Best Served Cold by Joe Abercrombie

Title: Best Served Cold

Author: Joe Abercrombie

Genre: Fantasy

Year: 2009

Conscience is an excuse. Mercy and cowardice are the same.

Monza Murcatto has everything she wants. At the head of the Thousand Swords, winning a battle after the other, she has money, respect, and a name: she’s the Serpent of Talins, the Butcher of Caprile. Her employer’s enemies curse her name, while his people cheer her when she walks the streets.
But they like her a bit too much for her employer’s taste, and so he decides to take her out of the picture – literally. If only he had checked that she was actually dead…

Broken and alone, her only desire is to take revenge on the seven people responsible for her demise. With a totally untrustworthy but deadly group of allies, she will hunt down her victims to the end of the world if she must, and let no one stop her.

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The Midnight Library by Matt Haig

Title: The Midnight Library

Author: Matt Haig

Genre: Fiction

Year: 2020

Nora is 35 years old. She has no stable relationship, no stable job, and she feels like she has wasted all the opportunities life has offered her in the past. She will never know what could have happened if she had made different choices, and after a really bad day, she decides she has had enough.

That’s how she finds herself in the Midnight Library, a huge building where time doesn’t flow and all the books on the shelves are other lives that she could have lived, if only she had acted differently. She can try on each and any of them, if she wants, and if she finds one that satisfies her on every account, she can just keep living it instead of her original life. But is any of them really going to be the perfect one?

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The Seventh Perfection by Daniel Polansky

Title: The Seventh Perfection

Author: Daniel Polansky

Genre: Fantasy

Year: 2020

The past is the past. Go digging in a graveyard, you’re sure to find a corpse.

Manet is an Amanuensis, a servant of the God-King who studied to master the seven perfections, developing her body and mind to the peak of human performance. She has perfect memory, a gift that will surely drive her mad as she ages. But when a mysterious locket is sent to her, she will scour the city to find out the truth about it.

What she finds during her search are secrets that put into question the stories around the ascent of the God-King, but also her own past. How much is she ready to sacrifice to get to the bottom of it, and will it be worth it?

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The Children of Red Peak by Craig DiLouie

Title: The Children of Red Peak

Author: Craig DiLouie

Genre: Horror

Year: 2020

After years of outrunning the past, David Young now drove straight toward it.

Fifteen years ago, the members of the Family of the Living Spirit committed mass suicide after months of torture and near starvation. Only five kids survived that fatal night, but the trauma they experienced still haunts them to this day.

Now Emily is dead as well. She committed suicide, after sending each of her friends a note to tell them that she couldn’t fight it anymore. David, Deacon and Beth get together for the funeral. They all coped differently with their trauma, finding solace and safety in family, music, or career. As they share their stories and memories of that time, they come to understand that there’s only a way to really leave the past behind them: go back to Red Peak, where their world ended fifteen years ago, and finally find out the truth of what happened.

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The Bone Shard Daughter by Andrea Stewart

Title: The Bone Shard Daughter

Series: The Drowning Empire #1

Author: Andrea Stewart

Genre: Fantasy

Year: 2020

Father told me I’m broken.

Lin knows that she is the emperor’s daughter and heir. Five years ago, a sickness took all memories of her previous life, and her father refuses to teach her his bone shard magic until she regains it. But she’s tired of waiting and afraid that Bayan, her foster brother, will take her place as the heir. She is determined to prove her worth to her father, even if that means stealing his keys to open the doors of the palace and study his magic in secret.

Meanwhile, a rebellion is stirring on the floating islands of the Empire. Jovis is a smuggler looking for his lost wife. He doesn’t want anything to do with the rebels, but an act of kindness will drag him into the heart of the Shardless Few anyway, until he is confronted with the ultimate choice: keep looking for his wife, who might as well be dead, or stay and help to overthrow the emperor.

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Pet Sematary by Stephen King

Title: Pet Sematary

Author: Stephen King

Genre: Horror

Year: 1983

“The soil of a man’s heart is stonier, Louis – like the soil up there in the old Micmac burying ground. Bedrock’s close. A man grows what he can… and he tends it.”

When Dr. Louis Creed takes a new job and moves his family to the idyllic rural town of Ludlow, Maine, this new beginning seems too good to be true. Despite Ludlow’s tranquillity, the town is not as safe as it seems. Those trucks on the road outside the Creed’s beautiful home travel by just a little too quickly, for one thing… as is evidenced by the makeshift graveyard in the nearby woods, where for generations children have buried their beloved pets. Then there are the warnings that Louis receives, both real and from the depths of his nightmares, that he should not venture beyond the borders of the Pet Sematary, where another burial ground, ancient and more sinister, lures with seductive promises and temptations. A blood-chilling truth is hidden there—one more terrifying than death itself, and hideously more powerful. As Louis is about to discover for himself, sometimes dead is better… 

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Five star predictions (1)

Most of the times, I end up finding new favourite books by chance. I pick up a book without expectations, I start reading, and usually by the time I finish the first chapter I know if it’s going to be a new favourite. Just as sometimes I know, from the first page, when something is missing for me. But the moment something clicks in my brain and I know, that‘s the feeling I’m looking for when I read.

Sometimes, though, expectations get in the way. A favourite author has a new book coming out, or I read the synopsis and it sounds like the perfect story for me. Or I see hundreds of positive reviews and I get carried away by the hype. I get the book, I look at it, hold it in my hands… and put it down. What if it’s not good? What if it doesn’t work for me? What if it’s a disappointment?

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The Cavern by Alister Hodge

This review is a rant, and it’s full of spoilers. You have been warned.

Title: The Cavern

Author: Alister Hodge

Genre: Horror

Year: 2019

When a sinkhole opens up in the Australian outback near the town of Pintalba, it reveals an unexplored cave system. Sam is recruited as a paramedic support by his girlfriend Ellie and her team of cave enthusiasts to explore it before anyone else, but as they descend into the dark, they realise that someone – or something – else is hiding down there, and it’s eager to find them.

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Reading the Booker Prize winners (2): The Elected Member by Bernice Rubens

Title: The Elected Member

Author: Bernice Rubens

Genre: Fiction

Year: 1969

No, he would not open his eyes. If they were still there, he could rely on them to stay. He pulled the pillow over his ears. He didn’t want to hear them either. Yet he wanted to check that they were still there. He dreaded their presence, but their sudden absence would have terrified him more. They were the only witnesses to his sanity.

Norman Zweck was a child prodigy. At twelve he spoke seven languages, and right after law school he was already an acclaimed barrister. But that was before.

Now, forty-one and still living with his father and younger sister, he lies in bed most of the day to keep track of them. He’s the only one who sees them, and his family believes him to be going mad. But he knows they are there, and his only relief is taking the white pills he keeps hidden under a board in the floor. When his father finally takes the decision to hospitalise him for treatment, they all start exploring their memories in search of the cause of his problems. His father, his sisters – the one that lives with them, but also the one who is estranged from the family – and Norman himself are all guilty to some extent. But only talking and coming to terms with their failings will allow them to heal as a family.

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The New Wilderness by Diane Cook

Title: The New Wilderness

Author: Diane Cook

Genre: Science Fiction

Year: 2020

What she wouldn’t have given for her mother.

Agnes is slowly wasting away in the smog and pollution of the City. Her lungs are giving up, and in order to save her, her mother Bea accepts a chance to enter the Wilderness State, the last swath of protected land away from the City. A group of twenty people will live there as hunter gatherers, in a last attempt to prove that men can live with nature without destroying it.
But while Agnes gets better and becomes a wild child, Bea longs for the comforts of the City and their previous life. Living in the Wilderness State is hard, the Rangers seem to have fun pushing them around and making sure they don’t stay too long in any given place, and still expect them to fill out their paperwork diligently and without complaint.
When the Administration changes, though, a feeling of uncertainty enters the group. Will they be allowed to stay, or forced to leave?

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