Friday Face-Off – 22nd September 2017

Friday Face-Off – 22nd September 2017

Friday Face-Off is an idea originally thought up by Books By Proxy which I stole from the fantastic The Tattooed Book Geek. The idea originally was to compare UK and US covers based on an assigned theme each week and choose the winning cover. I will be twisting it slightly: not specifically US and UK covers, just different editions.

This week’s theme is a cover featuringa skull: “Sometimes skulls are thick. Sometimes hearts are vacant. Sometimes words don’t work. ”

For this theme I have selected William Shakespeare’s Hamlet.

Cover A:

skull1

Cover B:

skull2

Cover C:

skull3

Cover D:

skull4

Cover E:

skull5

Cover F:

skull6

And the winner is… COVER F!

This was a simple pick for me this week. I liked the simple layout of the cover, and the stylised appearance of the skull in this one.

What are your thoughts? Do you agree with my winner, or does one of the others work better for you? Let me know in the comments!

Next week I will be looking for a cover featuring a train: “Time goes faster the more hollow it is. Lives with no meaning go straight past you, like trains that don’t stop at your station.”

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Friday Face-Off – 15th September 2017

Friday Face-Off – 15th September 2017

Friday Face-Off is an idea originally thought up by Books By Proxy which I stole from the fantastic The Tattooed Book Geek. The idea originally was to compare UK and US covers based on an assigned theme each week and choose the winning cover. I will be twisting it slightly: not specifically US and UK covers, just different editions.

This week’s theme is a cover featuring a key: “Where there is a Key, there is yet hope.”

For this theme I have selected Dean Koontz’s The Key to Midnight.

Cover A:

key1

Cover B:

key2

Cover C:

key3

Cover D:

key4

Cover E:

key5

Cover F:

key6

And the winner is… COVER D!

I know I have stretched the theme a bit this week, with the link to a key being the keyhole on cover A. Cover D, however, intrigues me. The colours, the art style and the imagery – the lounge bar and hand with syringe. All of these things come together to draw me in.

What are your thoughts? Do you agree with my winner, or does one of the others work better for you? Let me know in the comments!

Next week I will be looking for a cover featuring a skull: “Sometimes skulls are thick. Sometimes hearts are vacant. Sometimes words don’t work. ”

Screams in the Woods by Michael R. Martin

Screams in the Woods by Michael R. Martin

One rainy Monday morning, private detective Christine Lynch is presented with an untitled lever arch file to review. It contains the detailed research of a 19th century local mining accident. The authors have been missing for over a year. Two unrelated facts, surely? Then she reads the file…

 

I received a free copy of this book courtesy of the author in exchange for an honest review.

Screams in the Woods on the face of things seems to be a good old fashioned mystery novel. A 19th century mining accident that appears to have more to it than a simple mineshaft collapse. The sudden and mysterious disappearance of two men researching the incident. Two relatively average incidents, albeit linked through somewhat mysterious secrets. Michael R. Martin has crafted a nice mystery here, uncovering pieces of evidence that help guide the reader down the path to the final answer.
Screams_KDP_Front_CoverAs the story unfolds, it becomes clear the two mysteries are intertwined at their core. As detective Christine Lynch delves deeper into the disappearance of the two amateur investigators, she cannot help but find more and more inconsistencies in the mining accident answer as to the deaths of so many miners.

Towards the latter half or so of the book, as Christine’s investigation deepens, and her belief that both mysteries solidifies itself, she finds herself drawn into events first hand. Torn between two warring sides trying to gain the answers to the mystery that stretches back centuries leads to a dangerous, bloody race for life, knowledge and answers.

By the time the conclusion of this mysterious tale rolls around, nothing is obvious or clear cut about the two core cases. While they are intertwined there is something dark and macabre underlying both, and tying them together. A sci-fi meets paranormal ending ties up the story nicely, making for a mystery that isn’t cast in the same mould that most tend to follow.

My rating:
goodread

Friday Face-Off – 8th September 2017

Friday Face-Off – 8th September 2017

Friday Face-Off is an idea originally thought up by Books By Proxy which I stole from the fantastic The Tattooed Book Geek. The idea originally was to compare UK and US covers based on an assigned theme each week and choose the winning cover. I will be twisting it slightly: not specifically US and UK covers, just different editions.

This week’s theme is a cover featuring a city: “That great condensor of moral chaos, The City.”

For this theme I have selected Philip Reeve’s Mortal Engines.

Cover A:

city1

Cover B:

city2

Cover C:

city3

Cover D:

city4

Cover E:

city5

Cover F:

city6

And the winner is… COVER D!

I love the colours in this cover, and the steampunk vibes that run through this cover. It draws me in, and makes me want to read the book all the more!

What are your thoughts? Do you agree with my winner, or does one of the others work better for you? Let me know in the comments!

Next week I will be looking for a cover featuring a key: “Where there is a Key, there is yet hope.”

Friday Face-Off – 1st September 2017

Friday Face-Off – 1st September 2017

Friday Face-Off is an idea originally thought up by Books By Proxy which I stole from the fantastic The Tattooed Book Geek. The idea originally was to compare UK and US covers based on an assigned theme each week and choose the winning cover. I will be twisting it slightly: not specifically US and UK covers, just different editions.

This week’s theme is a cover featuring a horse:“Being born in a stable does not make me a horse.”

For this theme I have selected Michael Morpurgo’s War Horse.

Cover A:

horse1

Cover B:

horse2

Cover C:

horse3

Cover D:

horse4

Cover E:

horse5

Cover F:

horse6

Cover G:

horse7

And the winner is… A DRAW!

Covers F and G left me split this week. Cover F is striking with the white background and the vibrant red of the poppy flowers that make up the horse. With cover G I felt the monochrome palette visually striking, conjuring images of the bombs and mortars of war, with the few poppies creating a striking contrast.

What are your thoughts? Do you agree with my winner, or does one of the others work better for you? Let me know in the comments!

Next week I will be looking for a cover featuring a city: “That great condensor of moral chaos, The City.”

Friday Face-Off – 25th August 2017

Friday Face-Off – 25th August 2017

Friday Face-Off is an idea originally thought up by Books By Proxy which I stole from the fantastic The Tattooed Book Geek. The idea originally was to compare UK and US covers based on an assigned theme each week and choose the winning cover. I will be twisting it slightly: not specifically US and UK covers, just different editions.

This week’s theme is a cover featuring an insect: “If I be waspish, best beware my sting.”

As soon as I saw the theme this week I knew what my pick was going to be, a fantastic book I read quite some time ago: Thomas Harris’ The Silence of the Lambs.

Cover A:

insect1

Cover B:

insect2

Cover C:

insect3

Cover D:

insect4

Cover E:

insect5

Cover F:

insect6

Cover G:

insect7

Cover H:

insect8

And the winner is… COVER E!

Normally I wouldn’t pick a movie cover, but I love this one. It is simple and effective, and reminds me of the cover I read many years back. It hints to an unspoken horror, and the moth is centre stage here.

What are your thoughts? Do you agree with my winner, or does one of the others work better for you? Let me know in the comments!

Next week I will be looking for a cover featuring a horse: “Being born in a stable does not make me a horse.”

Future’s Orphans by A.K. Alliss

Future’s Orphans by A.K. Alliss

Cassidy Nolan is a drug addicted journalist responsible for one of the most iconic photographs of the new millennium. Fourteen years on from capturing the image, it has become a significant part of the documented experiences of an event that has tipped the world towards the precipice of an uncertain future.

A chance encounter with Paco, a street kid who deals only in absolutes, will see both of their paths converge on the discovery of a sinister truth about the world in which they inhabit. Even if they survive long enough to reveal what they have uncovered,there are no certainties that it will change anything in an uncaring world that is long past its expiry date.

I received a free copy of this book courtesy of the author in exchange for an honest review.

Following on from Alliss’ high octane and action-packed sci-fi thriller Frame, he told me about book two in this series, Future’s Orphans. He also told me that Future’s Orphans was written before Frame even though the story follows on from it. Colour me intrigued, I was looking forward to finding out if this second book in the series still worked well with Frame knowing it was written first. I won’t deny I was also interested to see if there was any significant disconnect as a result.
Future's Orphans - Kindle Cover (1)
I will save you the waiting; I was immensely and happily surprised. The story feels like it flows nicely, following some 14 years after the events of Frame. I found the 14-year gap was well thought out, rather than a device to make the writing of Frame easier. Given the catastrophic climax to Frame the decade and a half that pass between that and Future’s Orphans allow the reader to imagine the steady decline of society and humanity as order begins to fail.

The story picks up with a journalist, Cass Nolan, who captured an image of the events seen 14 years prior – probably the most iconic photograph of the new millennium. The was just the beginning of humanity moving towards a precipice, where everything would be changed. Two less-than-clean organisations, the ONI and Ouroboros have control as the ruling power, bringing a vague semblance of order and law to the a world staring at disaster.

They rule by fear and intimidation within their small “city” where a threat of being cast out into the wastelands beyond the city walls is thought to be enough to keep the dwindling masses in check. Alliss has crafted a dark, sorry world for his characters to make sense of and find their place in. He doesn’t try to soften the blow with a sense of hope like a light at the end of the tunnel, but rather maintains a sense of hopelessness.

People survive, modulating their emotions with chemical-infused patches, and the ONI stamp out any sniff of rebellion, casting out anyone who dares to go against their carefully-crafted societal order. Cass and a young street urchin named Paco among those cast out. The world beyond is an unforgiving place, and Alliss has painted a stark, bleak image of a cruel world so well, and only enhances this with his characters. There are a number of twists in the story, and brilliant character development lead the reader to constantly change their opinion of the leading players in this story.

So well written is Future’s Orphans, that if I wasn’t already told that it was created before Frame, I think I would struggle to tell. The only give away perhaps, aided by my prior knowledge, is that you can see Alliss’ writing style and storytelling improving, something I can only imagine will continue when he releases the third book in this series, Gravity’s Truth, in 2018.

My rating:
goodread