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dancrossbookblog

Reading books. Reviewing books. Talking books.

Month

July 2016

Author Interview – Michael R. Miller

HI guys and gals! So, I was lucky enough to get a copy of The Dragon’s Blade: The Reborn King by Michael R. Miller for the purposes of a review, and I was even luckier that he agreed to do an interview with me! If you haven’t yet read The Dragon’s Blade (and really, you should) it is available now on AmazonWaterstones, and Barnes & Noble. I loved this book (my review is available here) and I think you would too.

The book and its blurb;

via: iamselfpublishing.com
via: iamselfpublishing.com
‘Dragons once soared in the skies, but that was before the Transformation, before they took human form. Now, demonic forces stand to obliterate them. When left mortally wounded, Darnuir, the Prince of Dragons, can only be saved through a dangerous rebirthing spell. He is left as a babe in human hands.

Twenty years later, Darnuir is of age to wield the Dragon’s Blade. As the last member of his bloodline, he is the only one who can. He is plunged into a role he is not prepared for, to lead a people he does not know. Shadowy demons ravage his new home and the alliance between humans, dragons and fairies has fractured.

Time is short, for new threats and deadlier enemies are emerging…’

About the author;

Michael was born and raised in Ayrshire in the West of Scotland. Being useless at kicking a football around, he often resorted to imagining tales of magic and adventure in which he and his classmates would battle to save the school during their lunch hour. Fortunately for all, such embarrassing tales never made it out of his head and onto paper.

Like many young boys he quickly developed a love for daring knights who battled evil. When this was combined with endless hours playing Age of Empires and watching Lord of the Rings, a love for both history and fantasy was born.

He studied History at the University of St Andrew’s, dabbling in everything from Ancient Rome to Modern Scotland and a good deal of things in between. Graduating in 2014 he moved to London to pursue law and somehow decided it was a good idea to start writing a fantasy epic at the same time.

Let’s dive right in, I ain’t got time for niceties 🙂

let's go meme

What/who was your inspiration for The Dragon’s Blade?

It’s hard to boil it all down to one single creative spark but it all began with the sword. The Dragon’s Blade popped into my head, at least in terms of its look, when I was about nine years old on the way home from seeing Monsters Inc. It’s a strangely vivid memory. Throughout the years it has been a constant, even when so much else changed, and the legendary weapon I wanted my main character to use. A world and story has slowly built up around it.

As for Darnuir himself, it was a combination of inspiration from Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, a philosophy question on memory loss and replacement, and the broad idea of exploring nature vs nurture.

Now that is an answer that begs more questions! So Darnuir is a man whose journey has been nothing short of unique and makes for very interesting reading. In terms of the ‘world’ that you created, did that form over a period of time, or did you already know what it would look like?

Like the story, the world building came in bits and pieces over the years. The plot, characters, setting and magic system all grew organically with each other. However, the map was in my head in a vague form for a very long time even if the finer detail wasn’t added until more recently. There was always going to be ten important mountains that tied together with the world’s magic and growing up on the coast of Scotland, with a mountain island that I looked out to every day, the roots of that aren’t hard to find. Even when I moved out for university I was still near the sea. Making the world essentially one enormous island with lots of mountains, cold snows, marshes and long summer days felt natural to me. I discovery write a fair amount of the time and so I have added bits and pieces to the world as I’ve gone along. The town of Torridon, for example, with its large crannogs out on the loch and oversized smoke houses, was added on the fly as I was writing. Characters and plots were about to converge and I needed somewhere for that to happen and it happily turned out to be one of my favourite parts of the whole book.

Mine too! So, from one fantastical world to another; the mysterious world of self-publishing… What persuaded you to self-publish your work instead of going down the traditional publishing route? Was it an easy choice or was there some deliberation process for you?

I’ve always liked to take charge and soldier on with something I’m interested in. Self-publishing appealed to me because I could move the book along quicker and at a pace I was happy with. As we know, traditional publishing generally takes a long time to break into. I was proud of my book and felt it had a strong premise on which to market it to readers. I felt that if I could make this first trilogy a relative success by myself then I’d have the experience, knowledge and confidence to approach a larger publishing house one day. Or perhaps I will remain indie. We’ll just have to see. It certainly wasn’t an easy choice. By going indie you are essentially giving up the idea of getting into most bookshops and will likely avoid an audiobook due to the high cost of quality production. I listen to a lot of audiobooks so that was a tough one for me. If I’m lucky I might be able to sell those rights one day.

Traditional publishing can seem cold from the outside – I wrote a piece on the London Book Fair to that effect – but everyone I’ve met who works in it has been incredibly open and friendly. The SFF community is especially welcoming. To anyone who is considering self-publishing I think you have to be honest with yourself as to what your goals are and what is important to you. If you desperately want your book on the shelves then going indie probably isn’t right. If, on the other hand, the idea of taking the reins and being more agile in things like prices and giveaways, and having the final say in everything, does, then consider it further. There are many excellent sites and books out there for better information such as those from Joanna Penn and Ben Galley.

Thanks for that Michael, I’m sure that will have given the budding authors out there some food for thought when it comes to the indie v traditional publishing debate. One positive of publishing your own works, is, of course, that you can participate in the Self Published Fantasy Blog Off (SPFBO) 2016. It’s fair to say that The Dragon’s Blade has gone down a treat, especially the cover! How did you feel when you saw that The Dragon’s Blade had won best cover at SPFBO 2016? Also, what made you decide to enter into SPFBO 2016?

 The cover has certainly gone down a treat – I’ll keep all my fingers and toes crossed for the book itself! I was genuinely taken aback when I saw the results because Timandra Whitecastle’s Touch of Iron was in the lead on the blog vote right until the end. I got very lucky to have such an incredible cover and can only hope the book lives up to the expectation it creates.

The honest answer for entering the SPFBO is the hope of getting some reviews from well-respected bloggers, if The Dragon’s Blade makes the final. I wasn’t aware of the competition until mid-way through last year’s contest. I met Ben Galley at the British FantasyCon and he educated me on the matter. After that, I followed it closely and hoped the opportunity would come up again. Aside from the chance for great exposure it brings the indie community together and lets both readers and authors discover each other in a way we might not otherwise have done. I really do hope it becomes an annual event.

As a reader, I too hope SPFBO becomes an annual competition! So where next for Michael R. Miller? How is the second book coming along? Have you got a release date slated yet?

Ah the second book…I keep promising people I am nearly finished, and I am, but it has been more difficult than the first. Second album syndrome? It will pick up right where book one finished and it’s pretty jam packed. I won’t give a precise release date yet but we’re looking at January 2017. Most importantly I want to get it right so if I need a bit more time I will take it.

 Other than that I want to keep promoting the first book as much as possible and see about picking up some work in publishing in London.

Thank you very much Michael!

So there you have it, the ideas and the creative process behind The Dragon’s Blade: The Reborn King. I loved doing this interview and I felt that I could really get into his head and find out what made him tick while he was writing this.

I hope you enjoyed this interview,it  it was my first so there will be some ‘clunkiness’ in and around the place (the interview) but I have a few more lined up and hope to share them with you soon.

As ever, thank you for reading. I would be most appreciative if you could hit the little ‘share’ button to whatever social media you prefer, because, well, you know, sharing is caring *cringe*

THANKS 🙂

*UPDATE* WE HAVE A WINNER!! *GIVEAWAY* Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

Giveaway winner

Hey everybody, I hope you’ve had a great week 🙂 I would like to personally thank everyone that made the effort to enter my giveaway for Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo! Sadly there can only be one winner…

AND THE WINNER IS…. ANNA TOMLINSON!! WELL DONE ANNA! Unfortunately, I haven’t had any contact from Anna in the past 24 hours so I have drawn another random winner… The NEW winner is… Kym Stacey!! Lucky you!! (I have emailed you 😃) 

giphy

The book will be on its way to you when I receive your address details 🙂

P.S if I don’t hear from you by 22:00 tonight, I will choose another random winner, so please email me at dancrossbookblog@outlook.com ASAP!

Sorry to those of you who entered but didn’t win. The good news is that I will be having at LEAST one bookish giveaway per month. My next giveaway will be live sometime next week and will (hopefully) be a signed copy of a (seriously good) crime thriller/detective novel set in London around the 7/7 attacks. Watch out for that one on its way.

FEEDBACK

I am a big believer in learning from doing. Creating a poll to see which book people would have liked me to include in a giveaway was an idea that I quite liked. What I want to know is, did you? Did you like being given the chance to choose which book I gave away or would you rather I randomised the book? Please let me know how you thought this whole giveaway went, I would really appreciate it 🙂

Thank you all, I hope you have a great weekend!

 

 

GIVEAWAY – Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

The results are in! The ballot slips (clicks) have all been entered, the results have been counted (by Polldaddy) and the book has been chosen!

I give you SIX OF CROWS, no, I actually will give you this book. For free. Damn but I’m just so generous. This isn’t purely altruistic obviously, I mean, I’m not that nice am I?!

See below to enter the giveaway.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
https://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js

A little blurb on the book;

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

six of crows cover Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price—and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can’t pull it off alone…

A convict with a thirst for revenge.
A sharpshooter who can’t walk away from a wager.
A runaway with a privileged past.
A spy known as the Wraith.
A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums.
A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes.

Kaz’s crew are the only ones who might stand between the world and destruction—if they don’t kill each other first.

Thank you to everyone who voted on the poll, I wish you the best of luck in the giveaway 🙂 The giveaway will end on July 22nd. 

FYI the giveaway is open to EVERYONE, whether you live in the UK or anywhere else in the world. SO by all means, take a swing!

https://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js

Hear Ye, Hear Ye, lend me you ears (or thoughts to be exact)

Hello, and a Happy Monday 🙂

Recently I have been checking over my blog and the content that I’ve posted since I started my little blogging venture in March of this year. I’ve come to the decision that I’d like to do something a little more interactive.

I love the idea of reviewing books in the form of a video, say a YouTube video. I do have a channel but as yet I have only subscribed to other people’s videos. However, there a few things that I am unsure about, here are the pro’s and the cons.

unsure meme

Pro’s

  • It is fun and interactive
  • I can mess around with editing software
  • I can meet loads of new people
  • I could become and overnight internet sensation and make loadsa money *ahem*

Cons

  • Will I just end up looking like an amateur bag of s&*t?
  • I have a north east regional dialect, will people actually understand me?
  • Am I interesting enough to warrant 5 minutes of viewing?
  • Are people actually interested in video book reviews?
  • Will my face fit?
  • Will I have to do my hair? (I hate doing my hair)

This is not just an exercise in self-loathing, I promise. These are genuine fears. I mean, I think I’m interesting enough but does anyone else? I suppose I’ll never know until I’ve tried it. Please let me know what you think, all opinions and thoughts are welcome. Do you have any tips before I embark on this little venture?

As always, thank you 🙂

Fantasy Fridays #3

Fantasy Fridays #3

Fantasy Fridays is all about celebrating fantasy in its many form and guises. My love of fantasy is absolute and if I could only read this genre for the rest of my life, I wouldn’t be overly displeased about it! I love the characters, the worlds, and the super cool weaponry and races.

So I’m going to cheat a little here and plug an article that I’ve just written for a website. I would like my blog to be heavily linked with my other online articles and vice versa  so thought that this would be a cool way to do it!

hbo meme

The article is titled ‘What Is Fantasy, And Why Do We Need It?’ and it is on My Trending Stories, a website for bloggers and other contributors. I may decide to dual-post in the future but I’m not 100% sure yet. If you have the time to read the short article then please do, and please comment on it and let me know what you think, whether it’s a compliment or some food for thought.

Also, the chance to vote on which book I give away next weekend it closing soon so if you haven’t already, please stick your oar in 🙂 Six of Crows is leading the way but Those Above is close behind!

Danny 🙂

 

GIVEAWAY POLL [CLOSED]

So July is here, the sun is shining (intermittently) and summer is well and truly on its way. With this in mind, I thought it was time to have another giveaway! For this giveaway I ma giving prospective winner the chance to vote on which book will be up for grabs!

All books are in paperback format and are new. This poll will end on July 17th 2016 and the giveaway will commence soon after. So please, if you would like to win any of the books below, stick your vote in and let me know 🙂

I have given a brief overview of each of the books below.

Twelve Kings – Bradley Beaulieu

twelve kings cover

Sharakhai, the great city of the desert, center of commerce and culture, has been ruled from time immemorial by twelve kings—cruel, ruthless, powerful, and immortal. With their army of Silver Spears, their elite company of Blade Maidens, and their holy defenders, the terrifying asirim, the Kings uphold their positions as undisputed, invincible lords of the desert. There is no hope of freedom for any under their rule.

Or so it seems, until Çeda, a brave young woman from the west end slums, defies the Kings’ laws by going outside on the holy night of Beht Zha’ir. What she learns that night sets her on a path that winds through both the terrible truths of the Kings’ mysterious history and the hidden riddles of her own heritage. Together, these secrets could finally break the iron grip of the Kings’ power…if the nigh-omnipotent Kings don’t find her first.

Red Rising – Pierce Brown

red rising

Darrow is a Red, a member of the lowest caste in the color-coded society of the future. Like his fellow Reds, he works all day, believing that he and his people are making the surface of Mars livable for future generations.

Yet he spends his life willingly, knowing that his blood and sweat will one day result in a better world for his children.

But Darrow and his kind have been betrayed. Soon he discovers that humanity already reached the surface generations ago. Vast cities and sprawling parks spread across the planet. Darrow—and Reds like him—are nothing more than slaves to a decadent ruling class.

Inspired by a longing for justice, and driven by the memory of lost love, Darrow sacrifices everything to infiltrate the legendary Institute, a proving ground for the dominant Gold caste, where the next generation of humanity’s overlords struggle for power. He will be forced to compete for his life and the very future of civilization against the best and most brutal of Society’s ruling class. There, he will stop at nothing to bring down his enemies… even if it means he has to become one of them to do so.

Those Above – Daniel Polansky

those above cover

They enslaved humanity three thousand years ago. Tall, strong, perfect, superhuman and near immortal they rule from their glittering palaces in the eternal city in the centre of the world. They are called Those Above by their subjects. They enforce their will with fire and sword.

Twenty five years ago mankind mustered an army and rose up against them, only to be slaughtered in a terrible battle. Hope died that day, but hatred survived. Whispers of another revolt are beginning to stir in the hearts of the oppressed: a woman, widowed in the war, who has dedicated her life to revenge; the general, the only man to ever defeat one of Those Above in single combat, summoned forth to raise a new legion; and a boy killer who rises from the gutter to lead an uprising in the capital.

The Mime Order – Samantha Shannon

the mime order cover

Paige Mahoney has escaped the brutal prison camp of Sheol I, but her problems have only just begun: many of the survivors are missing and she is the most wanted person in London…

As Scion turns its all-seeing eye on the dreamwalker, the mime-lords and mime-queens of the city’s gangs are invited to a rare meeting of the Unnatural Assembly. Jaxon Hall and his Seven Seals prepare to take centre stage, but there are bitter fault lines running through the clairvoyant community and dark secrets around every corner. Then the Rephaim begin crawling out from the shadows. But where is Warden? Paige must keep moving, from Seven Dials to Grub Street to the secret catacombs of Camden, until the fate of the underworld can be decided.

The Merchant’s Partner – Michael Jecks

the merchant's partner cover

Agatha Kyteler is the neighbourhood witch, a healer and midwife, feared by superstitious villagers, but they wouldn’t live without her, and continuously seek her help.
When her body is discovered in a hedge, frozen and horribly disfigured, there are no clues as to who the murderer is. That is, until a local youth runs away…
Sir Baldwin and Simon Puttock join forces once again, determined to prove the boy’s innocence.

Six of Crows – Leigh Bardugo

six of crows cover

Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price—and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can’t pull it off alone…

A convict with a thirst for revenge.
A sharpshooter who can’t walk away from a wager.
A runaway with a privileged past.
A spy known as the Wraith.
A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums.
A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes.

Kaz’s crew are the only ones who might stand between the world and destruction—if they don’t kill each other first.

 

 

Liebster Award

I was over the moon when Jamie over at WatchGameRead nominated me for the Liebster Award,  thank you 🙂

The Liebster Award is given to new bloggers as a way of saying ‘Hello’ or ‘Hallo’ seeing as though the word Liebster is taking from the German language.

So here’s how it works:

  1. Thank the person who nominated you and answer the 11 questions they’ve written for you.
  2. Give 11 random facts about yourself (optional)
  3. Nominate 5-11 different people with less than 200 followers and give them 11 questions to answer.

Jamie’s Questions were;

What’s your favourite series?

Oooh, now this is a tough one! I will have to go for the Drenai series by David Gemmell. The series comprises 11 different books (don’t worry, I won’t name them all) and contains some of the best fantasy charters that I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading. They are a must-read for heroic-fantasy fans.

Which fictional character would you like to have dinner with?

Hmm, now I think this would depend on the type of food we would be eating. Hannibal Lecter is not a good choice! I like garlic, so I would have to say Durzo Blint aka Prince Acaelus Thorne aka Garric Shadowbane. This guy has, quite literally helped to shape Midcyru and is a legend of their people. The stories he could tell would be endless and bloody fantastic. I admit, it wouldn’t be the easy getting him to ‘open up’ but imagine the stories once you did. I would also want to try the black ka’kari, that thing is awesome.

Which fictional universe would you prefer to live in?

Easy. Brandon Sanderson’s Cosmere. the world, the characters, the abilities! knowing my luck, I wouldn’t be able to burn any kin of metal or be able to use hemallurgy but still, it would be super cool to be a part of this universe!

What sort of role would you take in said world?

As I said above, I’d probably be useless, but if I could be anything?! I would have to be a ‘Sharbearer’. If you don’t know what this is, you NEED to read the Stormlight archive. They are huge books but are some of, if not the, best books around at this moment in time. And there are going to be loads more of them!

What’s your favourite period in history?

I am a massive fan of the TV series ‘Ripper Street’ and I love the period that it is set in (Victorian) and the simplicity of life in those times. I love the idea of sitting in an old pub and listening to the terrible piano music and the haze of cigarette smoke. Doffing my hat to ‘fair ladies’ and walking with a cane at the age of 27!

What’s your favourite quote?

I am not going to put a quote here, instead, I’m going to include a short exchange between two characters in the Novel Waylander by David Gemmell. The message is just brilliant;

‘…What do you fear most at this moment?’
‘I fear losing you.’
He moved away from her and lifted a pebble. Clouds partly obscured the moonlight and she strained to see his hand.
‘I am going to throw this to you,’ he said. ‘If you catch it, you stay – if you miss it, you return to Skarta.’
‘No, that’s not fair! The light is poor.’
‘Life is not fair, Danyal. If you do not agree, I shall ride away from the wagons alone.’
‘Then I agree.’
Without another word he flicked the stone towards her – a bad throw, moving fast and to her left. Her hand flashed out and the pebble bounced against her palm, but she caught it at the second attempt. Relief swept through her and her eyes were triumphant.
‘Why so pleased?’ he asked.
‘I won!’
‘No. Tell me what you did.’
‘I conquered my fear?’
‘No.’
‘Well, what then? I don’t understand you.’
‘But you must, if you wish to learn.’
Suddenly she smiles. ‘I understand they mystery, Waylander.’
‘Then tell me what you did.’
‘I caught a pebble in the moonlight.’

Why did you start blogging?

For the fame, the fortune, and the endless possibilities!! Er… No. I actually started blogging because my wife doesn’t read fantasy! No, seriously, I wanted to talk about the books that I was reading but didn’t have the audience for it. My little brother is also a massive fantasy fan but is currently at university in Manchester and so I don’t get to speak to him very often. So I thought I would write about my favourite reads within a community that is geared towards that very activity. I have loved every minute of it.

What keeps you blogging?

The people I speak to and the books that I read. I have come across so many fantastic people since I started blogging. They encourage me through their comments and through their enthusiasm for reading. I have been lucky enough to read some great works that I may not have had access to/been introduced to had I not been blogging.

When is your favourite time to blog?

When I get in from work (now!). I have a stressful job and blogging is my favourite escape from that (as well as spending time with my wife and family). I love coming home from work, making a cup of coffee and reading other blogs and then writing on my own. It relaxes me and is a way of discovering other people’s favourite works.

When was the last time your mind is blown? What was it?

Ooh, when you have a brain as small as mine, this can happen frequently. It was probably when I read a recent article on the subgenre ‘Grimdark’. Joe Abercrombie wrote a piece called ‘The Value of Grit’ and it details how he sees the current (2013) view of Grimdark and what he agrees and disagrees with. It’s just brilliant.

What’s the thing on your bucket list you want to do the most?

I want to go to San Diego Comic-Con, like, sooo bad! I aim to do it in the future, and while I’m in the States next month, I am in Florida, Nebraska, and Kansas. I will get there, I WILL!

11 facts about moi!

  1. I am 27 years old, 6 feet tall and have dark eye and dark brown hair (damn, that sounds like a ‘lonely hearts’ ad!).
  2. I am sarcastic beyond belief.
  3. I am a huge sports fan; Chelsea FC, Dallas Cowboys, Durham CC and England Cricket fan.
  4. I once got a ‘U’ on an English Literature A-level exam on Frankenstein but then followed this up with two A* results in my Shakespeare modules which came in at 92% and 96%. Figure that one out. The worst thing was, I actually liked reading Frankenstein :/
  5. I love anime – DBZ and Bleach!
  6. I love the idea of speaking a second language but I haven’t got the discipline to sit down and learn one. I think I’d go for Spanish or French, definitely a latinate language.
  7. I can write fluently in IPA.
  8. I have two cats, named ‘Bibbles’ (my wife chose that one), and ‘Durzo’ (as you can probably tell, that was my choice!)
  9. I am a Social Worker in a child protection team – it’s the hardest job I’ve ever had.
  10. I got married in the beautiful coastal town in southern Italy, Sorrento, in August last year. Damn that’s flown over.
  11. I am the eldest of four children. I have two younger brothers and a little sister.

I can’t nominate anybody can only nominate one person because I don’t know how to check how many followers you all have :/ maybe one of my facts should have been that I am atrocious when it comes to figuring some of the finer features. So, as we’re currently being swamped by the Pokemon GO phenomenon, Timandra, I choose YOU! If you’re reading this and, like me, you have less than 200 followers then please do consider yourself tagged and give this a go. My questions are as follows;

  1. What book(s) are you reading right now?
  2. What is your favourite genre?
  3. Why is that your favourite genre?
  4. If you could meet an author in real life, who would it be? Past or present.
  5. What would you talk to that author about?
  6. What is your take on the subgenre, Grimdark?
  7. What is the longest book you have ever read?
  8. What’s the weirdest book you’ve ever read?
  9. What’s your favourite thing about blogging?
  10. If you could be any character that was the opposite sex/gender to yourself, who would that be?
  11. Where do you live? Can you describe it in three words?

Thanks again for the nomination Jamie, I really did enjoy doing this! And thank you for reading 🙂

The Diverse Book Tag – A Failed Attempt

The Diverse Book Tag

So, Jesse, over at Books at Dawn (his blog is one of my favourites, you should definitely check it out) has tagged me in the Diverse Book Tag. Now, I must admit that I’m slightly daunted by this because I don’t have the most diverse back-history when it comes to reading (shame on me, I know) So I will try my best with this and hope that my A-level in English Literature has done me some good!

A BOOK STARRING A LESBIAN CHARACTER

Sharp Ends by Joe Abercrombie

Sharpends 2Sharp Ends is a collection of short stories from the World of the First Law. The character is Shevedieh, the self-styled best thief in Styria. Shev, for short, is a quick-tongued witty character whose sarcasm is a key feature of her personality and of her relationship with Javre, the Lionness of Hoskop. These are a quite brilliant pairing and the humour created by the two is some of the best I’ve read. Shev has one particular view of the male anatomy that had me laughing out loud. Her sexuality is not the focal point of her character and is therefore more ingrained within her.

 

 

A BOOK WITH A MUSLIM PROTAGONIST

Othello by William Shakespeare

Othello cover

Ok, so I’ve cheated a little bit here, this isn’t so much a book, but a play. And, to be fair, I have read it so for this purpose, I’m counting it! For the few who have never encountered Othello, it tells the story of a ‘Moorish’ general in the venetian army, and he is married to Desdemona, the daughter of a Venetian Senator, Brabantia. The play deals with jealousy, love, betrayal and race. One famous line is;

‘Zounds, sir, you’re robbed! For shame, put on your gown.

Your heart is burst, you have lost half your soul.

Even now, now, very now, an old black ram

Is tupping your white ewe’ – Iago

 

The play is just brilliant.

A BOOK SET IN LATIN AMERICA

No Country For Old Men by Cormac McCarthy

no_country_for_old_men cover

Ok, ok, so I’ve stretched this one a little as well – I told you my reading wasn’t very diverse! No Country For Old Men is set on the United States-Mexico border and tells the story of Llewelyn Moss, a Vietnam war veteran who, while hunting, comes across a drug deal that has gone wrong, and ends up making away with over $2 million dollars in cash. Or so he thinks, he is being pursued by an unnkonw man (Anton Chigurh) who is a psychopathic hitman and has been employed to retrieve the money. This ends up in a tense cat-and-mouse chase that leaves many people dead. There is also Sheriff Ed Tom Bell who is investigating the murders and is essentially hunting Chigurh. This is a great book by a great author. I read this after falling in love with The Road.

 

A BOOK ABOUT A PERSON WITH A DISABILITY

Last Argument of Kings by Joe Abercrombie

last argument of kings cover

Joe Abercrombie again, I know! Now, this book isn’t about the person with a disability per se, but they do play a major part! Colonel Sand dan Glokta is an Inquisitor in the King’s Inquisition. He was formerly a champion swordsman in the King’s Own before he was captured by the Gurkish and tortured to within an inch of his life. Glokta received the most appalling humbling that a person could receive and is now a cynical character whose heart is slowly uncovered throughout the First Law Trilogy. I have chosen the final book in the trilogy because this is where he is at his most awesome. His deviousness is put to good use and his humanity become more present throughout this book.

 

 

A SCIENCE-FICTION OR FANTASY BOOK WITH A POC PROTAGONIST

The King Beyond the Gate by David Gemmell

the_king_beyond_the_gate

Tenaka Khan is the unifier of the Nadir tribes and would have the features of a Mongol, although with violet eyes. Tenaka Khan is a man of Nadir heritage who is sent to serve with the Dragon, a group of Drenai warriors as a way to pursue peace between the two nations. Tenaka then returns to his land and unifies the many warring tribes there. He the leads them into battle and is victorious. David Gemmell had the unique ability to make his readers turn the page at light speed. He did not sacrifice details or character development but managed to do this with such panache that they become a part of you without you realising it. This is pure fantasy.

 

 

 

A BOOK WRITTEN BY AN INDIGENOUS OR NATIVE AUTHOR

The Uprising by Kachi Ugo

the uprising cover

This is on my TBR pile and so, while I can’t give a personal opinion on the book, I certainly can give you a synopsis. This book sounds awesome and I can’t wait to get my teeth into it!

‘Sarah Justice is many good things, including a descent Earth Elemental, a wonderful partner to her man, and a new mother. However, when an extremely powerful Dualist from the future—a man able to wield the magic of two of the Elements—abducts her newborn, she is turned into a cold blooded killer. In a bid to rescue her child, she sparks a rebellion, birthing an organization of young, skilled Elementals, who are immediately branded terrorists, and blithely transgressing every Law known to her kind. And the powers that be—the Global Elemental Authority and its ruthless leader, Commander Thorn, who is infamous for being remarkably vile to offenders—are not in the slightest forgiving. But there are bigger occult entities at play. Sarah may soon realize that her resolve is not enough. Notwithstanding, she has vowed to recover her child, heedless of where it takes her: to death or to victory.’

Those tags I couldn’t complete 😦

A BOOK SET IN SOUTH ASIA

A BOOK WITH A BIRACIAL PROTAGONIST

A BOOK STARRING A TRANSGENDER CHARACTER OR TRANSGENDER ISSUES

So, it’s safe to say that I have failed miserably with this tag! There are some positive to come from it though, I now know that I need to diversify my reading AND I can ask anyone reading this if they have any recommendations of books that fall into the categories of my failed tags. Fantasy is preferred but if there is something else you think I might like, then PLEASE do let me know.

 

Minimalist Mondays – Week #2

Good morning and a happy Monday to you 🙂

Minimalist Mondays are all about making things super easy at the beginning of the week (for you anyway, for me, it ain’t so easy). In this feature I will choose a book and give a 50 word review/synopsis of said book. Last week I attempted Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone and had some success with that (I think?) and I really enjoyed doing it.

I decided to do Minimalist Mondays for a number of reasons, first of which is, I like rifling through my old books and refreshing myself on what I have read as I find that it can all become a blur after a while. It also gives me a chance to remember some of the finer details that I liked about a book and the characters that I may not have thought about for a while.

My inspiration for Minimalist Mondays was actually from my sister a couple of years ago (before I started my blog). I remember asking her if she wanted to see the film Gravity she grimaced and frowned before replying, “Nah, it’s just a woman floating around in space”. Now, this honestly cracked me up, it was so simple in its description and it got me thinking about other movies that could be summed up in such a simple way. I then migrated to books, and from that, Minimalist Mondays was created 🙂

This week I will attempt to reduce The Da Vinci Code down to 50 words, I know this isn’t going to be easy but I’ll have a good crack at it!

Man found dead in museum. Symbologist Professor Langdon called to solve murder. Meets cryptographer, Sophie Neveu, granddaughter of the dead man. Escape from French police and run from an albino monk. They solve clues, and get betrayed by English professor. Monk gets killed. Neveu is actually a descendent of Jesus.

This gets harder every time! I remember reading The Da Vinci Code when I was younger and it absolutely blew my mind, I thought it the most interesting book I’d ever read, and in truth, it was! I have re-read The Da Vinci Code several times and always enjoy it. I chose this book because I noticed that I actually had three copies of it, and wondered why I kept coming across it in my cupboard!

I found the super cool poster online but did not know who to credit it to so I’ve added a link here if you fancy checking out more cool stuff 🙂 Also, please comment and let me know if you have read The Da Vinci Code and if so, what you thought of it.

 

Thank you for taking the time out of your super busy Monday and reading ‘Minimalist Mondays – Week #2. I hope you have a great day 🙂

Danny

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