Review: The View from the Cheap Seats by Neil Gaiman

The View from the Cheap Seats by Neil Gaiman (UK edition)

Title: The View from the Cheap Seats
Author: Neil Gaiman
Genre: Non-Fiction
Publisher: HEADLINE PUBLISHING GROUP (11th April 2017)
Blurb:

‘Literature does not occur in a vacuum.
It cannot be a monologue. It has to be a conversation’

This collection will draw you in to exchanges on making good art and Syrian refugees, the power of a single word and playing the kazoo with Stephen King, writing about books, comics and the imagination of friends, being sad at the Oscars and telling lies for a living. Here Neil Gaiman opens our minds to the people he admires and the things he believes might just mean something – and welcomes us to the conversation too.

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (4 stars)
Review:

In THE VIEW FROM THE CHEAP SEATS Neil Gaiman dips his toe into the non-fiction genre with a series of essays on a variety of topics. It is hard to sum up this collection, as the topics covered are so varied and different; they have also been written at various stages of the author’s life. To try and create some form of cohesion within the book the eighty-seven (if I haven’t miscounted) articles are split into ten loosely themed sections, but even those are chaotic in nature. It is, despite being non-fiction, very “Gaiman-esq” in theme and style – by which I mean, a hodgepodge of non-connected ideas that somehow mesh and form a solid and entertaining whole.

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Review: The Names They Gave Us by Emery Lord

The Names The Gave Us by Emery Lord (UK edition)

Title: The Names They Gave Us
Author: Emery Lord
Genre: Contemporary, Young Adult
Publisher: Bloomsbury Children’s Books (1st June 2017)
Blurb:

Lucy has her perfect summer planned out: perfect boyfriend, perfect job and quality time with her perfect parents.

Then her mom’s cancer comes back, and suddenly life makes no sense.

Before she knows it, Lucy finds herself agreeing to volunteer as a counselor at a camp for troubled kids, where lives are more different from her own than she could have imagined possible. Here Lucy meets the dashing but mysterious fellow counselor Jones, who will change the way she sees the world forever.

With tragedy hovering at the edges of Lucy’s life, this summer she must find out who she really is and what it means to love.

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (5 stars)
Review:

THE NAMES THEY GAVE US is the fourth book from Emery Lord. It’s a standalone young adult novel that tells the story of Lucy Hansson. The story takes place over several months – it starts in April and ends in August. When the book starts Lucy already has her summer planned out, but after she returns from prom she learns her mother’s cancer has come back and that changes everything. Her mom talks her into volunteering as a counsellor at a camp for troubled kids, that’s close enough for a weekly visits; hopefully allowing Lucy space to come to terms with everything. There, despite the tragedy hovering on the edges of her life, Lucy meets some great people and makes some wonderful friends.

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Review: Godsgrave by Jay Kristoff

Picture of the cover of the UK hardback edition of Godsgrave by Jay Kristoff.

Godsgrave by Jay Kristoff (UK edition)

Title: Godsgrave (The Nevernight Chronicles, 2)
Author: Jay Kristoff
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult
Publisher: Harper Voyager (7th September 2017)
Blurb:

From the bestselling author, Jay Kristoff, comes the second book in the Nevernight Chronicle.

Mia Corvere, destroyer of empires, has found her place among the Blades of Our Lady of Blessed Murder, but many in the Red Church ministry do not believe she has earned it.

Her position is precarious, and she’s still no closer to exacting revenge for the brutal death of her family. But after a deadly confrontation with an old enemy, Mia begins to suspect the motives of the Red Church itself.

When it is announced the Consul Scaeva and Cardinal Duomo will be making a rare public appearance at the conclusion of the grand games in Godsgrave, Mia defies the Church and sells herself into slavery for a chance to fulfill the promise she made on the day she lost everything.

Upon the sands of the arena, Mia finds new allies, bitter rivals, and more questions about her strange affinity for the shadows. But as conspiracies unfold, secrets are revealed and the body count rises within the collegium walls, Mia will be forced to choose between her loyalties and her revenge.

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (5 stars)
Review:

GODSGRAVE is the second book in Jay Kristoff’s wonderful Nevernight Chronicles. It continues Mia Corvere’s story as she seeks revenge on those who slaughtered her family, when she was a child. After the events of the first book, NEVERNIGHT, Mia’s place within the Red Church is precarious; accepted not because of her skill, but because after the slaughter of their members they have need of her. After a confrontation with an old enemy, Mia begins to fear that there is more going on than she is aware of. After discovering an opportunity to gain her revenge on the men who killed her family, she decides to defy the Red Church.

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Review: Rituals by Kelley Armstrong

Rituals by Kelley Armstrong (UK edition)

Title: Rituals (A Cainsville Novel, 5)
Author: Kelley Armstrong
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Sphere (15th August 2017)
Blurb:

Olivia Jones must make a choice.

Caught between two rival supernatural forces, she hs been given a brief period in which to make her decision. Now that time has run out.

Whichever side she chooses, someone she loves will pay. Her lover, Ricky. Gabriel Walsh, the man she knows she cannot, must not love. Her parents, already trapped in prison.

And how there is a new, terrifying power rising – one that doesn’t distinguish between good and evil intentions. It feeds on chaos and  destroys without mercy. Unless Liv acts fast, no one will survive.

In this gripping supernatural thriller, international bestselling author Kelley Armstrong brings the Cainsville series to a powerful, richly rewarding finale.

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️ (3 stars)
Review:

RITUALS by Kelley Armstrong is the fifth and final book in the Cainsville series. Over the previous four books Olivia Taylor-Jones has had her world turned upside down. She has discovered the truth about her past, and her link to the mysterious Cainsville. Along the way she has grown close to Gabriel Walsh and to Ricky Gallagher. They negotiated a truce, but now the time has come and she must finally make a choice between the Twyelth Teg and the Cwn Annwn. Whichever side she picks someone she loves will pay. All the while a new power rises; one that doesn’t distinguish between good or evil, and that destroys without mercy.

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Review: The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern (UK edition)

Title: The Night Circus
Author: Erin Morgenstern
Genre: Historical Novel, Literary Fiction, Magical Realism
Publisher: Gollancz (24th May 2012)
Blurb:

The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des Rêves, and it is only open at night.

But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway: a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them, this is a game in which only one can be left standing, and the circus is but the stage for a remarkable battle of imagination and will. Despite themselves, however, Celia and Marco tumble headfirst into love – a deep, magical love that makes the lights flicker and the room grow warm whenever they so much as brush hands.

True love or not, the game must play out, and the fates of everyone involved, from the cast of extraordinary circus per­formers to the patrons, hang in the balance, suspended as precariously as the daring acrobats overhead.

Written in rich, seductive prose, this spell-casting novel is a feast for the senses and the heart.

(Blurb via Goodreads)

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️ (3 stars)
Review:

THE NIGHT CIRCUS is Erin Morgenstern’s debut novel. It is a story filled with magic, mystery and competition. The story is set in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, and revolves around a mysterious bet made between two gentlemen about whose student is better. Meanwhile, a circus called Le Cirque de Rêves is created by a group of dreamers in London that is designed to delight and amaze: it arrives without warning and is open from dusk to dawn. Its performers produce amazing feats and some of the tents themselves are magical, and soon it picks up quite a following as it travels around the world.

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Review: Archangel’s Viper by Nalini Singh

Photo of the UK edition of Archangel's Viper by Nalini Singh

Archangel’s Viper by Nalini Singh (UK ediiton)

Title: Archangel’s Viper (Guild Hunter, 10)
Author: Nalini Singh
Genre: Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Gollancz (28th September 2017)
Blurb:

Enter New York Times bestselling author Nalini Singh’s breathtaking passionate Guild Hunter world with the story of a woman who isn’t a vampire or an angel. . . or human . . .

Once a broken girl known as Sorrow, Holly Chang now prowls the shadowy grey underground of the city for the angels. But it’s not her winged allies who make her a wanted woman – it’s the unknown power coursing through her veins. Brutalised by an insane archangel, she was left with the bloodlust of a vampire, the ability to mesmerise her prety, and a poisonous bite.

Now, someone has put a bounty on her head . . .

Venom is one of the Seven, Archangel Raphael’s private guard, and he’s as infuriating as he is seductive. A centuries-old vampire, his fangs dispense a poison deadlier than Holly’s. But even if Venom can protect Holly from those hunting her, he might not be able to save himself – because the strange, violent power inside Holly is awakening . . .

No one is safe.

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (5 stars)
Review:

ARCHANGEL’S VIPER is the tenth addition to Nalini Singh’s brilliant Guild Hunter series. The story follows the story of Holly Chang, a woman who named herself Sorrow and who is neither vampire nor angel nor human but somehow all three thanks to an insane archangel – the combination leaving unknown power coursing through her. Someone places a large bounty on her head, enough to tempt anyone. Venom is assigned to protect her from those who would dare to face Raphael’s wrath, and to help her discover who is behind the ransom and why they want her. At the same time the strange power inside of her is starting to get stronger, and Holly fears what this will mean for her future.

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Review: Silver Silence by Nalini Singh

Photo of UK edition cover of Silver Silence by Nalini Singh

Silver Silence by Nalini Singh (UK edition)

Title: Silver Silence (A Psy-Changeling Trinity Novel, 1)
Author: Nalini Singh
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Gollancz (15th June 2017)
Blurb:

New York Times bestselling author Nalini Singh returns to her extraordinary Psy-Changeling world with a story of wild passion and darkes betrayal . . .

Control. Precision. Family. These are the principles that drive Silver Mercant. At a time when the fledgling Trinity Accord seeks to unite a divided world, with Silver playing a crucial role as director of a worldwide emergency response network, wildnress and chaos are the last things she needs in her life. But that’s exactly what Valentin Nikolaev, alpha of the StoneWater bears, brings with him.

Valentin has never met a more fascinating woman. Though Silver is ruled by Silence – her mind clear of all emotion – Valentin senses a whisper of fire around her. That’s what keeps him climbing apartment buildings to be ear her. But when a shadow assassin almost succeeds in poisoning Silver, the stakes become deadly serious . . . and Silver finds herself in the heart of a powerful bear clan.

Her would-be assassin has no idea what their poison has unleashed . . .

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (5 stars)
Review:

SILVER SILENCE is the first book in the Psy-Changeling Trinity series, a spin-off from the fantastic Psy-Changeling series by Nalini Singh. The Trinity Accord is still in its fledgling stages, with everyone waiting to see if it will succeed or fail. Silver Mercant plays a crucial role in the success of the Trinity Accord as the director of a world wide emergency response network. With that responsibility on her shoulders, Silver does not want any more chaos and wildness in her life. That is exactly what Valentin Nikolaev brings with him, and it may turn out that it is just what Silver needs to forge forward.

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Review: Tortall: A Spy’s Guide by Tamora Pierce

Tortall: A Spy’s Guide by Tamora Pierce with Julie Holderman, Timothy Liebe, and Megan Messinger. Illusrtared by Eva Widermann

Title: Tortall: A Spy’s Guide
Author: Tamora Pierce with Julie Holderman, Timothy Liebe, and Megan Messinger
Illustrator: Eva Widermann
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult
Publisher: Random House Children’s Books (31st October 2017)
Blurb:

The secrets of Tortall are revealed. . . .

As Tortall’s spymaster, George Cooper has sensitive documents from all corners of the realm. When Alanna sends him a surprising letter, he cleans out his office and discovers letters from when King Jonathan and Queen Thayet first ascended the throne, notes on creating the Shadow Service of spies, threat-level profiles on favorite characters, Daine’s notes on immortals, as well as family papers, such as Aly’s first report as a young spy and Neal’s lessons with the Lioness. This rich guide also includes the first official timeline of Tortallan events from when it became a sovereign nation to the year Aly gives birth to triplets. Part history, part spy training manual, and entirely fascinating, this beautiful guide makes a perfect gift and is ideal for anyone who loves Alanna, King Jonathan, Queen Thayet, Kel, Neal, Aly, Thom, Daine, Numair, and the unforgettable world of Tortall! (Blurb from Amazon.co.uk)

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️ (3 stars)
Review:

TORTALL: A SPY’S GUIDE by Tamora Pierce with Julie Holderman, Timothy Liebe, and Megan Messinger is a compilation of information about the Tortall universe, illustrated by Eva Widermann. The guide is split into around ten sections and it contains a variety of information about the Tortall universe, covering events from around the beginning of the reign of Jonathan IV – in effect information covering all the books published (to date) set in the Tortall universe.

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