The Monthly Round-Up: February 2018

Welcome 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: February 2018 |

February has been a fantastically busy month but I couldn’t be happier to have returned to Books by Proxy. It’s been wonderful catching up with books, posts and this wonderful blogging community, and I have a whole heap of ideas for the future of this blog – as well as a ‘to-be-read’ pile as big as a mountain!

And with the weather turning into a veritable winter wonderland, I can’t think of a better place to be than being wrapped up in the warmth with a good book!.. Or settled down to write some long overdue reviews!

I hope you’ve all had a wonderful month! 😀

| Books Read |


by Sebastien de Castell

| February Goals |

To read four books

Status: 4 of 4 Complete


To write a review once a week

Status: 2 of 4 Complete

| Reviews Posted |

The Emperor’s Blades by Brian Staveley

The Hit by Nadia Dalbuono

| Other Posts From February 2018 |

The Month Ahead: February 2018

Tough Travelling: Shapeshifters

Chapter + Verse – The Hobbit: Chapter I – An Unexpected Party

Chapter + Verse – The Hobbit: Chapter II – Roast Mutton

Chapter + Verse – The Hobbit: Chapter III – A Short Rest

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten… Books I Still Haven’t Read

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten… Doomed Romances of Fantasyland

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten… Books I’m No Longer Interested In Reading

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten… Books I Could Re-Read ForeverTeaser Tuesdays: The Grace of Kings + The Hobbit: Chapter I

Teaser Tuesdays: Half the World + The Hobbit: Chapter II

Teaser Tuesdays: Spellslinger + The Hobbit: Chapter III

Teaser Tuesdays: Lois the Witch + The Hobbit: Chapter IV

Waiting on Wednesday: February 07 – Black Mirror: Volume 1 by Charlie Brooker

Waiting on Wednesday: February 14 – King of Ashes by Raymond E. Feist

Waiting on Wednesday: February 21 – The Bitter Twins by Jen Williams

Waiting on Wednesday: February 28 – The Hyena and the Hawk by Adrian Tchaikovsky

The Friday Face-Off: February 02 – Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds

The Friday Face-Off: February 09 – My, What Big Teeth You Have

The Friday Face-Off: February 16 – Groovy Baby

The Friday Face-Off: February 23 – The Staircase

Friday Firsts: February 02 – The Grace of Kings by Ken Liu

Friday Firsts: February 09 – Half the World by Joe Abercrombie

Friday Firsts: February 16 – Spellslinger by Sebastien de Castell

Friday Firsts: February 23 – Lois the Witch by Elizabeth Gaskell

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The Month Ahead: March 2016

In The Month Ahead, I will be rounding up the books I am currently reading, the ones I will start this month, and the ones I intend getting my mitts on… if I haven’t already! I will also be sharing any news about features or posts on Books by Proxy, and anything in the book world that has me all excited!

| Currently Reading |

Having not even picked up NOS4R2 or Emma (if only I could find her!) for a considerable amount of time, I still find that I’m quite determined to get them off the currently reading pile! So here they shall remain as yet another reminder of my incomplete monthly goals. I’m sure they’ll magically find themselves read at some point in say… the next year or so. Add to that another three books on the currently reading pile and I’ve already a fair amount to get through! heart

| March Events |

A Local Habitation

A Local Habitation Read Along

Organised by Lisa at Over the Effing Rainbow

Week 1 (Saturday 5th March)

Chapters 1-9 – hosted by Over the Effing Rainbow

Week 2 (Saturday 12th March)

Chapters 10-18 – hosted by Lynn’s Books

Week 3 (Saturday 19th March)

Chapters 19-25 – hosted by Books by Proxy (me!)

Week 4 (Saturday 26th March)

Chapters 26-End – hosted by The Bibliosanctum


Following the Read Along for Rosemary and Rue, which turned out to be a wonderful start to this urban fantasy series, we’re forging ahead in March with a Read Along of the second October Daye novel, A Local Habitation. After the success of the first book, I have high hopes for the second so if you would like to join in, go over to Goodreads and sign up!

Girl Waits With Gun Blog TourGirl Waits With Gun - Cover

Blog Tour: Girl Waits With Gun by Amy Stewart

Review scheduled for 09th March 2016


March into Middle Earth

March into Middle Earth

Hosted by Rinn Reads, March into Middle Earth is a celebration of all things Tolkien. Expect many a Middle Earth related post!


| Upcoming Events |

|May |

The Between Two Thorns Read Along

Organised by Lisa at Over the Effing Rainbow

Week 1 (Monday 9th May)

Chapters 1-9 – hosted by Over the Effing Rainbow

Week 2 (Monday 16th May)

Chapters 10-18 – hosted by On Starships and Dragonwings

Week 3 (Monday 23rd May)

Chapters 19-25 – Imyril at

Week 4 (Monday 30th May)

Chapters 26-End – hosted by Lynn’s Books


In May we’re going to be enjoying the first book in The Split Worlds series by Emma Newman, Between Two Thorns. I’d never heard of this series before the Read Along cropped up but I’m certain I’m going to enjoy it. If you’re interested in joining in with this read along, go over to the Goodreads group page and sign up!


| Synopsis |

Something is wrong in Aquae Sulis, Bath’s secret mirror city.

The new season is starting and the Master of Ceremonies is missing. Max, an Arbiter of the Split Worlds Treaty, is assigned with the task of finding him with no one to help but a dislocated soul and a mad sorcerer.

There is a witness but his memories have been bound by magical chains only the enemy can break. A rebellious woman trying to escape her family may prove to be the ally Max needs.

But can she be trusted? And why does she want to give up eternal youth and the life of privilege she’s been born into?


| March Goals |

To finish NOS4R2 and Emma before the month is out!

Yes, yes another roll over!

Status: 0 of 2 Complete


Have you picked up any great books lately? What are your goals for the month ahead? 

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The Monthly Round-Up: February 2016

Welcome 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 |

February 8

February has flown by in a torrent of amazingly bloody, beautiful and brilliant books. I only managed a respectable eight but every single one of them was fantastic – I expect that there won’t be less than a four star review amongst them! I may have completely ignored my goals of the month but never mind! February was a blast. It also featured a book so good it required its own rating!

Here’s the run down of the books I devoured last month:

| 1. |

The Tiger and the Wolf by Adrian Tchaikovsky

| 2. |

The Palace Job by Patrick Weekes

| 3. |

Broken Banners by Mark Gelineau and Joe King

| 4. |

Promise of Blood by Brian McClellan

| 5. |

The Grim Company by Luke Scull

| 6. |

Legend by David Gemmell

| 7. |

The Copper Promise by Jen Williams

| 8. |

Dragon Hunters by Marc Turner

Book of the Month

Promise of Blood

by Brian McClellan

| February Goals |

To finish NOS4R2 and Emma before the month is out!

Status: Incomplete (I haven’t even picked one of them up!)


And to really challenge myself to be organised…

To post every day in February

Status: Incomplete (22 of 29 days Complete)

| Goals for 2016 |

Goodreads 2016 Reading Challenge: 18/100 Books Read (18%)

Status: +8% in February

| Reviews Posted |



Promise of Blood by Brian McClellan

5 Stars

The Thief by Claire North

Faith and Moonlight by Mark Gelineau and Joe King

The Tiger and the Wolf by Adrian Tchaikovsky

The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers

Rosemary and Rue by Seanan McGuire

three point five

Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer

Rising Tide by Rajan Khanna

| Other Posts From February |

The Monthly Round-Up: January 2016

The Month Ahead: February 2016

Cover Reveal: Spiderlight by Adrian Tchaikovsky

Cover Reveal: Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho – Paperback Edition

Cover Reveal: The Waking Fire by Anthony Ryan

Bookish Beats: Bonobo – Black Sands

Bookish Beats: Massive Attack – Mezzanine

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten… Historical Settings

Teaser Tuesdays: February 02 – The Copper Promise by Jen Williams

Teaser Tuesdays: February 09 – Promise of Blood by Brian McClellan

Teaser Tuesdays: February 16 – The Grim Company by Luke Scull

Teaser Tuesdays: February 23 – A Fever of the Blood by Oscar de Muriel

The Friday Face-Off: February 05 – The Emperor’s Blades by Brian Staveley

The Friday Face-Off: February 12 – The Thousand Names by Django Wexler

The Friday Face-Off: February 19 – Vicious by V.E. Schwab

The Friday Face-Off: February 26 – The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

Book Haul: February 06 – The Frey and McGray Series by Oscar de Muriel

Book Haul: February 08 – Drake, Servant of the Underworld and The Crimson Ribbon

Book Haul: February 10 – Low Town Series and City of Bohane

Book Haul: February 13 – The Rats, The Folding Knife and The Electric Church

Book Haul: February 23 – The Raven’s Head, And Then There Were None and Ink and Bone

Book Haul: February 24 – Girl Waits With Gun by Amy Stewart

The Friday Face-Off: February 26

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: The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss |

I’ve been feeling the Rothfuss cravings. The Name of the Wind was a spectacular début and, eight years after I first read it, I still wait with great anticipation for the third book in The Kingkiller Chronicles. So in this week’s Friday Face-Off we’re paying homage to this wonderful book by taking a good look at its covers.

Published by Gollancz in the UK and Penguin in the US, we have two entirely different pieces of cover art to compare. Take a look and see which one wins your vote.

Gollancz – UK Cover

Penguin – US Cover

| The Friday Face-Off: Winner |

The Gollancz UK cover wins hands down in this week’s Face-Off. It’s dark and unsettling and I love those creeping and twisting vines which enclose the hooded central figure (who is also strategically placed in the centre of my heart – a rather disturbing prospect considering his bloody red eyes). Together with that beautiful and whimsical typeface, the entire composition makes for a wonderfully enchanting and rather sinister cover.

I’m a little bit disappointed by the US offering this week, a cover which was introduced for the fifth edition print of the book. The typeface does the composition no favours and, despite the darkened wilderness and the similarly sinister hooded figure in the foreground, this cover just fails to capture my attention.

Comparing the US edition to its previous incarnations I can certainly see the development of a darker and more atmospheric cover but it has a tendency, despite the hooded figure, to remind me more of a crime thriller than a fantasy epic. However, one thing is abundantly clear – Penguin missed a trick when redesigning this cover. Shirtless Kvothe is ridiculously entertaining and the incorporation of an angry and demonic Pat Rothfuss make for two very interesting and highly amusing pieces of cover art.

| The Name of the Wind: International Edition Bonus |

As I was rather disappointed with the US effort in this week’s Face-Off, I’ve decided to scour the globe to see what other beauties can be found. And this search has certainly turned up some good’uns – though no doubt I’ve missed some wonderful covers as there are a rather hefty number of translations! Take a look at some of the gorgeous covers the rest of the world has to offer.

TNotW - Worldwide

 From top left: Serbia, France, The Netherlands, Germany, Finland, Japan, Russia and Latvia

Choosing a favourite from this beautiful lot is nigh on impossible – the majority are simply stunning and vary considerably from country to country. The Serbian edition is particularly lovely though – the misty and mountainous backdrop with a lute festooned Kvothe in the foreground make for a beautiful and eye-catching composition.

The French edition follows closely behind the Serbian cover with a landscape bathed in golden light, a distant city and similar foreground Kvothe. Both the Dutch and German editions follow a similar line of thought but use a washed out, almost watercolour backdrop and the typeface, though different, is equally beautiful on each edition.

The Finnish version has a wonderfully folkish cover whilst the Japanese offering is bold, vibrant and showcases Kvothe’s flaming red hair. The Russian edition is an entirely different affair, displaying some beautiful fantasy imagery, and the Latvian cover is bold, vibrant and gives us a defined Kvothe doing what he loves best. Altogether, a rather impressive display of artwork.

Which is your favourite cover? Do any of the alternative editions take your vote? 

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Book Haul: February 24

| Girl Waits With Gun by Amy Stewart |

This eye-catching tome arrived on my doorstep just in time for the Girl Waits With Gun Official Blog Tour which commences on 7th March – an event I’m very much looking forward to! With a gun-toting, law-wielding, feisty female heroine, this is one novel I cannot wait to get lost in. So join me on the 9th March as the Blog Tour takes an official diversion to Books by Proxy for my scoop on Girl Waits With Gun.

Girl Waits With Gun - Cover

Girl Waits With Gun

Book One of the Kopp Sisters

by Amy Stewart

Historical Crime Fiction | 416 Pages | To be published by Scribe UK on 10th March 2016

Girl Waits With Gun - Blog Tour

| Synopsis |

From the New York Times best-selling author of The Drunken Botanist comes an enthralling novel based on the forgotten, true story of one of the USA’s first female deputy sheriffs.

Constance Kopp doesn’t quite fit the mould. She towers over most men, has no interest in marriage or domestic affairs, and has been isolated from the world since a family secret sent her and her sisters from the city to the country fifteen years before. When a powerful, ruthless factory owner runs down their buggy, a dispute over damages turns into a war of bricks, bullets, and threats as he unleashes his gang on their farm. The sheriff enlists her help, and it turns out that Constance has a knack for outwitting (and disarming) the criminal element, which might just take her back out into the world and onto a new path in life.

Through Amy Stewart’s exuberant storytelling, Constance Kopp catapults from a forgotten historical anecdote to an unforgettable historical-fiction heroine — an outsized woman not only ahead of her time, but sometimes even ahead of ours.

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Book Haul: February 23

| The Raven’s Head by Karen Maitland |

I’ve been a huge fan of Karen Maitland for a while now – if you haven’t read Company of Liars I urge you to do so – and having had The Raven’s Head on my to read list for far too long I thought it was about time to pick up a copy. I fully expect this to be a literary delight full of disturbing history and superstition.

| Synopsis |

Vincent is an apprentice librarian who stumbles upon a secret powerful enough to destroy his master. With the foolish arrogance of youth, he attempts blackmail but the attempt fails and Vincent finds himself on the run and in possession of an intricately carved silver raven’s head.

Any attempt to sell the head fails … until Vincent tries to palm it off on the intimidating Lord Sylvain – unbeknown to Vincent, a powerful Alchemist with an all-consuming quest. Once more Vincent’s life is in danger because Sylvain and his neighbours, the menacing White Canons, consider him a predestined sacrifice in their shocking experiment.

Chilling and with compelling hints of the supernatural, The Raven’s Head is a triumph for Karen Maitland, Queen of the Dark Ages.

Amazon | The Book Depository | Goodreads

| And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie |

And Then There Were None needs no introduction. As soon as I saw this book I knew it belonged on my bookshelf – the one Christie I’d definitely be remiss to miss!

| Synopsis |

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.

Amazon | The Book Depository | Goodreads

| Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine |

I’ve never read any Rachel Caine or even heard much about this book before I bought it, though general opinion seemed to be favourable. This was definitely an impulse purchase… but who could resist such a gorgeous cover!

| Synopsis |

Ruthless and supremely powerful, the Great Library is now a presence in every major city, governing the flow of knowledge to the masses. Alchemy allows the Library to deliver the content of the greatest works of history instantly—but the personal ownership of books is expressly forbidden.

Jess Brightwell believes in the value of the Library, but the majority of his knowledge comes from illegal books obtained by his family, who are involved in the thriving black market. Jess has been sent to be his family’s spy, but his loyalties are tested in the final months of his training to enter the Library’s service.

When his friend inadvertently commits heresy by creating a device that could change the world, Jess discovers that those who control the Great Library believe that knowledge is more valuable than any human life—and soon both heretics and books will burn…

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The Friday Face-Off: February 19

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: Vicious by V.E. Schwab |

Oops! I’ve most definitely failed by February challenge of posting every day… but before Friday comes to a swift close, here is this week’s Face-Off.

This week we’re returning to the brilliant V.E. (Victoria) Schwab and her wonderfully dark novel Vicious. Published by Titan in the UK and by Tor in the US, we’re looking at two gorgeous and entirely different covers which showcase some comic (anti)hero inspired artwork by Amazing15 and  Victo Ngai. Scroll down to see which one wins your vote.

Titan – UK Cover

Cover Design by Amazing15

“It’s so completely different from the US cover, which I adore with fiery heart, but I love it so very, very much. It’s dark and punchy and movie poster glorious, and my main character, Victor, looks like an arrogant badass, which is essentially what he is and ngghhhhhhh.”

V.E. Schwab

Tor – US Cover

Artwork by Victo Ngai

“I am a very, very lucky author.”

V.E. Schwab

| The Friday Face-Off: Winner |

This week Vicious threw up a difficult choice. I love Titan’s UK cover – I love how bold it is, how it grabs you as soon as you see it, how it takes the superhero theme and uses it to create a punchy and eye-catching cover, and I love those grungy blacks and whites and reds. It’s also a book I’m consistently drawn to as it loiters on my bookshelves – so it very nearly tipped the balance in Amazing15’s favour!

But Victo Ngai. The more I look at her artwork, the more I love it. It’s simply stunning – and not just on the Vicious cover (seriously, check her out!). The more you stare at this cover, the more details become apparent and the more you come to appreciate what a wonderful piece of illustration this is. It speaks to the book, it speaks to the superhero genre, and it remains playful whilst revealing the darkness at the core of this novel. It really is perfect for Vicious.

Check out the making of the US Vicious cover on

Have you read Vicious? Which is your favourite cover? 

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Book Haul: February 13

The Rats 2

| The Rats by James Herbert |

Ahh another book which bears testimony to the fact that I cannot resist a shiny book cover! Having very few horror books in my reading repertoire, and barely managing to shift the one I’m currently dragging my way through- though I don’t dislike it by any means – I decided I’d break out of my genre comfort zone and give The Rats by James Herbert a try. Plus it has a foreword by Neil Gaiman… that should be worth reading at least!

| Synopsis |

It was only when the bones of the first devoured victims were discovered that the true nature and power of these swarming black creatures with their razor sharp teeth and the taste for human blood began to be realised by a panic-stricken city. For millions of years man and rats had been natural enemies. But now for the first time – suddenly, shockingly, horribly – the balance of power had shifted.

Amazon | The Book Depository | Goodreads

The Folding KnifeThe Folding Knife 2

| The Folding Knife by K.J. Parker |

K.J Parker is one of those authors who I only know of because Amazon is desperately trying to get me to read their novels in a torrent of one dimensional recommendations. But it seems to have done the trick because here I am with Parker’s The Folding Knife to hand! Damn subconscious purchasing… I must admit though, the premise of this novel sounds right up my alley. Well played Amazon. Well played.

| Synopsis |

Basso the Magnificent. Basso the Great. Basso the Wise. Basso the Murderer. The First Citizen of the Vesani Republic is an extraordinary man. He is ruthless, cunning and, above all, lucky. He brings wealth, power and prestige to his people. But with power comes unwanted attention, and Basso must defend his nation and himself from threats foreign and domestic. In a lifetime of crucial decisions, he’s only ever made one mistake. One mistake, though, can be enough.

Amazon | The Book Depository | Goodreads

Electric Church

| The Electric Church by Jeff Somers |

Hello surprise sale purchase! The Electric Church and Jeff Somers were completely unknown to me before I happened across a wondrous bargain in the bookshop, but this series sounds very intriguing – and who doesn’t love a bit of cyberpunk? I can’t wait to give it a try!

| Synopsis |

In the near future, the only thing growing faster than the criminal population is the Electric Church, a new religion founded by a mysterious man named Dennis Squalor. The Church preaches that life is too brief to contemplate the mysteries of the universe: eternity is required. In order to achieve this, the converted become Monks — cyborgs with human brains, enhanced robotic bodies, and virtually unlimited life spans.

Enter Avery Cates, a dangerous criminal known as the best killer-for-hire around. The authorities have a special mission in mind for Cates: assassinate Dennis Squalor. But for Cates, the assignment will be the most dangerous job he’s ever undertaken — and it may well be his last.

Amazon | The Book Depository | Goodreads

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The Friday Face-Off: February 12

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: The Thousand Names by Django Wexler |

In this week’s Friday Face-Off we’re taking a look at the cover for the first novel in Django Wexler’s The Shadow Campaigns series, The Thousand Names. Despite having been on my to read list for quite some time, Wexler still hasn’t made it onto my bookshelf – a travesty which must be corrected at the earliest opportunity – so what better way to remind myself of what I’m missing out on than to ogle some wonderful book covers.

Awesome reviews and wonderful premise aside, just look at these babies! Swords?! Guns?! Vivid colours and incredible atmosphere?! What more could you ask for? With Del Rey and Steve Stone  fighting in the UK’s corner and Roc with Paul Youll for the US, take a look and see which cover comes out on top!

Del Rey – UK Cover

Artwork by Steve Stone

Roc – US Cover

Artwork by Paul Youll

| The Friday Face-Off: Winner |

This week was a tough one… so I’m calling it a draw! The more I look at the Del Rey cover by Steve Stone the more I love it. The composition is wonderful; the figure in the foreground has incredible dynamism; the background is chaotic and atmospheric; the colours are earthy but catch the eye; and it hits you with the impact of a movie poster. Overall an awesome effect.

The Roc cover on the other hand is more refined and elegant and it’s just as eye-catching as the Del Rey cover with its vivid use of colour and its own highly dynamic, yet entirely different, figure. I love the golds and the blue greens in this cover, and the overall composition is highly effective – in short: it looks like the kind of book I would instantly pick up.

But I still can’t choose a favourite. When it comes to dynamic action figures however, Steve Stone wins hands down. Love it.

Have you read The Thousand Names? Which is your favourite cover? 

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