The Trials of Koli by M.R. Carey @michaelcarey191 @OrbitBooks #TheTrialsOfKoli @Tr4cyF3nt0n #CompulsiveReaders #Bookreview

I am absolutely delighted to be able to share my review today for The Trials of Koli by M.R. Carey.

My huge thanks to Tracy at Compulsive Readers for my spot on the tour and for arranging my gorgeous copy of this second book in the trilogy.

This is a fabulous trilogy and yes you really should read them in order, it is a trilogy and therefore the first book is the start of the story, this book is the middle and the next is the end – makes sense to read them all doesn’t it? 😉

Let me show you what The Trials of Koli is about…

Synopsis…

The Trials of Koli is the second novel in M R. Carey’s breathtakingly original Rampart trilogy, set in a strange and deadly world of our own making.

Beyond the walls of Koli’s small village lies a fearsome landscape filled with choker trees, vicious beasts and shunned men. As an exile, Koli’s been forced to journey out into this mysterious, hostile world. But he heard a story, once. A story about lost London, and the mysterious tech of the Old Times that may still be there. If Koli can find it, there may still be a way for him to redeem himself – by saving what’s left of humankind.

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My Review…

I have been looking forward to reading this second book in the Rampart Trilogy. It continues the story of Koli as he makes his way towards a radio signal in London. His travelling companions are Ursual and Cup and together they make their way through the wilds, try to avoid others and also survive the danger in the world that the author has created.

The story flits back and forth between Koli as he journeys towards London and also of Spinner. Spinner is back home and this is where the author quickly recaps the first book but from Spinner’s viewpoint. It also continues her story and the villagers after Koli’s disgrace and departure. I like this as it keeps the reader in touch with what happens at home while Koli is away.

I thought the first book was great and while it did have that first book in a series feel it was still addictive. This second in the trilogy is absolutely brilliant and I adored it. I slowed my reading down for this book so I could savour the story. It is a story that is full of hidden dangers and of how society is surviving in an uncertain future in small pockets and communities.

The author paints a vivid picture of a future that still has everyday problems but also a future that has very little technology. The tech that is still in use is highly prized and gives the user a certain status. It is this tech that not only helps but also adds danger to having it as there is always those that want what they haven’t got.

Over the generations, stories have been passed down of what was but it is what is happening now that has people dealing with new challenges. I like the way the author has simplified some of the words that are used, it gives more of an innocence to the characters and it didn’t take me long to fall back into their speech and way of talking.

I absolutely adored this book and it is with great anticipation that I look forward to the next book, but also sad that it is the final one in the trilogy. A brilliant book and one that I would definitely recommend.

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The Bone Shard Daughter by Andrea Stewart @AndreaGStewart @orbitbooks @Tr4cyF3nt0n #compulsivereaders #fantasy #bookreview

I am absolutely delighted to share my review today for The Bone Shard Daughter by Andrea Stewart. This is the first book in The Drowning Empire series and was an excellent start and has left me eagerly waiting for the rest of the books. This is a fantasy book, but it is very accessible and would suit many readers.

My huge thanks to Tracy at Compulsive Readers for my spot on the Blog Tour and for arranging my copy of the book from Orbit Books. Before I get to carried away let me show you what The Bone Shard Daughter is about…

Synopsis…

In an empire controlled by bone shard magic, Lin, the former heir to the emperor will fight to reclaim her magic and her place on the throne. The Bone Shard Daughter marks the debut of a major new voice in epic fantasy.

The emperor’s reign has lasted for decades, his mastery of bone shard magic powering the animal-like constructs that maintain law and order. But now his rule is failing, and revolution is sweeping across the Empire’s many islands.

Lin is the emperor’s daughter and spends her days trapped in a palace of locked doors and dark secrets. When her father refuses to recognise her as heir to the throne, she vows to prove her worth by mastering the forbidden art of bone shard magic.

Yet such power carries a great cost, and when the revolution reaches the gates of the palace, Lin must decide how far she is willing to go to claim her birthright – and save her people. 

My Review…

I have been looking forward to reading this book for so long and I was not disappointed. This is the first book in The Drowning Empire and I am so excited to see where this series goes in the future.

As I started this book I was introduced to the main cast, I was aware of them having an Oriental feel to their names. When I got to the end of the book I discovered the author is of Chinese/ American heritage. I do like Eastern folklore, magic and legend and this book has the feel of some of those elements.

There are a few characters to get to know as I mentioned earlier. There is Lin, the Emperor’s daughter and in theory, should be the next Emperor when her father retires or does. But he doesn’t show much time for Lin or in showing her how to work the Bone Shard magic. He is such an odd character, a recluse who seems to be paranoid and is searching for something.

Then there is Jovi, he is the best smuggler ever and he has posters of him for his arrest. He is a character that I really liked, while he seems cold, he is actually more compassionate than I first realised. He’s a smuggler but one that has a moral sense of right, Iknow that sounds bizarre but it is true and his character works really well.

Then there is the Governors daughter, Phalue. She is aware of the suffering of the people and does what she can to help. But in the eyes of her girlfriend, it is not enough, that Phalue doesn’t truly understand the suffering. I did feel for this character as she struggled with the love she has for her father but also the love of her girlfriend.

Finally, there is Sand, I first thought this was a very strange character, but actually, as the story progresses, she becomes more prominent, and her true role is just starting to emerge.

Often with first books in a series I find they are slower to get going as characters, backstories and threads begin the process of being started and plotted for the adventures and stories that will follow. With this book, that process seemed to progress really quickly, yet I never felt it was rushed, and I quickly found myself drawn into a story that has an epic feel to it.

The chapters are quick and rotate between the various main characters, I think this really helped with adding backstories, brief snippets of history, some geography and also a little of the politics. There is a general feeling of unrest in the people of the various Islands. They are hungry, have to work long hours for little p[ay and live in awful conditions. Yet the residences of the EMperor and the Governor is that of opulence and ignorance.

I really adored this story and I thoroughly enjoyed being transported in this story of magic, moving islands, strange occurrences and meeting some wonderful characters. I am really excited about this series and I would definitely recommend it to readers of fantasy and also to readers who are looking for a new series to being.

About the Author…

Andrea Stewart is the Chinese American daughter of immigrants, and was raised in a number of places across the United States. Her parents always emphasized science and education, so she spent her childhood immersed in Star Trek and odd-smelling library books. When her (admittedly ambitious) dreams of becoming a dragon slayer didn’t pan out, she instead turned to writing books. She now lives in sunny California, and in addition to writing, can be found herding cats, looking at birds, and falling down research rabbit holes.

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The Book of Koli by M.R. Carey @michaelcarey191 @orbitbooks @Tr4cyF3nt0n #dystopian #Bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for The Book of Koli by M.R. Carey. This is an author who amazed me when I read The Girl With All The Gifts, so when I saw there was to be a Blog Tour for his lteast book I immediately jumped on board.

Let me show you what The Book of Koli is all about…

The Book of Koli begins a breathtakingly original new trilogy set in a strange and deadly world of our own making.

Beyond the walls of the small village of Mythen Rood lies an unrecognisable landscape. A place where overgrown forests are filled with choker trees and deadly seeds that will kill you where you stand. And if they don’t get you, the Shunned men will.

Koli has lived in Mythen Rood his entire life. He believes the first rule of survival is that you don’t venture too far beyond the walls.

He’s wrong.

This is the first book in a trilogy by this author and The Book of Koli got off to a great start. Set in a future earth where small defended settlements are the norm, strangers seldom seen and where the vegetation is just as vicious and wild as the animals.

Technology is the commodity of power and status, being able to use it sets you apart from the general population. It is this desire to own and wield a piece of tech from the old world that sets Koli on his future path.

I like the character of Koli, he is inquisitive and it at an age in life where he wants to know more. The author spends a good deal of time in the first half of the book giving background information, well as much as is possible as the story is told from the perspective of Koli, so the world as it is is through the eyes of Koli.

Koli is the teller of his own story, and it is a format I really liked as after all he is the main focus of the book. I got to know his daily routines, his friends and family as well as his wanting to know more. As well as this the author fills in more about the surrounding area and this I liked a lot. Using some place names that had been twisted over time so that they are still recognised but not quite right, sort of like Chinese whispers, gave a dimension to the story that added to the reading.

For me this does have the hallmarks of being the first book in a series, there are background details, some histories and explanations that are needed to be put in place to make what follows flow in a more understandable and coherent way. There are some good descriptions of plants, scenery, dangers and also how the community works as a whole.

The second half of the book gradually picks up the pace, still not a fast break neck pace, but one that worked for me especially as the pace of life is more walking and running speed. Everything about this book worked well and I thoroughly enjoyed it from start to finish.

This is the story is of a boy who wants more and goes the wrong way about it, this gives it a coming of age feel but in a very dangerous world. The world that the author has created is so well done, descriptions of the unusual flora plants have been done so well. An edginess and nervous place where danger lurks, under, behind and above. A world that sounds okay within the walls of a community, but not outside them.

I do like a good dystopian read and this for me ticked the boxes. Having read and been amazed by The Girl With All The Gifts a few years ago I was glad to get back to this author, and I am aware that I do have other book of his still to read!

This is a book that I liked a whole lot, it was a little slower as there is a lot of groundwork that has been laid down. As a reader this works for me when I know there are more books to follow, and it suits the lifestyle of the people who live here. The book does finish at a good place but has definitely left me eager to read on with the other two books in the series.

The Book of Koli is a good read and one that I really enjoyed. It is a story that captivated me and one I would definitely recommend.

I also have the next book, The Trials of Koli, on pre-order and have to wait until September before it is released!

Image taken from Amazon UK

M. R. Carey has been making up stories for most of his life. His novel The Girl With All the Gifts was a word-of-mouth bestseller and is now a major motion picture based on his own screenplay. Under the name Mike Carey he has written for both DC and Marvel, including critically acclaimed runs on Lucifer, Hellblazer and X-Men. His creator-owned series The Unwritten appeared regularly in the New York Times graphic fiction bestseller list. He also has several previous novels, games, radio plays, and TV and movie screenplays to his credit.

Purchase your copy from Amazon UK

At the time of writing this post up one of Michael’s other books is on offer on Kindle – The Boy on the Bridge is 99phere is the link

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Mine by Clare Empson @ClareEmpson2 @Tr4cyF3nt0n #CompulsiveReaders #OrionBooks #BookReview

I am delighted to be sharing my review today for Mine by Clare Empson. I would like to say a big thank you Tracy at Compulsive Readers for my spot onthe Blog Tour and for arranging my copy of this wonderful book.

Let me show you what it is all about…

Who am I? Why am I here? Why did my mother give me away?’

On the surface, Luke and his girlfriend Hannah seem to have a perfect life. He’s an A&R man, she’s an arts correspondent and they are devoted to their new-born son Samuel.

But beneath the gloss Luke has always felt like an outsider. So when he finds his birth mother Alice, the instant connection with her is a little like falling in love.

When Hannah goes back to work, Luke asks Alice to look after their son. But Alice – fuelled with grief from when her baby was taken from her 27 years ago – starts to fall in love with Samuel. And Luke won’t settle for his mother pushing him aside once again…

One word…Wow!

What an emotional story Mine was, I say emotional but actually it was an emotional roller-coaster. The synopsis tells you the basics you need to know about this story and to be honest I am not going to really expand on that.

The story is essentially two stories that are intertwined in a Now and Then format. The Now part of the story of Luke and how he finally gets to meet Alice, his birth mother, and how their relationship builds. The second story is about Alice and her journey through Art school, life and to the point of giving her son up for adoption.

There are obviously others in the story, Hannah is Luke’s partner and together they have Samuel, there is Luke’s mother as well. In the past there are those important to Alice, such as renowned artist Rick.

During this slower paced story the there are various aspects that the author has dealt with and I think has done very well. There is an obvious impact of reconnecting with a birth parent, expectations, questions, guilt are just the tip of the iceberg. The impact is felt for all that are part of the family and in someways careful managing is needed.

The emotion aspect of the story was gradually built up, from the initial nervousness of a first meeting to Alice becoming part of the family. While the story does have a psychological thriller feel to it, it is more about family relationships, and it has a more dramatic second half.

A fabulous read that had some surprises, and though I did have a nervous feeling I wasn’t quite expecting the way the author played her story line out. A cracking read for readers who like a book that has a slower build-up, that is as much about family life and relationships as it is the psychological thriller. It is one I would definitely recommend.

Clare Empson is a journalist with a background in national newspapers and has worked as a small business editor, finance correspondent and fashion at the Mail on Sunday and the Daily Express. Clare freelances for The Sunday Telegraph, The Sunday Times, the Evening Standard and Tatler amongst others. She currently works as editor/founder of experiential lifestyle website http://www.countrycalling.co.uk.

Him was her debut novel. Her second novel Mine is an exploration of the fraught relationship between a birth mother and her adopted son set against a backdrop of a passionate love affair in the 70s.

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The 24-Hour Cafe by Libby Page @LibbyPAgeWrites @orionbooks #CompulsiveReaders @Tr4cyF3nt0n #24HourCafe #BookReview

I am delighted to share my review for The 24 Hour Cafe by Libby Page. I am joining with Tracy at Compulsive Readers as part of the Blog Tour. I read it way back in November and I can now finally share my thoughts…

Let me show you what this book is all about…

Welcome to the café that never sleeps. Day and night Stella’s Café opens its doors for the lonely and the lost, the morning people and the night owls. It is many things to many people but most of all it is a place where life can wait at the door. A place of small kindnesses. A place where anyone can be whoever they want, where everyone is always welcome.

Meet Hannah and Mona: best friends, waitresses, dreamers. They work at Stella’s but they dream of more, of leaving the café behind and making their own way in life.

Come inside and spend twenty-four hours at Stella’s Café; a day when Hannah and Mona’s friendship will be tested, when the community will come together and when lives will be changed…

I read this book over a couple of sittings and found it such a relaxing book. This book is about the people who visit or work in the 24-hour cafe called Stella’s. It is told in 24 chapters as the clock marks each hour.

There are two main characters, Mona and Hannah. They are friends and also work as waitresses in Stella’s, each works a 12-hour shift and so I got to see the customers that they met of their shift. I really liked how the book was laid out because not only did I get to read about each of the main customers for each hour of the story, I also got details into the lives of Hannah and Mona.

Their backgrounds are told through a series of memories and go through their backstories up until they work at the cafe. It delves into their hopes, dreams, disappointments and frustrations. I did really like both of these characters and their stories. As I said there is a focus on a customer for each hour. Now, this is what I really liked because it was like people watching from the perspective of either Mona or Hannah, and also you get the story from the customer themselves. For me, this worked really well and though it is only a snapshot into a persons life, it is very representative of the cafe life.

So with the customers’ stories, this is almost like a story of short stories that intersperse the main story of Mona and Hannah. Their stories come across as more like short stories as they are not told in chunks instead they are interrupted as customers take priority.

This is a slower read and I liked the quietness of the story, there is drama and emotion throughout the story, it is not overwhelming, it is more subtle than that. The whole book was just one of those books that you can quite happily lose yourself in as I did over two sittings.

A lovely read that I thoroughly enjoyed and was a delight to read. The 24-Hour Cafe is a book I would definitely recommend.

Libby Page wrote The Lido while working in marketing and moonlighting as a writer. The Lido has sold in over twenty territories around the world and film rights have been sold to Catalyst Global Media. Libby lives in London where she enjoys finding pockets of community within the city. Follow Libby on Twitter

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David Mogo, Godhunter by Suyi Davies Okungbowa @IAmSuyiDavies @Tr4cyF3nt0n #CompulsiveReaders #Review

I am delighted to be sharing my review with you today for David Mogo, Godhunter by Suyi Davies Okungbowa. My thanks to Tracy at Compulsive Readers for accepting my request to join the tour and for arranging a copy of this book.

Let’s have a look and see what it about…

Nigerian God-Punk – a powerful and atmospheric urban fantasy set in Lagos.

Since the Orisha War that rained thousands of deities down on the streets of Lagos, David Mogo, demigod, scours Eko’s dank underbelly for a living wage as a freelance Godhunter. Despite pulling his biggest feat yet by capturing a high god for a renowned Eko wizard, David knows his job’s bad luck. He’s proved right when the wizard conjures a legion of Taboos—feral godling-child hybrids—to seize Lagos for himself. To fix his mistake and keep Lagos standing, David teams up with his foster wizard, the high god’s twin sister and a speech-impaired Muslim teenage girl to defeat the wizard.

David Mogo is a godhunter. He is quite well placed to do this job and he has an advantage as he is a demigod. Set in Lagos, Nigeria, this story is one of gods, demigods and wizards. The area is embrioled in a battle after the gods fell to earth and try to carve out their own home, pushing people out or taking them over.

David himself is quite a complex character, well you would be if you were a demigod surely! Trying to work out who he is and finding a place to fit in. He would rather be human than part god. In some ways this story is like a two sided one, yes there are the battles, confrontation, and power struggles but there is also David’s story. Finding where he belongs and who he is and it runs alongside the gods taking over story well.

I did find this book challenging at times for a couple of reasons. There is quite a dark and disturbing section set around a character called Fati. The conversational language took me a little getting used to, though it is not used all the time in conversations. But that being said it sort of adds something to the story.

This is a book that is quite fast-paced and has a reasonable sized cast. I have to admit Papa Udi was by far my favourite, even though it was his speech that caused me to scratch my head working out what he was saying!

The setting has not been glamourised at all, the author paints quite a picture of the more destitute people in his story. Now I don’t have much knowledge of Nigeria, or it’s culture, traditions or religion. What I did find with this story was that these things came through very nicely through the story. This led me on an interesting interent search of the various Nigerian dieties mantioned.

This book is one of those that will divide readers, but for me it was a chance to read a book about a different culture to my own. A chance to broaden my reading horizons and dicover a new to me author.

It is a book I would recommend.

Suyi Davies Okungbowa is a Nigerian writer of science fiction, contemporary and dark fantasy, and crime fiction. His work has appeared in Lightspeed, Fireside, Podcastle, The Dark, Mothership Zeta,

Omenana, Ozy, Brick Moon Fiction; amongst other magazines and anthologies. He is an MFA candidate in Creative Writing at the University of Arizona, and has worked in editorial at Podcastle and Sonora Review. He lives online on Facebook, tweets at @IAmSuyiDavies, and blogs at suyidavies.com. His urban fantasy novel about gods in Lagos is forthcoming in 2019.

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Wanderers by Chuck Wendig #CompulsiveReaders @Tr4cyF3nt0n #BookReview

I am excited to share my review for Wanderers by Chuck Wendig. My huge thanks to Tracy at Compulsive Readers for my spot on the tour and organising a copy of this book.

Let’s have a look and see what it is all about…

A decadent rock star. A deeply religious radio host. A disgraced scientist. And a teenage girl who may be the world’s last hope. In the tradition of The Stand and Station Eleven comes a gripping saga that weaves an epic tapestry of humanity into an astonishing tale of survival.

Shana wakes up one morning to discover her little sister in the grip of a strange malady. She appears to be sleepwalking. She cannot talk and cannot be woken up. And she is heading with inexorable determination to a destination that only she knows. But Shana and are sister are not alone. Soon they are joined by a flock of sleepwalkers from across America, on the same mysterious journey. And like Shana, there are other “shepherds” who follow the flock to protect their friends and family on the long dark road ahead.

For on their journey, they will discover an America convulsed with terror and violence, where this apocalyptic epidemic proves less dangerous than the fear of it. As the rest of society collapses all around them–and an ultraviolent militia threatens to exterminate them–the fate of the sleepwalkers depends on unraveling the mystery behind the epidemic. The terrifying secret will either tear the nation apart–or bring the survivors together to remake a shattered world.

Wow! Wow! Wow! This was such a brilliant read. It’s a genre I enjoy but, don’t read that often. A story that surpassed my expectations by miles and one that I would like everyone to read. This is a book that will quite possibly feature in my Top Reads of the Year! Yes,I loved it!

The basics are that, some people have mysteriously joined up in a sleepwalking state, they are unaware of their condition, they cannot be woken and, bad things happen when they are restrained. They just walk. Towards where and why is not evident until you get further into the story.

While the world ponders the sleepwalkers, there is something far bigger looming on the horizon, a threat, that is unseen initially. But there is of epidemic of extreme proportions. This epidemic and the sleepwalkers’ fuels fear misunderstanding and extremist reactions as the world falls into disarray and society starts to collapse.

This is a book that has so many things that I love in a story and, the fact that it has a scarily possible realness to it adds something to the tension it exudes. We are all aware that antibiotics don’t always work, that we have superbugs and things are evolving. Add to this global warming, a reliance on technology, politicians that seem to have their own agendas! These worrying trends are something that the author touches on to create a completely addictive read.

In amongst the various themes, he has incorporated many social viewpoints. Conspiracy theories are always a favourite of mine in books and several theories are banded around in this book at the start of each chapter. Other society viewpoints show people in fear of the unknown or believing in a higher purpose. Some of the views are political, religious, racist and range from a basic comment to a more extreme stance.

With so many ideologies, ideas and theories included, I found myself thinking that here is an author who has really thought this book out and from many different angles. In doing this he has created a story that moved and evolved the further I read.

This is a story of a group of people have been brought together. They have family and loved ones who are distraught by what is happening. The families walk alongside those who are afflicted, they care for them as best they can, they do what they can. They form their own group. The main focus of the story is Shana because her sister is the first of the walkers. There are obviously many other characters and some play a far bigger role than others. This is a big story but so very easy to follow. There are some science, tech and abbreviations included and they are explained in terms that I could understand.

By the end of the book, I was stunned, in a good way! I worried about how a big story like this would end, which way the author would go. There could have been various way of ending it, and the way he did, worked so well for me. It felt right as it came to a satisfactory conclusion.

This is a sci-fi story as such, but it definitely didn’t feel like one because it had an air of possibility about it. There are some wonderful characters who become memorable for the part they play. Whether they are good, bad or indecisive, you will make your own mind up. A story that has heart, a story of family, loyalty, doing the right thing and also of fear, anger, extremism, society breakdown, and an apocalyptic, end of days message. It is a fabulous story that I was hooked into immediately and flew through. It is a thriller in some ways, but also of family. It really did not feel like 780 pages at all.

Wanderers by Chuck Wendig is a book I would Absolutely and Highly Recommend!

Chuck Wendig is a novelist, a screenwriter, and a freelance penmonkey.
He has contributed over two million words to the roleplaying game industry, and was the developer of the popular Hunter: The Vigil game line (White Wolf Game Studios / CCP).

He, along with writing partner Lance Weiler, is a fellow of the Sundance Film Festival Screenwriter’s Lab (2010). Their short film, Pandemic, will show at the Sundance Film Festival 2011, and their feature film HiM is in development with producer Ted Hope.

Chuck’s novel Double Dead will be out in November, 2011.

He’s written too much. He should probably stop. Give him a wide berth, as he might be drunk and untrustworthy. He currently lives in the wilds of Pennsyltucky with a wonderful wife and two very stupid dogs. He is represented by Stacia Decker of the Donald Maass Literary Agency.

You can find him at his website, terribleminds.com.

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