Sunday, 30 June 2019

Blogtour: The Written by Ben Galley

Hello readers,
Today I am part of the blog tour blitz for TheWriteReads on behalf of Ben Galley. I’ve got a spotlight and a mini review just for you. This post contains links to buy the book, I do not profit from the sharing of these links. 

Thank you again, TheWriteReads, for inviting me onto the tour and for sending me a ebook copy of all of The Written by Ben Galley for free in exchange for an honest review.

Title:  The Written
Author: Ben Galley
Genre: Fantasy, Magic
Other Books in the Series:
Cover Image:

His name is Farden. 
They whisper that he’s dangerous. 
Dangerous is only the half of it.

Something has gone missing from the libraries of Arfell. Something very old, and something very powerful. Five scholars are now dead, a country is once again on the brink of war, and the magick council is running out of time and options. 

Entangled in a web of lies and politics and dragged halfway across icy Emaneska and back, Farden must unearth a secret even he doesn’t want to know, a secret that will shake the foundations of his world. Dragons, drugs, magick, death, and the deepest of betrayals await. 

Welcome to Emaneska.

Links to But the book:
Author Bio:
Ben Galley is an author of dark and epic fantasy books who currently hails from Victoria, Canada. Since publishing his debut The Written in 2010, Ben has released a range of award-winning fantasy novels, including the weird western Bloodrush and the epic standalone The Heart of Stone. He is also the author of the brand new Chasing Graves Trilogy.

Author links:

Miniature review
The Written is the first volume in The Emaneska Series and the debut book of Ben Galley. This book is the start of a fantastic series. There is a great strength in Ben's writing that has created some great characters as well as fantastic settings. It's a real page-turner with twists and turns to keep the reader interested. This book is packed with magic and monsters, gods and demons, Ben has an extraordinary way of making his story incredibly intricate and detailed without it feeling like it's being overly descriptive  there is a feeling of real depth and history, it’s clear Ben has spent considerable time putting this world together and is rightly proud of the results. However, despite Ben taking his time with descriptions the action scenes run effortlessly and at a breathless pace. Ben's passion for his work, the characters and the world of Emaneska he has created within the book transport you into the book world effortlessly. Farden is a brilliant main character with a slightly dark side, who I found myself really caring about. This story moves along at just the right pace. There's no fat and flab to drag it down. I would judge the writing to be skilful in the way that it draws you in without making it obvious.  If you enjoy reading about myths and magic, dragons and sorcery then I think you will enjoy this book. I look forward to reading the rest of the series, and I have already recommended it to so many people. 

L x

Friday, 28 June 2019

Let's talk about... The Stonewall Riots

Hello Readers,
Today marks a very important day for the LGBT community, 50 years ago today the Stonewall riots started. The Stonewall riots were a series of spontaneous, violent demonstrations by members of the gay community against a police raid that began in the early hours of June 28, 1969, at the Stonewall Inn in the Greenwich Village, New York City.

At the time, bars such as the Mafia-run gay bar The Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village, New York, were the only safe spaces where queer people could come together and form their own community. To get around state regulations that prohibited gay people from being served alcohol, mafioso "Fat Tony" Lauria operated the Stonewall Inn as a private club, taking its name from the previous bar-restaurant so he wouldn't have to change the sign. Management typically bribed the police to tip them off in advance however that night there was no tip-off.

On June 28, 1969, a riot broke out at the Stonewall Inn, a gay club in downtown Manhattan. Police had been known to raid the club from time to time, but on that night, the patrons fought back against police discrimination and the police intended to arrest everyone in the club that night because of their resistance. As they waited for support to arrive, a crowd gathered outside the bar, trapping the police inside. Soon, patrol wagons arrived to transport the patrons to prison.

According to LGBT legend, it was Marsha P Johnson who threw the first Molotov cocktail at Stonewall, but it has long been debated if it was actually her friend Sylvia Rivera. However, in interviews before her death, Sylvia said “I have been given the credit for throwing the first Molotov cocktail by many historians, but I always like to correct it. I threw the second one. I did not throw the first one!”

A protest broke out, with police and community members clashing through the night, and for the rest of the week. Night after night, more and more protesters returned to Christopher Street, where Stonewall is located, to protest the mistreatment and discrimination they suffered at the hands of the police.

Weeks later, a "gay power" march from Washington Square Park to Stonewall that drew hundreds of people. On June 28, 1970, thousands of people returned to Greenwich Village for the first Christoper Street Liberation Day march. It became an annual event and evolved into the Pride parade, which is marked every year in New York and other cities across the world. As you can see originally, Pride was a political demonstration to voice LGBT demands for equal rights and protections. It wasn’t until 1991 that Pride began to resemble what it is today: a celebration of queer life and sexuality in addition to a political and social demonstration.

Last year at London Pride the lesbian and feminist group Get The L Out. The group argues the trans movement is attacking lesbian rights and said it protested to protect those rights. You do know you have Pride because of two transgender women right… A transgender woman and a transgender woman of colour started The Stonewall Riots causing the protests that eventually turned into the parades you know today.

L x

Thursday, 27 June 2019

Lets talk about…. Marsha P Johnson and Sylvia Rivera

Hello Readers,
Tomorrow marks 50 years since the Stonewall riots before we delve into that, I thought I would introduce you to Marsha P Johnson and Sylvia Rivera two key players in the events that happened that night and proceeded to fight for the rights of the LGBT community till their deaths. Both Johnson and Rivera were transgender women and a force to be reckoned with in the fight for rights for the LGBTQ community. I do not own any rights to any of the pictures used I am using them for educational purposes. 

Marsha and Sylvia are unquestionably two of the most important foremothers of the modern LGBTQ rights movement, yet their stories have been erased from a history they helped create. Their leading role at Stonewall, to their revolutionary work supporting transgender and non-binary youth in our city, they charted a path for the activists who came after them.

After Stonewall, Marsha and Sylvia founded the Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries which was better known as STAR, the organisation focused on providing shelter and support for homeless LGBTQ youth and sex workers. However, through STAR they advocated for those often excluded by the larger ‘Gay Liberation’ movement, which tended to marginalise people of colour, the homeless, and HIV positive.

Marsha P Johnson 1945 –1992
Marsha P. Johnson was born Malcolm Michaels, Jr. on August 24, 1945, in Elizabeth, New Jersey. Marsha experienced a difficult childhood due to her Christian upbringing. She engaged in cross-dressing at an early age but was quickly reprimanded. Marsha moved to Greenwich Village in New York City after graduating from high school. Despite starting her life in New York being homeless and a prostitute Marsha became an activist, drag performer and, for nearly three decades, a permanent fixture of street life in Greenwich Village.

Marsha became famous for her uniqueness, individuality, passion for equality, and compassion for others. Marsha even designed all of her own costumes and quickly became a prominent fixture in the LGBTQ community serving as a “drag mother” by helping homeless and struggling LGBTQ youth. Marsha went by “Black Marsha” before settling on Marsha P. Johnson. The “P” stood for “Pay It No Mind,” which is what Marsha would say in response to questions about her gender or sexuality. It was her forthright nature and enduring strength led her to speak out against injustices. I also found out while doing research that Marsha even modelled for Andy Warhol.

Marsha soon became known as an eccentric woman known for her outlandish hats and glamorous jewellery, she was fearless and bold. Despite a lifelong struggle with mental illness, homelessness, prostitution, and dozens of arrests, Marsha became a beloved figure in the LGBTQ civil rights movement beginning at the Stonewall uprising in 1969. Marsha was celebrating her 25th birthday at Stonewall on that soon to be historical night and according to LGBTQ legend, it was Marsha who threw the first Molotov cocktail at Stonewall, sparking the modern gay liberation movement.

Marsha was found dead on July 6, 1992, at the age of 46. Her life has been celebrated in numerous books, documentaries, and films. The police ruled she had committed suicide despite claims from her friends and other members of the local community that she was not suicidal.

Sylvia Rivera 1951–2002
Born on July 2, 1951, in the Bronx, New York, Sylvia had a troubled childhood. Hailing from Puertorican and Venezuelan descent, Sylvia was abandoned by her father shortly after birth and orphaned as a toddler when her mother committed suicide. Sylvia was put into the care of her grandmother, who would often beat her for her effeminacy. Sylvia shaved her eyebrows and wore makeup to school beginning in fourth grade, and by the time she was 10 or 11, Sylvia ran away from home and became a prostitute, working in the Times Square area.

While living on the streets, she found the street queens poor trans youth, some of whom performed sex work and/or were homeless, at the time they identified themselves as drag queens and welcomed her into their fold. It was with their support, she became "Sylvia" and identified as a drag queen in a ceremony attended by some fifty of her friends and peers. Later in life, she would consider herself transgender, although she disliked labels.

In 1969, at age 17, she took part in the famous Stonewall Riots by allegedly throwing the first or second Molotov cocktail in protest to a police raid of the gay bar the Stonewall Inn in Manhattan. In interviews before her death, Sylvia said “I have been given the credit for throwing the first Molotov cocktail by many historians, but I always like to correct it. I threw the second one. I did not throw the first one!”

Rivera delivered her fiery "Y'all Better Quiet Down" speech in New York City at the Christopher Street Liberation Day Rally in Washington Square Park in 1973 amid boos from the crowd. The community she and her trans siblings had fought for all these years at Stonewall and beyond, been arrested for and beaten for, had sold them up the river. 

After the rally, Rivera broke down, disbanded STAR, and left activism for two decades. Sadly, she continued to struggle with homelessness and drug addiction and didn’t return to fight for trans issues till the mid-1990s

On February 19, 2002, Rivera died from liver cancer at Saint Vincent's Catholic Medical Centre in New York, NY.

L x

Tuesday, 25 June 2019

My top five books for pride month

Hello Readers,
Today we are counting down five books I’ve picked to share for pride month. I was having a hard time trying to pick only five so I opened up the question to friends and to books that they would recommend. The books aren’t in a rated order they are alphabetical order (Authors last names). Let me know if I missed one you would recommend? 

Simon vs the Homosapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
Meet Simon: cynical, funny, insecure, full of obsessions, hopes and dreams like every other 17 year old. But Simon also has a big, glowing secret, and that secret is going to get out if class clown Martin doesn’t get what he wants.
Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda is the YA phenomenon that swept North America and is now making waves here. Big-hearted and brimming with authenticity, Becky Albertalli’s debut takes on one boy’s hesitant path toward coming out as gay and creates a story filled with humour and very real drama. From the wild eccentricities of his family to the growing feelings between Simon and the mysterious, online figure of Blue, you’ll find yourself rooting for one of the great new heroes of contemporary YA fiction.

PROUD Compiled by Juno Dawson
A stirring, bold and moving anthology of stories and poetry by top LGBTQ+ YA authors and new talent, giving their unique responses to the broad theme of pride. Each story has an illustration by an artist identifying as part of the LGBTQ+ community. Compiled by Juno Dawson, author of THIS BOOK IS GAY and CLEAN.
A celebration of LGBTQ+ talent, PROUD is a thought-provoking, funny, emotional read.
Contributors: Steve Antony, Dean Atta, Kate Alizadeh, Fox Benwell, Alex Bertie, Caroline Bird, Fatti Burke, Tanya Byrne, Moira Fowley-Doyle, Frank Duffy, Simon James Green, Leo Greenfield, Saffa Khan, Karen Lawler, David Levithan, Priyanka Meenakshi, Alice Oseman, Michael Lee Richardson, David Roberts, Cynthia So, Kay Staples, Jessica Vallance, Kristen Van Dam and Kameron White.

I wish you all the best by Mason Deaver
When Ben De Backer comes out to their parents as nonbinary, they're thrown out of their house and forced to move in with their estranged older sister, Hannah, and her husband, Thomas, whom Ben has never even met. Struggling with an anxiety disorder compounded by their parents' rejection, they come out only to Hannah, Thomas, and their therapist and try to keep a low profile in a new school.

But Ben's attempts to survive the last half of senior year unnoticed are thwarted when Nathan Allan, a funny and charismatic student, decides to take Ben under his wing. As Ben and Nathan's friendship grows, their feelings for each other begin to change, and what started as a disastrous turn of events looks like it might just be a chance to start a happier new life.At turns heartbreaking and joyous, I Wish You All the Best is both a celebration of life, friendship, and love, and a shining example of hope in the face of adversity. 

Trans Teen Survival Guide by Fox and Owl Fisher
Frank, friendly and funny, the Trans Teen Survival Guide will leave transgender and non-binary teens informed, empowered and armed with all the tips, confidence and practical advice they need to navigate life as a trans teen.
Wondering how to come out to your family and friends, what it's like to go through cross hormonal therapy or how to put on a packer? Trans youth activists Fox and Owl have stepped in to answer everything that trans teens and their families need to know.
With a focus on self-care, expression and being proud of your unique identity, the guide is packed full of invaluable advice from people who understand the realities and complexities of growing up trans. Having been there, done that, Fox and Owl are able to honestly chart the course of life as a trans teen, from potentially life-saving advice on dealing with dysphoria or depression, to hilarious real-life awkward trans stories.

None of the above by I.W. Gregorio
A ground-breaking story about a teenage girl who discovers she was born intersex... and what happens when her secret is revealed to the entire school. Incredibly compelling and sensitively told, None of the Above is a thought-provoking novel that explores what it means to be a boy, a girl, or something in between.

What if everything you knew about yourself changed in an instant?
When Kristin Lattimer is voted homecoming queen, it seems like another piece of her ideal life has fallen into place. She's a champion hurdler with a full scholarship to college and she's madly in love with her boyfriend. In fact, she's decided that she's ready to take things to the next level with him.

But Kristin's first time isn't the perfect moment she's planned—something is very wrong. A visit to the doctor reveals the truth: Kristin is intersex, which means that though she outwardly looks like a girl, she has male chromosomes, not to mention boy "parts."Dealing with her body is difficult enough, but when her diagnosis is leaked to the whole school, Kristin's entire identity is thrown into question. As her world unravels, can she come to terms with her new self?


Monday, 24 June 2019

Let’s talk about… Why we still need pride?

Hello Readers, 
I may seem late to the party posting this towards the end of Pride Month but I have a reason this year is an important year for Pride. As the 28th June will mark 50 years since the start of the Stonewall Riots so this week, I am focusing on why we still need Pride, LGBT books, the life of Marsha P Johnson and Sylvia Rivera and what happened that night at The Stonewall Inn.  Last year I wrote a post about why I go to pride.

This year I have seen a more than alarming amount of people shouting “why don’t we have straight pride?” let’s get one thing set straight, straight people don’t need to fight for their right to get married or defend their relationships, plead for rights, or worry about their rights and protections being taken away. Also, when as Straight person have you had to look around to see if it’s okay to hold the hand of the person you love. 

This is why we don’t need a straight pride 
·         There are still 72 countries with anti-homosexuality laws 
·         Chechnya has gay detention centres - 40 people have been imprisoned and two have died under torture. 
·         Homophobic and transphobic hate crimes have more than doubled in England and Wales over the last five years 
·         29 deaths of transgender people in the United States due to fatal violence 
·         62 per cent of LGBTQ+ graduates in the UK go back into the closet once they enter the job market. 
·         Even this year a lesbian couple were attacked on a London bus by a gang of youths who demanded they kiss for their entertainment. Like really how is this a thing in 2019! 
·         LGBTQ people can still be legally fired or denied housing in 29 states (2018 figure) 

If you need more reasons, I can give you seven  
·         Dandara dos Santos (41 years old) Brazil  
·         Elizabeth "Lizzie" Lowe (14 years old) UK 
·         Eylül Cansın (23 years old) Turkey  
·         Jamel Myles (9 years old) USA 
·         Nigel Shelby (15 years old) USA 
·         Taylor Alesana (16 years old) USA 
·         Tyrone Unsworth (15 years old) Australia 

The seven people listed above all died because of their sexuality, some were bullied while others were petrified of coming out and saw no other option than to commit suicide and others were murdered.  

Pride parades bring forth the importance of learning LGBT history and showing gratitude to those who quite literally fought for LGBT rights. The events that evolved from protests and fighting to parades and a celebration. Pride for a lot of people is a place of comfort and safety. It's proof that people who are part of the LGBT community are loved the way they are by other people, and that they aren’t alone. Like me, many people attend pride to remember and honour people who have passed. In many ways, Pride is a powerful way to show that we won and we have moved on slightly from a time when being queer was thought of as a mental illness and people were institutionalised. 

Pride is a reminder to all those outside and within the LGBT community of the relationship with police and the laws that are aimed to dehumanise and take their rights away. Before you knock Pride, think about the teenager who is going to a Pride because they get to be themselves without fear of judgement. Think about the elderly gay man for whom pride is a reminder of how far we've come.  

Each year we are slowly making progress, can you image what Marsha P Johnson and Sylvia Riviera would do if they knew RuPaul would be aired on TV and Jazz Jennings would publicly transition. We are making progress and we need to keep looking and moving forward. There are events from recent history where people thought they were right as it was the social norm and are now seen as being on the wrong side of history, need refresher segregation let’s not be on the wrong side of history.   

L x

Sunday, 23 June 2019

Warriors: We all are warriors fighting our own battles by Gurpreet Kaur 

Hello Readers 
Thank you, Gurpreet, for letting me know that your book was available on kindle unlimited for free in return for an honest review. 

This book is different to everything I reviewed before on R.E.A.D this is a collection of poetry, proses and quotes reflecting the highs and lows of life and love. The book has a clear divide as it is split into two sections the battles of Life and battles of Love. 

I will be honest I’m not usually one for poetry but I have recently discovered Amanda Lovelace’s books (yes, I read the second one first cause we all know this is a thing now). We Are All Warriors Fighting Our Own Battles’ by Gurpreet Kaur, is a short collection of inspirational and motivational poems. It is a quick read but thought-provoking. It is a book that anyone who has experienced love, heartache, success, and everything in between, could relate to.  

Gurpreet poems about love describe the pain and humiliation one goes through a relationship and has a wonderful use of language and it flows effortlessly. The poems and proses included allow almost everyone to be able to relate in one way or another and I found it gave me a little perspective on life and love. A lot of the poems were about growth as a person and being unapologetic about growing which is a reminder we sometimes need. There were some powerful lines. Some poems were in a story format, but overall this was a good read. 

I found the structure of the book itself interesting, some with titles, others without. I liked how some were structured like a question and answer, and others like mini stories. You'll love reading this due to the unique layout and some of the poems are very short comprising of just one or two sentences. Even if you are not a fan of poetry its’s a short book and very easy to read. 

Ultimately this book is about being human and everything that it entails and no matter who you are or what you are going through you will be okay. 

L x 

Friday, 21 June 2019

The Edge (Book 3) by Tim Lebbon (spoiler free)

Hello Readers, 
Thank you, Julia and Titan Books, for sending me a copy of all of The Relics Trilogy by Tim Lebbon for free in exchange for an honest review.
Spoiler Free
Publication day: 25th June 2019

This has honestly been one of the hardest reviews I’ve done in while; I tried really hard to not spoil the book for people and re-wrote the post four times. I didn’t want to be responsible for ruining the surprise - it's not fair and I hate it when other people do it. So, what I’m going to do to avoid any spoilers is include the synopsis and focus mainly on Tim’s writing and in a months’ time, I will let all the details out and re-do the post I have.  
Synopsis from Waterstones  
A diseased town-long hidden beneath a lake-rises from the depths to become a focus of the war between humankind and the Kin. Beneath the surface of our world, mythological creatures and their artefacts still exist. As with a rhino horn, a tiger's bones, or a monkey's paw, corrupt people pay fortunes for a sliver of a satyr's hoof, a gryphon's claw, a basilisk's scale, or an angel's wing.  

These criminals also sell living supernatural creatures, whole or a piece at a time, to be harvested for their supernatural essence. Having become embroiled in the secret world of the Relics, creatures known as the Kin, Angela Gough is on the run in the United States.  

Forty years ago, the town of Longford was the site of a deadly disease outbreak that wiped out the entire population. The infection was contained, the town isolated, and the valley in which it sits flooded and turned into a reservoir. The truth-that the outbreak was intentional, and not every resident of Longford died-disappeared beneath the waves. 

Now the town is revealed again. The Kin have an interest in the ruins, as do the fairy Grace and the Nephilim leader Mallian. The infection has risen from beneath silent waters, and this forgotten town becomes the focus of the looming battle between humankind and the Kin. 

A review of Tim’s writing SPOILER FREE ZONE 
Tim understands how to write a thriller, full of chases and revelations, as well as bravery and boldness. He gives us a solid, entertaining novel that introduces readers to an unknown yet familiar world. The world Tim has created for The Relics Trilogy is similar to our own with the added element of myths and legends.  Tim has an exceptionally effortless way he conveys his vision of urban fantasy to his readers and the feeling of dread that brings to the narrative to life, is exceptional and when it explodes it is done beautifully. Tim’s writing seduces the reader and they find themselves immersed in the fantastic, roller-coaster ride. One thing I noticed while reading this series is, I ran out of book relatively quickly and was a little surprised how easy and effortless this series was to read, this is purely down to Tim’s writing and pacing ability.  The way Tim manages to effortlessly combine both dark fantasy (original tales) and fantasy element is something I am going to miss. 

Again, Tim has masterfully blurred the lines not only between reality and his world but between who is good and who is bad. Just like its predecessors, The Edge is a great combination of science fiction and mythological figures, along with magical happenings. It remains throughout to be unpredictable, amazingly imaginative and completely terrifying and yet can’t help but turn the page to find out what happens next. What we have is a book that expands and adds and complements the first two book in the series. 

One thing I will say that isn’t really a spoiler as we know this is a trilogy is that I am sad I won’t be re-entering the strange and magical world that Tim has created for The Relics trilogy. I know I can always reread them but a little of the magic is gone.  

I honestly can't recommend this series enough I think it is the quickest trilogy I have got through in a while. One thing I will say is to try not to read any spoilers and go into these book blind like I did. 

L x

Other books in the series 

Wednesday, 19 June 2019

The Folded Land (Book two) by Tim Lebbon

Hello Readers,
Thank you, Julia and Titan Books, for sending me a copy of all of The Relics Trilogy by Tim Lebbon for free in exchange for an honest review.

We are continuing the Relics Trilogy by Tim Lebbon week with the second book in the series. This is the second lot of books by Tim that I have read the previous being Alien: Out of the Shadows.  If you missed my review of Relics the first book in the series here’s a link.

In this second book in the series we go back to the hidden world of the Kin, creatures who existed alongside humans yet are rarely seen. In Relics, an American criminology student Angela found out about the Kin and her whole life changed because of it. She and her lover, Vince, faced gangsters and helped the Kin. The Folded Land picks up where Relics left off Angela is on the run, blamed by the police for the massacre that concluded Relics and by the surviving relic hunters, for the loss of their friends and family. Angela has fled to the USA and tries not to attract the attention of those who hunt her and she has discovered that the Kin are not only found in London but are everywhere.

Until she hears from Vince that her niece, Sammi, has been struck by lightning, twice, Freak event or sign of the presence of a powerful Kin? When Angela finds out Sammi is hurt and missing and that there is Kin-killer on her tail, the group head straight into danger to rescue her. The creature that kidnapped Sammi just so happens to be the fairy she and Vince helped to save Relics. Angela teams up with her boyfriend Vince, who has been working with the Kin to find Sammi before the others do.

This is an excellent follow-up to Relics, possibly actually better than the earlier book. The story is delightfully fast-paced and well written. Tim keeps things on the move and delivers a couple of surprises along the way that took me by surprise. There is a notable shift in tone from the first book, as Angela has to engage with what the existence of the Kin means for humanity. The story has really ramped up from Relics, with the illusion and secrecy dispelled Tim has gone the extra mile for mythology.

Tim delves deeper into the world of the Kin and reveals that the Kin are everywhere around the world and how the Kin live in the shadows, hide themselves from humans and evade them in order to survive.  Tim also reminds us of a time when the Kin and the humankind once existed alongside one another, but that time has passed and is ancient history that only a few still remember. I could share some examples of what lies within the fold but that wouldn’t be fair let’s just say that I learned of a couple of new myths and legends reading this novel. Which excuse the geekiness coming through but I loved doing my own side research on the new myths and legends.

The characters are wonderfully diverse because the author writes about humans and various members of the Kin. Both the human characters and the members of the Kin are well portrayed. I thought the insights into the history between the Kinfolk and Humans was compelling. The Kin are bewitching, delightful, so rare and special but they are also inhuman, savage and powerful. Tim has paid a lot of attention to the interaction between the humans and the Kin which makes his work even more believable. People think of fairies and magical beings as friendly or childlike because of Disney versions of old stories or nursery tales. However, the real supernatural creatures in this novel are more like the original tales.

It's an excellent horror story and I honestly can’t recommend this series so far; I can't wait to tell you guys all about The Edge on Friday.

Reviews of other books in the series
Book One - Relics
Book Three - The Edge

Monday, 17 June 2019

Relics by Tim Lebbon

Hello Readers,

Thank you, Julia and Titan Books, for sending me a copy of all of The Relics Trilogy by Tim Lebbon for free in exchange for an honest review.

We are starting the Relics Trilogy by Tim Lebbon week with the first book in the series, Yes, I actually read this one in the right order (Still sorry Murray Bailey). This is the second book by Tim that I have read the previous being Alien: Out of the Shadows. 

Relics is the story of Angela Gough, an American criminology student living in London with her boyfriend Vince an estate agent and who is more than he seems. they seem to be very happy together and Angela is just living her life, spending her days working on her PhD in criminology. Angela is described as someone who is very logical and able to compartmentalise her life.

However, when Vince suddenly goes missing and leaves a note telling Angela not to come looking for him, Angela’s not having it and she soon uncovers Vince’s secret. From the moment Angela finds that note, Angela’s life becomes a quest to find out what happened to Vince to make him walk out on her. When he disappears, she fears the mundane: a new lover, an accident, or even murder.

What she discovers is anything but… a whole other world exists; the stuff of myths and legend start to become real in a nightmarish chase in the depths of London's underground tunnels and a world she needs to become part of if she has any chance of recovering Vince alive.  the hidden world of the Kin, creatures who existed alongside humans yet are rarely seen.  What Angela finds shatters her view of reality, unveiling a new world uniting with ours, one that might spell disaster for all of mankind.

Vince wasn’t involved in drugs, or gun running, instead, he is a relic hunter. Relic hunters are people who hunt for the remains of mythical beings from a Time Before when giants roamed the earth and unicorns raced through meadows before humans became the dominant species. Fairies, goblins, and nymphs, secret fantastic creatures that were part of the fabric of existence. Vince works for criminals and gangsters obsessed with the relics and trade in a black market of artefacts including body parts and life-threatening illegal transaction. During the course of her investigation Angela meets a host of unsavoury characters who unknown to her, Vince was mixed up with.

She discovers allies in this journey, the human ones possibly more deadly than the others she cannot understand, with everyone promising to be the saviour of her lover. There are a lot of weird and wonderful beings in this book, all of whom have lived longer than average lives and have their own motives and agendas which conflict with one another. However, all of them have agendas which run darker than blood. This book is full of misdirection from characters either trying to hide what they are or lying to protect their interests. These mythical beings are clinging on to their survival and have very different ideas on what their future should entail, some wishing for peace while others seek our destruction.

In Relics, Tim has created yet another wonderful world for readers to lose themselves in as the world building is absolutely stunning. Tim understands how to write a thriller, full of chases and revelations, as well as bravery and boldness, he gives us a solid, entertaining novel that introduces readers to an unknown London. Tim’s writing seduces the reader and they find themselves immersed in the fantastic, horrific roller-coaster ride which ends too soon.

Relics is a powerful yet wonderful introduction to an intriguing world

Have you read any of Tim Lebbons work?

Other Reviews of the rest of the series
Book Two - The Folded Land
Book Three - The Edge

Friday, 14 June 2019

The Girl in Red by Christina Henry

Hello Readers,

Thank you, Lydia and Titan Books, for sending me a copy of The Girl in Red by Christina Henry for free in exchange for an honest review.

I honestly couldn’t wait to get my hand on this as I loved The Mermaid and have The Lost Boy in my TBR pile. Christina has a wonderful talent for re-imagining classic fairytales and children’s books. Christina’s feminist re-tellings are just as enjoyable her fantasies and are unpredictable.

The Girl in Red is loosely inspired by European fairytale ‘Little Red Riding Hood’. Christina takes the tale of Little Red Riding Hood and turns it into a modern, apocalyptic story. Christina chose to relocate the story to a parallel modern-day USA, where a sickness, wiped out most of the population, leaving the country without power, means of communication, or local law enforcement. The government have set patrols to round up any survivors and depositing them in enforced quarantine.

However, Christina uses just enough of the original story elements we’re familiar with a red hoodie filling in for the hooded cape, the journey through the woods to grandmother’s house, and the dangers she encounters on her way there.

Now to our Red Riding Hood Cordelia, nicknamed Red, she is a strong woman in her early twenties and doesn’t trust that the government has her best interests at heart, so sets out on a mission to reach her grandmother, hoping that they will be safe in the wilderness of rural North America. Red just wants to survive, She's not trying to save the world, not trying to be a superhero. She is simply trying to survive and I loved every second of it. With society on the brink of extinction, survivors are desperate for survival, and Red's biggest threat isn't the virus it’s the people who are left.

Red is mixed-race, bisexual, and has a prosthetic leg and has a keen interested in facts and science and the will to survive at any cost.  I think Christina has created a wonderful character that has a good representation. Red comes a gross as a strong-willed, independent lady, but as the book goes on, you get to see her softer side.

A lot of the tension comes from the format Henry uses the chapters alternate between Before and After points of view, I really enjoyed the After point of view but respected Christina’s choice to show how the outbreak crumbled society. This is an effective way to get your reader to keep turning the pages. It was very fast paced, which was great because it made me constantly want to keep reading. There was always something happening, that made me want to read more.

L x

Wednesday, 12 June 2019

No cunning plan by Sir Tony Robinson

Hello Readers,
Today I am reviewing No cunning plan by Sir Tony Robinson I’ve just re-listened to the book on audible. I love The Blackadder reference in the title however I would have gone with “I have a cunning plan…” but that’s just me. I know I’ve jumped straight in talking about Blackadder first but let's be honest its what most people recognise Tony from but for me, my first introduction to Tony was Time Team. 
Little side note here I just checked when Blackadder came out yeah, I was only alive for the Blackadder Back & Forth special. Blackadder goes forth and that beautifully heart-breaking poppy finale was 4 years before I was born.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this interesting and entertaining book. In this memoir, Tony fondly looks back at a career that has lasted over 50 years.  Starting out as a child actor, appearing as one of Fagin’s gang in the original stage version of Oliver! (Tony was initially just keen to have fun and get out of school) to the iconic Baldrick, he makes it clear there was never any cunning plan but he's enjoyed every moment of his very successful career. Tony has enjoyed a long and varied career as an actor, writer, presenter, the actor's trade union, and in local politics.

Tony spent many years acting and directing in some of the new breeds of theatres and companies that came out of the 1960s and 1970s. Tony also looks back at the times his life wasn't quite so plain sailing. He was bullied by Steve Marriott, failed to impress Liza Minnelli and was pushed into a London dock by John Wayne! He's also risked life and limb filming The Worst Jobs in History.

He writes openly and honestly about his life and its many ups and downs, which is refreshing to see. and how he comes through all these experiences smiling at the end. Tony is honest about his personal life and his parents’descent into Alzheimer’s. My eyes were opened to some of the projects that he had been involved in, as well as some of the people he had been involved with during his life so far. Tony clearly has a determined character and includes some very personal things like his drug taking, which I was surprised by. I was also unaware of his political career.

It’s really refreshing to hear such an honest view of life and that for most people there is no real plan. People just go along doing what they think is best at the time. Too many biographies impose a sense of ‘this is how I succeeded in life; you should do this too’. Tony was humble and honest in his experience, and it was refreshing.

This is a brilliant book and honest book for anyone who love Tony's work.

L x

Monday, 10 June 2019

Chernobyl (TV series review)

Hello Readers,

Today I am reviewing Chernobyl the reason i have chosen to review it is because I honestly cannot remember a TV program that has affected me that much that I have to walk out (In a good way…Kinda). 

Chernobyl is a five-part mini-series that aired on HBO (USA) and Sky Atlantic and Now TV(UK).  I am using a poster images I have found through google I do not own any rights and am using the image purely for review purposes (Fair use under the copyright act sections 29 and 30 under use for a review).
I know Chernobyl was the first event of its time and nothing like it had happened on this scale at that time but I can honestly say I have never been so mad watching an open episode that I have had to walk out. I know we now have the gift of hindsight and thanks to the horrific events that happened we now have better protocols but there is something about watching people deny the danger and having people with clear radiation burns being told they're overreacting because its “impossible” is heart-breaking and infuriating at the same time.   

Chernobyl dramatises the 1986 nuclear accident and tells the story of the brave men and women who made unbelievable sacrifices to save Europe from an unimaginable disaster. This is a historical drama, not documentary and I think Craig Mazin (writer) was right to take slight liberties in order to reach the emotional truth of the matter but still manages to make it feel close to the truth I really don't think that much was over dramatised.

The series focuses on the story of the scientists, the engineers and the first responders involved in the disaster and its aftermath. Most major characters are based on real people and we also get to see the coal miners enlisted to clean up the radioactive site, the divers who plunged into the reactor’s depths and the men recruited to purge the town of any radioactive life still around (Yes, I mean pets).

The three main characters of the show are scientist Valery Legasov, Soviet Deputy Prime Minister Boris Shcherbina and Soviet nuclear physicist Ulana Khomyuk. Scientist Valery Legasov and Soviet Deputy Prime Minister Boris Shcherbina are real people however Ulana Khomyuk is a fictional character that represents dozens of scientists who helped investigate the crisis.

Lyudmilla Ignatenko story is also explored through the series. Lyudmillas husband Vasil was one of the first firefighters on scene. Lyudmilla, was just 23 and pregnant when she watched as her husband die an agonising death from radiation poisoning and sadly, their baby died hours after being born. Some aspects of Lyudmila’s story have been accurately depicted on screen, such as her bribing her way into the hospital and being allowed only 30 minutes to see her husband. However, in the TV series Lyudmilla says she wasn’t pregnant, while in real life, she told the nurse that she already had two children so they let her in. 

The cinematography is beautiful for instance, the series begins moments after the explosion that destroyed the reactor. It is a disorienting and captivating sequence that we experience just like the operators of the plant and we powerlessly follow along experiencing it along side them. Another brilliant theme throughout is the constant sense of foreboding reinforced by the Geiger counter noise in the soundtrack, at first you don’t seem to notice it at much but soon it's there and a constant. I re-watched the final two episodes and picked up it more the second time round. 

I honestly can’t recommend this series enough.

Friday, 7 June 2019

Good Omens (Amazon Series Review)

Hello Readers,
Today we are going to be looking at the Amazon series Good Omens. On Wednesday I reviewed the book if you’re looking for the story behind the series here’s a link. If you’ve followed my blog for a while you know I love Sir Terry Pratchett’s work. I also have a lot of love for Neil Gaiman I just don’t think I am as vocal about it (sorry Neil).  I’ve tried to do this without spoilers.

Little fangirl and then I will get down to business David Tennant and Michael Sheen! I will be honest I didn’t need anything more. I was so worried when I saw that Good Omens was going to be adapted to screen and then a little more so with cast announcements. Not only had two of my favourite authors collaborated two of my favourite actors were going to star in it. Surely nothing can live up to that much hype, can it… brain give up it was perfect for me. Oh, and to top it off the whole thing is set to Queen. This series is being too good to me I can’t cope anymore.

Neil’s was more hands-on with this adaptation than he was the second season of American Gods, writing all six episodes and working with series director Douglas Mackinnon to make TV’s latest foray into the great beyond worth the jaunt. The six-part Amazon series has a number of big names in front of the camera including Michael Sheen, David Tennant, Miranda Richardson, Frances McDormand and Jon Hamm as well as behind it David Arnold composes the programme’s devilishly catchy melodies.

Neil has made some sensible changes to his and Terry's original narrative. He develops the romance between Aziraphale and Crowley, so that these celestial beings’ relationship is more touching and, well, human, than it is on paper. Yes I am sticking with romance sorry not sorry! they are meant to be. Neil manages to keep the chaotic spirit of the book alive while honouring Terry’s endearing tendency to go off on humorous tangents, asides, and footnotes.

Neil also bumps up the number of other angels and demons most notably the archangel Gabriel. Gabriel played by Jon Hamm was barely mentioned in the book, but in the series, he serves as Aziraphale’s supervisor, filled with good cheer even as he expresses contempt for humans and support for the final war.  However, despite the addition of characters like Gabriel, Good Omens is an undeniably faithful adaptation of its source material and a huge amount of dialogue is almost word-for-word during episode one.

I do have one thing to pick at and it is a personal grumble. There was also something about death showing up in the series made me sad. Yes it was death but it wasn’t the real DEATH, I know they aren’t the same but it was a harsh reminder at least for me that Terry is no longer with us. 

I honestly have everything crossed that the success of the Amazon series means that more of Sir Terry’s work will be adapted to screen.

Oh and keep your eyes open for Easter Eggs

If you could see any book adapted to screen what would you pick? Did you spot any of the Eater Eggs?

L x