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Melanie's Week in Review - September 18, 2016


Melanie's Week in Review - September 18, 2016


Hello everyone! Sorry, I have been away for so long. If you read this weekly (normally) post you would know I have been away and then I was really naughty the week I came back and didn't read anything. This week however, was an improvement but not much. I won't give you any excuses but rather I will tell you what I have been up to on the reading front.


Melanie's Week in Review - September 18, 2016
I discovered that Bec McMaster has started a new series which is set in the same world as her London Steampunk series. In fact the new series includes a number of the same characters.

Mission: Improper is the first novel in London Steampunk: The Blue Blood Conspiracy series and takes place three years after the events of Silk and Steam (London Steampunk 5) where the Prince Consort was overthrown and now humans, mechs and werewolves have equal standing with the Echelon. Not surprisingly not everyone is very happy with the change in social standing of the former lower classes. When entire families start to go missing a covert group of agents are recruited to try to solve the mystery but what they find is a monster so dangerous that they may not survive to save the day.

The first to be recruited is Caleb Bryne the tall, dark and handsome Nighthawk who jumps at the opportunity to solve the case. However, when he discovers that he is going to be partnered with the fiery verwulfen Ingrid, he starts to regret his decision. Caleb and Ingrid have a past and are determined to dislike each other. However, the closer they have to work together the more their attraction grows. Ingrid and Caleb are the original odd couple and their romance may be as dangerous as their mission.

I was a bit surprised that McMaster decided to set another series in the same world especially with some of the same characters from the first series. It has been a while since I read any of the books from the London Steampunk series so it took me a while to remember who some of the crossover characters were and their relationships to the characters in this new series. This meant I had to do a mini re-read of endings of the final two novels. It didn't take long for it to all to come back to me. I like the new plot arc for this series and am looking forward to finding out what happens next but I hope that McMaster doesn't just repeat the romance plots from the previous novels.


The other new book on my reading radar this week was the second book in The First Empire series by Michael J. Sullivan, Age of Swords. I have been super lucky to be selected as a beta reader again by Sullivan and am really enjoying this new novel in the series. I can't tell you much about it at the moment but stay tuned for my review in a few months. Until then keep your fingers crossed I get through a few more books so I have more to tell you about next week. Happy Reading!





Mission: Improper
London Steampunk: The Blue Blood Conspiracy 1
Lochaber Press Pty. Ltd, August 16, 2016
eBook, 360 pages

Melanie's Week in Review - September 18, 2016
Three years ago, London society changed forever, with a revolution placing the widowed Queen firmly on the throne her blue blood husband tried to take from her. Humans, verwulfen and mechs are no longer considered the lesser classes, but not everybody is happy with the new order...

Entire families have gone missing in the East End. When Caleb Byrnes receives an invitation to join the Company of Rogues as an undercover agent pledged to protect the crown, he jumps at the chance to find out who, or what, is behind the disappearances. Hunting criminals is what the darkly driven blue blood does best, and though he prefers to work alone, the opportunity is too good to resist.

The problem? He's partnered with Ingrid Miller, the fiery and passionate verwulfen woman who won a private bet against him a year ago. Byrnes has a score to settle, but one stolen kiss and suddenly the killer is not the only thing Byrnes is interested in hunting.

Soon they're chasing whispered rumours of a secret project gone wrong, and a monster that just might be more dangerous than either of them combined. The only way to find out more is to go undercover among the blue blood elite... But when their hunt uncovers a mysterious conspiracy, Byrnes and Ingrid must set aside their age-old rivalry if they have any chance at surviving a treacherous plot.





London Steampunk


Melanie's Week in Review - September 18, 2016
Kiss of Steel
London Steampunk 1
Sourcebooks Casablanca, September 4, 2012
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 448 pages

Honoria Todd has more secrets than most people and she's hiding them in Whitechapel. Blade is the master of the rookeries and agrees to protect her, but at what price?

Most people avoid the dreaded Whitechapel district. For Honoria Todd, it's the last safe haven as she hides from the Blue Blood aristocracy that rules London through power and fear.

Blade rules the rookeries-no one dares cross him. It's been said he faced down the Echelon's army single–handedly, that ever since being infected by the blood–craving he's been quicker, stronger, and almost immortal.

When Honoria shows up at his door, his tenuous control comes close to snapping. She's so...innocent. He doesn't see her backbone of steel-or that she could be the very salvation he's been seeking.




Melanie's Week in Review - September 18, 2016
Tarnished Knight
London Steampunk 1.5
Bec McMaster, April 1, 2013
eNovella, 162 pages

In the steam-fuelled world of Victorian London, vampires, werewolves and slasher gangs stalk the night and a man made partly of metal is about to discover just how far he’ll go to protect the woman he loves…

After a vicious vampire attack left him struggling to leash the dark urges of the craving virus, John ‘Rip’ Doolan, thinks he’s finally starting to master the darkness within. The only thing that threatens to shatter his hard-won control is Esme, his closest friend and the only woman he’s ever wanted. If the stubborn beauty ever realised precisely what was going through his mind, their friendship would be ruined…

For six months Esme has waited for Rip to recover and take her as his thrall, not daring to hope for more. Too afraid to put her heart on the line, she’s devastated when Rip reveals that he never had any intentions of making her his.

But when a savage gang of Slashers start causing havoc in Whitechapel, Rip and Esme have no choice. They must face up to the depth of the passion that burns between them and forge a new relationship… or risk losing each other forever.




Melanie's Week in Review - September 18, 2016
Heart of Iron
London Steampunk 2
Sourcebooks Casablanca, May 7, 2013
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 448 pages

In Victorian London, if you're not a blue blood of the Echelon then you're nothing at all. The Great Houses rule the city with an iron fist, imposing their strict "blood taxes' on the nation, and the Queen is merely a puppet on a string...

Lena Todd makes the perfect spy. Nobody suspects the flirtatious debutante could be a sympathizer for the humanist movement haunting London's vicious blue blood elite. Not even the ruthless Will Carver, the one man she can't twist around her little finger, and the one man whose kiss she can't forget...

Stricken with the loupe and considered little more than a slave-without-a-collar to the blue bloods, Will wants nothing to do with the Echelon or the dangerous beauty who drives him to the very edge of control. But when he finds a coded letter on Lena-a code that matches one he saw on a fire-bombing suspect-he realizes she's in trouble. To protect her, he must seduce the truth from her.

With London on the brink of revolution, Lena and Will must race against time-and an automaton army-to stop the humanist plot before it's too late. But as they fight to save a city, the greatest danger might just be to their hearts...




Melanie's Week in Review - September 18, 2016
My Lady Quicksilver
London Steampunk 3
Sourcebooks Casablanca, October 1, 2013
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 448 pages

Determined to destroy the Echelon she despises, Rosalind Fairchild is on seemingly easy mission. Get in. Uncover the secrets of her brother's disappearance. And get out.

In order to infiltrate the Nighthawks and find their leader, Blue Blooded Sir Jasper Lynch, Rosalind will pose as their secretary. A dangerous mission, but Rosalind is also the elusive Mercury, a leader in the humanist movement.

But she doesn't count on Lynch being such a dangerously charismatic man, challenging her at every turn, forcing her to re-evaluate everything she knows about the enemy. He could be her most dangerous nemesis—or the ally she never dreamed existed.




Melanie's Week in Review - September 18, 2016
The Curious Case of the Clockwork Menace
London Steampunk 3.5
Bec McMaster, August 14, 2014
eNovella, 151 pages

Friends, partners, and professionals. So just why is this case coming between them?

In a Victorian London ruled by the blood-drinking elite, Perry Lowell is a logical and accomplished Nighthawk: a rogue blue blood who tracks murderers and thieves for the Guild. So when she and her charming-but-reckless partner, Garrett, are charged with finding a missing theatre starlet, it should be a simple solve.

But with an entire theatre of suspects, including a flirtatious understudy and whispers of a Clockwork Menace haunting the place, tension is brewing between the pair of them. Can they come together to solve the case - or will it be too late, when the murderer turns his gaze on Perry herself?

Warning: This is not a complete HEA. It's a pre-romance novella featuring the couple who will find their HEA in Forged By Desire (available Sept 2014). Heads will butt, tempers will flare - and perhaps one of them might come to realise just what the other truly means to them?




Melanie's Week in Review - September 18, 2016
Forged by Desire
London Steampunk 4
Sourcebooks Casablanca, September 2, 2014
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 448 pages

A FEAR SHE CAN’T ESCAPE

Ten years ago, Perry fled her thrall contract to find sanctuary among the Nighthawks. In that time, she’s become a respected woman of the Guard, and she’s wanted Garrett Reed for as long as she can remember. But when a new case takes a chillingly familiar turn, Perry finds herself once again in the path of a madman…only this time, there’s nowhere left to run.

A DESIRE THAT CAN’T BE TEMPERED

Out of their depth and racing against time, Perry and Garrett must learn to trust the desire sparking between them…or risk losing themselves forever to the darkness stalking London’s streets.




Melanie's Week in Review - September 18, 2016
Of Silk and Steam
London Steampunk 5
Sourcebooks Casablanca, March 3, 2015
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 448 pages

ENEMIES. ALLIES. LOVERS.

When her beloved father was assassinated, Lady Aramina swore revenge. The man responsible is well beyond her grasp, but his dangerously seductive heir, Leo Barrons, is fair game. When Mina obtains evidence proving that Leo is illegitimate, she has the means to destroy both the killer and his son, a man who troubles her heart and tempts her body.

A woman of mystery, Mina’s long driven Leo crazy with glimpses of a fiery passion that lurks beneath her icy veneer. He knows she’s hiding something, and he’s determined to unravel her layer by silken layer. He just doesn’t expect the beautiful liar to be the key to overthrowing the corrupt prince consort…or to saving his own carefully walled-off heart.

Bec McMaster lives in a small town in Victoria, Australia and grew up with her nose in a book. A member of RWA, RWA (Australia) and RWNZ, she writes sexy, dark paranormals and steampunk romance. When not writing, reading, or poring over travel brochures, she loves spending time with her very own hero or daydreaming about new worlds.


Review: The Death of Dulgath by Michael J. Sullivan


The Death of Dulgath
AuthorMichael J. Sullivan
Series:  The Riyria Chronicles 3
Publisher:  Riyria Enterprises, LLC, October 15, 2015 (ebook)
       Mascot Books, December 1, 2015 (Hardcover)
Format:  Hardcover and eBook, 432 pages
List Price:  $24.95 (Hardcover);  $9.99 (eBook)
ISBN:  9781943363025 (print)
Review Copy:  Provided by the Author

Review: The Death of Dulgath by Michael J. Sullivan
Three times they tried to kill her. Then a professional was hired. So was Riyria.

When the last member of the oldest noble family in Avryn is targeted for assassination, Riyria's Royce and Hadrian are hired to foil the plot. Three years have passed since Hadrian, the war-weary mercenary, and Royce, the cynical ex-assassin, joined forces to become rogues-for-hire. All has gone well until they're asked to help prevent a murder. Now they must venture into an ancient corner of the world to save a mysterious woman who knows more about Royce than is safe and cares less about herself than is sane.

From the best-selling author of The Riyria Revelations comes the third installment of The Riyria Chronicles. Although part of a series, it's designed to thrill both new readers looking for fun, fast-paced fantasy and Riyria veterans wishing to reunite with old friends.



Melanie’s Thoughts

The Death of Dulgath is the product of Michael J, Sullivan’s active imagination, his obvious love of both the Riyria world and its characters and a very successful Kickstarter campaign. Without these factors we might not have had opportunity to enjoy another excellent adventure of our two favourite characters - Royce and Hadrian.

This novel is set in between The Rose and the Thorn and Theft of Swords where the Riyria have only been together for a few years and just starting to establish their reputation. In need of some cash they accept a job on the opposite side of the kingdom to try to prevent a young woman from getting murdered. It sounded like a quick and easy assignment involving no mystery, no intrigue and no death or mayhem. Sound like something that should go to plan? Unfortunately for the Riyria this quick and easy job turns out to a little more than they expected. Idyllic countryside, happy citizens who love their Lady and a kind and benevolent ruler? If it sounds too good to be true then usually someone is determined it doesn't stay that way. Enter Royce and Hadrian who need to use both their combined and individual skills to find out who wants the Lady dead and why. Its what they find out about each other however that is what makes this story such an excellent read.

I was extremely lucky to have been selected as part of the beta reader group for The Death of Dulgath. You may have read some of my other reviews of Sullivan's books and know that I love just about everything about this series and its two main characters. This instalment in the series was no exception. Sullivan continues to develop both of his main characters with POV chapters where we gain a better insight into how they feel about each other which is really interesting and gives both them and the story more depth. Sullivan also gives us some additional background into a new region of the kingdom, of the religious beliefs of the citizens of Dulgath and what the Church of Novron is planning. The plot largely focuses on Lady Dulgath who features not just as the intended victim of the murder plot but as the subject of the artist Sherwood, who has been commissioned to paint her portrait. Sullivan uses Sherwood's POV chapters and the painting as a tool to advance the plot, as well as, the mechanism for revealing one of the story's big mysteries. Lady Dulgath is an enigmatic character and has some interesting scenes with Royce where she reveals some home truths about who (or what) he really is. Royce is drawn to the Lady as he is intrigued by what she tells him. I apologise for sounding vague but I can't reveal too much as I don't want to spoil the story for you.

Fans of this series, will enjoy the chapters dedicated to Royce and Hadrian. As with the other books in the series it is in the scenes with Royce and Hadrian that Sullivan's writing really shines and these were my favourite parts of the novel. Royce and Hadrian's POV chapters give us a better insight into how they feel about each other and we get an inside view of how their relationship continues to grow and flourish.

This is another great book by Sullivan and another star in the Riyria collection and a must read for any fantasy fan. Although you can easily enjoy The Death of Dulgath as a one off I wouldn't want you to miss any of the excellent books in the series so start back with The Crown Tower.

Melanie's Week in Review - January 18, 2015


Melanie's Week in Review - January 18, 2015


It is truly welcome to winter here in the UK as the temperature has plummeted this week. There are even rumours it may sleet which is as close to snow as I think I have been in the last 2 years. For those of you who have been shoveling out your drive for months probably wish I would stop talking about the weather and get to what I read this week :).  So what did I read?

Melanie's Week in Review - January 18, 2015
I started the week with a book I received from NetGalley  - The Fire Sermon by Francesca Haig which is the first in the series of the same name and a debut novel (Gallery Books, March 10, 2015). However, I will be writing a full review so can't give too much away.

Melanie's Week in Review - January 18, 2015
Amazon really thinks I should be reading the Discord Jones series so I finally caved in and bought book 1 - Arcane Solutions by Gayla Drummond. For those that don't know, Discord Jones is a multi-talented psychic who can teleport herself to work every morning (wish I could do that!). Discord is a private investigator and gets a case that almost becomes her last. Vampires, elves, demons and a couple of delicious shifters all converge on Discord's life to make it all that much more complicated. I thought this book was just OK....and maybe slightly less than OK. I thought that Discord gets beaten up one too many times and jumps in the sack with her shifter bodyguard (and later boyfriend) just a a bit too quickly for someone who professes to be a prude. For me she just wasn't a credible heroine and overall I didn't see what made her that special.

Melanie's Week in Review - January 18, 2015
Finally (who may be glad this post is almost at an end?) I continued to read The Ministry Protocol from the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences series. I am currently reading a story involving Books and Braun so needless to say I am 'lovin' it'. As you may remember I have also been selected to beta review Michael J. Sullivan's upcoming novel Rhune. I am finding beta reading a challenge. I like it but it is still a challenge. I normally read quite quickly but I want to do justice to the opportunity I have been given so find myself reading very sssllloooooooooowwwlllllllllllllllllllyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy. All good fun though!

Anyway, that is all for me for this week. I hope you are all bundled up nice and warm with a lovely book. Until next week Happy Reading.


Brannigan's Top Three Books of 2014


Brannigan's Top Three Books of 2014

For my top three books of 2014, I wanted to break them out by genre. After making my list and thinking about what I wanted to say about each one, I realized they all share three things that I enjoy and value most in a good story—well developed characters, worlds that feel fully fleshed out, and something unique that helps it stand out from all the others.


Brannigan's Top Three Books of 2014
My favorite science fiction book of the year is Hollow World by Michael J. Sullivan. It's a thought-provoking and entertaining time traveler's tale. I read and reviewed this book back in January, and yet it's still fresh in my mind and has stayed my number one science fiction book of the year. Ellis and Pax are great characters that help Sullivan progress the plot and pose questions for the reader to spend time with. I hope Sullivan finds time to revisit this wonderful world in the future, I, for one, would love it. (See Brannigan's review here.)
Brannigan's Top Three Books of 2014


My favorite fantasy book of the year is The Lascar's Dagger by Glenda Larke.  It's a refreshing take on a lot of different fantasy tropes. She added interesting aspects to her world, and the characters were fun to spend time with. I'm really excited the book is the first book in a, hopefully, long series. I really can't wait to spend more time with my new favorite priest/spy Saker Rampion. (See Brannigan's review here.)



Brannigan's Top Three Books of 2014
Last, but not least, just to throw in something different, my favorite Thriller/Horror/Adventure/All Around Fun book is Five Ghosts Volume 1: The Haunting of Fabian Gray by Frank J. Barbiere and Chris Mooneyham. It's an amazing graphic novel. Now, I know this blog doesn't review comics, but I can't stress how much fun this book was to read. It has it all: thrills, adventure, a little mystery, and a dash of horror all wrapped up in a homage to the great adventure tales of the 1940s and 50s. I'm talking about the serials you'd see at the beginning of movies and on the radio, after each issue in my mind I heard an announcer say, “Will Fabian Gray make it out alive? Tune in next week to find out!” Each issue, or chapter, depending on your preference, usually has a self-contained story while still having an overall series plot.


If you really want to make someone happy, give them one of these three books, if you want to be nice to yourself, buy all three.


Review: Hollow World by Michael J. Sullivan


Hollow World
Author:  Michael J. Sullivan
Publisher:  Tachyon Publication, April 15, 2014
Format:  Trade Paperback and eBook, 384 pages
Price:  $15.95 (print)
ISBN:  978-1-61696-183-1 (print)
Review Copy: Purchased as Part of the Kickstarter Campaign

Review: Hollow World by Michael J. Sullivan
The future is coming...for some, sooner than others.

Ellis Rogers is an ordinary man, who is about to embark on an extraordinary journey. All his life he has played it safe and done the right thing, but faced with a terminal illness he’s willing to take an insane gamble. He’s built a time machine in his garage, and if it works, he’ll face a world that challenges his understanding of what it means to be human, what it takes to love, and the cost of paradise. He could find more than a cure for his illness; he might find what everyone has been searching for since time began…but only if he can survive Hollow World.

Welcome to the future and a new science fiction thriller from the bestselling author of The Riyria Revelations.



Brannigan's Review

Disclaimer: I purchased my copy of Hollow World as part of Michael J. Sullivan's Kickstarter campaign. I am a fan of Sullivan's work.

Hollow World is a time-travel science fiction novel that takes place on Earth. It starts in modern-day Detroit with Ellis Roger's life falling apart. His work, love life, and health are all circling the drain. Ellis used to be a dreamer and filled with wonder, but life took its toll until he came up with an idea to create a time machine. With nothing left holding him to his present time, Ellis takes the plunge and moves 2,000 years into the future with the hope of a better world. He doesn't find what he expected, but what he finds is what he needs. He is quickly thrown into a conspiracy and teams up with a person from the future named Pax, who helps Ellis not only save the future but also himself.

Like any good science fiction there are several layers to this story. On the surface, we have a great action story of a man from the past helping the future to survive by first discovering a conspiracy and helping to stop it from destroying everything the future holds dear. We also get to see a new and inventive look at the future and where the human race may end up. It also asks the reader to question their own ideas on topics that at first seem too personal to question, like religion, sexuality, and politics. Then, at its core, the book asks each of us what it means to find peace within ourselves and the people around us. The best thing about all of these layers is Sullivan doesn't try to persuade the reader to agree with his own beliefs. He allows the topics to speak for themselves and for the readers to find their own conclusions. The story itself is entertaining enough that it also allows the reader to ignore the deeper layers if they prefer to just have an enjoyable read.

Hollow World is a modern science fiction classic. It is well suited for multiple reads and I for one would love to take a college-level class discussing the book. The only thing that would keep me from recommending it to everyone is the fact it does contain strong language. For that reason, I would recommend it to older young adults and adults. It's perfect for both fans of science fiction as well as those curious about the genre. I'd also recommend it to anyone that likes to read books that encourage the reader to pause and ponder.


Melanie's Week in Review - August 18, 2013


Melanie's Week in Review - August 18, 2013


I read some really great books this week. First, I waved good-bye to Hadrian and Royce as I finished the last book of the Riyria Revelations by Michael J. Sullivan. So here endeth my Riyria reunion. The Heir of Novron  re-affirmed everything I loved about this series. It was an amazing book, or in fact 2 books. So much happened in this final episode. It was one twist, turn, heart break and triumph in every chapter. You can check out my review of The Riyria Chronicles which was posted yesterday (8/17), which kicked off my Riyria reunion in the first place.

Melanie's Week in Review - August 18, 2013
I started to read A Thousand Perfect Things by Kay Kenyon but had to stop reading it when this arrived from the lovely Qwill. What a fantastic box of goodies. Even though I knew what I was going to get it was still a surprise to see them there in the flesh...or should I say in the print. You might notice Magic Rises on the top of the pack...well...I was really looking for that to arrive and anything else I had on the cards to read got sidelined for the latest from 'chateau Andrews'. I am going to be reviewing Magic Rises so I won't let anything else slip.

Melanie's Week in Review - August 18, 2013
I will however, tell you about A Thousand Perfect Things by Kay Kenyon. I didn't know what to expect when I started this book. I hadn't read anything else by this author. I got the book from the lovely people at NetGalley and I became instantly gripped. The story is set in the late 1800's in a steampunk version of England - referred to Anglica and moves quickly to Bharata (India) where the young, aristocrat, Tori, searches for the 'golden lotus'. Tori hopes to follow in the footsteps of her grandfather, who is a renowned scientist, by becoming the first woman to be admitted into the the Royal Society for finding and documenting the golden lotus. Anglica is rich but resource poor with a love of science whereas, Bharati is rich both in resources and in magic but where people are poor and deemed by the Anglica's to be uncivilised. Those in Tori's world shun her belief in magic but she is determined to find the flower of the gods and prove the existence of magic. Betrayal, political revolution and forbidden love are all in store for the intrepid, budding scientist. I really enjoyed A Thousand Perfect Things. I read it quite quickly, despite the interruption. I thought that Kenyon was very clever in her depiction of Bharati.  It was very colourful and you could almost feel the heat and smell the rich, pungent spices. There were distinct parallels to the British rule of India over the period and their desire to rid themselves of foreign rule. While I thoroughly enjoyed this book it did have some minor faults. I felt latter part of the book was rushed. There was one specific scene where one of the characters just died without really any explanation of how they were killed. Then at the very end nearly a decade passes one scene and the next and it felt a bit contrived. On the whole I liked this book and thought it was a great depiction of two intriguing worlds.


Melanie's Week in Review - August 18, 2013
I just started Thirteen by Kelley Armstrong. I forgot that I hadn't read this final book of the Otherworld series yet. So far so good but don't want to give too much away as this is another review. Still so many books to read and so little time but until next week Happy Reading!

Review: The Riyria Chronicles by Michael J. Sullivan - August 17, 2013


The Crown Tower
Author: Michael J. Sullivan
Series:  The Riyria Chronicles 1
Publisher:  Orbit, August 6, 2013
Format: Trade Paperback and eBook, 432 pages
Price:  $16.00 (print)
ISBN: 9780316243711 (print)
Review copy:  Provided by the Publisher via NetGalley

Review: The Riyria Chronicles by Michael J. Sullivan - August 17, 2013
Two men who hate each other. One impossible mission. A legend in the making.

Hadrian Blackwater, a warrior with nothing to fight for, is paired with Royce Melborn, a thieving assassin with nothing to lose. Hired by an old wizard, they must steal a treasure that no one can reach. The Crown Tower is the impregnable remains of the grandest fortress ever built and home to the realm's most prized possessions. But it isn't gold or jewels that the wizard is after, and if he can just keep them from killing each other, they just might succeed.



The Rose and The Thorn
Author: Michael J. Sullivan
Series:  The Riyria Chronicles 2
Publisher:  Orbit, September 17, 2013
Format:  Trade Paperback and eBook, 384 pages
Price:  $16.00  (print)
ISBN:  9780316243728 (print)
Review copy:  Provided by the Publisher via NetGalley

Review: The Riyria Chronicles by Michael J. Sullivan - August 17, 2013
Two thieves want answers. Riyria is born.

For more than a year Royce Melborn has tried to forget Gwen DeLancy, the woman who saved him and his partner Hadrian Blackwater from certain death. Unable to get her out of his mind, the two thieves return to Medford but receive a very different reception --- Gwen refuses to see them. The victim of abuse by a powerful noble, she suspects that Royce will ignore any danger in his desire for revenge. By turning the thieves away, Gwen hopes to once more protect them. What she doesn't realize is what the two are capable of --- but she's about to find out.





Melanie's Thoughts

I loved the Riyria Revelations and so I really excited when I saw that Michael J. Sullivan had written a prequel series The Riyria Chronicles including two books -  The Crown Tower and The Rose and the Thorn. What could be better than spending more time with two of my favourite characters Royce and Hadrian?

The Crown Tower is the story of how Royce and Hadrian got thrown together and their very first mission together to break into the Crown Tower. This mission is referred to in the Rise of the Empire from the Riyria Revelations series. Sullivan gives us the full back story of how the two met and carried out their first mission. Sullivan also uses this book as a way to tell Gwen's story. While Gwen plays a very important part in the Revelations series we don't really get to learn how and where she came from until The Crown Tower.  I don't want to give too much away but The Crown Tower rounds out Royce as a character and shows a side of his character that I was rather surprised about.

The Rose and The Thorn follows on from The Crown Tower a year later. Royce and Hadrian have made a name for themselves as thieves and have returned to Medford where they ended up, in Gwen's care at the end of The Crown Tower. Royce has become intrigued by Gwen and comes back to town to see her. The pair are a bit more than surprised that Gwen refuses to see them. Royce is on a mission to find out why and if anyone has hurt Gwen they are going to pay....probably with their life. Sullivan also introduces us to Reuben Hilfred who is the son of one of the guards at the castle. In meeting Reuben we also get to meet Alric and Arista, the prince and princess of Melengar who are key characters in the Revelations series. Fans will remember Reuben as Arista's bodyguard during the Riyria Revelations and he is given the chance to tell the story of how he ended up in this auspicious position.

I cannot say enough good things about Riyria Chronicles or get enough of Royce and Hadrian. I don't think Sullivan's wife can either. According to the author's note Sullivan was convinced to write more about these two characters because his wife fancied Hadrian.  Sorry fellas but Michael J. Sullivan wins the 'nicest husband 2013 award' for writing two whole books just because his wife likes one of his characters.  Now that is motivation to tell an engaging story. There is enough new information to make these an interesting read for someone who has already read the Revelations series and a fantastic introduction for newcomers to the series. I enjoyed reading these two books so much that I have decided to go back and read the Revelations series.

Sullivan has a great capacity for story telling. He has created a richly detailed world as the stage for his story. He has written two characters who almost seem to come alive and leap off the page. These two stories not only give diehard fans another chance to spend time with the pair but also gives us an insight on why they made the choices they do in the next series.  I like to compare both the Riyria Chronicles and the Revelations to going to dinner at a great restaurant where Sullivan is the master chef (hang in there..it will make sense in a minute). The Riyria Chronicles are the starter. The Crown Tower and The Rose and The Thorn set the stage for the main course by teasing our literary taste buds, preparing us for the sumptuous main course that is sure to follow. Following the starter is the rich, detailed and well balanced main course in the form of Theft of Swords and  Rise of Empire. The characters we have grown to love are fleshed out further in a world of intrigue and subterfuge encased in religion and folklore. Finally, for dessert is Heir of Novron to finish off our literary meal. The literary dessert is bitter sweet like a rich, dark, chocolate cake which leaves the reader fulfilled, satisfied and maybe a tiny bit sad it is all over.

The Crown Tower and The Rose and The Thorn are a great way to start this series. We get to see how our favourite heroes come together and how the plot from Revelations starts to unfold. As much as I love these books and both series I hope this where Sullivan decides to leave the rest to our imaginations. Like a rich and delicious meal there can be too much of a good thing and I wouldn't want Sullivan to dilute the power of both of these series by writing anything else on this pair. If you haven't had a chance to enjoy this series I urge you to start at the beginning with The Crown Tower. Its only a few more weeks until The Rose and The Thorn is released and after reading that you can jump right into the books of the Riyria Revelations.

Melanie's Week in Review - August 11, 2013


Melanie's Week in Review  - August 11, 2013


I thought I was going to start this week's post with 'I haven't read very much this week'. Instead I am going to start this post with 'its all about quality rather than quantity. Well that is my rationalisation for having read only 2 books and 1/2 way through book three....none of which were one of the many books I got from Netgalley last week. Please insert tsking here.

Melanie's Week in Review  - August 11, 2013
If you follow my posts you will remember that I have been holding my very own Riyria reunion by re-reading the books in the series by Michael J.Sullivan. I managed to finish Rise of Empire and decided that of the three books this is probably my least favourite. Saying that it is still highly enjoyable and nail biting. I am halfway through Heir of Novron and I forgot how tense it was. I can barely put it down and the reason why I was late getting any housework done which in turn means I am late getting my 'week in review' posted. Every time I think I am able to put it down to get something done I say to myself 'just one more chapter'. Sullivan also wins for having the  most touching dedication to his wife at the front. I thought it was a bit sniff-sniff and challenge you authory males out there to beat Sullivan's dedication!

Melanie's Week in Review  - August 11, 2013I also discovered that the final book of the Emperor's Edge series Forged in Blood II by Lindsay Buroker had been out for over a week. I had to quickly go download and read it before anything else. It was a great ending to a solid fantasy series. Buroker resisted the temptation to make it too soppy and there were a few scenes with the anti-hero Sicarius which were just a tad gross.

I am having a problem keeping organised and asking dear reader, for your advice. When I only had my Kindle I could quite easily keep track of my TBR by having an 'Unread' collection. Now that I have Nookie, my Nook (original name, I know!) and reading Kindle books both on Bruce, my phone and sometimes my iPad I can't keep track of what I haven't read. I can't seem to create collections or shelves using the Kindle apps. If anyone has a clever solution to this organisational conundrum please let me know. I think that is enough of me whittering on plus I am sure that Hadrian and Royce need me to finish reading about their adventures so until next week Happy Reading!

Melanie's Week in Review - August 4, 2013



Melanie's Week in Review - August 4, 2013



Melanie's Week in Review - August 4, 2013 This was a fairly unproductive week on the reading front. Well, marginally unproductive. My best friend was over from Australia and we ended up doing some cultural stuff like going to Tate Britain and some not so cultural stuff like going to see Pacific Rim and riding this funfair ride on the Southbank. It was fun but only lasted 1.5 minutes. I guess that is less time to get vertigo.

My love affair with the Riyria Revelations by Michael J. Sullivan continues with my very own reunion reading of the series.  I have been reading Rise of Empire this week. I am not finished with it but hope to be early next week.  I have been trying to not rush reading them and as they are actually 2 books in one so they take longer to read than I think they should when I start out. Several months ago I sponsored Sullivan's newest book - Hollow World through Kickstarter and guess what?  He has released the ARC. It's a while before it will be released but I am super excited about being part of this literary adventure.

Melanie's Week in Review - August 4, 2013
Those of you who read my Week in Review last week will know that I started Broken Elements by Mia Marshall. I quite enjoyed it and so moved onto reading book 2, Shifting Elements. There were some really funny lines in this one and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I will be reviewing both of these books soon so I won't be giving too much away.

I also got some 'goodies' from NetGalley this week including A Thousand Perfect Things by Kay Kenyon, Gideon Smith and the Mechanical Girl by David Barnett and Delia's Shadow by Jaime Lee Moyer (who is a featured author in the 2013 Debut Author Challenge). I am excited about reading these three books....and a few others I have in my TBR.  Perhaps I better get started.

Until next week Happy Reading!

Melanie's Week in Review - September 18, 2016Review: The Death of Dulgath by Michael J. SullivanMelanie's Week in Review - January 18, 2015Brannigan's Top Three Books of 2014Review: Hollow World by Michael J. SullivanNew York Comic Con 2013 Day 1 plus The Qwillery's 5th Anniversary GiveawayMelanie's Week in Review - August 18, 2013Review: The Riyria Chronicles by Michael J. Sullivan - August 17, 2013Melanie's Week in Review  - August 11, 2013Melanie's Week in Review - August 4, 2013

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