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Melanie's Month in Review - August 2019


Melanie's Month in Review - August 2019


Apologies reader for my tardiness posting my August month in review. I had it all planned. I was going to have my post written so that it was ready to go up last weekend. Work however, interrupted my carefully laid plan and here we are partway into September and I haven't yet told you about all the great books I read in August.

I have to say that I ended the summer with a couple of excellent books. One has even made it onto my fave books of all time! Pssst....and it's a debut! So what did I read?


Melanie's Month in Review - August 2019
I will start with books I listened to. First up is Ben Aaranovitch's The October Man which is a novella in the Rivers of London series but not starring my favourite member of magic police Peter Grant. Instead, Aaronovitch stages the story in Germany with Tobias Winter investigating a recent grizzly murder by magic. Set in Trier, a former Roman city and famous for its wine, Tobias needs to find out why a man was found dead covered in a fungal rot. Not just any fungus but one used in the making of a special vintage of wine. Tobias is joined by a local cop,Vanessa Sommer, and together they need to find out who is killing these men and why. Little do they know that the city's bloody history forms the backdrop for the murders. Unlike a well-aged wine time is not on their side.

I thoroughly enjoyed The October Man and am really glad I chose to listen to the audio version rather than read it as my sister read the book a week before me and said that she struggled with all the German names. The narrator Sam Peter Jackson really brought Tobias Winter to life and it was much easier to listen to the story with a 'easy to listen to' German accent than trying to read the English translation of German words. I thought the plot was engaging and really drew you in from the very start. For a novella it seemed much longer and I think that was down to the well developed plot. If you like this series then definitely give The October Man a go.


My second audiobook was The Winter of the Witch by Katherine Arden. As this was the last book of the trilogy and because I loved it soo much I wrote a full review. Check it out here.


Melanie's Month in Review - August 2019
Another series I finished was Michael McClung's Amra Thetys series with The Thief Who Went to War. In this final instalment Amra and Holgren are determined to destroy the final blade of the Blades of the Eightfold Goddess. Amra was left with a not so little reminder after her last encounter with one of the blades and is now an avatar for a goddess. Determined to find a way to destroy the final knife Amra returns to Lucernis for a showdown to end all showdowns...and possibly her life!

I only discovered this series by participating as a judge in the SPFBO two years ago and book 1, The Thief that Pulled on Trouble's Braids, had been the winner the year before. It has been 4 years between the final and penultimate books in the series so fans who were there from the start had quite a long wait to see how McClung would finish the series. While I liked this instalment it wasn't the best of the series and I think I might have been a tiny bit disappointed if I had waited 4 years to find out whether Amra and Holgren would make it. Amra has one too many lucky escapes for my liking and it was action, action, action from very early on in the book until the end. There wasn't as much character development as there had been in previous books. However, it's still a good series.


Melanie's Month in Review - August 2019
The final book I have to tell you about is Half Way Home by Hugh Howey. Set in the future where ships are sent out to colonise new planets with 500 vat grown humans on board. On the way to their eventual new home they are educated and trained in a specialism as they sleep. Midway through their development cycle the AI controlling their ship decides to start the abort sequence and only 60 teenagers manage to escape. Alone, scared and without all the skills they need to survive they have to rely on each other and the AI that almost killed them to survive. It's not long before they realise it's not just the inhospitable planet that they have landed on that is the biggest threat to their survival.

I loved Howey's Wool series so, in my opinion, it was going to be hard to follow those books. I didn't realise that when I requested Half Way Home from the publisher on NetGalley that it was originally released in 2010. It's a good book but it's not a great book and I found it quite predictable in parts. It is, however, quite short so a quick read if you are looking for some half decent science fiction.


Well that is it for me for August. I do have one more August book to share with you but I am planning on writing a full review so keep your eyes peeled to find out what book has made it onto my top reads ever. Sorry for being a tease! Happy Reading!





The October Man
A Rivers of London Novella
Subterranean Press, May 31, 2019
Hardcover and eBook, 169 pages

Melanie's Month in Review - August 2019
With this long new novella, bestselling author Ben Aaronovitch has crafted yet another wickedly funny and surprisingly affecting chapter in his beloved Rivers of London series.

If you thought magic was confined to one country—think again.

Trier: famous for wine, Romans and being Germany’s oldest city.

When a man is found dead with his body impossibly covered in a fungal rot, the local authorities know they are out of their depth. But fortunately this is Germany, where there are procedures for everything.

Enter Tobias Winter, an investigator for the Abteilung KDA, the branch of the German Federal Criminal Police which handles the supernatural. His aim is to get in, deal with the problem, and get out with the minimum of fuss, personal danger and paperwork.

Together with frighteningly enthusiastic local cop, Vanessa Sommer, he quickly links the first victim to a group of ordinary middle aged men whose novel approach to their mid-life crisis may have reawakened a bloody conflict from a previous century.

As the rot spreads, literally, and the suspect list extends to people born before Frederick the Great, Tobias and Vanessa will need to find allies in some unexpected places.

And to solve the case they’ll have to unearth the secret magical history of a city that goes back two thousand years.

Presuming that history doesn’t kill them first.





Winter of the Witch
Winternight Trilogy 3
Del Rey, October 1, 2019
Trade Paperback, 400 pages
Hardcover, Audiobook, and eBook, January 8, 2019

Melanie's Month in Review - August 2019
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • Following their adventures in The Bear and the Nightingale and The Girl in the Tower, Vasya and Morozko return in this stunning conclusion to the bestselling Winternight Trilogy, battling enemies mortal and magical to save both Russias, the seen and the unseen.

“A tale both intimate and epic, featuring a heroine whose harrowing and wondrous journey culminates in an emotionally resonant finale.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Vasilisa Petrovna is an unforgettable heroine determined to forge her own path. Her gifts and her courage have drawn the attention of Morozko, the winter-king, but it is too soon to know if this connection will prove a blessing or a curse.

Now Moscow has been struck by disaster. Its people are searching for answers—and for someone to blame. Vasya finds herself alone, beset on all sides. The Grand Prince is in a rage, choosing allies that will lead him on a path to war and ruin. A wicked demon returns, determined to spread chaos. Caught at the center of the conflict is Vasya, who finds the fate of two worlds resting on her shoulders. Her destiny uncertain, Vasya will uncover surprising truths about herself as she desperately tries to save Russia, Morozko, and the magical world she treasures. But she may not be able to save them all.





The Thief Who Went to War
Amra Thetys 5
eBook, August 10, 2019
Trade Paperback, July 30, 2019

Melanie's Month in Review - August 2019
After barely surviving the attentions of the Knife That Parts the Night, Amra and Holgren are determined to end the threat posed by the remaining sentient, powerful Blades of the Eightfold Goddess. They are willing to risk everything to win their secret war, but can they succeed when their adversaries are cunning, powerful beyond measure, and utterly ruthless? And even if they can, what will it cost them?






Half Way Home
Mariner Books, October 1, 2019
Hardcover, Trade Paperback and eBook, 240 pages

Melanie's Month in Review - August 2019
From the New York Times and USA Today best-selling author of Wool and the Molly Fyde saga comes a story of teenage colonists marooned on a distant planet

WE WOKE IN FIRE

Five hundred colonists have been sent across the stars to settle an alien planet. Vat-grown in a dream-like state, they are educated through simulations by an artificial intelligence and should awaken at thirty years old, fully-trained, and ready to tame the new world.

But fifteen years in, an explosion on their vessel kills most of the homesteaders and destroys the majority of their supplies. Worse yet, the sixty that awaken and escape the flames are only half-taught and possess the skills least useful for survival.

Naked and terrified, the teens stumble from their fiery baptism ill-prepared for the unfamiliar and harsh alien world around them. Though they attempt to work with the colony A.I. to build a home, tension and misery are rampant, escalating into battles for dominance.

Soon they find that their worst enemy isn’t the hostile environment, the A.I., or the blast that nearly killed them. Their greatest danger is each other.

Melanie's Week in Review - June 25, 2017

Melanie's Week in Review - June 25, 2017

Hello! I am back! Did you miss me? I hope so. I have been on holiday and my eldest sister was over so I wasn't able to keep you up to date on what I had been reading. Hopefully, this post will remedy that for you. Enough said, what did I read?


Melanie's Week in Review - June 25, 2017
I am going to start with the book that was my favourite - White Hot by Ilona Andrews, which is the second instalment of the Hidden Legacy series. The story starts a few months after the dramatic events of book 1, Burn for Me. Nevada hasn't heard a peep from the hunky Prime Mad Rogan since the big smooch that followed Rogan's declaration that Nevada was going to be 'his'. Nevada is thrown, quite literally, back into Rogan's life when she takes a case to solve the who murdered the animal mage, Cornelius's wife. It's not surprising that this continues the plot arc of the mysterious and extremely dangerous organisation that wants to bring down the magical hierarchy and all Primes with it. A number of secondary characters we met in book 1 are back to help Nevada, including her family. It's not long before Nevada and Rogan are the target and it's a race to discover who is behind the killings before they become the assassin's next victims.

I really, really enjoyed White Hot. I read it a few times in close succession. It stops just short of being excellent and I will tell you why a bit later. I like both Nevada and Rogan as characters. I also think the world building is well executed and the plot arc has me guessing. Andrews has got a lot to tell along with relationships and romances to build in only a few books as this is trilogy. Unlike the Kate Daniel's series and many others like it, Andrews doesn't have several books to have a slow burn romance between the main characters so no time is wasted bringing the love interests together. I find this quite refreshing and it must be challenging for the writers to make it believable and engaging. I think they have succeeded. I am also very intrigued to find out who the evil force is. I have no clue and that is a major achievement as I usually always guess 'who dunnit'. I don't have too long to wait as book 3, Wildfire, is out in July. I can HARDLY WAIT! So I mentioned that I felt White Hot fell a bit short of being excellent and that is down to the cover. I know I am a cover snob and I also know that the author is quite defensive of the covers as they are controlled by the publisher however, I can't see that this cover is a selling point. If I wasn't already invested in this author or the series I would have passed on this series purely based on the cover. I think the publisher has missed a trick by not having a more dramatic cover or a model that doesn't look like his six pack was drawn on with crayon. Just a minor downside of a great book and series.


Melanie's Week in Review - June 25, 2017Melanie's Week in Review - June 25, 2017
I am going to tell you about the next two books together as they are the first and second books of a new series by Dannika Dark called The Crossbreed novels. These books, I believe, are set in the same work as Dark's Mageri series. I have to say, I believe, as I haven't read that series. The story introduces the lead character Raven Black who is a crossbreed - part vampire and part mage. She has been living rough as a one woman vigilante, killing the baddies, that seem to be everywhere. So far she has been living on her wits and her crossbreed talents until she receives a proposition to join the covert organisation - Keystone - to take down baddies as part of a group of supernatural misfits. In book 1, Keystone, joining Keystone doesn't go quite to plan and that is mostly down to her partner, the vamp Christian but without giving too much away Raven overcomes her issues with being part of a team by book 2 - Ravenheart. In this instalment Raven and Christian are set to find a series killer who is targeting Breed women. The hunter becomes the hunter in this second instalment.

I have to be honest and say that Dark isn't one of my favourite authors but so far I like this series. It it isn't taking itself too seriously and so far, no one has jumped into bed together yet which isn't typical of this genre. If you enjoy a supernatural murder mysteries with a female lead character that is quite sarcastic then why not give this series a go? These are books well suited to the beach or a long commute. I am looking forward to seeing what Dark has in store for Raven Black.


Melanie's Week in Review - June 25, 2017
The last book I am going to tell you about is the novella - The Furthest Station by Ben Aaronovitch. This is a story from the Peter Grant / Rivers of London series. PC Grant is on the case when ghosts are spotted on London Underground (aka the Tube). When the ghosts start to get more aggressive Peter enlists the help of his colleague from the British Transport Police, Jaget Kumar, and his trusty non-police dog Toby to track down why the spirits are haunting the Metropolitan line. When Peter discovers an actual human's life is at stake he realises that time is running out to solve this mystery. Lucky he has help in the form of his young teenage wizard cousin and an adolescent river god.

This is a great novella. I thought it was witty and gripping in equal measure. I am not always fond of novellas and short stories but this isn't one to miss.


That is it for me this week. I could tell you more but some of the books I read won't be published for a while yet so I need to keep my trap shut :-). I hope you have read some good books over the last few weeks. It would be great to hear what you read. I will be back next week so until then Happy Reading.





White Hot
A Hidden Legacy Novel 2
Avon, May 30, 2017
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 416 pages

Melanie's Week in Review - June 25, 2017
The Hidden Legacy series by #1 New York Times bestselling author Ilona Andrews continues as Nevada and Rogan navigate a world where magic is the norm…and their relationship burns hot

Nevada Baylor has a unique and secret skill—she knows when people are lying—and she's used that magic (along with plain, hard work) to keep her colorful and close-knit family's detective agency afloat. But her new case pits her against the shadowy forces that almost destroyed the city of Houston once before, bringing Nevada back into contact with Connor "Mad" Rogan.

Rogan is a billionaire Prime—the highest rank of magic user—and as unreadable as ever, despite Nevada’s “talent.” But there’s no hiding the sparks between them. Now that the stakes are even higher, both professionally and personally, and their foes are unimaginably powerful, Rogan and Nevada will find that nothing burns like ice …





Keystone
A Crossbreed Novel 1
Dannika Dark, January 2017
Trade Paperback and eBook, 310 pages

Melanie's Week in Review - June 25, 2017
With over 1.5 million books sold, USA Today Bestseller Dannika Dark introduces her next addictive series...

Raven Black hunts evildoers for fun, but her vigilante justice isn't the only reason she's hiding from the law. Half Vampire, half Mage,she's spent years living as a rogue to stay alive. When a Russian Shifter offers her a job in his covert organization hunting outlaws,dignity and a respectable career are finally within her grasp. The catch? Her new partner is Christian Poe - a smug, handsome Vampire whom she'd rather stake than go on a stakeout with.

They're hot on the trail of a human killer who will stop at nothing to get what he wants. One misstep during her probationary period could jeopardize Raven's chance at redemption, and her partner would love nothing more than to see her fail. Will Raven find the courage to succeed, or will she give in to her dark nature?

Dark secrets, unexpected twists, and a blurred line between good and evil will keep you on the edge of your seat.

Crossbreed is a powerful new urban fantasy series that will captivate your imagination. Follow Raven on her journey through a perilous world of secrets and lies.



Ravenheart
A Crossbreed Novel 2
Dannika Dark, May 2017
Trade Paperback and eBook, 329 pages

Melanie's Week in Review - June 25, 2017
“WE ALL HAVE SECRETS, RAVEN. DARK ONES. EACH AND EVERY ONE OF US.”

Two weeks after joining Keystone, Raven Black is ready to take on the world as a criminal hunter for hire. If only her partner wasn’t a bloodsucking Vampire with a penchant for getting under her skin. Despite her lavish surroundings, Raven misses the freedom of life without rules. And Keystone’s next assignment is about to test her self-control in more ways than one.

Dead bodies are popping up in the human district, and all signs point to a Breed serial killer. In order to catch him, Raven and Christian embark on a mission that takes their partnership into uncharted waters. Lives are at stake. Can Raven trust her instincts, or will she fall into a web spun from lies and deceit?

Time is running out in this pulse-pounding tale of dark secrets, murder, and forbidden desires.





The Furthest Station 
A Rivers of London Novella
Subterranean Press, June 28, 2017
Hardcover, 144 pages

Melanie's Week in Review - June 25, 2017
There have been ghosts on the London Underground, sad, harmless spectres whose presence does little more than give a frisson to travelling and boost tourism. But now there’s a rash of sightings on the Metropolitan Line and these ghosts are frightening, aggressive and seem to be looking for something.

Enter PC Peter Grant junior member of the Metropolitan Police’s Special Assessment unit a.k.a. The Folly a.k.a. the only police officers whose official duties include ghost hunting. Together with Jaget Kumar, his counterpart at the British Transport Police, he must brave the terrifying the crush of London’s rush hour to find the source of the ghosts.

Joined by Peter’s wannabe wizard cousin, a preschool river god and Toby the ghost hunting dog their investigation takes a darker tone as they realise that a real person’s life might just be on the line.
And time is running out to save them.

With this new novella, bestselling author Ben Aaronovitch has crafted yet another wickedly funny and surprisingly affecting chapter in his beloved Rivers of London series.

Review: Foxglove Summer by Ben Aaronovitch


Foxglove Summer
Author:  Ben Aaronovitch
Series:  Rivers of London 5
Publisher:  Gollancz, November 13, 2014
Format:  Hardcover and eBook, 377 pages
List Price:  £14.99 (print)
ISBN:  9780575132504 (print)
Review Copy:  Reviewer's Own

Review: Foxglove Summer by Ben Aaronovitch
In the fifth of his bestselling series Ben Aaronovitch takes Peter Grant out of whatever comfort zone he might have found and takes him out of London - to a small village in Herefordshire where the local police are reluctant to admit that there might be a supernatural element to the disappearance of some local children. But while you can take the London copper out of London you can't take the London out of the copper.

Travelling west with Beverley Brook Peter soon finds himself caught up in a deep mystery and having to tackle local cops and local gods. And what's more all the shops are closed by 4pm.


US Edition

Publisher:  DAW, January 6, 2015
Format:  Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 336 pages
List Price:  $7.99 (print)
ISBN:  9780575132504 (print)

Review: Foxglove Summer by Ben Aaronovitch
Peter Grant—cop, magical apprentice, and Londoner to the core—is being forced out of his comfort zone and into the English countryside. His latest case involves the disappearance of children in the small village of Herefordshire, and the local police are unwilling to admit there might be a supernatural element involved. Now Peter must deal with them, local river spirits, and the fact that all the shops close by 4 P.M.


Melanie's Thoughts:

Foxglove Summer starts a few months after the end of book 4  - Broken Homes where I am sure that all the Peter Grant fans screeched in unison 'Lesley how could you'. I think this instalment could have easily have been called 'Peter Grows Up' as he is forced to accept what happened to him at the end of book 4 and his friendship with Lesley. I love this series and have enjoyed growing with Peter in each instalment.

In Foxglove Summer Peter is asked to take part in the case of two missing girls. The focus turns to the supernatural and Peter is the man with all the skills to save the day (he hopes). Set in the heart of the North Hertfordshire (the country, basically) Peter's search for the two girls takes him to the heartland of the Fae. Joining him on his investigation is Dominic who works for the local police force and the river goddess Beverley. The fate of two young girls is in Peter's hands. Mad unicorns, the Fae and an English heatwave all combined make this one of Peter's toughest cases.

Aaronvitch gives the reader just about everything they could wish for - new characters, a bit of romance, plot and character development, questions answers and secrets revealed. I have found Aaronvitch's series to be quite amusing but less so in since book 3. The amount of public 'loling' has significantly decreased but has been replaced by some serious plot development.  I really enjoyed this book and I thought that Beverley really added to Peter's development in the way that actual or potential love interests in the previous books haven't. Just when we thought it was safe for Peter (well as safe as it can be for him) Lesley is back on the scene with a rather dire warning. I can't even guess what Aaronovitch has in store for these characters in future novels but I can't wait for book 6. Another great book in a great series.

Review: Broken Homes by Ben Aaronovitch


Broken Homes
Author:  Ben Aaronovitch
Series:  Peter Grant / Rivers of London 4
Publisher:  DAW, February 4, 2014
Format:  Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 320 pages
List Price:  $7.99 (Print)
ISBN:  9790756409609 (Print)
Review Copy:  Reviewer's Own (UK Edition)

Review:  Broken Homes by Ben Aaronovitch
My name is Peter Grant, and I am a keeper of the secret flame -- whatever that is.

Truth be told, there's a lot I still don't know. My superior Nightingale, previously the last of England's wizardly governmental force, is trying to teach me proper schooling for a magician's apprentice. But even he doesn't have all the answers. Mostly I'm just a constable sworn to enforce the Queen’s Peace, with the occasional help from some unusual friends and a well-placed fire blast. With the new year, I have three main objectives, a) pass the detective exam so I can officially become a DC, b) work out what the hell my relationship with Lesley Mai, an old friend from the force and now fellow apprentice, is supposed to be, and most importantly, c) get through the year without destroying a major landmark.

Two out of three isn’t bad, right?

A mutilated body in Crawley means another murderer is on the loose. The prime suspect is one Robert Weil, who may either be a common serial killer or an associate of the twisted magician known as the Faceless Man -- a man whose previous encounters I've barely survived. I've also got a case about a town planner going under a tube train and another about a stolen grimoire.

But then I get word of something very odd happening in Elephant and Castle, on a housing estate designed by a nutter, built by charlatans, and inhabited by the truly desperate. If there's a connection to the Crawley case, I'll be entering some tricky waters of juristiction with the local river spirits. We have a prickly history, to say the least.

Just the typical day for a magician constable.



Melanie's Thoughts:

Broken Homes is the fourth instalment in the Peter Grant story. Peter continues his magical apprenticeship under the watchful eye of his boss Nightingale while continuing as a constable in the covert arm of the Metropolitan police. Peter, Nightingale, Peter's and friend/colleague Lesley keep up the search for the evil Faceless Man, a magician straight from the dark side. The Faceless Man has been at the centre of every evil plot throughout all three books. Their first big clue to his next nefarious plan comes when a man ends up being BBQ'd from the inside out. This time Peter and Lesley end up going under cover, moving out of The Folly and into a run down tower block in the Elephant and Castle area of London to search for more clues. For those that aren't familiar with this less than salubrious part of London Aaronovitch paints the perfect picture of life in an deprived inner London borough.....well one that is magically enhanced with river goddesses and tree nymphs. The heat is on for Peter and his friends to solve this mystery before anyone else gets hurt and be back in time for tea at The Folly.

I waited a long time to buy Broken Homes as I thought it cost too much. It wasn't until a discussion with Qwill that I found out that the book had been released in UK months before it was released in the US. I thoroughly enjoy this series, nay love it but still didn't want to pay more than a tenner (£10) for the e-book version and don't normally buy hardcovers. In the end I am glad that I waited.

I have been enjoying Aaronovitch's unique brand of humour mixed with some pretty spot on observations of the life of a Londoner. While I enjoyed Broken Homes it didn't grab me as quickly as the other books in the series. Normally Aaronovitch has me sniggering, snorting, and generally tee heeing from the first few pages but in this book I had to wait until the final third of the book before I guffawed even once. One could say that humour isn't an essential requirement in any good UF novel but once you have introduced me to some truly hilarious lines then you can't just leave me with normal, mildly amusing prose.

I thought I would share with you one of the funnier lines from book
You don't get to be a senior investigating officer unless you have a degree in scepticism, an MA in distrust and your CV lists suspicious bastard under your hobbies.
or how about this one
Nightingale gave me the same long-suffering look he gives me when I accidentally blow up fire extinguishers, fall asleep when he's talking, or fail to conjugate my Latin verbs.
I could continue but then I would be repeating the latter third of the book! Suffice to say 'the funny' is still there just not as obvious as in previous books.

There wasn't a terrible amount of development of any of the lead characters throughout the story although there is a HUGE development at the very end of the book. One, I did not see coming and I am still shocked about. I kind of felt like Aaronovitch was holding off having anything significant happen to the characters throughout the story as he wanted to 'sock it' to the reader with the ending. This was kind of risky as I really wanted Peter to make some decisions relationship-wise or to have a big breakthrough magic-wise. Saying all of that it is still a great book, a great murder mystery with some laughs along the way. Bring on book 5....quick!

Melanie's Week in Review - January 5, 2014



Melanie's Week in Review  - January 5, 2014


Happy New Year! I hope 2014 brings you the very best in books. I had a rather successful week in reading despite only having only 2 days of commuting into work. So what did I read?

Melanie's Week in Review  - January 5, 2014Well I finished the two books I mentioned at the end of my WIR last week which were Broken Homes (Peter Grant / Rivers of London 4) by Ben Aaronovitch and Master of Crows by Grace Draven. I also started and finished Royal Street (Sentinels of New Orleans 1) by Suzanne Johnson. I will be doing full reviews of both Broken Homes and Royal Street so I can't give too much away here. What I can say is that I enjoyed both although Broken Homes more so. Royal Street had very much the 'first book' feel about it...which makes sense as it was the first book in the series and Johnson's first book. You know the type of first book where  the characters aren't fully developed and do the opposite of everything they are told?

I came to read Master of Crows by Grace Draven after the author Ilona Andrews recommended it on her blog. Master of Crows is self-published. I wasn't sure about romantic fantasy but Andrews assured her fan base that it was a great story and I whole heartedly agreed. I LOVED IT! It was high fantasy with characters that were well developed. It really flowed along and there wasn't so much romance that it got in the way of the story. The added bonus was the cover. Check it out! I have added a slightly larger image so that you can see the full affect. GORGEOUS! As you will know I am a bit obsessed by book covers so I spent a lot of time looking at it. In fact I think it is one of my all time favourite covers.

Melanie's Week in Review  - January 5, 2014Since I am on on the topic of book covers have a look at the one for Broken Homes. This is another great cover although doesn't have quite the instant impact as Master of Crows but is a excellent nonetheless. This cover is best looked at on zoom. The cover was created by the artist Stephen Walter who specialises in these funky, graphite maps.

Well I am sure you think I probably have OaBCD - Obsessed about (or a-boot since I am Canadian) Book Cover Disorder as this whole WIR was largely about the covers. I am truly not that shallow that I judge a book purely by the cover but when I see a really great one or a really bad one then I feel I should let you know.

I should get back to reading Silvered by Tanya Huff which I only just started and hope to tell you all about next week. So until then Happy Reading!


Interview with Ben Aaronovitch and Giveaway - March 8, 2011

Please welcome Ben Aaronovitch to The Qwillery. I invited Ben back to answer a few questions that occurred to me after I'd read Midnight Riot / Rivers of London, the first book in his Rivers of London series.

TQ:  Rivers obviously play an important role in the Rivers of London series, but not just as waterways around or upon which events happen. They became people in your mythology. What drew you to the rivers of London, especially the lost rivers of London?

Ben:  London exists where it does because it is the lowest place on the Thames that could be bridged by Roman engineering. Prior to the Roman invasion there was no substantial settlement at London (that we know of) and the Roman's never planned for it to be their capital (that was supposed to be Colchester). The city grew out of that intersection of river and road.

To write a supernatural thriller in London and ignore the river is to misunderstand the true nature of London. So it wasn't so much a question of being drawn to the river rather it was a question of how you deal with this major fact in London's existence.

TQ:  Why did you decide to anthropomorphize the rivers?

Ben:  The Thames has a long tradition of anthropomorphism and there are representations of Father Thames going back centuries. So again it becomes a question of 'how' you anthropomorphize them rather than 'why'.

TQ:  Is there a mythology on which you based your living rivers?

Ben:  There isn't a specific mythology but the concept of river spirits is prevalent in just about every mythos I've looked at so far. Once I'd decided who the Father and the Mother were and from whence they were derived then a certain amount of Romano-British/Celtic and Yoruban flavour was bound to creep in.

TQ:   In the Rivers of London series, does everyone have the potential to do magic or is it only particularly gifted individuals that have the potential?

Ben:  This is a good point that needs to be made clear. Doing formal Newtonian magic is like learning the violin. You can have aptitudes that will help you learn but in the end true mastery comes down to hard work. It's also something that is almost impossible to do without a teacher to provide exemplars and to teach you, for example, the difference between what is vestigia and what is the random product of your own brain.

TQ:  The Punch and Judy puppet show was used to great effect in Midnight Riot / Rivers of London. How much embellishing did you do to the history of Punch and Judy?

Ben:  You do not need to embellish the history of Punch and Judy, the first recorded performance in Britain (in Pepys diary no less) was in the Portico at covent garden, the script I drew from is real and there really is a Puppet Fayre at Covent Garden every May.

TQ:  What's next for Peter Grant?

Ben:  Peter will continue his apprenticeship both as a wizard and as a police officer. Nightingale will have come to terms with the fact that he may have seriously neglected his duties in the last fifty years. Beverley Brook is still somewhere upstream dreaming of Peter and easily available hair products. Leslie must come to terms with her horrific injuries.

And of course, like the feeling you get when the weather starts to turn in spring, magic has begun to creep back into the world.


Ben's Books

Midnight Riot / Rivers of London
Rivers of London 1
(Del Rey - February 1, 2011)
Interview with Ben Aaronovitch and Giveaway - March 8, 2011
Probationary Constable Peter Grant dreams of being a detective in London’s Metropolitan Police. Too bad his superior plans to assign him to the Case Progression Unit, where the biggest threat he’ll face is a paper cut. But Peter’s prospects change in the aftermath of a puzzling murder, when he gains exclusive information from an eyewitness who happens to be a ghost. Peter’s ability to speak with the lingering dead brings him to the attention of Detective Chief Inspector Thomas Nightingale, who investigates crimes involving magic and other manifestations of the uncanny. Now, as a wave of brutal and bizarre murders engulfs the city, Peter is plunged into a world where gods and goddesses mingle with mortals and a long-dead evil is making a comeback on a rising tide of magic.


You can read my review of Midnight Riot / Rivers of London here.
 
 
Moon Over Soho
Rivers of London 2
(Del Rey - March 1, 2011)
Interview with Ben Aaronovitch and Giveaway - March 8, 2011
BODY AND SOUL

The song. That’s what London constable and sorcerer’s apprentice Peter Grant first notices when he examines the corpse of Cyrus Wilkins, part-time jazz drummer and full-time accountant, who dropped dead of a heart attack while playing a gig at Soho’s 606 Club. The notes of the old jazz standard are rising from the body—a sure sign that something about the man’s death was not at all natural but instead supernatural.

Body and soul—they’re also what Peter will risk as he investigates a pattern of similar deaths in and around Soho. With the help of his superior officer, Detective Chief Inspector Thomas Nightingale, the last registered wizard in England, and the assistance of beautiful jazz aficionado Simone Fitzwilliam, Peter will uncover a deadly magical menace—one that leads right to his own doorstep and to the squandered promise of a young jazz musician: a talented trumpet player named Richard “Lord” Grant—otherwise known as Peter’s dear old dad.


UK Covers
Interview with Ben Aaronovitch and Giveaway - March 8, 2011


About Ben
 
Ben Aaronovitch was born in 1964. He had parents, some brothers, some sisters and a dog named after a Russian cosmonaut. He also had the kind of dull childhood that drives a person to drink, radical politics or science fiction.
 
Discovering in his early twenties that he had precisely one talent, he took up screenwriting at which he was an overnight success. He wrote for Doctor Who, Casualty and the world's cheapest ever SF soap opera Jupiter Moon. He then wrote for Virgin's New Adventures until they pulped all his books.
 
Then Ben entered a dark time illuminated only by an episode of Dark Knight, a book for Big Finish and the highly acclaimed but not-very-well-paying Blake's 7 Audio dramas. Trapped in a cycle of disappointment and despair Ben was eventually forced to support his expensive book habit by working for Waterstones as a bookseller.
 
Ironically it was while shelving the works of others that Ben finally saw the light. He would write his own books, he would let prose into his heart and rejoice in the word. Henceforth, subsisting on nothing more than instant coffee and Japanese takeaway, Ben embarked on the epic personal journey that was to lead to Rivers of London (or Midnight Riot as it is known in the Americas).
 
At some point during the above, the most important thing in his life happened and he became a father to a son, Karifa, whom he affectionately refers to as 'The Evil Monster Boy'. The Evil Monster Boy will be reaching university age soon, so all donations will be gratefully received.
 
Ben Aaronovitch currently resides in London and says that he will leave when they pry his city from his cold dead fingers.

Ben's and Peter's Links:

The Folly: http://www.the-folly.com/
Twitter:  @Ben_Aaronovitch

Peter's Blog: http://westendblues.blogspot.com/
Peter's Twitter:  @PC_Peter_Grant

The Giveaway
 
THE RULES
 
What:  One commenter will win a Mass Market Paperback copy of Moon Over Soho.

How:  Leave a comment telling The Qwillery your favorite river, stream, brook, creek, ocean, sea, etc.? Please remember: if you don't answer the question you're entry will not be counted!
 
You may receive additional entries by:
 
1) Being a Follower of The Qwillery.
 
2) Mentioning the giveaway on Facebook and/or Twitter. Even if you mention the giveaway on both, you will get only one additional entry. You get only one additional entry even if you mention the giveaway on Facebook and/or Twitter multiple times.
 
3) Mentioning the giveaway on your on blog or website. It must be your own blog or website; not a website that belongs to someone else or a site where giveaways, contests, etc. are posted.
 
There are a total of 4 entries you may receive: Comment (1 entry), Follower (+1 entry), Facebook and/or Twitter (+ 1 entry), and personal blog/website mention (+1 entry). This is subject to change again in the future for future giveaways.
 
Please leave links for Facebook, Twitter, or blog/website mentions. In addition please leave a way to contact you.
 
Who and When:  The contest is open to all humans on the planet earth with a mailing address. Contest ends at 11:59pm US Eastern Time on Tuesday, March 15, 2011. Void where prohibited by law.
 
*Giveaway rules are subject to change.*

Interview with Ben Aaronovitch and Giveaway - February 2, 2011

Please welcome author Ben Aaronovitch to The Qwillery for the first in our 2011 Debut Author Challenge interviews.

TQ:  What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?

Ben:  I wouldn't know about interesting but somewhat, shall we say, autistic about counting the words I write. I have an EXCELL spreadsheet on which I not only do a daily log (with a progress graph) but gives a percentage of each chapter completed, average writing speed (total) average writing speed (last 7 days) and estimated completion date based on both averages plus it constantly updates the minimum daily word count required for me to complete on time. Like I said, just a tad obsessive.

TQ:  Who are some of your favorite writers? Who do you feel has influenced your writing?

Ben:  Generally my influences are quite wide; Andre Norton, Heinlein, Azimov, Moorcock, Ballard, Aldiss, Wyndham, LeGuin, William Gibson, Bujold, Cherryh, PKD and Sir Terry Pratchett (obviously). Non SFF, Umberto Eco, Bill Bryson, Rupert Graves, PD James, Jeremy Brett, Ed McBain (in particular for the Peter Grant books) and Elmore Leonard.

TQ:  Are you a plotter or a panster?

Ben:  I go with whatever is working at the time and give thanks when I reach my word target by the end of the day. It's always good to have at least a scaffold when you're writing but you mustn't mistake the scaffold for the final building. Also if you're writing anything with a mystery component than you must keep track of where your stories gone so far.

TQ:  What inspired you to write Midnight Riot / Rivers of London?

Ben:  I find ideas sort of sneak up on you. One minute I was happily ignorant of Peter Grant's existence and then - bang - he's taking over my life.

TQ:  What sort of research did you do for Midnight Riot / Rivers of  London?

Ben:  There are two directions for research. The first involves spotting something interesting in your travels, or reading or whatever and filing it away for future use. The second is more directed - for that I usually start with an internet sweep to establish what's available online and how reliable it is, if it's a location I try and visit the place, if it's an organisation I look for sources (official or otherwise), I buy books for preference, so I write in them, but if that's impracticable I have reading privileges at the British Library and the London Metropolitan Archive. Museums are also very useful since they also serve as research facilities, the London Museum particularly useful for me of course.

TQ:  Without giving anything away, what is/are your favorite scene(s) in the book?

Ben:  The ghost chase in Chapter 13.

TQ:  How many books are planned for the Rivers of London series?

Ben:  I intend to write these books until I run out of ideas or they tell me to stop - whichever comes first.

TQ:  What's next?

Ben:  Cool jazz in Soho. A faceless man. Some old style London gangsters. Women who love music too much. Some history. Rooftop chases by moonlight.

TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Ben:  Very nice of you to have me.


Ben's Books

Midnight Riot / Rivers of London
Rivers of London 1
(Del Rey - February 1, 2011)
Interview with Ben Aaronovitch and Giveaway - February 2, 2011
Probationary Constable Peter Grant dreams of being a detective in London’s Metropolitan Police. Too bad his superior plans to assign him to the Case Progression Unit, where the biggest threat he’ll face is a paper cut. But Peter’s prospects change in the aftermath of a puzzling murder, when he gains exclusive information from an eyewitness who happens to be a ghost. Peter’s ability to speak with the lingering dead brings him to the attention of Detective Chief Inspector Thomas Nightingale, who investigates crimes involving magic and other manifestations of the uncanny. Now, as a wave of brutal and bizarre murders engulfs the city, Peter is plunged into a world where gods and goddesses mingle with mortals and a long-dead evil is making a comeback on a rising tide of magic.


 
You can read my review of Midnight Riot / Rivers of London here.
 
 
Moon Over Soho
Rivers of London 2
(Del Rey - March 1, 2011)
Interview with Ben Aaronovitch and Giveaway - February 2, 2011
BODY AND SOUL

The song. That’s what London constable and sorcerer’s apprentice Peter Grant first notices when he examines the corpse of Cyrus Wilkins, part-time jazz drummer and full-time accountant, who dropped dead of a heart attack while playing a gig at Soho’s 606 Club. The notes of the old jazz standard are rising from the body—a sure sign that something about the man’s death was not at all natural but instead supernatural.

Body and soul—they’re also what Peter will risk as he investigates a pattern of similar deaths in and around Soho. With the help of his superior officer, Detective Chief Inspector Thomas Nightingale, the last registered wizard in England, and the assistance of beautiful jazz aficionado Simone Fitzwilliam, Peter will uncover a deadly magical menace—one that leads right to his own doorstep and to the squandered promise of a young jazz musician: a talented trumpet player named Richard “Lord” Grant—otherwise known as Peter’s dear old dad.

 
UK Covers 
Interview with Ben Aaronovitch and Giveaway - February 2, 2011


About Ben
 
Ben Aaronovitch was born in 1964. He had parents, some brothers, some sisters and a dog named after a Russian cosmonaut. He also had the kind of dull childhood that drives a person to drink, radical politics or science fiction.
 
Discovering in his early twenties that he had precisely one talent, he took up screenwriting at which he was an overnight success. He wrote for Doctor Who, Casualty and the world's cheapest ever SF soap opera Jupiter Moon. He then wrote for Virgin's New Adventures until they pulped all his books.
 
Then Ben entered a dark time illuminated only by an episode of Dark Knight, a book for Big Finish and the highly acclaimed but not-very-well-paying Blake's 7 Audio dramas. Trapped in a cycle of disappointment and despair Ben was eventually forced to support his expensive book habit by working for Waterstones as a bookseller.
 
Ironically it was while shelving the works of others that Ben finally saw the light. He would write his own books, he would let prose into his heart and rejoice in the word. Henceforth, subsisting on nothing more than instant coffee and Japanese takeaway, Ben embarked on the epic personal journey that was to lead to Rivers of London (or Midnight Riot as it is known in the Americas).
 
At some point during the above, the most important thing in his life happened and he became a father to a son, Karifa, whom he affectionately refers to as 'The Evil Monster Boy'. The Evil Monster Boy will be reaching university age soon, so all donations will be gratefully received.
 
Ben Aaronovitch currently resides in London and says that he will leave when they pry his city from his cold dead fingers.

Ben's & Peter's Links:

The Folly: http://www.the-folly.com/
Twitter:  @Ben_Aaronovitch

Peter's Blog: http://westendblues.blogspot.com/
Peter's Twitter:  @PC_Peter_Grant

The Giveaway
 
THE RULES
 
What:  One commenter will win a Mass Market Paperback of Midnight Riot.
 
How:  Leave a comment telling The Qwillery whether you like the US Covers or UK Covers better? Please remember - if you don't answer the question your entry will not be counted.
 
You may receive additional entries by:
 
1) Being a Follower of The Qwillery.
 
2) Mentioning the giveaway on Facebook and/or Twitter. Even if you mention the giveaway on both, you will get only one additional entry. You get only one additional entry even if you mention the giveaway on Facebook and/or Twitter multiple times.
 
3) Mentioning the giveaway on your on blog or website. It must be your own blog or website; not a website that belongs to someone else or a site where giveaways, contests, etc. are posted.
 
There are a total of 4 entries you may receive: Comment (1 entry), Follower (+1 entry), Facebook and/or Twitter (+ 1 entry), and personal blog/website mention (+1 entry). This is subject to change again in the future for future giveaways.
 
Please leave links for Facebook, Twitter, or blog/website mentions. In addition please leave a way to contact you.
 
Who & When: The contest is open to all humans on the planet earth with a mailing address. Contest ends at 11:59pm US Eastern Time on Wednesday, February 9, 2011. Void where prohibited by law.
 
*Giveaway rules are subject to change.*

Review - Midnight Riot / Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch - 4 1/2 Qwills

Midnight Riot
Author: Ben Aaronovitch
Series: Rivers of London 1
Format: Mass Market Paperback, 320 pages
Publisher: Del Rey (February 1, 2011)
Price: $7.99
Language: English
Genre: Urban Fantasy
ISBN: 978-0-345-52425-6
Review Copy: Arc provided by Publisher

Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, Borders

Review - Midnight Riot / Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch - 4 1/2 Qwills
Probationary Constable Peter Grant dreams of being a detective in London’s Metropolitan Police. Too bad his superior plans to assign him to the Case Progression Unit, where the biggest threat he’ll face is a paper cut. But Peter’s prospects change in the aftermath of a puzzling murder, when he gains exclusive information from an eyewitness who happens to be a ghost. Peter’s ability to speak with the lingering dead brings him to the attention of Detective Chief Inspector Thomas Nightingale, who investigates crimes involving magic and other manifestations of the uncanny. Now, as a wave of brutal and bizarre murders engulfs the city, Peter is plunged into a world where gods and goddesses mingle with mortals and a long-dead evil is making a comeback on a rising tide of magic.



UK Cover and synopsis
Review - Midnight Riot / Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch - 4 1/2 Qwills
My name is Peter Grant and until January I was just probationary constable in that mighty army for justice known to all right-thinking people as the Metropolitan Police Service (as the Filth to everybody else). My only concerns in life were how to avoid a transfer to the Case Progression Unit - we do paperwork so real coppers don't have to - and finding a way to climb into the panties of the outrageously perky WPC Leslie May. Then one night, in pursuance of a murder inquiry, I tried to take a witness statement from someone who was dead but disturbingly voluable, and that brought me to the attention of Inspector Nightingale, the last wizard in England. Now I'm a Detective Constable and a trainee wizard, the first apprentice in fifty years, and my world has become somewhat more complicated: nests of vampires in Purley, negotiating a truce between the warring god and goddess of the Thames, and digging up graves in Covent Garden ...and there's something festering at the heart of the city I love, a malicious vengeful spirit that takes ordinary Londoners and twists them into grotesque mannequins to act out its drama of violence and despair. The spirit of riot and rebellion has awakened in the city, and it's falling to me to bring order out of chaos - or die trying.

My thoughts:

While Ben Aaronovitch has written some Doctor Who tie-in novels, this is his first original novel and his urban fantasy debut. Midnight Riot / Rivers of London is quite simply fabulous. It's a mystery, police procedural, and urban fantasy wrapped in a rich mythology of London's rivers.

I find it interesting that this novel has two different covers and two different titles. This is not the first time this has happened in the history of novels, of course. I find it interesting because the covers and titles reflect two different aspects of the same story.

"Rivers of London" seems to emphasize the fantasy construct underlying the story: a mythology of London's rivers. Peter Grant, the main character, has to deal with issues created by the rivers. He deals directly with the gods and goddesses of the rivers and streams - the rivers personified. "Midnight Riot" seems to emphasize the police procedural aspect of the novel. A terrible chain of events has been set off. The mystery underlying the crimes comes from London's past. These two themes of the novel intertwine sometimes in surprising, but satisfying, ways.

Themes aside, this is essentially a story about Peter Grant. I find Detective Constable Grant to be a likable, flawed character. He makes mistakes. He's sometimes foolish, but he's got a curious mind and a willingness to learn. He's also got a scientific mind which would seem at odds with his new assignment working with DCI Nightingale investigating crimes that involve magic. However, this serves him well as he starts to navigate the world of magic. It's incredibly fun to read about his attempts at magic and watch him begin his journey to wizardom. He's starting to grow into both his jobs - Detective Constable and wizard.

The characters both paranormal and normal are well written. The river gods and goddesses are particularly well drawn. I'm intrigued by DCI Nightingale and hope to learn more about him in future books. The pacing is well done. The police procedures are detailed and interesting. There is quite a bit of detail about London and environs, which I enjoyed. I love the understated humor that suffuses Midnight Riot / Rivers of London. I'm looking forward to Moon Over Soho (March 1, 2011).

I give Midnight Riot / Rivers of London 4 1/2 Qwills.


Review - Midnight Riot / Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch - 4 1/2 QwillsReview - Midnight Riot / Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch - 4 1/2 Qwills
Melanie's Month in Review - August 2019Melanie's Week in Review - June 25, 2017Review: Foxglove Summer by Ben AaronovitchReview:  Broken Homes by Ben AaronovitchMelanie's Week in Review  - January 5, 2014Interview with Ben Aaronovitch and Giveaway - March 8, 2011Interview with Ben Aaronovitch and Giveaway - February 2, 2011Review - Midnight Riot / Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch - 4 1/2 Qwills

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