and style of clothing..
Monk is John’s contact with the resistance and gives him the ‘contracts’ or tasks that the resistance need John to undertake.
The resistance is up scaling it’s efforts against the enemy and John is one of the key players in their plans. As one of the godlike beings tells John, he is the ‘hand in shadow’ and essential in protecting our world and restoring safety to humanity.
The story is generally well written, with only the occasion repetitive or oddly worded section, but these are minor and do not detract from the story. It is not a short read, so you will get your money’s worth with this book. You should hopefully also find it as engaging as I did. I enjoyed this book, it helped me as I was working through a different time in my life, by giving me an escape from the real world.

I received an e-ARC of this novel from the author in exchange for a fair and honest review.

4/5 Stars (What this means…five-stars-applied-carefully)

Get your copy [click on the image for more information]:

Read it on Kindle [click on the image for more information]:

Official description:
What are you, after everything you ever loved is taken away?

John Nomad once was a normal man, with a good job, loving wife, and beautiful daughter. A demonic creature took their lives, and destroyed everything that John cared about.

In the depths of his depression, a blind monk introduced him to a hidden world of power, of men and gods who use exotic powers to change the world around them. He showed John that a powerful group was behind his family’s death, and were the real power behind every government and political power on earth.

John’s depression turned to rage, and a determination to oppose the Unseen Masters, and to avenge his family. He became a part of the Resistance, and he discovered an ability to manipulate Shadow within himself. He became an important and versatile part of the Resistance, called by gods and men The Hand of the World.

Now John must stay ahead of the assassins sent to kill him, and avoid both physical and psychic attacks, and the darker things that lurk in the darkness. He strikes back at the enemy wherever he can. Each time he kills an enemy operative, he gets closer to the Anunnaki Slavers, and Humanity’s ultimate survival.

The enemy has been hiding behind the Kings of the world for thousands of years. We all sense this, and we feel powerless to stop them. Now they are preparing to come into the light, and enslave humanity until the end of time.

Will John and his fellow Resistance members be able to stop the Unseen Masters? Find out. Buy a copy of The Hand in Shadow.

Save on your mobile:

Get a free giffgaff Sim