Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten… Recent Impulse Book Buys


Welcome to Top Ten Tuesday – a weekly feature hosted by those lovely bookworms over at The Broke and the Bookish. Expect a new top ten list every week!


| Top Ten… Recent Impulse Book Buys |

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

| 1. |

BookofPhoenix

The Book of Phoenix

by Nnedi Okoraforheart

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

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

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

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

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

| 2 |

The Folding Knife

by K.J. Parkerheart

Basso the Magnificent. Basso the Great. Basso the Wise. The First Citizen of the Vesani Republic is an extraordinary man.

He is ruthless, cunning, and above all, lucky. He brings wealth, power and prestige to his people. But with power comes unwanted attention, and Basso must defend his nation and himself from threats foreign and domestic. In a lifetime of crucial decisions, he’s only ever made one mistake.

One mistake, though, can be enough. heart

| 3 |

The Electric Church

Book One of the Avery Cates Series

by Jeff Somers

heart

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

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

| 4. |

The Rook

Book One of The Checquy Files

by Daniel O’Malley
heart

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

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

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

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

| 5. |

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

Book One of the Fairyland Series

by Catherynne M. Valente
heart

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

| 6. |

Malice

Book One of the Faithful and the Fallen

by John Gwynne

heart

A black sun is rising…

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

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

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

| 7. |

Dark Eden

Book One of the Dark Eden Series

by Chris Beckett
heart

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

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

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

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

| 8. |

The Dragon’s Blade: The Reborn King

by Michael R. Miller
heart

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

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

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

| 9. |

Shadow and Bone

Book One of the Grisha Trilogy

by Leigh Bardugo
heart

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

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

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

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

| 10. |

city-of-bohane

City of Bohane

by Kevin Barryheart

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

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

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

Which books have you recently acquired on a whim? If you would like to join in with Top Ten Tuesday, head on over to The Broke and the Bookish and sign up!

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

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


Welcome to Top Ten Tuesday – a weekly feature hosted by those lovely bookworms over at The Broke and the Bookish. Expect a new top ten list every week!


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

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

| 1. |

Artemis Fowl

from

The Artemis Fowl Series

by Eoin Colferheart

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

| 2 |

Lyra Belacqua

from

His Dark Materials

by Philip Pullmanheart

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

| 3 |

The Princess and the Dragon

from

The Princess and the Dragon

by Audrey Wood

heart

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

| 4. |

Maria Merryweather

from

The Little White Horse

by Elizabeth Goudge
heart

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

| 5. |

Matilda

from

Matilda

by Roald Dahl
heart

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

heart

| 6. |

Mary Lennox

from

The Secret Garden

by Francis Hodgson Burnett

heart

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

| 7. |

Ip

from

The Copper Cat Trilogy

by Jen Williams
heart

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

| 8. |

Everyone

from 

Harry Potter

by J.K. Rowling
heart

Few words are needed. Want to know everything. Right now.heart

| 9. |

Madeline

from

Madeline

by Ludwig Bemelmans
heart

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

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

| 10. |

The Watson Children

from

Elidor

by Alan Garner
heart

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

Which young characters would you love to read as grown-ups? If you would like to join in with Top Ten Tuesday, head on over to The Broke and the Bookish and sign up!

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

The Monthly Round-Up: April 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!


| The Monthly Round-Up: April 2016 |

April has been a strange month of sun between intermittent snow showers which, as it happens, makes for excellent reading time! I managed to read eight books this month; five novels, two novellas and one short story collection. However, I’ve been looking with increasing horror at my reading pile – as it rapidly makes its monstrous growth all the more apparent – and have decided that I’ll have to start crossing some of those books of my read list – eight books a month is not going to cut it! Backlist Burndown here I come. But in the meantime, here are the books which took over this April:

| Books Read |

| 1. |

Civil Blood by Mark Gelineau and Joe King

Another Gelineau and King novella, another wonderful piece of bite-sized fantasy! These novellas are really quite addictive and Civil Blood has upped the intrigue factor tenfold leaving me, and no doubt many other Echoes fans, in great suspense for the next Alys novella.

| 2. |

Tomorrow the Killing by Daniel Polansky

Tomorrow the Killing continues the story of Warden as he once again finds himself embroiled in the customary death, murder and mayhem which pervades Low Town. A wonderful sequel and a firm reminder that I need to get my Polansky reviews out!

| 3. |

Black City Saint by Richard A. Knaak

Black City Saint took me completely by surprise and is now one of my favourite urban fantasy novels. Set in the roaring twenties, and with its fair share of magic, mystery, saints and dragons, this is a novel which had be hooked from start to finish.

| 4. |

The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories by Ken Liu

The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories is the first short story anthology I’ve read in a long time – and it certainly lived up to expectations. Ken Liu is a phenomenal writer with an effortlessly engaging style. With Grace of Kings firmly placed on my TBR, it’s only a matter of time before it too has been devoured.

| 5. |

Moon Called by Patricia Briggs

I was a little hesitant about starting the Mercy Thompson series having heard that the first novel, Moon Called, really isn’t the best. However, it turned out to be a really rather enjoyable read and I can only look forward to a series which has a reputation for getting better and better. Blood Bound here I come.

| 6. |

Faith and Moonlight Part 2 by Mark Gelineau and Joe King

Yes! Another Gelineau and King, and yes! Another exciting and suspenseful conclusion. This second round of novellas is certainly pulling out all the stops when it comes to action, excitement and leaving you on the edge of your seat.

| 7. |

An Artificial Night by Seanan McGuire

An Artificial Night was April’s Read Along – and what an awesome read it was! The October Daye series has taken a distinctly dark turn with this third novel and has become my favourite of the three so far.  

| 8. |

The Steel Remains by Richard Morgan

The Steel Remains is dark, brutal, bloody and brilliant. With a surfeit of sex, violence and obscenities, an unforgiving world is carved out of its pages and reaches nothing short of a spectacular conclusion. This is one tale where the author never holds back.


Book of the Month2

Tomorrow the Killing

by Daniel Polansky


| April Goals |

To finish NOS4R2 and Emma before the month is out!

Roll over!

Status: Incomplete

… Goal shake-up coming up!

heart


| Goals for 2016 |

Goodreads 2016 Reading Challenge: 33/100 Books Read (33%)

Status: +8% in April


| Reviews Posted |

5 Stars

Stranger of Tempest by Tom Lloyd


Dragon Hunters by Marc Turner


Envy of Angels by Matt Wallace

The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories by Ken Liu


| Other Posts From April |

The Monthly Round-Up: March 2016

The Month Ahead: April 2016

The Friday Face-Off: April 01 – Water, Water Everywhere

The Friday Face-Off: April 08 – Peace is Poor Reading

The Friday Face-Off: April 15 – Metropolis

The Friday Face-Off: April 22 – Dead Men Tell No Tales

The Friday Face-Off: April 29 – Like One, That on a Lonesome Road

 

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

Teaser Tuesdays: April 05 – The Steel Remains by Richard Morgan

Teaser Tuesdays: April 12 – The Colour of Magic by Terry Pratchett

Teaser Tuesdays: April 19 – Futuristic Violence and Fancy Suits by David Wong

Book Haul: April 09 – Calamity by Brandon Sanderson

Book Haul: April 11 – The Fire Sermon by Francesca Haig

Book Haul: April 17 – The Air War, The Man in the High Castle and Gardens of the Moon

Read Along: An Artificial Night by Seanan McGuire – Week 1

Read Along: An Artificial Night by Seanan McGuire – Week 2

Read Along: An Artificial Night by Seanan McGuire – Week 3

Read Along: An Artificial Night by Seanan McGuire – Week 4

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!
heart

| 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
heart

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
heart

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
heart

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
heart

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
heart

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
heart

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!

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

The Monthly Round-Up: March 2016


The Monthly Round-Up March 2Welcome to The Monthly Round-Up. Join me as I look back on the past month to see which books I’ve read, the reviews I’ve posted, the goals I’ve completed and my all important Book of the Month!


| The Monthly Round-Up: March 2016 |

This month has been so hectic I’m surprised I managed to get through as many books as I did! With work coming out of my eyeballs, a virus which feels like someone’s taken a sander to my throat, the death of my reading companion Felix – RIP Piggle 😦 – and two new guinea pigs springing into my life, I feel like I’ve barely touched ground this March. My review count has suffered a little and my posts have been somewhat erratic (or non-existent in the case of Bookish Beats!) but all in all, the books I’ve read have given me some much needed relief. So let’s take a look at the literary delights I’ve been consuming:

| Books Read |

| 1. |

Girl Waits With Gun by Amy Stewart

Read as part of the official blog tour, Girl Waits With Gun, with its gun-toting, feisty real-life heroine and its exciting storyline, was an excellent read with which to start my month.

| 2. |

A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab

A Gathering of Shadows, the sequel to A Darker Shade of Magic, was most definitely a highlight of March. This was an excellent follow-up which, in my view, surpassed the first in terms of narrative and excitement. I certainly can’t wait for the third!

| 3. |

Envy of Angels by Matt Wallace

Envy of Angels, the first Sin du Jour novella, was a book I’d had my eye on ever since reading a review for it a few months back. It certainly lived up to expectations by proving itself to be tremendous fun and ever so slightly grotesque.

| 4. |

Stranger of Tempest by Tom Lloyd

Stranger of Tempest has been on my reading list ever since the wonderful cover reveal in January. Luckily for me, it proved just as good as its wrappings and has once more placed Tom Lloyd at the top of my reading list!

| 5. |

Skinshaper by Mark Gelineau and Joe King

Another day, another Gelineau and King novella!  These guys certainly know how to write a captivating piece of short fiction and Skinshaper is no exception. This novella, with its enigmatic characters and abhorrent creations, is one of the most disturbing and captivating to date.

| 6. |

The Bullet-Catcher’s Daughter by Rod Duncan

The Bullet-Catcher’s Daughter, a steampunk piece of alternative history, brought about a change of pace with its steady narrative and gorgeous prose. A surprising and delightful novel, I’m looking forward to my next venture into the Gas-Lit Empire.

| 7. |

A Local Habitation by Seanan McGuire

For March’s Read Along we returned to the world of October ‘Toby’ Daye in the second novel of the series by Seanan McGuire. After something of a rocky start, A Local Habitation turned out to be a rather enjoyable read and I cannot wait to get stuck into the third in the series this April!


Book of the Month2

A Gathering of Shadows

by V.E. Schwab


| March Goals |

To finish NOS4R2 and Emma before the month is out!

Yes, yes another roll over!

Status: Incomplete

… Perhaps it’s time to stop posting this goal and accept that they’ll be read when they’re read!  – I hate to think how many months it’s been rolling over!

heart


| Goals for 2016 |

Goodreads 2016 Reading Challenge: 25/100 Books Read (25%)

Status: +7% in March


| Reviews Posted |

The Copper Promise by Jen Williams

Legend - Gemmell

Legend by David Gemmell


Girl Waits With Gun by Amy Stewart

bannerscover1500x2250

Broken Banners by Mark Gelineau and Joe King


Occupy Me by Tricia Sullivan


| Other Posts From March |

This month ushered in a change to the schedule with The Friday Face-Off becoming a weekly meme! I love posting and comparing book covers every Friday and it’s fantastic seeing the covers other bloggers post! So thank you for joining in and long may it continue! 

Announcement: The Friday Face-Off – A Weekly Meme

The Friday Face-Off: March 04 – Dragon Hunters by Marc Turner

The Friday Face-Off: March 11 – First Friday Freebie

The Friday Face-Off: March 18 – Here be Dragons

The Friday Face-Off: March 25 – Green With Envy

The Monthly Round-Up: February 2016

The Month Ahead: March 2016

Cover Reveal: The Waking Fire by Anthony Ryan – US Edition

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten… Books When You’re in the Mood for Axe-Wielding Maniacs

Top Ten Tuesay: Top Ten… Books on my Spring TBR

Teaser Tuesdays: March 01 – A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab

Teaser Tuesdays: March 08 – The Bullet-Catcher’s Daughter by Rod Duncan

Teaser Tuesdays: March 15 – Envy of Angels by Matt Wallace

Teaser Tuesdays: March 22 – Under the Empyrean Sky by Chuck Wendig

Teaser Tuesdays: March 29 – Tomorrow the Killing by Daniel Polansky

Book Haul: March 02 – Swords of Good Men & Blood Will Follow

Book Haul: March 31 – Angel of Storms & Legion: Skin Deep

Read Along: A Local Habitation by Seanan McGuire – Week 1

Read Along: A Local Habitation by Seanan McGuire – Week 2

Read Along: A Local Habitation by Seanan McGuire – Week 3

Read Along: A Local Habitation by Seanan McGuire – Week 4

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten… Books on my Spring TBR


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… Books on my Spring TBR |

This Tuesday I’m paying homage to all those books which have taken long term residence on my bookshelves; books which I fully intend to devour over the coming months! I’m late to the party on all fronts – yes my list even includes some of my favourite (if somewhat neglected) authors – but with these ten beauties to look forward to, it looks like spring is set to be a riot!heart

| 1. |

Gardens of the Moon

Book One of the Malazan Book of the Fallen

by Steven Erikson

heart

The Malazan Empire simmers with discontent, bled dry by interminable warfare, bitter infighting, and bloody confrontations. Even the imperial legions, long inured to the bloodshed, yearn for some respite. Yet Empress Laseen’s rule remains absolute, enforced by her dread Claw assassins.

For Sergeant Whiskeyjack and his squad of Bridgeburners, and for Tattersail, surviving cadre mage of the Second Legion, the aftermath of the siege of Pale should have been a time to mourn the many dead. But Darujhistan, last of the Free Cities of Genabackis, yet holds out. It is to this ancient citadel that Laseen turns her predatory gaze.

But it would appear that the Empire is not alone in this great game. Sinister, shadowbound forces are gathering as the gods themselves prepare to play their hand….

heart

| 2 |

The Man in the High Castle

by Philip K. Dick

heart

It’s America in 1962. Slavery is legal once again. The few Jews who still survive hide under assumed names. In San Francisco, the I Ching is as common as the Yellow Pages. All because some twenty years earlier the United States lost a war—and is now occupied by Nazi Germany and Japan. This harrowing, Hugo Award-winning novel is the work that established Philip K. Dick as an innovator in science fiction while breaking the barrier between science fiction and the serious novel of ideas. In it Dick offers a haunting vision of history as a nightmare from which it may just be possible to wake.heart

| 3 |

King of Thorns

Book Two of The Broken Empire

by Mark Lawrence

heart

To reach greatness you must step on bodies. I’ll win this game of ours, though the cost of it may drown the world in blood…

A six nation army marches toward Jorg’s gates, led by a shining hero determined to unite the empire and heal its wounds. Every omen says he will. Every good king knows to bend the knee in the face of overwhelming odds, if only to save their people and their lands. But King Jorg is not a good king.

Faced by an enemy many times his strength, Jorg knows that he cannot win a fair fight. But playing fair was never part of Jorg’s game plan…

heart

| 4. |

Shadows of Self

Book Five of the Mistborn Series

by Brandon Sanderson
heart

A bloody massacre, a hunt for an assassin.

An Invitation to the criminal elite of Elendel from the brother of the city’s governor to an auction for his vote in the senate becomes a death sentences for all involved when an unknown assailant slaughters everyone in attendance.

Waxillium Ladrian investigates and is shocked to discover that the perpetrator may be a kandra calling herself Bleeder. As the servants of Harmony, the god of the religion Wax himself adheres to, the kandra usually operate in secret, and many people think them merely a myth. Now one of the kandra has gone rogue, which shouldn’t be possible.

Wax, Wayne and the brilliant Marasi must track down Bleeder and keep her from assassinating the governor of Elendel and plunging the city into chaos.

heart

| 5. |

The Tower Lord

Book Two of the Raven’s Shadow

by Anthony Ryan
heart

“The blood-song rose with an unexpected tune, a warm hum mingling recognition with an impression of safety. He had a sense it was welcoming him home.”

Vaelin Al Sorna, warrior of the Sixth Order, called Darkblade, called Hope Killer. The greatest warrior of his day, and witness to the greatest defeat of his nation: King Janus’s vision of a Greater Unified Realm drowned in the blood of brave men fighting for a cause Vaelin alone knows was forged from a lie. Sick at heart, he comes home, determined to kill no more.

Named Tower Lord of the Northern Reaches by King Janus’s grateful heir, he can perhaps find peace in a colder, more remote land far from the intrigues of a troubled Realm. But those gifted with the blood-song are never destined to live a quiet life. Many died in King Janus’s wars, but many survived, and Vaelin is a target, not just for those seeking revenge but for those who know what he can do.

The Faith has been sundered, and many have no doubt who their leader should be. The new King is weak, but his sister is strong. The blood-song is powerful, rich in warning and guidance in times of trouble, but is only a fraction of the power available to others who understand more of its mysteries. Something moves against the Realm, something that commands mighty forces, and Vaelin will find to his great regret that when faced with annihilation, even the most reluctant hand must eventually draw a sword.

heart

| 6. |

Golden Son

Book Two of the Red Rising Trilogy

by Pierce Brown
heart

Golden Son continues the stunning saga of Darrow, a rebel forged by tragedy, battling to lead his oppressed people to freedom from the overlords of a brutal elitist future built on lies. Now fully embedded among the Gold ruling class, Darrow continues his work to bring down Society from within.

A life-or-death tale of vengeance with an unforgettable hero at its heart, Golden Son guarantees Pierce Brown’s continuing status as one of fiction’s most exciting new voices.

| 7. |

The Falcons of Fire and Ice

by Karen Maitland
heart

The year is 1539 and the Portuguese Inquisition ushers in an era of torture and murder. When the Royal Falconer is imprisoned on false charges to remove him from the inner circle of the boy King, the Inquisitors strike an impossible deal with his daughter, Isabela. Bring back two rare white falcons from Iceland within the year or her father dies.

Meanwhile in Iceland, a menacing stranger appears to have possessed the soul of a woman chained up in a volcanic cave and is threatening to destroy the community. The woman’s twin sister, Eydis, is desperate to intervene but vivid dreams suggest the twins’ only salvation lies with a young girl from afar, travelling in search of white feathers.

Isabela’s quest might hold a more crucial purpose then she could ever imagine and there are those among her travel companions who have an interest in doing her harm. But in order to fulfil her destiny, first she must reach Iceland’s shores. Alive.heart

| 8. |

Assassin’s Quest

Book Three of The Farseer Trilogy

by Robin Hobb
heart

King Shrewd is dead at the hands of his son Regal. As is Fitz—or so his enemies and friends believe. But with the help of his allies and his beast magic, he emerges from the grave, deeply scarred in body and soul. The kingdom also teeters toward ruin: Regal has plundered and abandoned the capital, while the rightful heir, Prince Verity, is lost to his mad quest—perhaps to death. Only Verity’s return—or the heir his princess carries—can save the Six Duchies.

But Fitz will not wait. Driven by loss and bitter memories, he undertakes a quest: to kill Regal. The journey casts him into deep waters, as he discovers wild currents of magic within him—currents that will either drown him or make him something more than he was.
heart

| 9. |

The Air War

Book Eight of the Shadows of the Apt Series

by Adrian Tchaikovsky
heart

All is in turmoil as the world moves towards war. In Solarno, the spies watch each other and ready their knives, while Myna sees the troops muster at its border and emotions run high as it vows never to be enslaved again. In Collegium, the students argue politics, too late to turn the tide. In the heart of the Empire, new pilots have completed their secretive training, generals are being recalled to service and armies are ready to march. Their Empress, the heir to two worlds, intends to claim her birthright. And nothing – either within the Empire or beyond it – will stand in her way. A conflict is coming, the like of which the insect-kinden have never seen.heart

And last but not least, a book which has been on my bookshelf since 2009…

| 10. |

The Gone-Away World

by Nick Harkawayheart

The Jorgmund Pipe is the backbone of the world, and it’s on fire. Gonzo Lubitsch, professional hero and troubleshooter, is hired to put it out – but there’s more to the fire, and the Pipe itself, than meets the eye. The job will take Gonzo and his best friend, our narrator, back to their own beginnings and into the dark heart of the Jorgmund Company itself.

Equal parts raucous adventure, comic odyssey and Romantic Epic, The Gone-Away World is a story of – among other things – love and loss; of ninjas, pirates, politics; of curious heroism in strange and dangerous places; and of a friendship stretched beyond its limits. But it also the story of a world, not unlike our own, in desperate need of heroes – however unlikely they may seem.
heart

What books are you planning to read this spring? If you would like to join in with Top Ten Tuesday, head on over to The Broke and the Bookish and sign up!

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

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!)

heart

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

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten… Books When You’re in the Mood for Axe-Wielding Maniacs


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… Books When You’re in the Mood for Axe Wielding Maniacs |

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday is looking at a wondrous array of books for when you’re in the mood for… well just about anything really. So if you’re in the mood for some axe-wielding, blood-raging, battle-crying maniacs then look no further! Some of them may look nice, some of them may even be nice, but you sure as hell don’t want to be within arm’s reach of these bastards when all hell breaks loose. With more battle-axes, hand-axes and axe axes than you can shake a stick at, here is this week’s top ten:

| 1. |

JA 944076

Black Dow

The First Law

by Joe Abercrombie

heart

| 2 |

The Grim Company

Jerek the Wolf

The Grim Company

by Luke Scull

heart

| 3 |

Jean Tannen ( & The Wicked Sisters )

The Gentleman Bastard Sequence

by Scott Lynch

heart

| 4. |

Druss ( & Snaga )

The Drenai Saga

by David Gemmell
heart

| 5. |

Perrin Aybara ( & a Moon-Bladed Hand Axe )

The Wheel of Time

by Robert Jordan
heart

| 6. |

Barkus Jeshua ( & Brenda)

Raven’s Shadow

by Anthony Ryan
heart

| 7. |

Gothmog, Lord of the Balrogs

The Silmarillion & The History of Middle Earth

by J.R.R. Tolkien
heart

| 8. |

Fitz

The Farseer Trilogy

by Robin Hobb
heart

| 9. |

Shagga

A Song of Ice and Fire

by George R.R. Martin

heart

| 10. |

Dwarves

From Everything!

heart

Who are your favourite axe-wielding maniacs? If you would like to join in with Top Ten Tuesday, head on over to The Broke and the Bookish and sign up!

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten… Historical Settings


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… Historical Settings |

Welcome back to another week’s Top Ten Tuesday. This week I’m looking at my favourite historical settings of both fact and fiction… but seeing as I love so many it’s a very tough call to make! So here is a by no means comprehensive list of some of my favourites!

| 1. |

Venice

ts

The Serpent

by Claire North

In 17th Century Venice exists a mysterious establishment known only as the Gameshouse.

There, fortunes are made and fortunes are broken over games of chess, backgammon and every other game under the sun.

But those whom fortune favours may be invited to compete in the higher league . . . a league where the games played are of politics and empires, of economics and kings. It is a league where Capture the Castle involves real castles, where hide and seek takes place on a scale as big as the British Isles.

Not everyone proves worthy of competing in the higher league. But one woman, who is about to play, may just exceed everyone’s expectations.

Though she must always remember: the higher the stakes, the more deadly the rules . . .

heart

| 2. |

World War Two

HR

Home Run: Escape from Nazi Europe

by John Nichol & Tony Rennell

Throughout the Second World War, thousands found themselves cut off behind the lines in Nazi-occupied Europe – soldiers were left stranded on beaches after the chaotic evacuation of Dunkirk, airmen flying operations against the Germans were blasted out of the sky by flak and fighters. They were alone and on the run in enemy territory with just one goal – to get back to Britain and to safety. Some made solitary treks through hundreds of miles of enemy territory, others attempted precarious sea crossings in stolen boats. Many placed their lives in the hands of brave civilians who risked the wrath of a brutal regime if they dared to offer assistance. Life for the evaders hung in the balance and if they were to survive they had to rely on guile and sheer luck. John Nichol and Tony Rennell tell the dramatic story of the heroes who made it home …and those who did not.

heart

| 3. |

Victorian Britain

tsom

The Somnambulist

by Essie Fox

When seventeen-year old Phoebe Turner visits Wilton’s Music Hall to watch her Aunt Cissy performing on stage, she risks the wrath of her mother Maud who marches with the Hallelujah Army, campaigning for all London theatres to close. While there, Phoebe is drawn to a stranger, the enigmatic Nathaniel Samuels who heralds dramatic changes in the lives of all three women. When offered the position of companion to Nathaniel’s reclusive wife, Phoebe leaves her life in London’s East End for Dinwood Court in Herefordshire — a house that may well be haunted and which holds the darkest of truths. In a gloriously gothic debut, Essie Fox weaves a spellbinding tale of guilt and deception, regret and lost love.

heart

| 4. |

The Dark Ages

The Owl Killers

by Karen Maitland

England, 1321. The tiny village of Ulewic teeters between survival and destruction, faith and doubt, God and demons. For shadowing the villagers’ lives are men cloaked in masks and secrecy, ruling with violence, intimidation, and terrifying fiery rites: the Owl Masters.

But another force is touching Ulewic—a newly formed community built and served only by women. Called a beguinage, it is a safe harbor of service and faith in defiance of the all-powerful Church.

Behind the walls of this sanctuary, women have gathered from all walks of life: a skilled physician, a towering former prostitute, a cook, a local convert. But life in Ulewic is growing more dangerous with each passing day. The women are the subject of rumours, envy, scorn, and fury…until the daughter of Ulewic’s most powerful man is cast out of her home and accepted into the beguinage—and battle lines are drawn.

Into this drama are swept innocents and conspirators: a parish priest trying to save himself from his own sins…a village teenager, pregnant and terrified…a woman once on the verge of sainthood, now cast out of the Church.…With Ulewic ravaged by flood and disease, and with villagers driven by fear, a secret inside the beguinage will draw the desperate and the depraved—until masks are dropped, faith is tested…and every lie is exposed.heart

| 5. |

The (Almost) Roaring Twenties

aj

The Axeman’s Jazz

by Ray Celestin

New Orleans, 1919. As a dark serial killer – The Axeman – stalks the city, three individuals set out to unmask him…

Though every citizen of the ‘Big Easy’ thinks they know who could be behind the terrifying murders, Detective Lieutenant Michael Talbot, heading up the official investigation, is struggling to find leads. But Michael has a grave secret – and if he doesn’t find himself on the right track fast – it could be exposed…

Former detective Luca d’Andrea has spent the last six years in Angola state penitentiary, after Michael, his protégée, blew the whistle on his corrupt behaviour. Now a newly freed man, Luca finds himself working with the mafia, whose need to solve the mystery of the Axeman is every bit as urgent as the authorities’.

Meanwhile, Ida is a secretary at the Pinkerton Detective Agency.Obsessed with Sherlock Holmes and dreaming of a better life, Ida stumbles across a clue which lures her and her trumpet-playing friend, Lewis ‘Louis’ Armstrong, to the case and into terrible danger…

As Michael, Luca and Ida each draw closer to discovering the killer’s identity, the Axeman himself will issue a challenge to the people of New Orleans: play jazz or risk becoming the next victim. And as the case builds to its crescendo, the sky will darken and a great storm will loom over the city…heart

| 6. |

Tudor England

DF

Dark Fire

by C.J. Sansom

It is 1540, and Henry VIII has been on the throne for thirty-one years when Matthew Shardlake, the lawyer renowned as “the sharpest hunchback in the courts of England,” is pressed to help a friend’s young niece who is charged with murder.

Despite threats of torture and death by the rack, the girl is inexplicably silent. Shardlake is about to lose her case when he is suddenly granted a reprieve – one that will ensnare him again in the dangerous schemes of Thomas Cromwell, Henry VIII’s feared vicar general.

In exchange for two more weeks to investigate the murder, Shardlake accepts Cromwell’s assignment to find a lost cache ofDark Fire, an ancient weapon of mass destruction. Cromwell, out of favor since Henry’s disastrous marriage to Anne of Cleves, is relying on Shardlake’s discovery to save his position at court, which is rife with conspiracyheart

| 7. |

Restoration England

A Conspiracy of Violence

by Susanna Gregory

The dour days of Cromwell are over. Charles II is well established at White Hall Palace, his mistress at hand in rooms over the Holbein bridge, the heads of some of the regicides on public display. London seethes with new energy, freed from the strictures of the Protectorate, but many of its inhabitants have lost their livelihoods. One is Thomas Chaloner, a reluctant spy for the feared Secretary of State, John Thurloe, and now returned from Holland in desperate need of employment. His erstwhile boss, knowing he has many enemies at court, recommends Thomas to Lord Clarendon, but in return demands that Thomas keep him informed of any plot against him. But what Thomas discovers is that Thurloe had sent another ex-employee to White Hall and he is dead, supposedly murdered by footpads near the Thames. Chaloner volunteers to investigate his killing: instead he is despatched to the Tower to unearth the gold buried by the last Governor. He discovers not treasure, but evidence that greed and self-interest are uppermost in men’s minds whoever is in power, and that his life has no value to either side. heart

| 8. |

The Regency Era

JS

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell

by Susanna Clarke

English magicians were once the wonder of the known world, with fairy servants at their beck and call; they could command winds, mountains, and woods. But by the early 1800s they have long since lost the ability to perform magic. They can only write long, dull papers about it, while fairy servants are nothing but a fading memory.

But at Hurtfew Abbey in Yorkshire, the rich, reclusive Mr Norrell has assembled a wonderful library of lost and forgotten books from England’s magical past and regained some of the powers of England’s magicians. He goes to London and raises a beautiful young woman from the dead. Soon he is lending his help to the government in the war against Napoleon Bonaparte, creating ghostly fleets of rain-ships to confuse and alarm the French.

All goes well until a rival magician appears. Jonathan Strange is handsome, charming, and talkative — the very opposite of Mr Norrell. Strange thinks nothing of enduring the rigors of campaigning with Wellington’s army and doing magic on battlefields. Astonished to find another practicing magician, Mr Norrell accepts Strange as a pupil. But it soon becomes clear that their ideas of what English magic ought to be are very different. For Mr Norrell, their power is something to be cautiously controlled, while Jonathan Strange will always be attracted to the wildest, most perilous forms of magic. He becomes fascinated by the ancient, shadowy figure of the Raven King, a child taken by fairies who became king of both England and Faerie, and the most legendary magician of all. Eventually Strange’s heedless pursuit of long-forgotten magic threatens to destroy not only his partnership with Norrell, but everything that he holds dear.heart

| 9. |

Twentieth Century Asia

tpv

The Painted Veil

by William Somerset Maugham

Set in England and Hong Kong in the 1920s, The Painted Veil is the story of the beautiful but love-starved Kitty Fane.

When her husband discovers her adulterous affair, he forces her to accompany him to the heart of a cholera epidemic. Stripped of the British society of her youth and the small but effective society she fought so hard to attain in Hong Kong, she is compelled by her awakening conscience to reassess her life and learn how to love.

The Painted Veil is a beautifully written affirmation of the human capacity to grow, to change, and to forgive.heart

| 10. |

The 1930’s
mooe

Murder on the Orient Express

by Agatha Christie

Just after midnight, a snowdrift stops the Orient Express in its tracks. The luxurious train is surprisingly full for the time of the year, but by the morning it is one passenger fewer. An American tycoon lies dead in his compartment, stabbed a dozen times, his door locked from the inside.

Isolated and with a killer in their midst, detective Hercule Poirot must identify the murderer – in case he or she decides to strike again.heart

What are your favourite historical settings? If you would like to join in with Top Ten Tuesday, head on over to The Broke and the Bookish and sign up!

Follow my blog with Bloglovin