The Friday Face-Off: In The Beginning There Was Nothing, Which Exploded


Welcome to The Friday Face-Off, a new weekly meme 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.


TBA!


Sorry for the late post! I’m away for the weekend but the blog should be back in full swing next week! I will update this post when I return but in the meantime, here are this Friday’s linky delights for covers which feature an explosion!


| Links |

Drew @ TheTattooedBookGeek –Gunpowder by Jack Kelly

Lynn @ Lynn’s Books  – The 5th Wave Series by Rick Yancey

S J Higbee @ Brainfluff – Hilldiggers by Neal Asher

DJ @ MyLifeMyBooksMyEscape – Firefight by Brandon Sanderson

Nick V. Reys @ ThePaperDragon – Three Moments of an Explosion: Stories by China Mieville


Post LinksNext week’s theme is: All That Is Gold Does Not Glitter

A cover which features gold

Remember to check The Friday Face-Off Feature Page for upcoming themes

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The Friday Face-Off: Renewed Shall Be Blade That Was Broken


Welcome to The Friday Face-Off, a new weekly meme 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 Blade Itself by Joe Abercrombie


Welcome to this week’s Friday Face-Off – and apologies for the lack of posts, it’s been a crazy few weeks! This Friday we’re looking at covers which feature the word ‘blade’ in their title.

And there’s one book which immediately came to mind! The Blade Itself, the first book in the First Law Trilogy by Joe Abercrombie, is a firm fantasy favourite. Published by Gollancz, this week I’m taking a look at the two wonderful UK covers (as the US edition is incredibly similar to the original UK cover!) Take a look and see which one gets your vote.


Gollancz – UK Cover #1

Artwork by Laura Brett

Gollancz – UK Cover #2

Artwork by Chris McGrath


| The Friday Face-Off: Winner |

Chris McGrath’s artwork for the Dresden Files has made me a fan of his for life – and his work on the recent covers for The First Law Trilogy is unquestionably stunning. Atmospheric and full of character, this simplistic but gritty cover for The Blade Itself is an excellent addition to Abercrombie’s ever expanding repertoire. However, though the balance almost swings in McGrath’s favour, I can’t help but love the Laura Brett covers for this trilogy – every time I see the burnt parchment and blood spatters I’m reminded of the first time I opened this book and began my love affair with this bloody and brilliant world. So two wonderful covers but this week I have to reminisce – Gollancz #1, this week’s heart-shaped-trophy-thing goes to you!

Which cover wins your vote this week? Have a cover of your own? – Post the link below!

Amazon | The Book Depository | Goodreads


Post LinksNext week’s theme is: In The Beginning There Was Nothing, Which Exploded

A cover which features an explosion

Remember to check The Friday Face-Off Feature Page for upcoming themes


| Links |

Drew @ TheTattooedBookGeek – Traitor’s Blade by Sebastien de Castell

Lynn @ Lynn’s Books  – Traitor’s Blade by Sebastien de Castell

S J Higbee @ Brainfluff – The Fell Sword by Miles Cameron

DJ @ MyLifeMyBooksMyEscape – A Dance of Blades by David Dalglish

Nick V. Reys @ ThePaperDragon – Heirs of the Blade by Adrian Tchaikovsky

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The Friday Face-Off: Just Then Flew Down A Monstrous Crow


Welcome to The Friday Face-Off, a new weekly meme 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.


Just Then Flew Down

Mayhem by Sarah Pinborough


Welcome to this week’s Friday Face-Off! This week we’re looking at covers which feature birds!

Monstrous crow you say? How about a teeny tiny one instead! Published by Jo Fletcher Books in both the US and the UK, this week we’re taking a look at the cover for the first book in the Dr. Thomas Bond series by Sarah Pinborough. Take a look and see what you think!


Jo Fletcher – UK Cover

Jo Fletcher – US Cover


| The Friday Face-Off: Winner |

Both covers for Sarah Pinborough’s Mayhem are inherently creepy, using the same striking colour palette of blacks, creams and reds, but with entirely different results. The flaming skull and the city map of the US cover are eye-catching and convey the book’s character but the typeface isn’t quite as effective as it might have been. By comparison the UK cover is much more paired back, showcasing some wonderful lettering amongst the swirls, blood spatters, gents and birds which come together to create a simple but effective winner!

Which cover wins your vote this week? Have a cover of your own? – Post the link below!

Amazon | The Book Depository | Goodreads


Post LinksNext week’s theme is: Renewed Shall be Blade That Was Broken

A cover which features the word ‘blade’ in its title

Remember to check The Friday Face-Off Feature Page for upcoming themes


| Links |

Drew @ TheTattooedBookGeek – Fool’s Quest by Robin Hobb

Lynn @ Lynn’s Books  – Bellman & Black by Diane Setterfield

S J Higbee @ Brainfluff – Fool’s Quest by Robin Hobb

DJ @ MyLifeMyBooksMyEscape – The Last Mortal Bond by Brian Staveley

Nick V. Reys @ ThePaperDragon – Spirit Gate by Kate Elliot

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Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten… Recent Impulse Book Buys


Welcome 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… Recent Impulse Book Buys |

Welcome back to Top Ten Tuesday! This week we’re looking at our Top Ten books bought on a whim. As a result of my undeniable cover love and a rather impulsive nature, the majority of my bookshelf consists of impulse buys – so this Tuesday I’ve gone for my most recent acquisitions! In no particular order, here are the latest surprise additions to my shelves:
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| 1. |

BookofPhoenix

The Book of Phoenix

by Nnedi Okoraforheart

A fiery spirit dances from the pages of the Great Book. She brings the aroma of scorched sand and ozone. She has a story to tell….

The Book of Phoenix is a unique work of magical futurism. A prequel to the highly acclaimed, World Fantasy Award-winning novel, Who Fears Death, it features the rise of another of Nnedi Okorafor’s powerful, memorable, superhuman women.

Phoenix was grown and raised among other genetic experiments in New York’s Tower 7. She is an “accelerated woman”—only two years old but with the body and mind of an adult, Phoenix’s abilities far exceed those of a normal human. Still innocent and inexperienced in the ways of the world, she is content living in her room speed reading e-books, running on her treadmill, and basking in the love of Saeed, another biologically altered human of Tower 7.

Then one evening, Saeed witnesses something so terrible that he takes his own life. Devastated by his death and Tower 7’s refusal to answer her questions, Phoenix finally begins to realize that her home is really her prison, and she becomes desperate to escape.

But Phoenix’s escape, and her destruction of Tower 7, is just the beginning of her story. Before her story ends, Phoenix will travel from the United States to Africa and back, changing the entire course of humanity’s future.
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| 2 |

The Folding Knife

by K.J. Parkerheart

Basso the Magnificent. Basso the Great. Basso the Wise. 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. heart

| 3 |

The Electric Church

Book One of the Avery Cates Series

by Jeff Somers

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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. heart

| 4. |

The Rook

Book One of The Checquy Files

by Daniel O’Malley
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“The body you are wearing used to be mine.” So begins the letter Myfanwy Thomas is holding when she awakes in a London park surrounded by bodies all wearing latex gloves. With no recollection of who she is, Myfanwy must follow the instructions her former self left behind to discover her identity and track down the agents who want to destroy her.

She soon learns that she is a Rook, a high-ranking member of a secret organization called the Chequy that battles the many supernatural forces at work in Britain. She also discovers that she possesses a rare, potentially deadly supernatural ability of her own.

In her quest to uncover which member of the Chequy betrayed her and why, Myfanwy encounters a person with four bodies, an aristocratic woman who can enter her dreams, a secret training facility where children are transformed into deadly fighters, and a conspiracy more vast than she ever could have imagined.

Filled with characters both fascinating and fantastical, The Rookis a richly inventive, suspenseful, and often wry thriller that marks an ambitious debut from a promising young writer. heart

| 5. |

The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making

Book One of the Fairyland Series

by Catherynne M. Valente
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Twelve-year-old September lives in Omaha, and used to have an ordinary life, until her father went to war and her mother went to work. One day, September is met at her kitchen window by a Green Wind (taking the form of a gentleman in a green jacket), who invites her on an adventure, implying that her help is needed in Fairyland. The new Marquess is unpredictable and fickle, and also not much older than September. Only September can retrieve a talisman the Marquess wants from the enchanted woods, and if she doesn’t . . . then the Marquess will make life impossible for the inhabitants of Fairyland. September is already making new friends, including a book-loving Wyvern and a mysterious boy named Saturday.heart

| 6. |

Malice

Book One of the Faithful and the Fallen

by John Gwynne

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A black sun is rising…

Young Corban watches enviously as boys become warriors under King Brenin’s rule, learning the art of war. He yearns to wield his sword and spear to protect his king’s realm. But that day will come all too soon. Only when he loses those he loves will he learn the true price of courage.

The Banished Lands has a violent past where armies of men and giants clashed shields in battle, the earth running dark with their heartsblood. Although the giant-clans were broken in ages past, their ruined fortresses still scar the land. But now giants stir anew, the very stones weep blood and there are sightings of giant wyrms. Those who can still read the signs see a threat far greater than the ancient wars. Sorrow will darken the world, as angels and demons make it their battlefield. Then there will be a war to end all wars.

High King Aquilus summons his fellow kings to council, seeking an alliance in this time of need. Some are skeptical, fighting their own border skirmishes against pirates and giants. But prophesy indicates darkness and light will demand two champions, the Black Sun and the Bright Star. They would be wise to seek out both, for if the Black Sun gains ascendancy, mankind’s hopes and dreams will fall to dust. heart

| 7. |

Dark Eden

Book One of the Dark Eden Series

by Chris Beckett
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A marooned outpost of humanity struggles to survive on a startlingly alien world: science fiction as it ought to be from British science fiction’s great white hope.

You live in Eden. You are a member of the Family, one of 532 descendants of Angela and Tommy. You shelter beneath the light and warmth of the Forest’s lantern trees, hunting woollybuck and harvesting tree candy. Beyond the forest lie the treeless mountains of the Snowy Dark and a cold so bitter and a night so profound that no man has ever crossed it. The Oldest among you recount legends of a world where light came from the sky, where men and women made boats that could cross between worlds. One day, the Oldest say, they will come back for you.

You live in Eden. You are a member of the Family, one of 532 descendants of two marooned explorers. You huddle, slowly starving, beneath the light and warmth of geothermal trees, confined to one barely habitable valley of a startlingly alien, sunless world. After 163 years and six generations of incestuous inbreeding, the Family is riddled with deformity and feeblemindedness. Your culture is a infantile stew of half-remembered fact and devolved ritual that stifles innovation and punishes independent thought.

You are John Redlantern. You will break the laws of Eden, shatter the Family and change history. You will be the first to abandon hope, the first to abandon the old ways, the first to kill another, the first to venture in to the Dark, and the first to discover the truth about Eden.heart

| 8. |

The Dragon’s Blade: The Reborn King

by Michael R. Miller
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Dragons once soared in the skies, but that was before the Transformation, before they took human form. Now, demonic forces stand to obliterate them. When left mortally wounded, Darnuir, the Prince of Dragons, can only be saved through a dangerous rebirthing spell. He is left as a babe in human hands.

Twenty years later, Darnuir is of age to wield the Dragon’s Blade. As the last member of his bloodline, he is the only one who can. He is plunged into a role he is not prepared for, to lead a people he does not know. Shadowy demons ravage his new home and the alliance between humans, dragons and fairies has fractured.

Time is short, for new threats and deadlier enemies are emerging… heart

| 9. |

Shadow and Bone

Book One of the Grisha Trilogy

by Leigh Bardugo
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Surrounded by enemies, the once-great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. Now its fate may rest on the shoulders of one lonely refugee.

Alina Starkov has never been good at anything. But when her regiment is attacked on the Fold and her best friend is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power that saves his life—a power that could be the key to setting her war-ravaged country free. Wrenched from everything she knows, Alina is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling.

Yet nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. With darkness looming and an entire kingdom depending on her untamed power, Alina will have to confront the secrets of the Grisha . . . and the secrets of her heart.

Shadow and Bone is the first installment in Leigh Bardugo’s Grisha Trilogy.heart

| 10. |

city-of-bohane

City of Bohane

by Kevin Barryheart

Forty years in the future. The once-great city of Bohane on the west coast of Ireland is on its knees, infested by vice and split along tribal lines. There are the posh parts of town, but it is in the slums and backstreets of Smoketown, the tower blocks of the Northside Rises and the eerie bogs of Big Nothin’ that the city really lives.

For years, the city has been in the cool grip of Logan Hartnett, the dapper godfather of the Hartnett Fancy gang. But there’s trouble in the air. They say his old nemesis is back in town; his trusted henchmen are getting ambitious; and his missus wants him to give it all up and go straight… And then there’s his mother.

City of Bohane is a visionary novel that blends influences from film and the graphic novel, from Trojan beats and calypso rhythms, from Celtic myth and legend, from fado and the sagas, and from all the great inheritance of Irish literature. A work of mesmerising imagination and vaulting linguistic invention, it is a taste of the glorious and new.heart

Which books have you recently acquired on a whim? 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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The Friday Face-Off: Which Witch is Which?


Welcome to The Friday Face-Off, a new weekly meme 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.


Truthwitch by Susan Dennard


Welcome to this week’s Friday Face-Off – apologies for being on the late side! This week we’re looking at covers which feature either witches or witchcraft… and I must say that for a while I was stumped!

Published by Tor in both the UK and the US, Truthwitch is the first book in The Witchlands series by Susan Dennard. This Face-Off features two bold and watery covers which are similar enough to be recognised as counterparts, but are executed in their own unique styles. Take a look and see which one is your favourite this week!


Tor – UK Cover

Artwork by Justine Anwieler

Tor – US Cover

Artwork by Scott Grimando


| The Friday Face-Off: Winner |

This week, the US  cover takes the Face-Off crown after something of a close call. Although I absolutely love the typeface used for the title on the UK cover – and which I’m certain is stunning in real life – the artwork itself does not capture my attention as well as it might. The central figure is bold in both colour and stance whilst the crashing wave succeeds in framing the composition, drawing your eye towards the centre of the artwork. However, first impressions are everything and this one certainly failed to grab me from the start, though it improves considerably upon closer inspection.

The US cover, whilst not in a style which usually appeals to me, succeeds in bringing a bit more drama and atmosphere to the artwork and just manages to tip the balance in the US’ favour. The typeface is bold and eye-catching – though not nearly as sumptuous as the UK cover – and the blend of smoky blues and turquoises, along with the close-up composition, draw the eye almost immediately. This immediate attraction (for good or ill) makes this cover, in my humblest of opinions, the more successful of the two options this week.

Which cover wins your vote this week? Have a cover of your own? – Post the link below!

Amazon | The Book Depository | Goodreads


Post LinksNext week’s theme is: Just Then Flew Down a Monstrous Crow

A cover which features a bird

Remember to check The Friday Face-Off Feature Page for upcoming themes


| Links |

Drew @ TheTattooedBookGeek – The Time of Contempt by Andrzej Sapkowski

Lynn @ Lynn’s Books  – The Tiffany Aching Series by Terry Pratchett

S J Higbee @ Brainfluff – Witch Week by Diana Wynne Jones

Nick V Reys @ The Paper Dragon – Industrial Magic by Kelley Armstrong

Cate + Karen @ MidnightBiblioBlog – The Witches by Roald Dahl

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The Friday Face-Off: You Got The Blues


Welcome to The Friday Face-Off, a new weekly meme 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 Falcons of Fire and Ice by Karen Maitland


Welcome to this week’s Friday Face-Off! This week we’re looking at covers are predominantly blue!

Published by Penguin / Michael Joseph, The Falcons of Fire and Ice is a work of historical fiction written by one of my favourite authors, Karen Maitland. This Face-Off features the stunning  covers for the hardback and paperback editions of the book and, as usual, has created something of a dilemma of choice! Scroll down to see which one wins the Face-Off this week!


Penguin – Paperback Cover

Artwork by Mark Swan

Penguin – Hardback Cover

Artwork by Gray318


| The Friday Face-Off: Winner |

I honestly love both these covers which has led to a very difficult decision this week – as tempted as I was to call it a draw! The paperback is a splash of fire on ice, a decorative and elaborate typeface on a cool and muted backdrop. I love that misty, faded tree-scape and the vibrancy of the fiery falcon – this entire composition is very evocative.

The hardback meanwhile takes us back to the gorgeous stylised covers of Maitland’s previous novels – a style which I absolutely adore! Both bold and eye-catching, this illustrative style works well for the themes and period in which the books are set whilst capturing the wit and verve of Maitland’s writing. I love the splashes of colour and the woodblock print-style typeface which all come together to create one wonderful composition. This style of cover will never fail to please me!

Which cover wins your vote this week? Have a cover of your own? – Post the link below!

Amazon | The Book Depository | Goodreads


Post LinksNext week’s theme is: Which Witch is Which?

A cover which features a witch and/or witchcraft

Remember to check The Friday Face-Off Feature Page for upcoming themes

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Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten… Young Characters I’d Love to Read as Grown-Ups


Welcome 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… Young Characters I’d Love to Read as Grown-Ups |

This Tuesday we’re looking at young characters we’d love to read after they’ve grown up. And since there are far too many to really do them all justice, I’ve decided to mostly go for those characters which made an impact on my childhood – for better or worse – with a few new favourites thrown in here or there. So in no particular order, here’s the literary line-up:
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| 1. |

Artemis Fowl

from

The Artemis Fowl Series

by Eoin Colferheart

Spoiler time. Imagine if you will a boy megalomaniac; an arrogant and resourceful genius who will stop at nothing to fulfil his most criminal desires. Now imagine that he isn’t quite the Artemis who met Holly Short, the only female captain of the LEPrecon; who through various criminal enterprises and sinister plots (with varying degrees of disaster and triumph) became almost a changed man and/or boy. This Artemis Fowl – this brand spanking new clone, this untapped criminal mastermind, this arrogant bastard of a boy-genius – is the one I want to read about. This Artemis Fowl is going to cause a riot.
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| 2 |

Lyra Belacqua

from

His Dark Materials

by Philip Pullmanheart

Ohh Pullman, you crafty devil you. We’ve had some hints – or rather outright statements – regarding future Lyra and her fascinating adventures in further education… but we want more! Who did this wonderfully feisty little girl grow up to be? Does she once more bring the world to rights? Does she fight armoured bears for a living and/or other nefarious relations? Another foray into this dark and strange world of Lyra’s Oxford – with her equally grown dæmon Pan – would not go amiss.heart

| 3 |

The Princess and the Dragon

from

The Princess and the Dragon

by Audrey Wood

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A book from my early childhood, The Princess and The Dragon may have been one of my first fantasy favourites. Not bad for what is essentially a picture book. Here we have a rotten princess – a bad mannered, naughty prankster who drives her kingdom to distraction – and an intelligent, eloquent and cultured dragon who spends her time reading and playing the piano forte. Much to the delight of the seemingly deceived royal family and all their subjects, the two decide to swap places and find that they’re equally more suited to being the other. But what happens next? Does the dragon marry a prince and have various well-mannered mutant children who live happily ever after? Does the princess terrorise the flocks and steal hapless virgins from the nearby villages? I’ve been waiting for this sequel for twenty-five years!heart

| 4. |

Maria Merryweather

from

The Little White Horse

by Elizabeth Goudge
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Another childhood favourite, The Little White Horse was the epitome of magical, hidden lands; strange enchantments and ancient mysteries. Maria Merryweather, a brave an intelligent thirteen year old with red hair and freckles was my ultimate fictional heroine and I found myself lost in her world again and again. But what did the future hold for Maria and all those who fell under the spell of Moonacre Manor? I for one would love to find out.heart

| 5. |

Matilda

from

Matilda

by Roald Dahl
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Matilda finally found her place in the world at the end of her tale, but what happened next? Did she just remain the Matilda we all grew to love, surrounded by books from wonderful new authors? Or did she resent the loss of her powers and turn into the Trunchbull Mark II?! Did her powers eventually return full force leading her down the dark and depraved path to world domination?!! My money’s definitely on Matilda megalomaniac…

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| 6. |

Mary Lennox

from

The Secret Garden

by Francis Hodgson Burnett

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Over the course of The Secret Garden, Mary Lennox grew from a selfish and spoiled little girl into a kind and thoughtful girl whose transformation mirrored that of the garden under her care. But what happened next? Did Mary find she was more of a weed, beginning her embittered relationship with life anew? Did she re-cripple Colin to once more become the centre of his father’s attention leading to an adulthood of self-loathing and inevitable drug addiction?! I guess we’ll never know.
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| 7. |

Ip

from

The Copper Cat Trilogy

by Jen Williams
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Having only read the first novel in this trilogy, I’m in little of a position to say what happens to Ip and whether she is indeed around to grow up by the end of it. However, I love this creepy and devious little girl with the blood red eyes and a penchant for human heads, and I sure as hell want to know what happens to her next! Does she grow up to be a cannibal? A blood priestess? A combination of the two?! More please!heart

| 8. |

Everyone

from 

Harry Potter

by J.K. Rowling
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Few words are needed. Want to know everything. Right now.heart

| 9. |

Madeline

from

Madeline

by Ludwig Bemelmans
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Small, feisty and mischievous, Madeline was yet another childhood heroine of mine. But what did this fearless little lady grow up to be? A lion tamer? An acrobat? A daredevil? Perhaps all three! But I’m longing for the sequel to:

“In an old house in Paris that was covered with vines
Lived twelve little girls in two straight lines
In two straight lines they broke their bread
And brushed their teeth and went to bed.
They left the house at half past nine
In two straight lines in rain or shine-
The smallest one was Madeline.”heart

| 10. |

The Watson Children

from

Elidor

by Alan Garner
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Alan Garner saved me the trouble of wondering what happened to Colin and Susan post-The-Weirdstone-of-Brisingamen-and-The-Moon-of-Gomrath by writing a sequel from their adult perspective. Therefore all my Garner cravings are heaped on the Watson children from the wonderful fantasy novel, Elidor. Garner’s darkly fantastic tales were a mainstay of my childhood and this tale of parallel worlds and dark and terrible powers have always left me wondering what happened next. Did the Watson children-now-adults find themselves slipping through to Elidor at inopportune moments? Did the forces of darkness return to find their way into our world once more? Will I inadvertently find myself joining them as I wander the streets of Manchester?!! There’s only one way to find out…heart

Which young characters would you love to read as grown-ups? 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: May 03


Teaser Tuesdays 2Welcome to Teaser Tuesdays – a weekly feature hosted by Books and a Beat. Expect a new teaser every week!


| Teaser Tuesdays: May 03 |

Lustlocked

Book Two of the Sin du Jour Series

by Matt Wallace

Urban Fantasy | Novella | 211 Pages | Published by Tor in 2016


It’s a nightmare. And then the nightmare becomes a porno.

~ p. 90, Lustlocked by Matt Wallace


| Synopsis |

At a Goblin Royal Wedding party a magical food additive turns the humans in the room into horny 6 foot lizards, and all they want to do is have sex.

With anything. For as long as they can.

And as being screwed to death isn’t something that interests Sin du Jour staff, something must be done, but the building’s magical defences have kicked in, sealing off access to the outside world.

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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Review: Skinshaper by Mark Gelineau and Joe King



Skinshaper

An Echo of the Ascended – Ferran Book Two

by Mark Gelineau and Joe King

Fantasy | Novella | 102 Pages | Published by Gelineau and King in 2016


| Rating |


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

Rend the Dark was an impressive venture into the darker and more disturbing aspects of Aedaron, a multi-faceted world which has been compiled through varying genre perspectives in the Echoes of the Ascended series. With its sequel, Skinshaper, we are once again transported into the darkest reaches of this world where a veritable army of abominations lie in wait to repulse, disturb and delight fans of this darkly epic – and short – work.

Mark Gelineau and Joe King have, once again, hit the mark with this brutally fantastic tale which doesn’t shy away from taking its protagonists to hell and back, resulting in what has become my favourite Echo to date. Epic in its telling, horrifying in its creations, and bloody brilliant in its execution, Skinshaper sets the bar in this latest thrill ride from these masters of the fantasy novella.Barricades broken.

A mining town empty.

One survivor swings in a cage, waiting to die.

Ferran’s tattoos burn as horrors near. They should run. They should seek help. But to save a few, they must journey deeper into the heart of the nightmare to face an ancient foe.

Following the death of his friend Hillion, and the terrifying events of Rend the Dark, Riffolk finds himself travelling in the company Ferran and Mireia, two Acolytes of Talen. As they wander from town to town, Riffolk’s eyes become opened to the dark and nightmarish creatures which pervade Aedaron. The Ruins, twisted abominations who seek the destruction of all that is good and pure, have once again taken hold in the land.

When Mireia’s powers draw them to a seemingly abandoned mining town, an encounter with a single survivor leads their small company down a dark path into the heart of the mine. But the vile horrors which await them in the shadows are going to be anything but easy to vanquish, not for a man wracked by his own cowardice and guilt, not even for those with the strength of Talen on their side.

From the world at large to the confines of the mine, Gelineau and King have carved out a cold and brutal world where humanity is neither the province of monsters nor of men. Where Elenor’s storyline depicts the wheels of justice in motion, Alys’ the divisions of class, and Roan and Kay’s the legacy of honour; Ferran’s storyline highlights all that is dark and terrible in Aedaron. Through horrifying descriptions and brutal action, Skinshaper is a short, sharp shock to the senses.

In a narrative which highlights the brutality and inhumanity of the Ruins, their wilfully destructive and grotesque natures are used to convey their absolute evil. This world of horrors, where the creation of abominations maximises both physical and emotional pain, once again reveals the darkest side of Aedaron and the inherent danger all our protagonists face. The Order of Talen, though a beacon of strength in these dark places, as yet seems small and incomparable to the sheer strength and determination of the Ruins, lending this novella a distinctly unpredictable feel.

The continuation of Ferran’s storyline however, if anything, brings us closer to Riffolk. He is our laymen and anchor point to this sub-series of novellas, asking the questions which allow us to comprehend the world and allow Ferran and Mireia, along with the Order of Talen, to retain an element of mystery. However, Ferran remains almost a closed book throughout Skinshaper, his enigmatic nature maintaining a level of intrigue which speaks of future revelations, whilst Mireia’s character is elaborated upon for an explosive conclusion which leaves the reader in great suspense.

Skinshaper is a small, self-contained adventure which has been brought to life by its detailed but terrifying world, interesting and complex characters, and a thoroughly gripping storyline. This novella, like its predecessors, succeeds in deceiving the reader by its length and, as always, is delivered with beautiful but concise prose. With eight Echoes under their belt, Gelineau and King have proven that their fast-paced and compulsive format is anything but tired, and have delivered an impressive round of sequels which have hit the mark every time. 

With this fast-paced read, one which grips the imagination and disturbs with its terrifying creations, Gelineau and King have captured the spirit of its predecessor whilst elaborating upon it in spectacular fashion. Skinshaper is a powerful, if somewhat horrifying, addition to the Echoes of the Ascended series which I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend. 

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