Tough Travelling: Apprentices


Welcome to Tough Travelling – a monthly feature created by Fantasy Review Barn and hosted by The Fantasy Hive. Inspired by ‘The Tough Guide to Fantasyland, every month we set out on a quest to track down the biggest tropes and clichés in fantasy fiction.


| Apprentices |

Apprentices are people who are training for a trade or skill, which means they are usually quite young and bad at what they do. Most of the time they are like nurses during an operation, being there only to hand the master his told. They seem to have to do this for a good many years before they get to do anything more interesting, and it is therefore not surprising that some of them get restless and either try to do the interesting stuff themselves or simply run away. The Rules state that if an Apprentice tries to do the interesting stuff on their own it will blow up in their face. If they run away, they will learn all sorts of things very quickly and also probably prove to be the MISSING HEIR to a Kingdom.

The Tough Guide To Fantasyland by Diana Wynne Jones


| Apprentices from A to Pprentice |

Fantasyland, with its myriad worlds, lands, kingdoms and hovels, really does have a rather narrow career path for those wishing to earn a living. Under the careful guidance of their master, the next generation learn new skills and prepare for the discovery that they are in fact the chosen one.

With more apprentices inhabiting the world of fantasy than I’ve had hot dinners, we’re spoiled for choice with this week’s Tough Travelling. 


| 1. |

Reaper’s Apprentice

Mort

Mort by Terry Pratchett

In a dramatic case of interfering parents inadvertently altering the fabric of reality, Mort is taken to a job fair by his father in the hope that he would land an apprenticeship. Believing his son to have become apprentice to an undertaker, Mort has in fact scored a far more interesting position, and soon finds himself collecting souls under the tutelage of Death himself. 

| 2. |

Wizard’s Apprentice

Pug 

The Riftwar Cycle by Raymond E. Feist

From humble beginnings as a kitchen boy in Crydee, Pug, on his day of Choosing (whereby teenage boys are selected by craft masters to become their apprentices) is discovered by the magician Kulgan. Sensing potential in the boy (but not quite sensing the right amount), he takes him under his wing to begin his training in magic.

| 3. |

Super Crime Fighting Wizard’s Apprentice

Peter Grant

The Rivers of London Series by Ben Aaronovitch

Threatened by a life behind a desk, Constable Peter Grant is rescued from eternal inaction by Detective Chief Inspector Nightingale. And Nightingale just so happens to be a wizard. Taking Peter under his wing, Nightingale begins tutoring him in the weird and wonderful world of magical crimes.

| 4. |

Thief’s Apprentice

Locke Lamora

The Gentlemen Bastard Sequence by Scott Lynch

Locke Lamora and his fellow Gentlemen Bastards were once apprenticed to Father Chains, a priest of the Crooked Warden, the god of thieves. Under Father Chains’ tutelage, they were trained in the art of deception; becoming accomplished liars, masters of disguise, and con-men with the most impeccable taste in fine cuisine. 

| 5. |

Assassin’s Apprentice

Azoth

The Night Angel Trilogy by Brent Weeks

Orphaned as a child, Azoth is taken – or rather forces himself – under the grim wing of Durzo Blint who agrees to train him in the arts of the ‘wetboy’. Despite this strangely coined term, Azoth is not trained as either a bed-wetter or a male prostitute, but as a completely bad-ass assassin who blends magic and martial skill to become a deadly human weapon. 

Who would you like to be apprenticed to? If you would like to join in with Tough Travelling, head on over to the The Fantasy Hive and sign up!

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Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten… SFF Books That Will Make You Laugh


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… SFF Books That Will Make You Laugh |

After something of a break, I’m returning to Top Ten Tuesday with my top ten comedic reads in the world of science fiction and fantasy. From the outright comedic to the darkly humorous, this is a list of those books that never fail to put a smile on my face!
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| 1. |

Envy of Angels

Book One of Sin du Jour

by Matt Wallaceheart

In New York, eating out can be hell.

Everyone loves a well-catered event, and the supernatural community is no different, but where do demons go to satisfy their culinary cravings?

Welcome to Sin du Jour – where devils on horseback are the clients, not the dish.heart

| 2 |

Futuristic Violence and Fancy Suits

by David Wongheart

Nightmarish villains with superhuman enhancements.

An all-seeing social network that tracks your every move.

Mysterious, smooth-talking power players who lurk behind the scenes.

A young woman from the trailer park. And her very smelly cat.

Together, they will decide the future of mankind.

Get ready for a world in which anyone can have the powers of a god or the fame of a pop star, in which human achievement soars to new heights while its depravity plunges to the blackest depths. A world in which at least one cat smells like a seafood shop’s dumpster on a hot summer day.

This is the world in which Zoey Ashe finds herself, navigating a futuristic city in which one can find elements of the fantastic, nightmarish and ridiculous on any street corner. Her only trusted advisor is the aforementioned cat, but even in the future, cats cannot give advice. At least not any that you’d want to follow.

Will Zoey figure it all out in time? Or maybe the better question is, will you? After all, the future is coming sooner than you think.heart

| 3 |

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

by Douglas Adams

heartSeconds before the Earth is demolished to make way for a galactic freeway, Arthur Dent is plucked off the planet by his friend Ford Prefect, a researcher for the revised edition of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy who, for the last fifteen years, has been posing as an out-of-work actor.

Together this dynamic pair begin a journey through space aided by quotes from The Hitchhiker’s Guide (“A towel is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have”) and a galaxy-full of fellow travelers: Zaphod Beeblebrox–the two-headed, three-armed ex-hippie and totally out-to-lunch president of the galaxy; Trillian, Zaphod’s girlfriend (formally Tricia McMillan), whom Arthur tried to pick up at a cocktail party once upon a time zone; Marvin, a paranoid, brilliant, and chronically depressed robot; Veet Voojagig, a former graduate student who is obsessed with the disappearance of all the ballpoint pens he bought over the years. heart

| 4. |

The Colour of Magic

A Discworld Novel

by Terry Pratchett
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In the beginning there was… a turtle.

Somewhere on the frontier between thought and reality exists the Discworld, a parallel time and place which might sound and smell very much like our own, but which looks completely different. Particularly as it’s carried though space on the back of a giant turtle (sex unknown). It plays by different rules.

But then, some things are the same everywhere. The Disc’s very existence is about to be threatened by a strange new blight: the world’s first tourist, upon whose survival rests the peace and prosperity of the land. Unfortunately, the person charged with maintaining that survival in the face of robbers, mercenaries and, well, Death, is a spectacularly inept wizard…heart

| 5. |

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass

by Lewis Carroll
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Weary of her storybook, one “without pictures or conversations,” the young and imaginative Alice follows a hasty hare underground–to come face-to-face with some of the strangest adventures and most fantastic characters in all of literature.

The Ugly Duchess, the Mad Hatter, the weeping Mock Turtle, the diabolical Queen of Hearts, the Cheshire Cat–each more eccentric than the last–could only have come from that master of sublime nonsense, Lewis Carroll.

In penning this brilliant burlesque of children’s literature, Carroll has written a farcical satire of rigid Victorian society, an arresting parody of the fears, anxieties, and complexities of growing up.

Carroll was one of the few adult writers to successfully enter the children’s world of make-believe: where the impossible becomes possible, the unreal–real, and where the height of adventure is limited only by the depths of imagination. heart

| 6. |

The Lies of Locke Lamora

The Gentleman Bastard Sequence

by Scott Lynch
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In this stunning debut, author Scott Lynch delivers the wonderfully thrilling tale of an audacious criminal and his band of confidence tricksters. Set in a fantastic city pulsing with the lives of decadent nobles and daring thieves, here is a story of adventure, loyalty, and survival that is one part “Robin Hood”, one part Ocean’s Eleven, and entirely enthralling…

An orphan’s life is harsh — and often short — in the island city of Camorr, built on the ruins of a mysterious alien race. But born with a quick wit and a gift for thieving, Locke Lamora has dodged both death and slavery, only to fall into the hands of an eyeless priest known as Chains — a man who is neither blind nor a priest.

A con artist of extraordinary talent, Chains passes his skills on to his carefully selected “family” of orphans — a group known as the Gentlemen Bastards. Under his tutelage, Locke grows to lead the Bastards, delightedly pulling off one outrageous confidence game after another. Soon he is infamous as the Thorn of Camorr, and no wealthy noble is safe from his sting.

Passing themselves off as petty thieves, the brilliant Locke and his tightly knit band of light-fingered brothers have fooled even the criminal underworld’s most feared ruler, Capa Barsavi. But there is someone in the shadows more powerful — and more ambitious — than Locke has yet imagined.

Known as the Gray King, he is slowly killing Capa Barsavi’s most trusted men — and using Locke as a pawn in his plot to take control of Camorr’s underworld. With a bloody coup under way threatening to destroy everyone and everything that holds meaning in his mercenary life, Locke vows to beat the Gray King at his own brutal game — or die trying…heart

| 7. |

The Blade Itself

The First Law Trilogy

by Joe Abercrombie
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Logen Ninefingers, infamous barbarian, has finally run out of luck. Caught in one feud too many, he’s on the verge of becoming a dead barbarian – leaving nothing behind him but bad songs, dead friends, and a lot of happy enemies.

Nobleman Captain Jezal dan Luthar, dashing officer, and paragon of selfishness, has nothing more dangerous in mind than fleecing his friends at cards and dreaming of glory in the fencing circle. But war is brewing, and on the battlefields of the frozen North they fight by altogether bloodier rules.

Inquisitor Glokta, cripple turned torturer, would like nothing better than to see Jezal come home in a box. But then Glokta hates everyone: cutting treason out of the Union one confession at a time leaves little room for friendship. His latest trail of corpses may lead him right to the rotten heart of government, if he can stay alive long enough to follow it.

Enter the wizard, Bayaz. A bald old man with a terrible temper and a pathetic assistant, he could be the First of the Magi, he could be a spectacular fraud, but whatever he is, he’s about to make the lives of Logen, Jezal, and Glotka a whole lot more difficult.

Murderous conspiracies rise to the surface, old scores are ready to be settled, and the line between hero and villain is sharp enough to draw blood.heart

| 8. |

The Palace Job

Book One of the Rogues of the Republic

by Patrick Weekes
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The most powerful man in the republic framed her, threw her in prison, and stole a priceless elven manuscript from her family.

With the help of a crack team that includes an illusionist, a unicorn, a death priestess, a talking warhammer, and a lad with a prophetic birthmark, Loch must find a way into the floating fortress of Heaven’s Spire–and get past the magic-hunting golems and infernal sorcerers standing between her and the vault that holds her family’s treasure.

It’d be tricky enough without the military coup and unfolding of an ancient evil prophecy–but now the determined and honourable Justicar Pyvic has been assigned to take her in.

But hey, every plan has a few hitches. heart

| 9. |

Rivers of London / Midnight Riot

Book One of the Rivers of London / Peter Grant Series

by Ben Aaronovitch
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Probationary Constable Peter Grant dreams of being a detective in London’s Metropolitan Police. Too bad his superior plans to assign him to the Case Progression Unit, where the biggest threat he’ll face is a paper cut. But Peter’s prospects change in the aftermath of a puzzling murder, when he gains exclusive information from an eyewitness who happens to be a ghost. Peter’s ability to speak with the lingering dead brings him to the attention of Detective Chief Inspector Thomas Nightingale, who investigates crimes involving magic and other manifestations of the uncanny. Now, as a wave of brutal and bizarre murders engulfs the city, Peter is plunged into a world where gods and goddesses mingle with mortals and long-dead evil is making a comeback on a rising tide of magic. heart

| 10. |

Storm Front

Book One of The Dresden Files

by Jim Butcherheart

Lost Items Found. Paranormal Investigations. Consulting. Advice. Reasonable Rates. No Love Potions, Endless Purses, or Other Entertainment.

Harry Dresden is the best at what he does. Well, technically, he’s the only at what he does. So when the Chicago P.D. has a case that transcends mortal creativity or capability, they come to him for answers. For the “everyday” world is actually full of strange and magical things—and most don’t play well with humans. That’s where Harry comes in. Takes a wizard to catch a—well, whatever. There’s just one problem. Business, to put it mildly, stinks.

So when the police bring him in to consult on a grisly double murder committed with black magic, Harry’s seeing dollar signs. But where there’s black magic, there’s a black mage behind it. And now that mage knows Harry’s name. And that’s when things start to get interesting.

Magic – it can get a guy killed. heart

Which books make you laugh? 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 Monthly Round-Up: November 2015


The Monthly Round-Up - NovWelcome 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 |

Ahh November, the craziest month of the year! Not only was this Sci-Fi Month, hosted by Rinn Reads and Over the Effing Rainbow, but I started a new job! This meant I was unable to post as much as I had wanted to as I hadn’t prepared in advance (tut tut!).  I’m only just getting used to my schedule – or in other words: If I want to post anything at all I need to prepare in advance! – so hopefully December’s posts will be a little more organised.

Onto the overview. I read five books in November, none of which featured on my Sci-Fi Month Introductory Post! But they were all excellent reads and reviews for the unreviewed will be cropping up in the next few weeks. I managed to jump on the Sci-Fi Month Read Along of The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet (hello Book of the Month!) and I also reached my Goodreads Reading Challenge of 100 books in 2015 after finishing Superposition. Hurrah!

So without further ramblings, here are the books I slowly devoured in November:

| 1. |

Broken Homes by Ben Aaronovitch

| 2. |

Down Station by Simon Morden

| 3. |

Superposition by David Walton

| 4. |

Falling Sky by Rajan Khanna

| 5. |

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


Book of the Month


 

The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet

by Becky Chambers


| November Goals |

To finish all the (poor neglected) novels I’m currently reading

1 of 4 | Broken Homes by Ben Aaronovitch

Status: Incomplete

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To hop onto sci-fi month over at Rinn Reads

Status: Completed

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| Goals for 2015 |

Goodreads 2015 Reading Challenge: 100/100 Books Read (100%)

Status: Completed

Dragons and Jetpacks 2015 Reading Challenge: 41/50 Books Read (82%)

Status: +0% during November


| Reviews Posted |

Broken Homes by Ben Aaronovitch


                  

Down Station by Simon Morden


| Other Posts From November |

The Monthly Round-Up: October 2015

The Month Ahead: November 2015

Sci-Fi Month: November 2015 – Introductory Post

The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet – Read Along Week 1

The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet – Read Along Week 2

The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet – Read Along Week 3

The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet – Read Along Week 4

Cover Reveal: Daughter of Blood by Helen Lowe

Tough Travelling: Military Genius

Tough Travelling: Tricksters

Bookish Beats: Inception OST

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten… Book to Movie Adaptations I’d Love to See

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten… Thanksgiving Bastards

Teaser Tuesdays: November 03 – NOS4R2 by Joe Hill

Teaser Tuesdays: November 10 – Emma by Jane Austen

‘Sci-Fi’ Teaser Tuesdays: November 24 – Superposition by David Walton

Review: Broken Homes by Ben Aaronovitch



Broken Homes

Book Four of the Rivers of London / Peter Grant Series

by Ben Aaronovitch

Urban Fantasy | 357 Pages | Published by Gollancz in 2013


| Rating |


Broken Homes continues the story of Peter Grant which began with Rivers of London/Midnight Riot and continued with Moon Over Soho and Whispers Under Ground.

Finally! After a several-year-interlude, I got around to reading the fourth book in Ben Aaronovitch’s excellent urban fantasy series, Rivers of London. Set on the dark and dangerous streets of London, Broken Homes is an exciting and addictive tale, where the schemes and plots of rogue magicians and a faceless enemy endeavour to make life difficult for Police Constable Peter Grant. With a backdrop of brutalist architecture, grimy streets and urban sprawl, Broken Homes is a fun and refreshing read, and an excellent addition to the series. And, having read the first three books in this series whilst on a university field trip to London where I visited a brutalist architecture exhibition, this entire book was clearly meant to be!

A mutilated body in Crawley. Another killer on the loose. The prime suspect is one Robert Weil; an associate of the twisted magician known as the Faceless Man? Or just a common or garden serial killer?

Before PC Peter Grant can get his head round the case a town planner going under a tube train and a stolen grimoire are adding to his case-load.

So far so London.

But then Peter gets word of something very odd happening in Elephant and Castle, on a housing estate designed by a nutter, built by charlatans and inhabited by the truly desperate.

Is there a connection? And if there is, why oh why did it have to be South of the River.

As usual, Ben Aaronovitch manages to plot a very witty and highly gritty tale of magical misadventure vs. the strong arm of the law. London is brilliantly illuminated and Aaronovitch manages to capture the magical and whimsical side of urban fantasy whilst throwing you head first into a dark and unsettling tale of rogue practitioners, mischievous fae and The Faceless Man. Broken Homes is a tale of strange magics and even stranger characters where trust is hard to come by and loyalties are too often tested.  This book, in all its urban glory, is easily devoured, thoroughly enjoyable and incredibly hard to put down.

London is described in effortless detail and the premise of the story is so rooted in our own past and present (minus the hocus pocus… perhaps) that you could almost believe it was real. The narrative is fast-paced and humorous, the dialogue snappy and to the point and Aaronovitch writes an incredible action scene – I can almost see the walls cracking, glass shattering, bricks crumbling and dust choking the air. The narrative also manages to  convey the social and environmental impact that numerous brutalist architectural schemes have had on the urban environment with attention to detail and a good dose of  magic and humour.

Peter Grant is a fantastic protagonist whose narrative gives an excellent portrayal of his character, and Nightingale’s role as resident antique and gentlemanly badass provides a perfect and often hilarious contrast. These are characters who always keep me reading, and always leave me wanting more. Plot might be the driving force behind these novels but the other characters, both magical and mundane, are captured with that ready wit and with the brief descriptions required to provide an accurate snapshot for a fast-paced and fantastical tale.

Ben Aaronovitch is an author who can weave the fantastic through a very human world and, though the subject matter was right up my alley, I would recommend his books to all those who love their urban fantasy gritty and real, yet fast-paced and funny. Broken Homes is an inventive and fun read which leaves you on a cliff edge for the next novel… now I just need to get my hands on Foxglove Summer!


Bookish Beats Suggestion
Amazon | The Book Depository | Goodreads

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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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Teaser Tuesdays: October 27


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


| Teaser Tuesdays: Broken Homes by Ben Aaronovitch |

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“London jumped towards me, King’s Cross, the green rectangle of Lincoln’s Inn, the river and, beyond the river, the studied dullness of the King’s Reach Tower and, beyond that, right in the centre of my field of view – the grim brutalist finger of Skygarden Tower. Had Stromberg been a practitioner as well as an architect?”

~ p. 106, Broken Homes by Ben Aaronovitch


| 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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