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Melanie's Week in Review - May 20, 2018


Melanie's Week in Review - May 20, 2018


Hello! I am writing this while watching highlights of the royal wedding. I am not really a royalist and but I decided to tune in anyway. Partly it was a good excuse to eat orange scones....which I have to say are delicious. It also meant I could use the antique tea set that I barely have an opportunity to take out of my china cabinet. Did you watch?

This wasn't one of my more prolific weeks reading. It was Wednesday when I realised I wasn't even halfway through a single book. In my defense it was the release of the season finale of both Lucifer and of Dynasty so I had to watch those.  So what did I read?


Melanie's Week in Review - May 20, 2018
I read The Master, the 3rd Gameshouse Novella, by Claire North. I had reviewed the two previous books months ago and loved them. The final instalment does not disappoint. Silver decides to make a stand and challenge the Gamesmaster to the ultimate game - for control of the Gameshouse. The Gameshouse has sustained him for centuries along with the other elite players but he has decided he has had enough.  This is the ultimate game. The largest and most deadly game of chess ever played where not just the pawns are sacrificed.

This is a fantastic novella. Your head will be positively spin at the number of locations that Silver finds himself. North has a real gift of describing her characters and their environment without a lot of prose which means that she is able to send Silver on a manic journey from one country to the next and next and next in just novella. In this series North creates characters who you can't help but like even though they are pretty uncaring and rather evil. I was really cheering on Silver from the sidelines and I wasn't sure how it was going to turn out. If you want a great series of novellas that are both standalone but interconnected then look no further! These are must reads.


Melanie's Week in Review - May 20, 2018
I was determined to finish The World Awakening by Dan Koboldt so that I could tell you all about it. So now I have a confession. I just couldn't finish it. I had planned to cheat as I got over halfway through and was going to skip to the end but I just couldn't. I discussed my inability to finish this book with the hubinator. I couldn't quite put my finger on what it was that meant I couldn't face reading it. As I mentioned book two was pretty dull and not much happened whereas in book 3 it was almost non stop action. The closest reason that the hubs and I could agree on was that it was just too juvenile and the hero wasn't very heroic. Its a shame as I really liked the first book. Sorry!


Well that is it for me for this week. I am planning to have more to tell you about next week. Promise! Until next week Happy Reading!





The Master
Gameshouse Novella 3
Redhook, November 3rd 2015
eBook, 100 pages

Melanie's Week in Review - May 20, 2018
The Gameshouse is an unusual institution.

Many know it as the place where fortunes can be made and lost though games of chess, backgammon – every game under the sun.

But a select few, who are picked to compete in the higher league, know that some games are played for higher stakes – those of politics and empires, of economics and kings . . .

And now, the ultimate player is about to step forward.





The World Awakening
Gateways to Alissia 3
Harper Voyager Impulse, February 13, 2018
   eBook, 448 pages
Harper Voyager Impulse, April 3, 2018
   Mass Market Paperback, 448 pages

Melanie's Week in Review - May 20, 2018
"The World Awakening is a great conclusion to what is a very readable and highly enjoyable series. Characters that are more than the sum of their parts, a world that has so much to offer, and a story that races along apace – the Gateways to Alissia books have it all." -- SFFworld

Quinn Bradley has learned to use the magic of another world. And that world is in danger.

Having decided to betray CASE Global, he can finally reveal his origins to the Enclave and warn them about the company’s imminent invasion. Even if it means alienating Jillaine…and allying with someone he’s always considered his adversary.

But war makes for strange bedfellows, and uniting Alissians against such a powerful enemy will require ancient enmities—as well as more recent antagonisms—to be set aside. The future of their pristine world depends on it.

As Quinn searches for a way to turn the tide, his former CASE Global squad-mates face difficult decisions of their own. For some, it’s a matter of what they’re willing to do to get home. For others, it’s deciding whether they want to go home at all.

Continuing the exciting adventures from The Rogue Retrieval and The Island Deception, The World Awakening is the spellbinding conclusion to the Gateways to Alissia fantasy series from Dan Koboldt.

Melanie's Week in Review - August 6, 2017


Melanie's Week in Review - August 6, 2017

This is going to be short WIR this week as I have been a been busy reading books I can't review....or at least not yet. The Qwillery is participating in the Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off 3 and I am busy trying to find the next winner (I voted for the book that won the last SPFBO). I am also part of the beta review group for Michael Sullivan's third instalment of the Legend's of the First Empire Series - Age of War. It will be quite a while before I can tell you what I thought. So what did I read?


Melanie's Week in Review - August 6, 2017
I discovered a great series of novellas from Claire North - The Gameshouse. Novella number 1 - The Serpent - is set in the 1700's in Venice and centers on Thene who was married off at the age of 15 to a drunken lout who gambles away her dowry. When she is forced to join her husband at the mysterious gambling house aptly named The Gameshouse she doesn't realise how much her life will change. The better you are at gaming the higher you rise in the leagues until you are playing a game far more sinister than you ever expected. Kings are toppled, wars are won and lives destroyed by the roll of the dice and all because of the Gameshouse.

No one really knows where the Gameshouse exists but it seems to exist outside of time and the games that are played are for higher stakes than a few coins. The way that North sets out her world inside the Gameshouse is very descriptive but she leaves enough to the readers imagination so that you can picture it in your mind. Not only is the plot compelling but the way in which North tells Thene's story is really unique. The reader is cast as an observer, following Thene throughout Vienna on her journey to win the game. Through the alleys and canals of Venice we follow Thene as she puts her pieces in play hoping that she has made the right choices. Finding out whether she wins is a nail biter. This is a fantastic read and very difficult to put down.

Melanie's Week in Review - August 6, 2017
Novella 2 is The Thief which it is set in the 1930's in Thailand. It starts again, in the Gameshouse where this time Remy Burke makes a dangerous gamble. He has to play a real life game of hide and seek. If he loses the game he loses all his memories so winning is the only option. From north to south and east to west Remy travels through Thailand trying not to get caught. Whether he wins or loses is for you to find out.

Yet again, another fantastic novella by North. Despite the fact that Remy was a bit of a drunken loser he still made you want to root for him and pray that he won the game. The Gameshouse seems even more sinister in this instalment than before and seems to take on a life of it's own. This is another great (and short) read. Don't miss out.


Melanie's Week in Review - August 6, 2017
Now, I feel I must apologise. I have had Urban Enemies for a few months now. It is an anthology of short stories all about the bad guys. Several popular authors contributed short stories of their favourite baddies that you love to hate including Jim Butcher, Seanan McGuire and Kelly Armstrong. I have to admit I couldn't finish it! I have surprised even myself. I think the fact that Jim Butcher's contribution was the same one as in the anthology Dark and Stormy Knights (St. Martin's Griffin; July 2010) was a bit too disappointing and rather turned me off. I am not the biggest fan of short stories and when they all center around the antagonist I seemed to lose interest very quickly. Sorry!


That is it for me this week. I hope you have had productive weeks and I am looking forward to telling you about novella 3 of the Gameshouse series - The Master - next week. Until then Happy Reading!





The Serpent
The Gameshouse 1
Redhook, November 3, 2015
eBook, 100 pages

Melanie's Week in Review - August 6, 2017
In 17th Century Venice exists a mysterious establishment known only as the Gameshouse.

There, fortunes are made and fortunes are broken over games of chess, backgammon and every other game under the sun.

But those whom fortune favours may be invited to compete in the higher league . . . a league where the games played are of politics and empires, of economics and kings. It is a league where Capture the Castle involves real castles, where hide and seek takes place on a scale as big as the British Isles.

Not everyone proves worthy of competing in the higher league. But one woman, who is about to play, may just exceed everyone's expectations.

Though she must always remember: the higher the stakes, the more deadly the rules . . .



The Thief
The Gameshouse 2
Redhook, November 3, 2015
eBook, 100 pages

Melanie's Week in Review - August 6, 2017
The Gameshouse is an unusual institution.

Many know it as the place where fortunes can be made and lost through games of chess, backgammon - every game under the sun.

But a select few, who are picked to compete in the higher league, know that some games are played for higher stakes - those of politics and empires, of economics and kings . . .

In 1930s Bangkok, one higher league player has just been challenged to a game of hide and seek. The board is all of Thailand - and the seeker may use any means possible to hunt down his quarry - be it police, government, strangers or even spies . . .





Urban Enemies
Edited by Joseph Nassise
Gallery Books, August 1, 2017
Trade Paperback and eBook, 448 pages

Melanie's Week in Review - August 6, 2017
Villains have all the fun—everyone knows that—and this anthology takes you on a wild ride through the dark side! The top villains from seventeen urban fantasy series get their own stories—including the baddies of New York Times bestselling authors Jim Butcher, Kevin Hearne, Kelley Armstrong, Seanan McGuire, and Jonathan Maberry.

For every hero trying to save the world, there’s a villain trying to tear it all down.

In this can’t-miss anthology edited by Joseph Nassise (The Templar Chronicles), you get to plot world domination with the best of the evildoers we love to hate! This outstanding collection brings you stories told from the villains' point of view, imparting a fresh and unique take on the evil masterminds, wicked witches, and infernal personalities that skulk in the pages of today’s most popular series.

The full anthology features stories by Jim Butcher (the Dresden Files), Kelley Armstrong (Cainsville), Seanan McGuire (October Daye), Kevin Hearne (The Iron Druid Chronicles), Jonathan Maberry (Joe Ledger), Lilith Saintcrow (Jill Kismet), Carrie Vaughn (Kitty Norville), Joseph Nassise (Templar Chronicles), Domino Finn (Black Magic Outlaw), Steven Savile (Glasstown), Caitlin Kittredge (Hellhound Chronicles), Jeffrey Somers (The Ustari Cycle), Sam Witt (Pitchfork County), Craig Schaefer (Daniel Faust), Jon F. Merz (Lawson Vampire), Faith Hunter (Jane Yellowrock), and Diana Pharaoh Francis (Horngate Witches).

Melanie's Week in Review - May 20, 2018Melanie's Week in Review - August 6, 2017

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