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A blog about books and other things speculative

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Melanie's Week in Review - December 11, 2016


Melanie's Week in Review - December 11, 2016


Melanie's Week in Review - December 11, 2016
I'm baaaack. I hope that you missed me. I had a great time in Berlin as you can see from this photo of me enjoying a gluwein (aka mulled wine) in one of Berlin's many Christmas markets. There are so many interesting things to see and do so if you ever have the opportunity and haven't been then I recommend you go. If you go in December wear your long johns though as it was freeezzzzing!

Enough of my holiday how about what I have read.


Melanie's Week in Review - December 11, 2016
First up was Wilkie Martin's fourth instalment of the hapless Andy Caplet and formidable Inspector Hobbes. When we left Andy he was had unwittingly helped to solve a crime and netted himself a job and a girlfriend in the process. Book 4 - Inspector Hobbes and the Bones - is set two years later and finds Andy at a loose end. His wife has gone to Egypt on an archaeological dig leaving him to his own devices. Unfortunately, terrible floods have hit the area which leaves Andy homeless and back living on Black Dog street with Hobbes and Mrs. Goodfellow. It's not long before Andy becomes embroiled in a new case when a local resident ends up dead. Andy and Hobbes (well mostly Hobbes) are back on the case in between eating Mrs. Goodfellow's sumptuous food.

I really enjoy this series and Inspector Hobbes and the Bones was no exception. Andy is as accident prone and unlucky as ever. He seems to get himself into one pickle after another and there is one 'predicament' that Andy finds himself in that is especially funny. Poor Andy. I was certain that the last book was the final one and while I would have been happy with that I still really enjoyed this latest adventure. Martin stays true to his characters and yet delivers another intricately woven plot. I think you could read this as a stand alone but why would you want to miss books 1-3? Too fun to miss.


Melanie's Week in Review - December 11, 2016
Book 2 for me was Mage Slave by R.K. Thorne which is the first in the Enslaved Chronicles. The story centers on 2 characters - the mage slave Miara who has been made to kidnap Prince Aven (also a mage). The main focus of the story follows what happens subsequent to Aven's capture and their romantic entanglement. I don't have a lot to say here because I did not enjoy Thorne's tale. I found the characters were overtly innocent and immature. Aven only seemed interested in finding a girlfriend and despite being kidnapped by Miara he flitted around the story like a lost puppy. I did finish it but did a lot of skim reading. This was hard going.


Melanie's Week in Review - December 11, 2016
I am able to say that I can give you the feedback sandwich - good news, bad news, good news. You have had first two pieces of my sandwich and now it is onto the third. I thoroughly enjoyed Oddjobs by Heide Goody and Iain Grant. Oddjobs introduces us to Morag Murray who has moved from Edinburgh to Birmingham to work for a covert organisation who are responsible for organizing the end of the world. The world has been inhabited by an alien race of fish type monsters. Humanity is doomed and it won't be long before the alien apocalypse subjects mankind of something worse than hell. However, before that happens there is paperwork to do!

This is a really unique book. End of the world with a twist. I enjoyed the characters, didn't guess what was going to happen and found it really amusing. It was very 'British' with a number of British 'in jokes' which I thought were very funny but I am not sure those not familiar with life in England would actually get these jokes. Don't let that stop you from enjoying a truly funny book.


That is it for me this week. I hope to give you some good news next week. I have a bunch of books to read and looking forward to telling you all about them. Until next week Happy Reading!





Inspector Hobbes and the Bones
unhuman 4
The Witcherley Book Company, December 16, 2016
Trade Paperback and eBook, 348 pages

Melanie's Week in Review - December 11, 2016
There’s going to be trouble. Andy Caplet’s wife goes away, someone is out to get him, and he loses nearly everything in a storm. Amazing both himself and his unhuman friend Inspector Hobbes, he heroically rescues flood victims and uncovers something shocking.

Is Andy being set up for blackmail by the apparently charming young woman who attempts to seduce him, or is something even more sinister afoot? Hobbes certainly believes so, and he’s getting worried.

This is the fourth in Wilkie Martin’s unhuman series of cosy comedy crime fantasies.


Melanie's Week in Review - December 11, 2016Melanie's Week in Review - December 11, 2016Melanie's Week in Review - December 11, 2016





Mage Slave
The Enslave Chronicles 1
Iron Antler Books, July 2016 - Kindle eBook and Trade Paperback
Iron Antler Books, November 5, 2016 - Hardcover

Melanie's Week in Review - December 11, 2016
A warrior prince, a talented spy. A quest to free an enslaved people begins.

Crown Prince Aven Lanuken wants something more than a trophy for a future wife. He wants a woman who will be more friend than follower. A queen who will be more warrior than diplomat. He wants a partner he can trust… with a dangerous secret that’s kept him trapped in a dark mountain fortress his entire life.

Mage slave Miara wants something more, too—to find an enemy prince. And not to marry him. She’s just received orders for her very first kidnapping. She loathes the idea of it, and it’s probably a suicide mission. But she has never failed a mission before and doesn't intend to start now.

Of all the women in the world, why does he have to fall for the one trying to kill him?

Magic, politics, love, and fate collide in the destinies of two people in this fantasy adventure from R. K. Thorne. For lovers of swords and sorcery with a side of romance, Mage Slave is the first novel in the Enslaved Chronicles trilogy.





Oddjobs
Pigeon Park Press, June 12, 2016
     Trade Paperback, 294 pages
Pigeon Park Press, August 11, 2016
     Kindle eBook, 296 pages

Melanie's Week in Review - December 11, 2016
It’s the end of the world as we know it, but someone still needs to do the paperwork.
Incomprehensible horrors from beyond are going to devour our world but that’s no excuse to get all emotional about it. Morag Murray works for the secret government organisation responsible for making sure the apocalypse goes as smoothly and as quietly as possible.

In her first week on the job, Morag has to hunt down a man-eating starfish, solve a supernatural murder and, if she’s got time, prevent her own inevitable death.

The first book in a new comedy series by the creators of ‘Clovenhoof’, Oddjobs is a sideswipe at the world of work and a fantastical adventure featuring amphibian wannabe gangstas, mad old cat ladies, ancient gods, apocalyptic scrabble, fish porn, telepathic curry and, possibly, the end of the world before the weekend.

Melanie's Week in Review - August 7, 2016


Melanie's Week in Review - August 7, 2016


This has been a really good week for me. Not only was this my last week in my current job and I had a great send off but I also finished 2 excellent books.  Without further adieu this is what I read.


Melanie's Week in Review - August 7, 2016
If you have been reading my WIR you will know I have been glutting on Wilkie Martin's Inspector Hobbes series. I just couldn't resist book 3 - Inspector Hobbes and the Gold Diggers. Martin does it again with another great adventure for the larger than life Hobbes and his accident prone assistant Andy Caplet. In this instalment Hobbes becomes a minor celebrity when trying to capture some bank robbers. With the paparazzi on the doorstep Hobbes decides to take Andy camping in the Blacker Mountains until his notoriety blows over. When Andy (well really Dregs) finds a skeleton of a local man the pair find themselves, not only trying to find the missing gold but also who was murdered and why. This isn't the only surprise in story for Hobbes and Andy. When they eventually return home there is another surprise in store for Hobbes in the form of Kathy - his alleged long lost daughter. All this while Andy tries to impress the new lady in town. Life is never dull on Black Dog Street.

Martin does it again with another fantastic instalment. There is a lot happening in this one with the mystery of the stolen gold and the murder but it gets ramped up a notch when Kathy turns up. Andy ends up having to entertain Kathy with rather hilarious results. The funny doesn't end there especially when Andy tries to impress the newest single lady in town. When his lady love gets targeted by the new thug in town Andy decides to step up and protect her. I think this hapless hero gets knocked out and rescued more times than everyone else added together. There is a lot happening in this instalment and we actually get to find out what Hobbes really is. I was a teeny bit disappointed by this but laughing over Andy's antics made up for it. This certainly read like a final book and I hope Martin leaves us with just the three stories. Sometimes you can have too much of a good thing.


Melanie's Week in Review - August 7, 2016
Book number 2 was Magic Binds by Ilona Andrews which is the 9th in the Kate Daniels series. I think I could probably sum up my whole review with just one word - WOW! I loved Magic Binds. If I wanted to digress into language far too young for me I would probably say I thought it was awesome!

Kate discovers that her father has kidnapped the demigod Saiman and she is determined to get him back. It's not that straightforward however as Kate learns that a Witch Oracle has had visions that her marriage to Curran will lead to the burning of her city - Atlanta - and have devastating consequences for Curran and their relationship as well. Kate needs help and the only person that can help her died at her hands. The odds are stacked against her but when has Kate ever played by the rules?

This instalment is nonstop action. I felt that I was on a roller coaster as every other page held some immensely, tense, plot advancing scene. I felt like a firecracker went off every chapter with huge fireworks in the penultimate chapter especially with the monumentally huge reveal and epic battle. I think this is the best book of the series and I really liked book 3. I can now see why the authors were totally exhausted when they finished writing this one as I felt drained just reading it. Fans of the series brace yourself. Also, plan to stay up late as you won't be able to put it down.


As you can see I read two great but very different books. What's in store for me next week? I can hardly wait to find out myself. Until then happy reading.

Melanie's Week in Review - July 31, 2016


Melanie's Week in Review - July 31, 2016


Hello! Happy end of July.  I can't believe it is halfway through summer already and I have only had 1 week of nice weather. Boo!  On the upside I am starting a new job in August and this was my penultimate week in my current one.  I got to see half of my fave colleagues and the other half this week coming. My new job means I will have more time commuting on the tube which should mean I read more.  Fingers crossed, as that is the plan.  I read two great books this week.  Let me tell you all about them.


Melanie's Week in Review - July 31, 2016
Lucky me got a copy of The Thief Who Knocked on Sorrow's Gate by Michael McClung from the publisher, Ragnarok Publications. Mainly because I was practically crying I couldn't buy the next instalment! Thank you to the generous publisher. McClung was the winner of the very first SPFBO with The Thief Who Pulled on Trouble's Braids. I really enjoyed it and book number 2 - The Thief that Spat in Luck's Good Eye.

In this instalment Amra is enjoying her new life in her lovely big mansion with the former mage Holgren. Well she was enjoying it until she receives a box containing the head of an enemy from her hometown of Bellarius. Despite never wanting to step foot in Bellarius every again she finds herself back and trying to outwit one assassination attempt after another. The gods have decided to meddle in human affairs and the Eighthfold Goddess particularly likes to meddle with Amra. It's not long before Amra discovers that a very special knife - The Knife that Parts the Night has been found which will be used to tear the fabric of reality apart....well unless Amra can stop it, of course. Another dangerous adventure for the reformed thief.

I really enjoyed this instalment of the series. We learn a bit more about Amra's past and how she ended up as a thief. It isn't a pleasant tale and one that Amra wishes she could forget. We also find out about Amra's family and what happened to her parents. The purging of the street children of Bellarius right before Amra escaped was a key theme of the story and one that weaves itself into the overall plot. The ending was very dramatic and we are left almost falling off a Mount Everest sized cliff hanger. Book 4 won't be released until later this year and it can't come soon enough.

See all of Michael McClung's novels at Ragnarok here.


Melanie's Week in Review - July 31, 2016
Book number 2 for me was also book number 2 of the Unhuman series by Wilkie Martin - Inspector Hobbes and the Curse. This series is addictive and very, very funny. We are back with the accident prone Andy Caplet who is still living with Inspector Hobbes, Mrs. Goodfellow who can cook a mean curry and Dregs the dog. When some local sheep end up dead Hobbes and Andy are on the case which takes them to the local wild animal park where Andy meets the beautiful Violet. Immediately infatuated Andy tries his best to impress but fails miserably, much to my amusement. Sightings of big cats, escaped elephants and a murder or two are the all pieces of the case that Hobbes, with Andy's help, must solve before anyone else gets hurt.

Martin has the gift for merging some really funny situations with a good mystery. I was laughing even more at Andy's antics and internal musings than I was at book 1. There is the most hilarious scene when Andy falls foul of the local cider at the town fair. Luckily I was at home when reading this scene so didn't have to suffer any quizzical looks from fellow commuters as I laughed out loud. Andy and Hobbes are a great pair and their adventures make for a series that you can't stop reading.

See Wilkie Martin's novels at his website here.


That is it for me this week. I hope you have had a good week and until next Happy Reading.

Melanie's Week in Review - July 24, 2016


Melanie's Week in Review - July 24, 2016

I am sure you will be glad to know that summer has landed in the UK. This week was 'scorchio'. Tuesday and Wednesday had temperatures in the 30Cs. It was fantastic. Maybe not so fantastic on the tube but I refuse to complain after so many weeks of grey, gloomy days with rain, rain and more rain. This lovely weather meant that I got to spend some time outside reading and watching back to back episodes of Grace and Frankie which I think it is hilarious. So what did I read in the sunshine?


Melanie's Week in Review - July 24, 2016
It was another book from SPFBO2016 with Shadows Bear No Names (The Blackened Prophecy Part 1) by Oganalp Canatan. This was a bit of a change for me as it was science fiction and all of the other books I have been reading for this competition have been fantasy. I quite enjoyed this change in genre and the tale of the reluctant hero Ray.
Ray just wants to live his ordinary life as a freighter captain delivering goods around the Consortium but fate has other ideas. After the loss of his crew and the destruction of his ship Ray is determined that he must make amends. However, an elderly priest is just as determined that Ray fulfills his destiny as the new found saviour of mankind. Meanwhile a covert organisation has infiltrated the Consortium and one of it's special agents is on the hunt for Ray. Flight and fight across the galaxy as Ray tries to escape his destiny and not get murdered in the meantime, all in the backdrop of an alien race trying to take over the universe. A hair raising science fiction adventure with a dash of Indiana Jones and healthy sprinkling of Star Trek Voyager.

I quite enjoyed Shadows Bear No Names which is pretty good going for me as I don't always enjoy reading science fiction. I thought that Ray was a believable character and thought he was well supported by Brother Cavill, Sarah and the ancient Ga'an. I also thought that the alien invasion plotline and search for the tools to banish them from the galaxy was interesting. This was a sound debut novel and well done to Canatan. Where I thought it needed improvement was during the battles scenes. These were just too long and I found myself partaking in a bit of skim reading. Had Canatan tightened these chapters up a bit more I think he would have had a fantastic debut.


Melanie's Week in Review - July 24, 2016
Book number 2 for me this week was Inspector Hobbes and the Blood by Wilkie Martin. Let me just start off by saving that I LOVED THIS BOOK AND IT WAS HILARIOUS.  Yes, I am shouting...why you may ask? This was the first book in a long time that I really loved reading. It was also one of the first books in even longer that I have read that I laughed out loud while reading even on public transport!

Andy doesn't realise that his life is about to change when he is sent on assignment with Inspector Hobbes. A veritable crime wave has hit the small Cotswold town and the larger than life Inspector Hobbes is on the case. Following ...quite far behind... is the slovenly, unfit and bumbling Andy Caplet. It's not long before Andy is living with the mysterious Inspector and his tooth collecting housekeeper Mrs. Goodfellow, who both scares Andy and delights him with her sumptuous meals. When Hobbes goes missing Andy is determined to fight his fear and find the Inspector. Armed with a leg of lamb and accompanied by an extra large dog Andy is on the case of lifetime.

What more can I say? This is a fantastic read and hats off to Martin for writing such hilarious characters in such hilarious situations. Andy is so inept that you can't help but cheer him on. Book 2 is next on my list and I can hardly wait to read it.


Melanie's Week in Review - July 24, 2016
I have been remiss in not telling you about another great book I read a few weeks ago - The Ghoul King by Guy Haley. This is the second novella in the Dreaming Cities series. This instalment is set a few weeks after the events of book 1 and finds the Knight Quinn down on his luck and on the wrong side of the angels. The story is retold by Jaxon, a local healer. Through Jaxon's memories we travel with Quinn and Jaxon as they search for the means of fixing an enigmatic woman's robot. What they find is sooo much more.

I apologise for not telling you much more than that. What I can say is that I loved this book. From the first page there is a huge reveal and by the end your eyes are almost popping out with all the secrets that have been uncovered. I can HARDLY wait for the next instalment. All this plus a great cover


That is it for me for this week.  I had a really good week this week and looking forward to next week where I will hopefully continue the trend. Until then - Happy Reading!

Melanie's Week in Review - December 11, 2016Melanie's Week in Review - August 7, 2016Melanie's Week in Review - July 31, 2016Melanie's Week in Review - July 24, 2016

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