Book Review: Two of Swords, Vol 3 by K.J Parker

Author: K.J Parker

Title: The Two of Swords, Vol 3

Publisher: Orbit

Date: 2017

Synopsis: The third volume in The Two of Swords trilogy by World Fantasy Award-winning author K.J. Parker.

“Why are we fighting this war? Because evil must be resisted, and sooner or later there comes a time when men of principle have to make a stand. Because war is good for business and it’s better to die on our feet than live on our knees. Because they started it. But at this stage in the proceedings,” he added, with a slightly lop-sided grin, “mostly from force of habit.”

A soldier with a gift for archery. A woman who kills without care. Two brothers, both unbeatable generals, now fighting for opposing armies. No-one in the vast and once glorious United Empire remains untouched by the rift between East and West, and the war has been fought for as long as anyone can remember. Some still survive who know how it was started, but no-one knows how it will end.

The Two of Swords is the story of a war on a grand scale, told through the eyes of its soldiers, politicians, victims and heroes.

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Book Review: Queen of Air and Darkness by Cassandra Clare

Author: Cassandra Clare

Title: Queen of Air and Darkness

Publisher: Simon and Schuster

Date: 2018

Synopsis:  What if damnation is the price of true love?

Innocent blood has been spilled on the steps of the Council Hall, the sacred stronghold of the Shadowhunters. In the wake of the tragic death of Livia Blackthorn, the Clave teeters on the brink of civil war. One fragment of the Blackthorn family flees to Los Angeles, seeking to discover the source of the blight that is destroying the race of warlocks. 

Meanwhile, Julian and Emma take desperate measures to put their forbidden love aside and undertake a perilous mission to Faerie to retrieve the Black Volume of the Dead. What they find in the Courts is a secret that may tear the Shadow World asunder and open a dark path into a future they could never have imagined. Caught in a race against time, Emma and Julian must save the world of Shadowhunters before the deadly power of the parabatai curse destroys them and everyone they love.

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Book Tag: New Year’s Resolution

I always end up scouring the internet for a book tag each time I need one. Part of my problem is I always find them in the wrong season: a summer tag in the depths of winter, a Christmas tag in the middle of summer.

When I saw this one, I jumped at the chance. First tag of the year – seemed like a fitting one! I discovered it on The Book Nut but I’m not certain who started it. If you know, please let me know so that I can credit them!

I’m hoping that between this tag and my wrap-up a few weeks ago, it will help me figure out where I’m at with books and what’s first up on the agenda for this year! On with the tag…

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Book Review: Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore by Matthew Sullivan

Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore 1

Author: Matthew Sullivan

Title: Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore

Publisher: Random House, Cornerstone

Date: 2017

Synopsis: Lydia Smith lives her life hiding in plain sight. A clerk at the Bright Ideas Bookstore, she keeps a meticulously crafted existence among her beloved books, eccentric colleagues, and the BookFrogs—the lost and lonely regulars who spend every day marauding the store’s overwhelmed shelves.

But when Joey Molina, a young, beguiling BookFrog, kills himself in the bookstore, Lydia’s life comes unglued. Always Joey’s favorite bookseller, Lydia has inherited his meagre worldly possessions. Trinkets and books; the detritus of a lonely man. But when Lydia flips through his books she finds them defaced in ways both disturbing and inexplicable. They reveal the psyche of a young man on the verge of an emotional reckoning. And they seem to contain a hidden message. What did Joey know? And what does it have to do with Lydia?

As Lydia untangles the mystery of Joey’s suicide, she unearths a long-buried memory from her own violent childhood. Details from that one bloody night begin to circle back. Her distant father returns to the fold, along with an obsessive local cop, and the Hammerman, a murderer who came into Lydia’s life long ago and, as she soon discovers, never completely left.

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Television Review: Orphan Black, Season 5

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Show: Orphan Black, Series 5

Company: BBC

Date: 2017

Synopsis: In the fifth and final series of Orphan Black, starring the Emmy award-winning actress Tatiana Maslany, Neolution is pushing the boundaries of science beyond what anyone thought possible.

But at what cost? The mysterious P. T. Westmoreland is the key to all of it. Seemingly 170 years old, he is on the brink of bringing his project to its sinister conclusion. For Sarah and her sisters, this is the start of a deadly endgame that will have extreme consequences – not just for them, but for the future of the entire human race.

Can they finally expose the terrifying secrets at the heart of this corrupt corporation?

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Kinky Boots: 3rd times a charm

Over the last year, I’ve been trying to make the effort to go to the theatre a little more. I now work in London, so it saves having to travel up specifically. It’s true that I’m always looking for discounted tickets (it’s so expensive), but it’s always fun to have something to look forward to.

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There is one show, however, that I’m border-line obsessed with. I have now seen Kinky Boots three times in the last year and I sure as heck don’t apologise for that.

It’s the only show I’ve seen that has a standing ovation every single time. It’s also the only show that leaves me absolutely buzzing.

Why do I love it so much?

The plot is meaningful for the diversity in today’s society. It shows the power of accepting those who differ from your own outlook on life. It’s about overcoming prejudices and what can be achieving if everyone works towards the same goal.

The acting/dancing/singing is incredible. Some of the moves performed on stage, in heels, I’m sure shouldn’t be possible.

But I’ve commented on these things before, in my initial review.

“I’m watching myself and I know what to do.”

There’s something about it that speaks to me on a more personal level. Every time, I have come out full of inspiration and a desire to work harder than ever towards achieving my dreams. While the story is accepting differences, it’s also accepting yourself, and finding your passions and what drives you.

The last time I saw it, it had been a tough week at work. I’d been struggling with a few things. But seeing this, reminding myself that I know what it is that I want, gave me my focus and motivation back. Anything that can have that impact on me is always going to be worth my time, no matter how many times I’ve seen it.

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I struggle with self-confidence big time. I’m better this year than previously, but it still is a big thing for me that I want to work on. I find myself relating to Charlie’s character, not being certain where he belongs and only seeing himself as the quiet one in the corner, not someone who can save a factory, just speaks to me.

I may be facing the impossible. I may be chasing after miracles. And there may be the steepest mountain to overcome.

But this is step one.

‘Charlie’s soliloquy’ and ‘Step One’ are my favourite songs. They’re not the most powerful on stage, but their words strike a cord with me. The words of those songs somehow work to remind me that I know what I’m doing, I know what I’m working towards, and actually, yes, this is what I want, no matter what anyone else tells me.

Who would have thought a show about shoes makes me feel empowered about writing? But it does in a way I can’t explain. I’m not certain I’ve ever seen/listened to/read anything that has had such a positive effect on me before.

The show’s run came to an end last week, which I’m sad about. But if you ever need something to give you a lift, I thoroughly recommend checking out the soundtrack.


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Book Review: Dragon Mage by Ava Richardson

Title: Dragon Mage

Author: Ava Richardson

Publisher: Relay Publishing

Date: 2017

Synopsis:To unite a fractured kingdom, a reluctant hero must rise. 

Neill has been charged with the impossible task of bringing the Middle Kingdom together to fight the burgeoning threat posed by the rogue sorcerer Ansall and his dragon Zaxx. Neill longs for his old life as a mere foot soldier for his father responsible only for his family’s well being, and is unsure about whether he is fit to lead an army. Neill’s contemplative nature forces him to consider every aspect of the problems he faces, but often makes it difficult for him to take action—and failure to act could mean the deaths of many. 

Now, echoing Char and their dragon Paxala, his duty beckons him to lead the Dragon Riders—and take his rightful place as king—but with doubt and new enemies creeping in, his resolve will be tested. When the mysterious Dark Prince arrives with an offer, Neill will have to make a decision that could change the course of history. As Ansall grows in strength by harnessing black magic, Neill must choose between his own desires and the welfare of the entire kingdom. Can he rise to the challenge before it’s too late?

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