Waiting on Wednesday: Black Sun


Welcome to Waiting on Wednesday, a weekly meme linking Waiting on Wednesday by Breaking The Spine and Can’t Wait Wednesday by Wishful Endings


| Waiting on Wednesday: September 23 |

Black Sun

Book One of Between Earth and Sky

by Rebecca Roanhorse


A god will return
When the earth and sky converge
Under the black sun

In the holy city of Tova, the winter solstice is usually a time for celebration and renewal, but this year it coincides with a solar eclipse, a rare celestial event proscribed by the Sun Priest as an unbalancing of the world.

Meanwhile, a ship launches from a distant city bound for Tova and set to arrive on the solstice. The captain of the ship, Xiala, is a disgraced Teek whose song can calm the waters around her as easily as it can warp a man’s mind. Her ship carries one passenger. Described as harmless, the passenger, Serapio, is a young man, blind, scarred, and cloaked in destiny. As Xiala well knows, when a man is described as harmless, he usually ends up being a villain.

Crafted with unforgettable characters, Rebecca Roanhorse has created an epic adventure exploring the decadence of power amidst the weight of history and the struggle of individuals swimming against the confines of society and their broken pasts in the most original series debut of the decade.


To be published by Gallery / Saga Press on 13 October 2020

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Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten… Autumn Reads


Welcome to Top Ten Tuesday – a weekly feature from The Broke and the Bookish, now hosted by ThatArtsyReaderGirl. Expect a new top ten list every week!


| Top Ten… Autumn Reads |

Welcome back to Top Ten Tuesday where this week I’m taking a look at the books I will be reading this Autumn / Fall. With a mix of unread sequels, new releases and award winning (and almost forgotten) novels, and with SciFiMonth just around the corner, my time is sure to be spent in some fantastic literary universes.

Scroll down for this week’s Top Ten… Autumn Reads!

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| 1. |

The Once and Future Witches

by Alix E. Harrow

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| Synopsis |

In 1893, there’s no such thing as witches. There used to be, in the wild, dark days before the burnings began, but now witching is nothing but tidy charms and nursery rhymes. If the modern woman wants any measure of power, she must find it at the ballot box.

But when the Eastwood sisters–James Juniper, Agnes Amaranth, and Beatrice Belladonna–join the suffragists of New Salem, they begin to pursue the forgotten words and ways that might turn the women’s movement into the witch’s movement. Stalked by shadows and sickness, hunted by forces who will not suffer a witch to vote-and perhaps not even to live-the sisters will need to delve into the oldest magics, draw new alliances, and heal the bond between them if they want to survive.

There’s no such thing as witches. But there will be.

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| 2. |

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue

by V.E. Schwab

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| Synopsis |

France, 1714: in a moment of desperation, a young woman makes a Faustian bargain to live forever and is cursed to be forgotten by everyone she meets.

Thus begins the extraordinary life of Addie LaRue, and a dazzling adventure that will play out across centuries and continents, across history and art, as a young woman learns how far she will go to leave her mark on the world.

But everything changes when, after nearly 300 years, Addie stumbles across a young man in a hidden bookstore and he remembers her name.

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| 3. |

Embers of War

by Gareth L. Powell

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| Synopsis |

The warship Trouble Dog was built and bred for calculating violence, yet following a brutal war, she finds herself disgusted by conflict and her role in a possible war crime. Seeking to atone, she joins the House of Reclamation, an organisation dedicated to rescuing ships in distress.

But, stripped of her weaponry and emptied of her officers, she struggles in the new role she’s chosen for herself. When a ship goes missing in a disputed system, Trouble Dog and her new crew of misfits and loners, captained by Sal Konstanz, an ex-captain of a medical frigate who once fought against Trouble Dog, are assigned to investigate and save whoever they can.

Meanwhile, light years away, intelligence officer Ashton Childe is tasked with locating and saving the poet, Ona Sudak, who was aboard the missing ship, whatever the cost. In order to do this, he must reach out to the only person he considers a friend, even if he’s not sure she can be trusted. What Childe doesn’t know is that Sudak is not the person she appears to be.

Quickly, what appears to be a straightforward rescue mission turns into something far more dangerous, as Trouble Dog, Konstanz and Childe, find themselves at the centre of a potential new conflict that could engulf not just mankind but the entire galaxy.

If she is to survive and save her crew, Trouble Dog is going to have to remember how to fight.

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| 4. |

Holy Sister

by Mark Lawrence

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| Synopsis |

Nona Grey’s story reaches its shattering conclusion in the third instalment of Book of the Ancestor.

The ice is advancing, the Corridor narrowing, and the empire is under siege from the Scithrowl in the east and the Durns in the west. Everywhere, the emperor’s armies are in retreat.

Nona faces the final challenges that must be overcome if she is to become a full sister in the order of her choice. But it seems unlikely that Nona and her friends will have time to earn a nun’s habit before war is on their doorstep.

Even a warrior like Nona cannot hope to turn the tide of war.

The shiphearts offer strength that she might use to protect those she loves, but it’s a power that corrupts. A final battle is coming in which she will be torn between friends, unable to save them all. A battle in which her own demons will try to unmake her.

A battle in which hearts will be broken, lovers lost, thrones burned.

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| 5. |

The Calculating Stars

by Mary Robinette Kowal

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| Synopsis |

On a cold spring night in 1952, a huge meteorite fell to earth and obliterated much of the east coast of the United States, including Washington D.C. The ensuing climate cataclysm will soon render the earth inhospitable for humanity, as the last such meteorite did for the dinosaurs. This looming threat calls for a radically accelerated effort to colonize space, and requires a much larger share of humanity to take part in the process.

Elma York’s experience as a WASP pilot and mathematician earns her a place in the International Aerospace Coalition’s attempts to put man on the moon, as a calculator. But with so many skilled and experienced women pilots and scientists involved with the program, it doesn’t take long before Elma begins to wonder why they can’t go into space, too.

Elma’s drive to become the first Lady Astronaut is so strong that even the most dearly held conventions of society may not stand a chance against her. heart

| 6. |

Record of a Spaceborn Few

by Becky Chambers

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| Synopsis |

Centuries after the last humans left Earth, the Exodus Fleet is a living relic, a place many are from but few outsiders have seen. Humanity has finally been accepted into the galactic community, but while this has opened doors for many, those who have not yet left for alien cities fear that their carefully cultivated way of life is under threat.

Tessa chose to stay home when her brother Ashby left for the stars, but has to question that decision when her position in the Fleet is threatened.

Kip, a reluctant young apprentice, itches for change but doesn’t know where to find it.

Sawyer, a lost and lonely newcomer, is just looking for a place to belong.

When a disaster rocks this already fragile community, those Exodans who still call the Fleet their home can no longer avoid the inescapable question:

What is the purpose of a ship that has reached its destination?

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| 7. |

Darkdawn

by Jay Kristoff

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| Synopsis |

The greatest games in Godsgrave’s history have ended with the most audacious murders in the history of the Itreyan Republic.

Mia Corvere, gladiatii, escaped slave and infamous assassin, is on the run. Pursued by Blades of the Red Church and soldiers of the Luminatii legion, she may never escape the City of Bridges and Bones alive. Her mentor Mercurio is now in the clutches of her enemies. Her own family wishes her dead. And her nemesis, Consul Julius Scaeva, stands but a breath from total dominance over the Republic.

But beneath the city, a dark secret awaits. Together with her lover Ashlinn, brother Jonnen and a mysterious benefactor returned from beyond the veil of death, she must undertake a perilous journey across the Republic, seeking the final answer to the riddle of her life. Truedark approaches. Night is falling on the Republic for perhaps the final time.

Can Mia survive in a world where even daylight must die?

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| 8. |

The Plague Charmer

by Karen Maitland

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| Synopsis |

Riddle me this: I have a price, but it cannot be paid in gold or silver.

1361. Porlock Weir, Exmoor. Thirteen years after the Great Pestilence, plague strikes England for the second time. Sara, a packhorse man’s wife, remembers the horror all too well and fears for safety of her children.

Only a dark-haired stranger offers help, but at a price that no one will pay.

Fear gives way to hysteria in the village and, when the sickness spreads to her family, Sara finds herself locked away by neighbours she has trusted for years. And, as her husband – and then others – begin to die, the cost no longer seems so unthinkable.

The price that I ask, from one willing to pay… A human life.

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| 9. |

A Time of Blood

by John Gwynne

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| Synopsis |

Defy the darkness. Defend the light.

Drem and his friends flee the battle at Starstone Lake to warn the Order of the Bright Star. They’ve witnessed horrors they’ll never forget, such as magic warping men into beasts. But worst of all, they’ve seen a demon rise from the dead – making it even more powerful. Now Fritha, the demons’ high priestess, is hunting Drem’s party.

Concealed in Forn Forest, Riv struggles to understand her half-breed heritage. She represents the warrior angels’ biggest secret, one which could break their society. And when she’s found by the Ben-Elim’s high captain, he swoops in for the kill.

As demonic forces multiply, they send a mighty war-host to overthrow the angel’s stronghold. This could decimate the fractured Ben-Elim. And their allies in the Order may be too overwhelmed to send aid – with Fritha and her monstrous beasts closing in. Like heroes of old, Drem and the Bright Star’s warriors must battle to save their land. But can the light triumph when the dark is rising?

A Time of Blood is the spectacular follow-up to John Gwynne’s A Time of Dread.

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| 10. |

Words of Radiance

by Brandon Sanderson

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| Synopsis |

Expected by his enemies to die the miserable death of a military slave, Kaladin survived to be given command of the royal bodyguards, a controversial first for a low-status “darkeyes.” Now he must protect the king and Dalinar from every common peril as well as the distinctly uncommon threat of the Assassin, all while secretly struggling to master remarkable new powers that are somehow linked to his honorspren, Syl.

The Assassin, Szeth, is active again, murdering rulers all over the world of Roshar, using his baffling powers to thwart every bodyguard and elude all pursuers. Among his prime targets is Highprince Dalinar, widely considered the power behind the Alethi throne. His leading role in the war would seem reason enough, but the Assassin’s master has much deeper motives.

Brilliant but troubled Shallan strives along a parallel path. Despite being broken in ways she refuses to acknowledge, she bears a terrible burden: to somehow prevent the return of the legendary Voidbringers and the civilization-ending Desolation that will follow. The secrets she needs can be found at the Shattered Plains, but just arriving there proves more difficult than she could have imagined.

Meanwhile, at the heart of the Shattered Plains, the Parshendi are making an epochal decision. Hard pressed by years of Alethi attacks, their numbers ever shrinking, they are convinced by their war leader, Eshonai, to risk everything on a desperate gamble with the very supernatural forces they once fled. The possible consequences for Parshendi and humans alike, indeed, for Roshar itself, are as dangerous as they are incalculable.heart


What are you looking forward to reading this Autumn?

If you would like to join in with Top Ten Tuesday, head on over to ThatArtsyReaderGirl and sign up!

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This Week by Proxy: 31 August – 06 September


Welcome to This Week by Proxy. Join me as I link up with the Caffeinated Reviewer to look back on the past week and see what I’ve been reading, posting, watching and playing!


| This Week by Proxy: 31 August – 06 September 2020 |

Having not had a holiday in over six months, the other half and I made our way to the Lake District on Monday and spent the next four days reading books (or playing on the Switch), exploring the local landscape and visiting remote and ruined castles. It was wonderfully relaxing, completely peaceful and I only wish our stay could have been for just a bit longer.

The weekend, however, was spent picnicking in the park with my stepdaughter, visiting my mum and dad on their narrowboat, and relaxing with many a good book. Brilliant fun all round!

I hope you’ve all had a fantastic week and I will try to catch up on all the posts I’ve missed over the next few days! 


| Books Read |

Over the past week I completed both ‘The Trouble with Peace’ by Joe Abercrombie and ‘The Doors of Eden’ by Adrian Tchaikovsky and still managed to squeeze in a little Pratchett before the end. All different, all brilliant, and all a joy to read from beginning to end!


| Currently Reading |

This week I’m continuing to read ‘The Court of Broken Knives’, a brutal but beautifully written grimdark fantasy epic by Anna Smith Spark. Unfortunately, in my haste to pack my Kindle, I forgot to bring the book with me to the Lake District and I’m a little further behind than I wanted to be. I did, however, manage to pick up a wonderful assortment of books in the Kindle sale and have started ‘Tombland’, the seventh book in the Matthew Shardlake series by C.J. Sansom.

I am also taking part in the Read-Along for Kushiel’s Dart by Jacqueline Carey, organised by Imyril at There’s Always Room for One More. My Week One post, which covers Chapters 1 – 16, can be found here. If anyone would like to join in with this Read-Along, just head on over to the Goodreads group page and sign up.


| Upcoming Reviews |

Having spent an entire week on holiday (and most of that time spent reading!) I am even more behind on the review front, but will hopefully get a few out in the coming week! Every single one of these books was amazing so expect a whole host of glowing reviews!


| Watching |

Season One of Absentia was both an enjoyable and exasperating experience. Stana Katic was incredible as Emily Byrne and the overall plot was tense and unpredictable, but Nick Durand, Emily’s ex-husband and FBI agent, was an incredibly frustrating character who treated Emily like dirt, had serious trust issues, and couldn’t find a clue if it was stapled to his face.  He annoyed me so much I almost stopped watching altogether. However, I am glad I continued as it did have quite a gripping plot and Season Two is proving a far less rage-inducing experience.

Meanwhile, the other half and I are watching Season Five of Lucifer, which is as lighthearted and comedic as ever, and Season Two of The Boys, which is both brutal and bloody brilliant.


| Gaming |

As the past week has been spent in literary bliss up in the Lake District, I’ve only had time for a few short but sweet games of Apex Legends since our return.


| Posts |

Review: The Ashes of London by Andrew Taylor

 

Music Mondays: Gurdy’s Green

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten… Foodie Book Covers

Teaser Tuesdays: Monstrous Regiment by Terry Pratchett

Waiting on Wednesday: God of Night by Tom Lloyd

Read-Along: Kushiel’s Dart by Jacqueline Carey – Week One

The Friday Face-Off: Cold and Crisp

My Top Ten Games of the Past Two Years


I hope you all have a wonderful, book-filled week!

What have you been reading, watching and playing this week? Have you accomplished any goals?

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My Top Ten Games of the Past Two Years


Welcome to My Top Ten of the Past Two Years series, where I look back at my favourite books, games and TV series (amongst other things) during my blogging hiatus.


| My Top Ten Games of the Past Two Years: July 2018 – July 2020 |

A long overdue welcome to My Top Ten Games of the Past Two Years!

It had been my intention to post a series of favourites gathered during my hiatus, kicking off with My Top Ten Books of the Past Two Years, but time, work and other commitments always conspired to delay my posts. In anticipation of going on holiday last week, however, I actually finished my gaming post and only had to up my game time for Apex Legends by another thirty-four hours!

As this post has been partially drafted since my return at the beginning of July, there are also a number of games I’ve recently picked up which deserve an honourable mention and will more than likely feature on next year’s list – I’m looking at you Red Dead Redemption 2, No Man’s Sky and GTFO. I’m sure there are also plenty of other brilliant games that I’ve either forgotten or am yet to play so let me know of any of your favourites in the comments.

In no particular order, here are My Top Ten Games of the Past Two Years!


| 1. |

Kingdom Come: Deliverance

Play Time: 174 Hours

Rating


| My Thoughts |

Kingdom Come: Deliverance is a phenomenal open-world RPG set in medieval Bohemia. With interesting mechanics, an expansive and detailed medieval world, a gripping storyline, and some of the best graphics I have seen, every hour spent in this world seems to lead to yet one more. This is quite simply a masterpiece.

Favourite Quest – Poverty, Chastity and Obedience

Favourite Location – Sasau Monastery

Favourite Skill – Alchemy


| About This Game |

Game

You’re Henry, the son of a blacksmith. Thrust into a raging civil war, you watch helplessly as invaders storm your village and slaughter your friends and family. Narrowly escaping the brutal attack, you grab your sword to fight back. Avenge the death of your parents and help repel the invading forces!

Story

Bohemia – located in the heart of Europe, the region is rich in culture, silver, and sprawling castles. The death of its beloved ruler, Emperor Charles IV, has plunged the kingdom into dark times: war, corruption, and discord are tearing this jewel of the Holy Roman Empire apart.

One of Charles’ sons, Wenceslas, has inherited the crown. Unlike his father, Wenceslas is a naive, self-indulgent, unambitious monarch. His half-brother and King of Hungary, Sigismund the Red Fox, senses weakness in Wenceslas. Feigning good will, Sigismund travels to Bohemia and kidnaps his half-brother. With no king on the throne, Sigismund is now free to plunder Bohemia and seize its riches.

In the midst of this chaos, you’re Henry, the son of a blacksmith. Your peaceful life is shattered when a mercenary raid, ordered by King Sigismund himself, burns your village to the ground. By bittersweet fortune, you are one of the few survivors of this massacre.

Without a home, family, or future you end up in the service of Lord Radzig Kobyla, who is forming a resistance against the invasion. Fate drags you into this bloody conflict and shoves you into a raging civil war, where you help fight for the future of Bohemia.

Massive realistic open world: Majestic castles, vast fields, all rendered in stunning high-end graphics.

Non-linear story: Solve quests in multiple ways, then face the consequences of your decisions.

Challenging combat: Distance, stealth, or melee. Choose your weapons and execute dozens of unique combos in battles that are as thrilling as they are merciless.

Character development: Choose your equipment, improve your skills and earn new perks.

Dynamic world: Your actions influence the reactions of the people around you. Fight, steal, seduce, threaten, persuade, or bribe. It’s all up to you!

Historical accuracy: Meet real historical characters and experience the genuine look and feel of medieval Bohemia


| 2. |

Assassin’s Creed Odyssey

Play Time: 161 Hours

Rating


| My Thoughts |

Assassin’s Creed Odyssey is an expansive, detailed and thoroughly addictive game which follows the life of a mercenary in Ancient Greece during the Peloponnesian War. It may diverge from the original AC games but it is a worthy contender in its own right. With stunning locations, and a multitude of quests, side quests and DLCs, Odyssey is a game that I couldn’t put down until I completed Every. Last. Thing.

Played As – Kassandra

Favourite Location – Greece (There are too many wonderful locations to choose from!)

Favourite Ability – Rush Assassination


| About This Game |

Become a legendary Greek hero – In a first for the Assassin’s Creed franchise, you can choose which hero to embody throughout this epic journey, Alexios or Kassandra.

Choose your own path – Your decisions shape the world around you with over 30 hours of choice dialogue and multiple game endings.

Fight epic battles – Demonstrate your extraordinary warrior abilities and shift the tides of battle during the Peloponnesian War.

Sail across the Aegean sea – Find uncharted locations, uncover hidden treasures or cleave your way through entire fleets in naval battles.

A Land of myths & legends – Discover a world rich with myths and legends. From ancient rituals to famed statues, come face-to-face with Greece’s legendary figures.


| 3. |

Apex Legends

Play Time: 494 Hours

Rating


| My Thoughts |

Before Apex Legends, Battle Royale style first-person shooters just weren’t my thing, but this game is seriously addictive. With numerous legends, weapons and drop sites to choose from, this is a heart-pounding, infuriating and inexplicably exciting FPS that always has me going for ‘just one more game’.

Favourite Legend – Wattson

Favourite Weapon – Spitfire

Favourite Map – King’s Canyon


| About This Game |

Conquer with character in Apex Legends, a free-to-play Battle Royale shooter where legendary characters with powerful abilities team up to battle for fame & fortune on the fringes of the Frontier. Master an ever-growing roster of diverse Legends, deep tactical squad play and bold new innovations that level up the Battle Royale experience—all within a rugged world where anything goes. Welcome to the next evolution of Battle Royale.

A Roster of Legendary Characters – Master a growing roster of powerful Legends, each with their own unique personality, strengths and abilities that are easy to pick up but challenging to truly master.

Build Your Crew – Choose your Legend and combine their unique skills together with other players to form the ultimate crew.

Strategic Battle Royale – Use your abilities–and your wits–to make strategic calls on the fly, adapting your crew’s strengths to meet new challenges as the match evolves.

Genre-Evolving Innovation – Experience a brand-new array of innovative features that level up the Battle Royale genre, including Respawn Beacons, Smart Comms, Intelligent Inventory and an all-new way to drop into the action with Jumpmaster deployment.

Sweet, Sweet Loot – Drop in and loot up with a host of powerful weapons, diverse attachments and useful armor to protect you in battle. After the fight, collect a wealth of cosmetic options for personalizing your character and weapons, and unlock new ways to show off during the match.


| 4. |

Rise of the Tomb Raider

Play Time: 36 Hours

Rating


| My Thoughts |

Written by Rhianna Pratchett, the daughter of Sir Terry Pratchett himself, Rise of the Tomb Raider is an action-packed adventure game which balances puzzle games with both face-to-face and stealth combat. With a brilliant story, beautiful graphics, and perilous and frozen landscapes, Rise of the Tomb Raider is a seriously addictive adventure.

Favourite Location – Geothermal Valley

Favourite Feature – Challenge Tombs

Favourite DLC – Blood Ties


| About This Game |

Rise of the Tomb Raider: 20 Year Celebration includes the base game and Season Pass featuring all-new content. Explore Croft Manor in the new “Blood Ties” story, then defend it against a zombie invasion in “Lara’s Nightmare”. Survive extreme conditions with a friend in the new online Co-Op Endurance mode, and brave the new “Extreme Survivor” difficulty. Also features an outfit and weapon inspired by Tomb Raider III, and 5 classic Lara skins. Existing DLC will challenge you to explore a new tomb that houses an ancient terror in Baba Yaga: The Temple of the Witch, and combat waves of infected predators in Cold Darkness Awakened.

Key Features

Lara’s Journey – Lara uncovers an ancient mystery that places her in the cross-hairs of a ruthless organization known as Trinity. As she races to find the secret before Trinity, the trail leads to a myth about the Lost City of Kitezh. Lara knows she must reach the Lost City and its hidden secrets before Trinity. With that, she sets out for Siberia on her first Tomb Raiding expedition.

Woman vs. Wild – In “Rise of the Tomb Raider,” Lara battles with not only enemies from around the world, but the world itself. Hunt animals to craft weapons and scavenge for rare resources in densely populated ecosystems. You’ll encounter beautifully hostile environments, full of treacherous conditions and unstable landscapes that will require Lara to push her limits to the very edge.

Guerilla Combat – Use the environment to your advantage, scale trees and dive underwater to avoid or takedown enemies, configure Lara’s gear, weapons, and ammo to suit your play style from stealth to guns blazing, craft explosives on the fly to sow chaos, and wield Lara’s signature combat bows and climbing axe.

Return to Tomb Raiding – Tombs are back, and they’re bigger and better than ever. In “Rise of the Tomb Raider” you’ll explore huge, awe-inspiring ancient spaces littered with deadly traps, solve dramatic environmental puzzles, and decipher ancient texts to reveal crypts as you take on a world filled with secrets to discover.


| 5. |

Warhammer: Vermintide II

Play Time: 37 Hours

Rating


| My Thoughts |

Warhammer: Vermintide II is an action-packed combat game in which you must join up with others to vanquish the Skaven horde. With a wonderful array of characters with a wide range of builds, alternating skills, talents and difficulties, Vermintide II is an incredibly fun game which is reminiscent of the mechanics for Left 4 Dead 2.

Favourite Character – Victor Saltzpyer

Favourite Career – Witch Hunter

Favourite Quote – “The power of Sigmar compels thee!”


| About This Game |

Warhammer: Vermintide 2 is a 4-player co-op action game set in the Warhammer Fantasy Battles world. Sequel to the critically acclaimed Vermintide, Vermintide 2 is the latest instalment in a franchise best known for its intense and bloody first-person melee combat.

Our five heroes have returned to take on an even greater threat than before – the combined forces of a ruinous Chaos army and the swarming Skaven horde. The only thing standing between utter defeat and victory is you and your allies. If you fall – so too will the Empire.

Fight through endless hordes of enemies together with up to 3 friends in this visceral co-op action experience

Choose between 5 different characters, each with 3 branching careers to master

Evolve your skill and climb the difficulty ladders, from Recruit, Veteran, Champion to Legend

Customize your own unique style of play with 15 different talent trees and 50+ Weapon Types

Explore the war-ravaged lands of a dying world with a wide range of stunning levels to experience


| 6. |

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

Play Time: 157 Hours

Rating


| My Thoughts |

An utterly compelling story (thank you Andrzej Sapkowski), brilliant combat, beautiful graphics and amazing DLC, combine to make The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt one of the most brilliant, beautiful and detailed games of all time. This is, most definitely, an undisputed favourite which needs no more introduction.

Favourite Location – Novigrad

Favourite Sign – Igni

Yennefer or Triss – Yennefer


| About This Game |

Play as a highly-trained monster slayer for hire

Trained from early childhood and mutated to gain superhuman skills, strength and reflexes, witchers are a counterbalance to the monster-infested world in which they live.

Gruesomely destroy foes as a professional monster hunter armed with a range of upgradeable weapons, mutating potions and combat magic.

Hunt down a wide range of exotic monsters — from savage beasts prowling the mountain passes, to cunning supernatural predators lurking in the shadows of densely populated towns.

Invest your rewards to upgrade your weaponry and buy custom armour, or spend them away in horse races, card games, fist fighting, and other pleasures the night brings.

Explore a morally indifferent fantasy open world

Built for endless adventure, the massive open world of The Witcher sets new standards in terms of size, depth and complexity.

Traverse a fantastical open world: explore forgotten ruins, caves and shipwrecks, trade with merchants and dwarven smiths in cities, and hunt across the open plains, mountains and seas.

Deal with treasonous generals, devious witches and corrupt royalty to provide dark and dangerous services.

Make choices that go beyond good & evil, and face their far-reaching consequences.

Chase down the child of prophecy

Take on the most important contract to track down the child of prophecy, a key to save or destroy this world.

In times of war, chase down the child of prophecy, a living weapon foretold by ancient elven legends.

Struggle against ferocious rulers, spirits of the wilds and even a threat from beyond the veil – all hell-bent on controlling this world.

Define your destiny in a world that may not be worth saving.


| 7. |

Assassin’s Creed Origins

Play Time: 89 Hours

Rating


| My Thoughts |

Assassin’s Creed Origins combines a beautiful, heart-wrenching story, a vast and beautiful open-world, and an incredibly addictive combat system to create a brilliant game in one of my favourite franchises. Ancient Egypt is conjured in wonderfully atmospheric detail and Bayek of Siwa is undoubtedly one of my favourite AC characters of all time.

Favourite Weapon – Predator Bow

Favourite Location – Alexandria

Favourite Ability – Attack and Push


| About This Game |

Ancient Egypt, a land of majesty and intrigue, is disappearing in a ruthless fight for power. Unveil dark secrets and forgotten myths as you go back to the one founding moment: The Origins of the Assassin’s Brotherhood.

A Country to Discover – Sail down the Nile, uncover the mysteries of the pyramids or fight your way against dangerous ancient factions and wild beasts as you explore this gigantic and unpredictable land.

A New Story Every Time You Play – Engage into multiple quests and gripping stories as you cross paths with strong and memorable characters, from the wealthiest high-born to the most desperate outcasts.

Embrace Action RPG -Experience a completely new way to fight. Loot and use dozens of weapons with different characteristics and rarities. Explore deep progression mechanics and challenge your skills against unique and powerful bosses.


| 8. |

A Plague Tale: Innocence

Play Time: 15 Hours

Rating


| My Thoughts |

A Plague Tale: Innocence is a beautiful and terrifying tale of a world ravaged by plague. This short and captivating game sees Amicia and her brother Hugo flee across France as disease, swarms of rats and the Inquisition vie to capture or destroy them both. Gripping and heart-wrenching with a brilliant narrative, A Plague Tale is nothing short of incredible.

Favourite Location – The University

Favourite Projectile – Ignifer

Favourite Villain – Lord Nicholas


| About This Game |

Follow the grim tale of young Amicia and her little brother Hugo, in a heartrending journey through the darkest hours of history. Hunted by Inquisition soldiers and surrounded by unstoppable swarms of rats, Amicia and Hugo will come to know and trust each other. As they struggle to survive against overwhelming odds, they will fight to find purpose in this brutal, unforgiving world.

Story

1349. The plague ravages the Kingdom of France. Amicia and her younger brother Hugo are pursued by the Inquisition through villages devastated by the disease. On their way, they will have to join forces with other children, and evade swarms of rats using fire and light. Aided only by the link that binds their fates together, they will face untold horrors in their struggle to survive.As their adventure begins… the time of innocence ends.

Characters

Amicia De Rune – At just 15 years old, Amicia is already a strong woman, independent and physical, trained by her father in the art of hunting. She had little contact with her brother while they were growing up, but soon their bond will be keeping them alive.

Hugo De Rune – The younger Hugo is a frail child of just five years, afflicted with an unknown disease that has kept him locked in his room for much of his lonely childhood. He has little knowledge of the outside world, but prefers even its dangers to his previous confinement.

The Inquisition – As war and sickness engulf 14th Century France, the Inquisition pursue the De Rune children for unknown reasons, out to capture their younger targets. Lacking the strength to defeat fully-grown knights, Amicia and Hugo will require guile and stealth to escape.

The Rats – Rats swarm in uninterrupted waves throughout the territory of France. In the plague-ridden villages, countryside and battlefields, this uncontrollable and voracious mass advances relentlessly devouring everything in their path. Only the light of the flame seems to slow down this swarming menace.


| 9. |

Warframe

Play Time: 237 Hours

Rating


| My Thoughts |

This free to play, sci-fi action game is expansive and detailed with a huge variety of warframes, weapons and companions to choose from. The storyline is interesting, the combat and abilities are wonderfully creative, and the movement is so fluid that it’s hard not to expect other game characters to bullet jump or sprint across levels.

Favourite Warframe – Trinity Prime

Favourite Sentinel – Helios Prime

Favourite Location – Lua


| About This Game |

Choose your warframe – With more than 30 Warframes, each fully customizable with their own unique abilities, you can create the perfect Warframe for you.

Assemble your arsenal – Katanas. Crossbows. Flamethrowers. Expand your Arsenal with more than 300 diverse Weapons, then modify each one to match your playstyle.

Experience fast-paced combat – Slice and dice through hordes of enemies, or go in guns blazing, or sneak your way in — the choice is yours.

Explore open worlds – Explore, discover, fight, and fly in massive open landscapes within Warframe.

Fluid parkour movement – Seamlessly leap, slide and glide through capital ships and underground compounds with a robust movement system.

A solar system in ruin – In the far-future world of Warframe, grotesque clones and capitalist machines dominate our solar system. Fight back against greed and corruption as you explore 18 worlds filled with techno-organic horrors.

Squad up – You don’t have to work alone. Invite three friends or fight alongside the 38 million strong in our Tenno community.

Ninjas play free – Warframe is entirely free-to-play. With no barrier to entry, there’s nothing to stop you and your friends from joining our world. Welcome to the Origin System, Tenno.


| 10. |

Shadow of the Tomb Raider

Play Time: 38 Hours

Rating


Continuing the narrative of Rise of the Tomb Raider, Shadow of the Tomb Raider is another brilliant addition to the franchise which sees Lara venturing to the tropical regions of The Americas and to the lost city of Paititi. With brilliant challenge tombs, puzzles and combat, and beautiful graphics and locations, I only hope it won’t be too long before before another Tomb Raider is underway.

Favourite Location – San Juan

Favourite Mission – Via Crucis / Mystery of the White Queen

Favourite Challenge Tomb – Howl of the Monkey Gods


| Back of the Box |

n Shadow of the Tomb Raider Definitive Edition experience the final chapter of Lara’s origin as she is forged into the Tomb Raider she is destined to be. Combining the base game, all seven DLC challenge tombs, as well as all downloadable weapons, outfits, and skills, Shadow of the Tomb Raider Definitive Edition is the ultimate way to experience Lara’s defining moment.

Survive and Thrive In the Deadliest Place on Earth: Master an unforgiving jungle setting in order to survive. Explore underwater environments filled with crevasses and deep tunnel systems.

Become One With the Jungle: Outgunned and outnumbered, Lara must use the jungle to her advantage. Strike suddenly and disappear like a jaguar, use mud as camouflage, and instill fear in enemies to sow chaos.

Discover Dark and Brutal Tombs: Tombs are more terrifying than ever before, requiring advanced traversal techniques to reach them, and once inside they are filled with deadly puzzles.

Uncover Living History: Discover a hidden city and explore the biggest hub space ever found in a Tomb Raider game.


Stay tuned for my follow up posts:

My Top Ten TV Series of the Past Two Years 


What have been your favourite games of the past few years?

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Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten… Foodie Book Covers


Welcome to Top Ten Tuesday – a weekly feature from The Broke and the Bookish, now hosted by ThatArtsyReaderGirl. Expect a new top ten list every week!


| Top Ten… Foodie Book Covers |

Welcome back to Top Ten Tuesday where this week I’m taking a look at books with food on their front covers. From forbidden fruits and sumptuous foods to the repulsive and frankly unappetising, this week’s theme encompasses all genres with a variety of artwork styles and authors.

Scroll down for this week’s Top Ten… Foodie Book Covers!

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| 1. |

The Sin Eater

by Megan Campisi

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| Synopsis |

Can you uncover the truth when you’re forbidden from speaking it?

A Sin Eater’s duty is a necessary evil: she hears the final private confessions of the dying, eats their sins as a funeral rite, and so guarantees their souls access to heaven. It is always women who eat sins – since it was Eve who first ate the Forbidden Fruit – and every town has at least one, not that they are publicly acknowledged. Stained by the sins they are obliged to consume, the Sin Eater is shunned and silenced, doomed to live in exile at the edge of town.

Recently orphaned May Owens is just fourteen, and has never considered what it might be like to be so ostracized; she’s more concerned with where her next meal is coming from. When she’s arrested for stealing a loaf of bread, however, and subsequently sentenced to become a Sin Eater, finding food is suddenly the last of her worries.

It’s a devastating sentence, but May’s new invisibility opens new doors. And when first one then two of the Queen’s courtiers suddenly grow ill, May hears their deathbed confessions – and begins to investigate a terrible rumour that is only whispered of amid palace corridors.

Set in a thinly disguised sixteenth-century England, The Sin Eater by Megan Campisi is a wonderfully imaginative and gripping story of treason and treachery; of secrets and silence; of women, of power – and, ultimately, of the strange freedom that comes from being an outcast with no hope of redemption for, as May learns, being a nobody sometimes counts for everything…

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| 2. |

The Vine Witch

by Luanne G. Smith

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| Synopsis |

A young witch emerges from a curse to find her world upended in this gripping fantasy of betrayal, vengeance, and self-discovery set in turn-of-the-century France.

For centuries, the vineyards at Château Renard have depended on the talent of their vine witches, whose spells help create the world-renowned wine of the Chanceaux Valley. Then the skill of divining harvests fell into ruin when sorcière Elena Boureanu was blindsided by a curse. Now, after breaking the spell that confined her to the shallows of a marshland and weakened her magic, Elena is struggling to return to her former life. And the vineyard she was destined to inherit is now in the possession of a handsome stranger.

Vigneron Jean-Paul Martel naively favors science over superstition, and he certainly doesn’t endorse the locals’ belief in witches. But Elena knows a hex when she sees one, and the vineyard is covered in them. To stay on and help the vines recover, she’ll have to hide her true identity, along with her plans for revenge against whoever stole seven winters of her life. And she won’t rest until she can defy the evil powers that are still a threat to herself, Jean-Paul, and the ancient vine-witch legacy in the rolling hills of the Chanceaux Valley.

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| 3. |

The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires

by Grady Hendrix

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| Synopsis |

Fried Green Tomatoes and Steel Magnolias meet Dracula in this Southern-flavored supernatural thriller set in the ’90s about a women’s book club that must protect its suburban community from a mysterious and handsome stranger who turns out to be a blood-sucking fiend.

Patricia Campbell had always planned for a big life, but after giving up her career as a nurse to marry an ambitious doctor and become a mother, Patricia’s life has never felt smaller. The days are long, her kids are ungrateful, her husband is distant, and her to-do list is never really done. The one thing she has to look forward to is her book club, a group of Charleston mothers united only by their love for true-crime and suspenseful fiction. In these meetings, they’re more likely to discuss the FBI’s recent siege of Waco as much as the ups and downs of marriage and motherhood.

But when an artistic and sensitive stranger moves into the neighborhood, the book club’s meetings turn into speculation about the newcomer. Patricia is initially attracted to him, but when some local children go missing, she starts to suspect the newcomer is involved. She begins her own investigation, assuming that he’s a Jeffrey Dahmer or Ted Bundy. What she uncovers is far more terrifying, and soon she–and her book club–are the only people standing between the monster they’ve invited into their homes and their unsuspecting community.heart

| 4. |

Peaches for Monsieur le Curé

by Joanne Harris

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| Synopsis |

It isn’t often you receive a letter from the dead. When Vianne Rocher receives a letter from beyond the grave, she has no choice but to follow the wind that blows her back to Lansquenet, the village in south-west France where, eight years ago, she opened up a chocolate shop. But Vianne is completely unprepared for what she finds there. Women veiled in black, the scent of spices and peppermint tea, and there, on the bank of the river Tannes, facing the square little tower of the church of Saint-Jerome like a piece on a chessboard – slender, bone-white and crowned with a silver crescent moon – a minaret. Nor is it only the incomers from North Africa that have brought big changes to the community. Father Reynaud, Vianne’s erstwhile adversary, is now disgraced and under threat. Could it be that Vianne is the only one who can save him?

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| 5. |

Blackberry Wine

by Joanne Harris

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| Synopsis |

Jay Mackintosh is trapped by memory in the old familiar landscape of his childhood, more enticing than the present, and to which he longs to return. A bottle of home-brewed wine left to him by a long vanished friend seems to provide both the key to an old mystery and a doorway into another world. As the unusual properties of the strange brew takes effect, Jay escapes to a derelict farmhouse in the French village of Lansquenet , where a ghost from the past waits to confront him, and the reclusive Marise -haunted, lovely, and dangerous- hides a terrible secret behind her closed shutters. Between them, a mysterious chemistry. Or could it be magic?

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| 6. |

Five Quarters of the Orange

by Joanne Harris

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| Synopsis |

The novels of Joanne Harris are a literary feast for the senses. Five Quarters of the Orange represents Harris’s most complex and sophisticated work yet – a novel in which darkness and fierce joy come together to create an unforgettable story.

When Framboise Simon returns to a small village on the banks of the Loire, the locals do not recognize her as the daughter of the infamous Mirabelle Dartigen – the woman they still hold responsible for a terrible tragedy that took place during the German occupation decades before. Although Framboise hopes for a new beginning she quickly discovers that past and present are inextricably intertwined. Nowhere is this truth more apparent than in the scrapbook of recipes she has inherited from her dead mother.

With this book, Framboise re-creates her mother’s dishes, which she serves in her small creperie. And yet as she studies the scrapbook – searching for clues to unlock the contradiction between her mother’s sensuous love of food and often cruel demeanor – she begins to recognize a deeper meaning behind Mirabelle’s cryptic scribbles. Within the journal’s tattered pages lies the key to what actually transpired the summer Framboise was nine years old.

Rich and dark. Five Quarters of the Orange is a novel of mothers and daughters of the past and the present, of resisting, and succumbing, and an extraordinary work by a masterful writer.

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| 7. |

Idle Ingredients

by Matt Wallace

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| Synopsis |

Catering for a charismatic motivational speaker, the staff of the Sin du Jour catering agency find themselves incapacitated by a force from within their ranks. A smile and a promise is all it took.

And for some reason, only the men are affected. It’s going to take cunning, guile and a significant amount of violence to resolve.

Another day of cupcakes and evil with your favorite demonic caterers.heart

| 8. |

Taste of Wrath

by Matt Wallace

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| Synopsis |

Bronko and his team of crack chefs and kitchen staff have been serving the New York supernatural community for decades. But all that could be about to change.

The entity formerly known as Allensworth has been manipulating Bronko and his team from Day One, and the gang at Sin du Jour have had enough.

Old debts are called in, and an alliance is formed with the unlikeliest of comrades.

Some will die. Some will descend. And some will rise.

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| 9. |

The Last Banquet of Temporal Confections

by Tina Connolly

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| Synopsis |

A young food taster to the Traitor King must make a difficult choice in this story of pastries, magic, and revenge. The Last Banquet of Temporal Confections is a Tor.com Original from fantasy author Tina Connolly.

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| 10. |

Hallowe’en Party

by Agatha Christie

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| Synopsis |

A teenage murder witness is drowned in a tub of apples…

At a Hallowe’en party, Joyce – a hostile thirteen-year-old – boasts that she once witnessed a murder. When no-one believes her, she storms off home. But within hours her body is found, still in the house, drowned in an apple-bobbing tub.

That night, Hercule Poirot is called in to find the ‘evil presence’. But first he must establish whether he is looking for a murderer or a double-murderer…

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Which foodie book covers are your favourites?

If you would like to join in with Top Ten Tuesday, head on over to ThatArtsyReaderGirl and sign up!

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This Week by Proxy: 17 – 30 August


Welcome to This Week by Proxy. Join me as I link up with the Caffeinated Reviewer to look back on the past week and see what I’ve been reading, posting, watching and playing!


| This Week by Proxy: 17 – 30 August 2020 |

The past two weeks have been a rather strange mix of highs and lows. I realised the week before last, that I had only taken a handful of my holidays from work this year and, as we are now approaching September, it sent me into a bit of a spiral where all I could think about was how much I needed a break, knowing full well that I had one this coming week.

And now I’m finally on holiday I feel the utmost relief and can now enjoy the fact that the next four months have most of my holidays dispersed between them. Now this spiral is hardly the result of anything serious, but things seem so much more dramatic and terrible when you spend your days alone, working from home with only two rabbits for company until late in the evening!

I have, however, been reading some amazing books and I’m thoroughly enjoying escaping the world at large in between their comforting, if a little bloody, pages. I’ve also been lucky enough to see family, take my stepdaughter on a fairy treasure hunt and complete an enormous deadline at work – which feels like a giant weight off my shoulders!

I hope you’ve all had a lovely week and have been reading some amazing books! I look forward to reading all about them! 


| Books Read |

Over the past two weeks I’ve finished All Systems Red, the first in The Murderbot Diaries by Martha Wells, and A Little Hatred by Joe Abercrombie. Both books were brilliant, both entirely different, and both made me ridiculously excited to read the next in each series!


| Currently Reading |

I feel so lucky right now to not only be listening to the audiobook for The Doors of Eden by Adrian Tchaikovsky, but to be reading the brand new ARC for The Trouble With Peace by Joe Abercrombie. I’m trying ever so hard to savour every moment, but the pages are rapidly disappearing and I know it won’t be long before I’ve finished it entirely.

In between bouts of Tchaikovsky and Abercrombie, and believe me, The Doors of Eden is one hefty and time consuming audiobook, I’ve squeezed in a little bit of The Court of Broken Knives, which I hope to continue in earnest over my holiday, and my new Pratchett offering, Monstrous Regiment.

Now you might be weeping in horror at me reading so many books at once but, in my defence, with only an hour left in each, I am likely to finish both The Trouble With Peace and The Doors of Eden today.


| Upcoming Reviews |

My review for Ashes of London by Andrew Taylor will be appearing next week, hopefully followed by one other – if I can get it drafted before going away!


| Watching |

After finishing Season 3 of Good Girls last week, which was reasonably enjoyable and got better as the season progressed, I started watching Absentia.

Absentia tells the story of an FBI agent, Emily Byrne, who has been missing presumed dead for the past six years and who suddenly returns in an explosion of murder, lies and suspicion. Fast-paced and exciting, the only downside so far is Emily’s irritating FBI agent ex-husband who couldn’t spot a clue if it was stuck to his face! I am, however, trying to get beyond this annoyance and actually enjoy the series.

The other half and I finished watching The Umbrella Academy last week, which was brilliantly entertaining, and have started watching the latest season of Lucifer on Netflix. I absolutely love this series and it never fails to cheer me up, and no doubt we’ll polish it all off in the coming week!


| Gaming |

Although I’ve not had much time for gaming over the past two weeks, I’ve started playing Greedfall, a beautiful RPG in a fantasy setting, and have started the new season of Apex Legends, which introduces new Legend Rampart (pictured right) and her gun, Sheila (also pictured right). The latest changes to the game also include item crafting, altered locations and a new energy weapon, the volt.


| Posts |

Review: The Man With One Name by Tom Lloyd

Review: Sharp Ends by Joe Abercrombie

Music Mondays: Blade Runner 2049

Music Mondays: Svitjod

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten… Series That Should Have Screen Adaptations

Teaser Tuesdays: A Little Hatred by Joe Abercrombie

Teaser Tuesdays: The Court of Broken Knives by Anna Smith Spark

Waiting on Wednesday: The Dead of Winter by S.J. Parris

Waiting on Wednesday: Bear Head by Adrian Tchaikovsky

The Friday Face-Off: Hubble Bubble

The Friday Face-Off: The Road Goes Ever On and On

Friday Firsts: The Court of Broken Knives by Anna Smith Spark

Friday Firsts: Monstrous Regiment by Terry Pratchett


I hope you all have a wonderful, book-filled week!

What have you been reading, watching and playing this week? Have you accomplished any goals?

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Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten… Series That Should Have Screen Adaptations


Welcome to Top Ten Tuesday – a weekly feature from The Broke and the Bookish, now hosted by ThatArtsyReaderGirl. Expect a new top ten list every week!


| Top Ten… Series That Should Have Screen Adaptations |

After a rather terrifying experience the week before last, I didn’t get round to completing last Tuesday’s Top Ten post and I’ve been perpetually behind ever since! And with an inordinate number of books I would love to see adapted for TV or film, it wasn’t too much of a stretch to finish last week’s post for distribution to the wider world.

Scroll down for this week’s Top Ten… Books That Should Have Screen Adaptations!

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| 1. |

Superheroes | Science Fiction | Antiheroes

Villains

by V.E. Schwab

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| 2. |

Urban Fantasy | Supernatural | Mystery

Rivers of London

by Ben Aaronovitch

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| 3. |

Time Travel | Retro | Science Fiction

Impossible Times

by Mark Lawrence

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| 4. |

Italian | Corruption | Crime Thriller

Leone Scamarcio

by Nadia Dalbuono

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| 5. |

Heroic | Fantasy | Adventure

The Rigante

by David Gemmell

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| 6. |

Fantasy | Comedy | Caper

Rogues of the Republic

by Patrick Weekes

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| 7. |

Supernatural | Comedy | Horror

Sin du Jour

by Matt Wallace

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| 8. |

Underdog | Fantasy | Adventure

Spellslinger

by Sebastien de Castell

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| 9. |

Magical | Assassin | Fantasy

The Nevernight Chronicle

by Jay Kristoff

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| 10. |

Fae | Urban Fantasy | Mystery

October Daye

by Seanan McGuire

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Which series would you love to see an adaptation of?

If you would like to join in with Top Ten Tuesday, head on over to ThatArtsyReaderGirl and sign up!

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Music Monday: Svitjod


Music Monday 2

Welcome to Music Monday – a weekly meme created by The Tattooed Book Geek where we share the songs we love, the bands we like and the music we just can’t get out of our heads.


This week’s Music Monday is Svitjod, an ambient Nordic folk track by Forndom from their dark, beautiful and melodic album Dauðra Dura. This is an evocative, ambient and highly listenable track which could easily form the backdrop to many a fantasy or Norse inspired read. Powerful and atmospheric, Svitjod truly is an awe-inspiring piece of music.

Sit back, listen and enjoy!


| Forndom: Svitjod |


| Dauðra Dura – 2016 |


What are you listening to at the moment? 

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Music Monday: Blade Runner 2049


Music Monday 2

Welcome to Music Monday – a weekly meme created by The Tattooed Book Geek where we share the songs we love, the bands we like and the music we just can’t get out of our heads.


This week’s Music Monday is Blade Runner 2049, a synthwave track by Synthwave Goose. As well as being an awesome and addictive piece of music – another I would highly recommend reading space opera to – I absolutely love that single cover featuring Joi and Mariette. Just brilliant!

Sit back, listen and enjoy!


| Synthwave Goose: Blade Runner 2049 |


| Blade Runner 2049 – 2018 |


What are you listening to at the moment? 

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