The Monthly Round-Up: March 2016


The Monthly Round-Up March 2Welcome 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!


| The Monthly Round-Up: March 2016 |

This month has been so hectic I’m surprised I managed to get through as many books as I did! With work coming out of my eyeballs, a virus which feels like someone’s taken a sander to my throat, the death of my reading companion Felix – RIP Piggle 😦 – and two new guinea pigs springing into my life, I feel like I’ve barely touched ground this March. My review count has suffered a little and my posts have been somewhat erratic (or non-existent in the case of Bookish Beats!) but all in all, the books I’ve read have given me some much needed relief. So let’s take a look at the literary delights I’ve been consuming:

| Books Read |

| 1. |

Girl Waits With Gun by Amy Stewart

Read as part of the official blog tour, Girl Waits With Gun, with its gun-toting, feisty real-life heroine and its exciting storyline, was an excellent read with which to start my month.

| 2. |

A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab

A Gathering of Shadows, the sequel to A Darker Shade of Magic, was most definitely a highlight of March. This was an excellent follow-up which, in my view, surpassed the first in terms of narrative and excitement. I certainly can’t wait for the third!

| 3. |

Envy of Angels by Matt Wallace

Envy of Angels, the first Sin du Jour novella, was a book I’d had my eye on ever since reading a review for it a few months back. It certainly lived up to expectations by proving itself to be tremendous fun and ever so slightly grotesque.

| 4. |

Stranger of Tempest by Tom Lloyd

Stranger of Tempest has been on my reading list ever since the wonderful cover reveal in January. Luckily for me, it proved just as good as its wrappings and has once more placed Tom Lloyd at the top of my reading list!

| 5. |

Skinshaper by Mark Gelineau and Joe King

Another day, another Gelineau and King novella!  These guys certainly know how to write a captivating piece of short fiction and Skinshaper is no exception. This novella, with its enigmatic characters and abhorrent creations, is one of the most disturbing and captivating to date.

| 6. |

The Bullet-Catcher’s Daughter by Rod Duncan

The Bullet-Catcher’s Daughter, a steampunk piece of alternative history, brought about a change of pace with its steady narrative and gorgeous prose. A surprising and delightful novel, I’m looking forward to my next venture into the Gas-Lit Empire.

| 7. |

A Local Habitation by Seanan McGuire

For March’s Read Along we returned to the world of October ‘Toby’ Daye in the second novel of the series by Seanan McGuire. After something of a rocky start, A Local Habitation turned out to be a rather enjoyable read and I cannot wait to get stuck into the third in the series this April!


Book of the Month2

A Gathering of Shadows

by V.E. Schwab


| March Goals |

To finish NOS4R2 and Emma before the month is out!

Yes, yes another roll over!

Status: Incomplete

… Perhaps it’s time to stop posting this goal and accept that they’ll be read when they’re read!  – I hate to think how many months it’s been rolling over!

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| Goals for 2016 |

Goodreads 2016 Reading Challenge: 25/100 Books Read (25%)

Status: +7% in March


| Reviews Posted |

The Copper Promise by Jen Williams

Legend - Gemmell

Legend by David Gemmell


Girl Waits With Gun by Amy Stewart

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Broken Banners by Mark Gelineau and Joe King


Occupy Me by Tricia Sullivan


| Other Posts From March |

This month ushered in a change to the schedule with The Friday Face-Off becoming a weekly meme! I love posting and comparing book covers every Friday and it’s fantastic seeing the covers other bloggers post! So thank you for joining in and long may it continue! 

Announcement: The Friday Face-Off – A Weekly Meme

The Friday Face-Off: March 04 – Dragon Hunters by Marc Turner

The Friday Face-Off: March 11 – First Friday Freebie

The Friday Face-Off: March 18 – Here be Dragons

The Friday Face-Off: March 25 – Green With Envy

The Monthly Round-Up: February 2016

The Month Ahead: March 2016

Cover Reveal: The Waking Fire by Anthony Ryan – US Edition

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten… Books When You’re in the Mood for Axe-Wielding Maniacs

Top Ten Tuesay: Top Ten… Books on my Spring TBR

Teaser Tuesdays: March 01 – A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab

Teaser Tuesdays: March 08 – The Bullet-Catcher’s Daughter by Rod Duncan

Teaser Tuesdays: March 15 – Envy of Angels by Matt Wallace

Teaser Tuesdays: March 22 – Under the Empyrean Sky by Chuck Wendig

Teaser Tuesdays: March 29 – Tomorrow the Killing by Daniel Polansky

Book Haul: March 02 – Swords of Good Men & Blood Will Follow

Book Haul: March 31 – Angel of Storms & Legion: Skin Deep

Read Along: A Local Habitation by Seanan McGuire – Week 1

Read Along: A Local Habitation by Seanan McGuire – Week 2

Read Along: A Local Habitation by Seanan McGuire – Week 3

Read Along: A Local Habitation by Seanan McGuire – Week 4

Teaser Tuesdays: March 01


Welcome to Teaser Tuesdays – a weekly feature hosted by Books and a Beat. Expect a new teaser every week!


| Teaser Tuesdays: March 01 |

A Gathering of Shadows

Book Two of the Shades of Magic Series

by V.E. Schwab

Fantasy | 513 Pages | Published by Titan Books in 2016


Lila groaned and looked down at the coarse rope cinched tight around her hands, doubly grateful that the bastards had left her legs free, even if she was trapped in an abominable dress. A full-skirted, flimsy green contraption with too much gossamer and a waist so tight she could hardly breath and why in god’s name must women do this to themselves?

~ p. 02, A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab


| Synopsis |

Four months have passed since the shadow stone fell into Kell’s possession. Four months since his path crossed with Delilah Bard. Four months since Rhy was wounded and the Dane twins fell, and the stone was cast with Holland’s dying body through the rift, and into Black London.

In many ways, things have almost returned to normal, though Rhy is more sober, and Kell is now plagued by his guilt. Restless, and having given up smuggling, Kell is visited by dreams of ominous magical events, waking only to think of Lila, who disappeared from the docks like she always meant to do. As Red London finalizes preparations for the Element Games—an extravagant international competition of magic, meant to entertain and keep healthy the ties between neighboring countries—a certain pirate ship draws closer, carrying old friends back into port.

But while Red London is caught up in the pageantry and thrills of the Games, another London is coming back to life, and those who were thought to be forever gone have returned. After all, a shadow that was gone in the night reappears in the morning, and so it seems Black London has risen again—meaning that another London must fall.

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| 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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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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Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten… Most Anticipated Releases of 2016


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… Most Anticipated Releases of 2016 |

Welcome back to another week’s Top Ten Tuesday. I hope you’ve all had a wonderful Christmas whether you celebrate or not! 2015 is finally drawing to a close and for this week’s Top Ten we’re looking at the most anticipated releases of 2016 – and it certainly promises to be a spectacular year for fiction! In no particular order, here are the books I’m most looking forward to getting my hands on in the coming year:

| 1. |

Sharp Ends

Sharp Ends

by Joe Abercrombie

26th April 2016

The Union army may be full of bastards, but there’s only one who thinks he can save the day single-handed when the Gurkish come calling: the incomparable Colonel Sand dan Glokta.

Curnden Craw and his dozen are out to recover a mysterious item from beyond the Crinna. Only one small problem: no one seems to know what the item is.

Shevedieh, the self-styled best thief in Styria, lurches from disaster to catastrophe alongside her best friend and greatest enemy, Javre, Lioness of Hoskopp.

And after years of bloodshed, the idealistic chieftain Bethod is desperate to bring peace to the North. There’s only one obstacle left – his own lunatic champion, the most feared man in the North: the Bloody-Nine . . .

Sharp Ends combines previously published, award-winning tales with exclusive new short stories. Violence explodes, treachery abounds, and the words are as deadly as the weapons in this rogue’s gallery of side-shows, back-stories, and sharp endings from the world of the First Law.

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| 2. |

Daughter of Blood

Daughter of Blood

by Helen Lowe

26th January 2016

A falling wall, a broken shield… and an enemy that will exploit every weakness.

Malian and Kalan are coming home, but already it may be too late. The Wall of Night, dangerously weakened by civil war among the Derai families that garrison it, is on the verge of failing. Everywhere their ancient enemy, the Darksworn, is on the move as the threads of an old pattern begin to tighten.

In Grayharbor and in the Red Keep, a child and a young woman are caught in conflict’s maw, as whispers gather around Dread Pass and a Darksworn prophecy points to Malian herself being the stake the ancient enemy will drive into the heart of the Derai Alliance.

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| 3. |

The Bands of Mourning

The Bands of Mourning

by Brandon Sanderson

28th January 2016

With The Alloy of Law and Shadows of Self, Brandon Sanderson surprised readers with a New York Times bestselling spinoff of his Mistborn books, set after the action of the trilogy, in a period corresponding to late 19th-century America.

Now, with The Bands of Mourning, Sanderson continues the story. The Bands of Mourning are the mythical metalminds owned by the Lord Ruler, said to grant anyone who wears them the powers that the Lord Ruler had at his command. Hardly anyone thinks they really exist. A kandra researcher has returned to Elendel with images that seem to depict the Bands, as well as writings in a language that no one can read. Waxillium Ladrian is recruited to travel south to the city of New Seran to investigate. Along the way he discovers hints that point to the true goals of his uncle Edwarn and the shadowy organization known as The Set.
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| 4. |

The Tiger and the Wolf

The Tiger and the Wolf

by Adrian Tchaikovsky

11th February 2016

In the bleak northern crown of the world, war is coming.

Maniye’s father is the Wolf clan’s chieftain, but she’s an outcast. Her mother was queen of the Tiger and these tribes have been enemies for generations. Maniye also hides a deadly secret. All can shift into their clan’s animal form, but Maniye can take on tiger and wolf shapes. She can’t disown half her soul, so escapes – with the killer Broken Axe in pursuit.

Maniye’s father plots to rule the north, and controlling his daughter is crucial to his schemes. However, other tribes also prepare for strife. It’s a season for omens as priests foresee danger, a time of testing and broken laws. Some say a great war is coming, overshadowing even Wolf ambitions. But what spark will set the world ablaze?

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| 5. |

Morning Star

Morning Star

by Pierce Brown

11th February 2016

Red Rising thrilled readers and announced the presence of a talented new author. Golden Son totally changed the game and took the story of Darrow to the next level. Now comes the exhilarating conclusion to the Red Rising Trilogy: Morning Star.

Born a lowly Red in the mines of Mars, Darrow lost his beloved wife to the treacherous Gold overlords. Vowing to fight for the future that his wife believed in, Darrow joins a secret revolutionary group and is remade into a Gold so that he can infiltrate the ruling class and bring them down from the inside. Now, after years of hiding amongst the Golds, Darrow is finally ready to declare open revolution and throw off the chains of oppression. Nothing in Darrow’s world has been easily won, and this final fight will be the most harrowing of all.

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| 6. |

A Gathering of Shadows

A Gathering of Shadows

by V.E. Schwab

23rd February 2016

Four months have passed since the shadow stone fell into Kell’s possession. Four months since his path crossed with Delilah Bard. Four months since Rhy was wounded and the Dane twins fell, and the stone was cast with Holland’s dying body through the rift, and into Black London.

In many ways, things have almost returned to normal, though Rhy is more sober, and Kell is now plagued by his guilt. Restless, and having given up smuggling, Kell is visited by dreams of ominous magical events, waking only to think of Lila, who disappeared from the docks like she always meant to do. As Red London finalizes preparations for the Element Games—an extravagant international competition of magic, meant to entertain and keep healthy the ties between neighboring countries—a certain pirate ship draws closer, carrying old friends back into port.

But while Red London is caught up in the pageantry and thrills of the Games, another London is coming back to life, and those who were thought to be forever gone have returned. After all, a shadow that was gone in the night reappears in the morning, and so it seems Black London has risen again—meaning that another London must fall.

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| 7. |


Children of Earth and Sky

Children of Earth and Sky

by Guy Gavriel Kay

12th May 2016

The bestselling author of the groundbreaking novels Under Heaven and River of Stars, Guy Gavriel Kay is back with a new novel, Children of Earth and Sky, set in a world inspired by the conflicts and dramas of Renaissance Europe. Against this tumultuous backdrop the lives of men and women unfold on the borderlands—where empires and faiths collide.

From the small coastal town of Senjan, notorious for its pirates, a young woman sets out to find vengeance for her lost family. That same spring, from the wealthy city-state of Seressa, famous for its canals and lagoon, come two very different people: a young artist traveling to the dangerous east to paint the grand khalif at his request—and possibly to do more—and a fiercely intelligent, angry woman, posing as a doctor’s wife, but sent by Seressa as a spy.

The trading ship that carries them is commanded by the accomplished younger son of a merchant family, ambivalent about the life he’s been born to live. And farther east a boy trains to become a soldier in the elite infantry of the khalif—to win glory in the war everyone knows is coming.

As these lives entwine, their fates—and those of many others—will hang in the balance, when the khalif sends out his massive army to take the great fortress that is the gateway to the western world…

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| 8. |

The Silver Tide

by Jen Williams

25th February 2016

Tales of the Black Feather Three and their exploits abound far and wide, and Wydrin of Crosshaven, Lord Aaron Frith and Sir Sebastian have become sell swords in demand. Having foiled powerful mages and evil magic, they now face a challenge unlike any before – in the form of Wydrin’s mother.

Devinia the Red, notorious pirate and captain of the Poison Chalice, is intent on finding the fabled treasure hidden within the jungles of the cursed island of Euriale. She needs the skills of her daughter Wydrin and her companions to get there, and our heroes cannot resist the lure of coin and adventure. But no explorer has returned from the heart of the island, and it’s not long before the Three find themselves in the clutches of peril. Deep within the island of the gods, there are remnants of forces best left undisturbed…

Follow the reckless heroes of The Copper Promise and The Iron Ghost in an epic quest unlike any they have faced before.

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| 9. |

The Trees

The Trees

by Ali Shaw

10th March 2016

There came an elastic aftershock of creaks and groans and then, softly softly, a chinking shower of rubbled cement. Leaves calmed and trunks stood serene. Where, not a minute before, there had been a suburb, there was now only woodland standing amid ruins…

There is no warning. No chance to prepare.

They arrive in the night: thundering up through the ground, transforming streets and towns into shadowy forest. Buildings are destroyed. Broken bodies, still wrapped in tattered bed linen, hang among the twitching leaves.

Adrien Thomas has never been much of a hero. But when he realises that no help is coming, he ventures out into this unrecognisable world. Michelle, his wife, is across the sea in Ireland and he has no way of knowing whether the trees have come for her too.

Then Adrien meets green-fingered Hannah and her teenage son Seb. Together, they set out to find Hannah’s forester brother, to reunite Adrien with his wife – and to discover just how deep the forest goes.

Their journey will take them to a place of terrible beauty and violence, to the dark heart of nature and the darkness inside themselves.

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| 10. |

Corsair

Corsair

by James L. Cambias

10th May 2016

In the early 2020s, two young, genius computer hackers, meet at MIT. One, Elizabeth Santiago, dreams of technology and space travel. The other, David Schwartz, is just looking to make a quick buck.

Nearly ten years later, David is setting himself to become a billionaire by working in the shadows for international thieves, while Elizabeth works in intelligence preventing international space piracy. With robotic mining in space becoming a lucrative part of Earth’s economy, her job has become increasingly stressful.

David and Elizabeth fight for dominance of the computer systems controlling ore drop placement in international waters. If David can nudge a shipment 500 miles off its target, his employers can get there first and claim it legally in the open sea. Each one intuits that the other is their real competition but can’t prove it. When Elizabeth loses a major shipment, she leaves government employ to work for a private space company to find a better way to protect shipments. But international piracy has very high stakes and some very evil players, and both Elizabeth and David are in for a world of trouble.
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What are your most anticipated releases of 2016? 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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Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten… Newly Read Authors 2015


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… Newly Read Authors 2015 |

For this week’s Top Ten Tuesday, we’re taking a look at some of my favourite newly read authors of 2015. From debut authors published in recent years to firmly established literary masters with a huge repertoire to their name, these are the writers whose work has crept to the top of my reading pile. In no particular order, here are ten of my favourites:

| 1. |

Michael J. Sullivan

with Theft of Swords

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| 2. |

Becky Chambers

with The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet

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| 3. |

Brent Weeks

with The Way of Shadows

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| 4. |

Pierce Brown

with Red Rising

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| 5. |

Bernard Cornwell

with Azincourt

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| 6. |

Victoria Schwab

with A Darker Shade of Magic and Vicious

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| 7. |

Helen Lowe

with The Heir of Night and The Gathering of the Lost

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| 8. |

Anthony Ryan

with Blood Song

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| 9. |

David Gemmell

with Morningstar and Knights of Dark Renown

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| 10. |

Kim Stanley Robinson

with Red Mars

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Who are your favourite newly read authors of 2015? 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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Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten… Book to Movie Adaptations I’d Love to See


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… Book to Movie Adaptations I’d Love to See |

Having not read half the books which are soon to become films, this week’s Top Ten will be looking at the book to movie adaptations I would love to see. These are the books that would make incredible films, fantastic TV series and fill that empty hole left when you finish them. So without further ado, here are this week’s Top Ten:

| 1. |

Dissolution

by C.J. Sansom

The Matthew Shardlake novels would be an amazing series of films. Murder, mystery and a crime solving lawyer in the heart of Tudor England – what’s not to love?! This would make a cracking series too.

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| 2. |

The Blade Itself

by Joe Abercrombie

Couldn’t resist throwing in The Blade Itself. How awesome would Glokta be?! And surely we need a great anti-hero movie, everything’s always a bit Mary Sue on the big screen.

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| 3. |

Rivers of London

by Ben Aaronovitch

A film following Peter Grant as he discovers there’s an even darker and more dangerous side to London – yes please! Gods and goddesses, riots and rebellions, wizards and vampires – I can see the whole series of films!

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| 4. |

Red Rising

by Pierce Brown

This book would just have to work on the big screen! It’s got everything – an awesome angst filled hero, an abundance of oppressed masses and more evil overlords than you can shake a stick at.heart

| 5. |

Vicious

by V.E. Schwab

What an awesome movie this would make! The super-anti-hero needs a place on our screens and Eli Cardale and Victor Vale fit the bill perfectly.

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| 6. |

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A Darker Shade of Magic

by V.E. Schwab

And of course A Darker Shade of Magic would make the cut too! I would love to see Schwab’s Londons up on the big screen – the sumptuous and rich Red London, the gritty and bleak Grey London, the harsh and cruel White London, and the mysterious and dark Black London.

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| 7. |

Company of Liars

by Karen Maitland

It’s 1348, England, and nine strangers are trying to outrun the plague. Except they’re being picked off one by one and the most likely villain is already part of their group. Everyone’s a liar, no one can be trusted, and this would make an awesome film!

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| 8. |

The Lies of Locke Lamora

by Scott Lynch

A swashbuckling, sword-fighting, rip-roaring tale of misadventure – this would be an incredible adaptation. Not least because Camorr would be like Venice on acid.

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| 9. |

Ship of Magic

by Robin Hobb

The Liveship Traders trilogy is a beautiful fantasy adventure. With (Live)ships, pirates and a courageous heroine, this would surely be a fantastic adaptation.

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| 10. |

The Final Empire

by Brandon Sanderson

And my list of movies wouldn’t be complete without throwing the Mistborn series in there. With one of the most unique magic systems in fantasy fiction, one which would showcase the most amazing fight scenes, this film would surely be a hit. Even if the film was only half as good as the books.

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Which books would you love to see made into movies? 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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Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten… Homicidal Inanimate Objects


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… Homicidal Inanimate Objects |

This Tuesday’s Top Ten will be looking at those homicidal inanimate objects that wreak havoc throughout fantasyland – much to the displeasure of many a protagonist. Whether artifacts of power, deadly weapons or household ornaments, these items will always endeavour to corrupt, maim and destroy.

| 1. |

1- c

The Blackstaff

The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher

“The Blackstaff itself pulsed and shimmered with shadowy power, and I got the sudden sense that the thing was alive, that it knew its purpose and wanted nothing more than to be used, as often and as spectacularly as possible.”

Changes by Jim Butcher

The Blackstaff is a wizard’s staff which appears to have a conciousness of its own and amplifies any act of black magic. It is wielded by a wizard occupying the position of Blackstaff of the White Council and protects the user from the backlash usually associated with black magic. If you like rocking the creepy black vein look, this is the staff for you!

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| 2. |

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Nightblood

Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson

You didn’t use me much, Nightblood said, sounding hurt. You could have used me. I’m better than a shirt. I’m a sword.”

Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson

Nightblood is a sentient sword created to destroy evil. Except Nightblood is a sword and has no concept of what evil actually is. This results in the wielder being subjected to constant urgings to kill, slash, stab and destroy amongst innumerable snarky comments.

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| 3. |

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The One Ring

The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien

“It was hot when I first took it, hot as a glede, and my hand was scorched, so that I doubt if ever again I shall be free of the pain of it. Yet even as I write it is cooled, and it seemeth to shrink, though it loseth neither its beauty nor its shape. Already the writing upon it, which at first was as clear as red flame, fadeth and is now only barely to be read.”

The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien

Ahh the ultimate malevolent evil. The One Ring was created by Sauron to gain dominion over all the free peoples of middle earth and has the power to corrupt all those who wear it – the more powerful the bearer, the more powerful they could become. The One Ring exhibits sentient qualities which allow it to abandon its current bearer at opportune moments and to manipulate those who find the Ring to take it up.

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| 4. |

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The Luggage

Discworld by Terry Pratchett

“Rincewind watched it sourly. The Luggage had an elemental nature, absolutely no brain, a homicidal attitude toward anything that threatened its master, and he wasn’t quite sure that its insides occupied the same space-time framework as its outside.”

~ The Colour of Magic by Terry Pratchett

The Luggage is half suitcase, half homicidal maniac. Capable of moving at astonishing speed, it is fiercely defensive of its owner, completely homicidal by nature and will consume anything that crosses its path with its big square teeth and pulsating tongue. It’s also not half bad as a suitcase.

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| 5. |

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The Black Ka’Kari

The Night Angel Trilogy by Brent Weeks

“The ka’kari was rolling across the floor coming toward him. It wobbled as it rolled and when it climbed up his boot and dissolved into his skin, [he] felt a rush of power.”

The Way of Shadows by Brent Weeks

The Black Ka’Kari is a magical item which bestows upon its bearer immortality, invisibility and extreme magical power. Known as ‘The Devourer’, it can devour almost anything, from the most powerful magic to your mother-in-law.

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| 6. |

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The Black Stone

A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

“It’s the symbol for magic,” he said. “Vitari.” “A magic stone called ‘magic’? Not very original. What does it do?”

~ A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

The Black Stone is a source of pure magical power which can only have come from the sealed and effectively quarantined Black London. The stone is an ultimate corrupting and destroying force which is sought by and seeks evil, and is yet another magical item which allows one to rock the black veiny look.

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| 7. |

1 - hbp

Horcrux

Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling

“Even if one’s body is attacked or destroyed, one cannot die, for part of the soul remains earthbound and undamaged. But of course, existence in such a form…few would want it, Tom, very few. Death would be preferable.”

Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling

Ahh the Horcrux, an artifact in which a dark witch or wizard can hide a piece of their soul; an artifact which can only be created by the ultimate act of evil – murder. Not only is a Horcrux inherently evil (splitting your soul is a big no no), but the fragments of the soul within the Horcrux can think for themselves, influence others and possess a last line of defence against impending destruction.

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| 8. |

1 - sb

Stormbringer

The Elric Saga by Michael Moorcock

“Farewell, friend. I was a thousand times more evil than thou!”

~ Stormbringer by Michael Moorcock

Stormbringer is a malevolent sword, or demonic runeblade to be precise, with a will of its own and a thirst for blood. Stormbringer endeavours to take over the one who wields it whilst feasting upon the souls of those who are unfortunate enough to be stuck by its pointy end. A definite hit at parties.

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| 9. |

1 - dm

The Blackened Denarii

The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher

“There was a glitter of orange-red light, the sigil vanished, and something clinked on the asphalt. A silver coin a little smaller than a quarter rolled away from the man’s head, bounced against my foot, and then settled on the ground”

Death Masks by Jim Butcher

The Blackened Denarii are thirty pieces of silver, each of which is bound to a particular Fallen Angel from The Order of the Blackened Denarius. These coins have a nasty habit of falling into the path of unsuspecting men, women, children and wizards, tainting those who touch them and tempting them with power. Those who take up the coin can draw on the Fallen’s power and are more than likely to be wholly corrupted.

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| 10. |

1 - mao

The Gonne 

by Terry Pratchett

“It called out to something deep in the soul. Hold it in your hand, and you had power. More power than any bow or spear – they just stored up your muscles’ power, when you thought about it. But the gonne gave you power from outside. You didn’t use it, it used you.”

~ Men at Arms by Terry Pratchett

A firearm with a difference. Anyone who picks up the Gonne will hear its voice penetrating their mind which consequently turns them into an utterly power-hungry, incredibly homicidal, and thoroughly scruple-less maniac.

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Do you have a favourite malevolent artifact or weapon? 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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Tough Travelling: The Good Thief


Tough TravellingJoin me each Thursday for some Tough Travelling with the Tough Guide, hosted by Fantasy Review Barn. Inspired by ‘The Tough Guide to Fantasyland, we will set out on a quest to track down the biggest tropes and clichés in fantasy fiction.


| The Good Thief |

Sure they may pocket things that don’t belong to them.  And yes, anything that can be wiggled loose isn’t really locked down and may be fair game to them.  And if they put half of their intelligence into legit trades instead of long cons they would probably be pillars of fantasyland’s community.  But damn it, some thieves are still good people.

Fantasyland is filled to the brim with liars and cutthroats, murderers and rogues, but no ne’er-do-well is so beloved as the humble (or not so humble, as the case may be) thief. With a surfeit of thieves *cough* Skyrim *cough* to choose from, here are this week’s five fabulous filchers:

| 1. |

Magician
Jimmy the Hand

The Riftwar Cycle by Raymond E. Feist

Jimmy the Hand is an exceptional thief whose nimble fingers have picked many an unsuspecting pocket. With a talent for making strange (and distinctly royal) connections, Jimmy is a good egg who is, despite his apparent kleptomania, determined to do the right thing – even if he has to pay the price. In later life he is sure to be known as Jimmy the Foot, for being such a goody two-shoes!

| 2. |

Locke Lamora & Jean Tannen

The Gentleman Bastard Sequence by Scott Lynch

The infamous Locke Lamora and his loyal sidekick Jean Tannen started off their dastardly (Gentleman) bastardly lives under the watchful eye of Father Chains. Known to have pulled off some of the most audacious cons to be found between the pages of a book, they revel in schemes and plots which earn them wealth, a lack of health and a whole host of trouble. But no one does it quite like The Thorn of Camorr.

| 3. | 

ADSoM

De(Lila)h Bard

A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

Lila Bard is a cross-dressing, knife-wielding, pick-pocketing ferocious female with piratical aspirations and an appetite for adventure. She’s also the most wanted thief in all of (Grey) London. Fortunately for those her cross her path, Lila is all about making her own choices, and if she chooses to help you that’s damn well what she’s going to do.

| 4. |
Retribution

Darian Frey

Tales of the Ketty Jay by Chris Wooding

Darien Frey is the Captain of the Ketty Jay – pirate, smuggler and thief, womaniser and general rogue; he and his crew make their living smuggling contraband and raiding airships – and there’s nothing quite like an air-heist. Except when it all goes tits up of course. Frey may be somewhat deficient in having ‘a good name’ but he’s sure as hell going to stop it from getting any worse.

| 5. |

riyria

Royce Melborn & Hadrian Blackwater

The Riyria Revelations by Michael J. Sullivan

Royce Melborn could walk through the shadows and slit your throat whilst Hadrian Blackwater lops off your head with one of his many, many swords; they’re not fussy who they work for and they’re as likely to stab their clients as they are their mark. Luckily for many a poor unsuspecting bastard, Hadrian Blackwater has conscience enough for the both of them, and no matter how much they rail against it, they always do the right thing.

Yes, I know that was seven (safecracking sneak-thieves?) but it’d be cruel to split them up. Like taking candy from a baby or Gandalf from his beard comb.

Who are your favourite thieves in fantasyland? If you would like to join in with Tough Travelling, head on over to the Fantasy Review Barn and sign up!

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Bookish Beats: Assassin’s Creed Unity


Bookish BeatsMusic, much like literature, has the power to drive your imagination; it can lift the soul and create real emotion.This is Bookish Beats, a feature which will showcase some of the soundtracks which have enriched the worlds I’ve found between the pages. 


Assassin’s Creed Unity (The Complete Edition) [Original Game Soundtrack]

Composed by Chris Tilton, Sarah Schachner and Ryan Amon


Listen to with:

An action-packed historical or fantasy adventure

Such as:

A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

Last week’s Bookish Beats post sank into oblivion after a wonderful weekend away at the Liverpool International Music Festival – I think I can class that as research, right? This Sunday’s post may have gone the same way (hello glamping weekend) but hurrah! I remembered and scheduled it early! Don’t fail me schedule! If you’re a regular reader you might also notice a slightly different look to this post; in an attempt to be more tablet and phone user friendly I’ve changed the layout around to avoid (m)any dodgy text placements!

This week’s Bookish Beats features the Assassin’s Creed Unity Soundtrack. I have big love for game soundtracks and those of the Assassin’s Creed franchise in particular. They make some pretty damn good music. So good, in fact, that I would have a hard time choosing a favourite. With three new composers on-board, Unity is no exception; a long and comprehensive soundtrack, it combines brooding atmospheric pieces with heart thumping action tracks which truly enhance the reading experience.

The complete soundtrack is made up of three volumes, each of which is by a different composer, all of whom bring a unique and brilliant component to the score. Chris Tilton’s lengthy volume is saturated in tension and arguably has the best action tracks; Sarah Schachner captures the unique combination of sci fi and history with beautiful baroque string compositions underlined with modern synths; and Ryan Amon’s tracks resonate with tension and atmospheric ambience. Choosing favourites is always hard but this soundtrack was particularly difficult, though it did mean I could listen to it repeatedly!

I always find game soundtracks an excellent accompaniment to books, they’re rarely intrusive to reading and often add to the dramatic tension. Assassin’s Creed Unity is a wonderful example; you can feel the stealth, the tension and the intrigue in almost every track and you have three stylistically different but complimentary volumes to choose from. Every time I listen to this soundtrack I am instantly transported back to the world of A Darker Shade of Magic and I cannot wait to listen to it with another book.

Volume 1 – Chris Tilton [1] | Volume 2 – Sarah Schachner [2] | Volume 3 – Ryan Amon [3]

Favourite Volume

Volume 2 – Composed by Sarah Schachner

Favourite Tracks

01 – Unity [1]

04 – Dark Slayer [2]

01 – DeMolay’s Condemnation [3]

Top tracks for action

20 – Belle of the Balloon [1]

07 – Treachery and Butchers [2]

01 – DeMolay’s Condemnation [3]

Top tracks for tension

13 – To Your Stealth [1]

08 – Storming the Guilty [2]

04 – Paris Gateways [3]

Top tracks for emotion

23 – The Bottle of Solitude [1]

01 – Rather Death Than Slavery [2]

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