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Thursday, 23 July 2015

The God Eaters


  • Author: Jesse Hajicek
  •  
  • Editions: Free Online, Paperback

  • Publisher: Self Published (LuLu.com)

  • Stars: 5/5


Western/ Fantasy/ Alternate Historical Fiction

Imprisoned for 'inflammatory writings' by the totalitarian Theocracy, shy intellectual Ashleigh Trine figures his story's over. But when he meets Kieran Trevarde, a hard-hearted gunslinger with a dark magic lurking in his blood, Ash finds that necessity makes strange heroes... and love can change the world. 



Review

Don't be put off by the front cover this book is an excellent read. I was put off by the front cover so it took me ages to finally get down and read it. But thank god I did, what an amazing epic story. 

The God Eaters tells us a tale of adventure love and suspense. Set in an alternative universe where magical abilities are present in some people, and a dictatorial government which has tight control over who can use their abilities Kieren and Ash get thrown together on the train to prison. Karen for murder and robbery and Ash for rebellious propaganda. Both have Talents and they find prison is not just a place for criminals but a government testing ground. Surviving prison is only made possible for Ash because of the growing relationship between him and Kieren, as they try to plan their escape. 
This book may look long, however it is gripping and the pages flash by, I honestly could not think past the next page, I was totally captivated. 

The world building and characterisation are rich and vivid, and the characters development as well as the relationships building is riveting. I was enchanted by Kieren andAsh's fight for freedom and their desperate heart aching love for one another. The ending is gripping and truly satisfying. 

Would recommend to anyone who enjoys Ginn Hale's work and loves a good Western.

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

A Hero at the End of the World

  • Author: Erin Claiborne
  • Editions: Paperback 
  • Publisher: Big Bang Press 
  • Stars: 4/5 
Parody/ Fanfiction/ Harry Potter 


Sixteen year-old Ewan Mao knows one thing for certain: according to prophecy, it's his destiny to kill the evil tyrant whose dark reign has terrorized Britain. Although he's just a normal boy, deep down Ewan is confident that he has exactly what it takes to be a hero. But when Ewan's big moment comes, he freezes. His best friend, the clever and talented Oliver Abrams, defeats the villain for him, and Ewan's bright future crumbles before his eyes.

Five years later, Oliver has a job as an Unusual in the government's Serious Magical Crimes Agency, the life he and Ewan always dreamed of. But a routine investigation leads him and his partner, Sophie Stuart, to uncover a dangerous and powerful cult... one that seems to have drawn his former best friend into a plot to end the world.

A deftly plotted, hysterically funny take on Chosen One narratives, A Hero at the End of the World expertly walks the fine line between satire and sincerity. Its sensitive depiction of a broken friendship and wry take-down of unfairly great expectations will appeal to all readers of modern fantasy



The Fall of the Kings (The World of Riverside #3)


  • Author: Ellen Kushner and Della Sherman
  • Editions: Paperback, Hardback, Audiobook, E-book 
  • Publisher: Bantam 
  • Stars: 4.75/ 5 


Classic Fantasy/ Political Drama/ Folklore 


This stunning follow-up to Ellen Kushner's cult-classic novel, "Swordspoint," is set in the same world of labyrinthine intrigue, where sharp swords and even sharper wits rule. Against a rich tapestry of artists and aristocrats, students, strumpets, and spies, a gentleman and a scholar will find themselves playing out an ancient drama destined to explode their society's smug view of itself--and reveal that sometimes the best price of uncovering history is being forced to repeat it.... 

The Fall of the Kings 
Generations ago the last king fell, taking with him the final truths about a race of wizards who ruled at his side. But the blood of the kings runs deep in the land and its people, waiting for the coming together of two unusual men. Theron Campion, a young nobleman of royal lineage, is heir to an ancient house and a modern scandal. Tormented by his twin duties to his family and his own bright spirit, he seeks solace in the University. There he meets Basil St. Cloud, a brilliant and charismatic teacher ruled by a passion for knowledge--and a passion for the ancient kings. Of course, everyone now knows that the wizards were charlatans and the kings their dupes and puppets. Only Basil is not convinced--nor is he convinced that the city has seen its last king... 

I heard a lot of negative reviews about this novel so when I finished The Privilege of the Sword, I was a little apprehensive. However I loved this book because of the folklore and the mythology behind this novel, this made The Fall Of The Kings, last book of the Riverside series, my favourite. I have always loved the idea of the Oak King and his Holly King, which has been explored for many centuries.


Review 

I read this one last and I think this is why I enjoyed it so much as everything made sense and I saw how this book links all the others together. In the other book is the Riverside series we hear about the Kings but they are seen as a negative figure. However in The Fall Of The Kings we see that the Kings have been trying to emerge for centres but the Wizards are still sleeping. This made me consider that maybe the reason that Alec was thought of as mad was because of the King blood running through his blood line and only Richard could keep him sane? (I don't know I'm just speculating). 


This novel is written 40 years after The Privilege of the Sword, and the main protagonists are Basil St Cloud, a University professor of Ancient History and Alec's son Theron Campion. They become lovers but Basil's research leads him to explore a history of magic that has been trampled on and made to look negative. However Basil wants to understand the truth, and therefore this book is deeply entangled in dirty politics, and the history of magic comes to light and the nobel's power is questioned.

Kushner takes old mythology and folklore and makes it new in a story that weaves politics, love and sexuality, scholarship and magic, and ancient ideas of kinship and leadership into a rich tapestry that moves the reader into believing that this history could have been real. The prose in this novel is written beautifully as the reader is taken almost dreamlike through the Grove back into a time where magic was freely used and celebrated. 

This novel really reminded me of Greenwode as the same concepts are explored. Brilliant novel in a brilliant series.
  



Song of the Navigator


  • Author: Astrid Amara 
  • Editions: Paperback, E-Book
  • Publisher: Samhain Publishing, Ltd.
  • Stars: 5/5  
Space/ Steampunk/ Fantasy



Worst Possible Birthday: Being sold into slavery by none other than your lover.


Tover Duke’s rare ability to move anything instantly across light-years of space makes him a powerful, valuable asset to the Harmony Corporation, and a rock star among the people of the colonies. His life is luxurious. Safe. Routine.

He has his pick of casual hookups passing through Dadelus-Kaku Station. His one brush with danger of any kind—the only bright spot in his otherwise boring life—is Cruz Arcadio, a dark-haired, hard-bodied engineer whose physical prowess hints he’s something much more.

When a terrorist abducts Tover, hurling him into a world of torture, exploitation and betrayal, it’s with shattering disbelief that he realizes his kidnapper is none other than Cruz. As Tover struggles to find the courage to escape his bondage, he begins to understand the only way to free his body, his mind—and his heart—is to trust the one man who showed him that everything about his once-perfect life was a lie.

Review
Ive read this book twice now and I still adore it. Astrid Amara is one of my favourite authors after falling in love with her work after reading Archer's Heat and The Devil Lancer. Therefore I knew I would love this book and pre-ordered it months ago. This book reminded me a lot of Line and Orbit which I also demolished in a day and adored! 
Song Of A Navigator was simply perfect for me and I'm devastated that I finished it so quickly. I bought it in paperback as a) I wanted to re read it and b) it deserved it. 

Written solely from Tover's point of view I was hooked almost from the first sentence and fell i love with Tover's character quickly and easily there was an inner strength that shone through for me throughout his ordeal. Throughout this book he learns to start thinking for himself and to not be so ignorant of the world around him. Tovers character growth is not fast and certainly does not happen over night but gradually over the course of the novel. He also doesn't immediately accept Cruz's cause out of love. Cruz challenges Tover's view of the world and makes him see himself as more than a commodity and worth more than what he can do and I loved this aspect of the book as Tover learns to see himself in a different way. 

For me this book was simply incredible and I loved the characters and the setting, but most of all the love story between Cruz and Tover as it struggles and then comes through in the end. 
When I finished the book, much to quickly I must add, I was engulfed by a feeling of satisfaction and didn't want to start another story just so I could bathe in the after glow of this amazing novel. 

This book clearly deserves 5 stars and a recommendation to anyone who enjoys Amara's work and also to anyone who loves reading book that don't leave you easily

The Privilege of the Sword (The World of Riverside #2)


  • Author: Ellen Kushner 
  • Edition: Paperback, Hardcover, Audio Book, E-Book
  • Publisher: Spectra 
  • Stars: 4.5/ 5 
Fantasy Classic/ Historical Fantasy

Welcome to Riverside, where the aristocratic and the ambitious battle for power in the city's ballroom, brothels and boudoirs. Into this alluring world walks Katherine, a well-bred country girl versed in the rules of conventional society. Her mistake is thinking that they apply. For Katherine's host and uncle, Alec Campion, aka the Mad Duke Tremontaine, is in charge here—and to him, rules are made to be broken. When Alec decides it would be more amusing for his niece to learn swordplay than to follow the usual path to marriage, her world changes forever. Blade in hand, it's up to Katherine to navigate a maze of secrets and scoundrels and to gain the self-discovery that comes to those who master: the privilege of the sword.

Review 
What a great sequel! Alec has come into his inheritance a decade or so after Swordspoint. Alec is no less manic, but the protagonist to this tale is his niece Katherine whom he is trying to make a swordsman on a whim, but with all Alec's plans we do later discover their is a deeper meaning to it. Katherine matures and grows throughout this novel from a character I didn't partially like to a woman who understood the world around her and be independent and free to choose a parter to marry or choose to stay unmarried. 
Katherine has a very different outlook to life than any of the other characters in Swodspoint, and her tone is young, innocent and endearing. Yet the tone to The Privilege Of The Sword is sadder than Swordspoint as Alec and Richard's glory days are over. Richard is blind and living far away and Alec misses him terribly and consequently sleeps with everything and gains the reputation of The Mad Duke. 
But the ending makes everything worth while and I'm so happy that we get to see these two men happy together. The only criticism I have is that I wanted to see more Alec and Richard, these two characters make these novels for me. 

What I appreciate about these novels is that Kushner explores the role of women in The Privilege of the Sword and how powerless they are in a very patriarchal society, and this aspect of the book made me respect Katherine a lot more.

Monday, 1 June 2015

Swords point (Riverside #️⃣1) - Ellen Kushner


  • Author: Ellen Kushner
  • Editions: Hardback (1987) Paperback (2003) Audiobook
  • Publisher: Spectra
  • Stars: 4.75 / 5


Fantasy Classic/ Historical Fantasy

On the treacherous streets of Riverside, a man lives and dies by the sword. Even the nobles on the Hill turn to duels to settle their disputes. Within this elite, dangerous world, Richard St. Vier is the undisputed master, as skilled as he is ruthless--until a death by the sword is met with outrage instead of awe, and the city discovers that the line between hero and villain can be altered in the blink of an eye.


Review 

This book if just brilliantly unique and I was instantly charmed by it. My reading style has definitely matured in the last year and I felt this book fit with my reading style at the moment. The novel's layout and world building reminded me of Melissa Scot's Point of Hopes series and I feel these two series complement each other really well. 

Swords point has a very different atmosphere than most fantasy books. its set in 18th century instead of the medival period, in a city where nobles can hire Swordsmen to fight their quarrels in the form of proxy, The protagonists to this novel is Alec, a snarky, aggressively insulting ex-University scholar and his lover Robert St.Vier, the best swordsmen in recent history. Alec maybe crazy and frequently suicidel but Richard balances him out and is indeed charming in his own right (and definitely my favourite character). They are both brilliant together and their minor arguments are both entertaining and give the reader an insight to their deep feeling for one another. Like Scott, Kushner is not an erotic writer, but allows her readers to imagine their coupling. This book is not just a fantastic read, but is also beautifully lyrical in its writing, and deserves all the praise it has received, and more, as this book is simply enchanting. 

Recommened to anyone who enjoys Melissa Scotts work and also strangely enough it reminds me of the Havemercy series.

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Fairs' Point - Melissa Scott (Astreiant #️⃣4)


  • Author: Melissa Scott 
  • Editions: Paperback, E-book 
  • Publisher: Lethe Press 
  • Stars: 4.75 / 5 


Mystery / Fantasy

During Dog Moon, the chief entertainment in the great city of Astreiant, for nobles and commons alike, is the basket-terrier races at New Fair. This year, with spectacularly bad timing, the massive and suspicious bankruptcy of a young nobleman has convulsed the city, leading to suicides, widespread loss of employment, and inconvenient new laws around the universal practice of betting on the races. As well, a rash of mysterious burglaries seems to suggest a magistical conspiracy.

Pointsman Nicolas Rathe is naturally in the midst of all these disturbances—as is his lover, foreign former mercenary Philip Eslingen. When Eslingen receives a basket-terrier puppy in the redistribution of the bankrupt’s household goods, he makes the best of it by having the pup trained for the races, an action that draws him and Rathe deeper into the coils of a mystery somehow involving New Fair’s dog races, bookies and bettors, the bankruptcy and its causes and fallout, burglaries, and a new uncanny form of murder. 


Review 

This series just keeps getting better and better, as with each book we learn about our characters a little more. I still adore Nico and Philip as they settle into being Leman's and living together. these tales Point Of Hope (1995), Point Of Dreams (2001), Point Of Knives (2012) and now Fairs' Point (2014) are all set in the city of Astriant, which to me has many similarities to Renaissance England but I have heard that it is modelled off the Italian Renaissance and especially Venice? This world is built around star consultations, where astrological predictions make the lives of everyone in this world, isn't that an amazing idea?! And the best part magic is real and women are the dominant sex. 

The main characters Nicholas Rathe and Philip Eslingen continue to be wonderful and thoughtful characters as their relationship depends and strengthens in spite of the continued tension over Eslingen's career choices. The Royal Guard are looking at creating a regiment in the city and want Philip to be their captain, however Rathe believes the guard will take the Pointsman's power away from them. I cannot wait to see what happens in the next book of this series which is Point Of Sighs, how will the guard affect the points? And what does Scott mean by 'we see just how bad Philips stars are for water..." :0 I hope the book comes out soon as I am itching to read more about Nicholas and Philip. This book had some really touching quotes which I loved! 

"They usually spent the night apart, though in the morning they woke twined more often than not, as though in sleep their bodies sought each other.in wine and dream comes truth: the old proverb slipped through his mind unbidden."

If you enjoyed the other books in the Astriant series you wont be disappointed with this one. It was brilliant.

Song Of The Navigator - Astrid Amara


  • Author: Astrid Amara 
  • Editions: Paperback, E-Book 
  • Publisher: Samhain Publishing 
  • Stars: 5/5 


Science Fiction/ Space/ Dystopia


Worst Possible Birthday: Being sold into slavery by none other than your lover.

Tover Duke’s rare ability to move anything instantly across light-years of space makes him a powerful, valuable asset to the Harmony Corporation, and a rock star among the people of the colonies. His life is luxurious. Safe. Routine.

He has his pick of casual hookups passing through Dadelus-Kaku Station. His one brush with danger of any kind—the only bright spot in his otherwise boring life—is Cruz Arcadio, a dark-haired, hard-bodied engineer whose physical prowess hints he’s something much more.

When a terrorist abducts Tover, hurling him into a world of torture, exploitation and betrayal, it’s with shattering disbelief that he realizes his kidnapper is none other than Cruz. As Tover struggles to find the courage to escape his bondage, he begins to understand the only way to free his body, his mind—and his heart—is to trust the one man who showed him that everything about his once-perfect life was a lie.


Review 

Astrid Amara is one of my favourite authors after falling in love with her work after reading Archer's Heat and The Devil Lancer. Therefore I knew I would love this book and pre-ordered it months ago. This book reminded me a lot of Line and Orbit which I also demolished in a day and adored! 
Song Of A Navigator was simply perfect for me and I'm devastated that I finished it so quickly. I bought it in paperback as a) I wanted to re read it and b) it deserved it. 

Written solely from Tover's point of view I was hooked almost from the first sentence and fell i love with Tover's character quickly and easily there was an inner strength that shone through for me throughout his ordeal. Throughout this book he learns to start thinking for himself and to not be so ignorant of the world around him. Tovers character growth is not fast and certainly does not happen over night but gradually over the course of the novel. He also doesn't immediately accept Cruz's cause out of love. Cruz challenges Tover's view of the world and makes him see himself as more than a commodity and worth more than what he can do and I loved this aspect of the book as Tover learns to see himself in a different way. 

For me this book was simply incredible and I loved the characters and the setting, but most of all the love story between Cruz and Tover as it struggles and then comes through in the end. 
When I finished the book, much to quickly I must add, I was engulfed by a feeling of satisfaction and didn't want to start another story just so I could bathe in the after glow of this amazing novel. 

This book clearly deserves 5 stars and a recommendation to anyone who enjoys Amara's work and also to anyone who loves reading book that don't leave you easily ;)

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Point of Dreams - Melissa Scott and Lisa Barnett

Author: Melissa Scott and Lisa A. Barnett 
Editions: Paperback (fs ed. 2001), Paperback (sd ed.  2013), 
E-Book
Publisher: Tor Publishings and Lethe Press 
Stars: 4.5/5 

Mystery/ Classic Fantasy/ High Fantasy

The citizens of Astreiant have become obssessed by a new play, The Drowned Island, a lurid farrago of melodrama and innuendo. Pointsman Nicolas Rathe is not amused, however, at a real dead body found on the stage and must investigate. A string of murders follows, perhaps related to the politically important masque that is to play on that same stage. Rathe must once again call on the help of his soldier lover, Philip Eslingen, whose knowledge of actors and the stage blends well with Rathe’s own hard-won experience of human greed and magical mayhem.

Their task is complicated by the season, for it is the time of year when the spirits of the dead haunt the city and influence everyone, and also by the change in their relationship when the loss of Philip’s job forces him to move in with Nicolas. Mystery, political intrigue, magic, and romance—on and off stage—fill the pages of this Lambda Literary Award-winning novel.


Review 

I think I preferred this book to the first one, which was brilliant don't get me wrong. I just love Nico and Philp being lemen together it makes me so happy. And I adore how Scott and Barnett write their relationship, it is there, but also so subtle making the moments of tenderness more heart moving and wonderful. 
I really want all my books to be set in this world, where everyone is bisexual and it doesn't matter. Nico and Philip are lemen and its just the perfect setting for a story that is driven my a crime and murder. Before finding Astreiant I read Scott's Julian Lynes and Ned Mathey series and adored the books but I think Point Of Dreams even tops those series I just loved the suspense and the angst that comes with loving someone. Nico is completely besotted and in love with Philip but finds it hard to admit it to himself which I find adorable! 

Point Of Drams starts quite soon after Points Of Knives, where Nico has been promoted to Adjasent Point of Dreams and Philip is working as Master of Swords in a play that is causing quite a few unusual deaths. This book still has the astrology aspect as the lives of these people run on the stars but now the language of flowers is bought in, as the murders seem to be linked to them. On of the things that I lobe about this series is that we get to explore the whole world not just the normal people. Rathe has some powerful friends and knows how to interact with people with money and people without. 

I saw a review that described this book as feeling like "  dark chocolate syrup, rich, bittersweet, and luxurious." and I thought it sued up the way this book moves at a leisurely pace through the tale and has an  Italian Renaissance feel  and the stylized social structure is fascinating. 

What I enjoyed the most was the society is Matriarchal  which was refreshing as all the high up jobs were run by women and it really got me thinking how Particle our society still is today as I found it difficult to wrap my head around a Matriarchal society.
I almost forgot about the ghosts, a part of this tale I really enjoyed as we delved into the people that have stuck around our heroes the people who can't seem to let go and I wish we has seen more of Philip's ghosts because of war and the friends he must have lost. I want to know more about Philips past and how he feels now he is away from the regiment.

This is a 5 star novel for me and I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys mystery/ thriller/ fantasy. I mean really what more could you want

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Shadow Magic (Havemercy 2) - Jaida Jones and Danielle Bennett


  • Author: Jaida Jones and Danielle Bennett
  • Editions: Paperback, Mass Market Paperback (2010)
  • Publisher: Spector 
  • Stars: 4/5
Classic Fantasy / Steampunk/ Magic 


Led to victory by its magic-fueled Dragon Corps, Volstov has sent a delegation to its conquered neighbors to work out the long-awaited terms of peace. Among those in the party are the decorated war hero General Alcibiades and the formerly exiled magician Caius Greylace. But even this mismatched pair can’t help but notice that their defeated enemies aren’t being very cooperative. The hidden truth is that the new emperor is harboring a treacherous secret—and once it is revealed, Alcibiades and Caius may be powerless to stop it. 

With their only ally an exiled prince now fleeing his brother’s assassins, the countryside rife with terror, and Alcibiades and Caius all but prisoners, it will take the most powerful kind of magic to heal the rift between two strife-worn lands and unite two peoples against a common enemy: shadow magic.

Review 
How is this book under M/M romance or even GLBT? There is no romance in this novel. Yes there is the build up of will they won't they but then no reward! ?? Hanet wrote on Goodreads that she felt like the entire story was composed exclusively so that fan fiction could be written about it later and I completely agree ,I want to go and write my ending where we get to see Casius and Alcibiades living together on the farm (and don't worry thats no spoiler because it doesn't happen.) I really wanted these two to be together and this is what kept my noise glued to the book as I devoured it, and I did devour it, and I did enjoy it, I just feel a little led on and felt like I deserved a more rewarding ending. An ending which the books genre promised me. 

What I did love about Shadow Magic was that we got to explore more of the Ken-Han empire which is so much like ancient Japan, and I loved it. I loved the customs and the acts of honour, and I could almost see it as being adapted into an anime, which I would love. This tale is relationship driven rather than plot driven but don't get me wrong, this is a positive note and the plot flowed well too, almost better than Havemercy. However with the sexual tension building up between Casius and Alcibiades, and Mamoru and Kouje I felt I didn't get what the book promised me. Even though I love the scenery and the world building I do not think I will be carrying on with this series. I think I will by leaving  the series on a  high note rather than struggling with the next to books in this series.

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Point Of Hopes

  • Author: Melissa Scott and Lisa A. Barnett
  • Editions: 2nd Edition (2012 paperback) 
  • Publisher: Lethe Press 2012 
  • Stars: 4/5 
Thriller/ Mystery/ Fantasy 


Nicolas Rathe is a pointsman, a dedicated watchman in the great city of Astreiant. During the annual trade fair, with a city filled with travelers and merchants, someone is stealing children. The populace is getting angry and frightened and convinced that a foreigner must be to blame. Rathe calls on the aid of both an out-of-work soldier, the handsome Philip Eslingen, and the necromancer Istre b'Estorr. The art of astrology is a very real power in the kingdom and plays as much a role in politics as greed and intrigue. Rathe finds himself struggling to find the children before a major astrological event brings about catastrophe. The first in a series of fantasy novels filled with adventure, intrigue and gay romance.

Review 

What I loved about this book was that everyone was bisexual, but in a very subtle way, and I thought this was brilliant. Melissa Scott has always been a writer I admire as I devoured her book Death by Silver and A Death at the Dionysus Club. And Point Of Hopes is very much like these two books in its mystery and writing style. In a lesser writer the book may have been seen as dull and slow, however Scott and Barnett somehow drag you in and keep you hooked with the brilliant world they have created, and their brilliant charismatic characters.
 
The Kingdom of Chenedolle is much like Renaissance London in my mind, as the world is ruled by a childless queen, whose time on the throne is coming to an end and she must choice an heir. To me this sounds a lot like Queen Elizabeth the first, who was also unmarried and childless. This world Scott has created is fascinating and packed with detail so that nothing seems different from our world, although you are reading High Fantasy. The world is easy to follow and keep up with the laws of the universe. Chenedolle is under two suns the true sun and the winter sun, and is a place where astrological predictions govern nearly every aspect of everyday life. 

Friday, 24 April 2015

A Place Called Winter - Patrick Gale

  • Author: Patrick Gale 
  • Editions: Hardback, Paperback (Sept 2015)
  • Publisher: Tinder Press 
  • Stars: 5/5 
Historical Fiction, LGBT  


In the golden 1900s, Harry Cane, a shy, eligible gentleman of leisure is drawn from a life of quiet routine into courting and marrying Winnie, eldest daughter of the fatherless Wells clan, who are not quite as respectable as they would appear. They settle by the sea and have a daughter and conventional marriage does not seem such a tumultuous change after all. When a chance encounter awakens scandalous desires never acknowledged until now, however, Harry is forced to forsake the land and people he loves for a harsh new life as a homesteader on the newly colonized Canadian prairies. There, in a place called Winter, he will come to find a deep love within an alternative family, a love imperiled by war, madness and an evil man of undeniable magnetism.

Review 


A Place Called Winter is a tale of heartbreaking hardship, a book that seems to combine Pride and Prejudice with E.M Forsters’ Maurice. Winter, Saskatchewan, Canada is in fact a real place, which was first settled in 1908. Among these settlers was Patrick Gale’s fictional figure Harry Cane, whose experience is loosely based on Gale’s own great grandfather who was mysteriously banished from the country leaving his wife and young child back in England while he faced the wilderness of Canada alone.  
Nothing could seem more unrealistic, at first than a married man living in England with a young child and private income who should decide to leave it all and sail for a life full of hardship and uncertainty in Canada. However by the time Harry Cane gets on the immigrant ship, Gale has established his character with precise economical strokes. Harry is apt to stammer and is constrained by everything that is expected of him.  What changes his life utterly is the realization that he loves men, in a period where homosexual acts, even in private, were punished by law and social disgrace. Harry meets Mr. Browning and they begin a sexual relationship, which on Harry’s side is a relation of love and passion. Yet when a blackmailer exposes their relationship, Harry is told by his wife’s family to remove himself from his wife, child and country.

Patrick Gale wrote A Place Called Winter in two and a half years and re-traced Harry’s steps. “ I spent three months there, and although Winter is a ghost town now, I had the coordinates for Harry’s farm so I was able to track it down precisely. I found it terribly moving that his acres were still being ploughed.” The novel begins in a Canadian psychiatric hospital, where Harry undergoes hypnotic therapy, revealing the events that led up to that moment. Gale explains that “the challenge was to inhabit homosexual life in a time when there are no words to describe any of the things the character feels or does. It is quite literally a story about the unspeakable.”

The classic story of a man finding himself through labor on his own land is de-railed almost as soon as it begins to take shape. Harry is pursued by an almost nightmarish figure Troels Munck. This virtually fairytale villain has a knack for spotting weakness in others, and therefore making himself essential to them. Above all Troels is a man of superb animal instinct, un-vexed by any ideas of mortality, and has a prowling capability for destruction, as he haunts Harry’s career as a homesteader. And yet through Troels, Harry finds great happiness, and a neighbor whom he comes to love, but also brings horror, death and incarnation.  Critics have highlighted compassion as one of the uniting qualities in Gale’s fiction, but I am still surprised by Harry’s willingness to acknowledge Munck’s brutality. “Munck is probably a psychopath,” says Gale, “but my difficulty with writing a negative character is that, in the course of the book, I come to understand some of their behavior and at least halfway forgive them.”

A Place Called Winter does not resolve itself, or offer a closed ending, but it does offer hope that emotional truth and loyalty to that truth maybe a way forward for Harry. He is an intensely sympathetic character in his struggles. Harry Cane’s tale is one of many, the disappeared who where not wanted by their family or society, and whose stories were long stained with shame. This fascinating novel is their requiem.   

Thursday, 16 April 2015

Us - David Nicholls


  • Author: David Nicholls 
  • Editions: Hardback, Paperback, E-Book, Audio Download,
  • Publisher: Hodder and Stoughton 
  • Stars: 4/5

 Contemporary Literature 



'I was looking forward to us growing old together. Me and you, growing old and dying together.'

'Douglas, who in their right mind would look forward to that?'


Douglas Petersen understands his wife's need to 'rediscover herself' now that their son is leaving home.

He just thought they'd be doing their rediscovering together.

So when Connie announces that she will be leaving, too, he resolves to make their last family holiday into the trip of a lifetime: one that will draw the three of them closer, and win the respect of his son. One that will make Connie fall in love with him all over again.

The hotels are booked, the tickets bought, the itinerary planned and printed.

What could possibly go wrong?


Review 

What a fantastic tale. At first I found this novel difficult to get into as I found the characters unreliable however I pursued. This is a story of a marriage which is in trouble and beautifully narrated by the husband, Douglas. He is run by logic and science but is married to Connie who is free spirited to the extreme. these two could not be more different. They have a 17 year old son who is very much like his mother and has distain for anything conventional including his father. but when Connie announces that she thinks their marriage has run its course and she is thinking about leaving him. However Douglas insists that they carry on with the plan of the family holiday inter-railing across Europe. throughout the holiday Douglas tries to win his wife and son back. 

The story of their trip is woven brilliantly with the backstory of how Connie and Douglas met and their life together. Nicholls has carefully stitched the tapestry of married life and the pit falls it contains. 
At first I was apprehensive about this novel and found it difficult to relate to Douglas and Connie's life, However I am so glad that I pursued as Douglas' narrative is humorous, self-depricating and sometimes heartbreaking. The relationship he has with his son is smoothing everyone can understand I have a younger brother and I can see the dynamics between my father and his son. 

4 good stars and a book that is highly recommended

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Kirith Kirin - Jim Grimsley

Author: Jim Grimsley 

Editions: Out Of Print, E-Book

Publisher: Meisha Merlin Publishing 

Stars: 5/5

Classic Fantasy/ High Fantasy  

Kirith Kirin is like no other fantasy that you have ever read. Jim Grimsley has created a fantasy that could have come right from our world where power and greed can tempt, and sometimes conquer, even the most rightist person and where knowing who your friends and enemies are can be very difficult if not impossible. Yet it is not our world. For in Kirith Kirin's world magic is real, immortals walk the land, and people are sometimes the playthings for the dark arts. The Blue Queen, upon resuming the throne while King Kirith Kirin's eternality is renewed in the Arthen forest, has partnered with a magician of the dark arts. No longer does she need to leave the throne to renew her eternal nature. Swayed by promises of the dark magician, she has claimed the throne forever and is extending her influence to the far corners of the world. Malleable grey clouds, sidewinding wind, and intelligent lightning bolts made the trip across the vast Girdle nearly impossible. Out of nowhere, the Blue Queen's Patrols made haste to kill the boy and the warrior before they could safely reach the deep forest of Arthen. Riding upon two magnificent stallions, one a royal Prince out of Queen Mnemarra, Jessex and his uncle Sivisal reached Arthen despite a deadly storm that reeked of magic. Thus begins Jessex's new life as he enters Arthen and moves into the royal court of Kirith Kirin.

Review 

Jim Grimsley does not fast forward any event in this incredible high fantasy novel. Grimsley is not a fantasy writer, he usually writes realistic fiction and stage plays. He is well known for his book Dream Boy. So it seems unfair and almost criminal that he should sweep in a write one of the best fantasy novels I have ever read. Kirith Kirin tells us a tale about a young Farmboy who becomes the most powerful wizard in the world whose destiny is to restore Kirith Kirin place as King, after the rule of the Blue Queen. Jessex is a marvellous narrator, wry and gentle and unexpectedly funny. Kirith Kirin is adorable too, even if everyone tends to treat him more like an errant schoolboy than an immortal king. The descriptive passages are atmospheric and gorgeous, and bring his marvellously vast and detailed world to life. 

But where Grimsley really shines is in the treatment of the relationship between Jessex and Kirith Kirin; this is one of the very, very few books that manages to keep it just as fascinating after reading as it was before.  Their story is a painful one, which will keep you at the edge of your seat. I and am glad that I took my time in consuming this beautiful tale, so that I could appriciate the world building that Jim Grimsley has painstakingly thought about.cannot recommend it enough. I am so glad that I went to the great length of purchasing this book in paperback, which is now out of print. 

I feel that I need to re-read this novel as the world that Grimsley creates is complex and I would recommend people to read the glossary before starting the novel this really helped me understand the book on a deeper level. 



Thursday, 26 March 2015

Line and Orbit - Sunny Moraine and Lisa Soem

  • Author: Sunny Moraine and Lisa Soem 
  • Editions: Paperback and E-book
  • Publisher:Samhain Publishing, 2013
  • Science Fiction/ Space Travel 

What he’s been taught to fear could be his destiny…and his only hope.

Adam Yuga, a rising young star in the imperialist Terran Protectorate, is on the verge of a massive promotion…until a routine physical exam reveals something less than perfection. Genetic flaws are taboo, and Adam soon discovers there’s a thin line between rising star and starving outcast.

Stripped of wealth and position, stricken with a mysterious, worsening illness, Adam resorts to stealing credits to survive. Moments from capture by the Protectorate, help arrives in the form of Lochlan, a brash, cocksure Bideshi fighter.

Now the Bideshi, a people long shunned by the Protectorate, are the only ones who will offer him shelter. As Adam learns the truth about the mysterious, nomadic people he was taught to fear, Lochlan offers him not just shelter—but a temptation Adam can only resist for so long.

Struggling to adapt to his new life, Adam discovers his illness hides a terrible secret, one that the Protectorate will stop at nothing to conceal. Time is growing short, and he must find the strength to close a centuries-old rift, accept a new identity—and hold on to a love that could cost him everything.

Review 

I might have finished this book in a day and sort of wished I had spent more time on it as it was so brilliant and beautiful. will definitely need to give it a second read to see all the details i've missed on my quick speed through. But this book was gripping and was filled with action on every page so it was impossible to put down - I did try, promise. 

The hero to this tale iOS Adam Yuga who has been genetically modified to be perfect. He has the job, the car and the house but when his physical shows that he has a default he is fired and thrown aside as imperfection is not tolerated on Protectorate. Adam is left to die until Lochlan (Lock) shows up and saves Adam from the Protectorate as he has stolen money in order for him to keep on living. Lock is an aragont Bideshi a race who left Protectorate many centuries before. But Adam is still sick and is slowly diying and only the Bishishi will help him. 
This book is unlike anything I have ever read and as I said previously I could not put it down. it is a wonderful mixture between The Host and Avatar the movie. I enjoyed the slow build to Lock and Adams relationship, they were perfect for one another and I loved the changes they made to one another as the novel goes on. 

I must say a predictable ending but I still needed to see what happened and I was not put off by the books predictability. The only slight imperfection was the Protectorate's point of view as I got bored by their tales and just wanted to read about the Bidishi. This was also not helped by the flimsy reasons for killing and pursuing Adam across the galaxy. 

However overall I adored this action packed novel and can't wait to have another read through in a few weeks. Recommend to anyone who loved The Host, Avatar, Stargate Galatia (not that I've seen it but Ive heard its similar) and anything to do with space travel.