The Monthly Round-Up: January 2016

The Monthly Round-Up - JanWelcome to The Monthly Round-Up. Join me as I look back on the past month to see which books I’ve read, the reviews I’ve posted, the goals I’ve completed and my all important Book of the Month!

| Books Read |

Well hasn’t January flown by! It feels like only yesterday I was putting together the end of 2015 post and here we are a month later. January has been a month of some fantastic reads, I only wish there had been time to write and post more reviews and continue with some of my more neglected features. Here’s hoping my scheduling will be a little better in February! (A wish that will no doubt be expressed at the close of next month!)

A definite highlight of this month was the exceptional crime thriller The American by Nadia Dalbuono, which had me on the edge of my seat and almost desperate for her next novel, along with Daniel Polansky’s brilliant The Straight Razor Cure. And of course there was the wonderful Read Along for Rosemary and Rue, the first book in the October Daye series by Seanan McGuire. This is a book which surpassed all my expectations and has more than peaked my interest in this urban fantasy series. A review will be forthcoming and a Read Along for book two, A Local Habitation, is planned for March.

Unfortunately I became far too distracted by other books to complete my personal goal of finishing all my ‘currently reading’ novels. I did however manage to cross two of them off my list! That means, yes! I finally finished The Daylight War! And it was certainly worth the wait. Whilst the first half had me a little nervous, the second half more than made up for it. The two preceding novels may have been incomparably stunning but The Daylight War certainly has its place as an (incredibly huge) intermediary novel. I just can’t wait to get stuck into The Skull Throne… and hopefully it won’t take me a year to read this one!

So let’s have a look at what literary delights consumed in January:

| 1. |

The American by Nadia Dalbuono

| 2. |

Occupy Me by Tricia Sullivan

| 3. |

The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding by Agatha Christie

| 4. |

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

| 5. |

The Master by Claire North

| 6. |

Faith and Moonlight by Mark Gelineau and Joe King

| 7. |

Rosemary and Rue by Seanan McGuire

| 8. |

The Daylight War by Peter V. Brett

| 9. |

Low Town: The Straight Razor Cure by Daniel Polansky

| 10. |

The Strings of Murder by Oscar de Muriel

Book of the Month

The American

by Nadia Dalbuono

| January Goals |

To finish ALL of the poor neglected novels which I am currently reading

1 of 4 | The Adventure of the Christmas by Agatha Christie

2 of 4 | The Daylight War by Peter V. Brett

Status: Incomplete


| Goals for 2016 |

Goodreads 2016 Reading Challenge: 10/100 Books Read (10%)

Status: +10% in January

More goals and challenges coming up in a separate post!

| Reviews Posted |

5 Stars

The American by Nadia Dalbuono

Rend the Dark by Mark Gelineau and Joe King


Best Left in the Shadows by Mark Gelineau and Joe King

three point five


The House of Shattered Wings by Aliette de Bodard

| Other Posts From January |

The Monthly Round-Up: December 2015

2015: A Year in Review

The Month Ahead: January 2016

Author Interview: Mark Gelineau and Joe King

Cover Reveal: Stranger of Tempest by Tom Lloyd

Bookish Beats: Moby – Play

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten… Bookish Resolutions for 2016

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten… 2015 Releases I forgot to Buy!

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten… Classics I’ve Recently Added to my TBR

Teaser Tuesdays: January 05 – The Daylight War by Peter V. Brett

Teaser Tuesdays: January 12 – Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

Teaser Tuesdays: January 19 – Rosemary and Rue by Seanan McGuire

The Friday Face-Off: January 01 – The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers

The Friday Face-Off: January 15 – The Heir of Night by Helen Lowe

The Friday Face-Off: January 29 – A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

Read Along: Throne of Glass – Part 1

Read Along: Throne of Glass – Part 2

Read Along: Throne of Glass – Part 3

Read Along: Throne of Glass – Part 4

Read Along: Rosemary and Rue – Week 1

Read Along: Rosemary and Rue – Week 2

Read Along: Rosemary and Rue – Week 3

Read Along: Rosemary and Rue – Week 4

Cover Reveal: Stranger of Tempest by Tom Lloyd

Cover Reveal

| Stranger of Tempest by Tom Lloyd |

Another day, another fabulous cover! Gollancz has revealed the cover art for Stranger of Tempest, the first book in a new series by Tom Lloyd, author of The Twilight Reign. Whilst I’m still making my way through this highly enjoyable stack of novels, I am so excited to see another addition to Lloyd’s repertoire. The cover for Stranger of Tempest by Jon Mccoy is a part Balrog, part Diablo mash-up and gives the impression of high octane action-packed and thrilling fantasy novel which I cannot wait to get my hands on! Take a look and see what you think!

Stranger of Tempest

Book One of The God Fragments

by Tom Lloyd

Artwork by Jon McCoy

Gollancz UK – 16th June 2016

| Synopsis |


Being an honest man in a lawless world is never easy…

Lynx is a mercenary with a sense of honour; a dying breed in the Riven Kingdom. Failed by the nation he served and weary of the skirmishes that plague the continent’s principalities, he walks the land in search of purpose. Bodyguard work keeps his belly full and his mage-gun loaded. It might never bring a man fame or wealth, but he’s not forced to rely on others or to kill without cause.

Little could compel Lynx to join a mercenary company, but he won’t turn his back on a kidnapped girl. At least the job seems simple enough; the mercenaries less stupid and vicious than most he’s met over the years.

So long as there are no surprises or hidden agendas along the way, it should work out fine.

What do you think of the cover for Stranger of Tempest? Does this sound like something you would read?

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Read Along: Rosemary and Rue – Week Four

Rosemary and Rue Read Along

| Week Four |

Welcome to the Read Along of Rosemary and Rue by Seanan McGuire, organised by Lisa at Over the Effing Rainbow.

Welcome to the fourth and final post in the Rosemary and Rue Read Along! As expected, from the moment I posted Week One, this has fast become one of my favourite urban fantasies.  With a read along of the second October Daye novel, A Local Habitation, coming up in March, I’m sure Seanan McGuire will soon be taking over my bookshelves!

This week is once again hosted by Lisa at Over the Effing Rainbow who has some juicy questions for our final week.  Here’s how the schedule looks:

Week 1 (Saturday 9th January)

Chapters 1-6 – hosted by Over the Effing Rainbow

Week 2 (Saturday 16th January)

Chapters 7-14 – hosted by Lynn at Lynn’s Books

Week 3 (Saturday 23rd January)

Chapters 15-20 – hosted by Anya at On Starships and Dragonwings

Week 4 (Saturday 30th January)

Chapters 21-End – hosted by Over the Effing Rainbow

There will be spoilers!

| Week Three Rating |

| The Questions |

| 1. |

On the way to finding Evening’s killer at last, we get to meet the Luidaeg in person. What are your impressions of her, and what do you think of the sneaky ‘deal’ Toby managed to make with her?

As much as it would anger the Luidaeg, I really do pity her. She’s alone in both the world of fae and in the world of humans; a creature of myth and nightmares at worst or complete obscurity at best. But she’s also brilliantly witty, intelligent and gives the firm impression that she’s not a woman, demon or otherwise to cross lightly. Toby really is in for some trouble if she isn’t careful! I’m very she threw caution to the wind though as it means the Luidaeg is likely to make a return in future novels – something I very much look forward to!

| 2. |

Next stop is the Court of Cats, where we see Tybalt in his role as a king, followed by another visit to Lily to finally learn the truth. We get some more evidence of the regard they both have for Toby; in light of previous discussions about Toby’s friendships, what do you make of this new evidence?

Oooh the Court of Cats! I honestly cannot wait to see more! Unfotunately poor Toby only had time for a flying visit as, despite the fact that she’s only just got her friends back,  she’s already lost one… but at least it gives Tybalt the chance to defend her honour in a most spectacular and manly manner! Love it. His willingness to help her and leave himself exposed to her blood magic is also very intriguing. She definitely has a powerful ally there – even if she can’t see it herself! Similarly, Lily seems the sort of character who would do anything for Toby – she definitely takes the role of a much needed mothering figure. I can’t wait to see more of both Tybalt and Lily in future novels.

| 3. |

Now for the final reveal! Devin ‘fesses up, and Dare is killed defending Toby… Was any of this finale what you’d expected? What do you make of Devin’s reasons for killing Evening?

Devin was definitely the most obvious choice from the start… but it still surprised me! It’s almost like his sleazy and control-freak character couldn’t get any worse… but I guess I was wrong! He’s completely unhinged and has an almost psychopathic desire to get his hands on the Hope Chest – something he couldn’t possibly know was the real thing or if it would even work! However, it was the emptiness in him that I found most disturbing. You could almost imagine, in his own messed up way, that he actually cared for the people at Home but this complete void which he managed to hide behind his possessive, obsessive and selfish character turned out to be quite the shock at the end. Psychopath!

And Dare… nooo! Heartbreaking. She wanted to get out and make a new life so badly… but it just wasn’t to be. Despite being under Devin’s influence, I still find myself angry at Manuel. Here’s hoping it becomes a force for good. I’m not sure I can forgive him though.

| 4. |

The hope chest is given over to the Queen at the end of the story. In light of what we’ve seen of her and the potential power that the hope chest has (regardless of what it does), do you think this was the right thing for Toby to do?

The Queen is slightly unhinged and somewhat untrustworthy but, unless Toby wanted to use the chest herself, it would be far too dangerous for her to keep it in her own possession.  It would also be a bit unfair to extend the promise made by Tybalt to keep the Hope Chest safe and I’m not sure Toby would forgive herself if some harm came to him because of it (even if she doesn’t know her own feelings yet and he is a complete badass in a fight!). I expect the Hope Chest will make a splendid reappearance just when we least expect it!

Stay tuned for the Read Along of A Local Habitation in March!

The Friday Face-Off: January 29

Friday Face Off 2cWelcome to The Friday Face-Off, a new feature here at Books by Proxy. Join me every Friday as I pit cover against cover, and publisher against publisher, to find the best artwork in our literary universe.

| The Friday Face-Off: A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab |

We’re soon to be celebrating the release of A Gathering of Shadows (hello, February 23rd!) so it seemed like perfect timing to have a look back at the first in what looks to become a highly enjoyable series. A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab is a dazzling, gripping foray into a world that parts at its seams and allows the brave, the bold and the bloody reckless to slide between its pages. Published by Titan in the UK and Tor in the US, this week we have two striking covers to weigh up. Take a look at the contenders and see which, if any, you favour…

Titan – UK Cover

Cover Design by Julia Lloyd

Tor – US Cover

Cover Design by Will Staehle

| The Friday Face-Off: Winner |

ADSoM - winner

I love both of these covers! They’re both beautiful, clearly relate back to the story and have a simple, eye-catching palette. The Titan cover is bold and brilliant – and makes a wonderful addition to my bookshelf! However it’s the illustrative Tor cover by Will Staehle that just tips the balance over to the other side of the Atlantic. Staehle’s cover is well composed and elegant whilst retaining its striking, bold use of colour and the typeface has a wonderful oldy-worldy quality to it that pairs well with the stylised illustration. As a whole Staehle’s cover just really hits me in my face-off sweet spot! 

Have you read A Darker Shade of Magic? Which is your favourite cover? 

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Review: The House of Shattered Wings by Aliette de Bodard

The House of Shattered Wings

Book One of the Dominion of the Fallen

by Aliette de Bodard

Fantasy | 402 Pages | Published by Gollancz in 2015

| Rating |

Aliette de Bodard is another author I unearthed at the Gollancz Book Festival last year, one who I have been eager to read ever since. The House of Shattered Wings, with its premise of warring angels on the battlefield of a scarred and ruined Paris, sounded far too intriguing to miss. Delaying time only enough to not actually get a signed edition, I made my purchase, opened it up and became instantly absorbed in this broken world of ruinous glory. This is a novel which, despite some minor flaws, is a beautiful and captivating read and promises great things to come from an author who isn’t afraid to turn the world on its head.

A superb murder mystery, on an epic scale, set against the fall out – literally – of a war in Heaven.

Paris has survived the Great Houses War – just. Its streets are lined with haunted ruins, Notre-Dame is a burnt-out shell, and the Seine runs black with ashes and rubble. Yet life continues among the wreckage. The citizens continue to live, love, fight and survive in their war-torn city, and The Great Houses still vie for dominion over the once grand capital.

House Silverspires, previously the leader of those power games, lies in disarray. Its magic is ailing; its founder, Morningstar, has been missing for decades; and now something from the shadows stalks its people inside their very own walls.

Within the House, three very different people must come together: a naive but powerful Fallen, a alchemist with a self-destructive addiction, and a resentful young man wielding spells from the Far East. They may be Silverspires’ salvation. They may be the architects of its last, irreversible fall…

The House of Shattered Wings follows the story of Paris following the fall of the angels and their subsequent war of dynasties; a clash of powerful houses which has already obliterated Paris and threatens to shake the city to its foundations once again. The Morningstar is gone, disappeared or dead – no one knows. His continued absence has left a void in House Silverspires and his apprentice and heir, Selene, must hold her House together. Something she is prepared to do at all costs.

But when a young angel falls to earth and is rescued from being brutally harvested for her magic, or Angel Essence, House Silverspires is turned on its head. A darkness is stalking its halls, killing its people and will stop at nothing but the complete destruction of the House. As we follow the story of Selene as she fights to retain power, along with Isabelle, the young fallen angel; Philippe, her would be murderer; and Madeleine, House Silverspires’ addict Alchemist, one thing remains uncertain – can House Silverspires survive those who conspire against her? Or will the darkness consume them all?

The true strength of this novel is de Bodard’s skill at descriptive worldbuilding. A ruined Paris is described in sumptuous detail – landmarks stand proud in their ruinous glory and its poisoned artery, the Seine, which has turned black with the corruption of magic, continues to flow through the heart of the city bringing with it death and ruin. de Bodard delights in taking the city apart, pulling down its stonework, shattering its stained glass, and creating a stunning backdrop to this new world of angels intent on underhanded and duplicitous warfare.

This is a novel with incredible vision and scope. Each dynasty, each House, is bound tightly in a web of intrigue, House politics and power struggles. Every character is tied just as tightly to their House, whether through free will or imprisonment, their very lives are linked to the House’s beating heart. And at the heart of House Silverspires is a distinct absence, a void left by the disappearance of the Morningstar. Without his power and influence, and with the other Houses vying for Silverspires’ destruction, it can only be a matter of time before it falls.

Characterisation in this novel is a much harder subject to tackle. Whilst each character is, in their own right, intriguing with the promise of a rich and detailed back-story, there was something about their depiction which failed to inspire an emotional connection in me that they otherwise might have. Madeleine was perhaps the exception to this trait. A flawed essence addict, she stumbles through the novel finding darkness and trouble at every opportunity with the inability to either confront or counter it. She remains a troubled but endearing character throughout whose singular emotional connection served to make her something of a heroine in this novel.

The majority of characters, however, read more like historical figures from a textbook; figures which tend to keep the reader at an arms length, are firmly separated by time, yet remain compelling enough to mitigate any negative impact their characterisation may have on the storyline. These characters remain fascinating to read but a further emotional connection would have served to win me over fully and add yet another dimension to the narrative.

The House of Shattered Wings is a vast and richly imagined novel which perhaps came to a head too soon. Although the storyline wraps up relatively neatly at its conclusion, I felt the absence of Morningstar and would have preferred the main antagonist to have featured more throughout the narrative and particularly towards the end of the novel. Despite these minor quibbles, this is a novel which also exhibits a lot of skill and strength in its writing – I defy anyone to not find any beauty in de Bodard’s descriptions – and, whilst I might not have connected with the majority of the cast, their promise of a rich and detailed history left me anxious to know more.

The House of Shattered Wings is a beautiful book with an impressive list of attributes to its name. Whilst there were some elements of the story which I wish were elaborated upon or explored further, it remains a distinctive, imaginative and exciting novel which takes its time to see you through to the end. I am definitely looking forward to spending more time in the Dominion of the Fallen.

Bookish Beats Suggestion

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Review: Best Left in the Shadows by Mark Gelineau and Joe King

Best Left in the Shadows

An Echo of the Ascended

by Mark Gelineau and Joe King

Fantasy | Novella | 80 Pages | Published by Gelineau and King in 2015

| Rating |

This book was received from Netgalley in return for an honest review

Gelineau and King take precedence over my reading pile as once again we return for a flying but highly satisfying visit to the world of Aedaron. Following the story of Alys, we are treated to another sub-genre shift as we enter Prionside in this fantastical detective noir, where the inhabitants of Highside and Lowside are divided by more than just distance.

Following my ever increasing enjoyment of the previous novellas, A Reaper of Stone and Rend the Dark, I had high hopes for another different but equally dazzling exploration of this dark and varied world. And Best Left in the Shadows does exactly this; with a feisty heroine and gritty urban setting, this short and satisfying read ticks another box for these talented and instantly addictive authors.

A Highside girl. Beaten. Murdered. Her body found on a Lowside dock. A magistrate comes looking for answers. For justice.

Alys trades and sells secrets among the gangs and factions of Lowside. She is a daughter of the underworld. Bold. Cunning. Free. When an old lover asks for help, she agrees. For a price.

Together, they travel into the dark heart of the underworld in search of a killer.

Best Left in the Shadows follows the story of Alys, an intelligent and street-wise young woman who earns her living trading secrets amongst the underworld of Lowside. But when a daughter of the Highside nobility is found murdered on the docks in Prionside, and the magistrate called in to investigate is a man whose past is entangled with her own, Alys must lead him through a maze of canals, alleyways and underworld politics to solve the case and find justice for the murdered girl. But with a complicated past and secrets of their own, there is more to discover than just the author of this crime.

This latest novella introduces yet another aspect of the diverse and rich world of Aedaron, where this time we venture into a city of crime and vice, providing the perfect backdrop to this detective noir. Twisted and narrow alleyways, dark and dirty canals, sewerworks and sumpworks, brothels and taverns, all play an intrinsic role in building up this grimy, industrial landscape where if its not for sale, it can and will be taken by force. With a knife in the back or a bolt to the neck an ever present possibility, the narrative conjures a dangerous setting for any criminal investigation.

Gelineau and King once again do not fail to impress with their effortless depiction of this slum-like city; one which is entirely different to its predecessors but an intrinsic part of the whole. Their descriptions are effortless, their humour ever-present, and the introduction to new characters in a new corner of the world make for an excellent, if short, read. The brief but enticing mentions of Highside also leave an intriguing impression and will no doubt come into play during future novellas. I certainly cannot wait to see a clash between these two opposing sides of the city and society.

Whilst the myriad ne’er-do-wells of Prionside make for a colourful cast of characters that intrigue, excite and lend more than a handful of tension and drama to this fantastical crime novella, it is the protagonists of this tale which truly shine. Alys has a fantastic and almost comedic voice; her tone conveying a light-hearted side to a novella which would otherwise seem much darker. Along with Dax, our investigating magistrate, the two play off one another to leave an impression of two fascinating characters whose tangled web of history and secrets provide an intriguing aside to the main narrative and which are slowly revealed over the course of the novella. And with a great deal more still to discover about the pair, we’re left with an enticing hook for the next Alys novella.

Best Left in the Shadows in another fantastic addition to the authors’ repertoire and, with the creation of another distinct and well-realised aspect of an already impressive world, had me hooked on Alys’ story from the very start. Whilst the thought of formulating an intriguing detective story over so short a read seems nigh impossible, Gelineau and King manage to craft a mysterious and satisfying tale which wraps up neatly at its conclusion and leaves enough personal intrigue to draw you onto the next novella. As a lover of crime and detective fiction, I can only hope that this theme is here to stay.

If you love being able to slip into a world in a multitude of sub-genres, experience it through the eyes of different characters, explore its different towns and cities and meet its varied inhabitants, then I couldn’t recommend the Echoes of the Ascended novellas enough. Best Left in the Shadows is another fantastic addition to this highly enjoyable series and can either be read on its own or as part of the whole. Once again, I’ve come away impressed and even more addicted to this dangerously compelling world, and I cannot wait for my next adventure with Alys!

Miss the author interview with Mark Gelineau and Joe King? Check it out here

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Read Along: Rosemary and Rue – Week Three

Rosemary and Rue Read Along

| Week Three |

Welcome to the Read Along of Rosemary and Rue by Seanan McGuire, organised by Lisa at Over the Effing Rainbow.

Welcome to the third post in the Rosemary and Rue Read Along! This is proving to be such an absorbing read and, with so little to go, I can’t wait to get to the end! This week is hosted by Anya at On Starships and Dragonwings who has some wonderful questions for us to get stuck into.  Here’s how the schedule looks:

Week 1 (Saturday 9th January)

Chapters 1-6 – hosted by Over the Effing Rainbow

Week 2 (Saturday 16th January)

Chapters 7-14 – hosted by Lynn at Lynn’s Books

Week 3 (Saturday 23rd January)

Chapters 15-20 – hosted by Anya at On Starships and Dragonwings

Week 4 (Saturday 30th January)

Chapters 21-End – hosted by Over the Effing Rainbow

There will be spoilers!

| Week Three Rating |

| The Questions |

| 1. |

We finally get to meet Lily in person! What do you think? Does she live up to the buildup in the first part of the book? We also meet Julie for the first time. Does it surprise you that Toby seems to have more friends than she lets on?

Lily is such an otherworldly and ethereal character, strange yet obviously a loving and compassionate character. Her Knowe was effectively destroyed during Toby’s fishcident and her people cast out, yet she still cares for Toby, heals her and tries to protect her as much as possible. She seems somewhat disconnected from the real world so whether letting Toby leave with so little protection was sensible still remains unseen… but maybe she trusted that Toby and Julie could hold their own (but perhaps not Ross!) and perhaps she knew Tybalt wouldn’t be far. I certainly can’t see her meaning Toby any harm, she seems too mothering for that.

I thought more of Toby’s friends would come out of the woodwork at some point, especially after Mitch made mention of a fair few, so it was more a matter of time than surprise when Julie turned up. At this stage Toby is definitely holding back from her past and keeping everyone at an arms length. Everyone but Devin that is. But maybe she considers him the only person who she couldn’t really let down. Whether Julie will remain a friend is up for debate! 

| 2. |

Tybalt to the rescue! Do you buy his excuse for why he chose to save Toby’s life? Ulterior motives much?

Oh Tybalt! Good show old man. I think perhaps he believes some of his own excuse for saving Toby’s life… but I don’t think it’s the whole truth! He clearly cares for Toby a lot more than he lets on.. or perhaps even more than he believes himself. And of course he would be there for Julie too – I don’t think he would let any friend of hers die easily (maybe he just didn’t approve of Ross!).

| 3. |

Toby gets together with Devin in this section. Their relationship is a bit fraught, what do you think? Is it good she is relying on Devin or do you think it is unhealthy?

I think any relationship with Devin, whether you’re hopping into bed with him or doing (legitimately illegitimate) business, is unhealthy! He’s definitely not a trustworthy character even if he believes his intentions to be good ones… which I sincerely doubt! He seems obsessed with and possessive of Toby which cannot possibly end well. Toby has a whole heap of trustworthy friends to rely upon, she just doesn’t want to get them hurt and doesn’t trust herself to be able to protect them. With Devin she doesn’t have to worry about him – he can most definitely look after himself. I can’t see it ending well though.

| 4. |

That freaking doppleganger! Did you suspect Gillian was fake? Do you think Toby should try to get to know Gillian now that she is older?

Hah! No, I definitely thought it was Gillian until it all got a bit strange… I absolutely loved that scene with the doppelganger though, it was so funny (and slightly terrifying)!

Toby clearly needs to work through her own issues before she considers getting to know Gillian. If she won’t even see her friends what hope will she have with her daughter? I think, once she’s worked through her problems and stopped hating on herself so much, she should tell Gillian the truth. Not only will it give Toby a chance to get something of her family back but, even if it doesn’t, it will certainly bring Gillian some closure as to why she disappeared all those years ago. Although… she might just think her mother is a fruitcake… but maybe that’s explanation enough.

| 5. |

Finally, we only have a few chapters left, any idea how everything is going to shake out? Ideas on who is behind it all yet?

Absolutely no idea! I think at this stage anything could happen and anyone could be implicated, save Toby herself. I’m excited to find out though and I’m sure, despite trusting so few people, it will come as something of a surprise!

Stay tuned for the next instalment of this Read Along on 30th January

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten… Classics I’ve Recently Added to my TBR

Top Ten TuesdayWelcome to Top Ten Tuesday – a weekly feature hosted by those lovely bookworms over at The Broke and the Bookish. Expect a new top ten list every week!

| Top Ten… Classics I’ve Recently Added to my TBR |

This week’s Top Ten features the books I’ve recently added to my TBR. To mix it up a little, however, this Top Ten only features classics as there are far too many I need to read and I keep intending to compile a list – and then don’t! In no particular order, here are this week’s Top Ten… Classics I’ve Recently Added to my TBR:

| 1. |


And Then There Were None

by Agatha Christie

First, there were ten – a curious assortment of strangers summoned as weekend guests to a private island off the coast of Devon. Their host, an eccentric millionaire unknown to all of them, is nowhere to be found. All that the guests have in common is a wicked past they’re unwilling to reveal – and a secret that will seal their fate. For each has been marked for murder. One by one they fall prey. Before the weekend is out, there will be none. And only the dead are above suspicion.

| 2. |


The Master and Margarita

by Mikhail Bulgakov

Mikhail Bulgakov’s devastating satire of Soviet life was written during the darkest period of Stalin’s regime. Combining two distinct yet interwoven parts—one set in ancient Jerusalem, one in contemporary Moscow—the novel veers from moods of wild theatricality with violent storms, vampire attacks, and a Satanic ball; to such somber scenes as the meeting of Pilate and Yeshua, and the murder of Judas in the moonlit garden of Gethsemane; to the substanceless, circus-like reality of Moscow. Its central characters, Woland (Satan) and his retinue—including the vodka-drinking black cat, Behemoth; the poet, Ivan Homeless; Pontius Pilate; and a writer known only as The Master, and his passionate companion, Margarita—exist in a world that blends fantasy and chilling realism, an artful collage of grotesqueries, dark comedy, and timeless ethical questions.

Though completed in 1940, “The Master and Margarita” wasn’t published in Moscow until 1966, when the first part appeared in the magazine “Moskva.” It was an immediate and enduring success: audiences responded with great enthusiasm to its expression of artistic and spiritual freedom.

| 3. |


My Man Jeeves

by P.G. Wodehouse

Who can forget our beloved gentleman’s personal gentleman, Jeeves, who ever comes to the rescue when the hapless Bertie Wooster falls into trouble. My Man Jeeves is sure to please anyone with a taste for pithy buffoonery, moronic misunderstandings, gaffes, and aristocratic slapstick.

| 4. |

Bulldog Drummond

Bulldog Drummond

by Sapper

‘Demobilised officer, finding peace incredibly tedious, would welcome diversion. Legitimate, if possible; but crime, if of a comparatively humorous description, no objection. Excitement essential… Reply at once Box X10.’

Hungry for adventure following the First World War, Captain Hugh ‘Bulldog’ Drummond begins a career as the invincible protectorate of his country. His first reply comes from a beautiful young woman, who sends him racing off to investigate what at first looks like blackmail but turns out to be far more complicated and dangerous.

The rescue of a kidnapped millionaire, found with his thumbs horribly mangled, leads Drummond to the discovery of a political conspiracy of awesome scope and villainy, masterminded by the ruthless Carl Peterson.

| 5. |



by Thorne Smith

Thorne Smith is a master of urbane wit and sophisticated repartee. Topper, his best-known work, is the hilarious, ribald comedy on which the hit television show and movie (starring Cary Grant) were based.

It all begins when Cosmo Topper, a law-abiding, mild-mannered bank manager, decides to buy a secondhand car, only to find it haunted by the ghosts of its previous owners–the reckless, feckless, frivolous couple who met their untimely demise when the car careened into an oak tree. The ghosts, George and Marion Kerby, make it their mission to rescue Topper from the drab “summer of suburban Sundays” that is his life–and they commence a series of madcap adventures that leave Topper, and anyone else who crosses their path, in a whirlwind of discomfiture and delight.

As enchanting today as it was when first published in 1926, Topper has set the standard in American pop culture for such mischievous apparitions as those seen in The Ghost and Mrs. Muir, Heaven Can Wait, Beetlejuice, and Bewitched.

| 6. |


A Strange Manuscript Found in a Copper Cylinder

by James de Mille

Four sailors discover a copper cylinder containing a manuscript written by the adventurer Adam More, who was shipwrecked in the southern hemisphere. They read its contents out loud to one another, and the incredible story unfolds—his journey through a subterranean tunnel to a lost world that survives at the foot of a volcano. This strange utopian society, in which humans coexist with prehistoric animals, is the antithesis of Victorian England, as poverty is preferred to wealth and darkness to light. At once a timeless satire and a pioneering work of the science fiction genre, this story is bound to enthrall readers today and revive James De Mille’s reputation as a writer ahead of his time.

| 7. |


The Woman in White

by Wilkie Collins

‘In one moment, every drop of blood in my body was brought to a stop… There, as if it had that moment sprung out of the earth, stood the figure of a solitary Woman, dressed from head to foot in white’

The Woman in White famously opens with Walter Hartright’s eerie encounter on a moonlit London road. Engaged as a drawing master to the beautiful Laura Fairlie, Walter becomes embroiled in the sinister intrigues of Sir Percival Glyde and his ‘charming’ friend Count Fosco, who has a taste for white mice, vanilla bonbons, and poison. Pursuing questions of identity and insanity along the paths and corridors of English country houses and the madhouse, The Woman in White is the first and most influential of the Victorian genre that combined Gothic horror with psychological realism.

| 8. |


The Thin Man

by Dashiell Hammett

Nick and Nora Charles are Hammett’s most enchanting creations, a rich, glamorous couple who solve homicides in between wisecracks and martinis. At once knowing and unabashedly romantic, The Thin Man is a murder mystery that doubles as a sophisticated comedy of manners.

| 9. |


Brave New World

by Aldous Huxley

Far in the future, the World Controllers have created the ideal society. Through clever use of genetic engineering, brainwashing and recreational sex and drugs, all its members are happy consumers. Bernard Marx seems alone harbouring an ill-defined longing to break free. A visit to one of the few remaining Savage Reservations, where the old, imperfect life still continues, may be the cure for his distress…

Huxley’s ingenious fantasy of the future sheds a blazing light on the present and is considered to be his most enduring masterpiece.

| 10. |


Death in Venice

by Thomas Mann

Published on the eve of World War I, a decade after Buddenbrookshad established Thomas Mann as a literary celebrity, Death in Venice tells the story of Gustav von Aschenbach, a successful but aging writer who follows his wanderlust to Venice in search of spiritual fulfillment that instead leads to his erotic doom.

In the decaying city, besieged by an unnamed epidemic, he becomes obsessed with an exquisite Polish boy, Tadzio. “It is the story of the voluptuousness of doom,” Mann wrote. “But the problem I had especially in mind was that of the artist’s dignity.”

What’s new on your TBR? If you would like to join in with Top Ten Tuesday, head on over to The Broke and the Bookish and sign up!

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Teaser Tuesdays: January 19

Welcome to Teaser Tuesdays – a weekly feature hosted by A Daily Rhythm. Expect a new teaser every week!

| Teaser Tuesdays: January 19 |

Rosemary and Rue

Book One of the October Daye Novels

by Seanan McGuire

Urban Fantasy | 346 Pages | Published by Corsair in 2015

“”Maybe you can come back later? I’ll bake you some cookies…” Okay, that was it. I hadn’t had a chance to use the kitchen for anything more elaborate than coffee and fried eggs, and I’d be damned if some invading monster was going to beat me to it. I stepped into the living room, bat still held in front of me like a poor man’s broadsword. “You are not using my kitchen.””

Rosemary and Rue by Seanan McGuire

| Synopsis |

October “Toby” Daye, a changeling who is half human and half fae, has been an outsider from birth. After getting burned by both sides of her heritage, Toby has denied the Faerie world, retreating to a “normal” life. Unfortunately for her, the Faerie world has other ideas…

The murder of Countess Evening Winterrose pulls Toby back into the fae world. Unable to resist Evening’s dying curse, which binds her to investigate, Toby must resume her former position as knight errant and renew old alliances. As she steps back into fae society, dealing with a cast of characters not entirely good or evil, she realizes that more than her own life will be forfeited if she cannot find Evening’s killer.

Week One and Week Two of the Rosemary and Rue Read Along can be found here

Amazon | The Book Depository | Goodreads

| Join In |

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Please leave a comment with either the link to your own Teaser Tuesdays post, or share your ‘teasers’ in a comment here!

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