Tag Archives: featured

Story Sunday Series Catalogue

Because it’s hard (or eventually will be) to keep track of all the series that are published for Story Sunday, this post exists as an updating catalogue to help readers find what they’re looking for. Also, I need help finding what I’m looking for more often than not…

The Strife

The world as it once allegedly was, has ended. The old gods, called Strife Lords, now rule, fashioning societies that suit their fancies.

Their power seems absolute – but things older than the Strife roil in the stone beneath and the sky above. Their awakening could spell salvation, or another apocalypse. Which is which, depends entirely on your perspective.

Start The Strife here.

Later in 2020: AFEMI

Hundreds of years ago – or was it decades? – humankind created its saviour. Then our saviour destroyed our world to build a better one. One where no child goes hungry; where no sickness goes unattended; where nobody dies screaming. Our saviour brought us peace and comfort, and all it asked for was compliance.

This is a story about humanity, and how the world is saved.

Coming 2021: Defiance

Something about the world has always felt wrong to Defiance. Then again, maybe it’s just always been her. One night everything in her world tilts when Defiance comes face-to-face with a thing which should not be, and when the world rights itself she’s never been more sure – the world is fine. It’s her that’s out of place.

Coming 2021: Harkonnen

As a Snatcher, Matheson lives the lives of dead men. He takes on the identities of people who’ve been scrubbed, does what needs to be done, then disappears. It’s not glamourous, and it’s for a dubious cause, but it’s probably better than his old life.

But now someone’s remembering Snatchers’ faces – not the ones they take but the ones they left behind. It’s getting them killed, and the threat is too close to home to ignore.

NB: The work of a writer is never done, and in that spirit the stories posted on Story Sunday will sometimes undergo changes. Just because it’s old, doesn’t mean I won’t appreciate feedback!

Blind Date With A Book Boyfriend

I was fortunate to receive an ARC of this book, and to say that I devoured it in one sitting would be an overstatement – but only by a little bit. It was two sittings.

Here’s something readers may not yet know about me – I’m an unrepentant romantic. As such, I love romantic fiction. Romance novels? Stack ’em up! Cheesy Hallmark movies? Que up and snack up! Rom-coms? Okay… maybe not so much with those but they’re just so icky so often and don’t even have the Hallmark cheese to make them go down smoother. Anyway, the point is that I’m a hopeless romantic, who finally got the chance to be an advance reader and I’m drunk on power.

Not really, I’m just really excited. So – before I ramble forever about my love of the most universally-appealing genre in the world (don’t @ me) – here’s my review of BDWABB!

First of all – read this novella

Let’s just get that part out of the way. If you love: adorable heroes; accomplished heroines; sticky situations; instant chemistry and non-brohole techies… this is your jam. If you don’t like or aren’t familiar with the above? Try it anyway!

BDWABB achieves that balance between endearing and steamy with the kind of ease usually reserved for spreading butter on warm toast. Our heroine – Jordyn – is in Culver City for a job interview at her dream company. But what’s a girl to do in a strange city for a few days? Get on any of the multitude of apps designed to help you socialise / sight see in new places? Of course not!

Our intrepid adventurer power-walks her way over to a dedicated romance bookstore to look for a hero to keep her toasty through the cold nights. She’s thinking he’ll be on the cover of a book… except none of the books have their original covers. Just brown paper wrappings and blurbs.

Enter Mike, who could be cheesier, but he’d have to try really hard.

What ensues is the perfect not-a-date, as the “Mayor of Culver City” shows Jordyn everything from a school lunch-themed restaurant to a (maybe) reformed speakeasy, with a dash of movie-watching and monument-naming for flavour. But all good things must come to an end and our couple learn the hard way that making love work in the modern world requires the making of serious decisions and scheming of devious schemes.

Or maybe it just takes a little bit of flexibility and a private school education?

I really can’t recommend this book highly enough, nor can I say anything further without spoiling things but I can say…

Mood Rating: This is a delicious tribute to all the romance books you’ve loved before. Perfect for a veteran of the genre, looking for something quick and sweet to sate the craving, as well as a great entry point for new readers of the genre. It even comes with recommendations for MORE romance novels and really… how could life get any better than that?

Find Blind Date With A Book Boyfriend by Lucy Eden everywhere they sell ebooks and enjoy!

Author

Linda, AKA TAGG herself, loves great music and terrible movies. Find her being boring on Twitter @ThatLFM

Four Weddings and a Funeral

Sporting an amazing soundtrack, this 2019 TV adaptation of the (arguably) classic 1994 movie of the same name is the best is just about the best thing you can waste some hours watching this leaping month of love.

Why? Well, for many reasons, not least amongst them being that the show is actually really funny, in that painful I’m-in-this-Tweet-and-I-don’t-like-it kind of way that good comedy tends to be.

I did mention the amazing soundtrack, right?

Our cast stars Game of Thrones alum Nathalie Emmanuel alongside the instantly endearing Nikesh Patel. Nathalie’s ever-flawless hair and Nikesh’s patently unfair dimpled smile could have ensured this show’s watchability by themselves. But no, they had to add fuel to the fire with screen-melting chemistry and one of the best supporting casts I’ve ever had the pleasure of secondarily caring about.

As with the original film, this 2019 TV rom-com centres around the lives of a group of friends as they navigate the late stage of their youth and all the associated joys and heartaches that come with. You’ll get to witness, of course, four weddings which have varying levels of success; and one funeral which will break your heart then warm the jagged pieces with a good bit of football hooligan fun.

Nathalie Emmanuel plays Maya, a driven, brilliant young political speechwriter who’s escape from a complicated situation with her boss comes in a form of a holiday in England where she’s attending her best friend’s wedding. Because life doesn’t hand you just one lemon at a time… she arrives at the end of her journey only to find that her bag’s been lost.

Don’t you just believe in these two already??

Enter Kash, who’s at the airport being a dutiful son and trying to get his dad to eat something healthy for lunch. His good deed is punished when said dad volun-tells him to assist the screeching American (because it’s always an American) by taking her down to the depot and finding her incredibly nondescript black travel bag. The pair start off rocky then everything smoothes out and even becomes pleasant as they chat about life, tell a couple lies and fall under the spell of the aforementioned screen-scorching chemistry.

But happy beginnings don’t really make for interesting storylines, do they? So everything goes predictably topsy-turvy as a series of events unfold which help the cast realise that: the K in Kash is very important; open lines of communication with college conquests is a good thing; sometimes the shot you shoot is an airball and that’s okay; and love is rarely, if ever, convenient.

MOOD RATING: Well worth the time it takes to watch, Four Weddings and a Funeral will take you on a roller coaster ride of feelings, tears, sobs and laughs and drop you right back where you started with a burning desire to go visit your old friends and live some new good times. Don’t believe me? The trailer will convince you!

Author

Linda, AKA TAGG herself, loves great music and terrible movies. Find her being boring on Twitter @ThatLFM

Three Parts Dead

From Max Gladstone’s website:

A God has died, and it’s up to Tara, first-year associate in the international necromantic firm of Kelethres, Albrecht, and Ao, to bring Him back to life before His city falls apart.

Her client is Kos, recently deceased fire god of the city of Alt Coulumb.  Without Him, the metropolis’s steam generators will shut down, its trains will cease running, and its four million citizens will riot.  Tara’s job: resurrect Kos before chaos sets in.  Her only help is Abelard, a chain-smoking priest of the dead God, who’s having an understandable crisis of faith.

But when the duo discover that Kos was murdered, they have to make a case in Alt Coulumb’s courts—and their quest for truth endangers their partnership, their lives, and the city’s slim hope of survival.

I came across Three Parts Dead a few weeks ago when I searched for something along the lines of “What to read if you’re in The Broken Earth withdrawal”. Google, being all-knowing as it is, spat out several interesting suggestions, and I couldn’t help but click on the link that mentioned lawyers riding lightning bolts and resurrecting gods (because… really?!). Falling somewhere in the general realm of urban fantasy territory, the debut novel in The Craft Sequence series seemed like a book that might just wow me, so I bought it and got stuck in.

Friends – you need to read it.

World-Building

As the first published entry (but not chronologically the first story in the series) this book packs in a lot of information about its setting, and manages to never once fall into the trap of info-dumping. From the first scene, where our heroine is literally thrown out of a flying building into a desert, to our introduction to gods and how they work, Three Parts Dead simply keeps it moving along, trusting the reader to understand and sort the information being given. Gladstone manages to straddle the line between informing and badgering his reader through effective use of dialogue, and character perspectives. What the priest knows, our novice Craftswoman Tara Abernathy does not – so he explains. What Tara knows, priest-technician Abelard does not – so she explains. And in this way you’re introduced to a brilliant new world of weird.

Characterisation

No matter what genre you’re writing in, making your characters believable is no walk in the park. They may all exist as fully fleshed out beings in your mind as the writer, but getting that across to the reader without overwhelming them… well.

But just as with his world-building, Max Gladstone works to deliver a main and supporting cast of characters who are their own people (and gods, and entities in between). Their motivations are entirely their own, and he builds his story around them. So when we get to the conclusion of our caper, and all is revealed (wow, are there some revelations going on) you sit there and think… ‘oh yeah, that makes perfect sense, actually. Of course these folks would do that!’

Plot

For much of the story, I was happy to sit back and coast along on the tide of excellent storytelling. Then I’d stop and think… ‘hold on. That’s odd. I could have sworn… oh. OH.’

And really… that’s the best kind of storytelling. Read this book!

A representation of me trying to piece things together VS when they finally come together
(Photos by @mwabonje on pexels.com)

Honourable Mention: Describing Diverse Characters

There is a certain fear that one feels when one sees the kind of beautiful cover art that Three Parts Dead has. Immediate memories of fumbling attempts in creative writing classes where people described Black hair as everything from ‘wiry’ to ‘ coiled like tiny snakes’ (true story) only to see the picture they were trying to paint and think… Am I being Punk’d?! I’m not even going to go into all the things that I’ve read and heard any skin tone darker than an eggshell be compared to. Let’s just say “like fresh mud” is on the better end.

So how excellent was it to get to the end of this book and realise that I’d been given, through narration, self-description and character perspectives an image of what each character looked like and not once cringed? Very excellent, I tell you. Which is no small part of why I’ve decided to read the whole Craft Sequence. So, kudos for not being cringe to Mr. Gladstone.

Mood Rating: First of all, read this book. Second of all, be wowed. Third of all, read the rest of the series. And drink water.

Author

Linda, AKA TAGG herself, loves great music and terrible movies. Find her being boring on Twitter @ThatLFM