Segni del tempo: The Lights on Knockbridge Lane di Roan Parrish

Quella che vedete sopra è la copertina di un Harlequin Special Edition.
In Italia sono conosciuti come Harmony e sono spesso considerati letture poco impegnative, oggetto di scherno e indice di poca cultura.
Il paradosso è che Harlequin è un colosso che sforna libri di ogni genere: dal romanzo rosa alla urban fantasy passando per libri complessi.
Ora a parte che lo snobismo culturale è un ottimo modo per allontanare la gente dalla lettura, sono libri che vendono moltissimo e, spesso, rispecchiano anche l’evoluzione dei costumi e di come si sono evolute le relazioni famigliari/sentimentali.
In inglese si chiamano “romance”, noi li definiamo romanzi rosa ma la salsa non cambia perché si sa che ci sarà un lieto fine e tutti vivranno felici e contenti.
Per chi non lo sapesse i romanzi rosa non sono solo storie ad alto tasso di sesso tra miliardari e signorine o medici e infermiere, esiste un ampio mercato di romance LGBTQ+.
Fino ad oggi i romance LGBTQ+ eran pubblicati da case editrici specifiche quali Bold Strokes, Nine Stars o Carina Adore (parte di Harlequin).
Perché ho scelto questo libro, la storia di un padre gay abbandonato dal compagno con una figlia e del suo nuovo vicino di casa.
Perché questo libro è il primo romanzo LGBTQ+ a non essere pubblicato in una delle collane specializzate ma come Harlequin tout court. Praticamente è arrivato in prima fila con tutto il marketing e la distribuzione che ne consegue.
Per gli italiani l’idea che un libro considerato “popolare” possa parlare del rapporto tra un padre gay, la figlia di 8 anni e un possibile innamorato credo sfiori l’impensabile.
Succedesse immagino gli alti lai che si alzerebbero. Non so se in USA si alzeranno alti lai, so che è successo.
E questo è un evento che segna che è avvenuto un cambiamento a livello culturale e le famiglie arcobaleno diventano qualcosa di comune, il tuo vicino di casa o collega.
Detto ciò è un libro tenero, divertente e molto natalizio.
Adam è il padre che ha lasciato il compagno perché era poco interessato alla famiglia, Gus è la bambina che sente l’assenza di chi non c’è più e adora il nuovo vicino di casa perché è fuori dal comune e condivide la sua passione per rettili e tarantole, Wes è il recluso che agli occhi della gente può essere solo un vampiro o altro seguace dell’occulto.
Una storia natalizia, piena di humor e tenerezza che mi è piaciuta molto.
Ma soprattutto una storia che parla di un nuovo tipo di famiglia e di relazioni.

Mi chiedo cosa succerebbe se venisse pubblicato in Italia: m’immagino gli alti lai di una certa parte politica.

Una bella storia di Natale che spero di vedere anche in Italia.

Questland – Carrie Vaugn

Penso di avere letto moltissimi libri di fantasy di alto livello ultimamente. Stanno uscendo molte cose nuove e valide.

Libri interessanti, originali, intriganti e molto divertenti.

Poi è arrivato Questland di Carrie Vaughn e mi sono trovata immersa in un libro che non riuscivo a smettere di leggere.

Un libro che mi ha portato in un mondo che è il nostro, dove la magia è tecnologia ma dove le tue serie fantasy diventano realta.

C’è stato un momento in cui ho pensato “dovessi imparare il Quenya per entrare in un posto simile lo farei” (*)

Il libro parte da una frase di Clarke che dice che una tecnologia estremamente avanzata è praticamente indistinguibile dalla magia.

Cosa succederebbe se un guru della Silicon Valley decidesse di far diventare reale il mondo delle principali saghe fantasy, draghi e unicorni inclusi ? Se ai developer fosse concessa totale libertà di creare mettendo in piedi un laboratorio di R&D tra i più avanzati al mondo ? E cosa succederebbe se il capo del progetto decidesse di isolare quel mondo e renderlo inaccessibile ?

Siamo più dalle parti di Jurassic Park che di Ready Player One per molti aspetti. Ready Player One è molto orientato ai gamer maschi, in questo caso l’eroina del libro è una professoressa universitaria esperta di fantasy e saghe.

Se avete giocato a D&D o avete sognato che vi arrivassero 12 nani a casa all’improvviso questo è il libro giusto.

Non è sempre perfetto, il ritmo a volte è un po’ strascicato e Addie è un’eroina molto particolare, molto cerebrale. E’ fragilissima, soffre di PTSD in seguito ad una sparatoria nella sua scuola, e molto forte perchè conosce come funzionano gli universi in cui si muove.

Il resto è da leggere.

Carrie Vaughn non è molto conosciuta in Italia per quanto abbia vinto un premio Dick e sia stata candidata allo Hugo. La sua serie di urban fantasy su Kitty Neville è eccellente e molto divertente.

Un libro molto affascinante che coniglio caldamente.

Esce martedì negli USA, io ringrazio Houghton Mifflin Hartcourt per la mia copia.

(*) C’è il corso su Duolinguo

The Coward by Stephen Aryan (Quest for Heroes #1)

My Review (5*):
Any time I start a book for a blog tour I’m always a bit wary even if I choose to be part of the blog tour and thought it was going to be the right book for me.
It’s a sort of state-of-mind that help me to read the book without high expectations and appreciate it.
It happened also with this book even if I joined the blog tour after having read some parts and had high expectations.
I’ve been reading fantasy for decades and I remember when fantasy was a hero starting a quest and a happy-ever-after at the end of the book/series.
Then I discovered Gemmell and his characters, their internal struggle and their mental wounds. I loved those stories and loved those heroes.
When I began this story I felt like when I was reading Gemmell: a hero that struggle with his fame, a man who was broken and doesn’t want to go back to be a hero.
This is just the start as this story is a quest, characters struggling to understand what they want and who they are but it’s also a great story that transcend any possibility of comparing to previous series as there’s plenty going and the author did an excellent job in creating his own mythology and his own type of heroes.
It’s a slow burning story that introduce the reader to a very complex world where climate is changing and there’s the possibility that a powerful supernatural foe is acting again.
There’s a quest to overcome the foe but there’s also plenty of politics that involves kings and religion.
I loved this world and loved the characters.
Kell is a great character. His character is realistic, likeable and you cannot help appreciating his maturity, realism and the empathy toward his comrades in this quest.
The character development is excellent and all the characters are well thought and interesting.
The world building is fascinating, complex and rich of details. You get to know different people, customs and a lot of historical background.
One note about the title: there’s plenty of discussions about what being brave or a coward means. It’s up to you to discover about it.
As said before I’m always a bit wary at the beginning of the book but after the first chapters I was hooked and couldn’t stop reading. This is one of those case when you feel a bit lost at end of the book because you have to go back to reality after having traveller to a fantastic world.
This is the first book I read by Stephen Aryan and won’t surely be the last as he’s a talented storyteller and delivered a gripping and highly entertaining story.
This is the first in a series and there’s a sort of cliffhanger at the end of the book that makes me wish I was able to read the next book soon.
I strongly recommend it if you want to read a well written and fascinating fantasy story.
Many thanks to Angry Robots for this ARC, all opinions are mine

The Plot:
Who will slay the evil in the Frozen North, saving all from death and destruction? Not Kell Kressia, he’s done his part…

Kell Kressia is a legend, a celebrity, a hero. Aged just seventeen, he set out on an epic quest with a band of wizened fighters to slay the Ice Lich and save the world. He returned victorious, but alone.
Ten years have passed and Kell lives a quiet life, while stories of his heroism are told in taverns all across the land. But now a new terror has arisen in the north – something has taken up residence in the Lich’s abandoned castle beyond the Frozen Circle, and the ice is beginning to creep south once more.
For the second time, Kell is called upon to take up his famous sword, Slayer, and battle the forces of darkness. But he has a terrible secret. Kell was never a hero – he was just lucky. Everyone puts their faith in Kell the Legend, but he’s just a coward who has no intention of risking his life for anyone…

Book Page: https://www.angryrobotbooks.com/shop/year/2021/the-coward/

The Author:
Stephen Aryan is the author of the Age of Darkness and Age of Dread trilogies. His first novel, Battlemage, was a finalist for the David Gemmell Morningstar Award for best debut fantasy novel. It also won the inaugural Hellfest Inferno Award in France. He has previously written a comic book column and reviews for Tor.com. In addition, he has self-published and kickstarted his own comics.

Social links:
Website: https://stephen-aryan.com/
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/c/StephenAryan44
Instagram: @angryrobotbooks | @stephenaryan_writer
Twitter: @angryrobotbooks | @stevearyan

Fantasy, sci-fi and urban fantasy (May – August 2021)

This is not a review, it’s a sort of list of the ARC I got and are reading or can’t wait to read.
To be honest I always read some pages of a new arc and I can tell that all of these books are gripping and highly entertaining.
Some are parts of a series and some are the start of a new series.
For each of them I wrote I listed title, author, pub date and the series

Also added “this how I feel about it”

The Broken God Gareth Hanrahan Orbit 20/05/2021
Series: The Black Iron Legacy #3
I love this series, I loved all the previous novels and the start of this one is excellent
Book page: https://www.hachette.co.uk/titles/gareth-hanrahan/the-broken-god/9780356514352/

The Lights of Prague Nicole Jarvis Titan Books 25/05/2021
Series: N/A
This is the debut of a new author. Fascinating and a complete review will follow
Book page: https://titanbooks.com/70238-the-lights-of-prague/

Priest of Gallows Peter McLean Jo Fletcher Books 27/05/2021
Series: War for the Rose Throne #1
I love this series, Thomas Piety and the Pious Men. As exciting and gripping and usual
Book page: https://www.hachette.co.uk/titles/peter-mclean/priest-of-gallows/9781529411324/

Shards of Earth Adrian Tchaikovsky Tor 27/05/2021
Series: The Final Architects Trilogy #1
There’s no thing like an Adrian Tchaikovsky’s bad book
Book page: https://www.panmacmillan.com/authors/adrian-tchaikovsky/shards-of-earth/9781529051889

The Blacktongue Thief Christopher Buehlman Gollancz 27/05/2021
Series: Blacktongue #1
Fantasy according to my heart. Great world building and humor.
Book page: https://www.hachette.co.uk/titles/christopher-buehlman/the-blacktongue-thief/9781473231184/

The Best of World SF Lavie Tidhar Head of Zeus 01/06/2021
Series: N/A
Lavie Tidhar can’t do anything wrong to my eyes. Plus there are stories by Aliette de Bodard, Zen Cho and Silvia Moreno Garcia. Discovered new interesting autors
Book page: https://headofzeus.com/books/9781838937669

The Coward Stephen Aryan Angry Robot 08/06/2021
Series: Quest for Heroes #1
Some epic fantasy is good for the sould. This is a good example (and I loved the cover)
Book page: https://www.angryrobotbooks.com/shop/year/2021/the-coward/

Bleeding Hearts Ry Herman Jo Fletcher Books 10/06/2021
Series: Love Bites #2
Humor, vampires, non binary characters. Loved the first in this series.
https://www.hachette.co.uk/titles/ry-herman/bleeding-hearts/9781529406320/

The Wood Bee Queen Edward Cox Gollancz 10/06/2021
Series: N/A
Another author that cant’ do anyting wrong in my eyes. More to come
Book page: https://www.hachette.co.uk/titles/edward-cox/the-wood-bee-queen/9781473226883/

The Dying Squad Adam Simcox Gollancz 22/07/2021
Series: N/a
This is a debut and another book I started and couldn’t put down. Loved the style of writing and the characters. A more extensive review will follow
Book page: https://www.hachette.co.uk/titles/adam-simcox/the-dying-squad/9781473230774/

A Master of Djinn P. Djèlí Clark Orbit 19/08/2021
Series: Dead Djinn Universe #1
Wanted to read some pages how it was. Stopped at 50% 4hrs later.
Book page: https://www.hachette.co.uk/titles/p-dj%c3%a8l%c3%ad-clark/a-master-of-djinn/9780356516875/

The Blacktongue Thief by  Christopher Buehlman  (Blacktongue #1)

My Review (5*)
This is going to be one of my favorite series as it’s well written, gripping and highly entertaining.
I loved Kinch Na Shannack, our hero/antihero who is tasked with a quest. He’s an interesting characters and I’m sucker for smart ass that are able to get in trouble.
Galva is another great characters. She’s strong and the perfect counterpart to our hero/antihero.
I laughed a lot as the book is written tongue in cheek and there are a lot of very funny situation.
There’s also a lot of sadness as the book is set in a world that recently ended a very bloody and destructive war. You laugh but you cannot help feeling for the characters who lost friends and relatives.
As I’m a cat a lover I want let you know that one of my favorite character is a cat that is not a normal cat but he’s full of cattitude.
The world building, the character development and the tightly knitted plot are excellent. The author is a talented storyteller and the story kept me turning pages as fast as I could.
I can’t wait to read other books in this series, this one is strongly recommended.
Many thanks to Gollanczand Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine

The Book plot:
Kinch Na Shannack owes the Takers Guild a small fortune for his education as a thief, which includes (but is not limited to) lock-picking, knife-fighting, wall-scaling, fall-breaking, lie-weaving, trap-making, plus a few small magics. His debt has driven him to lie in wait by the old forest road, planning to rob the next traveler that crosses his path.
But today, Kinch Na Shannack has picked the wrong mark.
Galva is a knight, a survivor of the brutal goblin wars, and handmaiden of the goddess of death. She is searching for her queen, missing since a distant northern city fell to giants.
Unsuccessful in his robbery and lucky to escape with his life, Kinch now finds his fate entangled with Galva’s. Common enemies and uncommon dangers force thief and knight on an epic journey where goblins hunger for human flesh, krakens hunt in dark waters, and honor is a luxury few can afford.

Book page: https://www.gollancz.co.uk/titles/christopher-buehlman/the-blacktongue-thief/9781473231184/

The Author:
Christopher Buehlman (@Buehlmeister) is a native Floridian and author of the literary horror novels ‘Those Across the River’ and ‘Between Two Fires.’ He is the winner of the 2007 Bridport Prize in poetry, and the author of several provocative plays, including Hot Nights for the War Wives of Ithaka. Many know him as comedian Christophe the Insultor, something of a cult figure on the renaissance festival circuit. He lives in St. Petersburg, Florida. His first novel, ‘Those Across the River,’ was nominated for a World Fantasy Award for best novel in 2012.
Author page: https://www.gollancz.co.uk/contributor/christopher-buehlman/
Twitter: @Buehlmeister

The Lights of Prague by Nicole Jarvis

My Review:
This book has been on my Kindle for quite a long time but there was something that stopped me from starting reading.
Prague is one of the city of the White Magic Triangle (the others are Turin, my hometown, and Lyon) and it’s history and charme made me weary of starting a book that seemed to match all the ticks.
I was afraid of being disappointed but I was wrong because this is an excellent story, gripping and enthralling.
History, some steampunk aspects, history.
There’s plenty to love in this story and I was fascinated since the first pages.
Ora and Dome are two great characters, a sort of opposite that balance the book. i loved them.
The author is an excellent storyteller and the world building, magical system and character development are excellent.
The plot is tightly knitted and kept me hooked even if it’s a bit slow at the beginning.
I think that Nicole Jarvis will deliver other fascinating and intriguing story in the future.
This one is strongly recommended.
Many thanks to Titan Books and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine

Book Description:
In the quiet streets of Prague all manner of mysterious creatures lurk in the shadows. Unbeknownst to its citizens, their only hope against the tide of predators are the dauntless lamplighters – secret elite of monster hunters whose light staves off the darkness each night. Domek Myska leads a life teeming with fraught encounters with the worst kind of evil: pijavice, bloodthirsty and soulless vampiric creatures. Despite this, Domek finds solace in his moments spent in the company of his friend, the clever and beautiful Lady Ora Fischerová – a widow with secrets of her own.

When Domek finds himself stalked by the spirit of the White Lady – a ghost who haunts the baroque halls of Prague castle – he stumbles across the sentient essence of a will-o’-the-wisp captured in a mysterious container. Now, as its bearer, Domek wields its power, but the wisp, known for leading travellers to their deaths, will not be so easily controlled.
After discovering a conspiracy amongst the pijavice that could see them unleash terror on the daylight world, Domek finds himself in a race against those who aim to twist alchemical science for their own dangerous gain.

Book Page: https://titanbooks.com/70238-the-lights-of-prague/

The Author:
Nicole Jarvis has been writing stories as long as she can remember. After graduating with degrees in English and Italian from Emory University, Nicole moved to New York City and currently works in marketing at Bloomsbury Publishing, and lives in Manhattan with two cats named after children’s book characters. She loves listening to musicals, learning strange histories and thinking about the inner lives of superheroes.

Twitter:https://twitter.com/nicolejarvis
Website:https://www.nicolejarvisbooks.com/
Author page: https://titanbooks.com/creators/nicole-jarvis/

Priest of Gallows by Peter McLean (War for the Rose Throne #3)

My Review (5*):
This is one of my most expected book in 2021 as I’m a huge fan of this series.
I fell in love with Priest of Bones and love all the novels in this series, each instalment better than the previous.
If you want a cosy fantasy series this is not the right one because it’s gritty and gory. But if you want a gripping, well written and brilliant fantasy series you got it.
It’s not easy to summarise my ideas as this was quite a rollercoaster of emotions and I was on the edge till the last page.
The author is talented storyteller and the story is told by Tomas Piety, one of my favorite characters of contemporary fantasy.
Tomas is complex, ruthless but also very human. He suffers from PTSD and is very loyal to his friends.
The arc of the character is very interesting because he started as a gangster and he’s something else at the end of this book but I’m not sure what the future evolution will be.
In this novel we move from local politics to high level politics, to a world where everybody can betray you and you’re always at risk. You must choose who you can trust and you must choose how to act.
The description of life in Ellinburg are fascinating as they could be related to a lot of historical period. Someone saw elements of the plot as a depiction of some contemporary political regime.
I don’t share this idea but i think that the Queen’s Men, they’re hierarchy and how they act  was quite common in the past and could be what’s happening in some authoritarian regimes.
This is a digression but, as it happens with any excellent fantasy/sci-fi story, there’s always a thought provoking side.
That said I had a lot of fun in reading this gripping story. I loved every moment of it including the most gory part (Peter Mc Lean could give some idea to Marquis De Sade).
The world building is as good as always and we learn more about it.
I was glad to meet again Bloody Annie and Bill. They’re great character, fleshed out and well written. Character development is excellent.
One thing i loved above all: how Tomas’ voice reflected his emotions and his internal turmoil.
Last thing: I need to read Priest of Crowns soon, please don’t let me wait for 2 years.
I strongly recommend this novel and the entire series.
Many thanks to Jo Fletcher and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine

Book Description:
Tomas Piety has everything he ever wanted. In public he’s a wealthy, highly respected businessman, happily married to a beautiful woman and governor of his home city of Ellinburg. In private, he’s no longer a gang lord, head of the Pious Men, but one of the Queen’s Men, invisible and officially non-existent, working in secret to protect his country.
The queen’s sudden death sees him summoned him back to the capital – where he discovers his boss, Dieter Vogel, Provost Marshal of the Queen’s Men, is busy tightening his stranglehold on the country.
Just as he once fought for his Pious Men, Tomas must now bend all his wit and hard-won wisdom to protect his queen – even when he can’t always tell if he’s on the right side.
Tomas has started to ask himself, what is the price of power? And more importantly, is it one he is willing to pay?

Book Page:
https://www.jofletcherbooks.com/titles/peter-mclean/priest-of-gallows/9781529411324/

The Author:
Peter McLean was born in London and went to school in the shadow of Norwich Cathedral, where he spent most of his time making up stories. He grew up alternating dingy nightclubs with studying martial arts and practical magic before settling to a career in corporate IT. The noir urban fantasy Burned Man series was followed by the highly acclaimed grimdark fantasy quartet, starting with Priest of Bones, Priest of Lies and Priest of Gallows.
The final book about Tomas Piety will be Priest of Crowns

Social Media Link
Twitter @PeteMC66
Facebook (@PeterMcLeanAuthor)
Website, https://talonwraith.com.

Daisy’s Dilemma by Debbie Viggiano

My Review (4,5*):
A good rom-com is always welcome as it’s a good way to smile, root for the characters and have a lot of fun.
This is a good rom-com that I thoroughly enjoyed.
The plot is full of twists and turns and Daisy complicated love life made me laugh more than once.
I felt a melancholic undercurrent in this story: there’s plenty of humour and I laughed a lot but I also appreciated how Daisy was able to rebound from heartbreak and betrayal.
This is a light story but it also a story of how a woman realize what’s right for her and is able to distinguish between reality and delusion.
The author delivers a good story, the plot is tightly knitted and the characters are interesting and fleshed out.
I highly recommend this engrossing and enjoyable story.
Many thanks to Debbie Viggiano and Rachel’s Random Resources for this ARC, all opinions are mine

Book Description:
Florist Daisy is loved-up and blossoming.  Boyfriend Dominic has proposed marriage!
However, Dominic isn’t in any rush to buy a ring, and meeting the parents is looong overdue.  What is the problem?  After all, Daisy’s mum has already bought her big hat and wants to know the wedding date!
Then careless words plant seeds of doubt and, like weed, Daisy’s concerns begin to multiply.  Is Dominic hiding something?
Meanwhile, sexy ex Harry is back on the scene and begging Daisy for a reconciliation.  He thought the grass was greener with HER but now says he made a mistake.  Is Harry – for once – being genuine, or simply leading Daisy up the garden path?
New neighbour Seth seems like a fun guy, but a single throwaway comment has Daisy mimicking a species of Calla Lily – Red Alert!  It’s time to do some digging.  But even she never anticipated a mad car chase across London or unearthing a shocking secret that changes everything.
Sparks are set to fly in this gorgeous romantic comedy about love, trust, and new beginnings.

Purchase Links
UK http://amazon.co.uk/dp/B08XQXC5BX
USA http://amazon.com/dp/B08XQXC5BX

The Author:
Prior to turning her attention to writing, Debbie Viggiano was, for more years than she cares to remember, a legal secretary. She lives with her Italian husband, a rescued pooch from Crete, and a very disgruntled cat. Occasionally her adult children return home bringing her much joy… apart from when they want to raid the fridge or eat her secret stash of chocolate. Tweet @DebbieViggiano or follow her on Facebook!

Social Media Links:
TWITTER:   @DebbieViggiano
FACEBOOK: www.facebook.com/debbie.viggiano.5/
INSTAGRAM: debbieviggiano
WEBSITE: www.debbieviggiano.co.uk

Everyday Magic by Charlie Laidlaw

My Review (5*):
This is the second book I read by Charlie Laidlaw and I love the humor, the well thought characters and the interesting plot.
This is a poignant and engrossing story, heartwarming and thought provoking at the same time.
I had a lot of fun with the “Granny funeral”. It’s a really fun part and laughed a lot when I discovered what it was about.
Carol is a well written and fleshed out characters. Her reflections are thought provoking and she’s quite realistic.
The author is a good storyteller, plot and character development are excellent.
I strongly recommend this book, I thoroughly enjoyed it
Many thanks to Charlie Laidlaw and the publisher for this ARC, all opinions are mie

Book Description
Carole Gunn leads an unfulfilled life and knows it.  She’s married to someone who may, or may not, be in New York on business and, to make things worse, the family’s deaf cat has been run over by an electric car.
But something has been changing in Carole’s mind.  She’s decided to revisit places that hold special significance for her.  She wants to better understand herself, and whether the person she is now is simply an older version of the person she once was.
Instead, she’s taken on an unlikely journey to confront her past, present and future.

Book page: https://www.ringwoodpublishing.com/product/everyday-magic-pre-order-now/

The Author: https://www.charlielaidlawauthor.com/about