Nyx Book Reviews

fantasy ♥ paranormal ♥ horror ♥ science-fiction

Nyx at Night Interview + Giveaway: Mark Cantrell (Silas Morlock)

Good evening my readers… Tonight I’m interviewing Mark Cantrell, and ask him the important questions. What does he think of Halloween candy? And would he rather be a werewolf or a vampire? If you make it to the end, there is a prize awaiting you…

The Interview

Nyx Book Reviews: Hi Mark, welcome to Nyx Book Reviews! Could you tell us a bit about yourself?

Mark: Sure, here goes. I was born and bred in Bradford, but I moved to the West Midlands about eight years ago and I commute to Manchester for the day job, so I kind of think of myself as an ex-pat Tyke (with tongue firmly in cheek for the most part; I’m only a semi-professional Yorkshireman). I work for a multimedia publisher as a journalist, covering the social housing industry. It’s gritty stuff and my nose is to the grindstone on a lot of convoluted and controversial issues. I write news, features, interviews, and a lot of social and political commentary. It’s not as glamorous as it sounds. In my other life, I’m the author of two novels. Citizen Zero, which I self-published in 2010, has now been picked up for publication by Inspired Quill next year. This is the outfit that released my second novel, Silas Morlock, onto an unsuspecting public in 2013.

Could you describe Silas Morlock in one sentence?

An age-old struggle between good and evil nears its end, humanity is poised to slip into the shadows of forever, and all appears lost, until the most powerful mind-altering drug ever created offers hope for redemption.

Do you enjoy horror books? If yes, what is your favourite?

Oh, yes, I love a good horror book. It’s a little difficult to pick out a favourite, though. There’s so many to choose from, and if I’m being honest I’d have to think long and hard to try and recall suitable candidates. My head just doesn’t work that way. But there’s a few authors jostling for that position. I’ve not read enough of Stephen King’s work, but he’s up there all the same, but I think I would have to put the late James Herbert ahead of him (sorry, Stephen). I never set out to become a horror writer, and don’t really class myself as such, even though I’ve written works of horror, but Herbert stands out as an early influence on my writing. Ian Woodhead is another author whose works I’ve got a soft spot for. He’s an Indie horror writer, and a fellow Bradfordian, and while his work can be a little rough around the edges, it makes up for that with its sheer exuberant delight in macabre horror. So, I feel he deserves an honourable mention.

nyxjpg3Did you celebrate Halloween as a child?

In a half-hearted way, I guess we did. But when I was a kid it wasn’t really celebrated the way it is today. Well, at least it wasn’t where I grew up. Halloween was overshadowed by Guy Fawkes Night, so that’s where most of our effort went. Penny for a Guy, that kind of thing, and then burning the effigy on the bonfire. Halloween has become much more celebrated in recent years, though. I guess after a few centuries of burning poor Guy, it gets a little samey.

Halloween candy, yay or nay?

Sweets are always good, whatever the time of year. Although I don’t think my dentist will agree.

If you had to pick, would you rather be a vampire or a werewolf?

Hmm, tough choice. Suave, cultured, elegance with a touch of dangerous sophistication, and a serious need for industrial-grade sunblock, or a great big walking carpet with anger management issues… No contest. I’m a vampire. No, wait, put that stake away – I mean I’m not actually a vampire…

Thank you for answering my questions!

Thank you for asking the questions! :-)

The Giveaway

To enter the giveaway, simply fill in the Rafflecopter below.
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Nyx at Night: Night Has Fallen

nyxjpg3It’s here…

Hello ladies and gentlemen, half-demons and fallen angels, witches, warlocks, wizards and anything were. Creatures of the night, rejoice!

Welcome to Nyx at Night, the two weeks before Halloween wherein Nyx Book Reviews turns really dark. We have ghost stories, scary book and movie reviews, features and a whole army of giveaways.

Whereas posts on Nyx Book Reviews usually get posted in the mornings, during Nyx at Night the posting schedule is shifted to the evenings. Every evening at nine o’clock, when darkness has fall in the Netherlands, you can expect a new post of horror-y goodness.

This is the main post for the event, where I will link up the posts every day. It also has the schedule, although some of these dates might be subject to change (:

Schedule

Tuesday 21st
Interview + Giveaway: Mark Cantrell (Silas Morlock)

Wednesday 22nd
Horror by the Master of Horror – Th Scariest Stephen King Books
Maniac Movie Discussion

Thursday 23rd
Review: Asylum by Madeleine Roux

Friday 24th
A Cauldron of Witches – Some Hexingly Good Reads

Saturday 25th
A Ghost Story from Rin Chupeco (+Giveaway)

Sunday 26th
Thrills and Chills for the Younger Reader

Monday 27th
On Eternal Love by Isis Sousa (+Giveaway)

Tuesday 28th
Review: Eye Spy by Tahir Shah

Wednesday 29th
Old School Horror
Amityville Movie Discussion

Thursday 30th
Interview + Giveaway: Chase Novak (Brood)

Friday 31st
End of the Line Post

Main Giveaway

For the duration the event, these two giveaways will stay open. You can earn extra entries by spreading the word about Nyx at Night. The first giveaway is graciously donated by JoFletcher books and is only open for European residents. The second giveaway is open internationally, as long as The Book Depository ships to your address. To enter to win, fill in the Rafflecopter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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The Sunday Post #5

Sunday PostThe Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba from The Caffeinated Book Reviewer.

2014-10-05 12.58.43Another week filled with studying! Looking through the syllabi, I’ve noticed the semester is nearing its end, which also means that my thesis is coming ever closer.

I’ve been brainstorming thesis ideas but it’s just SO HARD to pick one idea and work with that. I’ve considered everything from analysing A Series of Unfortunate Events from an essentialist perspective to the influence of West-European literature on Turgenev. I also still need to ask a teacher to be my supervisor. I’m keeping my fingers crossed my first choice will say yes.

This week on Nyx Book Reviews

Last week I announced the return of the discussion post – well, I’m taking the next step. One full month of nothing but discussion posts and original features. No memes, no reviews. It’ll be Blog Detox November! I’m very excited for it. I’m also very excited for Nyx at Night. So close, you guys. So close…

This week on Irresponsible Cactus

Nothing! Oh well.

Read this week

postI see a certain… theme in my reads. All of them dark horror-ish reads! I read almost all of these at the beginning of the week, since the rest of the week I’ve been reading the giant brick that is Outlander.

How was your week?

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Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon

Good morning! In just two hours, the one and only Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon starts. During this readathon readers try to read as much as possible of those 24 hours, while dedicated cheerleaders cheer them on. It’s a fun challenge, and every time hundreds of readers from all over the world participate.

Because my boyfriend is staying over, I probably can’t read for the entire day, but I’ll try for at least six hours. I will update my progress on Twitter, so if you’re interested, go look over there!

I choose two short reads to read today, one for school and one for fun. The book for school is a book with plays by Sartre; I’ve already read the two shorter plays in the bundle, and quite enjoyed them. The other book is We Were Liars, one of my Epic Recs reads for this months.

readathonHappy reading everyone!

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Review: The Midnight Queen by Sylvia Izzo Hunter

Title: The Midnight Queen
Author: Sylvia Izzo Hunter
Series: A Noctis Magicae Novel
Rating: 4 Stars

432 pages
Published September 2nd 2014 by Ace Trade
Bought

Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository

In an age of instant gratification, a scrambling rush for “fast-paced” and “nail-biting” reads, The Midnight Queen is a breath of fresh air, recalling books as they used to be – stories to be savoured.

Grey is asked by his fellow Merlin college students on a strange mission. It goes out of hand, leading to the death of one of his friends, and Grey tumbles head first into a conspiracy that is much bigger than he could ever imagine.

The Midnight Queen is a story that follows characters rather than a plot. It reminded me of a sort of mash-up between Jane Austen and Harry Potter – on one hand we have the sweet unfurling of a romance, and on the other we have a magic college set in some sort of alternate history. The writing has put off a lot of readers, but I thought it quite beautiful. The story isn’t to be rushed, and neither are the sentences themselves.

Beautiful, Callender Hall’s gardens might be, but after only half a day he had already conceived a passionate hatred of them, and of flowering shrubs in particular. What was he doing in this distant corner of the kingdom, so far from all he knew? Why condemned to this sweaty, thirsty, apparently pointless labout?

Also reminiscent of archaic books, The Midnight Queen uses the descriptive type of chapter titles, like Chapter II: In Which a Prediction of Sophie’s Comes True, and Sophie and Gray Discuss Magick. The chapter titles were very well done, raising just the smallest amount of suspicion of what is about to come, without spoiling any of the fun. You can safely read through all of the chapter names before starting the novel.

The Midnight Queen is the sort of book I love, but don’t nearly read enough. It provides a world that can enfold you like a warm blanket. For a debut novel I found this to be very impressive – even accomplished novelists don’t always manage to build a world from scratch, inhabited by genuine characters, with specific mannerisms and constructed through and through, a world that feels like it lives on even when you close the book. Although there might be more books set in the same world, The Midnight Queen stands on its own exceptionally well.

If you enjoy the writing style in classics, The Midnight Queen might be for you. Its world is a mix of historical, feint magical, and mythological elements, and instead of writing historical through a 21st-century lens, the language fits the time period. The Midnight Queen is a long journey through mistaken identities, conspiracies, and finding the limitations of magic capabilities, and a journey that was highly satisfying in the end.

Blurb

In the hallowed halls of Oxford’s Merlin College, the most talented—and highest born—sons of the Kingdom of Britain are taught the intricacies of magickal theory. But what dazzles can also destroy, as Gray Marshall is about to discover…

Gray’s deep talent for magick has won him a place at Merlin College. But when he accompanies four fellow students on a mysterious midnight errand that ends in disaster and death, he is sent away in disgrace—and without a trace of his power. He must spend the summer under the watchful eye of his domineering professor, Appius Callender, working in the gardens of Callender’s country estate and hoping to recover his abilities. And it is there, toiling away on a summer afternoon, that he meets the professor’s daughter.

Even though she has no talent of her own, Sophie Callender longs to be educated in the lore of magick. Her father has kept her isolated at the estate and forbidden her interest; everyone knows that teaching arcane magickal theory to women is the height of impropriety. But against her father’s wishes, Sophie has studied his ancient volumes on the subject. And in the tall, stammering, yet oddly charming Gray, she finally finds someone who encourages her interest and awakens new ideas and feelings.

Sophie and Gray’s meeting touches off a series of events that begins to unravel secrets about each of them. And after the king’s closest advisor pays the professor a closed-door visit, they begin to wonder if what Gray witnessed in Oxford might be even more sinister than it seemed. They are determined to find out, no matter the cost…

Other reviews you might be interested in

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Blog Detox November

detoxA little while ago I was scrolling through my blog posts and they all felt so… uninspired. It was just reviews, some event posts or interviews, and then memes to recap the reviews and other posts. I wondered what my blog looked like without any reviews or memes – and came up with a challenge for myself.

During the month of November I will not post any reviews or memes*

* Unless I overlooked a previously accepted engagement, in which case there will be one review for that book.

But the challenge stands – no hiding behind those posts that I have done for years. When you take away my comfort blanket, what will my blog look like? Will there be tumbleweeds and awkward apology posts about how hard it all is? Or will something amazing happen and I’ll find new inspiration to blog about? Also interesting, what will my readers think?

I decided not to completely ban events, so I will still post for Sci-fi Month. However, there will be no sign up posts or readathon posts, as I’m counting these as filler. I’m looking for the meat of blogging, the essence of me sharing my thoughts with you guys, and sign up posts don’t fit with that picture.

Have you ever done anything like this? Would you try it?

PS. In case anyone got offended – the 100% blogging thing is a joke. Reviews and memes are blogging too. There is no right or wrong way to blog :D

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Review: Otherworld Nights by Kelley Armstrong

Title: Otherworld Nights
Author: Kelley Armstrong
Series: Otherworld Stories #3 (Women of the Otherworld)
Rating: 4 Stars

320 pages
Published October 7th 2014 by Orbit
Review copy received from the publisher

Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository

Otherworld Nights is an anthology that collects several short stories and novellas set in the Women of the Otherworld series. Most of them have been previously published in other anthologies or have been released in limited edition hardcovers. It also includes a brand new novella set after the happenings of the last Women of the Otherworld book, Thirteen, featuring Savannah, Adam, Paige and Lucas.

When an author has written as many books as Mrs Amstrong has, a certain consistent style gets developed. Even though the books in the series have been published over a span of ten years, and the stories in Otherworld Nights come from different periods within that time-frame, their style and wording is incredibly consistent. Diving into this anthology was such a relaxing yet exciting experience; it’s been a long time since I got to spend time with these characters, and they are real in a way.

As far as I can tell the stories are ordered chronologically – the oldest story first, the new novella last. Although it does make sense, the order bothered me a bit when we had two Elena/Clay stories back to back, and we were introduced to the same characters twice. That can easily be fixed by not reading the book back to back, but instead picking a story you feel like and going through them randomly. There is no consistency between them beyond being set in the Women of the Otherworld time-line, so they definitely don’t need to be read in order.

Mrs Armstrong is quite an expert on the novella format. It’s not my favourite form of fiction because it hardly allows for any complexity or side-plots, but I think these were very well done. All of them had enough twists to make them interesting, and they ended in ways that leaves the reader satisfied and with a smile on their face.

Otherworld Nights is a great book for Women of the Otherworld fans that haven’t succeeded in tracking down all those obscure novellas that have been released throughout the years. The new Savannah novella was a welcome addition, though not my favourite (me and Savannah have a rocky relationship in general). If you’re not familiar with the world, this might not be the best place to start, because there are heavy references to happenings in the series, and can also be quite spoiler-y if you haven’t completed the series yet.

Blurb

This short story collection will include many brand-new tales and others only previously available on Kelley Armstrong’s website. Most of the stories will feature the werewolves of the Otherworld, Elena and Clay, Jeremy, Karl and other members of the American Pack. These are some of Kelley Armstrong’s best-loved and most enduring characters, from bestselling books such as Bitten, Stolen and Frostbitten.

Other reviews you might be interested in

The Sunday Post #4

Sunday PostThe Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba from The Caffeinated Book Reviewer.

In general uneventful, this week was mainly spent trying to catch up with school. I knew the lull was deceptive! Always when there is a week that seems slow, the next week you’re scrambling to catch up.

I’m already getting pretty excited all the awesome autumn/winter stuff. I love Halloween, and warm lattes, and seasonal decorations, and staying inside with a blanket and read, and Christmas coming up…

I also saw The Maze Runner yesterday, which was pretty good! I like how it was unpredictable. The music was rather ill-chosen at times, and some plot point raised a few questions, but it was quite fast-paced and had some pretty disgustingly awesome scenes.

This week on Nyx Book Reviews

The return of the discussion post! I feel like I haven’t done one of these in weeks, if not months. So this week I thought I’d chat with you guys about misbehaving authors, and whether I read them or not. I’ve already written up a few more posts like this, and I’m loving having a bit more diversity from the regular review (:

This week on Irresponsible Cactus:

I think having a post or two every week on Irresponsible Cactus seems to be the sweet spot – since most of my time is still spent on my book blog, two posts makes sure I won’t pressure myself too much. This week I talked about a pretty eerie and gruesome TV show, and gave an example of the kind of assignments I write as a culture studies student.

Read this week

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I think the crazy reading from last month has slowed down a bit, even though I’m still reading more than my weekly average. Most of my week was spent reading The Midnight Queen, which is a lot slower paced than the average young-adult book. Quality wise this week was great, with only four star reads!

How was your week?

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Review: Grave Secret by Charlaine Harris

Title: Grave Secret
Author: Charlaine Harris
Series: Harper Connelly #4
Rating: 3 Stars

306 pages
Published October 27th 2009 by Berkley Hardcover
Bought

Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository

Well, that was a weird journey.

Grave Secret is the final book in the Harper Connelly series, this time combining both a mystery as we’re used to with some personal issues. Harper can sense the dead, and she’s called to a farm to inspect some graves. This leads to a chain of events which endangers both Harper’s and Tolliver’s lives, and those around them.

I’m not very sure what to say about this book. Usually I love Charlaine Harris novels, even though they’re sometimes a bit too obvious or just (sorry) not that intelligent. Grave Secret however crossed the line of credibility though, and I didn’t enjoy it nearly as much as I usually do with Harris’ books.

One of my main gripes is Harper’s reaction on death threats. And we’re not talking about verbal/written threats here, we’re talking about actual people with actual guns shooting at her. You’d think she’d leave the area. You’d think she’d go BATSHIT CRAZY because OMG there is someone SHOOTING at her and trying to KILL her. But nope. Cold badass that she is, the only concession she makes is getting a different hotel room, a few floors up. And she keeps thinking no one can get to her there. What?

Also, her relationship with Tolliver is still icky. I can’t help it. It’s just weird.

The mystery was interesting, but often takes the back-burner over the personal plot line. Tolliver’s no-good dad has been released from prison and tries to get into contact with Tolliver and Harper’s little sisters. In the end both get their resolution, but not in a way that was satisfactory for me. There were quite a few plot points raised yet never fully explained.

As far as the series goes, Grave Secret is the weakest book. Not even the appearance of Bernardo could save it for me.

Blurb

Lightning-struck sleuth Harper Connelly and her stepbrother Tolliver take a break from looking for the dead to visit the two little girls they both think of as sisters. But, as always happens when they travel to Texas, memories of their horrible childhood resurface…

To make matter worse, Tolliver learns from his older brother that their father is out of jail and trying to reestablish contact with other family members. Tolliver wants nothing to do with the man – but he may not have a say in the matter.

Soon, family secrets ensnare them both, as Harper finally discovers what happened to her missing sister, Cameron, so may years before.

And what she finds out will change her world forever…

Other reviews you might be interested in

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