Monthly Archives: December 2016

*NEW RELEASE SPECIAL* Review of KINDLE Ebook What Not To Do If You Turn Invisible by Ross Welford

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When I saw the blurb for this one, I couldn’t resist pressing the Request button. Did it live up to my expectations?

whatnottodoTurning invisible at will: it’s one way of curing your acne. But far more drastic than 13 year-old Ethel Leatherhead intended when she tried a combination of untested medicines and a sunbed. It’s fun at first, being invisible. And aided by her friend Boydy, she manages to keep her extraordinary ability secret. Or does she…?

The abbreviated blurb makes the whole process of becoming invisible sound far more controlled and straightforward than it actually is – which for me was one of the main selling points of this beguiling, funny book. All too often fantasy or paranormal books for children tip them into situations that would have most of us hiding under the duvet armed with a strong glass of gin and prosac – only for said children to accept the whole process without so much as a blink. While children may well be a great deal more adaptable than we oldsters, I was far happier to witness Ethel’s real shock when she looks down to see her hands isn’t visible.

In fact, Ethel is a wonderful protagonist. At a spiky twelve years old with a bumpy background, she is as wary as you’d expect – yet also with the vulnerabilities that come with being twelve. Having a twelve year old granddaughter, it’s an age I’m very familiar with and Welford has absolutely nailed it. There are a whole host of complexities that come with finding herself invisible, as well as a handful of desperate, harebrained opportunities that seem like a good idea at the time. I sniggered in an appalled way all through the Talent Show, while catching myself muttering, ‘Oh no!’ a couple of times.

The trick of writing good farce is for the people in the middle of the mess to take the whole situation utterly seriously – and there’s no reason why Ethel would want to find any of this remotely funny, anyway. The book teetered between making me want to laugh and cry, as I found myself invested in her situation. I guessed one of the main reveals very early on, but I don’t think it matters that much – it certainly didn’t stop me enjoying her slowly discovering who exactly her parents are.

The other issue that makes this book stand out for me, is the way Welford depicts the adults in Ethel’s life. She lives with her grandmother and regularly visits her great-granny, now living in a residential home. Welford shows the adults as doing the best they can in some tricky situations – a refreshing change when all too often adults are shown to be bumbling idiots or unthinking tyrants in otherwise excellent children’s books. I liked the fact that Ethel frequently refers to her grandmother’s sayings and ways of doing things as she evidently is trying to work out which of her opinions and approaches to life are applicable to herself.

The ending was one of the strengths of this book – it takes the story onwards and wraps up the main problems without being unduly sentimental or too tidy. All in all, this is an enjoyable adventure that packs an emotional punch and one I shall be introducing to my granddaughter in due course.

Receiving a copy of What Not To Do If You Turn Invisible from the publisher via NetGalley has in no way affected my honest opinion of this book.
9/10

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Friday Faceoff – Ho, ho, ho to the bottle I go…

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This meme was started by Books by Proxy, whose fabulous idea was to compare UK and US book covers and decide which is we prefer. This week’s theme is drink, so I have chosen Dandelion Wine – Book 1 of the Green Town series by Ray Bradbury.

 

dandelionwineThis is the cover produced by Bantam in 1968. While I love the disturbing artwork, which accurately portrays aspects of Bradbury’s wonderful, shocking writing, the clunky chunk of black across the top really intrudes on the cover design, I feel.

 

danelionwine1This cover was produced by Earthlight in July 2000. The artwork is lovely – I particularly like the portrait of the young boy set against the apple blossom and the dandelion clock. The mood achieved is poignant and thoughtful – though I can do without the band of raspberry pink across the top of the cover for the title and author.

 

dandelionwine2This offering, produced by William Morrow Paperbacks in April 2013 is more like it. The night sky dotted with stars with the half-blown dandelion clock in the foreground is beautiful and evocative. I’d rather there wasn’t the ugly yellow blob announcing the National Book Award – but it might encourage folks to buy it and at least the yellow chimes with the dandelion flowers.

 

dandelionwine3I think this Harper Voyager edition produced in 2013 is ghastly. What a revolting shade of green and the dandelion seeds more resemble nails. Gone is the poignant delicacy of all of the previous covers in favour of a somewhat desperate bid for catching the eye, which it does – in the worst possible way.

 

dandelionwin4This 1973 edition produced by Bantam reprises the bottle of wine – but this time around they have lost that heavy border and thick band for the title and author. This gives us an opportunity to focus on the intricacy of the wonderful artwork, which makes this my favourite cover.

What about you – which cover do you prefer?

*NEW RELEASE SPECIAL* Review of KINDLE Ebook The City of Ice – Book 2 of The Gates of the World series by K.M. McKinley

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Once again, I crashed into the second book of a series. Would this impact my enjoyment of this wide-ranging, multi-viewpoint epic fantasy?

thecityoficeDeep in the polar south stands a city like no other, a city built aeons ago by a civilisation mighty and wise. The City of Ice promises the secrets of the ancients to whomever can reach it first. It may prove too little knowledge too late, for the closest approach of the Twin in 4000 years draws near, an event that has heralded terrible destruction in past ages. As the Kressind siblings pursue their fortunes, the world stands upon the dawn of a new era, but it may yet be consumed by a darkness from the past.

It did take a while to get going, but then I wasn’t invested or aware of the cast of characters featuring in this sprawling fantasy as I hadn’t read the previous book, The Iron Ship. However, once I worked out who was doing what to whom, I became engrossed in this interesting and original take on a very familiar format. For starters, this is something of a genre mash-up. The society depicted is in the early stages of an industrial revolution and use magic to power their machinery, which is having some unfortunate side effects. While the Kressind family were clearly at the heart of the previous book, the plot has since snaked off into all sorts of directions, so that there were a number of intriguing storylines that had me wanting to know more.

The main one I really enjoyed was the progress of the intrepid explorers heading towards the City of Ice in a bid to uncover more of the secrets of an ancient race that, until recently, ruled over humanity. McKinley is very good at scene setting, so the biting cold allied to the constant need for chipping away the ice constantly forming on the superstructure of this metal ship sprang from the pages. Add to the mix a stowaway and talking dogs and you’ll appreciate this is a voyage where plenty is going on other than an exploration to a fabled city.

The other interesting plot that held me throughout the book was that of Madalyn, who offered herself to the Dark Lord, a horned godling with a fearsome reputation. She has got herself into something of a financial muddle, so offers to be his female companion in return for a very generous settlement if all goes well. If it doesn’t – she won’t need to worry about her finances, anyway… This is a fascinating subplot that also included the story of the Godhome, an abandoned palace that was attacked by the most powerful mage in history who drove out the gods on the grounds that they didn’t have mankind’s best interests at heart.

There are also the tyn, demons who will happily feast on humans but who can also be brought under control by magical means. They exist more or less alongside humanity, though as you can imagine, it isn’t always an easy relationship… I could go on about more of the interesting stories McKinley portrays in this rich, multi-faceted world, but instead I suggest you give yourself an early New Year’s treat and get hold of The Iron Ship. For fans of epic fantasy – even if it isn’t your go-to genre – this is an enjoyable, nicely intricate world with plenty to ponder once you’ve reached the climactic ending.

Receiving a copy of The City of Ice from the publisher via NetGalley has in no way affected my honest opinion of this book.
9/10

*NEW RELEASE SPECIAL* Review of KINDLE Ebook Ever the Hunted – Book 1 of The Clash of Kingdoms series by Erin Summerill

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Having all the depth of a pavement puddle, I’ll confess it was the beautiful cover that had me clicking the Request button on NetGalley for a copy of this arc…

everthehuntedSeventeen year-old Britta Flannery is at ease only in the woods with her dagger and bow. She spends her days tracking criminals alongside her father, the legendary bounty hunter for the King of Malam—that is, until her father is murdered. Now outcast and alone and having no rights to her father’s land or inheritance, she seeks refuge where she feels most safe: the Ever Woods. When Britta is caught poaching by the royal guard, instead of facing the noose she is offered a deal: her freedom in exchange for her father’s killer. However, it’s not so simple. The alleged killer is none other than Cohen McKay, her father’s former apprentice. The only friend she’s ever known.

It’s an intriguing premise, though it could have so easily slipped into yet another Hunger Games imitation – and it didn’t. Britta is a strong, likeable protagonist and as I became engrossed in the story as she attempts to uncover the truth about her father’s killer, I relaxed into the narrative and enjoyed the ride. The inevitable romance was well handled, so while there was sufficient about her growing feelings for the object of her affection, it didn’t slow down the pace of the narrative or get in the way of the unfolding adventure. Meanwhile Britta’s search uncovers some shocks about her own family that she didn’t know. There were some moments of real poignancy with plenty of surprises along the way.

I didn’t guess who killed Britta’s father, though that doesn’t mean very much – I generally don’t bother to try all that hard, preferring to leave it to the author to reveal the suspect. My only slight niggle was that after a difficult hunt full of tension and adventure, I did feel the final act tidied everything away rather too hastily for the amount of effort it took to get there. However, it’s not a dealbreaker – I really enjoyed the vivid worldbuilding, the unfolding political situation and learning about Britta’s backstory, so that I’ll definitely be on the lookout for more books in this series. Receiving a copy of Ever the Hunted from the publisher via NetGalley has in no way affected my honest opinion of this book.
8/10

Teaser Tuesday – 27th December, 2016

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Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by The Purple Booker.
Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

This is my choice of the day:
Freeks by Amanda Hocking
34% “I did, of course, I did.” He moved back into the doorway, and motioned for us to come in. “Come freeks1on in. Welcome to my home.”

Since he was so tall, he had to hunch over to invite us in, and he kept his long arms folded up so we could pass. He looked very much like a praying mantis, and suddenly, I heard Blossom’s voice in my head—as crisp and clear as if she were standing beside me right now—reading aloud from a book of poetry, “ʽWill you walk into my parlor?’ said the Spider to the Fly.”

BLURB: Welcome to Gideon Davorin’s Traveling Sideshow, where necromancy, magical visions, and pyrokinesis are more than just part of the act…

Mara has always longed for a normal life in a normal town where no one has the ability to levitate or predict the future. Instead, she roams from place to place, cleaning the tiger cage while her friends perform supernatural feats every night. When the struggling sideshow is miraculously offered the money they need if they set up camp in Caudry, Louisiana, Mara meets local-boy Gabe…and a normal life has never been more appealing.

But before long, performers begin disappearing and bodes are found mauled by an invisible beast. Mara realizes that there’s a sinister presence lurking in the town with its sights set on getting rid of the sideshow freeks. In order to unravel the truth before the attacker kills everyone Mara holds dear, she has seven days to take control of a power she didn’t know she was capable of—one that could change her future forever.

This NetGalley arc is due out at the start of January and I’m part of the blog tour. So far I’m really enjoying this paranormal crime thriller. Mara is an appealing protagonist and the low level tension that something isn’t quite right is steadily ramping up. I’m looking forward to diving back into this one during the holiday break.

CHRISTMAS TRIVIA QUIZ – 2016

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merry_christmas_in_red_193358For a number of years at our Christmas gatherings we played games – not such a simple task when there are five generations taking part. It doesn’t happen now my grandmother, who loved playing them, has left us. It fell to me to construct them and so my Christmas Quiz was always a multi-choice affair which gave the youngest child as much chance of getting the right answer as my very clever father. As I devised this one, please feel free to use it at your own gatherings over the festive season, should you so wish. Merry Christmas everyone and a very Happy New Year.

1. What was the name of the girl who wove so beautifully that the jealous goddess Athena turned her into a spider?
a) Eurycleia  b) Calypso  c) Arachne  d) Charybdis

2. To whom is Alvin Stardust married?
a) Lisa Goddard  b) Pamela Stevenson  c) Joanna Lumley  d) Helen Mirren

3. Who was the treacherous knight of the Round Table?
a) Sir Lancelot  b) Sir Mordred  c) Sir Gawain  d) Sir Baldrys

4. In which city would you find Michelangelo’s David?
a) Rome  b) Florence  c) Genoa  d) Venice

5. Where is the tarsal joint?
a) The wrist  b) The finger  c) The ankle  d) The toe

6. What is the “Senior Service”?
a) The cavalry b)  The infantry  c)  The Navy  d) The musketeers

7. Which European country has a patron saint of cinemas?
a) France – Jean Bosquet b) Spain – St John Bosco c) Italy – Juliano Bosquelli d) Luxembourg – Jean Bosquet

8. What is the sacred beetle of the ancient Egyptians?
a) The scarab b) The termite c) The Death-watch beetle  d) The locust

9. By what name is Abyssinia now known?
a) Niger  b) Chad  c) Somalia  d) Ethiopia

10 What is heraldic black called?
a) jet  b) nigrescent  c) sable  d) inky

11 A Frenchman Adolphe Pegoud was the first pilot to do what in 1913?
a) Cross the Channel  b) Loop the loop  c) Fire a gun from a plane  d) Die in a plane crash

12 Who said, “The executioner is, I believe, very expert and my neck is very slender.”?
a) Charles I  b) Lady Jane Gray  c) Anne Boylyn  d) Catherine Howard

13 In Ancient Egypt the standard length was a cubit. How many palms made a cubit?
a) 3   b) 4   c) 5   d) 7

14 What is scotopic vision?
a) short-sightedness  b) long-sightedness  c) vision impaired by cataracts  d) night vision

15 Which English novelist invented pillar-boxes while working as a civil servant?
a) A.A. Milne  b) Antony Trollop  c) Hugh Walpole  d) R.D. Blackmore

16 What was “Big Willie”?
a) One of the first military tanks b) One of 3 surviving gun carriage horses in WWI  c) One of the first bomber planes  d) One of the first machines guns

17 Which wedding anniversary is leather?
a) First  b) Third  c) Fifth  d) Seventh

18 What was founded by William and Catherine Booth?
a) The Salvation Army  b) Christian Science Church  c) The Temperance Society  d) The Chartist Movement

19 In which film did James Bond drive a white lotus underwater
a) Thunderball  b) The Spy Who Loved Me  c) Live and Let Die  d) Moonwalker

20 When might you use the western roll technique?
a) Making a roll-up cigarette b) Trampolining c) High Jump  d) Pole Vault

ANSWERS

1. What was the name of the girl who wove so beautifully that the jealous goddess Athena turned her into a spider?
a) Eurycleia  b) Calypso  c) Arachne  d) Charybdis

2. To whom is Alvin Stardust married?
a) Lisa Goddard  b) Pamela Stevenson  c) Joanna Lumley  d) Helen Mirren

3. Who was the treacherous knight of the Round Table?
a) Sir Lancelot  b) Sir Mordred  c) Sir Gawain  d) Sir Baldrys

4. In which city would you find Michelangelo’s David?
a) Rome  b) Florence  c) Genoa  d) Venice

5. Where is the tarsal joint?
a) The wrist  b) The finger  c) The ankle  d) The toe

6. What is the “Senior Service”?
a) The cavalry  b) The infantry  c) The Navy  d) The musketeers

7. Which European country has a patron saint of cinemas?
a) France – Jean Bosquet  b) Spain – St John Bosco  c) Italy – Juliano Bosquelli  d) Luxembourg – Jean Bosquet

8. What is the sacred beetle of the ancient Egyptians?
a) The scarab  b) The termite  c) The Death-watch beetle  d) The locust

9. By what name is Abyssinia now known?
a) Niger  b) Chad  c) Somalia  d) Ethiopia

10 What is heraldic black called?
a) jet  b) nigrescent  c) sable  d) inky

11 A Frenchman Adolphe Pegoud was the first pilot to do what in 1913?
a) Cross the Channel  b) Loop the loop  c) Fire a gun from a plane  d) Die in a plane crash

12 Who said, “The executioner is, I believe, very expert and my neck is very slender.”?
a) Charles I  b) Lady Jane Gray  c) Anne Boylyn  d) Catherine Howard

13 In Ancient Egypt the standard length was a cubit. How many palms made a cubit?
a) 3   b) 4   c) 5   d) 7

14 What is scotopic vision?
a) short-sightedness  b) long-sightedness  c) vision impaired by cataracts  d) night vision

15 Which English novelist invented pillar-boxes while working as a civil servant?
a) A.A. Milne  b) Antony Trollop  c) Hugh Walpole  d) R.D. Blackmore

16 What was “Big Willie”?
a) One of the first military tanks  b) One of 3 surviving gun carriage horses in WWI  c) One of the first bomber planes  d) One of the first machines guns

17 Which wedding anniversary is leather?
a) First  b) Third  c) Fifth  d) Seventh

18 What was founded by William and Catherine Booth?
a) The Salvation Army  b) Christian Science Church  c) The Temperance Society  d) The Chartist Movement

19 In which film did James Bond drive a white lotus underwater
a) Thunderball  b) The Spy Who Loved Me  c) Live and Let Die  d) Moonwalker

20 When might you use the western roll technique?
a) Making a roll-up cigarette  b) Trampolining  c) High Jump  d) Pole Vault

Friday Faceoff – The first Noel…

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This meme was started by Books by Proxy, whose fabulous idea was to compare UK and US book covers and decide which is we prefer. This week’s theme is angels, so I have chosen The House of Shattered Wings – Book 1 of Dominion of the Fallen series by Aliette de Bodard.

 

thehouseofshatteredwingsThis is the cover produced by Gollancz August 2015. I love this one. I think it is one of the most beautiful covers I have ever seen, as well as accurately depicting the slightly mysterious and disturbing tone of the book. So it’s my favourite of the covers here.

 

thehouseofshatteredwings1This is the cover produced by Roc in August 2015 for the hardcover edition. Once again, I think it is a lovely effort – while it may not quite achieve the shimmering awesomeness of the Gollancz cover, the flaming feathers against a night sky is a haunting, beautiful image.

 

thehouseofshatteredwings2This edition is also published in August 2015 by Gollancz – and I’m not quite sure why… It is also a paperback edition, same as the first cover. While there’s nothing wrong with the cover or the design, it certainly feels like the downmarket version of the first offering, given it has lost the fantastic rainbow effect and raised stippling of the feathers that gives the original cover its wow factor.

 

thehouseofshatteredwings3This is the CD edition, produced in August 2015 by Blackstone Audiobooks. Yet another excellent cover, this design features a gothic arch so typical of many Parisian churches. I also think the font on this edition works very well.

All in all, while this penultimate set of 2016 covers might not exactly bristle with Christmas cheer, they are certainly lovely and otherworldly… Do you agree with me – which of these covers is your favourite?

Review of KINDLE Edition of Judged – Book 3 of The Blackhart Legacy Trilogy by Liz de Jagar

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This is the next slice of the adventure featuring Kit Blackhart in this UK-based urban fantasy. Would I enjoy Judged as much as Banished and Vowed?

judgedKit’s job description includes solving crimes – the supernatural kind . . . Glow, a fae-created drug, is rapidly going viral and the suppliers have to be shut down. Teaming up with Aiden and Dante, Kit follows leads across London, tracking down dealers. They stir up trouble, making themselves a target for the gang they’re trying to stop. In the Otherwhere, Thorn stumbles across a secret that could destroy both the human and Fae worlds. The Veil that separates our human world from the fae realms is weakening and the goddess is dying. And if she dies and the Veil fails, madness and chaos will wreak unstoppable havoc upon both lands.

My firm advice is not to start this one – if you have mistakenly picked it up thinking it is a stand-alone, then go back and track down Banished. The overarching story arc stretches across all three books and what happened previously is still having consequences such that your reading enperience will be significantly compromised, which would be a shame with such an enjoyable series.

Kit’s first person viewpoint continues to bounce off the page as she is teamed up with werewolf Aiden and fae Dante. I really like the fact that de Jagar doesn’t have these two fit young men vying for her attention, but instead they are busy flirting with each other. Aiden, in particular, is very drawn to Dante, yet unsure whether his feelings are returned so is reluctant to endanger their friendship and working relationship by declaring his attraction. This dynamic, frequently used when heterosexual couples are working together, is given an even stronger impetus here that I thoroughly enjoyed and felt de Jagar handled the situation very well. Not that they have all that much time to gaze into each others’ eyes to exchange unspoken desire – the relentless spread of Glow is causing death and misery so that Kit, Aiden and Dante are desperate to track down the suppliers and put a stop to their activities.

Meanwhile Prince Thorn is also dealing with a gnarly problem as the Veil is failing with disastrous consequences particularly for humanity if hordes of lethal creatures are free to flood into their world. The two main plotpoints are nicely balanced as the narrative steadily gathers pace throughout the book. There are some interesting twists along the way that provided some surprises – I enjoyed the unfolding story around Dante’s origins and one of the consequences which appears to be happening before it isn’t…

The climax provides plenty of action and yet another shock I hadn’t seen coming. All the plotpoints are satisfactorily tidied away, bringing this book and series to a triumphant conclusion. If you are looking for an escapist fantasy adventure during the holiday season, then I can recommend this series.
9/10

Favourite Completed Series of 2016

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For a variety of reasons, 2016 has been my best reading year for a long time, and as the year is drawing to a close, it’s time to share my favourite series. I’m going to split these into two groups – series I completed during the year and series I look forward to reading more of in 2017. Today, I’m featuring those series I completed during the year.

DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE TRILOGY BY LAINI TAYLOR

daughterofsmokeandboneIn general, Karou has managed to keep her two lives in balance. On the one hand, she’s a seventeen-year-old art student in Prague; on the other, errand-girl to a monstrous creature who is the closest thing she has to family. Raised half in our world, half in ‘Elsewhere’, she has never understoodaysofbloodandstarlightd Brimstone’s dark work – buying teeth from hunters and murderers – nor how she came into his keeping. She is a secret even to herself, plagued by the sensation that she isn’t whole. Now the doors to Elsewhere are closing, and Karou must choose between the safety of her human life and the dangers of a war-ravaged world that may hold the answers she has always sought.

This one started the year with a bang – Taylor’s lush prose and emotional intendreamsofgodsandmonsterssity, along with her very gritty approach blew me away. I read this series during January and February and now, over a 100 books later, I still regularly find myself thinking of Karou and this savage, beautiful world. If you haven’t read it, I highly recommend this series.

 

 

 

THE RED RISING TRILOGY BY PIERCE BROWNredrising

Darrow is a Red, a member of the lowest caste in the color-coded society of the future. Like his fellow Reds, he works all day, believing that he and his people are making the surface of Mars livable for future generations. Yet he spends his life willingly, knowing that his blood golden sonand sweat will one day result in a better world for his children. But Darrow and his kind have been betrayed.

This dystopian science fiction adventure, charting the progress of Darrow, a lowly Red, who determines to bring about change in a very rigid society was another roller-coaster ride. There are elements that put me in minmorning stard of The Hunger Games series – but Darrow’s exploits encompass both triumph and disaster and Brown’s pacey, action-packed prose had wrung me out by the end. An unforgettable reading experience I highly recommend.

 

 

 

THE THESSALY TRILOGY BY JO WALTON

thejustcityCreated as an experiment by the time-traveling goddess Pallas Athene, the Just City is a planned community, populated by over ten thousand children and a few hundred adult teachers from all eras of history, along with some handy robots from the far human future–all set down together on a Mediterranean island in the distant past.

The student Simmea, born an Egyptian farmer’s daughter sometime between 500 and thephilosopherkings1000 A.D, is a brilliant child, eager for knowledge, ready to strive to be her best self. The teacher Maia was once Ethel, a young Victorian lady of much learning and few prospects, who prayed to Pallas Athene in an unguarded moment during a trip to Rome–and, in an instant, found herself in the Just City with grey-eyed Athene standing unmistakably before her.

Meanwhile, Apollo–stunned by the realization that there are things mortals understand better than he does–has arranged to live a human life, and has come to the City as one of necessitythe children. He knows his true identity, and conceals it from his peers. For this lifetime, he is prone to all the troubles of being human.

Then, a few years in, Sokrates arrives–the same Sokrates recorded by Plato himself–to ask all the troublesome questions you would expect. What happens next is a tale only the brilliant Jo Walton could tell.

Unusually, I’ve included the whole blurb, because the big challenge is to couch this beguiling, unusual series in terms that make people want to track it down. And saying that Walton has written a tale where Pallas Athene decides to found a society based on the precepts of Plato’s Republic doesn’t guarantee you’ll all go rushing off to read it in your hordes. And of all the series I’ve read this year, this is the one that has lodged in the back of my brain like a burr and won’t leave me alone. Walton throws in all sorts of interesting, gnarly ideas along with an engrossing story such that I’m left with lots to ponder. I finished Necessity enormously moved and uplifted and if I had to recommend only one of these series – it would be this one.

HONOURABLE MENTIONS…

ME BEFORE YOU DUOLOGY BY JOJO MOYESmebeforeyou

They had nothing in common until love gave them everything to lose . . . Louisa Clark is an ordinary girl living an exceedingly ordinary life—steady boyfriend, close family—who has barely been farther afield than their tiny village. She takes a badly needed job working for ex–Master afteryouof the Universe Will Traynor, who is wheelchair bound after an accident. Will has always lived a huge life—big deals, extreme sports, worldwide travel—and now he’s pretty sure he cannot live the way he is.

Me Before You is an extraordinary read, with a funny, offbeat heroine, who needs a job in austerity Britain and ends up looking after Will… It’s also heart-rending and beautiful. The sequel takes the story on after the shocking, climactic ending of the first book and although it doesn’t quite achieve the same heights (which is an almighty ask, anyhow) it nevertheless continues to amuse, shock and engross. My favourite contemporary series of the year.

THE COPPER CAT SERIES BY JEN WILLIAMSthecopperpromise

There are some far-fetched rumours about the caverns beneath the Citadel…
Some say the mages left their most dangerous secrets hidden there; others, that great riches are hidden there; even that gods have been imprisoned in its darkest depths.
theironghostFor Lord Frith, the caverns hold the key to his vengeance. Against all the odds, he has survived torture and lived to see his home and his family taken from him … and now someone is going to pay. For Wydrin of Crosshaven and her faithful companion, Sir Sebastian Caverson, a quest to the Citadel looks like just another job. There’s the promise of gold and adventure. Who knows, they might even have a decent tale or two once they’re done.thesilvertide

If you like your swords and sorcery with plenty of gung-ho attitude, foot-to-the-floor action and lots of mayhem with some really hardcore antagonists, then this is the series for you. Even the final book doesn’t lose the chirpy humour that often disappears as events and backstory stack up sufficiently to wipe the grin off the face of the most hardened protagonist – but then they aren’t madcap adrenaline junkie Wydrin of Crosshaven, known as Cat…

And these are the series I completed and loved during 2016. What about you – which are your favourite series you completed this year?

Teaser Tuesday – 20th December, 2016

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tuesday

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by The Purple Booker.
Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

This is my choice of the day:
The City of Ice – Book 2 of The Gates of the World series by K.M. McKinley
55% “Teach her to fight.”thecityofice
“Are you serious?” said Bannord.
“If I get you to teach her some of the more masculine arts, perhaps it will blunt her fury at me,” he said. “The women in my family! None of them seem content with their lot. She reads too many books.”

BLURB: Deep in the polar south stands a city like no other, a city built aeons ago by a civilisation mighty and wise. The City of Ice promises the secrets of the ancients to whomever can reach it first. It may prove too little knowledge too late, for the closest approach of the Twin in 4000 years draws near, an event that has heralded terrible destruction in past ages. As the Kressind siblings pursue their fortunes, the world stands upon the dawn of a new era, but it may yet be consumed by a darkness from the past.

This is a NetGalley arc due out at the end of the month. As you can see, once more I’ve acquired a second book in the series without realising it. However, although this one starts slowly I’m very much enjoying the complexity and tensions depicted in the worldbuilding. In multiple viewpoint with some intriguing other species that don’t automatically fall into the elf/dwarf/fae offerings, I am now keen to see where the story takes me. This looks like a promising series for fans of epic fantasy.