Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten… Books That Take Place in Another Country


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… Books That Take Place in Another Country |

Welcome back to Top Ten Tuesday! When the majority of your books take place in a fantasy world, finding ones that take place in another country is a far more difficult task than you might expect; particularly when the majority of historical fiction, classics and crime fiction you read take place in your own country! Scroll down for my Top Ten… Books That Take Place in Another Country!heart

| 1. |

Chicago, USA

The Dresden Files

by Jim Butcher

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In this gritty urban fantasy, Harry Dresden, a wizard P.I. who consults for the Chicago P.D., takes the reader on a journey through the streets, morgues and and crime scenes of Chicago. heart

| 2. |

San Francisco, USA

The October Daye Series

by Seanan McGuireheart

The Changling October ‘Toby’ Daye awakes from a curse to find herself living in modern day San Francisco; a San Francisco populated by the courts of the Fae where fairytale creatures abound.heart

| 3 |

Venice, Italy / Bangkok, Thailand / The World

The Gameshouse Novellas

by Claire North

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The Gameshouse has no fixed location but has appeared in various countries over the course of history to play with the lives and fates of kingdoms, countries and players of the ultimate high stakes game.
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| 4. |

Azincourt, France

Azincourt

by Bernard Cornwell

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This piece of historical fiction tells the story of Henry V’s invasion of Normandy, from the prolonged siege of Harfleur and the subsequent march to Calais, to the Battle of Agincourt itself. This is a tale of war and blood and death.
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| 5. |

USA

Vicious

by V.E. Schwab

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Vicious follows the lives of two college students, Eli Cardale and Victor Vale. Absorbed in their research into EOs, or ExtraOrdinary people, their discoveries lead them down a dark and dangerous path where morality, ethics and caution are thrown to the wind in their quest of discovery.
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| 6. |

Colditz Castle, Germany

The Colditz Story

by P.R. Reid

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Colditz Castle, located in the town of Colditz in Germany, was considered an impossible fortress to escape from. Over the course of its four-year history as a military prison, however, over 300 men escaped its walls, 31 of whom completed the dangerous journey home.  The Colditz Story was my introduction to military escape memoirs, which has since become one of my favourite sub-genres of non-fiction. 
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| 7. |

Stalag Luft III, Germany (Then) / Poland (Now)

The Great Escape

by Paul Brickhill

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The Great Escape tells the story of the escape attempt of 600 prisoners from Stalag Luft III during the Second World War. Like The Colditz Story, The Great Escape highlights the skill, ingenuity and bravery of those held captive; a group of men who would stop at nothing to attempt escape and make their way home.
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| 8. |

The Great Hunting Ground (Most of Europe + Part of Asia)

The Mortal Engines Quartet

by Philip Reeve
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One of my favourite series from my early teens, The Mortal Engines Quartet is set in a post-apocalyptic world where people live and work on traction cities, great tiered metropolises that move across the land on caterpillar tracks and hunt smaller towns in what is known as Municipal Darwinism.
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| 9. |

Rome, Italy

The Leone Scamarcio Thrillers

by Nadia Dalbuono

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Set in Rome, the Leone Scamarcio series tells the story of a young detective in Rome’s Flying Squad who must escape his mafia past whilst solving a number of complex and dangerous crimes. With beautiful description of Rome and its criminal underworld, this series transports the reader onto its streets and into the heart of danger itself.

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| 10. |

Edinburgh, Scotland

The Frey + McGrey Series

by Oscar de Muriel

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Combining crime, history and horror, The Frey and McGrey series transports the reader to Victorian Edinburgh, where paranormal crimes abound the unlikely duo of Inspector Ian Frey of Scotland Yard, and Adolphus ‘Nine-Nails’ McGrey must work together to solve dastardly murders and bring peace to its streets.
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What is your favourite setting? If you would like to join in with Top Ten Tuesday, head on over to ThatArtsyReaderGirl and sign up!

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The Monthly Round-Up: February 2016


Welcome to The Monthly Round-Up. Join me as I look back on the past month to see which books I’ve read, the reviews I’ve posted, the goals I’ve completed and my all important Book of the Month!


| Books Read |

February 8

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

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

| 1. |

The Tiger and the Wolf by Adrian Tchaikovsky

| 2. |

The Palace Job by Patrick Weekes

| 3. |

Broken Banners by Mark Gelineau and Joe King

| 4. |

Promise of Blood by Brian McClellan

| 5. |

The Grim Company by Luke Scull

| 6. |

Legend by David Gemmell

| 7. |

The Copper Promise by Jen Williams

| 8. |

Dragon Hunters by Marc Turner


Book of the Month


Promise of Blood

by Brian McClellan


| February Goals |

To finish NOS4R2 and Emma before the month is out!

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

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And to really challenge myself to be organised…

To post every day in February

Status: Incomplete (22 of 29 days Complete)


| Goals for 2016 |

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

Status: +8% in February


| Reviews Posted |

5+

Promise_of_Blood

Promise of Blood by Brian McClellan


5 Stars

The Thief by Claire North


Faith and Moonlight by Mark Gelineau and Joe King

The Tiger and the Wolf by Adrian Tchaikovsky

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

Rosemary and Rue by Seanan McGuire


three point five

Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer


Rising Tide by Rajan Khanna


| Other Posts From February |

The Monthly Round-Up: January 2016

The Month Ahead: February 2016

Cover Reveal: Spiderlight by Adrian Tchaikovsky

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

Cover Reveal: The Waking Fire by Anthony Ryan

Bookish Beats: Bonobo – Black Sands

Bookish Beats: Massive Attack – Mezzanine

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten… Historical Settings

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Review: The Thief by Claire North



The Thief

The Gameshouse II

by Claire North

Fantasy | Novella | 100 Pages | Published by Orbit in 2015


| Rating |


The Serpent, the first novella in The Gameshouse series, impressed with its enchanting and opulent setting and its calculated narrative which resonated with political intrigue and decisive manoeuvres. The second novella, The Thief, follows on from The Serpent several hundred years later in an equally beautiful but entirely different tale which is utterly gripping from start to finish.

The Thief is a heady, exotic and thrilling tale which takes the reader on a journey – one of survival and victory – across Thailand and Asia. Through jungles and cities, on railroads and by foot, North weaves across the landscape as she spins her tale of The Gameshouse, where bets, debts and the game remain king. This is an exciting, intoxicating and incredibly beautiful tale and, much like The Gameshouse, once it has it hooks in you, it is impossible to let go.

The Gameshouse is an unusual institution.

Many know it as the place where fortunes can be made and lost though games of chess, backgammon – every game under the sun.

But a select few, who are picked to compete in the higher league, know that some games are played for higher stakes – those of politics and empires, of economics and kings . . .

In 1930s Bangkok, one higher league player has just been challenged to a game of hide and seek. The board is all of Thailand – and the seeker may use any means possible to hunt down his quarry – be it police, government, strangers or even spies . . .

The Gameshouse is preparing itself for The Great Game but, first, another pieces needs to be manoeuvred into place. Once more we take up the die and play the game which transcends all boundaries, the game which fells empires and topples kings and where the cost of victory leaves an indelible imprint on the world. Anonymous sentinels stand watch as they recount a tale of hide and seek, a game where whole countries are the board and governments, military and warbands are the pawns.

It’s the summer of 1938 and Remy Burke has made a bet with the notorious Abhik Lee; a bet he made whilst drunk and in no fit state to call terms. The wager: Twenty years of Abhik Lee’s life versus Remy Burke’s memory. The deck is stacked against him and his pieces, those people and forces that he holds in his power like pawns on a chessboard, cannot compare to the powerful hand that Lee holds.

Under such circumstances a game of hide and seek is no easy feat, not when you’re a near six-foot Anglo-Frenchman in the heart of Asia; not when your opponent has such powerful forces to call upon; and not when your opponent would never have made a bet unless he knew he could win. For Remy, victory and survival may just be one and the same thing.

Throughout The Thief, North stuns with her sumptuous and compulsive writing. She paints a picture of 1930’s Thailand, and Bangkok in particular, with such skill and ease that it’s hard not to feel you’ve suddenly been transported there. From the heart of the city, to the wilds of the jungle, to the cracked and dry deserts, North conjures up a world of politics and alliances, of cities and wilderness, and saturates her writing with a wealth of history in this fantastical and enchanting tale.

The Thief is almost reminiscent of those great chase stories, such as The Thirty-Nine Steps or twentieth century escape memoirs, which share a protagonist fleeing across expansive stretches of wilderness and jungle with unknown enemies hidden within the landscape. North delights in stacking the decks against her creation; everyone and anyone could be a piece in Lee’s hand. Trust the wrong person and Burke may lose more than just the game. But even an underdog may yet have a few tricks to play.

Once more the silent observers take the reigns of the tale and steer our course, recounting Burke’s tale in additively florid prose. Their identity remains a mystery and their allegiance remains unknown, but their desire for Burke’s unlikely victory lends them a friendly if other-worldly air. They seem both part of The Gameshouse and separate from it, transcending time and earthly boundaries to observe and record the unfolding of the game.

Remy Burke is an affable and likeable protagonist who, in his own terms, has become a little sloppy when it comes to the game. His fundamental flaws of character leave him with no time to assess and no time to think, his game becoming a chase from start to finish, and the pursued outwitted and outmatched at almost every turn. But friendship may be found by our beleaguered protagonist, even within The Gameshouse, as The Thief sees the return of the enigmatic Silver.

The Thief is an incredibly well written tale which rejoices in its own prose and is almost impossible to put down. This is a series of novellas which, although close to perfect in their own short format, consistently leaves me yearning for more. The writing is poetic, the premise is full of intrigue and excitement, the characters are both likeable and other-worldly, and the power and draw of The Gameshouse is almost tangible. Once it has you in its sights, The Gameshouse will not let go.

I wholeheartedly recommend The Thief, along with the other Gameshouse novellas, to anyone wishing for a beautiful, tense and exciting break from reality. Fantasy, history and intrigue are entwined throughout the narrative for something which, for me, bordered close on perfection. Claire North has once again left me with the distinct impression that I really do not have enough of her work in my life.

Amazon | The Book Depository | Goodreads

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2015: A Year in Review


2015


| Books by Proxy – A Year in Review |

Welcome to my first end of year post – and what a year it has been! I started this blog on the last day of July and, over the last half of 2015, have found myself as part of a wonderful community of readers and bloggers. In my albeit limited experience, we book bloggers are lucky to enjoy a very friendly and supportive community, where sharing our books, our reviews and our experiences is all done for a love of reading and can be enjoyed by many. So thank you readers and thank you bloggers for making 2015 such an enjoyable year. I hope you all have a fantastic 2016!heart


| A Year in Books |
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I think we can all agree these two very similar and equally profound books, Blood Song by Anthony Ryan and The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler, deservedly made it into my longest and shortest book categories.heart


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Donna Leon

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Leon 10

with ten books in her Commissario Brunetti series

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2015 - 6

P.G. Wodehouse

with nine books in total including seven from his Blandings series

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Jim Butcher

with eight books in The Dresden Files series

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AC - 6

Agatha Christie

with six books in her Hercule Poirot series

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best fantasyBlood Song

Book One of the Raven’s Shadow Series

by Anthony Ryan

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Best SciFiRed Rising

Book One of the Red Rising Trilogy

by Pierce Brown

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best novellaThe SerpentThe Serpent

The Gameshouse I

by Claire North

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best crimeThe Few

A Leone Scamarcio Thriller

by Nadia Dalbuonoheart

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best historicalLamentationLamentation

Book Six of the Matthew Shardlake Series

by C.J. Sansom

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best classicSomething FreshSomething Fresh

Book One of the Blandings Series

by P.G. Wodehouse

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There were so many more amazing books which deserve to be on this list but then it would just be most of 2015’s books!

Thank you all for reading and have a wonderful 2016!

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The Monthly Round-Up: December 2015


The Monthly Round-Up - DecWelcome 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 |

December has come to an end and we’ve crossed the threshold into 2016 – and what a year it has been! I’m currently compiling my year in review but December alone was a great month of phenomenal fiction. With a hefty pile of novellas bulking up the number, I’ve discovered some fantastic authors, read some thrilling tales and been taken to some truly amazing worlds.

And in the process of devouring – my Goodreads 2015 Reading Challenge was well and truly surpassed, I fell just short of the mark on my Dragons and Jetpacks 2015 Reading Challenge and I well and truly flopped on my personal goals for December… But nevermind! This has been a fantastic month and here are the books to prove it:

| 1. |

Rising Tide by Rajan Khanna

| 2. |

Slow Bullets by Alastair Reynolds

| 3. |

13 Minutes by Sarah Pinborough

| 4. |

A Reaper of Stone by Mark Gelineau and Joe King

| 5. |

Rend the Dark by Mark Gelineau and Joe King

| 6. |

The House of Shattered Wings by Aliette de Bodard

| 7. |

The Serpent by Claire North

| 8. |

Foundation by Isaac Asimov

| 9. |

Best Left in the Shadows by Mark Gelineau and Joe King

| 10. |

The Builders by Daniel Polansky

| 11. |

Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer

| 12. |

Of Books, and Earth, and Courtship by Aliette de Bodard

| 13. |

The Thief by Claire North


Book of the Month


The Serpent

by Claire North


| December Goals |

To finish at least one of the poor neglected novels which I am currently reading

(The Daylight War, NOS4R2 or Emma)

Status: 0 of 1 Complete

Status: Incomplete

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To read at least one Christmas themed novel

Status: 0 of 1 Complete

Status: Incomplete (though started!)

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| Goals for 2015 |

Goodreads 2015 Reading Challenge: 115/100 Books Read (115%)

Status: Completed

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

Status: Incomplete


| Reviews Posted |

5 Stars

The Serpent by Claire North

Superposition by David Walton

A Reaper of Stone by Mark Gelineau and Joe King


                  

13 Minutes by Sarah Pinborough

Slow Bullets by Alastair Reynolds

Falling Sky by Rajan Khanna


| Other Posts From December |

December brings with it a new feature – The Friday Face-Off – where I pit cover against cover to discover the best cover art from across both sides of the pond.

The Monthly Round-Up: November 2015

The Month Ahead: December 2015

Cover Reveal: Sharp Ends by Joe Abercrombie – UK Edition

Cover Reveal: Shadows of the Apt by Adrian Tchaikovsky

Cover Reveal: Sharp Ends by Joe Abercrombie – US Edition

Bookish ‘Sci-Fi’ Beats: Oblivion OST

Bookish ‘Sci-Fi’ Beats: Ex Machina OST

Bookish Beats: Massive Attack – Heligoland

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten… Debuts from the Gollancz Festival 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten… Newly Read Authors 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten… Classics of 2015

Top Ten ‘X-Mas’ Tuesday: Top Ten… Books I Wouldn’t Mind Santa Leaving Under My Tree

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

‘Sci-Fi’ Teaser Tuesdays: December 01 – Rising Tide by Rajan Khanna

‘Sci-Fi’ Teaser Tuesdays: December 08 – Timequake by Kurt Vonnegut

Teaser Tuesdays: December 15 – The House of Shattered Wings by Aliette de Bodard

An X-Mas Teaser Tuesday: December 22 – The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding by Agatha Christie

‘Sci-Fi’ Teaser Tuesdays: December 29 – Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer

The Friday Face-Off: December 18 – The House of Shattered Wings by Aliette de Bodard

The Friday Face-Off: December 25 – The Daylight War by Peter V. Brett