WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted at Taking on a World of Words, where you just answer three questions:
The Three Ws are:
What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?
What am I currently reading:
I am currently reading three books. I finally tackled Dan Rather’s What Unites Us which I have been promising to read on these posts for a while now. The book is small in size and only has 284 pages. It is a collection of essays on what makes us American (which I am not yet). I have been working my way through it one essay at a time and will probably take a while since it is very interesting and well-written but not what you would call a page-turner. Dan is what we English call a National Treasure (is that expression used in America?) and remains gentlemanly throughout. It is clear what he thinks of the current Administration – the book was first published in 2017 – but he never mentions Trump by name and definitely does not lower himself to name-calling. Instead he more tactfully says things like “this environment has only intensified since President Obama left office” when talking about racism and the lack of inclusion in our society. I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to understand how we got to where we are today.
Patriotism –active, constructive patriotism— takes work. It takes knowledge, engagement with those who are different from you, and fairness in law and opportunity. It takes coming together for good causes.
Dan Rather encourages people to buy his book from independent book stores. If you do not have a local bookstore, mine ships nationally via media mail: https://www.anunlikelystory.com/ordering-us
Elantris by Brandon Sanderson
I am also reading Elantris by Brandon Sanderson. I have never read any Sanderson, but am thoroughly enjoying this. It is a large book with 590 pages in the 10th anniversary version I have.
I am reading it along with about 70 other people brought together by @BensBlurb for his Cosmere Conquest. There are discussion groups on Discord and it has become quite a community of bookbloggers. Feel free to join us if you want to.
The book started off with a whole host of strange names and concepts to get to grips with and at least three different religions. At one point I commented that it was like trying to learn a language without the benefit of a dictionary. Luckily the story is really interesting and amazing considering this was his debut novel. It is definitely worth persevering with if you like the Fantasy genre.
Truth and Other Lies by Lyra Wolf
Last but definitely not least I began reading Lyra Wolf’s Loki book Truth and Other Lies. I am taking part in the Storytellers on Tour blog tour for this book at the end of January. Look out for my review on January 29th. I was lucky enough to win a signed copy of this book back in November as part of the Norsevember readathon, and SoT have kindly sent me a kindle version as well. If you are interested in taking part in some of their cover reveals or blog tours take a look at their website. https://www.storytellersontour.online
Nothing is trickier than the truth.
All Loki the trickster god of Asgard wants is a quiet, peaceful life where he’s free to needle Balder, occasionally stir up the inter-realm porridge pot, and get Thor to dress in women’s garments (for all the best reasons).
Getting beset by sudden, painful, and terribly inconvenient visions of blood, ash, and death are definitely not on his to-do list. But, because of some small, ridiculous remnant of caring that refuses to be extinguished, Loki feels he must save Asgard…and that means warning Odin, his least favorite god (next to Thor).
But getting the gods to believe the boy who cried Fenrir is harder than it looks, and time is running out, not just for Asgard, but also for a mortal woman named Sigyn who may just hold the key to Loki’s future.
Loki is about to find out the hard way that the only thing crueler than truth are the lies behind it all.
Buy Truth and Other Lies here:
What Did You Recently Finish Reading?
Jonah by Carl Rackman
Some of you may have already seen my review of Jonah by Carl Rackman. If not you can find it here.
This is a tense psychological thriller set during wartime in a naval military setting.
I have been asked if it is suitable for teenage boys due to the mention of drug use and I said yes – because the amphetamine use is never recreational, but more a necessary evil to keep the sailors awake during their long watches. Particularly after they become short handed following a kamikaze attack.
I have also been asked if it is suitable for Grandad’s fragile heart due to the mention of terror, hysteria and suicide. Again I said yes – it is a thriller but I don’t think it will bring on a heart attack!!
It was atmospheric, intriguing, well-paced with good characterization and a few twists here and there. I would recommend it and gave it 4 stars.
The war is almost over. But not yet.
At Okinawa, the US Navy destroyer Brownlee grimly prepares to battle a swarm of Japanese kamikazes suicide aircraft.
Mitch “Lucky” Kirkham, a young gunner on the Brownlee, wakes up miraculously unscathed after his crewmates are killed by a fearsome kamikaze strike. Bullied and resented amid accusations of cowardice and worse, Mitch re-boards his patched-up ship for the long voyage back to San Francisco. All he wants is to go home.
But far out in the boundless emptiness of the Pacific, a strange madness begins to seize the sailors on the Brownlee. Terror, hysteria and suicide torment the men amid sightings of ghosts and a terrifying monster that stalks the ship by night.
Mitch stumbles upon a possible explanation for the madness. But as the ship presses on alone, deeper into the vast Pacific Ocean and the grip of insanity, will anyone listen to him before his famous luck runs out for good?
Jonah is a searing, psychological suspense thriller, the latest from Carl Rackman, author of Irex and Voyager.
Fly Free by Allison Rose
I also finished off Fly Free by Allison Rose, a YA fairy story which I read for the Storytellers on Tour blog tour. I know – you’re thinking wow those two books couldn’t have been more different – and you are right. I like to mix up the types of books I read so I don’t get bogged down in one specific genre.
This was a lovely little story about faeries from the Royal Court of Day and the political intrigue they encounter. I will be posting my full review on January 15th so I don’t want to give too much away. If you like faeries and an easy read I would definitely recommend it.
There will be a prize giveaway during the tour of one copy of this book (US only). So watch this space…
In the land of Faerie, lies are easily disguised as truths.
They were raised like sisters, the heir to the Court of the Day and her guardian.
And as rebellion darkens the land of the Day—and the faeries of Court fall under a dark magic that disconnects them from the land, dooming them to a slow, agonizing death—they will question all they know to be true.
Sevelle, the Light of the Day, is destined to rule one day. She possesses a rare form of magic, the ability to heal the powerful connection between faeries and the magic in the land, the connection that gives them life—if only she could figure out how to use this magic, or even find it within herself.
Jae lives in the shadows, watching over Sevelle as her guardian and listening to the whispers of Court brought to her by the winds. She longs for a life outside of Court, but knows her duty to Sevelle is more important than her own desires.
But when an unexpected proposition comes from none other than Lex, son of the rebel leader, Sevelle and Jae realize their lives will never be the same—and that evil may be within their own court more so than in the rebels that oppose them.
Walking paths far different than they imagined separates the sisters, but then a secret is revealed that may break them apart forever.
Fly Free is the first installment of the Light of Faerie series. Enter a land of magic in the midst of a power struggle, where all is not as it seems and love may be found in the most unlikely places.
What Will I be Reading Next:
I have been sent a number of books lately by authors taking part in my Indie Spotlight series. I am keen to read a couple of those this month, particularly as they are collections of short stories which I always enjoy. I am going to start with Layers by indie author Zuzanne Belec.
Layers by Zuzanne Belec
Layers is a debut collection of imaginative short stories celebrating life and the human spirit despite the ever-present spectre of melancholy in our lives today. With their distinctive blend of wit and humour, they light up any underlying darkness.
From the Americas to India, from Africa to Europe, and through a range of genres, voices and styles, layers are unraveled, revealing the textures and contrasts of old and new in the environments and cultures of today’s fast-paced world. With vivid descriptions, we are drawn into enchanting worlds with characters that leap off the page, leaving the reader lingering long after the pages have been read.
In The Christmas Charge: Instead of enjoying their Christmas preparing eggnog cream pie and sipping sherry by the fireside, three batty grannies go on an African safari. At this stage of wisdom in their lives, nothing can go wrong. Right?
In Paths Taken: When her grandmother ‘kills’ a man on a busy town square, Hecate is forced to face her worst fears and use her own unsettling powers to help her. But where will these new paths take her?
In White Noise: All Earl needs to do is hand his work over to his successor. But is it that easy to let go? And where does one hide from one’s inner noise when things go wrong?
In The Old Man and the Donkey: Deep in northern Portugal, an old man and his donkey go about their lonely routine. When an unexpected visitor shows up, everyone is given a new chance of happiness. But have they all been stubbornly avoiding it for too long?
In The Arctic Haze: Since he was little, bad luck has stuck to George’s soles like clingy dog mess. Some of us are luckier. Or are we really?
In Penny’s Purple Robot: A loving father exceeds himself to make his daughter happy after her mother passes away. But can he force himself to face a brutal truth?
In Mothers: Deep in Africa, a desperate mother accepts her own fate, but refuses to face an even harsher reality. Mothers will do anything for their young. And things may not be as they seem.
In Yeehaw: Running from their regular lives, Sam and Patsy end up in an artificial town – Yeehaw Theme Park. Will they find their true selves in this synthetic world?
The Dead Boxes Archive by John F. Leonard
I also want to read this collection of Horror stories kindly sent to me by John F. Leonard who is going to be featured in my Indie Spotlight interview in a few weeks.
The Dead Boxes Archive is described as follows:
The Dead Boxes Archive is a chilling collection of short horror stories and horror novellas. Together for the first time in one volume, seven tales from the critically acclaimed Dead Boxes series.
Dead Boxes are scary things. Wonderful and dreadful secrets hiding themselves in plain view.
On the surface, they often appear to be ordinary, everyday objects. Items which are easily overlooked at first glance. Perhaps that’s just as well because the Dead Boxes are as far from ordinary and everyday as you can get. They hold miracle and mystery, horror and salvation, answers to questions best not asked and directions to places better left unfound.
This collection offers an insight into some of these delightfully eerie articles. A stunning omnibus of old school inspired horror, the brooding and ominous variety. Not to say that there isn’t a little gore and gruesome in the mix. But one of the beauties of horror is that it comes in many forms. Blood and guts don’t need to be stars of the show for a story to be dark and disturbing. Something that will stay with you long after the reading is done.
There are five tales that are available to buy as individual books and two more with limited availability. The exceptional Linger is previously only published in the charity horror anthology, Diabolica Britannica. The Screaming Mike Hawkins Story is new for this collection.
Our diabolical banquet opens with Call Drops, a deliciously dark look at second hand shops, car boots and the infernal treasures which sometimes lurk within them. It might give you pause for thought about our ever-increasing reliance on the ubiquitous mobile phone.
“10 out of 5 stars” – Erik Henry Vick, author of Demon King.
Next up is the rather beautiful and deceptively innocent Doggem. In many ways, this short story defies description. It’s about a toy dog and school days and so much more. Ordinary families with folklore legacy, mundane existence amidst vaguely mythical settings, witchcraft and the supernatural. All mixed with apocalyptic undertones.
“The Velveteen Rabbit meets Rosemary’s Baby” – Barb Taub, author of Do Not Wash Hands In Plates.
A Plague of Pages is a nightmarishly enjoyable look at the perils of writing fiction. Betrayal, revenge and instruments of ultimate evil are blended into a mesmerising and horrific cocktail. Written well before the terrible events of 2020, it also touches upon historic pandemics and the prospect of present day apocalypse.
“ a wonderfully creepy read” – Gingernuts of Horror, premier UK horror review site.
Night Service is a tale of travel and terror that quickly gets up to speed and then doesn’t slow down until the haunting finale. A warning for all the night owls out there who use those last dance, last chance darktime buses. It can sometimes be a helluva ride!
“ flies by …excitement, chases, tension and bloody gore galore” – Char, leading Horror Aficionado and Vine Voice.
The ghostly Burntbridge Boys might initially appear to be about professional football. Don’t be deceived. When a Dead Box is involved, fraud and corruption in sport are only the tip of a demonic iceberg that spans dimensions and stretches into the dim and distant past.
“Sammy’s meeting with Burntbridge’s Chairman Millicent is stunningly good” – Terry Tyler, author of The Devil You Know.
The spooky old house, a gothic horror staple, gets a fresh lick of paint in Linger. Inheriting lots of money and a gothic mansion from a father you never knew sounds like some sort of dream come true. This revisit breathes new life into a horror classic.
” the Gothic …concentrated to its essence, with the richness this implies ” – Ramsey Campbell, British Horror Legend.
We conclude with The Screaming Mike Hawkins Story, a darkly inventive final twist from a mind filled with bleak and creative twists. Part author’s note, part biography, the shadowy career of Michael Hawkins is a mystery wrapped in more than one conundrum.