Welcome to my July wrap-up blog post featuring all of the fantastic posts on my blog that I posted during the month of July.
- Black Flame by Bury Tomorrow.
- Alone by Heart.
- Cryin’ Like A Bitch!! by Godsmack.
- Remember by Disturbed.
- June 2020 monthly wrap-up.
- Guest Post: Which Generation Reads the Most Infographic by Best By the Book.
- Poem: The Sun Won’t Rise for Me.
The story is predominantly told from the alternating perspectives of Captain Robert Donovan and Kate Cartwright. Donovan is a hard man, a killer, damaged by the war, the things that he has seen and the things that he has done. Kate is resilient, determined and independent. Both are likeable and well-drawn characters. Donovan works for the Secret Intelligence Service and Kate is a codebreaker. Kate’s family are old friends of the Highmount’s and after initially turning down the invitation to the party. Kate accepts to aid in the investigation alongside Donovan who will be there undercover in the guise of Kate’s fiancé’s manservant. The chapters are short and they consistently move the story forward. Ryan writes in such a way that he vividly brings both his characters and his brooding, creepy and claustrophobic setting to life. Easily drawing you in, keeping you intrigued and maintaining a sense of tension throughout in a story that is darkly evocative.
I have to be honest and say that A House of Ghosts wasn’t entirely what I was expecting. The title of the book isn’t a misnomer and Blackwater Abbey really is ‘a house of ghosts‘. I went into the book presuming that I’d get a standard haunted house style of story and what I actually got was something more. A wonderful blend of an atmospheric ghost story, a murder mystery and a suspenseful spy thriller all rolled into one.
There is some stellar imagery on display in The Unspoken Name, the Great Maze breaking through the sky of a dying planet, the husks of giant dead trees, giant serpents, hordes of revenants, vast underground tombs and battles between wizards are all vividly realised and have a cinematic feel to them.
Choices and the consequences of the choices that you make are a theme that is prevalent throughout the story in The Unspoken Name. Betrayal, loyalty, love, faith, fate, self-discovery, choosing your own destiny and walking your own path all have a part to play in the narrative too.
I really enjoyed my time spent with The Unspoken Name. The exciting and immersive story has a fresh feel to it and it is fantastically well-written, vivid and atmospheric. Featuring lingering dead gods, necromancers, political machinations, intrigue, romance, action, adventuring, tense escapes, emotional and thought-provoking moments and some lighter moments that are interspersed with the darker and grimmer moments too.
With The Unspoken Name, Larkwood has taken something classic and turned it into something fresh and new. Simply, it is a stunning fantasy debut, entertaining and epic.
The story in Random Sh#t Flying Through The Air unfolds mostly through Teagan in the first-person with occasional chapters written in the third-person by Amber and Matthew to round the story out. Teagan flourishes in her role as the main character and narrator of the story with her blunt, foul-mouthed, impulsive and sarcastic personality and her wise-ass inner thoughts. On occasion, she can also be self-centred and her China Shop teammates have no problem in telling her this and laying the truth bare for her. She is very much concerned with herself, her own problems and doesn’t always treat people well. But, her bonds are deepening with the team, she is growing and she is learning to be more concerned about others. I guess, Teagan, at times, can be a bit of an asshole. But, just because she has a superpower it doesn’t mean that she is superhuman, she’s not. She is human and with all the flaws that being human includes. You will root for her and you will care about her and about China Shop.
The writing in Random Sh#t Flying Through The Air is neon-bright, spirited and packed full of colourful language, humour and energy with moments of deep emotion. The pacing breakneck and intense from start to finish. The story is full of frenetic action, suspense and tension. There is a lot of destruction featured and the ruination of LA and the fallout from the earthquakes is starkly depicted and harrowing. But, no matter how dark it gets and there are moments of darkness for China Shop Random Sh#t Flying Through The Air never loses its sense of entertainment. And, for those wondering, yes, there is plenty of random sh#t flying through the air included too.
Random Sh#t Flying Through The Air is a disaster movie in the guise of a book with a spunky super-powered heroine on the hunt for a terrible toddler, what’s not to love?!?! Follow Teagan and her special brand of crazy as she takes you on a non-stop blockbuster thrill ride of super-charged and mayhem-filled madness.
The layered, rich and sweeping story of forbidden magic, identity, how much a life is worth, rebellion and an empire on the precipice in The Bone Shard Daughter is character-driven, perfectly paced and full of emotion, mystery, suspense and tension with revelations that crash like waves against the shore. It is not action-packed, but what action there is, is added to augment and bolster the story. The story is told through five POV characters. Lin and Jovis who are written in the first-person and then, Phalue, Ranami and Sand who are all written in the third-person. The characters, even the secondary ones aren’t outlines and pencil sketches. They are fully-drawn, shaded and well-developed. Coming from a variety of social backgrounds they are diverse, engaging and all have their own flaws, strengths, weaknesses and personalities. You will feel a connection to them, an emotional undertow that takes you unawares, attaching you to Lin, to Jovis, to Phalue and Ranami and that makes you care about them and about what happens to them on their journeys.
The only exception to this is Sand and this is on purpose by Stewart. Sand, while a POV character has far less page time than the others. In essence, she is a secondary and completely detached character to the main events of this chapter in the unfolding story. For the most, she remains an enigma, a vague shadow that is becoming clearer and her story is just beginning. While she only has a small role in The Bone Shard Daughter I am sure that she will have a huge impact and a far larger role in the upcoming books in the trilogy. Trust me, I have read The Bone Shard Daughter and I know the revelations that are revealed to the reader. 😉
One thing that I have a soft spot for in books are animal companions, especially those with their own personality, and those who have a role to play in the story. During the escape from the sinking island where Jovis saves the young boy from the Tithing Festival, he rescues a bedraggled and sodden creature from the sea. Initially, Jovis is unwilling to keep the creature, he saved him for the boy, not for himself. But, the creature, named Mephi wants to stay with Jovis and Jovis reluctantly keeps him. Over the course of their adventure together Mephi gives Jovis something to care about and we see Jovis and Mephi develop a very touching and magical bond. The mystical Mephi is a wonder who flourishes in his role, lighting up the page, shining whenever he appears and is an absolute joy to behold. Mephi will worm his way into your affections and set up home in your heart.
The Bone Shard Daughter is beautifully written with clear, crisp and descriptive writing that embraces you, taking hold and pulling you in. You are captivated, finding yourself immersed in the darkly enchanting, epic and vivid watercolour that Stewart is creating, that she is painting with her words that flow, that glide like brush strokes upon the page.
I have no ending hook to finish my review with, no clever phrasing and no words left. Simply, The Bone Shard Daughter ranks highly as one of the best debuts I’ve read and it is a remarkable example of modern fantasy at its finest.
The quality shines through in The Guardians. Grisham is an established author, a veteran and it shows in his writing which is highly accomplished. The writing is straightforward, to the point with no over embellishment and there is a finesse to the style, strength to his words and confidence to his storytelling. The Guardians is a disturbing and suspenseful look at the commonplace corruption, the inherently broken US legal system, the prevalent miscarriages of justice that occur, the terrible plight of those who have been mistakenly incarcerated and the blinkered views, the loose morals and the abuse of power of those good ol’ boys in charge.
When reading thrillers I tend to gravitate towards psychological thrillers and those with a hint of the supernatural to them and so, with The Guardians I found myself stepping slightly outside of my comfort zone and delving into a legal thriller. It was also my first Grisham book, it won’t be my last and I’m now a fan of his work. I found The Guardians to be addictive, fast-paced, gripping and a skillfully told and powerful story.
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