The Grave Kingdom Book 1 By: Jeff Wheeler Published on: March 1, 2020 Publisher: 47North Pages: 404 Cover Designer: Shasti O’Leary Soudant
The Killing Fog is the first in a new Asian-inspired fantasy series by Jeff Wheeler. I’m ashamed to say I have seen his other works, but never got around to reading them even though they have been on my list for a while. So, I am very happy to be able to read this first one in his new series.
By: Johnny Oddsocks Published on: November 30, 2019
What’s My Instrument? is a fun little rhyming story. Marilyn the Mongoose wants to be in a band. First she tries the piano, then the drums, the trumpet, but nothing goes the way she wants. She even tries to be a DJ. Finally she figures out her spot in the band, but now she needs more members.
Little ones will enjoy this cute little picture book. It’s message is simple – have a dream, find a way to make it happen and then find friends to share that dream with. Angus was probably my favorite friend in the band as he runs across the stage as guitarists sometimes do. I also found the rhymes to have a nice cadence to them and didn’t struggle with finding the right rhythm.
Marilyn the Mongoose is keen to start a band – but she can’t play an instrument!
“What’s My Instrument?” introduces children to a variety of musical instruments as Marilyn tries to find the one which is perfect for her.
It is a humorous and delightfully illustrated children’s book ideal for toddlers and early readers.
The Fetch Phillips Archives (1) By: Luke Arnold Published on: February 25, 2020
The Last Smile in Sunder City is a noir fantasy book following Fetch Phillips, a struggling PI detective, or a ‘Man for Hire’, as he prefers to be called.
Years prior to when this story begins, this world experienced an event called the “Coda” where the human army was envious of the power of magic and decided to change…everything. In their lust to capture magic for themselves they fundamentally changed magic for everyone. The world was now drained of magic. Some creatures were immediately no more, while some live a half-existence.
The Silent Gods Book 1 by Justin T. Call Published on: August 8, 2019
So many thoughts rolling around in my head in regards to this epic fantasy story that I don’t know where to begin. Too many, in fact.
Master of Sorrows follows a boy named Annev who attends the Academy where he is attempting to get promoted to Avatar of Judgment. To do so, he must win the Testing Day contest against his other classmates as well as friends. This is the last Testing Day he will be permitted to take part in. Failing to win means becoming a servant to the others and to make it worse, it is also the last Testing Day for two of his close friends as well.
With the Testing Day as the major plot line in the first half of the book, the author also uses the events surrounding this as a way introduce you to the protagonist/antagonists, religious structure and most importantly religious politics and prejudices. The leaders of the Academy and townspeople all believe that sons of Keos are cursed and are considered evil. They are identified when they are born with a deformity and are immediately killed. If somehow an individual isn’t discovered at birth then what awaits for them is being stoned to death once they are discovered. Annev was born without an arm past his elbow. He’s been able to keep it hidden for 17 years through the use of a special glove, but being found out is one of his greatest fears.
As you might expect with any epic fantasy story, there is a lot of lore/knowledge information within this first book that can sometimes slow the story down a little at times. However, I was surprised by how much I liked the sections about the gods (Keos and his siblings). I usually skip or fast-read those sections, but instead found the sibling relationships and responses to certain events rather interesting.
Overall, Master of Sorrows is an enjoyable epic fantasy read with a beautiful cover too. As I read through the story, I found that the characters and their different choices and decisions was one of my favorite parts and not just Annev’s story. Of course, the decision Annev makes in determining the content of his own character and what he believes in is one of the best aspects of the book. The Masters at the Academy see the world in black and white, but Sodor, Annev’s mentor, has slowly been teaching Annev to think for himself and watching the progression within Annev is one of the many highlights of the story. But choices other characters made was just as intriguing.
While reading I came to the conclusion that this might make a decent fantasy book club read. There are a lot of opportunities for points of discussion – from the gods and the religious politics to the Testing Day contest there’s no shortage of topics to bring up.
Rating: 4 stars
Thanks to Netgalley and Blackstone Publishing for the advanced reader copy and opportunity to provide an honest review.
Set in pre-war Singapore during the British colonization, Weng Wai Chan takes us to a time period where everyone is starting to feel the stress over the possibility of war with Japan and their potential invasion. Lizard’s Tale is primarily about a Japanese Navy code book the British are trying to get hold of and that the Japanese are trying to get back.
At the beginning of the story we find that Lizard (his initials are LZD) has been hired to steal a teak box from the general manager of the New British East India Company. He had been warned that this box is dangerous and could get his boss and him killed, which soon after comes true when the person who hired him is murdered before Lizard can deliver the box. Soon after Lizard finds himself in the world of spies and rescue attempts as Lizard tries to figure out what to do with this box.
By Anne E. Moses and Gracie, an English Cocker Spaniel Published on: October 31, 2019
Gracie, an English Cocker Spaniel, has written an illustrated, fun guide to all that Naples, Italy has to offer. At only 48 pages, the book starts off by providing us with a little bit of history of Naples, but soon Gracie goes on to tell us about famous areas we may see when we visit as well as places to eat and shop. But to truly understand and appreciate this city Gracie also gives us a taste of what life is like there and what to expect when visiting, such as what may happen to you when you stop at a red light while in your car.