Liz Currently Loves….The City’s Son by Tom Pollock.

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Expelled from school, betrayed by her best friend and virtually ignored by her dad, who’s never recovered from the death of her mum, Beth Bradley retreats to the sanctuary of the streets, looking for a new home. What she finds is Filius Viae, the ragged and cocky crown prince of London, who opens her eyes to the place she’s never truly seen.

 

So, in my recent book buying spree,  one of the things I was specifically looking for was the next book in my quest for terrific Urban Fantasy – this one kept popping up and glaring at me so I took that as a sign that this was the one.

What a great choice that was. Phew. For this reader, there are two things that will ensure I love an Urban Fantasy tale – a world I want to see with my own two eyes and characters that I can fall in love with. The City’s Son had both of those things with bells on..

Beth is a graffiti artist, ignored by her grieving father and expelled from school after her best friend Pen caves to pressure, she is drifting..until an incident on the streets of London brings her into contact with Fil.  Son of a Goddess, Prince of London, he is about to be embroiled in a battle with the evil Reach, King of the Cranes, for his life and his City. And so Beth finds a new purpose…and embarks on the adventure of a lifetime.

The world Mr Pollock has created here is weird, wonderful and entirely beautiful. Oh I wanted to dance with Elektra and her sisters, interact with the Pavement Priests, offer the spiders my voice and fight the good fight…the entire time I was immersed in Fil’s London I was drowning in the rich, often horrific,  yet always entirely exotic surroundings.  A city that lives and breathes, filled with bizarre and breathtaking characters who will steal your heart and touch your soul.

This author does not write from a place of safety and that makes this even more compelling – If you want a cheery tale where everyone lives happily ever after then this may not be for you – emotionally speaking it can be a bit of a rollercoaster ride. There is love and loss, sadness and joy, fear and bravery all within the pages – and the ending left me slightly tearful and overwrought in the best reading way possible.

Alluring and elegant writing, intelligent and dexterous world building and passionate characterisation make this a must read for any Urban Fantasy fan. Indeed for any fan of great storytelling.

I leave you with some quotes…

“Our memories are like a city: we tear some structures down, and we use rubble of the old to raise up new ones. Some memories are bright glass, blindingly beautiful when they catch the sun, but then there are the darker days, when they reflect only the crumbling walls of their derelict neighbours. Some memories are buried under years of patient construction; their echoing halls may never again be seen or walked down, but still they are the foundations for everything that stands above them.”

“Glas told me once that that’s what people are, mostly: memories, the memories in their own heads, and the memories of them in other people’s. And if memories are like a city, and we are our memories, then we are like cities too. I’ve always taken comfort in that.”

 

Happy Reading Folks!

Sorry…but hey, a quick look back!

First of all I need to apologise for completely failing to post the last two days promised articles. That pesky little thing called real life kept interfering and keeping me on my toes..hopefully all will be back to normal next week but for today I thought I’d just take a quick look back at some of the books I think you might want to be reading at the end of this year and the beginning of next. Coming soon and some for now. And look out for more like this in the lead up to Christmas as I do my “Reading Year In Review”.

 

Covers only. Twelve Books. 9 Coming Soon. 3 you can read right now. Take your pick. Reviews for all are around here somewhere…

 

Look Out. Coming Soon!

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Can Read now.

 

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The Hunger Games V Divergent…Looking Back.

First of all before we continue please note: If you have not yet completed either of these trilogies and are intending to, then DO NOT READ. MAJOR SPOILERS. This is not an article I could write without such a thing. This is a fairly simplistic comparison incidentally, don’t expect deep and meaningful commentary on, well, anything. This is purely me enjoying myself.

 

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So, two of my favourite YA Dystopian trilogies. Both of which had endings that divided opinion. Both of which are highly popular, being made into movies, have rabid fans and give great reading experiences. I loved both – despite not being fond of one ending and thinking the other perfect, I could not pick between them. So lets take a look.

For Book One I’m considering our protagonists. Katniss in The Hunger Games and Tris in Divergent.

They are both equally compelling – Katniss risks it all to save her sister from the horror of the games and Tris leaves behind everything she has ever known in order to try and find herself. Both find themselves in a fight for survival. Both adapt, learn, make friends, make enemies, suffer tragedy and loss and do so in a very readable manner. Both of these kept me up late…

At this point Katniss was my favourite. Perhaps because she suffered more here (I mean who DIDNT cry at the death of Rue and her reaction to it) and at the end was left with a fierce determination, and a hardened heart. By the end of book One Tris was less affected (in my reading mind) and still had a way to go before events overtook her in a way that made me truly worry for her soul.

As far as story goes you have two terrific premises executed brilliantly. There is no way I could say that Suzanne Collins or Veronica Roth have the edge there. The only edge I can give is that I would not like to be anywhere near the world of the Hunger Games but I kind of liked the idea of becoming Dauntless….

 

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And onwards to part two, here I’m going to consider that very difficult thing – the “middle” book. Hard to get right one imagines, you have to walk the line between keeping up the standard, quality and readability of Part One, whilst making sure people want to read part 3 and growing your characters in a realistic and compelling way. Not easy. Not easy at all!

Here I definitely gave one of the books an edge – for me personally, Insurgent wins this round. Because of the “set up” and the character development.

Suzanne Collins opted for pretty much doing the same thing again – back to the Games, even with a little twist, felt way too much “been there done that” for this reader. Still the writing was superb and I was still right there – and this is the book where I picked the guy I was going to root for out of the two choices Katniss had – Yes. I went with Gale. Who did you go for?

Insurgent however, I felt, moved the story along in a much more engaging and fascinating manner. Tris evolved and you started to understand her, know what choices she was going to make and why. Her relationship with “Four” moved in a realistic way (I was still unsure whether I liked him much or not)  and the division amongst the factions was superbly written and highly addictive. Then, at the end, when Ms Roth gave us a teaser of why the factions ever came into being and what “Divergent” might actually mean in real terms I was hooked. I was ready. Ready for Allegiant….and to find out what exactly was outside the fence…

 

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And here we are. Down to the wire folks! In the divided opinion stakes here is mine…you can take it or leave it – if you think I’m insane you may well be right so I won’t hold it against you! And if you differ from me utterly and completely then thats GREAT! Both these authors have given us things to debate. To discuss. To argue and get het up over. Who can ask for more. And this is YA fiction? Astounding….Here we go.

MockingJay wins the day for me. Hands down, no prevarication, absolutely and completely. Upon reading the last few words of Mockingjay I lay down and cried. And cried. Walked round in a daze for a few hours, totally bereft. Absolutely inconsolable that there would be no more. Because…..Nope, lets talk Allegiant first.

Upon reading the last few words of Allegiant I threw it down, shrugged my shoulders, metaphorically said “meh” and carried on with my day. Only later did I even bother to consider over much why I felt that way. And this is why. For a start, the promise of the end of Insurgent was not acted upon for me. A rather generic “its in the genes” explanation just did not cut it. Tris will save the world because she has perfect genes? This reviewer said it best for me and I can’t say it better. So have a read. Then prepare for a rant from me….and a COMPLETE SPOILER FOR BOTH

https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/504738977

Then Veronica Roth killed Tris. In a move that was probably meant to be dramatic, mind blowing and make you cry she did something that had been blatantly obvious to me from the very first moment I read the dual POV’s in Allegiant (and honestly could “Four” GET any more whiny whingey and woe is me?) I knew that we would need someone other than Tris to take us to the final denouement otherwise why make such a huge change to a method of writing that had worked so well up until now. And for me she did it in rather a blase fashion – Everything Tris had learnt and evolved into up until now seemingly having taught her nothing. She kind of gave up. Now I’m not saying that killing Tris was completely the wrong way to go…if done right it would have been a STUNNING conclusion. But for me it fell flat. She survived everything including the thing that kills everyone else, yet even with her totally awesome kick ass weapons and fighting skills she was taken down by a desk jockey in a wheelchair. I mean what? Really? Yeah ok then…

Plus “Four” didnt really grieve. Or do anything much for the whole novel apart from moan about stuff and get in the way.  And previously he had been so cool. Strong. Certain most of the time…Yes sorry. No good. NO GOOD! Sigh. Ah well…..

So MockingJay. Yes. Loved it. I can see why people didnt (and indeed why people DID love Allegiant) but I LOVED it. Because from the start EVERYTHING Katniss did came from a place of wanting to protect her Sister. And yet Primrose dies anyway. My heart broke. It broke for Katniss. It broke for Primrose and the fact that she would not get to live in the brave new world Katniss had fought so hard for. It broke. Thinking about it again now it still brings a tear to my eye. And Katniss at the end. So broken, so bereft, so sad yet still standing strong. Perfect end for me. PERFECT.

So. Both novels peppered with amazing characters, in very different settings, within worlds we cannot imagine. Two strong female protagonists who  you get behind, love, hate, root for, adore….Terrific writing from both authors. For me one fell at the final hurdle but…..

I would not dismiss the “Divergent” trilogy as unworthy in any way. Because we ALL read differently. I would recommend both trilogies as highly as each other – because how you feel about the endings will very much depend on how you have read the books, and how the characters have solidified in your mind.  There is no “wrong”. Both Suzanne Collins and Veronica Roth gave us their vision – how we interpret it? Thats up to us. Each individual reader will have an individual opinion. The above article was mine.

Happy Reading Folks!

 

 

 

Stuart MacBride – True Grit in Crime Fiction.

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So, having a book blog is great, but sometimes you forget why you started one in the first place – Over the years I have read some terrific crime fiction of which Mr Macbride has been a huge part and yet, so far, I have not waxed lyrical about how much I enjoy them. So here we go.

I shall tell you about the Logan McRae series and for an overview lets look at the first, followed by my favourite, followed by the most recent. And hopefully if you have not yet  experienced these, this will inspire you to do so.

 

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DS Logan McRae and the police in Aberdeen hunt a child killer who stalks the frozen streets. Winter in Aberdeen: murder, mayhem and terrible weather!

It’s DS Logan McRae’s first day back on the job after a year off on the sick, and it couldn’t get much worse. Four-year-old David Reid’s body is discovered in a ditch, strangled, mutilated and a long time dead. And he’s only the first. There’s a serial killer stalking the Granite City and the local media are baying for blood.

So if you go back in time a few years, to 2007 (yes I was a bit late to the party) you would find me wandering aimlessly around my local bookshop wondering what to pick up. I came across Cold Granite, read the blurb and thought – ok I’ll give this a try. Well thank heavens for that. Mr Macbride writes with wit and dark humour, places you so firmly in the setting (Aberdeen) that even if you have never been there you will feel you know it well and gives us Logan McRae – recovering from sick leave and thrust into the heart of an emotional investigation.

I laughed as much as I cried, and Logan quickly became one of those characters you long to meet in real life – cautiously optimistic, always in some sort of trouble, full of heart and soul and often annoying in a whimsical fashion that makes you sigh.

The story is all consuming, a side story gives you a taste of things to come as far as the development of Logan’s character goes, the supporting cast are all so realistic that they jump off the page and once you are there, trust me you won’t be leaving anytime soon. I still havent left the party – I hope it continues for a long long time.

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The city is in a state of fear. Some 20 years ago, the Grampian police nailed a particularly vicious serial killer known as The Flesher, a monster who had claimed victims throughout the country. But one of those frequent legal appeals which so often release dangerous criminals into the community has freed him, and when a container with human body parts appears at Aberdeen harbour, it looks like the stage is once again set for carnage on a massive scale.

Ok, lets fast forward a bit to Book 4. I’m listing this as my favourite – but perhaps I should say its the one that stays with me still rather than necessarily being favourite – readers will know what I mean. The subject matter being highly disturbing, the pace of this one being frenetic and all engrossing, Logan facing some rather horrible consequences and the sheer terror that forms in your heart while reading, makes it still for me, one of the best Logan McRae novels so far. But thats not to say there were not great things to come…

 

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The first body is chained to a stake: strangled, and stabbed, with a burning tyre around its neck. But is this a gangland execution or something much darker?

Someone’s leaving little knots of bones outside Detective Inspector Logan McRae’s house, but he’s got more pressing things to worry about. Rival drug gangs are fighting over product and territory; two teenage lovers are missing; someone’s crippling Asian immigrants; and Logan’s been lumbered with an ambitious new Detective Sergeant, a mountain of paperwork, and the unwelcome attention of his superiors and the local crime boss.

 

The latest Logan McRae is one I can’t say too much about – Logan’s backstory and the things that have happened to him and his fellow characters over the course of the novels plays quite a big part in the side story here and I would not spoil it for you for all the chocolate in the world (well, ok, if you offer me ALL the chocolate in the world I might whisper in your ear…but only you mind)

Suffice to say once more, the criminal investigation is intelligent and compelling, Logan as always faces himself as much as he does the criminals he is chasing and by the end of this one I was in tears. Yes actual tears. Mr MacBride may represent true grit in crime fiction but you could also say he manages time and time again to pull of the true heart of crime fiction – where you genuinely and emotionally care for and adore the characters to the point where what happens to them happens to you. I was bereft. And I really cannot wait to find out where Logan goes from here…

In the meantime though – somewhere in there Mr MacBride also gave us this.

 

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Detective Constable Ash Henderson has a dark secret…Five years ago his daughter, Rebecca, went missing on the eve of her thirteenth birthday. A year later the first card arrived: home-made, with a Polaroid picture stuck to the front – Rebecca, strapped to a chair, gagged and terrified. Every year another card: each one worse than the last.

The tabloids call him ‘The Birthday Boy’. He’s been snatching girls for twelve years, always in the run-up to their thirteenth birthday, sending the families his home-made cards showing their daughters being slowly tortured to death.

But Ash hasn’t told anyone about Rebecca’s birthday cards – they all think she’s just run away from home – because if anyone finds out, he’ll be taken off the investigation. And he’s sacrificed too much to give up before his daughter’s killer gets what he deserves…

 

If Logan McRae is a character you love to love, Ash Henderson is a character you love to hate…or love…or possibly both. I still have not made up my mind. This was a fantabulous story with a very dark heart  – and I’m still undecided whether its Mr Hendersons heart that made it dark or the killers…either way I read this one in a single sitting, heading into the early hours of the morning with matchsticks propping my eyes open as there was no way I was sleeping until I was done. Then of course I wasnt sleeping at all – this one has one of those terrific endings that undo you and that keeps invading your mind during the most inappropriate times as you are trying to decide in your head whether it was what you wanted or not…yes I’m being enigmatic. Read it and see for yourself!

Now, I thought we would not see Ash again but apparently and in a move that makes this reader an EXTREMELY happy bunny, Mr MacBride’s up and coming novel “A Song For the Dying” see’s him making a return appearance. And never have I been more pleased – I think. We’ll see – perhaps by the end of this one I will have an actual opinion on a character that is sure to divide reading opinion. Not many authors pull that one off. Stuart MacBride has…

Now I need bring my chronic impatience under control. Or perhaps attempt some bribery of my lovely friends Kate and Bob at Harper Collins for when and if some review copies become available – Are you reading this Kate and Bob? Oooh I’m blatant!

 

Find out more here: http://www.stuartmacbride.com/index.php

Follow Stuart MacBride on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/StuartMacBride

Purchase Information clickety click http://www.amazon.co.uk/Stuart-MacBride/e/B0045AAF7E/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_pop_1

 

Happy Reading Folks!

 

Liz Currently Loves…..Dead Set by Will Carver.

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Coming 21st November from Arrow.

Thank you to Will and the publisher for the review copy. Yay.

First things first. If you have not then READ GIRL 4 FIRST.  And The Two. And you should. If you havent. There may be spoilers ahead for the first two novels.

Here we go….

Detective Inspector January David doesn’t love me.

He loves his missing sister. He loves his job.

But he doesn’t love me. Not in the way he should.

I am his wife. I am still his wife.

And I will do anything for him.

No matter what I have to sacrifice.

So the third outing for January David, finds him coming to the end of the sabbatical enforced upon him after the events of “The Two”. Meanwhile a missing young girl is found dead, another murder victim begins to tell us her tale…and January will soon find himself caught up in the tangled web being weaved by our favourite psychotic killer once more…oh but which psychotic killer do you refer to I hear you ask? Well take your pick. The wonderfully drawn Eames or the enigmatic and dangerous Audrey David? Well, we will see…

What you get with this series of novels is Murder, Magic and Mayhem. A hint of the supernatural and a touch of fear. Or in my case a screaming case of the heebie jeebies. Every time. Every single time. Why? No idea – its all in the writing my friends.

Will Carver writes with a very quirky style – it is unique and very much his own. He uses multiple points of view to great effect – you hear from January, from Audrey, from Eames and from the victims, all interspersed with bridges from one to the other…a flowing and intelligent narrative that tells you everything you need to know whilst keeping it secret at the same time. Inventive  writing indeed. It won’t work for everyone – but if you love a story that takes you “outside the box” then this is perfect for you.

As I was drawn inexorably towards yet another brain bending conclusion (yes, you will not get molly coddled here folks) I was at turns terrified, absorbed, captivated and entertained – as usual a perfect combination. This is perhaps my favourite of the three – because now the mythology and mystery at the heart of these novels is ingrained. I’m right there. I know what to expect and yet I am always, always taken aback. Perhaps I should say I have learned to expect the unexpected…

I adore this series in the same way that I adore John Connolly’s “Charlie Parker” series – because they are surprising, delightful, downright scary and utterly fascinating. Kudos.

 

Find out more here: http://www.willcarver.net/www.willcarver.net/Author_Will_Carver___January_David_Novels.html

Follow Will on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/will_carver

Purchase Information clickety click : http://www.amazon.co.uk/Dead-Set-January-David-3/dp/0099551055/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1383559778&sr=1-2

(Remember though – Girl 4 first!)

Happy Reading Folks!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Coming Next Week to Liz Loves Books.

Well the weekend is upon us and now things have settled somewhat  I can get back to blogging properly and letting people know what I will be blathering about.

So what shall I do next week? Well some things I’ve wanted to do for a while for a start. Here is what is coming.

 

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Well on Monday you will be able to find a “Liz Currently Loves” post all about the latest January David novel from the rather lovely Will Carver which will be released later this month. I have been avidly reading it for the last couple of days and will be finishing it later tonight whilst eating a ton of chocolate…and I have been once again deeply immersed in the weird and wonderful world of January et al and for me its been the best yet! More on that Monday.

 

 

 

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So excited was I today to see the cover for the new novel from Mr MacBride that is due to hit the shelves in January – namely “A Song For The Dying” –  then even more excited to discover that our protagonist from “Birthdays of the Dead” Ash Henderson was to make another appearance – that I decided it was high time I did an article on all things MacBride. So that is Tuesday for you. Logan Mcrae being one of my favourite literary policemen, I shall wax lyrical about how much I enjoy these books. Even though they have a dark side…but then who DOESNT love a dark side!

 

 

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On Wednesday I shall be doing a post named “The Hunger Games v Divergent”. Two of my favourite YA trilogies, both with endings that divided opinion, I shall discuss, divulge my feelings, and generally blather about how much more interesting it is when you can argue the point about an ending/plot detail with other readers rather than having a “please everyone” ending. They often fall flat!  Please be aware this post will contain MAJOR SPOILERS as this is not an article I can write unless I can talk about plot details and give away the final twists. So avoid Liz Loves Books on Wednesday if you have not yet read these and intend to.

 

 

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On Thursday as a follow on from that article I will be talking about Young Adult Fiction in general, telling you some of my favourite examples of the genre and looking at the recent explosion onto the scene of such novels – and how much they are loved by both young adults and old adults alike!

 

 

 

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On Friday I will finally be reviewing the latest in the Lynley series from Elizabeth George – oh I adore these books – and talking about the series as a whole. The excellent, the good, the bad and the occasionally ugly. There will be minor spoilers from the earlier books, however I will mark them clearly so that you can ignore those bits if they are about one of the Lynley’s you have not yet read.

 

Happy Weekend Folks!