FUNDAY MONDAY (OCTOBER 15,2018)

Well, the last week has been a bit of a stressful time around my area.  Most of you have heard of Hurricane Michael.  Well, let’s just say it impacted my area very greatly.  Even though I’m almost 300 miles from where Michael came ashore, it was still a hurricane when it arrived at my home and had winds of up to 75 miles an hours with gusts greater than that.

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Yes, it did feel like it was blowing just that hard.

Truly, it was quite the sight to see with huge trees ripped up like weeds, privacy fences blown across yards, power lines down sparking, and the wind roaring like a freight train on your front lawn.  Then when the eye of the hurricane passed directly over my town (Yeah, I can now brag I’ve been in the eye of the hurricane, baby!) the relative silence was damn ominous.  Really scary stuff.

Thankfully, my home only suffered minimal damage with some tress blown down, a privacy fence missing, and four days of no electricity in the majority of my town.  People in other areas had (and still have) it so much worse, so I am thankful to have gotten through it with as little harm as we did.

I’m telling all this to explain my absence from the blog last week.  Needless to say, the first part of the week was spent preparing for the hurricane, and the later part of the week was spent dealing with the aftermath.  Hopefully, things will slowly return to normal, so don’t think I’ve left for good.  I’m still here and trying to find some moments to read, and this week’s book arrived unexpectedly in the mail today.

art & arcana
D&D Art & Arcana by Michael WitwerKyle NewmanJon Peterson, & Sam Witwer

Genre: RPG

Series: Visual History

Publisher: Ten Speed Press (October 23, 2018)

Author Information: Website | Twitter

Length: 448 pages

An illustrated guide to the history and evolution of the beloved role-playing game told through the paintings, sketches, illustrations, and visual ephemera behind its creation, growth, and continued popularity.

Dungeons and Dragons is the most iconic and pervasive gaming franchise in the world. It is a seminal RPG (role-playing game) and the inspiration for video games like World of Warcraft and Zelda, fantasy art, and countless other facets of “geek culture.” This officially licensed illustrated history provides an unprecedented look at the visual evolution of the game, showing its continued influence on the worlds of pop culture and fantasy. It features more than 700 pieces of artwork–from each edition of the game’s core books, supplements, and modules; decades of Dragon and Dungeon magazines; classic advertisements and merchandise; and never-before-seen sketches, large-format canvases, rare photographs, one-of-a-kind drafts, and more from the now-famous designers and artists associated with the game. The superstar author team gained unparalleled access to the archives of Wizards of the Coast and the personal collections of top collectors, as well as the designers and illustrators who created the distinctive characters, concepts, and visuals that have defined fantasy art and gameplay for generations. This is the most comprehensive collection of D&D imagery ever assembled, making this the ultimate collectible for the game’s millions of fans around the world.

Purchase the book at Amazon

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FRIDAY FACE OFF OCTOBER 5, 2018

friday-face-off

Welcome to the Friday Face-Off, a weekly meme created by Books by Proxy. Join us every Friday as we pit cover against cover, and publisher against publisher, to find the best artwork in the literary universe.  If you want to join us next week, check out next week’s predetermined theme, choose a book, compare two or more different covers available for that book, then name your favorite. A list of future weeks’ themes are available at Lynn’s Book Blog

This week’s theme is:

“He sounded like a man who had slept well and didn’t owe too much money.” – A cover that is ‘noir’!

Another week, another struggle for me.  No SFF titles which I could recall were noir, so I feel back on another genre which I’m not very familiar with.

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AND THE WINNER IS . . .

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A tie!  Mainly because I didn’t want to pick between these three covers since I liked all of them.

So, do you agree with my picks?  Disagree?  Love all the covers?  Hate them all?  Let us know!

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TOP THREE THURSDAY

top3thursday

Welcome to Top Three Thursday! This is a weekly feature I’ve decided to host from this day forward.  A day where I can post a short list on different topics I’ve been thinking about. This week I’m borrowing an old Tough Traveling Thursday topic I missed out on years: FAVORITE CITY OF WIZARDS!

City of Wizards is normally a good thing, since only good wizards seem to live together.  This city will be on a hill in someplace that is hidden/hard to get to….


White_Tower_of_Hoeth_Banner (1)3. White Tower of Hoeth – Warhammer

The White Tower is visible tens of miles away, a sharp white needle of marble thrusting up into the sky. Its approaches are guarded by rings of illusion and mazes of spells, which mean only those people whom the Loremasters want to approach the Tower may find the true path towards it. It is said that those who seeks wisdom and learning will find it at the Tower, but those who seek power for its own sake will become lost in Hoeth’s spell-mazes for the rest of their days.”

Purchase Tyrion & Teclis (Warhammer) at Amazon


Dune_Bene_Gesserit_Concept2. Dune – Bene Gesseritt Chapterhouse

The home base for the witches of the Dune universe was a place of training, intrigue, and experimentation in all the mysterious ways of the power behind the scenes.  These predominate female group of beings honing their unique abilities, weaving a spell of control down through the ages as they manipulated the fate of the galaxy from their hidden chapterhouse!

Purchase Dune at Amazon 


unremembered1.  The Unremembered

Recityv is not the usual city of wizards that we all think of, but that is exactly why it is so memorable and cool.  Basically, the city holds the ancient Descant Cathedral where the Song of Suffering is sung to keep the veil strong against the nightmares held captive inside the Bourne. It is also where the Lieholan are trained in the use of their power to create with song.  So this “city of wizards” is the only place where this particular and powerful brand of magic is taught and used.

Purchase The Unremembered at Amazon


HONORABLE MENTIONS


TIME OF THE DARKDarwath – QUO

Quo is the magic city of the wizards in this world.  It is encircled by illusions, spells, and wards innumerable; all the knowledge and lore of the wizards of the entire world stored here in this ocean side paradise where everyone is accepted and peace and unity is the status quo.  The remaining fragments of knowledge about how humanity survived the first rising of the dark millennium ago and drove the demons back locked in its libraries.

Purchase The Darwath Series at Amazon 


WHEEL OF TIMEWheel of Time – TAR VALON

The center of Aes Sedai power is a huge, rich, powerful place where these female wizards if you will have plotted and controlled the world for untold centuries.  Sure, they might have had the best interest of everyone in mind most of the time, but these “witches” and their general behavior always bothered me.  Bothered me the same way any small group who accumulates power and forces everyone else to bow down to them does.

Purchase The Eye of the World at Amazon

 

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WAITING ON WEDNESDAY:GATES OF THE DEAD

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Waiting on Wednesday is a meme which lets readers share their excitement for books coming out soon, and this week the story I’m eagerly awaiting is . . .

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gates of the deadGates of the Dead by James A. Moore

Genre: Fantasy

Series: The Tides of War #3

Publisher: Angry Robot (January 1, 2019)

Author Information: Website | Twitter

Length: 400 pages

Brogan McTyre started a war with the gods, and he’s going to end it. Raging gods have laid waste to the Five Kingdoms. Only Torema remains, swollen with millions of refugees. Their last hope lies in fleeing by sea, but as storms tear at the coast, even King Opar can’t muster enough ships for them all. Brogan and his warriors must fight the He-Kisshi to reach the Gateway, the sole portal for gods to enter the mortal world – and the only place where they can be killed. But the forces of creation have been unleashed, and they’ll destroy the world to reshape it.

Purchase the book at Amazon

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TOP TEN TUESDAY

TOP TEN TUESDAYS

Welcome to Top Ten Tuesday! This is a weekly feature hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl, where a new top ten list hits the web every week!

The topic this time out is: AUTHORS I’D LOVE TO MEET!

God, this is a difficult question.  Really wish I’d been asked this before the introduction of social media.  Back in those days I had a LONG list of authors whom I wanted to meet.  These days not so much.  (If interested you can read my post Authors Need to Shut Up from 2013 when I first began feeling this way.)  But there are still a handful I can name though.


OLD FAVORITES


tiger and del17. Jennifer Roberson

From her Chronicles of the Cheysuli to The Novels of Tiger and Del, most of my teen years and college years were spent reading Jennifer Roberson’s fantasy offerings.  And I’d love to meet someone who gave me so many hours of joy back in the day.

Purchase The Novels of Tiger and Del, Volume I at Amazon


magician6. Raymond E. Feist

What made Feist’s stories so memorable for me was that I empathized a lot with Pug.  He had potential, but he also had many obstacles in his path to reach adulthood.  Call it a case of me coming-of-age and Pug coming-of-age at the same time, if you will, and so the author who helped me through that difficult time is someone I’d like to meet.

Purchase Magician: Apprentice at Amazon


ELRIC OF MELNIBONE5. Michael Moorcock

Sword and sorcery weirdness that captured my imagination, kept me spellbound for hours, and which still stays with me to this day.  Moorcock might have had limitations as a writer, but he was just what I was looking for when I found my first copy of his books.

Purchase Elric of Melnibone at Amazon


lord foul's bane4. Stephen R. Donaldson

Unlike so many others I still find the Thomas Covenant books to be good reading.  Doesn’t mean I like the main character, but I do believe the author crafted a compelling journey for him.  I’ve also enjoyed most of his other fantasy offers. But it really comes down to the admiration which grew for this author when I was a teen long ago.

Purchase Lord Foul’s Bane at Amazon


the time of the dark3. Barbara Hambly

As a lifelong fan of her Darwath series and a faithful follower of her writing back in my younger years, I’ve always found most anything that Hambly writes fine entertainment.  Sure, I’ve had issues with a few books here and there, but I’d still love to meet the creator of my second favorite wizard in fantasy.

Purchase The Darwath Series at Amazon 


Chronicles of the Black Company2. Glen Cook

One of my favorite fantasy authors ever is someone I’d actually be hesitant to meet, because I’d hate to have a bad experience then see my admiration for his writing wane.  That is probably a pessimistic thought, but I’m a realist, so while I want to meet Cook I doubt I’d ever get up the courage to do so.

Purchase The Black Company at Amazon


THE MIGHTY THOR OMNIBUS1.  Walter Simonson

Someone who I have no misgivings about meeting is Walt Simonson who appears to be one of the nicest professionals to ever work in the comics industry.  Wonderful artist.  Great writer.  And a person who amazes me to this day with  his great stories.

Purchase Thor by Walt Simonson Omnibus at Amazon


NEW FAVORITES


the unremembered7. Peter Orullian

This multi-talented author is just a great guy.  He is always positive online.  He interacts with his fans.  Spends time plugging both his writing and music careers.  And let me tell you the guy can sing.  Amazing rock vocalist.  Plus his fantasy writing isn’t bad either.

Purchase The Unremembered at Amazon


promise of blood6. Brian McClellan

As a new favorite author of mine, Brian McClellan has become synonymous with great stories inhabited by memorable characters in an amazing creative world.  If he keeps up this pace of readable fantasy, I see this author soon at the very top of my favorite authors list.

Purchase Promise of Blood at Amazon


MISTBORN EU5. Brandon Sanderson

I’m fairly new to the Sanderson bandwagon, but I took my seat after enjoying my initial foray into the author’s epic fantasy The Stormlight Archive.  While the other stories I had by Sanderson read were good, these novels were great, making me look into this classy author’s online behavior.  And, yeah, he’s a legit nice guy.

Purchase The Way of Kings at Amazon


beyond redemption4. Michael R. Fletcher

Michael Fletcher is a first class madman, whose maniacal brilliance as an author has led to some disturbingly amazing tales from fantasy to cyberpunk.  Plus the guy is damn funny, entertaining, and someone I’d love to drink and beer with and tell some lies . . . I mean stories about life with.

Purchase Beyond Redemption at Amazon


prince of thorns3. Mark Lawrence

The author of probably my favorite grimdark of all time is definitely someone I’d love to meet.  My brief online interaction with Mr. Lawrence have always been pleasant; he has always been very helpful and courteous, even when I did not deserve it; and he is a writer I’m sure to be following for years to come.

Purchase Prince of Thorns at Amazon


traitors-blade-12. Sebastien de Castell

Gentleman.  This author exudes courtesy, wit, and exhibits it even when he disagrees with you on an issue.  If this isn’t enough to make one wish to actually rub elbows with him, the fact he created the modern day Three Musketeers with his Greatcoats series and has went on to wow readers with his Spellslinger books definitely does.

Purchase Traitor’s Blade (The Greatcoats) at Amazon


A GAME OF THRONES1.  George R.R. Martin

Like a multitude of people, Martin has created probably my favorite modern day fantasy series with ASOIF and collaborated on one of my favorite television series ever with A Game of Thrones.  Naturally, I’d love to meet this author, tell him how much I love his work, then give him grief about when the next book will be finished already!

Purchase A Game of Thrones at Amazon 

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MYSTIC DRAGON

mystic dragonMystic Dragon by Jason Denzel

Genre: Fantasy

Series: Mystic #2

Publisher: Tor (July 15, 2018)

Author Information: Website|Twitter

Length: 352 pages

My Rating:  2.5 stars

Mystic Dragon is the second novel of a series (the followup to Mystic), but unlike many sequels, the story doesn’t read like a sequel or require you to know much at all about the previous installment. Jason Denzel doing a great job reintroducing the old characters for new readers, presenting fans of the first book with more matured versions of the people they have previously grown fond of, and continuing to mold this world and its unique magic. And while Mystic Dragon will not go down as one of my favorite reads of 2018, I’m still glad I gave this book a try and know many fantasy fans will find it more to their liking.

Taking place close to a decade after Mystic, this story begins with Pomella AnDone having become comfortable in her position as Mystic Grandmaster Faywong’s apprentice. She has matured, grown into her power, yet is still eager to learn more, nearly obsessed in the belief that her master isn’t teaching her at the rate she deserves and needs to learn. This feeling exacerbated by the celestial event which is looming over the mystic realm of Fayün; this rare occurrence threatening to cause the physical and magical realms to merge into one. Pomella’s world in near chaos as people vanish or die; Mystics from across Moth gathering together to attempt to stop the growing cataclysm.

Cue the entrance of the dark, brilliant and powerful rival (of sorts) of Pomella: Shevia. This powerful Mystic’s past a roller coaster ride of mastery and unhealthy relationships which have molded her into a enigmatic figure who challenges Pomella in every possible way. This new relationship forcing our unlikely heroine to examine her beliefs, define the limits of what she feels her power should be used for.

Probably my favorite element of Mystic Dragon is the writing itself. Jason Denzel penning a flowing, lyrical narrative which was a pleasure to read and capably conveyed all the emotional turmoil these characters and their world suffer through during the course of the present and the past.

On the other hand, my least favorite aspect of the book is its uneven pacing. Specifically, the narrative read like two distinct stories. The first one quite interesting, fast paced, and exciting at times. The second one a more mundane, plodding, and never ending build up to a conclusion. This might not be a problem for others, but it definitely was for me personally.

The other criticisms I’d level against the book was Pomella’s tendency to stumble upon just the right magic to use at just the right time in just the right way as well as the numerous flashbacks used by the author. I mention the former because I really get annoyed by characters who are great — just because. And the later bothers me when the flashbacks are inserted in such a way that they interfere with the flow of the book, and I really felt they did many times in this novel.

As I mentioned earlier, I cannot say that I loved Mystic Dragon, but I did find Jason Denzel’s writing to be quite enjoyable. Honestly, the book was a fairly standard fantasy with some interesting characters (Pomella, Shevia, and Sim), quite a few flashbacks which did flesh out and deepen the story, and some good world building, especially the magic system. I can see many readers really enjoying the emotional reflection here, empathizing with the maturation of our main characters, and finding nuggets of wisdom in these individuals personal growth, as they find their way in an adult world where things are not as straightforward as they once believed. So pick this one up if you are already a fan of the series/author or just find this type of fantasy to your liking.

I received this book from the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review. I’d like to thank them for allowing me to receive this review copy and inform everyone that the review you have read is my opinion alone.

Purchase the book at Amazon

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FRIDAY FACE OFF SEPTEMBER 28, 2018

friday-face-off

Welcome to the Friday Face-Off, a weekly meme created by Books by Proxy. Join us every Friday as we pit cover against cover, and publisher against publisher, to find the best artwork in the literary universe.  If you want to join us next week, check out next week’s predetermined theme, choose a book, compare two or more different covers available for that book, then name your favorite. A list of future weeks’ themes are available at Lynn’s Book Blog

This week’s theme is:

“Eyes wide shut – a cover featuring eyes!

This theme was a bit of a struggle for me.  I did have to resort to doing some research.  But eventually I found a book which not only featured eyes but also fit the concept of this theme completely.

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AND THE WINNER IS . . .

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So, do you agree with my picks?  Disagree?  Love all the covers?  Hate them all?  Let us know!

 

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TOP THREE THURSDAY

top3thursday

Welcome to Top Three Thursday! This is a weekly feature I’ve decided to host from this day forward.  A day where I can post a short list on different topics I’ve been thinking about.  The focus this time out is: BOOKS I’M DROPPING OFF THE TBR!

Yes, you read that right.  This week I’m focus on three books which have fallen, fallen, fallen in my esteem to the point that they are about to drop off my voluminous TBR list.

Truly, this is an unusual thing to happen.  I hold onto books like a drowning person holds on to a life raft. But there are times when even I just can’t remember why I wanted to read a certain novel.

But, maybe, it isn’t too late.  Perhaps one of you readers can change my mind.  Make me want to halt my mouse before I hit the delete button and actually give a novel another try.  Give it your best shot!


furies of calderon3. Furies of Calderon – Jim Butcher

I’m almost positive I added this to the TBR list after I finished reading the first Dresden book and a Dresden graphic novel.  At that point, I was in love with Jim Butcher’s writing, so it seemed like a no-brainer to want to get into Butcher’s fantasy series.  My desire to start this series has cooled considerable however, and now I intend to delete i from my TBR list.  Should I?

Purchase Furies of Calderon (Codex Alera) at Amazon


Imager2. Imager – L.E. Modesitt, Jr.

No recollection as to why I added this book to my TBR.  I’m going to guess that I saw this novel somewhere (probably Goodreads), read the synopsis, and decided it sounded pretty cool.  My desire to read it has never really progressed farther than that initial infatuation, so I’m seriously considering jettisoning it.  Good idea or bad one?

Purchase Imager: Imager Portfolio at Amazon 


lamentation1.  Lamentation – Ken Scholes

I distinctly remember reading a back-and-forth argument on a review thread over on Goodreads several years ago.  One reader was a huge fan of this book/author, and the other person was not.  Ultimately, the fan’s arguments convinced me that this was a book I needed to try.  Not certain at all about that anymore.

Purchase Lamentation (The Psalms of Isaak) at Amazon


HONORABLE MENTIONS


the dwarvesThe Dwarves – Markus Heitz

This is another novel which I distinctly remember being sold on by a Goodreads’ friend.  They spoke about an amazing story which had never been written bore about dwarves and all things dwarven, promising me that if I read this I’d never look at these fierce, stunted fantasy staples the same way ever again.  Did they lie to me?

Purchase The Dwarves at Amazon


the dark glory warThe Dark Glory War – Michael A. Stackpole

All the blame (or praise) for picking this book up and adding it to my TBR sits solely upon my shoulders.  What happened was I found this and the trilogy which follows at a library book sale and bought them all.  Naturally, I got excited to have a whole series to read.  Then I put it up on the shelf and never went back to it.  Should I change that and give it a go?

Purchase The Dark Glory War at Amazon

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WAITING ON WEDNESDAY: THE WINTER ROAD

waiting-on-wednesday
Waiting on Wednesday is a meme which lets readers share their excitement for books coming out soon, and this week the story I’m eagerly awaiting is . . .

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THE WINTER ROADThe Winter Road by Adrian Selby

Genre: Fantasy

Series: Stand Alone

Publisher: Orbit (November 13, 2018)

Author Information: Website | Twitter

Length: 496 pages

The greatest empire of them all began with a road.

The Circle – a thousand miles of perilous forests and warring clans. No one has ever tamed such treacherous territory before, but ex-soldier Teyr Amondsen, veteran of a hundred battles, is determined to try.

With a merchant caravan protected by a crew of skilled mercenaries, Amondsen embarks on a dangerous mission to forge a road across the untamed wilderness that was once her home. But a warlord rises in the wilds of the Circle, uniting its clans and terrorising its people. Teyr’s battles may not be over yet . . .

All roads lead back to war.

Purchase the book at Amazon

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TOP TEN TUESDAY

TOP TEN TUESDAYS

Welcome to Top Ten Tuesday! This is a weekly feature hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl, where a new top ten list hits the web every week!

The topic this time out is: Books By My Favorite Authors That I Haven’t Read!

This topic is fairly straightforward, so I’ll jump right in.

NOTE: I want to clarify that I am considering “favorite authors” for purposes of this topic to be those individuals who are “my most read authors” i.e I’ve read a lot of their books. Certainly, this cuts out new favorites, fresh faces in the genre, but for the sake of simplifying this topic that is how I’m determining who “My Favorite Authors” are.


the demon awakes10. The Demonwar Saga – R.A. Salvatore

I’ve read a lot of Salvatore.  More than I recalled until I researched this topic.  Mainly those novels have been his Forgotten Realms/Drizzt books — though I haven’t come close to reading them all.  One book series I’ve never tried though is this one, which I somehow missed out on.  Not sure if that was a lucky break or not.

Purchase The Demon Awakens at Amazon


talon of the silver hawk9. Conclave of Shadows – Raymond E. Feist

When I was younger I loved all the Midkemia stories of Raymond E. Feist, then I . . . lost interest.  Probably too much of the same thing didn’t agree with me, so I stopped reading.  I didn’t stop collecting his books though, so I have all of them except maybe 2-3.  Guess I really need to read them.

Purchase Talon of the Silver Hawk  at Amazon


blood&iron8. American Empire – Harry Turtledove

This is the second trilogy in Turtledove’s massive alternate history saga based upon the concept that if the South won the American Civil War then WWI and WWII would have looked a lot different.  The main difference being a leader like Hitler would have risen to power in America, not Europe.

Purchase American Empire: Blood & Iron at Amazon


vonbek7. Tale of the Eternal Champion – Michael Moorcock

Yes, I’ve read quite a few of the eternal champion stories.  Elric, Corum, Hawkmoon, and Count Brass being the most memorable, but there are more than a few which I’ve never taken the time to give a try. Probably should go ahead and do that since I’m not getting any younger.

Purchase Von Bek (The Eternal Champion) at Amazon


wild cards6. Wild Cards – George R.R. Martin

I realize that Martin is the editor of these books, not the author.  I also know that they can be a bit strange in their structure.  But I’ve actually never read anything by Martin other than ASOIF, so I’d really like to give something else he’s had a hand in a try.

Purchase Wild Cards I: Expanded Edition at Amazon


the alloy of law5. Mistborn: The Alloy Era – Brandon Sanderson

I’ve read quite a few Sanderson books at this point, but while I enjoyed the first Mistborn novel I’ve struggled to find a desire to finish out the first trilogy.  Maybe, this more steampunk-esque story might be more to my liking though.

Purchase The Alloy of Law: A Mistborn Novel at Amazon


9781101988886_GreySister_FCOmech.indd4. Book of the Ancestor – Mark Lawrence

Lawrence is a favorite of mine.  I enjoy his style of writing, find his dark characters engrossing, and really, really want him to stumble upon another masterpiece like Prince of Thorns.  And while I had issues with the first book of this series, I will be giving the second a go, because hope springs eternal.

Purchase Grey Sister (Book of the Ancestor) at Amazon


the silent tower23. Windrose Chronicles – Barbara Hambly

I vaguely recall reading the opening book in this series when it was released back in the mid 1980s.  (Yes, I am middle aged.) I might even have read the second book several years later, though I can’t remember it at all.  I need to revisit this one though, because I usually love anything Hambly writes.

Purchase The Silent Tower (Windrose Chronicles) at Amazon


SHADOWLINE2. Starfishers – Glen Cook

This is one of the few Glen Cook series I haven’t read.  That oversight on my part is probably because it is science fiction, which (though others love his scifi) I’ve had issues warming up to.  Be that as it may, I really would like to give this one a try, especially since I already own the whole series.

Purchase Shadowline: The Starfishers Trilogy at Amazon


children of hurin1.   Middle-Earth – J.R.R. Tolkien

As a lifelong fan of everything LOTR, it probably sounds amazing that I have not read these last three posthumous novels of Tolkien.  I swear I’ve had every intention of reading them, but I never seem to find the time to do so.  But I do intend to read them at some point, because it’s Tolkien.

Purchase The Children of Hurin at Amazon

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