#BookReview THE HOUSE OF ALWAYS by JENN LYONS @BlackCrow_PR @UKTor



ABOUT THE BOOK


For fans of Brandon Sanderson and Patrick Rothfuss, The House of Always is the fourth epic fantasy in Jenn Lyons’ Chorus of Dragons series that began with The Ruin of Kings.

What if you were imprisoned for all eternity?

In the aftermath of the Ritual of Night, everything has changed.

The Eight Immortals have catastrophically failed to stop Kihrin’s enemies, who are moving forward with their plans to free Vol Karoth, the King of Demons. Kihrin has his own ideas about how to fight back, but even if he’s willing to sacrifice everything for victory, the cost may prove too high for his allies.

Now they face a choice: can they save the world while saving Kihrin, too? Or will they be forced to watch as he becomes the very evil they have all sworn to destroy. 


PUBLISHED BY TOR BOOKS

PURCHASE LINK


Amazon


PRAISE FOR A CHORUS OF DRAGONS SERIES


 ‘What an extraordinary book. The Ruin of Kings is everything epic fantasy should be: rich, cruel, gorgeous, brilliant, enthralling and deeply deeply satisfying. I loved it’ – Lev Grossman 
‘Hands-down the best fantasy debut I’ve read in a long time’- Storgy Magazine 
‘Everything you could want from a fantasy epic…unputdownable’ – Den of Geek
 ‘In a sprawling, magic-filled world populated by gods, dragons, krakens, witches, demons, ghosts, shapeshifters, zombies, and so much more, Lyons ties it all together seamlessly to create literary magic. Epic fantasy fans looking for a virtually un-put-down-able read should look no further’ – Kirkus starred review ‘Its lore and memorable characters will leave epic fantasy fans eager for the second volume’ – Publishers Weekly starred review 
‘An instant classic and TOR have got an absolute winner on their hands’ – Fantasy Book Review ‘Both innovative and a traditional, grand epic. If you like dragons, twisty storytelling, and you also want to fall in love with a character that eats people, The Ruin of Kings is for you’ -Tasha Suri, Empire of Sand 
‘The world-building is vivid, and Lyon’s vision feels fresh and fun. You sense a real intellect at work behind the words, with a detailed cosmology and distinct, witty characters – 4.5 stars’ – SFX Magazine ‘This follow up to Lyon’s brilliant debut takes a similar, assured (and sassy) narrative approach as The Ruin of Kings…Lyons proves she is worthy of comparison to the masters of epic fantasy, such as Patrick Rothfuss, Stephen R . Donaldson (particularly in GrandGuignol action), and Melanie Rawn’ – Booklist starred review
 ‘Simply put: This is top notch adventure fantasy written for a 21st-century audience – high recommended’ – Kirkus starred review ‘Lyons is creating a complex and wonderful series that will immerse and delight’ – Library Journal ‘Lyons proves she is worthy of comparison to the masters of epic fantasy’ – Booklist starred review

MY REVIEW

Book 4 in the series and it’s still as fresh as Book 1!!  I can’t believe the series is almost at the end – one more book to go 😦 – but this is another gripping, emotional and pulsating instalment to the series that I will be very sad to say goodbye to!

The House of Always is a more mature, character driven story than the past books, and that was quite nice!  It had a different style and change of pace to some of the action in the previous books and it felt good to spend more time connecting with each character as they faced new dangers and dilemmas.  You could see how the different relationships between them were changing so you feel like you get more feel for each character, which isn’t always easy when there’s too much action going on.

That’s not to say there’s no action going on in this story! There is plenty! There’s battles with demons and dragons, betrayals galore, sacrifices and magic for you to enjoy.  Added to the normal mix of maps, floorplans and the wondrous footnotes that I just can’t get enough of! The footnotes are a book in themselves and just add that little something extra to each part of the story!!

The main crux of the story for the characters to work out is why they’re all trapped at the Lighthouse of Shadrag Gor, and how they can rescue Kihrin from inside the mind of a god! Sounds like an easy task right?! No chance!!

It’s also told from the point of view of Senera which adds a new dynamic to things and I loved finding out more about her past!  None of them ever seem to have nothing to hide!

There are arguments and betrayals, but also an overwhelming feel of unity – ‘the world changed’ is a phrase that is used a lot and you really do get that sense of each action they take having a greater impact on the outcome of each battle.

I found this to be real edge of the seat stuff throughout and it has just fitted so nicely into the series, with things building perfectly for the next installment…. I hope we’re not waiting too long! I don’t think I can cope without knowing what is in store next!!

★★★★★

My thanks to the team at Black Crow PR for the advanced reader copy in return for a fair and honest review!

My Bookish Weekly Wrap Up – 8th May 2021



Hello and Happy Saturday!  A mad week of weather here so I’m just hoping things calm down again soon – otherwise the lounge carpet is going to be permanently covered in trays of seedlings I’ve had to bring indoors for safety!!
I’ve also been kitty sitting this week for friends – this is Frank, who likes to take things easy and eat a lot!  So that has impacted on my reading time this week while he and his brother Frank demand Dreamies on tap!  But I still managed to finish 4 books and have had 2 new books through the post! I did stay away from Netgalley though… do I get a medal???!
here’s my look back…


BOOKS FINISHED


AN ACT OF LOVE by CAROL DRINKWATER – 4 STARS

BOOK WARS by JOHN B.THOMPSON – 5 STARS

THE RAILWAY GIRLS IN LOVE by MAISIE THOMAS – 5 STARS

MY DARK VANESSA by KATE ELIZABETH RUSSELL – 5 STARS

BOOKPOST


Keeping the postie busy this week….


THE HOUSE OF ALWAYS by JENN LYONS

copy for review courtesy of Tor Books

publication date – 11th May 2021

For fans of Brandon Sanderson and Patrick Rothfuss, The House of Always is the fourth epic fantasy in Jenn Lyons’ Chorus of Dragons series that began with The Ruin of Kings.

What if you were imprisoned for all eternity?

In the aftermath of the Ritual of Night, everything has changed.

The Eight Immortals have catastrophically failed to stop Kihrin’s enemies, who are moving forward with their plans to free Vol Karoth, the King of Demons. Kihrin has his own ideas about how to fight back, but even if he’s willing to sacrifice everything for victory, the cost may prove too high for his allies.

Now they face a choice: can they save the world while saving Kihrin, too? Or will they be forced to watch as he becomes the very evil they have all sworn to destroy.

YESTERDAY by JUAN EMAR

published by Peirene Press

In San Agustín de Tango, you can never be sure what’s waiting around the corner.

Over the course of a single day – the day before today – the hero of this novel and his adored wife embark on a journey through the absurd and the surreal, encountering a choir of monkeys and a carnivorous ostrich, travelling from the studio of an artist obsessed with the colour green to the waistcoat pocket of a pot-bellied man.

All the while, the tolling of the bell in the city square pushes their whirlwind adventure towards its fateful conclusion…

A brilliant and bizarre work from an overlooked great of 20th century Chilean literature, in English translation for the first time and with a new introduction by Alejandro Zambra.

Written by Juan Emar.

Translated from the Spanish by Megan McDowell.


CURRENTLY READING


THE HOUSE OF ALWAYS by JENN LYONS



HAPPY READING!!

#BookReview SISTERSONG by LUCY HOLLAND @BlackCrow_PR @panmacmillan @UKTor @silvanhistorian



ABOUT THE BOOK


535 AD. In the ancient kingdom of Dumnonia, King Cador’s children inherit a fragmented land abandoned by the Romans.

Riva, scarred in a terrible fire, fears she will never heal.
Keyne battles to be seen as the king’s son, when born a daughter.
And Sinne, the spoiled youngest girl, yearns for romance.

All three fear a life of confinement within the walls of the hold – a last bastion of strength against the invading Saxons. But change comes on the day ash falls from the sky, bringing Myrddhin, meddler and magician, and Tristan, a warrior whose secrets will tear the siblings apart. Riva, Keyne and Sinne must take fate into their own hands, or risk being tangled in a story they could never have imagined; one of treachery, love and ultimately, murder. It’s a story that will shape the destiny of Britain.


PUBLISHED BY MACMILLAN

PURCHASE LINKS


Amazon

Goldsboro – signed edition

Blackwell’s

MY REVIEW

I found this to be a wonderful historical story, with fantasy elements, that centres around 3 very different sisters who are all struggling to deal with finding their place and their role in a world that is changing around them.

They are the children of King Cador and while he sets out to protect them, they are the kind of women who want to break free, to follow their own paths and that is proving ever more difficult. I loved how different the sisters – Riva, Keyne and Sinne – are from one another. Their outlooks, their strengths, weaknesses…. it really does help you to connect to each character as their stories are told separately against the backdrop of the world around them proving to be a very dark place.

It also brings to the fore the struggles we can all face growing up – the expectations of others and ourselves, wanting to be heard and seen despite feeling like we’re being oppressed – and these young women face all of this and it’s a challenging time. We get to witness young women learning things about themselves – not all good! – and facing adversity and sibling rivalry. And dealing with a father who won’t listen to them or give them credit is never a good thing to factor in to the mix!

This was an epic and absorbing story that I totally lost myself in and couldn’t read quick enough to see how their stories played out! There’s action,angst and magic throughout, and it was amazing to watch these women find their feet and their voices!

★★★★★

#BookReview THE RAIN HERON by ROBBIE ARNOTT

ABOUT THE BOOK


Ren lives alone on the remote frontier of a country devastated by a coup. High on the forested slopes, she survives by hunting and trading—and forgetting.

But when a young soldier comes to the mountains in search of a local myth, Ren is inexorably drawn into her impossible mission. As their lives entwine, unravel and erupt—as myths merge with reality—both Ren and the soldier are forced to confront what they regret, what they love, and what they fear.

The Rain Heron is the dizzying, dazzling new novel from the author of Flames.
PUBLISHED BY ATLANTIC BOOKS


PURCHASE LINK


Amazon

MY REVIEW

Having loved his previous book, Flames, I was eager to see what Robbie Arnott had in store for us next – I have not been disappointed!

This is one of those books that take you out of yourself! With the imagery and world created, you become part of the backdrop watching over the struggles of the characters and feeling their emotions – all while the mythical rain heron affects the weather that will deeply affect the characters we follow.

This is a really subtle book, with nods to the damage that climate change causes to the daily lives of those working the land, affecting not only their livelihoods but their mental wellbeing too.

The story starts with a female farmer who is pivotal to the wellbeing of the local community – her farm had struggled for years leading her to the brink of life, but the appearance of the heron changes the fortunes of the farm and she shares this upturn in her luck with those around her. Not all those around her see the good in her charity, and shows the ugliness of jealousy when all is not well in their lives.

And then there is Ren who is living a very hermit existence on the side of a mountain. It’s a brutal life but she has learnt to thrive thanks to her survival skills and she is helped by some who meet her. But there’s always those questions in your head as to why she has decided to live the way she does and why she won’t change her ways for an easier life.

The darker side is portrayed brilliantly by the soldiers sent out to track down the Rain Heron and capture it. Ruthless in their approach, they seem almost brainwashed into following orders and never questioning why they’ve been given this objective. It’s only when they start to see life a little differently that they begin to show their humanity. And there’s more good vs bad in the story of Zoe, when we see people working with nature versus those who see it just for greed and their own gain, and how that changes the balance and brings despair to many.

This is a book that gets you thinking about your actions and how it impacts on the wider world. It makes you notice the little things. About how you treat people, and how they treat you! It’s weird, quirky, compelling, magical, captivating and will leave you pondering for long after you finish that final page. Loved it!!

★★★★★

#BookReview THE ORDER OF THE PURE MOON REFLECTED IN WATER by ZEN CHO

ABOUT THE BOOK

Zen Cho returns with a found family wuxia fantasy that combines the vibrancy of old school martial arts movies with characters drawn from the margins of history.

A bandit walks into a coffeehouse, and it all goes downhill from there. Guet Imm, a young votary of the Order of the Pure Moon, joins up with an eclectic group of thieves (whether they like it or not) in order to protect a sacred object, and finds herself in a far more complicated situation than she could have ever imagined.


PUBLISHED BY TOR.COM

PURCHASE LINKS


GOLDSBORO – signed first edition

hive.co.uk

MY REVIEW

The perfect escapist read! One that takes you out of yourself, gives you time for reflection and ended up feeling a lot deeper than I originally thought it would! I expected some action and adventure, and on top of that I got magic, myth, religion and laughs!

When a nun teams up with a group of bandits you really don’t know what to expect – and they don’t either! Considering it’s only a novella as well, the story really involves you as you wander along their trodden path on the road to steal, cause mayhem and end up finding themselves!

It’s a weird but really engaging little read – it’s full of humour as well which I really loved and didn’t expect so much of! Some of the characters – Guet and Tet especially – are fabulous creations and I’d even love to read more about them in their own stories!

★★★★

#Preview THE ABSOLUTE BOOK by ELIZABETH KNOX #TheAbsoluteBook

Something to look forward to in 2021!! It can’t come quick enough for my liking to be fair, so I’m happy today to be able to share the cover and animation for the forthcoming release THE ABSOLUTE BOOK by ELIZABETH KNOX. My thanks to the team at Michael Joseph for letting me be part of it all!!

That cover!! 😍😍😍


ABOUT THE BOOK


Taryn Cornick believes her sister Bea was deliberately run down and killed. She believes it so hard she allows a man called the Muleskinner to exact the justice Bea was denied. An eye for an eye.

Which is when Taryn’s problems really begin.

Because the police suspect Taryn’s involvement in the death.

Worse, others have their eyes on Taryn – those in a faraway place who know what Taryn’s family have been carefully hiding in their vast library. The Absolute Book.

They want it – and they want Taryn to help find it.

For the lives of those in more than one world depend upon it…


PRE-ORDER LINK

#BookReview THE MEMORY OF SOULS by JENN LYONS #The MemoryOfSouls @UkTor @MyBookishLife

ABOUT THE BOOK

The Memory of Souls is the third epic fantasy in Jenn Lyons’ Chorus of Dragons series.

THE LONGER HE LIVES
THE MORE DANGEROUS HE BECOMES

Now that Relos Var’s plans have been revealed and demons are free to rampage across the empire, the fulfillment of the ancient prophecies—and the end of the world—is closer than ever.

To buy time for humanity, Kihrin needs to convince the king of the Manol vané to perform an ancient ritual which will strip the entire race of their immortality, but it’s a ritual which certain vané will do anything to prevent. Including assassinating the messengers.

Worse, Kihrin must come to terms with the horrifying possibility that his connection to the king of demons, Vol Karoth, is growing steadily in strength.

How can he hope to save anyone when he might turn out to be the greatest threat of them all?

PUBLISHED BY TOR BOOKS

PURCHASE LINKS

HIVE.CO.UK
BLACKWELL’S
GOLDSBORO – signed edition


MY REVIEW

The series that just keeps on getting better and better, and throwing even more curveballs and shocks our way!! Love it!

This is a story that goes back, forth, sideways, up and down and will keep you on your toes as a reader and scramble your brain in the process!!

It’s another thrilling installment of this epic fantasy read full of epic battles, dragons, deceit, dragons, demons, dragons, gods, dragons, magic…. and did I mention dragons?! It’s also very helpful with a glossary to help you pronounce names, family trees and an extremely useful timeline to help you make sense of what you’ve read! I’m at that age where retaining information is often a struggle but having these handy guides were a godsend!!

Kihrin and friends are on another quest for help and, as always, there are many obstacles placed in their way, and we see the story told from different viewpoints as before -and the wonderfully humorous footnotes are back which do add brilliant light relief from the action as it unfolds!

It always amazes me when an author creates a storyline like this! With each new book there’s added depth to the characters that you think you know! This series keeps on excelling on the complex storyline front but you never feel detached from it despite the intricacies!

Nothing is set in stone with this series with the constant shifts and it is confusing AF as times BUT it all works because of the characters! They are different and complex creatures that frustrate and excite with their attitudes and I love them! I just cannot wait to see what the author throws at us next in the series with book 4 on the way!!!


★★★★★

My thanks to Stephen at Tor Books for the copy of the book in return for a fair and honest review!

#BookReview PERFUME by PATRICK SUSKIND #20BooksOfSummer

ABOUT THE BOOK

An acclaimed bestseller and international sensation, Patrick Suskind’s classic novel provokes a terrifying examination of what happens when one man’s indulgence in his greatest passion—his sense of smell—leads to murder.In the slums of eighteenth-century France, the infant Jean-Baptiste Grenouille is born with one sublime gift—an absolute sense of smell. As a boy, he lives to decipher the odors of Paris, and apprentices himself to a prominent perfumer who teaches him the ancient art of mixing precious oils and herbs. But Grenouille’s genius is such that he is not satisfied to stop there, and he becomes obsessed with capturing the smells of objects such as brass doorknobs and fresh-cut wood. Then one day he catches a hint of a scent that will drive him on an ever-more-terrifying quest to create the “ultimate perfume”—the scent of a beautiful young virgin. Told with dazzling narrative brilliance, Perfume is a hauntingly powerful tale of murder and sensual depravity.

MY REVIEW



What a weird yet wonderful book!! A mix of historical & fantasy, it’s disturbing and dark but leaves you with mixed feelings about the main character Grenouille!

He starts life in the most awful of situations – passed from one person to the next, he ends up happy in the isolation and develops an extraordinary sense of smell. His main drive each day is to search out new scents to keep him enthused with life, but he is also plagued by the fact that he emits no smell which leads him further into isolation and avoiding all human contact. When he is around people he finds himself drawn to the perfume shops where he becomes an apprentice and staggers the owner with his ability to replicate the scents of others, but create ones even better.

It’s just the levels he goes to find certain scents are what makes him disturbing and macabre. The levels of pleasure he finds in the act of obtaining the scents! It is not pleasant for the rest of us!!

But his scents gain him notoriety and power and he revels in the adulation bestowed upon – they say power corrupts, and that is clear for Grenouille! It’s an intoxicating story with a very grizzly ending! I loved it!!

★★★★

#BookReview THE UNSPOKEN NAME by A.K.LARKWOOD #TheUnspokenName

ABOUT THE BOOK

What if you knew how and when you will die?

Csorwe does — she will climb the mountain, enter the Shrine of the Unspoken, and gain the most honored title: sacrifice.

But on the day of her foretold death, a powerful mage offers her a new fate. Leave with him, and live. Turn away from her destiny and her god to become a thief, a spy, an assassin—the wizard’s loyal sword. Topple an empire, and help him reclaim his seat of power.

But Csorwe will soon learn – gods remember, and if you live long enough, all debts come due.

PUBLISHED BY  TOR BOOKS

PURCHASE LINKS

Amazon 

hive.co.uk

waterstones

MY REVIEW

I’m always excited to discover a new fantasy world to disappear into, and this one delivers on all fronts of excitement, twists, diversity, drama, humour and a new superstar character in Csorwe who we follow as she is set on a new path She’s always been brought up knowing she was going to die on her 14th birthday and while that’s not the best kind of birthday present one can hope for, she’s offered a new fate on the day she’s due to be ‘sacrificed’ and boy is she in for a rollercoaster of a ride, as she becomes a wizard’s loyal sword-hand! Bring on the fights, the deception and the magic!

I often find with some fantasy novels that they can drag a little on the pace front – there’s a lot of world building and characters to explore, but that often slows the flow right down – but that doesn’t happen with the way the author writes this book. It zips along and covers the story over a few years and, although there’s lots going on, there’s always a chance to keep your bearings, so to speak, and that made for such a connection with this story and the characters within. There’s also a very helpful list of characters and how to pronounce their names at the beginning of the book – invaluable!!

Csorwe is on a real learning process alongside Sethennai as she visits places she’s only ever heard about after her incredibly sheltered life, but she soon finds out she’s more capable than she ever imagined as she faces all that is thrown her way. The story is told from a variety of POV’s which I really enjoyed and there’s a huge variety of personalities and it was good fun keeping track of who was there to help or hinder Csorwe and her progress! Just why did Sethennai choose her in the first place? And what consequences will there be for her not following her original destiny?! There’s so much to explore along her journey and I found myself doing the ‘just one more chapter’ thing as I couldn’t bear not knowing what was going to happen next!!

An exciting introduction to this duology and I’m eagerly counting down the days until we get to read more about Csorwe and the world she finds herself a part of!

★★★★

#BookReview THE SISTERS GRIMM by MENNA VAN PRAAG @ThePigeonholeHQ

ABOUT THE BOOK

The critically acclaimed author of The House at the End of Hope Street combines love, mystery, and magic with her first foray into bewitching fantasy with a dark edge evocative of V.E. Schwab and Neil Gaiman.

Once upon a time, a demon who desired earthly domination fathered an army of dark daughters to help him corrupt humanity . . .

As children, Goldie, Liyana, Scarlet, and Bea dreamed of a strange otherworld: a nightscape of mists and fog, perpetually falling leaves and hungry ivy, lit by an unwavering moon. Here, in this shadowland of Everwhere, the four girls, half-sisters connected by blood and magic, began to nurture their elemental powers together. But at thirteen, the sisters were ripped from Everwhere and separated. Now, five years later, they search for one another and yearn to rediscover their unique and supernatural strengths. Goldie (earth) manipulates plants and gives life. Liyana (water) controls rivers and rain. Scarlet (fire) has electricity at her fingertips. Bea (air) can fly.

To realize their full potential, the blood sisters must return to the land of their childhood dreams. But Everwhere can only be accessed through certain gates at 3:33 A.M. on the night of a new moon. As Goldie, Liyana, Scarlet, and Bea are beset with the challenges of their earthly lives, they must prepare for a battle that lies ahead. On their eighteenth birthday, they will be subjected to a gladiatorial fight with their father’s soldiers. If they survive, they will face their father who will let them live only if they turn dark. Which would be fair, if only the sisters knew what was coming.

So, they have thirty-three days to discover who they truly are and what they can truly do, before they must fight to save themselves and those they love.

PUBLISHED BY  BANTAM PRESS

PURCHASE LINKS

Amazon UK

hive.co.uk

whsmith

MY REVIEW

I read this via THE PIGEONHOLE app.

I loved the mix of female characters, fantasy and the modern world in this compelling story, and it’s one of those books that you really lose yourself in! And that opening is a brilliant way to lead you into the Sisters Grimm world – very inspiring!

The 4 sisters are struggling with their own problems in their day to day life, but there’s always that feeling that there’s something more going on with visions and dreams and it was so rewarding seeing how the story built up when these ‘sisters’ are reunited approaching their 18th birthdays – when a whole new life is ahead of them and they have to choose their paths! This is a coming of age of a different kind for them all!

My favourite sister is Goldie as I just found her story easier to connect with and the introduction of Leo added the romance element which I really enjoyed. But all the sisters had their own interesting stories and the way the story was told really worked for me – I liked dipping in and out of each of their timelines while strange things started to happen and they were trying to work out why these things were going on.

It was magical and mystical, filled with dark and light moments and the struggles each girl faced made them much easier to find a connection with for me as a reader. These girls aren’t perfect – they’re torn, they have fears and doubts, life doesn’t always work out for them as they hoped and there’s always that element of wondering whether they are going to go down a darker path. It’s a story about finding your place in the world and that’s a very easy thing to relate to! A fabulous fantasy read – and I’m hoping there’ll be more from this Grimm world!

★★★★