Audiobook Review: ‘Six of Crows’ by Leigh Bardugo

A stunning, tense and dark adventure that carries the reader from the streets of Ketterdam to the splendour of the Ice Court on the most dangerous mission Kaz Brekker and the Dregs had ever taken on. 

The writing is powerful and compelling, conveying the desperation and adrenaline of the story, and the imagery is rich in sensory detail.

Telling the story from the different characters’ perspectives create an intriguing dramatic irony that both informs the reader and helps to build the suspense and anticipation that completely  hooks the audience. 

The narrators – one for each central character – are expressive and very listenable, making the story flow and creating a very effective interweaving of the strands of the story. The characters really come to life with the audio, especially in the recounting of their backstories, the exposition of their thoughts and fears, and the revelation of their perceptions and responses to the other characters and the experiences they share. 

The story remains suspenseful and maintains the innate tension of the story right to the end. 

Book Review: ‘Sentinels of Oz’ by JB Trepagnier

‘Sentinels of Oz’ is Book 1 of the Emerald City Academy series, a reverse harem adventure set in the not-so-wonderful-anymore land of Oz.

Francesca and Saffron, daughters of the witches of the East and the West, embody the struggle of those who deal with notoriety in the family and trying to claim what is rightfully theirs, despite the prejudice and judgement of most of the populous. In this, the author gives the readers an intriguing perspective, from which Dorothy and her friends are not necessarily heroes they have been made out to be. 

The characters are quirky and highly individual, but also relatable to readers. Each has strengths and flaws, motivations and priorities. The central characters also share a mission and a desire for justice, which binds them together and positions the reader alongside them. I really enjoyed the snark and sarcasm of Francesca, and I appreciated the fact that even though the four central characters had known one another all their lives, they could still disordered other. 

The story is a highly engaging blend of fantasy and mystery which draws the reader in and keeps them guessing to the end.The ending balances the resolution of some questions with the development of others, making the reader both satisfied with the conclusion and keen for the next book in the series.

This book should not, however, be mistaken for a children’s story. The story contains adult and sexual content which is definitely not appropriate for younger readers. 

Overall, this is a fun and enjoyable read.

New Release: ‘The Gaia Solution’ by Claire Buss

The Gaia Solution
book 3 of The Gaia Collection
is out now in paperback & ebook

Kira, Jed and their friends have fled New Corporation and joined the Resistance, but their relief is short-lived as they discover how decimated the human race has become and learn of an environmental crisis that threatens to destroy their existence. Kira and Jed must travel up the mountain to the New Corporation stronghold, City 50, to bargain for sanctuary while Martha and Dina risk everything to return to City 42 and save those who are left. With the last of her reserves Gaia, the fading spirit of the Earth uses her remaining influence to guide Kira and her friends but ultimately, it’s up to humanity to make the right choice.

More about The Gaia Collection series

The Gaia Collection is Claire Buss’s hopeful dystopian trilogy set 200 years in the future after much of the planet and the human race have been decimated during The Event, when the world went to war with high-energy radiation weapons.

In The Gaia Effect, Kira and Jed Jenkins – a young couple who were recently allocated a child – together with their closest friends, discover Corporation have been deliberately lying to them and forcing them to remain sterile. With help from Gaia, the spirit of the Earth, the group of friends begin to fight back against Corporation eventually winning and taking over the governance of City 42.

In The Gaia Project, Corporation fight back under a new, more terrifying organization called New Corp and Kira, Jed and their friends end up fleeing for their lives trying to find a safe place to live. They travel to City 36 and City 9 in vain and must go further afield. 

In the final book, The Gaia Solution, the main characters have ended up with the Resistance and not only do they have to deal with surviving against New Corp but an extinction environmental event is looming on the horizon and they’re running out of time to save what’s left of the human race.

Book Buy Links

The Gaia Effect – mybook.to/gaiaeffect
The Gaia Project – mybook.to/gaiaproject
The Gaia Solution – mybook.to/gaiasolution 

What Readers Say

Praise for The Gaia Effect, winner of the 2017 Raven Award for best sci-fi/fantasy book:
‘A story filled with emotion, angst & hope’
‘Brilliant post-apocalyptic science fantasy’
‘Wonderfully written, with a warm friendship at its heart’
‘A fantastic debut novel’ 

Praise for The Gaia Project
A fantastic read from start to end’
‘Great book, thought-provoking read’
‘Mums are the heroes of the story and it’s the relationships that make it all work’ 

About the Author

Claire Buss is a multi-genre author and poet based in the UK. She wanted to be Lois Lane when she grew up but work experience at her local paper was eye-opening. Instead, Claire went on to work in a variety of admin roles for over a decade but never felt quite at home. An avid reader, baker and Pinterest addict Claire won second place in the Barking and Dagenham Pen to Print writing competition in 2015 with her debut novel, The Gaia Effect, setting her writing career in motion. She continues to write passionately and is hopelessly addicted to cake. 

Social Media Links

Facebook: www.facebook.com/busswriter
FB Group: www.facebook.com/groups/BussBookStop
Twitter: www.twitter.com/grasshopper2407
Website: www.cbvisions.weebly.com
Blog: https://www.butidontlikesalad.blogspot.co.uk

Book Review: ‘The Guilty Path : Versatile Layer Book 5’ by Thomas K Davis

The fifth book in the Versatile Layer science fiction series, this book has some great qualities. The story is interesting and exciting, with moments of intense action balanced by humour and character development to give the reader a feeling of being on the same side as the protagonist, the warrior Adeola. There are characters who are likeable, and others who are less so. Most intriguing, though, are those whose status as ally or antagonist remains unclear as the story progresses, maintaining the mystery of the story and it’s outcomes right to the end.

Sadly, though, the book doesn’t live up to its potential because it really needs editing. There are too many basic errors that compromise the quality of the writing and cause frequent and unnecessary frustration for readers. The author clearly knows how to write well, so this seems to be an issue of poor quality control that would easily be overcome with thorough proofreading and correction.

Book Review: ‘The Hood Game: Rise Of The Greenwood King’ by J.P. Reedman

This is a captivating historical fantasy retelling of the story of Robin Hood and his outlaw band, set during the traditional time period of the reign of the largely absent Richard I, the Lionheart. 

The characters of legend are brought to life again, their backstories and antics told anew in a well-crafted, exciting narrative. The imagery and the action of the story immerse the reader in the company of outlaws, creating a sense of familiarity and bonding with Robyn and his companions. 

In addition to being a great story, this book serves as a vivid reminder of how hard life really was for the common folk in 12th century England, especially those who were excluded from society because of circumstances that were often beyond their control. It is easy to see why figures like Prince John, the Sheriff of Nottingham and Guy of Gisbourne were resented and despised by so many, and why men like Robin Hood became the stuff of English legend. 

Book Review: ‘The Night Circus’ by Erin Morgenstern

The story of Le Cirque des Rêves is magical and fantastic, drawing the reader into a world of illusion, mystery, and wonder. It is a story full of contrasts: light and dark, reality and illusion, cold and heat,  truth and deceit, life and death. Richly imaginative and sensory, the story is absolutely captivating. Yet at its very heart is a secret so cold and dark that it doesn’t even seem to be compatible with such a wonderful tale.  

While the lines and boundaries are blurred, and morality is highly subjective, the reader is drawn strongly to certain characters: Celia and Marco, Poppet, Widget and Bailey, and becomes deeply invested in their stories. 

I loved the story concept, the settings and the characters. I very much enjoyed the clever Shakespearean references, some of which were very obvious while others were much more subtle and covert, possibly going undetected by readers less familiar with the works of the Bard. 

However, I was frustrated by two aspects of the book. Not only was the plot development very slow… and I do mean  s  l  o  w, I found the author’s regular forays into writing overtly in second person incredibly annoying and distracting, particularly in conjunction with present tense. Was this story set at a series of specific points in history,  as the dates at the beginning of chapters suggested, or was it happening right now? Either way, I’m perfectly certain I am not, nor was I ever, actually there. When I encountered this on the second page, it was so jarring that I almost put the book down for god, thinking the whole narrative might be like that. 

Never one to quit a book early, I kept going. The story was good enough for me to almost manage to forget while reading that the writing is in present tense, but the second person perspective interrupted the flow of the narrative and broke my concentration every single time.  I understand that the intent was to immerse the reader into the story, but it actually had the opposite effect on me, and it happened far too often for me to easily forgive. 

As a result, the book left me with mixed feelings and wondering if I was being petty because I didn’t like it as much as I wanted to. I know it’s very much a matter of personal taste, and I’m glad I persisted with it, but I can’t deny that I am disappointed. As a lover of fantasy, magical stories, and dark fiction, this should have been everything I wanted in a book, but it wasn’t. 

As the old saying goes, it’s a fine line between love and hate. I find myself standing on that very line, still unsure of which way to fall. 

New Release: ‘When The Paint Dries’ by C.A. King

The Four Horsemen series by C.A. King is a paranormal suspense series that pitches good against evil in a ‘winner takes all’ struggle that culminates in ‘When The Paint Dries’, the fourth and final book in the series.

Meet the four horsemen: Michael, Gabrielle, Uriel and Raphael.

For centuries their sole purpose has been guarding the sealed gates to hell. Without keys, there was never any real threat. That was about to change…

Blond hair and leadership skills go hand in hand, at least for demigods. That sort of fame and glory, however, comes with a hefty price tag. Raphael is living proof of that. The straight and narrow is his destined path, and in all his years, he never once veered, allowing his personal life to fall by the wayside in the name of duty.

He isn’t buying into the madness his siblings are spewing about true love and the keys—in fact—he’s positive it’s all an elaborate scheme. Whoever is masquerading as Dante picked the wrong family to mess with and Raphael will do anything to prove it.

It’s winner takes all in this final instalment of the Four Horsemen Series. When the paint dries, someone has to come out on top, but can they live with themselves when they do?