I was tagged in the ‘I’m a sucker for…’ blog challenge by Peter across at The Swordsmith. There are lots of things I enjoy and look out for in books, but the following are the two (plus a third, current obsession) that stand out for me.
Today I am here with a double wrap-up for February and March. February was a very bad month for me, not in terms of books read – I escaped into books more than usual – but I was very deep in lockdown blues and had no motivation to write reviews, or do much of anything and at the time I didn’t want to wrap-up what had felt like a dismal month. March has been much better, especially since I got confirmation of when I will be back at work (19 days and counting… yes I am keen to go back to work), and that has brought renewed motivation and a feeling that things are finally moving in the right direction.
Outside of books, D&D continues to be the highlight of my weeks (albeit stressful at times) and I am slowly getting back into the saddle with DMing too – something my squishy party might be regretting as they got blown up at the end of last session (they forgot to check for traps). While renewed motivation is helping on the writing front as well as I stalled quite a lot in February with the general feeling of meh that was prevailing at the time. I’m also trying to set myself the goal of talking about my book at least once a week somewhere on the blog or twitter, because I am terrible at self-promo (and it is the part I am dreading the most of releasing it into the world) so I figure I should try and build it up, so we will see how that goes.
Today I am delighted to be sharing my review of A Ritual of Flesh by Lee C. Conley, the second book in the Dead Sagas. I first discovered this series and author through the Storytellers on Tour blog tour for the first book A Ritual of Bone and fell in love with the world and story, and went into this one with high expectations that were blown out of the water and this book is easily a favourite read for 2021.
As evil ravages the north and the dead walk, all eyes fall to Arn… The apprentice journeys south, home to the College, unaware of the dark events that transpired in the High Passes after his departure. His leg in ruins, and haunted by watching shadows, the College council in Arn awaits him, but he does not travel south alone. Arnulf and his warriors must travel to Arn also, with tidings for the king of the risen dead and the terrible curse which has destroyed all that he knew. Arnulf seeks vengeance upon the College, but must choose wisely if he is to save his son. Meanwhile in the west, Bjorn and his strange Wildman companion report back to High Lord Archeon at Oldstones with grim news of cannibal Stonemen encroaching from the Barrens, but is embroiled in news of war and invasion as Archeon requests his service once more. In the capital sickness awaits them all, Nym has fled to the city and must now continue her struggle for survival on the plague ridden streets of Arn, keeping all who she cares for safe from the halls of Old Night.
The many threads of this Saga converge on the city of Arn, but amid plague, invasion and terror, a greater darkness is looming. Dark forces are seeking to unleash evil upon Arnar, honour and renown is all, and sword, axe and shield is all that stands between the living and the grasping hands of the dead.
Well 2021 has been off to a fairly bumpy start, and I very tired of furlough and lockdown and that has translated into a general lack of motivation. However, that said there have been some bright spots this month. One has been D&D which I’m now playing twice a week, bouncing between a Dragonborn Cleric, a Drow Rogue and Tiefling Sorlock, and from next week I will be running a text-based version with another group and I can’t wait (it’s also given me an excuse to play with world-building and maps which always cheers me up).
I also got to read an e-Arc of Oh, That Shotgun Sky the new novella by Sarah Chorn that comes out in February, which has left me with a book hangover that has lasted weeks and is certainly one of my favourite books for 2021.
Then there has been TBRcon organised by David across at FanFiAddict, which was both a delightful break from the monotony of lockdown, but has also quadrupled my TBR and introduced me to some new authors, and it has also kicked me into action and I’ve got back to my editing and been playing with some new scenes (and worked out some kinks in the plot). The panels were fantastic, and I will be rewatching quite a few of them.
A little later than planned, I am delighted to be sharing my review for Voice of War by Zack Argyle, a finalist in SPFBO 6. This is the first book in the Threadlight series, with the second book – Stones of Light due for release in April (and you can check out the Cover Reveal for the second book – Stones of Light: Here).
While preparing for the birth of his first child, Chrys Valerian is tasked with uncovering the group responsible for a series of missing threadweavers–those able to see and manipulate threadlight. With each failure, the dark voice in his head grows louder, begging to be released.
A young girl from a secret city in the center of the Fairenwild veers off course to explore the streets of Alchea. She never expected that her journey would end in chains.
Far in the deserts to the south, a young man’s life changes after he dies.
When Chrys learns who is responsible for the missing threadweavers, they come for him and his family. He must do everything in his power to protect those he loves, even if it means trusting strangers or, worse, the dark voice in his mind.
Together, they will change the world–whether they intend to or not.
I’m back with Webcomic Wednesday. I’m relatively new to web comics so I reached out to some of my Sunday D&D group who are much more aware of that scene to get some recommendations, and they had a lot, so today I am going to look at ten webcomics that I’m going to read and feature on these WW throughout the year.
Well the start of 2021 has been…interesting? I’m not sure that’s really the right word, but it’s the one I’m going with because it’s less complicated than some of the others. However, between lockdowns and everything else, our house currently being in disarray because the kitchen is being done (cooking in the living room is strange and I don’t like it, although the dog is loving in as it brings her closer to the food), and sheet ice making it very hard to get out and about for walks it has been incredibly hard to focus on writing. Instead, I’ve been reading – a lot – and I now I have a bunch of reviews to write, I’ve been doing some world-building for a new DnD campaign that I will be starting up at the end of this month, and I’ve managed to poke at my editing off and on.
I’m not quite at the point I hoped to be with my editing, but progress is being made. I managed to untangle a fight scene where I almost killed one of my main characters without intending too (I am terrible to my characters, but he isn’t supposed to die… ). I’m attempting to set up a schedule for the coming weeks (I miss work, and the structure it gives me), so hopefully I will be able to catch up, but considering *gestures at the world* I consider any and all progress to be good at the moment.
Since our house is completely in disarray at the moment, I decided that for this first Animanga Friday of 2021 I would look at anime and manga I want to read this year, and some of the upcoming anime releases that I am looking forward to in the 2021 seasons.
So today, I am delighted to be kicking off one of the new features for the blog – Webcomic Wednesday. Its a format of storytelling that I’ve dipped into on and off over the last couple of years, and always wanted to find the time to write more, and now seemed like the perfect time to take that step. For this first one, I also wanted to take a look at a webcomic that has been on my periphery for a while, and that is The Wastelands.
“A world left empty from its Gods as the mortals struggle to continue living with poisoned lands, corrupted guardians and abandoned temples.
Following the lives of Rahu; a nomad who believes one god has cursed him, Kyror; the last prince of the Great Creator Goddess’ land and Amy; A young woman who doesn’t belong.
Will Amy find a way home? Will Rahu find the god that cursed him? Will Kyror discover what happened to his land and are the gods truly gone?”
I’m back with my first review of the year, and with my first read of 2021 – Gardens of the Moon by Steven Erikson. The Malazan books are something I have heard mentioned over and over again, with very mixed opinions, to the point where it felt like an almost mythical series. I had already planned on doing a series challenge this year to clear some of my TBR, and I decided that now was the time to dive into some bigger ones as well – both Malazan and Wheel of Time. I decided to start with the one that I was least sure of, and well… I loved it.
The Malazan Empire simmers with discontent, bled dry by interminable warfare, bitter infighting and bloody confrontations with the formidable Anomander Rake and his Tiste Andii, ancient and implacable sorcerers. Even the imperial legions, long inured to the bloodshed, yearn for some respite. Yet Empress Laseen’s rule remains absolute, enforced by her dread Claw assassins.
For Sergeant Whiskeyjack and his squad of Bridgeburners, and for Tattersail, surviving cadre mage of the Second Legion, the aftermath of the siege of Pale should have been a time to mourn the many dead. But Darujhistan, last of the Free Cities of Genabackis, yet holds out. It is to this ancient citadel that Laseen turns her predatory gaze.
However, it would appear that the Empire is not alone in this great game. Sinister, shadowbound forces are gathering as the gods themselves prepare to play their hand…