The Qwillery | category: T.J. Berry


The Qwillery

A blog about books and other things speculative

The View From Monday - May 27, 2019

Happy Monday!

There is one debut this week:

Last Day by Domenica Ruta.

The View From Monday - May 27, 2019
Clicking on a novel's cover will take you to its Amazon page.

From formerly featured DAC Authors:

The Shotgun Arcana (Golgotha 2) by R.S. Belcher is out in Mass Market Paperback;

The Captain's Oath (Star Trek) by Christopher L. Bennett;

Five Unicorn Flush (The Reason 2) by T.J. Berry;

Stranger Things: Darkness on the Edge of Town (An Official Stranger Things Novel) by Adam Christopher;

The Darkest Time of Night by Jeremy Finley in out in Mass Market Paperback;


Limited Wish (Impossible Times 2) by Mark Lawrence.

The View From Monday - May 27, 2019 The View From Monday - May 27, 2019
The View From Monday - May 27, 2019 The View From Monday - May 27, 2019
The View From Monday - May 27, 2019 The View From Monday - May 27, 2019
Clicking on a novel's cover will take you to its Amazon page.

The View From Monday - May 27, 2019

Debut novels are highlighted in blue. Novels, etc. by formerly featured DAC Authors are highlighted in green.

May 28, 2019
The Red-Stained Wings Elizabeth Bear F - The Lotus Kingdoms 2
The Shotgun Arcana (mm) R. S. Belcher HistF/DF/SP - Golgotha 2
The Captain's Oath Christopher L. Bennett SF - Star Trek
Five Unicorn Flush T.J. Berry SF/AC/SO - The Reason 2
Longer Michael Blumlein SF/SE/GenEng
The Stiehl Assassin Terry Brooks F - Fall of Shannara 3
Stranger Things: Darkness on the Edge of Town Adam Christopher SupTh/SF/MTI - An Official Stranger Things Novel
The Darkest Time of Night (h2mm) Jeremy Finley Sus/SF/AC
1637: The Volga Rules (h2mm) Eric Flint
Paula Goodlett
Gorg Huff
SDRing of Fire 25
The Siege of Terra: Solar War John French SF - Horus Heresy 1
The Sandman Vol. 8: World's End 30th Anniversary Edition Neil Gaiman
Bryan Talbot (Illustrator)
Dune: The Butlerian Jihad (ri) Brian Herbert
Kevin J. Anderson
SF/SO - Legends of Dune Trilogy 1
The Footprints of God (ri) Greg Iles Th
Time's Demon D. B. Jackson F/TT/DF - Islevale Cylce 2
Sweet Heart (ri) Peter James H/GH/Sus
Godzilla: King of the Monsters - The Official Movie Novelization Greg Keyes MTI/SF
Marvel Novels - Spider-Man: Kraven's Last Hunt (ri) Neil Kleid MTI/SH
Limited Wish Mark Lawrence SF/TT - Impossible Times 2
Genevieve Undead Kim Newman H
The Gameshouse Claire North SF/Sus/LF - Gameshouse
Expiration Date (tp2mm) Tim Powers UF
The Immortal Renshai (h2mm) Mickey Zucker Reichert FairyT/FolkT/LM/DF/F - Renshai Saga 3
The Rulers of the Dead Josh Reynolds
David Annandale
F - Warhammer: Age of Sigmar
Last Day (D) Domenica Ruta LF/CoA/SF/AP/PA
Timeless (h2mm) R. A. Salvatore F - Drizzt 1
Fuzzy Nation (ri) John Scalzi SF/AC/HSF
Agent to the Stars (ri) John Scalzi SF/AC/HU
The Android's Dream (ri) John Scalzi SF/AC/HU
The Gallows Black (e) Sam Sykes F - The Grave of Empires Novella
Walking to Aldebaran Adrian Tchaikovsky SF
Wild Rider Gav Thorpe SF - Rise of the Ynnari 2
Four Dominions (h2mm) Eric Van Lustbader SupTh/Sus - The Testament 3
Lent Jo Walton HistF/AH/FairyT/FolkT/LM
Conventions of War (ri) Walter Jon Williams SF - Dread Empire's Fall 3

D - Debut
e - eBook
Ed - Editor
h2mm - Hardcover to Mass Market Paperback
h2tp - Hardcover to Trade Paperback
mm - Mass Market Paperback
ri - reissue or reprint
tp2mm - Trade Paperback to Mass Market Paperback
Tr - Translator

AB - Absurdist
AC - Alien Contact
AH - Alternative History
AP - Apocalyptic
BH - Black Humor
CF - Contemporary Fantasy
CoA - Coming of Age
Cr - Crime
CW - Contemporary Women
CyP - CyberPunk
DF - Dark Fantasy
Dys - Dystopian
F - Fantasy
FairyT - Fairy Tales
FL - Family Life
FolkT - Folk Tales
FR - Fantasy Romance
GenEng - Genetic Engineering
GH - Ghost(s)
H - Horror
HistF - Historical Fantasy
HistTh - Historical Thriller
HSF - Hard Science Fiction
HU - Humorous
LF - Literary Fiction
LM - Legend and Mythology
MR - Magical Realism
MTI - Media Tie-In
Occ - Occult
P - Paranormal
PA - Post Apocalyptic
PNR - Paranormal Romance
PopCul - Popular Culture
Psy - Psychological
PsyTh - Psychological Thriller
SE - Space Exploration
SF - Science Fiction
SFR - Science Fiction Romance
SFTh - Science Fiction Thriller
SH - Superheroes
SO - Space Opera
SocSci - Social Science
SP - Steampunk
SS - Short Stories
Sup - Supernatural
SupTh - Supernatural Thriller
Sus - Suspense
TechTh - Technological Thriller
Th - Thriller
TT - Time Travel
UF - Urban Fantasy
VM - Visionary & Metaphysical

Note: Not all genres and formats are found in the books, etc. listed above.

Melanie's Month in Review - April 2019

Melanie's Month in Review - April 2019

Hello again. Sorry, I haven't been around for a while. I have had a lot of bad news since February so haven't been reading that much. I am very lucky that I write for the very nice and lovely Qwill who has been very understanding with my lack of blogging. I am back now with which is a semi bumper crop of books to tell you about. So without much further ado this is what I have read (or listened to).

Melanie's Month in Review - April 2019
I was super excited when I found T.J. Berry's Five Unicorn Flush on NetGalley. I loved book 1 - Space Unicorn Blues and couldn't believe that it was a debut as it was such a great concept, well written with great characters.  You can read my review here. I liked it so much it made my top 5 of 2018. This second instalment starts not long after the events of book 1 when all of the supernaturals (the Bala) were teleported away to a new planet far, far away from the cruelty of humanity. The story starts on board the Stagecoach Mary with Jenny Perata at the helm of the ship desperately searching for her wife, a dryad who has gone missing with the rest of the Bala. While Jenny creeps through space on an aging spaceship and no unicorn horn to fuel it Gary, my favourite space unicorn, is on his new home planet. Not everyone is that happy with Gary or his father from taking them away from all the 'creature' comforts they have gotten used to...even if those comforts led to the torture and death of many of their kin. Two more characters from book 1 are also searching for the new Bala home planet - Biao who is hiding his magical lineage from the humans and the very human, Will Penny. Forces are drawing the humans to Gary and his kind in the back drop of a civil war between the Bala.

Sometimes the second book of a series can be a bit of a let down or not as exciting as the first. Not in the case of the The Reason series. The scenes with Jenny Perata on and off the Stage Coach Mary were really amusing and Jenny is a great, broken heroine. Gary wants to do the best for his kin but can't seem to live up to anyone's expectations, including his own. He is torn between wanting to save his kind and saving humans and this creates the tension that supports the story.

I thoroughly enjoyed Five Unicorn Flush despite another massive cliff hanger ending. Berry has the ability to write a gritty but humorous story that keeps you guessing what is going to happen next.

Melanie's Month in Review - April 2019
Another great find on NetGalley was Middlegame by Seanan McGuire. A game is afoot and the game pieces are two young children - Roger and Dodger. Dodger is a mathematical genius while her twin brother is extremely gifted with words/vocabulary. They live on opposite sides of the country and communicate telepathically. The game master is Reed. He created the twins as a means of releasing magic into the world and to elevate him to godhood. This is a game of life or death and the twins have decided not to play by the rules.

I have to admit that for the first 5-6 chapters I had no clue what was going on. It took me a while to get into the story and before the references to a child's book started every new chapter. The story really didn't take off until Roger and Dodger were adults and met for the first time and this doesn't happen until mid-way through the book. It wasn't the easiest book to read but it was well written and the plotline quite innovative. It looks like a one off so not a big investment in time if you already enjoy other books by this author. I suggest giving it a go with an open mind.

Melanie's Month in Review - April 2019
The next two books I am going to tell you about share similarities. These are that they are written by the same author and I listened to them rather than read them. So what are they you ask?  Circe and The Songs of Achilles by Madeline Miller. The first one I came across was Circe so I will tell you about this one first. This novel is a bit of a winner - award winner. It was the Goodreads Choice winner and won the Orange prize. It was also cited as a 'must read' by a couple of English newspaper book reviewers. I think it was well deserved praise. Circe the book is the story of Circe the mythological daughter of Helios, god of the sun. Circe is mainly shunned by the gods and doesn't live up to the divinity of either of her parents. She ends up seeking companionship in mortals and discovers the forbidden magic -witchcraft. After a particularly vengeful spell she is exiled by Zeus to the remote island of Aiaia where she lives a fairly secluded life except for encounters with both gods and mortals alike. Over the centuries she harnesses her witchraft and becomes renowned for her own powers. With that power also comes hardship and it's not long before she has to decide if she wants to align to the gods who shun her or the mortals who she has grown to love.

Melanie's Month in Review - April 2019
I really enjoyed this book and really glad I listened to the audiobook version. I thought Peridita Weeks did a fantastic job of bringing Circe and all the gods to life. I wasn't as familiar with Circe as I am with some of the other Greek myths but the story is a real virtual page turner. I don't think you need to have any knowledge or love of Greek mythology to enjoy this story so whether you want to read the physical version, the e-Book or the audiobook version I highly recommend that you do.

One could be fooled into thinking that The Songs of Achilles is about Achilles. It is indirectly, but  more about it's narrator  - Achilles' friend and lover, Patroclus. The story starts when Patroclus is a very young boy who has been exciled and goes to live with Achilles. It tracks Achilles life through Patroclus' eyes and growing love up to and including the siege of Troy.

The Songs of Achilles is a true love story and beautifully told. I didn't love the narrator as much as I have others but story itself brings the characters to life. I really felt that I was in ancient Greece smelling the olive oil and feeling the sun on my skin. This is a truly evocative story and I especially enjoyed the bittersweet ending. Two fantastic books by a fantastic author that are must reads.

Melanie's Month in Review - April 2019
That is all I have to tell you about for this month apart from one book that was a DNF - Fluffy's Revolution by Ted Myers. I thought this might be a bit of a feel good, talking cat kind of fun book. The only problem is that this book is written for a 8-12 year old reader so not quite my age group. I couldn't even pretend I could read it and found it far too juvenile and banal. If you have a cat loving youngster in your life then I would recommend it for a very young reader.

That's it for me for me. I hope April showers bring May great reads! Happy Reading!

Five Unicorn Flush
The Reason 2
Angry Robot Books, May 28, 2019
Trade Paperback and eBook, 400 pages

Melanie's Month in Review - April 2019
Only one woman with a magical parasite can unite the galaxy, in the mind-blowing SF sequel to Space Unicorn Blues

Reasonspace is in shambles after the disappearance of all magical creatures. Without faster-than-light travel, supply and communication routes have dried up, leaving humankind stranded and starving. Cowboy Jim and his complement of Reason soldiers search for the relocated Bala using the only surviving FTL drive. On their new utopian planet, the Bala are on the brink of civil war between those who want peace under old-fashioned unicorn rule and those who seek revenge on their human oppressors. Only Captain Jenny and her new brain parasite can stop the Reason plan to enslave the Bala again.

File Under: Science Fiction [ Elves on the Brain | Lust for Magic | Best Served Hot | FTL Hell ]

Middlegame, May 7, 2019
Hardcover and eBook, 528 pages

Melanie's Month in Review - April 2019
New York Times bestselling and Alex, Nebula, and Hugo-Award-winning author Seanan McGuire introduces readers to a world of amoral alchemy, shadowy organizations, and impossible cities in the standalone fantasy, Middlegame.

Meet Roger. Skilled with words, languages come easily to him. He instinctively understands how the world works through the power of story.

Meet Dodger, his twin. Numbers are her world, her obsession, her everything. All she understands, she does so through the power of math.

Roger and Dodger aren’t exactly human, though they don’t realise it. They aren’t exactly gods, either. Not entirely. Not yet.

Meet Reed, skilled in the alchemical arts like his progenitor before him. Reed created Dodger and her brother. He’s not their father. Not quite. But he has a plan: to raise the twins to the highest power, to ascend with them and claim their authority as his own.

Godhood is attainable. Pray it isn’t attained.

The Song of Achilles
Ecco, August 28, 2012
Trade Paperback, August 12, 2012
  eBook, March 6, 2012

Melanie's Month in Review - April 2019
“At once a scholar’s homage to The Iliad and startlingly original work of art by an incredibly talented new novelist….A book I could not put down.”
—Ann Patchett

“Mary Renault lives again!” declares Emma Donoghue, author of Room, referring to The Song of Achilles, Madeline Miller’s thrilling, profoundly moving, and utterly unique retelling of the legend of Achilles and the Trojan War. A tale of gods, kings, immortal fame, and the human heart, The Song of Achilles is a dazzling literary feat that brilliantly reimagines Homer’s enduring masterwork, The Iliad. An action-packed adventure, an epic love story, a marvelously conceived and executed page-turner, Miller’s monumental debut novel has already earned resounding acclaim from some of contemporary fiction’s brightest lights—and fans of Mary Renault, Bernard Cornwell, Steven Pressfield, and Colleen McCullough’s Masters of Rome series will delight in this unforgettable journey back to ancient Greece in the Age of Heroes.

Little, Brown and Company, April 10, 2018
Hardcover and eBook, 400 pages

Melanie's Month in Review - April 2019
“A bold and subversive retelling of the goddess’s story,” this #1 New York Times bestseller is “both epic and intimate in its scope, recasting the most infamous female figure from the Odyssey as a hero in her own right” (Alexandra Alter, The New York Times).

In the house of Helios, god of the sun and mightiest of the Titans, a daughter is born. But Circe is a strange child–not powerful, like her father, nor viciously alluring like her mother. Turning to the world of mortals for companionship, she discovers that she does possess power–the power of witchcraft, which can transform rivals into monsters and menace the gods themselves.

Threatened, Zeus banishes her to a deserted island, where she hones her occult craft, tames wild beasts and crosses paths with many of the most famous figures in all of mythology, including the Minotaur, Daedalus and his doomed son Icarus, the murderous Medea, and, of course, wily Odysseus.

But there is danger, too, for a woman who stands alone, and Circe unwittingly draws the wrath of both men and gods, ultimately finding herself pitted against one of the most terrifying and vengeful of the Olympians. To protect what she loves most, Circe must summon all her strength and choose, once and for all, whether she belongs with the gods she is born from, or the mortals she has come to love.

With unforgettably vivid characters, mesmerizing language and page-turning suspense, Circe is a triumph of storytelling, an intoxicating epic of family rivalry, palace intrigue, love and loss, as well as a celebration of indomitable female strength in a man’s world.

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER–NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY NPR, The Washington Post, People, Time, Amazon, Entertainment Weekly, Bustle, Newsweek, the A.V. Club, Christian Science Monitor and Refinery 29, Buzzfeed, Paste, Audible, Kirkus, Publishers Weekly, Thrillist, NYPL, Self Real Simple, Goodreads, Boston Globe, Electric Literature, BookPage, the Guardian, Book Riot, Seattle Times, and Business Insider

Fluffy's Revolution
Black Rose Writing, March 28 2019
Trade Paperback and eBook, 145 pages

Melanie's Month in Review - April 2019
“Brisk sci-fi futurism with a feline star and a positive outlook.” –KIRKUS REVIEWS

The fate of the world rests on the haunches of one small cat.

It’s 2135. Fluffy is a super-intelligent GAB (Genetically Altered Brain) cat. Like many dogs, cats, mice, and the occasional pig, her brain is the product of genetic tinkering by humans that started more than a century ago. With their powers of telekinesis, the animals can manipulate physical objects without being able to grasp them. They can speak to each other telepathically without audible voices. Now, people have begun to fear them and to systematically capture and exterminate them. Fluffy leaves the safety of her home to look for her lost brother and joins a band of animal revolutionaries. After a series of brushes with death, Fluffy and her friends find a secret university for GAB animals. There, they work with enlightened humans to save Earth from certain destruction.

Melanie’s Top 5 of 2018

It’s that time of year when I look back at all the books I read in previous year. At first I didn’t think that there were many stand-outs for me in 2018 but I had to whittle down a rather longer list down to these 5 faves. I will start in reverse order.

5.  Space Unicorn Blues by T.J Berry and The Wolves of Winter by Tyrell Johnson

Melanie’s Top 5 of 2018
Sorry, there is a tie for my 5th favourite book of 2018 as I couldn’t decide between these two fantastic debut novels.

April bought not only showers but Tyrell Johnson’s post apocalyptic The Wolves of Winter onto my Kindle. I was pleasantly surprised that this debut didn’t end up in the cliche it could have been when the tall, dark and handsome stranger stumbles into the young Lynn’s lonely life. Tyrell’s snowy landscape had a life of its own and almost became another character in the tale. If you enjoy character driven stories than this is definitely one you need to read. Check out my review.

Melanie’s Top 5 of 2018
I enjoyed Space Unicorn Blues in July, during the hottest summer we have had in the UK in years. As a little reminder here is my review. The plot line of this story is truly unique and Berry carefully balances action, characterisation and world building. She did an excellent job.

Gary, the half unicorn prince and hero of this tale is a great conflicted character and you can’t help but to cheer him on. This story is very action packed and has one of the best cliff hangers of the year. I am really looking forward to the next instalment

4.  Foundryside by Robert J. Bennett

Melanie’s Top 5 of 2018
Bennett very nearly had 2 books in my top 5 but Foundryside just pipped City of Mirrors to make it into my top 5. This is the first instalment of Bennett’s new series The Founders set in a world where magic has been industrialised and only the Founders have any power. It’s Sancia, a thief who inadvertently turns the world upside down when she ends up stealing an artefact of unbelievable power. Sancia is a great character and she is joined by an eclectic cast of characters. Bennett has such an amazing imagination and writes characters that are so interesting and complex. Foundryside is no different. This is an all round great book. See my review here.

3.  The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton

Melanie’s Top 5 of 2018
The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle is the best ‘who dunnit’ I have read in a long time. I actually
listened to this as an audiobook and I am so glad that I did as the narrator is excellent and really sets the mood. This book had me on tenterhooks as I couldn’t guess who the committed the murder or why Aiden Bishop kept jumping from body to body. The story is like reading a game of Cluedo (or Clue in the US/Canada) but where you get to play every character. Murder mystery lovers this is a must read.

2.  Magic Triumpths by Ilona Andrews

Melanie’s Top 5 of 2018
I would be remiss if I didn’t include the final instalment of the Kate Daniels series in my top 5 so here it is - Magic Trimphs. I almost can’t believe the series is over. I have been reading this series for almost 10 years (I was a late comer to the series and read the first 3 books together) so it feels a bit weird that it is over although I am glad that it is as I feel that Andrews has written all she could about these characters. I am glad they decided to finish it rather than keep churning out the books like other authors have done. Rather than re-hash my review check it out& here.

1.  Iron and Magic by Ilona Andrews

Melanie’s Top 5 of 2018
What can I say I loved Hugh! If you follow my reviews you won’t be surprised to learn that Iron and Magic is my fave book of 2018. I read the e-ARC, I bought the book and I listened to the Audible version.....more than once. I was soo surprised I liked Hugh as much as I did. I have to admit I thought Andrews were bonkers when I first read that they were planning a book about the 2nd biggest baddy in the Kate Daniels series. I was on the verge of being upset that they were ‘wasting’ their time writing about this character when I was waiting for Kate or an Innkeeper book. Good thing I am not in charge of their publishing schedule as I love, love, loved this book. It wasn’t the complicated plot or originality that made me like it so was all down to Hugh’s redemption and general ‘coolness’. If you want to find out more here is my review.

There you top 5. If you are looking for a good book hopefully you will find one here. I would love to know what is on your top 5. Leave me a comment.

Space Unicorn Blues
The Reason 1
Angry Robot, July 3, 2018
Trade Paperback and eBook, 384 pages

Melanie’s Top 5 of 2018
A misfit crew race across the galaxy to prevent the genocide of magical creatures, in this unique science fiction debut.

Humanity joining the intergalactic community has been a disaster for Bala, the magical creatures of the galaxy: they’ve been exploited, enslaved and ground down for parts. Now the Century Summit is approaching, when humans will be judged by godlike aliens.

When Jenny Perata, disabled Maori shuttle captain, is contracted to take a shipment to the summit, she must enlist half-unicorn Gary Cobalt, whose horn powers faster-than-light travel. But he’s just been released from prison, for murdering the wife of Jenny’s co-pilot, Cowboy Jim… When the Reason regime suddenly enact laws making Bala property, Jenny’s ship becomes the last hope for magic.

File Under: Science Fiction [ Rocks in Space | Stand Up to Reason | The Human Experiment | Last Unicorn ]

The Wolves of Winter
Scribner, January 2, 2018
Hardcover and eBook, 320 pages
   Trade Paperback, December 4, 2018

Melanie’s Top 5 of 2018
A captivating tale of humanity pushed beyond its breaking point, of family and bonds of love forged when everything is lost, and of a heroic young woman who crosses a frozen landscape to find her destiny. This debut novel is written in a post-apocalyptic tradition that spans The Hunger Games and Station Eleven but blazes its own distinctive path.

Forget the old days. Forget summer. Forget warmth. Forget anything that doesn’t help you survive in the endless white wilderness beyond the edges of a fallen world.

Lynn McBride has learned much since society collapsed in the face of nuclear war and the relentless spread of disease. As the memories of her old life continue to haunt, she’s forced to forge ahead in the snow-drifted Canadian Yukon, learning how to hunt and trap and slaughter.

Shadows of the world before have found her tiny community—most prominently in the enigmatic figure of Jax, who brings with him dark secrets of the past and sets in motion a chain of events that will call Lynn to a role she never imagined.

Simultaneously a heartbreakingly sympathetic portrait of a young woman searching for the answer to who she is meant to be and a frightening vision of a merciless new world in which desperation rules, The Wolves of Winter is enveloping, propulsive, and poignant.

The Founders Trilogy 1
Crown, August 21, 2018
Hardcover and eBook, 512 pages
   Trade Paperback, May 21, 2019

Melanie’s Top 5 of 2018
“The exciting beginning of a promising new epic fantasy series. Prepare for ancient mysteries, innovative magic, and heart-pounding heists.”—Brandon Sanderson

“Complex characters, magic that is tech and vice versa, a world bound by warring trade dynasties: Bennett will leave you in awe once you remember to breathe!”–Tamora Pierce

In a city that runs on industrialized magic, a secret war will be fought to overwrite reality itself–the first in a dazzling new series from City of Stairs author Robert Jackson Bennett.

Sancia Grado is a thief, and a damn good one. And her latest target, a heavily guarded warehouse on Tevanne’s docks, is nothing her unique abilities can’t handle.

But unbeknownst to her, Sancia’s been sent to steal an artifact of unimaginable power, an object that could revolutionize the magical technology known as scriving. The Merchant Houses who control this magic–the art of using coded commands to imbue everyday objects with sentience–have already used it to transform Tevanne into a vast, remorseless capitalist machine. But if they can unlock the artifact’s secrets, they will rewrite the world itself to suit their aims.

Now someone in those Houses wants Sancia dead, and the artifact for themselves. And in the city of Tevanne, there’s nobody with the power to stop them.

To have a chance at surviving—and at stopping the deadly transformation that’s under way—Sancia will have to marshal unlikely allies, learn to harness the artifact’s power for herself, and undergo her own transformation, one that will turn her into something she could never have imagined.

The 7 1½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle
Sourcebooks Landmark, September 18, 2018
Hardcover and eBook, 448 pages
    Trade Paperback, May 7, 2019

Melanie’s Top 5 of 2018
One of Stylist Magazine's 20 Must-Read Books of 2018
One of Harper's Bazaar's 10 Must-Read Books of 2018
One of Marie Claire, Australia's 10 Books You Absolutely Have to Read in 2018

The Rules of Blackheath
Evelyn Hardcastle will be murdered at 11:00 p.m.
 There are eight days, and eight witnesses for you to inhabit.
We will only let you escape once you tell us the name of the killer.
Understood? Then let’s begin...


Evelyn Hardcastle will die. Every day until Aiden Bishop can identify her killer and break the cycle. But every time the day begins again, Aiden wakes up in the body of a different guest. And some of his hosts are more helpful than others...

The most inventive debut of the year twists together a mystery of such unexpected creativity it will leave readers guessing until the very last page.

Magic Triumphs
Kate Daniels 10
Ace, August 28, 2018
Hardcover and eBook, 336 pages
   Mass Market Paperback, May 7, 2019

Melanie’s Top 5 of 2018
Mercenary Kate Daniels must risk all to protect everything she holds dear in this epic, can’t-miss entry in the thrilling #1 New York Times bestselling urban fantasy series.

Kate has come a long way from her origins as a loner taking care of paranormal problems in post-Shift Atlanta. She’s made friends and enemies. She’s found love and started a family with Curran Lennart, the former Beast Lord. But her magic is too strong for the power players of the world to let her be.

Kate and her father, Roland, currently have an uneasy truce, but when he starts testing her defenses again, she knows that sooner or later, a confrontation is inevitable. The Witch Oracle has begun seeing visions of blood, fire, and human bones. And when a mysterious box is delivered to Kate’s doorstep, a threat of war from the ancient enemy who nearly destroyed her family, she knows their time is up.

Kate Daniels sees no other choice but to combine forces with the unlikeliest of allies. She knows betrayal is inevitable. She knows she may not survive the coming battle. But she has to try.

For her child.

For Atlanta.

For the world.

Iron and Magic
The Iron Covenant 1
NYLA, June 28, 2018
eBook, 322 pages

Melanie’s Top 5 of 2018
No day is ordinary in a world where Technology and Magic compete for supremacy…But no matter which force is winning, in the apocalypse, a sword will always work.

Hugh d’Ambray, Preceptor of the Iron Dogs, Warlord of the Builder of Towers, served only one man. Now his immortal, nearly omnipotent master has cast him aside. Hugh is a shadow of the warrior he was, but when he learns that the Iron Dogs, soldiers who would follow him anywhere, are being hunted down and murdered, he must make a choice: to fade away or to be the leader he was born to be. Hugh knows he must carve a new place for himself and his people, but they have no money, no shelter, and no food, and the necromancers are coming. Fast.

Elara Harper is a creature who should not exist. Her enemies call her Abomination; her people call her White Lady. Tasked with their protection, she's trapped between the magical heavyweights about to collide and plunge the state of Kentucky into a war that humans have no power to stop. Desperate to shield her people and their simple way of life, she would accept help from the devil himself—and Hugh d’Ambray might qualify.

Hugh needs a base, Elara needs soldiers. Both are infamous for betraying their allies, so how can they create a believable alliance to meet the challenge of their enemies?

As the prophet says: “It is better to marry than to burn.”

Hugh and Elara may do both.

Melanie's Week in Review - July 15, 2018

Melanie's Week in Review - July 15, 2018

I cannot believe we are halfway through July already. It doesn't seem very long ago that it was January. The weather doesn't feel like January though. This is by far the hottest summer I have ever experienced in England and I have been here for 24 years. Day after day have been scorchio. It's like being back in Canada. The downside (besides the super douper hot tube trains) is that the hot weather impacts how much I read. I like to sit outside and enjoy the sunshine but I can't always see my Kindle in the bright sun. That's why I missed last week but fear not, I am back now to tell you what I did manage to read.

Melanie's Week in Review - July 15, 2018
A hundred years after humanity fled its dying planet to look for a new home in the stars they didn't expect to come across all the species from myth and legend. Fairies, elves and even unicorns live deep in space and rather than try to live together the humans declared war and spent the next decades murdering and enslaving the very creatures that saved them from the brink of death. Gary Cobalt, half human and half unicorn has just been released after spending 10 years in prison for murdering a young woman. He's back and he is on a mission. He wants his family's stone ship back. But standing in his way is Captain Jenny Perata, the very human that kept him captive and brutalized him for a decade. Seems pretty simple - get ship and fly away but nothing is ever that straightforward for Gary. Rather than escaping with his ship he ends up helping Jenny with one last delivery and it could very well be the last thing that Gary ever does. Will the magic run out for this story's half unicorn hero? Don't let me stop you finding out.

Space Unicorn Blues by TJ Berry definitely wasn't what I was expecting it to be. I am not sure what I was expecting from a story about a half human half unicorn named Gary that lives in space. I think I was anticipating that it would be funny when in fact, it was anything but. The backdrop to Gary's story was very dark and the circumstances in which he ends up in prison are brutal. Parallels can be drawn between the enslavement and subjugation of the magical and mythical creatures by the humans and real life events. It wasn't completely dark and moody as there were some scenes to lighten the overall mood.

Berry told the story from different perspectives and chapters flowed from one POV to another - mainly Gary's and Jenny's. This worked well to set context and to explain the background of the various characters as well as past events. I wanted to dislike Jenny for how she treated Gary but like Gary I was oddly drawn to her. This demonstrated Berry's ability to create interesting and compelling characters. It was however Gary that stole the show...or in this case the story. I was really rooting for him as he seemed to lurch from one disaster to another. There was a lot of action in this story and it was very tense in certain parts, especially in the final chapters. I wasn't completely sure whether certain characters would survive. The end has a super, shocker big reveal. I was really surprised and I can hardly wait to find out what happens next. This is a great book for both science fiction and fantasy fans. A must read.

Melanie's Week in Review - July 15, 2018
I always feel bad when I am lucky enough to be offered a book from the publisher but don't like it enough to finish it. This is the case, unfortunately with Peril in the Old Country by Sam Hooker. I really wanted to enjoy this story as it sounded silly and fun and I usually always enjoy that type of book. I first started reading this book back in April and then realised it wasn't going to be published until June so I stopped and re-started a few weeks ago. I got approximately 40% of the way through and gave up.

My issue with this story was pace. When I started to struggle to keep reading I read a few reviews and other reviewers commented that it was a slow burn and took a while to get into. Hooker drags out setting up the main characters, mainly Sloot Peril. There were some truly funny lines and characters but the events to setup the main plot were just too drawn out. Quite simply, I got bored. I think this could have been a very funny short story or novella but as a full length book it just didn't work for me.

That is it for me this week. I hope that wherever you are and whatever you are doing that the sun is shining on the pages of a great read. Until next week Happy Reading.

Space Unicorn Blues
The Reason 1
Angery Robot, July 3, 2018
Trade Paperback and eBook, 384 pages

Melanie's Week in Review - July 15, 2018
A misfit crew race across the galaxy to prevent the genocide of magical creatures, in this unique science fiction debut.

Humanity joining the intergalactic community has been a disaster for Bala, the magical creatures of the galaxy: they’ve been exploited, enslaved and ground down for parts. Now the Century Summit is approaching, when humans will be judged by godlike aliens.

When Jenny Perata, disabled Maori shuttle captain, is contracted to take a shipment to the summit, she must enlist half-unicorn Gary Cobalt, whose horn powers faster-than-light travel. But he’s just been released from prison, for murdering the wife of Jenny’s co-pilot, Cowboy Jim… When the Reason regime suddenly enact laws making Bala property, Jenny’s ship becomes the last hope for magic.

File Under: Science Fiction [ Rocks in Space | Stand Up to Reason | The Human Experiment | Last Unicorn ]

Peril in the Old Country
Terribly Serious Darkness 1
Black Spot Books, June 5, 2018
Trade Paperback and eBook, 302 pages

Melanie's Week in Review - July 15, 2018
What terror lurks in the shadows of the Old Country?

Well, there are the goblins, of course. Then there are the bloodthirsty cannibals from nearby Carpathia, secret societies plotting in whispers, and murder victims found drained of their blood, to name a few. That's to say nothing of the multitude of government ministries, any one of which might haul one off for "questioning" in the middle of the night.

The Old Country is saturated with doom, and Sloot is scarcely able to keep from drowning in it. Each passing moment is certain to be his last, though never did fate seem so grim as the day he was asked to correct the worst report ever written.

Will the events put in motion by this ghastly financial statement end in Sloot's grisly death? Almost definitely. Is that the worst thing that could happen? Almost definitely not.
The View From Monday - May 27, 2019Melanie's Month in Review - April 2019Melanie’s Top 5 of 2018Melanie's Week in Review - July 15, 2018

Report "The Qwillery"

Are you sure you want to report this post for ?