Tag Archives: S.C. Flynn

*NEW RELEASE SPECIAL* Review of INDIE arc The Hidden Face – Book 1 of The Fifth Unmasking series by S.C. Flynn

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This puzzle-driven epic fantasy was offered to me by the author as I had read and reviewed his debut novel Children of the Different. Would this one impress me as much?

A face without a face – an unmasking that leaves the mask. Once every few hundred years the sun god, the Akhen, takes on human form and descends to earth. Each Unmasking of the Face of the Akhen ends one era and begins another; the last one created the Faustian Empire. Where and when will the Face next appear, and who will he – or she – be?

Dayraven, son of a great hero, returns to Faustia after years as a hostage of their rivals, the Magians. Those years have changed him, but Faustia has changed as well; the emperor Calvo now seems eccentric and is controlled by one of Dayraven’s old enemies. Following the brutal murder of his old teacher, Dayraven is drawn, together with a female warrior named Sunniva, into the search for an ancient secret that would change the fate of empires.

I liked both protagonists, Dayraven in particular. In common with a lot of high-born children, he has been sent to a neighbouring kingdom as surety for good behaviour and brought up in their court. But while he expected to return home within a handful of years, he has to wait a lot longer before returning home to discover all is changed – and not in a good way. Flynn’s unfussy writing style quickly drew me into the story as Dayraven finds out just who his enemies are, while he hurries to meet up with his former tutor and mentor.

And from then, the story nocks up another notch and we are whisked along with Dayraven, who begins to appreciate there is a lot more at stake than Emperor Calvo’s current mental confusion. Once he encounters Sunniva and they form a team, they begin to try to unpick the trail of clues left behind by the two guardians of these vital secrets. Together, they manage to uncover part of the mystery – but a number of formidable antagonists are in close pursuit.

I have seen this book rated as YA – do be aware that while the puzzle-solving aspect may appeal to teens, this one isn’t suitable for a younger age-group. I would not be happy to discover my thirteen-year-old granddaughter reading it as there is a fair amount of sexual content, including a rather explicit sex scene.

Other than that concern, I enjoyed this one. I particularly appreciated the depiction of the antagonists as we discover their motives and why they are trying to find out where the Fifth Unmasking will take place. This works well in powering the story forward as the reader is left in no doubt as to what will happen should the secrets fall into the wrong hands.

The storyline comes to a climactic denouement with plenty of action and drama that had the pages turning and bringing this particular slice of the adventure to a satisfactory close – though there are several major plotpoints left dangling as the story evidently will be continued in the next book. Recommended for epic fantasy fans with a taste for arcane mysteries embedded within the worldbuilding.
8/10

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Sunday Post – 19th November 2017

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This is part of the weekly meme over at the Caffeinated Reviewer, where book bloggers can share the books and blogs they have written.

I’m beginning to sound like a cracked record… yes – you’ve guessed it – it was another busy week… Oscar’s party last Sunday evening was delightful – it was lovely watching him discuss all his Lego projects and watch him open his presents and card.

I was teaching Monday and Tuesday – both Creative Writing courses for the Spring term at Northbrook are now full and the Summer term for my Monday course is also full with a waiting list. On Wednesday, as J was also off work, we had lunch at The Arun View with my sister – it was lovely to see her fit enough to go out and about again. On Thursday evening I popped over to do a rehearsal session with a couple of the actors in Tim’s film for a crucial, rather emotional film and then onwards to Writing Group. Though none of us had any writing… Still, it was lovely to catch up with everyone and talk through our various projects, though I’m now wondering why the idiot wearing my body thought it a good idea to bring out Dying for Space this side of Christmas.

On Friday I was teaching again – and then I spent the evening at my sister’s putting the world to rights as she cooked us a delicious meal. On Saturday we were back together again as we went up to The George at Burpham and had a lovely meal with Mum and Dad to celebrate their upcoming wedding anniversary – 45 years – what an achievement! Afterwards, I drove over to Lancing to pick up the grandchildren. Oscar is returning home this evening, but as Frances has an INSET day, she will be returning home on Monday evening.

Today, Frances and I have been in the middle of Bognor, filming the final scenes for Tim’s film which we have now finally finished. It’s been great fun, but the sense of relief that the filming phase is now over is huge… I cannot get over the weather today after the cold, rainy Saturday we endured – as with every single filming day we have done, it has been bright and sunny all day.

This week I have read:

A Plague of Giants – Book 1 of the Seven Kennings series by Kevin Hearne
In the city of Pelemyn, Fintan the bard takes to the stage to tell what really happened the night the giants came . . . From the east came the Bone Giants, from the south, the fire-wielding Hathrim – an invasion that sparked war across the six nations of Teldwen. The kingdom’s only hope is the discovery of a new form of magic that calls the world’s wondrous beasts to fight by the side of humankind.
I really enjoyed this one, once I got used to the unusual structure, where the bard relives the experiences of all eleven protagonists – it’s a nifty way to handle a large cast and mostly worked. I shall be reviewing this one in due course.

The Hidden Face – Book 1 of the Fifth Unmasking series by S.C. Flynn
A face without a face – an unmasking that leaves the mask. Once every few hundred years the sun god, the Akhen, takes on human form and descends to earth. Each Unmasking of the Face of the Akhen ends one era and begins another; the last one created the Faustian Empire. Where and when will the Face next appear, and who will he – or she – be?
Dayraven, son of a great hero, returns to Faustia after years as a hostage of their rivals, the Magians. Those years have changed him, but Faustia has changed as well; the emperor Calvo now seems eccentric and is controlled by one of Dayraven’s old enemies. Following the brutal murder of his old teacher, Dayraven is drawn, together with a female warrior named Sunniva, into the search for an ancient secret that would change the fate of empires.
This intriguing epic fantasy is full of ancient riddles designed to ensure that the powerful secrets surrounding the rite of the Unmasking stays safely away from those who would abuse the power. That’s the theory, anyway. This time around there are a whole bunch of people who will stop at nothing to get hold of those secrets – and only two people who have the correct training to be able to unlock the elaborate codes and puzzles surrounding them…

My posts last week:

Sunday Post – 12th November, 2017

Review of Whirligig: Keeping the Promise – Book 1 of Shire’s Union by Richard Buxton

Teaser Tuesday featuring A Plague of Giants – Book 1 of the Seven Kennings series by Kevin Hearne

Can’t-Wait Wednesday featuring The River Keepers by Michael F. Stewart

*NEW RELEASE SPECIAL* Review of Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance by Ruth Emmie Lang

Friday Face-off – Snap! – featuring The Dark Mirror – Book 1 of the Bridei Chronicles by Juliet Marillier

*NEW RELEASE SPECIAL* Review of Artemis by Andy Weir

Interesting/outstanding blogs and articles that have caught my attention during the last week, in no particular order:

Worlds to Visit – https://navigatingworldsblog.wordpress.com/2017/11/16/worlds-to-visit/ 
This entertaining blog considers various science fiction and fantasy world Mr N would love to vacation at… Has he included your favourites?

Writing Nameless Things: An Interview with Ursula K. LeGuin –  https://lareviewofbooks.org/article/writing-nameless-things-an-interview-with-ursula-k-le-guin/  What a wonderful opportunity to hear the thoughts of one of the legends in the genre…

10 of the Best Poems About Hair – https://interestingliterature.com/2017/11/15/10-of-the-best-poems-about-hair/ And at least one of these isn’t talking about the hair you’d think…

5 New Science Books to Look Out For https://librarystaffpicks.wordpress.com/2017/11/15/5-new-science-books-to-watch-out-for/ Another useful list of books from this award-winning library site

Book Nerds Don’t Get Old… https://powerfulwomenreaders.wordpress.com/2017/11/14/book-nerds-dont-get-old/  And I couldn’t agree more with this nifty quote featuring a stack of books😊

Thank you very much for taking the time and trouble to visit, like and comment on my site and may you have a great week.

The Spirit Animal Award Nomination

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I am honoured to have been nominated for this award by Charles French at https://charlesfrenchonwordsreadingandwriting.wordpress.com/. Do drop in and visit his blog if you haven’t already. He is presently busy at an exciting stage in his writing career as he has recently released his horror novel Maledicus – Book 1 of The Investigative Paranormal Society series.

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The rules of the award:
*Thank the blogger who nominated you, and link back to his/her blog.
*Post the award picture on your blog.
*Write a short paragraph about your blog and what it means to you.
*Answer this question: if you could be any animal, what would it be?
*Choose and notify ten  three nominees (yep – I’ve changed the rules on this one…)

What does my blog mean to me?
I love blogging about books. Reading is my main hobby and the fact that I can now share my thoughts and opinions with other book lovers around the world never fails to fill me with awed delight. I grew up in an era when reading was mostly a private affair and while I could discuss books with family members as we swapped our library books about, there was no way I could reach out to anyone else. However, now I can read reviews on any type of book I choose and exchange recommendations with readers who share my tastes. I am now in a position where I can request review copies through the likes of Netgalley and help spread the word about new releases that I’ve enjoyed. It is truly a wonderful time to be alive.

This other consequence is that as I exchange opinions and chat about books, I’ve got to know a community of wonderful people online – people I now count as friends. People from all over the world who I’ll probably never meet, but I now know what they read, what they do for a living and their views and opinions on all sorts of subjects. People who can have me laughing aloud as I sit reading their words, or whose kind comforting words cheer me up when I’m down. Thank you, all of you…

What is my spirit animal?
As for my spirit animal – it’s the elephant. I’ve loved these amazing creatures since I was a child and feel very sad they are being continuously hunted for their ivory. There was an excellent programme on Radio

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4 about them, where I learnt that most of their communication is carried out sub-sonically, below human hearing range and that they choose their matriarch leaders for their kindness and nurturing skills. Which just goes to show how much more evolved they are, compared the sickening violence we visit upon each other by dint of choosing the most ambitious to be our leaders.

The females live in family groups and they look after each other when they are ill or injured and raise babies together. When not hunted, they can live up to the age of seventy. They are nomadic and roam across large tracts of land and their apparent destruction can help vegetation as their manure contains seeds and fertilises the land, while they snap off dead and dying branches during grazing. I just hope when my grandchildren and their children are adults, elephants will still be roaming around Africa and Asia – the outlook for them right now isn’t looking all that good.

My nominations
I’m going to nominate three awesome bloggers:-
The Captain’s Quarters – https://thecaptainsquartersblog.wordpress.com/. A fabulous nautical blogger whose reviews on a range of entertaining books are a delight to read.
SCy-Fy – the blog of S.C. Flynn – https://scflynn.com/. Author Stuart Flynn is bound to have an interesting spirit animal, given the subject matter of his book Children of the Different.
Kristen Twardowski – https://kristentwardowski.wordpress.com/. A writers’ blog, whose blogs on writing are always worth reading.

Sunday Post – 18th September

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Sunday Post

This is part of the weekly meme over at the Caffeinated Book Reviewer, where book bloggers can share the books and blogs they have written.

It feels like a long time since I touched base with everyone here, as I wasn’t around for the Sunday Post last week having gone to stay with my lovely mother. We don’t see enough of each other, though thank goodness for Skype. But we had the loveliest time catching up and hitting the shops for some retail therapy at Castlepoint on the outskirts of Bournemouth. It was also Himself’s birthday and as it was a Big One with a zero on the end, he asked for a guitar, which he duly got.

harleythedavidsonsWhile staying with Mum, Robbie contacted me to say that the mini-series, Harley and the Davidsons would be showing, so we had the pleasure of settling down to watch him on TV together as a family. It was a thoroughly entertaining story and I wouldn’t have known he wasn’t American as he’d absolutely nailed the accent as Ira Mason, while his grandmother didn’t recognise him in in the period costume.

Last Monday, I was back home again and off to London with Sally and Tim to attend the BGC Charity Day at their HQ at Canary Wharf – an amazing experience. We were there to represent the Caudwell bgccharitydayChildren’s charity, who have supported Tim with a variety of treatments and therapies not available on the NHS which have been instrumental in helping him overcome the more distressing symptoms connected to his autism. There were a constant stream of celebrities who went up to the trading floors to help close deals, where the commission went to an impressive list of charities. Tim, Sally and I had a fabulous day and he coped brilliantly with a completely different day to any other, as well as the trip up to London and back.

You won’t be surprised to learn that writing has taken something of a backseat this last couple of weeks. I haven’t done all that well on the reading front, either:

The Fettered Flame – Book 2 of The Shkode series by E.D.E. Bell
thefetteredflameThe Fettered Flame is a genre-bending fantasy novel that continues the saga of two dying worlds, plagued by their own unique struggles for power. Follow the journeys of Cor – a woman striving to understand her powers of magic and how the connect to her past, Atesh – her contemplative dragon companion, and Jwala – a dragon plunged into a rebirth of ancient ideals.

I really enjoyed the intriguing world Bell has set up. Two worlds have been accidentally sundered by one of Mother’s children while she was observing them. One is peopled by humans and the other by talking dragons who adorn themselves with jewellery and scarves, each believing the other a myth. Both societies are intolerant and prejudiced – the human society refuses women any agency other than staying at home and raising children, while the dragon society is ruled by the paranoid and aging Zee. As the two worlds become increasingly shaken by earthquakes and natural disasters, their societies are also churned up and Cor, a female scholar with an outlawed tattoo on her midriff teams up with Atesh, a dragon who manages to travel through a portal between the worlds.

 

Twilight of the Dragons – Book 2 of the Blood Dragon Empire by Andy Remic
During a recent dwarf civil-war deep under the Karamakkos Mountains, the magick-enslaved twilightofthedragonsdragonlords have broken free from centuries of imprisonment and slaughtered tens of thousands throughout the Five Havens before exploding from the mountain and heading in fire and vengeance for the lands of Vagandrak. Two once-noble war heroes of Vagandrak – Dakeroth and his wife Jonti Tal, an archer and scholar, the Axeman, the White Witch and a Kaalesh combat expert find themselves in a unique position: for they have discovered the ancient dragon city of Wyrmblood, and a thousand unhatched dragon eggs. Dakeroth and his companions must work with their enemies, Skalg and the Church of Hate, in order to bring down the dragonlords and save the world of men and dwarves. But there is no bartering with these ancient dragons; for they seek to hatch their eggs and rebuild the cruel Wyrmblood Empire of legend.

While I didn’t enjoy this one as much as the first book in the series, the amazing The Dragon Engine, the story still pulled me into the world and I’m keen to discover what happens next.

 

Children of the Different by S.C. Flynn
childrenofthedifferentNineteen years ago, a brain disease known as the Great Madness killed most of the world’s population. The survivors all had something different about their minds. Now, at the start of adolescence, their children enter a trance-like state known as the Changeland and either emerge with special mental powers or as cannibalistic Ferals. In the great forest of south-western Australia, thirteen year-old Arika and her twin brother Narrah go through the Changeland. They encounter an enemy known as the Anteater who feeds on human life. He exists both in the Changeland and in the outside world, and he wants the twins dead.

This post-apocalyptic science fiction/fantasy mash-up immediately feels different in that Flynn vividly depicts the Australian landscape, which features throughout, helping to define the mood and frame the action. I quickly bonded with the main protagonists, especially Arika, but I can imagine any teenage boy would equally enjoy reading and identifying with Narrah’s adventures. It is a relief to read a YA book that is absolutely age-appropriate – I’ll have no qualms in offering this read to my granddaughter in another year or so, when she is old enough to appreciate it.

My posts last week:
*NEW RELEASE SPECIAL* The Fettered Flame – Book 2 of The Shkode series by E.D.E. Bell

Teaser Tuesday – featuring Children of the Different by S.C. Flynn

*NEW RELEASE SPECIAL* Review of Twilight of the Dragons – Book 2 of The Dragon Blood Empire series by Andy Remic

*NEW RELEASE SPECIAL* Review of Children of the Different by S.C. Flynn

Friday Faceoff – A Bouquet for you, M’Lady… featuring The Just City – Book 1 of the Thessaly trilogy by Jo Walton

2016 Discovery Challenge – August Roundup

Other interesting/outstanding blogs and articles that have caught my attention during the last week, in no particular order:

Killer Apps for Writers http://writerunboxed.com/2016/09/17/killer-apps-for-writers/ by Bill Ferris, one of my favourite regular contributors to Writer Unboxed. This had me spluttering into my tea – I warn you – he REALLY means killer…

The Blog Awards! https://librarystaffpicks.wordpress.com/2016/09/17/the-blog-awards/ I was delighted to read that Ballyroan Reads – a gem of a site for booklovers – had been honoured with an award. They even were nice enough to namecheck yours truly at the end.

This untitled photo has stuck in my mind from this excellent site. Like all the great ones, it can be looked on several levels https://photolicioux.wordpress.com/2016/09/16/untitled-86/

The excellent Interesting Literature offered this interesting and shocking biography…
https://interestingliterature.com/2016/09/16/a-very-short-biography-of-anne-askew/ I hadn’t even heard of her – and I certainly should.

One of my guilty pleasures is visiting this site when I should be writing and enjoying John Grant’s excellent film noir summaries and discussions… https://noirencyclopedia.wordpress.com/2016/09/14/intruder-2011/

Seumas Gallacher writes about returning after a lifetime back to the place where he put down roots. https://seumasgallacher.com/2016/09/16/part-one-of-the-magic-of-a-return-visit-to-mull-in-the-scottish-hebrides/

Many thanks for visiting and taking the time and trouble to comment – and may you have a wonderful reading and blogging week.

*NEW RELEASE SPECIAL* Review of Indie KINDLE Ebook Children of the Different by S.C. Flynn

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Unusually, Children of the Different was directly offered to me for review by the author to coincide with its publication date. Would I enjoy it as much as the stream of Netgalley arcs I normally read?

childrenofthedifferentNineteen years ago, a brain disease known as the Great Madness killed most of the world’s population. The survivors all had something different about their minds. Now, at the start of adolescence, their children enter a trance-like state known as the Changeland and either emerge with special mental powers or as cannibalistic Ferals. In the great forest of south-western Australia, thirteen year-old Arika and her twin brother Narrah go through the Changeland. They encounter an enemy known as the Anteater who feeds on human life. He exists both in the Changeland and in the outside world, and he wants the twins dead.

This post-apocalyptic science fiction/fantasy mash-up immediately feels different in that Flynn vividly depicts the Australian landscape, which features throughout, helping to define the mood and frame the action. I quickly bonded with the main protagonists, especially Arika, but I can imagine any teenage boy would equally enjoy reading and identifying with Narrah’s adventures. It is a relief to read a YA book that is absolutely age-appropriate – I’ll have no qualms in offering this read to my granddaughter in another year or so, when she is old enough to appreciate it. The unfolding love stories – which are a minor aspect of this adventure – are sensitively and sweetly handled.

However, don’t go away with the impression that this is some soft-edged, cosy take on a post-apocalyptic world. Life is a gritted struggle for survival and I love the way that Flynn manages to convey the hardship of everyday life in the Settlement without going into undue detail. One of the strengths of this book is the pace as the narrative drives forward, often taking abrupt turns in a different direction. There are a number of twists – a couple I saw coming, but the big surprise near the end caught me completely unaware, bringing this book to a satisfying end although there is definitely scope for a sequel.

I enjoyed the magic running through this book with its uniquely Australian flavour. The Changing sequences are very well done and especially Arika’s power once she’s changed is beautifully described. All in all, I was charmed by this engrossing, genuinely exciting book. The inevitable violence manages to be scary and horrifying without being too graphic, while the sense of threat is palpable as both children encounter a number of formidable characters throughout their adventures without knowing who is a friend, or part of the Anteater’s army trying to destroy them.

I often have to zone out irritating formatting errors and mis-spellings while reading arcs. It’s part of the deal. However, given this book is produced by an indie writer, I feel it’s worth mentioning that I didn’t notice a single mistake and the formatting was spot on throughout. I may not be the target audience, but I have no hesitation in recommending this entertaining adventure for fantasy fans, young and old, who would like something different.
9/10

Teaser Tuesday – 13th September, 2016

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Teaser

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Books and a Beat.
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:
Children of the Different by S.C. Flynn
55% She lowered the container and tried to focus on Toura’s face but found it difficult. Arika’s eyes werechildrenofthedifferent blurring and she felt herself swaying. The water! Toura put something in the water. She’s always gathered herbs for the Settlement. So, Toura’s a Sleeper Feral after all.

BLURB: Nineteen years ago, a brain disease known as the Great Madness killed most of the world’s population. The survivors all had something different about their minds. Now, at the start of adolescence, their children enter a trance-like state known as the Changeland and either emerge with special mental powers or as cannibalistic Ferals.

In the great forest of south-western Australia, thirteen year-old Arika and her twin brother Narrah go through the Changeland. They encounter an enemy known as the Anteater who feeds on human life. He exists both in the Changeland and in the outside world, and he wants the twins dead.

This post-apocalyptic fantasy certainly has a different feel. I very much like the setting – Flynn’s vivid descriptions of the Australian landscape mean it is almost a character in its own right. I really care about the twins, particularly Arika, as she is coming to terms with what has happened to her in Changeland. The sense of mystery in this story has me wanting to know more.