The Unlikely Escape of Uriah Heep by H.G. Parry – Review

Cover- The Unlikely Escape of Uriah Heep

Published: July 23, 2019

Publisher: Redhook

Genre: Fantasy

Series: Standalone

Pages: 464 (Hardcover)

My Rating: 4.5/5.0

A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis:

The ultimate book-lover’s fantasy, featuring a young scholar with the power to bring literary characters into the world, for fans of The Magicians, Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore, and The Invisible Library.

For his entire life, Charley Sutherland has concealed a magical ability he can’t quite control: he can bring characters from books into the real world. His older brother, Rob — a young lawyer with a normal house, a normal fiancee, and an utterly normal life — hopes that this strange family secret will disappear with disuse, and he will be discharged from his life’s duty of protecting Charley and the real world from each other. But then, literary characters start causing trouble in their city, making threats about destroying the world… and for once, it isn’t Charley’s doing.

There’s someone else who shares his powers. It’s up to Charley and a reluctant Rob to stop them, before these characters tear apart the fabric of reality.


Ever since learning of this book I had been looking forward to reading it. How could I resist a synopsis that described a man that could bring anything from a book simply by reading it intently. I’m fairly certain that’s the kind  of magic any book lover would want to have at their disposal. 

The Unlikely Escape of Uriah Heep is the story of two brothers – Rob Sutherland, who is an utterly normal lawyer living in Wellington, New Zealand and Charley, who is quite abnormal and can read characters right out of books, causing much trouble. Rob and Charley have a strained relationship for a number of reasons, merely one of which being that Charley is bringing his unintended mischief to what Rob considers “his city”. Of course, nothing is quite so simple as that and it soon becomes apparent that Charley isn’t the only one with his singular talent and this person is much less benign. They are, in fact, trying to bring about a new world. One that is reminiscent of the streets of Victorian London with all the perils and evil thereof. 

This book was fascinating and kept me going during a rather dull week away for work training. The whole concept was delightful without being a gentle fairytale since not only the nice, heroic characters could be brought forth from their resident pages. The more maniacal reader was bringing out the villainous Dickens era characters to stalk the streets of Wellington and it did bring a certain flair of danger to things. I mean, Charley and Rob nearly got mauled by the Hound of the Baskervilles in all its theatrical and terrifying glory. 

Aside from having an interesting plot I thought that the exploration of the strained relationship between Charley and Rob was really well done. Charley has always been a prodigy and despite Rob being older, he felt he was in his younger brother’s shadow and that resentment had carried over into their adult lives. Charley had moved away to Cambridge to get his Ph.D and Rob finally had a life to himself without worrying about caring for his brother or keeping his abilities hidden by cleaning up the occasional slip. They both have a good deal of emotional growth during the course of the story and it felt quite natural. As a matter of fact, their entire family must do some talking and share some secrets.

The Unlikely Escape of Uriah Heep was a fascinating book and I have to say, I don’t think I’ve read any other fantasy books set in New Zealand which is a shame! I had such a great time reading this book that I’ll more than likely pick up anything else that H.G. Parry publishes in the future. This book is also a standalone, which itself is rare in the fantasy world today. No fear of committing to a six book series here – just read one and your done!

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Subscription Box Review: The Bookish Box – August 2019

This is a post series I’ve been so excited to begin! During the many hours I waste on Instagram I’ve come across some pretty incredible bookish subscription boxes and I decided to bite the bullet and review some of the most popular. First up is The Bookish Box which had some really appealing themes – August was Wicked Victorian and September is Anti-Heroes We Adore.

Basic Box Info

This box has a few different subscriptions options (shipping not included) :

  • Book + Shirt + Bookish Goodies – $43.00
  • Book + Bookish Goodies – $28.99
  • Shirt + Bookish Goodies – $29.99
  • Shirt + Book – $28.99
  • Book Only – $17.99
  • Shirt Only – $18.00

You can also pick whether you want the YA or Adult book subscription option, though it seems that the YA books are more popular!

They ship worldwide, so the only thing stopping you from subscribing is potential crazy shipping costs. I have no idea how much this would be, but if I remember correctly shipping was $8.00 for my box within the US.

August 2019 Unboxing – Wicked Victorian

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First attempt at a flat lay – the box in all it’s glory.

First up, we have the featured YA book for the month – A Dress for the Wicked by Autumn Krause. Incredibly, this book is actually a standalone, making it a veritable unicorn among books nowadays. The book comes in a nice little drawstring bag that I’m sure I can find some use for – maybe it’s large enough to store a pair of sandals for the winter? The Bookish Box also features a unique, exclusive dust jacket for it’s YA books which is pretty neat. This month the art was done by @morgana0anagrom. The picture on the right is the original dust jacket design along with the Zodiac themed bookmark included in the box.

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And here we have a close-up of this month’s shirt design by Dogwood Lane Boutique. You have the base option of either a women’s fit or unisex fit shirt OR you can upgrade to a baseball tee, tank top, cardigan etc. through the Bookish Shop for an additional charge. The shirt seems to be of good quality and I can see the design holding up for quite awhile – no peeling in the wash I hope!

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Here we have one the exclusive pins from Dust and Pages inspired by The Infernal Devices. This shop has amazing pins for all your nerdy desires! On the right we have a 221B Baker Street key necklace. It’s quite nice, though I probably won’t wear this – maybe I’ll turn it into a keychain.

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The top item is an herbal Lavender Tea from Story of My Tea and I can’t wait to try it! I love tea (hot leaf water much better than hot bean water) and lavender is one of my favorite tea additives. The mysterious item on the bottom is actually a soft little headband with a quote printed all over.

So this is a really cool, unique item – a vintage-y paper fan designed by KDP Letters. This would make an awesome prop for all those fancy bookstagrammers out there! Lastly, these are a few tarot cards featuring art by @darkandbeautifulart that I plan to use for bookmarks.

Overall, I’m impressed with the quality and design of all the products and I love that this provides the opportunity to discover new artists and purveyors of nerdy goodness! I purchased this with my own money and the post isn’t sponsored by anyone – I just wanted to try out some new subscription boxes and share them with my readers!

Waiting on Wednesday: The Empire of Gold by S.A. Chakraborty

“Waiting On Wednesday” is a weekly meme originally hosted on Breaking the Spine but has since linked up with “Can’t Wait Wednesday” at Wishful Endings now that the original creator is unable to host it anymore. This is a great way to share upcoming released you’re excited about!


Cover- The Empire of Gold

WELP, THIS SERIES IS 3/3 FOR BEAUTIFUL BOOK COVERS. Seriously though, it makes me want to pick the book up and check out that synopsis which is really gonna sell me on it. I can’t believe this series is already coming to a close and I’m thrilled that it hasn’t morphed from the intended trilogy into something… else. I’m anticipating a bloody, intense ending to what has thus far been an addictive series. The Empire of Gold will be out February 2020!

T.V. Series Review – The Rook

 One morning at work I heard a co-worker talking about this new TV series he was watching called “The Rook”. I popped my head out of my office and inquired about it and lo and behold… it was based off what is one of my favorite weird, British humor fantasy books by Daniel O’Malley. I nearly stroked out on the spot from sheer excitement.

Since that day I’ve been quite faithfully tuning in every Sunday (or Monday if I’m busy) to watch and now that the first season has come to an end, I thought I’d give a brief rundown and comparison to the book.

It starts out much the same as the book – Myfanwy (pronounced Miffany) wakes up in the rain surrounded by bodies and with no memories. Her pre-memory loss self knew this betrayal was going to happen and left letters explaining her life and giving her the option to return to the life she knew or start a brand new one. She chooses to go back, which means she’s re-assuming her role as Rook in the supernatural intelligence agency known as the Checquy. Here’s where things begin to differ.

  • The other members of the Checquy have the same names (and roles if I remember correctly) but some of them have quite different abilities. I mean, Conrad was a VAMPIRE in the book for goodness sake! 
  • Myfanwy is having a love affair with Gestalt rather than being utterly repelled by them. And I say “them” because Gestalt is a single mind controlling four bodies. Interesting.
  • The whole TV show lacks the excessive flair of supernatural events that the book had, and honestly, I think that was mostly a good thing for the TV series. I think the show would have executed it rather poorly and what was done worked well for TV.
  • The show is also much, much more serious than the book which on the regular made me actually laugh out loud.
  • The baddies in the show are EVA (supernatural folk) traffickers selling them to the highest bidder while in the book the bad guys are evil Belgians called “Grafters” who are doing much more sinister, supernatural things.
  • There’s an American EVA agent involved in things in the show and honestly, I don’t recall her being in the first book, and certainly not in the same role she played in the show.

I think you can begin to grasp how vastly different the show was from the book. That being said, I greatly enjoyed it for what it was and definitely plan to watch the second season if there is one and I dearly hope there is because the last episode was a total “HECK YEAH” moment. It wasn’t perfect and it wasn’t the best show I’ve watched in my entire life, but I rarely watch entire seasons in such a regular manner so that definitely counts for something!!! 

One Blood Ruby by Melissa Marr – Review

Cover- One Blood Ruby

Published: February 28, 2017

Publisher: HarperCollins

Series: Seven Black Diamonds #2

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

Pages: 368 (Hardcover)

My Rating: 2.5/5.0

Synopsis:

Who can end the war between humans and the fae?

Now that Lilywhite Abernathy is the heir to the Hidden Lands, everything is about to change.

The Queen of Blood and Rage wants Lily to help broker peace with the human world, but Lily knows that harmony won’t come easily. After decades of waging war on the humans, who cost the queen her firstborn daughter, the fae are struggling to accept Lily, a half-human monarch. And the humans, while no match against faery affinities, will hardly agree to the queen’s détente without resistance.

Lily wants to be a fair ruler but fears having to abandon the life she’s known to do so. Now that she and Creed are more than just fellow Black Diamonds—operatives for the queen—her priorities have shifted. But her worries about assuming the throne are derailed when it becomes clear that someone—or some fae—is masterminding violent attacks to discourage peace.

In this follow-up to Melissa Marr’s Seven Black Diamonds, Lily and her friends are forced to reckon with the truth of their own parentage and to protect one of their own, no matter what—or who—comes between them.


I’m going to keep this review short and sweet. I recently read Seven Black Diamonds as part of an effort to clean up my backlisted TBR and it was a light, casual read. You can check out my review for it here. The series was just a duology so I made the time to read One Blood Ruby shortly afterward to wrap things up.

One Blood Ruby was more of the same thing I got in the first book – cheesy YA romance (no love triangle, thank goodness), a bit of eco-consciousness, and a hefty dose of bad faeries. And I mean bad in both ways – they’re dangerous “bad” and  stereotypically YA “bad”. The plot wasn’t awful, but it just didn’t do much for me. LilyDark (WHY did her name have to change???) is revealed as the heir to the Faerie throne, her aunt Eilidh seems to be about to lose herself to the elements, and the other Diamonds have their own dramas going on.

If I was to recommend a Melissa Marr series it would not be this one. Go read the Wicked Lovely series, it’s way cooler and remains one of my favorite YA series even after re-reading it with a more mature taste in books.

Stacking the Shelves: 8/17/19

Stacking The Shelves is a weekly (or in my case monthly) meme hosted by Tynga’s Reviews and it’s all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. You can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!


Received for Review:

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Many thanks to Tor for sending over Kingmaker by Margaret Weis and Robert Krammes, Death Goddess Dance by Levi Black, and Earth by Ben Bova. Honestly, I don’t know that I’ll be reading any of these since two are series I’m not up-to-date on and Earth is not one I’m particularly interested in. These will be donations that I’m sure will make someone else extremely happy!

Sword and Pen by Rachel Caine

I’ve been enjoying the Great Library series and have been looking forward to this newest installment. Many thanks to Berkley for the finished copy.

The Harp of Kings by Juliet Marillier

Finally, I’m getting around to a Juliet Marillier book!! I’ve had one of her books on my shelf for ages and another on my TBR but I never seemed to have the time to read them. Now I’ve got a brand spanky new release so I’ve got no excuse! Thanks to Ace for the finished copy.

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Orbit sent over some really cool new releases recently as well!

Jade War by Fonda Lee

More gang wars, more politics, more drama. The first book in this series was pretty cool and this one has great reviews thus far!

Realm of Ash by Tasha Suri

This is an interesting sequel – it doesn’t focus on the main character of Empire of Sand, but rather her younger sister who is now an adult. I’m curious to see if the two books will kind of come together or something.

Raging Storm by Markus Heitz

DWARVES! This book sounds really cool, but it’s the fourth book in a series that I’ve never read so I’ll probably donate this one as well (it was sent to me by mistake).

Cover- Turning Darkness to Light

Turning Darkness into Light by Marie Brennan

I REALLY liked the Memoirs of Lady Trent series and this is going to be about her granddaughter! The synopsis has buzzy words like conspiracy, rebellion, and war, so honestly I just couldn’t resist. Many thanks to Tor for the eARC.

My Purchases:

I picked up some great audiobooks in the last month and it’s been hard to get my regular reading done. Looking Glass was a tense read and I could’t help but to pick up Murder Theory shortly after. I ended up getting Beneath the Twisted Trees on audio because I’ve enjoyed the previous books in that format and it helps my schedule out tremendously. And one of the most exiting – DARK AGE! Dang, I feel like I’ve been waiting on this book forever and I was almost nervous to pick it up for fear that I wouldn’t be into it… I was wrong. It’s SO HARD TO PUT DOWN!

Waiting on Wednesday: City of Stone and Silence by Django Wexler

“Waiting On Wednesday” is a weekly meme originally hosted on Breaking the Spine but has since linked up with “Can’t Wait Wednesday” at Wishful Endings now that the original creator is unable to host it anymore. This is a great way to share upcoming released you’re excited about!


Cover- Ship of Stone and Silence

The first book in this series was WAY cool and I’m pretty excited to get my hands on the sequel, City of Stone and Silence. Django Wexler’s YA fantasy series is not so surprisingly better than your average young adult book, though it still had some of the classic tropes and I enjoyed it. There was some interesting world building going on in the first book and I hope it continues to be expanded in this and any other forthcoming installments. This will be released January 7, 2020.

A Pilgrimage of Swords by Anthony Ryan – Review

Cover- A Pilgrimage of Swords

Published: September 30, 2019

Publisher: Subterranean Press

Series: ???

Genre: Fantasy

Pages: 128 (Hardcover)

My Rating: 4.5/5.0

A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis:

It is two hundred years since the deity known as the Absolved went mad and destroyed the Kingdom of Alnachim, transforming it into the Execration, a blasted wasteland filled with nameless terrors. For decades, desperate souls have made pilgrimage to the centre of this cursed land to seek the Mad God’s favour, their fate always unknown.

Now a veteran warrior known only as Pilgrim, armed with a fabled blade inhabited by the soul of a taunting demon, must join with six others to make the last journey to the heart of the Execration. Allied with a youthful priest, a beast-charmer, a duplicitous scholar, an effete actor and two exiled lovers, Pilgrim must survive madness, malevolent spirits, unnatural monsters and the ever-present risk of treachery, all so that the Mad God might hear his prayer and, perhaps, grant redemption. But can sins such as his ever be forgiven?


First of all, this short story is entirely separate from the Raven’s Shadow world so anyone can enjoy this and it’s a great way to acquaint yourself with Anthony Ryan’s writing. Secondly, since A Pilgrimage of Swords is published by Subterranean Press you can guarantee that it will be a small work of art. The cover art is fantastic and the story within is just as great.

Pilgrim is introduced to readers during the tail end of a caravan raid, though at this point he doesn’t have a name. He’s surveying the damages and his sword is talking to him… and he’s talking back. Rest assured, he’s not crazy his sword’s just possessed. We are shortly thereafter introduced to a woman who calls herself Seeker and her hyena, both of who are on the same journey as Pilgrim. They are seeking the Mad God in hopes that he will grant them a wish.

The plot of the story is well outlined in the synopsis and I see no need to rehash the topic. The journey to the Mad God is perilous and filled with the horrors of the blasted land now called the Execration. The group of travelers are an odd bunch – there’s Pilgrim and his demon sword, Seeker who hopes the Mad God will tell her where her daughter is, a couple who have called themselves after a pair of star crossed lovers, a masked actor, a scholar, and of course the young priest who is probably the last of his order. Not all are as they seem and for the most part they hold their cards close – what will they ask of the Mad God? It was fascinating to see these mysteries unravel as they get closer to their destination. Hidden talents and motives are revealed and not everyone makes it to the end.

I was suitably impressed with the story and the history of Pilgrim and his sword was particularly fascinating. As novellas tend to be, this was a tantalizing snapshot of a world and one that I would love to read more of. The ending left plenty of room for future books in the series, though I shan’t say more because it would spoil who lives through the book!