Saturday, 31 December 2011

NEWS: Reading Challenges for 2012

Hail Mighty Readers,
Well to welcome in the new year, you can see that we've signed up for some reading challenges. However we're more than happy to engage in a few more so if you hear of one that might be of interest please let us know. Especially if there's going to be a Fantasy Reading one.

So far we're in for:
New Authors 0/50
100 books reading challenge 0/100
Horror and Urban Fantasy Challenge 0/48
Mystery and Suspense - 0/24
Zombie Challenge - 0/24
New Author - 0/50
Science Fiction - 0/24
Historical Reading - 0/20
What's in a Name - 0/5

In addition to this we'll change the colours so that it's red until we hit half way, then it will go yellow and upon completion we go green.

Come back each month and see how we're doing and hopefully you'll sign up for a few yourselves. We wish you all a happy and safe new year as well as a lot of top reads.

Gareth and Lady Eleanor

COMPETITION: Rabid Readers Competition to win Two Top Authors Titles

Hail Mighty Readers,
Our friends over at Rabid Readers are holding a spectacular competition where you can win two, yes that's two top authors who are friends of us here at Falcata Times.

Here are the relative book blurbs for both the authors and their respective titles and all you have to do is enter is link directly to Rabid Readers competition on your own blog or FB page and leave a comment on the page.

Doc the Vampire Hunting Dog - Julie Campbell
Doc is a Border Collie who hunts vampires with his human, Kevin. In this adventure they face their first fight and their most dangerous foe. It’s man’s best friend vs. his worst enemy…

A Bitter Seed of Magic - Suzanne McLeod
On the surface, Genny's life seems ripple-free right now. Finn, her sexy boss and -- well, Genny's not sure what else she wants him to be -- has stopped pushing for a decision on their relationship. The seductive vampire Malik al-Khan has vanished back into the shadows. And the witches have declared her no longer a threat. But unless Genny can find a way to break the fertility curse afflicting London's fae, she knows this is just the lull before the magical storm.

Then a faeling -- a teenage girl -- is fished out of the River Thames, dead and bound with magic, and Genny is called into investigate. As she digs through the clues, her search takes a sinister and dangerous turn, exposing age-old secrets that might be better left buried. Then another faeling disappears, and Genny finds herself in a race against time to save the faeling and stop the curse from claiming its next victim -- herself!

So best of luck to everyone,


NEWS: Deja Review

Hail Mighty Readers,
Here's this months round up of previously reviewed titles that have either been released in PB format or have undergone new binding/artwork. (Covers in review may differ from current incarnation.)

This month you'll find:
01/12/11 CHAN, Kylie - Blue Dragon
08/12/11 PINBOROUGH, Sarah - The Shadow of the Soul
08/12/11 RUTHERFORD, Alex - Ruler of the World
08/12/11 TEPPER, Sherri S - The Waters Rising

If we've missed one please let us know,


Friday, 30 December 2011

FANTASY REVIEW: Conan the Indomitable - Robert E Howard

Release Date: 08/12/11


Conan the Barbarian is one of the most famed figures in fantasy fiction. With the success of the new film starring Jason Momoa and Ron Perlman, the time is right to revisit Robert E. Howard's classic stories. Presented in chronological order over three books, all of Conan's life is here, from his wild adventures as a youth to the final tale of Conan the King. Howard's tales of the wanderer, the reaver, the thief, the Barbarian have never been surpassed. In this volume Conan learns the secrets of THE SCARLET CITADEL and THE HOUR OF THE DRAGON, and meets THE BLACK STRANGER and THE PHOENIX ON THE SWORD. A selection of other tales and fragments round out this new collection of a classic character.


There are times in life when you want a book that doesn’t require you to think, gives you a high bloody body count and above all else satisfies the inner barbarian especially at Christmas Time when your brain for a split second suddenly realises that siblingcide is actually quite reasonable way of resolving your issues. So when you end up like this, a good dash of classic Conan does the job quite admirably.

As with all Howard’s writing it hits the spot, gives you high octane action and adds the usual amount of adventure dashed with women to sate you for quite some time. Finally add to this that it’s a great way to read the authors work in another compendium so that it makes it more manageable chunks and you’ll be more than a happy slaughterer. Great stuff.

Thursday, 29 December 2011

URBAN FANTASY REVIEW: Makayla Lane 4: Dreamfever - Karen Marie Moning

Release Date: 08/12/11


Recommended by Charlaine Harris, author of the series that inspired HBO's hit series TRUE BLOOD, this new #1 Bestselling series will take readers by storm! They may have stolen my past, but I'll never let them take my future. When the walls between Man and Fae come crashing down, freeing the insatiable, immortal Unseelie from their icy prison, MacKayla Lane is caught in a deadly trap. Captured by the Fae Lord Master, she is left with no memory of who or what she is. Clawing her way back from oblivion is only the first step Mac must take down a perilous path, from the battle-filled streets of Dublin to the treacherous politics of an ancient, secret sect, through the tangled lies of men who claim to be her allies into the illusory world of the Fae themselves, where nothing is as it seems - and Mac is forced to face a soul-shattering truth.


I’m an avid reader and as such I feel that I’ve been lucky to get the Makayla Lane series back to back over a few months rather than the usual wait time that you endure for favoured authors next titles, however this series is getting deeper and darker with each passing title and whilst a lot of them hint at further games being played by all sides with our heroine as the principle pawn, the reader is left with another cliff-hanger at the end of this book.

Don’t get me wrong, I love Karen’s writing but this book really felt a lot more like filler than anything else to me. It is a gripping series, the characters are decent and keep you guessing as personal and professional motives seem to interplay and change as twists unfurl, but when a story feels like its going round in circles with reminders as to what’s gone before, you do end up wondering wha’ts happening. I just hope that the final book in the series (for now at least) Shadowfever, will break up a lot of the tension that’s been building and answer some questions that have been enquired about since the beginning.

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

GRAPHIC NOVEL REVIEW: The Boys Vol 9: Big Ride - Garth Ennis, Darrick Robertson and Russell Braun

Release Date: 25/11/11


The countdown to the end begins, as Jack from Jupiter takes one step beyond... or does he? Hughie's triumphant return is not all he'd hoped for, but Butcher has bigger fish to fry. And The Boys meet the mysterious Doctor Peculiar...


I’ve been a fan of Ennis’ “The Boys” for quite some time, however whilst the artwork is still high quality this release feels a little flatter than the others. Don’t get me wrong we get to see a new Hughie who’s determined to stand up for himself and we get a whole load of backstory on the Unit’s operation however the whole thing just didn’t zing with the usual humour or get into the downright dirty style of fighting that we’re used to.

Add to this a thread that felt that it has been reused from an earlier title and as such the reader really could miss out on this title without missing much on the plotline overall. I just hope that the next release picks up the pace as otherwise I’ll be feeling very disappointed that such a great series went down so quickly.

Tuesday, 27 December 2011

URBAN FANTASY REVIEW: Iron Druid 3: Hammered - Kevin Hearne

Release Date: 03/11/11


Thor, the Norse god of thunder, is worse than a blowhard and a bully - he's ruined countless lives and killed scores of innocents. After centuries, Viking vampire Leif Helgarson is ready to get his vengeance, and he's asked his friend Atticus O'Sullivan, the last of the Druids, to help take down this Norse nightmare. One survival strategy has worked for Atticus for more than two thousand years: stay away from the guy with the lightning bolts. But things are heating up in Atticus's home base of Tempe, Arizona. There's a vampire turf war brewing, and Russian demon hunters who call themselves the Hammers of God are running rampant. Despite multiple warnings and portents of dire consequences, Atticus and Leif journey to the Norse plain of Asgard, where they team up with a werewolf, a sorcerer, and an army of frost giants for an epic showdown against vicious Valkyries, angry gods, and the hammer-wielding Thunder Thug himself.


The third book in the Kevin Hearne series and one that continues to build upon the success of the others as the stakes are raised even higher due to promises of the lead character. It’s a quirky series, it’s a whole lot of fun to read and of course there is nothing else out there like it.

Add to this great prose, an author who likes to keep the readers on tenterhooks and the reader really is in for one hell of a treat at the culmination of the series to date. (Although that said he has been signed for a new one, so worry not.) All in a whole host of fun with great dialogue, a wonderful twist on the myths of the western world and for me, this is one of my highlight series of the year. Great stuff.

Monday, 26 December 2011

MYSTERY STORIES REVIEW: The Best American Mystery Stories - Otto Penzler and Guest Editor Harlan Corben

Release Date: 06/12/11


Featuring twenty of the year's standout crime short stories handpicked by one of the world's best thriller writers, Best American Mystery Stories 2011 showcases not only the very best of the crime genre, but the best of American writing full stop. Within its pages, literary legends rub shoulders with the hottest new talent. Contributors in the past have included Lee Child, James Lee Burke, Jeffery Deaver, Michael Connelly, Alice Munro and Joyce Carol Oates.


The trouble with a lot of books these days is that with so many names you only have chance to read a number of them and of course when you’re not as familiar with them as you ‘d like to be, buying a book can feel a lot like pot luck. What this title guest edited by Harlan Corben does is allow the reader to try the best of a huge selection of authors for the price of one title.

Its great value, the selected short stories have been picked by an expert and of course the reader is guaranteed a selection of titles that will entertain as well as travel the broad spectrum that the genre entails. Finally add to this cracking prose, top notch dialogue and of course high octane pace and I was left a very happy reader. Thank you Otto and Harlan.

Sunday, 25 December 2011

FANTASY VIDEO GAME TIE IN REVIEW: Assassins Creed Revelations - Oliver Bowden

Release Date: 24/11/11


When a man has won all his battles and defeated his enemies, what is left for him to achieve? Ezio Auditore must leave his life behind in search of answers, in search of the truth. In "Assassin's Creedp[registered]: Revelations", master assassin Ezio Auditore walks in the footsteps of the legendary mentor Altair, on a journey of discovery and revelation. It is a perilous path - one that will take Ezio to Constantinople, the heart of the Ottoman Empire, where a growing army of Templars threatens to destabilise the region.


Oliver’s best AC title to date and one that works extremely well with the game series as it has everything that the fans want. There’s decent combat, great action sequences and of course intrigue, double dealing and the mysterious under currents of the previous civilisation that will undoubtedly lead the reader into deeper Templar mythos in the future outings.

Add to this some great prose, a wonderful sense of finishing the Ezio threads for now and of course a title that really did add another layer to make the game more fun, which all in, is a great thing for a book to do. Cracking.

Saturday, 24 December 2011

FANTASY REVIEW: Mistborn Novel: Alloy of Law - Brandon Sanderson

Release Date: 17/11/11


The Mistborn trilogy has become a firm favourite with fantasy fans the world over. The imagination that Sanderson brought to the series and his skill at marshalling epic storylines and dramatic action, his ability to create vivid characters made him a natural choice to complete Robert Jordan's epic wheel of time sequence. But with Mistborn, his standalone fantasies and his new series, The Stormlight Archive, Sanderson has shown his bountiful talents in his own fiction. Now he returns to the series that made his name with a new story set years after the events of Hero of Ages. In a world recovering only slowly from evil, a world where allomancers wield immense power through their ability to unleash the magic bound up in common metals someone who can burn metals that no-one has burned before can tip the balance...Sanderson has the knack of giving the epic fantasy reader exactly what they want. This ability has thrown him to the forefront of the genre and the dramatic story within The Alloy of Law shows off this skill to its very best.


Fans of Sanderson have been eagerly awaiting this new title in the Mistborn world (I say set in the Mistborn world rather than a Mistworld title as people may be confused as it’s not part of the series) where the reader gets to grips with events set three centuries after the previous stories.

It has moments of lightness, it has decent prose and of course it is a title that brings Sanderson’s Mistborn back to the fore to over shadow the Wheel of Time series at the moment. However the major problem with this book is that it felt more like a filler rather than a serious book and really didn’t accomplish much. Whether the levity of this is due to the darkness to come I’m not sure but we’ll have to wait to see.

All in a decent enough book and one that was a fun excursion but if you want more serious fantasy read his Mistborn trilogy and leave this on the shelf for now.

Friday, 23 December 2011

SCIENCE FICTION REVIEW: Artemis - Philip Palmer

Release Date: 02/12/11


Artemis McIvor is a stone-cold killer and a bibliophile. Raised on the library planet of Rebus, she has a love of books in a future where reading is a lost art. But unfortunately, her story doesn't end there. Artemis has been sentenced to incarceration for multiple murders and she's innocent of these, but guilty of many more which haven't yet come to light. Within days of arrival Artemis is planning her escape, but behind this is a darker strategy. She needs freedom to take revenge on those who have wronged her - and her vengeance is mighty indeed. Yet when she is recaptured, she is faced with a surprising choice that turns out to be no choice at all. She'll have her liberty if she becomes a guerrilla warrior, fighting rebels targeting Earth. Despite being part of a motley crew of criminals and psychopaths, she'd be one of the good guys for the very first time, fighting a war that is all that stands between civilization and depravity. Or if she says no, it'll be the last decision she ever makes.


As a fan of Philips writing, I’d been looking forward to this title for quite some time. I love the worlds he creates, the different situations his characters end up in and of course his writing style which feels quite nostalgic especially when added to the covers that Orbit produces to accompany them.

However that said, I had one major problem with the current release and that was the lead character, I couldn’t stand her and as such it didn’t matter how much work had gone into the rest of the project that one major niggle kept me from enjoying the title to the full potential. Don’t get me wrong, his usual elements are all there but when I can’t stand the principle player, I tend to have a hell of a job reading the title to the end. (I still do it, but it really feels like an uphill slog.)

Sadly for me, I prefer other titles by Philip such as Red Claw and Hell Ship but I won’t let this title put me off and I’ll hope my faith is rewarded in the next book of his to land.

Thursday, 22 December 2011

GUEST BLOG: The Serial Killers Next Door - Jennifer Hillier

When I was 15, all I could talk about with my friends was murder.

In the early 1990s, my hometown of Toronto, Canada had its very own serial killer. His name was Paul Bernardo. He was young – around 26 at the time – and quite handsome. His victims were girls our age, and because of this, his crimes hit close to home.

Rumors were rampant at my high school. There was ongoing speculation about who might have unknowingly come into contact with Bernardo. One rumor was that a friend of a friend's student ID card had been found at his house after his arrest. The girl had supposedly lost her wallet at the local shopping mall a few weeks earlier. Did this mean that Bernardo had followed this girl and stolen her wallet?

We hung out at that shopping mall all the time. Had we passed right by him without being aware of his eyes on us? How close had we come to a killer? How close had we come to being snatched?

Over French fries and Diet Coke in the cafeteria, it's all we could talk about.

Updates about Paul Bernardo, and his wife and partner-in-crime, Karla Homolka, were on the news every day. Nicknamed by the media as the Ken and Barbie Killers, I remember following the trial that was to come with both fear and fascination. After all, Bernardo had lived close by. How could my hometown have produced a monster? This was the kind of thing that only happened in books or movies. This was the kind of thing that happened somewhere else.

I started reading books on serial killers and was genuinely shocked to realize how many there were in the world. There were the names I'd already heard about, like Ted Bundy, Jeffrey Dahmer, the Zodiac Killer, the Son of Sam. But there were also killers I had never heard of, like Aileen Wuornos (a prostitute who murdered her johns) and Robert Hansen (who supposedly let his victims escape into the woods so he could hunt them).

I've never been a huge fan of horror movies like Nightmare on Elm Street or Friday the 13th. They're scary, sure, but I can watch them without getting nightmares because to me, the villains aren't real. They're clearly fictional, even cartoonish. I don't expect Freddie or Jason to live next door.

But author Thomas Harris's Hannibal Lecter could be my neighbor. So could Chelsea Cain's Gretchen Lowell. Ethan Wolfe, the creep in my own novel Creep, could most definitely be someone who lives next door.

The scariest monsters are the ones we don't know are monsters. The ones who live among us, who could be our neighbors, our friends, even our family members. Judith Mawson never knew that her husband of twenty years, Gary Ridgway, was the Green River Killer. Ridgway confessed to murdering 48 women, though he's suspected of killing more than 70 in the Seattle area. Paula Rader was married for more than three decades to Dennis Rader, also known as the BTK (Bind, Torture, Kill) Killer, who was a church-going father and an Air Force veteran. During their marriage, he murdered ten people. When he was arrested, she was stunned.

As someone who writes fictional serial killers, there's not much I can write about that hasn't already happened. The darkest sides of human nature have already been covered in real life. The challenge is making this dark nature – and the evil deeds that occur because of it – believable to the reader, because as Mark Twain said, "It's no wonder truth is stranger than fiction. Fiction has to make sense."

In a sensational trial in 1995, Karla Homolka, the Barbie half of the Ken and Barbie Killers, testified against her husband in exchange for a twelve-year prison sentence. She served her time and has since been released.

Paul Bernardo is currently serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole. He spends over twenty-three hours a day in a cell in a maximum security prison outside Toronto. He can no longer stalk, rape, or murder anyone.

But yet he lingers with me, as he does for all my friends. One of my best friends asked me what I was writing about today, and I told her I was working on a post about Paul Bernardo. Instantly she remembered him. Of course she would. She and I went to the same high school. We were bombarded by the same news stories and rumors about him, and we talked about him endlessly. Bernardo was her Bogeyman, too.

When people ask me now why I chose thrillers as my genre, I usually answer that it's because I like the adrenaline rush. I enjoy the quick pace, and the challenge of creating fear in my readers that seeps deep into their pores and lingers.

But the real reason might just be Paul Bernardo. The terror I felt in my teens was very real, and if there's one lesson I learned from back then, it's that you never really know who your neighbors are.

CRIME REVIEW: Creep - Jennifer Hillier

Release Date: 22/12/12


If he can't have her... Psychology professor Dr Sheila Tao is an expert on human behaviour, so when she begins an affair with charming graduate student Ethan Wolfe, she's well aware she's playing with fire. Consumed by lust and riddled with guilt, Sheila ends their three month fling when she becomes engaged to a kind and loving man who adores her. But Ethan has different plans... NO ONE CAN. When a star student is stabbed to death, it's clear someone is raising the stakes of violence, sex and blackmail on campus. Before long, Sheila is caught in a terrifying cat-and-mouse game with Ethan: the lover she couldn't resist is now the monster who will never let her go.


I’m always intrigued by a new author so when a new book is presented they have to do something that will live on with the reader after the final page is turned to not only be remembered but to help establish their name within the genre. What Jennifer presents within this book is a tale that is part Captivity as well as a terrifying tale of twisted imagination as one man can’t take no for an answer. He has high intelligence, he has some twisted ideal’s and overall it’s the struggle of the principle character that keeps the story not only moving along but demonstrates how the reader establishes the emotional context as they undergo the madman’s administrations alongside her.

Add to this decent writing, some wonderful twists and of course an author who keeps the reader on tenterhooks to the last page which left me as a reader a little chilled as well as fascinated. Great stuff.

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

FANTASY REVIEW: The Riyria Revelation 2: Rise of Empire - Michael J Sullivan

Release Date: 02/12/11


The birth of the Nyphron Empire has brought war to Melengar. To save her kingdom, Princess Arista runs a desperate gamble when she defies her brother and hires Royce and Hadrian to perform a dangerous mission behind the enemy's lines. As the power of the Nyphron Empire grows, so does Royce's suspicion that the wizard Esrahaddon is using the thieves as pawns in his own shadowy struggle for power. To find the truth, he must unravel the secret of Hadrian's past. What he discovers leads the thieves to the ends of the world on a journey amid treachery and betrayals, forcing Hadrian to face a past he hoped never to see again.


The second compendium in the Riyria Revelations series that keeps the story moving at a breakneck pace with cracking lead characters who in an effort to save their own hides end up in all manner of scrapes and shenanigans.

As with the original book it was fun, it had great moments of levity and of course action packed with high octane adrenaline fuelling the story from start to finish. Finally add to this a great overall arc, dark misdeeds and a knack for scraping through literally by the skin of their teeth and it’s a series that I’ve really come to enjoy. Definitely a great read and one I’d recommend to others, although personally I’d say to wait for the third books release and have a real marathon with Hadrian and Royce. You won’t regret it.

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

WRITING ADVICE: How to be a Writer - Sally O'Reilly

Release Date: 03/11/11


How To Be a Writer is a comprehensive guide to the career of writing from experienced writer and creative writing tutor Sally O'Reilly. The book will cover questions such as: If you want to be a writer, should you invest in a creative writing course? If so, which one? Are writing groups a good thing? What grants, awards and prizes are available to the aspiring writer? How should you plan your career in the long term? It will also feature an introduction from Fay Weldon - 'Why I wish I'd read this book when I was 25' - and will include comments and case studies from other established authors, agents and industry experts. How To Be a Writer will include everything that a writer needs to know about running their own career, from choosing an agent to cafe scribbling, and from filing a tax return to flirting with the literati and it will be an essential reference book for any author who takes their work seriously.


OK this book is a little different to a lot of the books out there as rather than deal with getting that first book done, what this concentrates on mainly is building your career as a writer from networking to contracts, from PR to the Perils and Pitfalls as well as giving you the reality check about how to make your finances stretch.

It’s well written, the author clearly knows what they’re talking about and it’s a book that helps people take that next step into a world that is not only cold and harsh but one that many have had to learn the hard way in how to survive almost as if writing that first book plunges them into the middle of the ocean with sharks waiting for that buffet bell to ring. It’s a similar circumstance as it’s a sink or swim usually and the ones that you tend to hear about are the survivors rather than those who fell foul.

Add to this a book that is broken down into manageable chunks and a style that is friendly as well as informative and its almost as if you’ve been kitted out with that special survival training that you’re going to need. All round, for me, this is a great book and whilst I’m yet to be published it’s a title that gives me area’s to focus on to help improve areas of my craft that I haven’t even thought about. Solid, helpful and a title that I think a great many writers will find useful.

Monday, 19 December 2011

FACTUAL REVIEW: The Age of Chivalry - Hywel Williams

Release Date: 24/11/11


The five hundred years that separate the mid-tenth century from the mid-15th century constitute a critical and formative period in the history of Europe.

This was the age of the system of legal and military obligation known as 'feudalism', and of the birth and consolidation of powerful kingdoms in England, France and Spain; it was an era of urbanization and the expansion of trade, of the building of the great Romanesque and Gothic cathedrals, of courtly romance and the art of the troubadour, and of the founding of celebrated seats of learning in Paris, Oxford and Bologna. But it was also an epoch characterised by brutal military adventure in the launching of armed pilgrimages to liberate Jerusalem from Muslim control, of the brutal dynastic conflict of the Hundred Years' War and of the devastating pandemic of the Black Death.

In a sequence of scholarly but accessible articles - accompanied by an array of beautiful and authentic images of the era, plus timelines, maps, boxed features and display quotes - distinguished historian Hywel Williams sheds revelatory light on every aspect of a rich and complex period of European history.

Ottonians and Salians; Rise of the Capetians; Normans in England; Birth of the city-states; The Normans in Sicily; The First Crusade; The Investiture contest; The Hohenstaufen; The Angevin Empire; 12th-century Renaissance; Triumph of the Capetians; The Third Crusade; The Albigensian Crusade; The glory of Islamic Spain; The Kingdom of Naples; The Hundred Years War I; The Hundred Years War II; Avignon and the Schism; The Golden Age of Florence; The Reconquista; Popes, Saints and Heretics; Medieval society; Medieval culture; Medieval warfare.


Whilst many see the romanticised version of the Middle Ages, Knights on White Chargers rescuing Damsels in the distress, it was a time of bloodshed, loss of life and in some places enlightenment. What this title by Hywel does is bring the historical world to life through some well researched pieces alongside the use of artwork that has survived from the period. It’s a wonderful amalgamation, has the book set out in easy to manage chapters and helps take you through the world so that it not only makes sense but allows you to grasp the history that our ancestors lived through.

Finally add to the mix an author who knows their stuff and this title is a book I’d recommend to people of all ages as there’s something for everyone especially when you add the complexities of politics, military strategy and of course the furtherance of each nations own goals. Great all round and a real chance to see the past through the eyes of an expert.

Sunday, 18 December 2011

URBAN FANTASY REVIEW: Shadow Saga 5: Waking Nightmares - Christopher Golden

Release Date: 03/05/11


When chaos erupts in the small coastal town of Hawthorne, Massachusetts, former vampire-turned-mage Peter Octavian and earthwitch Keomany Shaw arrive to investigate. Years ago, Octavian helped expose the secret existence of vampires to the world, dismantling the Vatican's sorcery corps in order to save his fellow shadows from destruction. But without the Vatican sorcerers, the magical barriers they spent centuries constructing to keep the forces of darkness out of our world are beginning to fail, and things are slipping through. Now an ancient god of chaos is awakening in Hawthorne, its influence spreading...and it's Octavian's fault. If he can't stop it, the blood of all humankind will be on his hands.


The fifth book in the Shadow Saga and the toughest challenge yet for former vampire Peter Octavian as he battles to save the world from an elder chaos god. It’s cleverly written, the characters are fully rounded and as a fan of the Urban Fantasy, it’s a title that more than pleases on all my criteria.

Add to this the usual Golden prose and pace, cracking twists and backed up with an overall arc that is hard to put down. The only disappointment for me was the title being left off on a Saturday Matinee cliff hanger which will leave the readers clamouring for more sooner rather than later. Christopher get writing.

Saturday, 17 December 2011

FANTASY REVIEW: Conan the Beserker - Robert E Howard

Release Date: 10/11/11


Conan the Barbarian is one of the most famed figures in fantasy fiction. With the success of the new film starring Jason Momoa (of A GAME OF THRONES)and Ron Perlman, the time is right to revisit Robert E. Howard's classic stories. Presented in chronological order over three books, all of Conan's life is here, from his wild adventures as a youth to the final tale of Conan the King. Howard's tales of the wanderer, the reaver, the thief, the Barbarian have never been surpassed. In this volume Conan learns the secrets of the RED NAILS and the JEWELS OF GWAHLUR, meets THE SLITHERING SHADOW and THE PEOPLE OF THE BLACK CIRCLE, visits THE POOL OF THE BLACK ONE and travels BEYOND THE BLACK RIVER. A selection of other tales and fragments round out this new collection of a classic character.


The second book of tales from the Conan series that features the stories from “The People of the Black Circle” through to “Beyond the Black River” which takes the reader on a whole set of adventures with perhaps one of the best known fantasy characters of all time. It’s fun, it has plenty of action and as such with Howard’s writing the reader is in for a pulp fiction treat as the tales unfurl.

Add to this as usual, great prose, top notch characters and pace and as a reader I loved the chance to journey back to a time when fantasy was becoming popular again with the reader. A sad shame for the early death of the creator, it would be interesting to see what he’d have made of the success of the series. All in, this is a real treat and if you want something special to help encourage a young reader to move onto adult titles then the Conan series is one of the best ways to go.

Friday, 16 December 2011

NEWS: FIve Days of Christmas: 1 Wanted Gift and a plethora of books fo rme to read

OK, as part of our Five Days of Christmas celebration we’re at our number one and rather than sticking with the theme about releases this year, we thought that we’d put what our Number One Christmas Gift Request for ourselves is:

1 E Reader.

We’re huge readers and whilst the personal library is a thing of beauty I really could do with either an E-Reader or someone to come round and install wall to wall shelving so that I can utilise the space to the best of abilities. However since the shelving isn’t likely to happen, I thought that it would be a good idea to mention that we’d like an E-Reader for any kind publisher who happens to be viewing this.

So thank you for joining our 5 days of Christmas, we wish you a happy season and a glorious new year as well as hoping that our countdown has given you an idea or two for this last week of shopping.

All the best,

Gareth and Lady Eleanor.

HUMOUR REVIEW: Stand Up Put Down's - Rufus Hound

Release Date: 13/10/11


For a stand-up comedian, a heckler is either a curse or a blessing. On one hand, the drunk at the back of the room yelling incoherent nonsense can ruin the evening for everyone. But on the other, a funny, well-timed heckle can really ramp up the laughter in the room. Either way, all stand-ups know they must be prepared to deal with hecklers by using the most effective weapon at their disposal - the put-down. Whether they are sharp enough to fire them off on the spot or they have a battery of tried-and-tested insults to suit every different occasion, put-downs are an essential part of every comedian's repertoire.

Here Rufus Hound, compère extraordinaire, has compiled 200 of his favourites. Read on, and laugh along at some of the funniest insults in comedy history.


How many times have you had someone had a go at you and you can’t think of either a decent put down instantly or are just so annoyed that you blow up and make yourself look like an idiot? Well if you’re going to be honest about it, like me, its going to be more than once. So this title by Rufus Hound is an absolute little gem for these as there is pretty much a reply for all situations. Its funny, it has some great put downs, however a lot of them are x rated and may surprise you when you find out which comedian to which they’re attributed.

Add to this some hecklers that have gotten one over them and the whole thing will result in a chuckle or two. Finally if you do some canny online shopping you can get this title for half the cover price which will make it an ideal stocking filler for your other half and a fiver well spent as it’ll keep them cheerful throughout the Christmas stress.

Thursday, 15 December 2011

NEWS: Five Days of Christmas: 2 Interviews/Guest Blogs - Supernatural London Tour: New Season - Suzanne McLeod


New River Thames Troll Trail Tours Added exclusively for the Winter Holiday Season!

Supernatural Capital Tours is a recognised leader in London City magical sightseeing. Our hop-on, hop-off, and escorted bus tours are operated on a fleet of luxury, double-decker buses designed with top-deck-only seating to provide you with the best possible views of London’s magical attractions, supernatural neighbourhoods and places of paranormal interest.

Supernatural Capital Tours provides the best paranormal attractions, including vampire theatrical shows, magical markets, and Charmed river cruises. SCT is an expert in Magical Tourism. Please preview some of our new tours below.

SCT River Thames Troll Trails ~ Adults and Children (where allowed)

Escorted Bus Tours (hop-on, hop-off). All tours will be escorted by Chalky Revod, a venerable mountain troll and expert geologist from Kent. Tours includes all meals, drinks and accommodation where stated.

Please note: The River Thames Troll Trails are troll pilgrimages, and as such SCT ask that our customers respect the sacred nature of the trail and refrain from playing loud music, using mobile phones or making remarks that could be considered offensive. We thank you in advance for your consideration.

Please note: Each SCT Enchanted Boarding Ticket includes a celebratory libation of Cairngorm Mountain Dew for adults and orange juice for those under 18, after each bridge crossing. Please drink responsibly.

Afternoon tea includes the troll specialities: Butter Pebbles, Cheddar Gorge Lime Cakes, Snowdon Leek Tarts, and Blencathra Wild Boar Sandwiches.

Warning: Butter pebbles can be hazarders to your teeth. Eat at your own risk. SCT accepts no liability for customers dental costs.

River Thames Troll Trail: Central London (Adults and Children)

• Tower Bridge (1894)
Included in the crossing of this most iconic of all of London’s bridges is a visit to the bridge’s engine rooms where it is possible to see the bridge’s resident gremlins*.
Please note: SCT cannot guarantee sight of gremlins due to routine maintenance programmes during which the gremlins are often evicted.

Should Tower Bridge be the end of your tour then there is an option to take afternoon tea in the Bridge Master's Dining Room ~ a unique experience with a fantastic view of the north bank of the Thames and the Bridge itself. (Pre-bookings only).

• London Bridge (1973)
Now fully restored after the catastrophic events in London at Hallowe’en* left the south side of the bridge partially collapsed.
Please note: SCT would like to reassure our customers that the ghosts of the 17th Century plague victims disturbed during the attack have now been laid fully to rest.

• Millennium Bridge (footbridge, 2002)
Londoners nicknamed the bridge the "Wobbly Bridge" after participants in a charity walk on behalf of Save the Children to open the bridge felt an unexpected, and, for some, uncomfortable, swaying motion on the first two days after the bridge opened.
Please note: Whilst the bridge has undergone modifications to combat this SCT are able to issue Anti-sickness spell potions courtesy of free to any customers who require them.

• Blackfriars Bridge (1869)
Here can be seen the famous animated stone carvings of water birds by wizard and sculptor John Birnie Philip. On the East (downstream) side the carving are of marine life and seabirds; and on the West (upstream) of freshwater birds.

Please note: SCT would like to inform customers that "Blackfriars Bridge" is not the home of an unknown order of monks who held the key to an angelic prison as depicted in Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman. This is a fictional association.

• Waterloo Bridge (1945) (the "women's bridge")
It is frequently asserted that the work force was largely female and it is sometimes referred to as "the ladies' bridge". The arches are clad in Portland stone from the South West of England; the stone contains a Self-Cleaning spell which cleans the bridge whenever it rains. This produces a glorious sight of multi-hued double rainbows stretching from one end of the bridge to the other.
Please note: Rainbows do not guarantee leprechauns* or the possibility of pots of gold.

• Hungerford Footbridges (Golden Jubilee Bridges) (2002)
The north end of the bridge is near to the Victoria Embankment where our Charmed River Cruises depart (tickets are available from your tour troll) and where the RAF monument can be visited.
Please note: SCT cannot confirm that the RAF monument* is home to London’s resident kelpie but recommends that all customers are aware of local River Lore; the kelpie has agreed to no longer Charm innocents into the water, but only takes those who venture in of their own accord, who want to die, or who have another’s death staining their soul. Should you be of a depressive or nervous disposition it is recommended that you do not venture onto the steps leading down to the river.

• Westminster Bridge (1862)
This seven-arch wrought iron bridge with Gothic detailing Gothic is the oldest bridge in central London. The bridge is painted predominantly green, the same colour as the leather seats in the House of Commons which is on the side of the Palace of Westminster nearest the bridge.
Should Westminster Bridge be the end of your tour then there is an option to take an exclusive afternoon tea flight on the London Eye ~ a wonderful experience which gives a panoramic view of surrounding London. (Pre-bookings only).
Please note: SCT troll tour guide, Chalky Revod, is unable to accompany customers on the London Eye due to individual pod weight restrictions. wishes to thank and acknowledge Suzanne McLeod the author of the following books for her assistance in compiling the content for these magical tours.

*London Eye and leprechauns – The Sweet Scent of Blood – Spellcrackers #1
*London Bridge and RAF Monument – The Cold Kiss of Death – Spellcrackers # 2
*Tower Bridge and Gremlins – The Bitter Seed of Magic – Spellcrackers #3

The Spellcrackers series is set in London with magic, mayhem and murder – liberally spiced with hot guys, kick-ass chicks and super-cool supes!

Suzanne McLeod: Website
Twitter @Suzanne_McLeod

NEWS: Five Days of Christmas: Interviews: Daniel Polansky

Friend of the blog and new author Daniel Polansky (author of Fantasy novel “The Straight Razor Cure”) helped us give you a little extra bonus on the build up to Christmas with this, his interview for us, that we’d thought lost to the Electron Spider ravages through the massive Interweb.

So, for your reading pleasure, Daniel answers some of the telling questions that new authors get and responds openly, honestly and of course hopefully will buoy up that writer within you…

Falcata Times: Writing is said to be something that people are afflicted with rather than gifted and that it's something you have to do rather than want. What is your opinion of this statement and how true is it to you?

Daniel Polansky: It’s a bit hyperbolic, at least for me.

FT: When did you realise that you wanted to be a writer?

DP: I think that first you realize you want to write. The verb comes first, if you can dig it.

FT: It is often said that if you can write a short story you can write anything. How true do you think this is and what have you written that either proves or disproves this POV?

DP: I’ve never read that quote.

FT: If someone were to enter a bookshop, how would you persuade them to try your novel over someone else's and how would you define it?

DP: I would subtly threaten their family, or perhaps observe that my competition was a nazi-pedophile.

FT: How would you "sell" your book in 20 words or less?

DP: The recipe for the antidote to the poison you just drank is hidden somewhere in its pages.

FT: Who is a must have on your bookshelf and whose latest release will find you on the bookshops doorstep waiting for it to open?

DP: My bookshelf is getting a little thick these days, but you can always find a few Raymond Chandler novels amidst the debris.

FT: When you sit down and write do you know how the story will end or do you just let the pen take you? ie Do you develop character profiles and outlines for your novels before writing them or do you let your idea's develop as you write?

DP: For the first book, it was all a little slapdash. With the sequel I'm being much more deliberate with outlines and such.

FT: What do you do to relax and what have you read recently?

DP: I walk and listen to music. I’m in the middle of Winston Churchill’s biography of the Duke of Marlborough.

FT: What is your guiltiest pleasure that few know about?

DP: I am a black-out drunk.

FT: Lots of writers tend to have pets. What do you have and what are their key traits (and do they appear in your novel in certain character attributes?)

DP: I don’t have a pet.

FT: How similar to your principle protagonist are you?

DP: Not very. He’s a two-fisted amoral homicidal drug addict, and I’m only the second and fourth.

FT: What hobbies do you have and how do they influence your work?

DP: I love to travel.

FT: Where do you get your idea's from?

DP: Books and life.

FT: Do you ever encounter writers block and if so how do you overcome it?

DP: Some days it’s easier than others. You push as far as you can every day and don’t kick yourself too much if you can’t always hit a quota.

FT: Certain authors are renowned for writing at what many would call uncivilised times. When do you write and how do the others in your household feel about it?

DP: I do most of my writing during the day. Sometimes I will think of an idea that I want to jot down and will ask whomever I’m talking to not to talk to me until I’m done, but mostly they’re understanding about it.

FT: Sometimes pieces of music seem to influence certain scenes within novels, do you have a soundtrack for your tale or is it a case of writing in silence with perhaps the odd musical break in-between scenes?

DP: I guess in my book it’s all atmospheric noise.

FT: What misconceptions, if any, did you have about the writing and publishing field when you were first getting started?

DP: I really didn’t know enough about it to have preconceptions. I suppose I thought it would take less time from the date of the sale to the book being published.

FT: If music be the food of love, what do you think writing is and please explain your answer?

DP: I don’t know how to answer this question.

FT: What can you tell us about the next novel?

DP: It’s similar to this one, but better.

FT: What are the last five internet sites that you've visited?

DP: They’re all x-rated. Am I kidding?

FT: Did you ever take any writing classes or specific instructions to learn the craft? If so please let us know which ones.

DP: I have never taken a creative writing class, for better or worse.

FT: How did you get past the initial barriers of criticism and rejection?

DP: I wept a lot.

FT: In your opinion, what are the best and worst aspects of writing for a living?

DP: Filling a blank page is the best thing about writing. It has to be, or there wouldn’t be a point. As far as the negatives -- it can be a solitary existence.

HISTORICAL FICTION REVIEW: Conqueror - Conn Iggulden

Release Date: 27/10/11


The one and only Conn Iggulden takes on the story of the mighty Kublai Khan. An epic tale of a great and heroic mind; his action-packed rule; and how in conquering one-fifth of the world's inhabited land, he changed the course of history forever. A scholar who conquered an empire larger than those of Alexander or Caesar. A warrior who would rule a fifth of the world with strength and wisdom. A man who betrayed a brother to protect a nation. From a young scholar to one of history's most powerful warriors, Conqueror tells the story of Kublai Khan -- an extraordinary man who should be remembered alongside Julius Caesar, Alexander the Great and Napoleon Bonaparte as one of the greatest conquerors the world has ever known. It should have been a golden age, with an empire to dwarf the lands won by the mighty Genghis Khan. Instead, the vast Mongol nation is slowly losing ground, swallowed whole by their most ancient enemy. A new generation has arisen, yet the long shadow of the Great Khan still hangs over them all ! Kublai dreams of an empire stretching from sea to sea. But to see it built, this scholar must first learn the art of war. He must take his nation's warriors to the ends of the known world. And when he is weary, when he is wounded, he must face his own brothers in bloody civil war.


For me, there are some authors in a genre that you just have to buy and Conn Iggulden is one of them. He’s gone from strength to strength with his writing, and for me, he is the David Gemmell of Historical Fiction, a talent that is unique, rarely equalled and an author you can depend upon for a quality read that will be kept in your collection for rereads later on.

The writing is gripping, the characters have a realistic angle that the reader can grab onto and whilst in places he’s spartan in his descriptive allowing the reader to fill in the blanks it doesn’t detract from the story which moves along at its own pace. Add to this cracking prose, top notch dialogue and a way of explaining history in a context that it brings it to live. (And yes I know its historical fiction but getting it to come to life so that the reader wants to do their own research is key here.)

Finally add to the mix a story that reads well as a standalone and it’s a book that is accessible for new readers as well as established fans makes this a real gem of a title this year. Great stuff.

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

NEWS: Five Days of Christmas: 3 Top Games

Whilst it;s hard just to pick three games for recommendations after the year we’ve had, we’re pretty sure that certain ones will already be on the Christmas list. These ones are:
Assassin’s Creed: Revelations
Elder Scrolls: Skyrim
Batman: Arkham City (Yep it’s on mine already.)

As such whilst most people will already know of these I wanted to bring some others to the fore. These games I’ve had fun with and wanted to share with you in case you’re looking for something a little different:

Lego Pirates of the Caribbean:
If you’re a huge fan of the other Lego games (Indiana Jones, Harry Potter and Star Wars) then the odds are you’re going to love this as they’ve spent a lot of time getting things right such as Captain Jack’s swagger for the character. Add to this the usual mayhem of smashing the environment to bits and earning additional characters and the player is in for a whole world of fun as theres loads of things to discover on each play through. The humour is right up there as usual and of course its good clean fun for everyone if you want a break from the usual death dealing blood splattered combat games out there.

Gears of War 3:
The final game in the famous franchise which see’s loss, hope and the world reclaimed for mankind after years of battles. It’s combat heavy, there’s tons of firepower and above all else the player will be knee deep in grubs as they slaughter their way across the landscape to save Phoenix’s father.

Add to this a whole host of new bad guys, some fun pick ups (like the massive swords of Berserker Grubs) and the player will be in 7th heaven. However if you’re not a fan of blood splatter or the heavy combat this may not be the game for you. In a similar vein is Space Marine although this, in my opinion is the superior.

LA Noire:
A cop game with a difference. Here you start off as a patrol man and investigate crimes finding clues and interrogating suspects. Each correct answer leads you to more locations to find out more pertaining to the case, which you drive to (although prepare for a hefty bill if you’re as bad at it as me) as well as gaining extra bonus’ for helping out on Police Summons on the radio. It’s quirky, its different and its one that you have to think about as well as checking your notes to make sure that you pick the right option. The characters within will also give signals that let you know if they’re lying or not being fully forthright so you can question them about it and you can also choose to reveal certain aspects of your evidence during questioning to help you further the case.

As you undergo the investigations you get promoted and each new rank gives you a whole host of new one to solve. All in, it’s a lot of fun and as a player its something that is unlike any other game out there. A great thing from Rockstar games.

Hopefully this has helped you find something a little different for the Christmas market and of course, the prices of these are hitting the better budget area’s for those with seasonal cash to spend.

FACTUAL REVIEW: The Beastly Battles of Old England - Nigel Cawthorne

Release Date: 06/10/11


Throughout history the English have been a warlike lot. Often we fight among ourselves - there have been a good few civil wars - and when we were not slaughtering each other, we practiced on our neighbours, the Scots, the Irish, the French ...When that got too easy, we set off around the world to find other people to fight. This was usually done with a hubris that invited some ludicrous pratfall. In THE BEASTLY BATTLES OF OLD ENGLAND, Nigel Cawthorne takes us on a darkly humorous journey through some of our ill-advised military actions. From the war over a severed ear to a general seeking out his rival's mistresses to even the score, it is a miscellany of insufferable arrogance, reckless gallantry, stunning stupidity, massive misjudgements and general beastliness.


As this book lets you know, the British have often regarded war as a game and if that’s the case, it will probably come as no surprise to read up on all the military blunders that have oft occurred when we marched into battle, almost as if it’s a game that we don’t care about winning (as you’ll probably think whenever you see one of our national teams playing.)

This book by Nigel Cawthorne is funny, it has some great military anecdotes and of course it’s entertaining to the reader as it imparts it information in such a way that a lot of it sticks. For me, if you’re trying to get your Teen into History (and they’ve claimed that its bored them) this is one of those titles that might just get them to change their mind. For me, this is a great read and one that I’ll be passing on to my Dad to keep him amused over the holiday period.

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

NEWS: Five Days of Christmas: 4 Childrens Books (from Tatty's Treasure Chest by Age)

Hail Mighty Readers,
So you've got the adults sorted but what about the kids? Well hopefully some of our choices will help you make that special choice to become the book King or Queen of your household.

Here are our personal choices:
5 and Under:
Frank and Teddy Make Friends - Louise Yates
The Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm - Jacob Grimm, Wilhelm Grimm, Noel Daniel and Matthew R Price
Again - Emily Gravett
Cats Ahoy - Peter Bently, Ill. Jim Field

Spooks: I am Grimalkin - Joseph Delaney
The Encyclopedia of the Unexplained - Judy Allen
Young Samurai: Ring of Water - Chris Bradford
Bartimaeus: Amulet of Samarkland (Graphic Novel) - Jonathan Stroud

Bleeding Hearts - Alyxandra Harvey
Texas Gothic - Rosemary Clement Moore
Shelter - Harlan Coben
The Demon Trappers 2: Forbidden - Jana Oliver

Hope this helps,

Gareth and Lady Eleanor

SCIENCE FICTION REVIEW: Warhammer 40K: Space Marine Battles: The Gildar Rift - Sarah Cawkwell

Release Date: 08/12/11


When the ancient warship Wolf of Fenris emerges from the warp, Imperial forces find that it has been overrun by the dreaded Red Corsairs. However, this is no mere raiding party – Huron Blackheart and his entire renegade fleet soon follow, intent on conquering the Gildar Rift and tightening their grip on the sector. Lance batteries and torpedo salvos burn fiery contrails through the void, and only Captain Arrun of the Silver Skulls Space Marine Chapter can halt the renegades’ advance. The fate of the Rift will not be decided in the heavens but on the surface of Gildar Secundus below.


I hadn’t read any of Sarah’s writing before, so when it’s an established series I always look at the architecture of the authors writing to see not only if it fits in but adds something new and unique to the world. What Sarah does in this book is bring the human element to the fore of the Astartes as characters have doubts as well as emotional conflicts that aids in humanising these almost superhero giants.

It’s wonderfully written, contains cleverly crafted space battles and hand to hand which when all brought together gives the reader a story that they’ll remember for quite some time. Sarah for me, is a real find for the Black Library and I look forward to reading more of her work in the future. Magic.

Monday, 12 December 2011

NEWS: Five Days of Christmas: 5 Book Genre Recommendations (from Falcata Times)

Hail Mighty Readers,
Well this is our first of our Five Days of Christmas (yes we know we’re early but we wanted to give you shopping time in case of finding something that you like) and as such we thought that it would be pretty good to do five recommendations per genre of books reviewed by Falcata Times. As such we hope that you can find a title or two of interest for the bibliophile in your life.

We hope everyone has a great holiday season and here’s our massive list of top fives:

Art and Crafts Books:

Drew Stuzan - Oeuvre
Creating Comics - Start to Finish - Buddy Scalera
Fräulein - Ellen von Unwerth
Stitch with Love - Mandy Shaw
The Songwriters Guide - Writers Digest

The Silent Girl - Tess Gerritsen
The Dead Witness - Ed Michael Sims
A Fear of Dark Water - Craig Russell
Death Sentence - Mikkel Birkegaard
The Quarry - Johan Theorin

Hawkmoor at Home - Huw Gott, Dan Lepard
PieMinister - Tristan Hogg and Jon Simon
Perfect: 68 Essential Recipes - Felicity Cloake
Hairy Bikers - Perfect Pies - Hairy Bikers
Perfect Slow Cooking - Elizabeth Brown

The Heroes - Joe Abercrombie
The Straight Razor Cure - Daniel Polansky
The Fallen Blade - Jon Courtenay Grimwood
Conan's Brethren - Robert E Howard
The Crippled God - Steven Erikson

Historical Fiction:
The Clash of Empires: The Great Siege - William Napier
The Long War 2: Marathon - Christian Cameron
Agent of Rome: The Siege - Nick Brown
Outlander 7: An Echo in Time - Diana Gabaldon
Lady of Hay - Barbara Erskine

The Spirit of the Sword - Steve Shackleford
Early Firearms 1300-1800 - Michael Spencer
Crooked Talk - Jonathan Green
Making Craft Cider - Simon McKie
Booze for Free - Andy Hamilton

Science Fiction:
Chemical Garden: Wither - Lauren DeStefano
World Wide Web 3: Wonder - Robert J Sawyer
Embassytown - China Mieville
Embedded - Dan Abnett
The Subteranean War: Germline - TC McCarthy

The Lion - Nelson DeMille
The Affair - Lee Child
The Nosferatu Scroll - James Becker
The Silenced - Brett Battles
Blood Counts - Robert Goddard

Urban Fantasy:
Zombie Autopsy - Dr Steven C Schlozman
Deadtown 3: Bloodstone - Nancy Holzner
Dresden Files: Ghost Story - Jim Butcher
The Iron Druid: Hounded - Kevin Hearne
Rivers of London - Ben Aaronovitch

Lady Eleanor Top Books:
Choices Inside Out - Robert Lasardo
Rose West: Making of a Monster - Jane Carter Woodrow
The Confessions of Catherine De Medici - CW Gortner
The Exorcist - William Peter Blatty
The Ritual - Adam G Neville

Tune in for the next few days to see other recommendations,

Gareth and Lady Eleanor