Waiting on Wednesday – Code Red by Kyle Mills (based on the books by Vince Flynn)

Welcome to my weekly segment, Waiting on Wednesday, where I look at upcoming books that I am planning to order and review in the next few months and which I think I will really enjoy.  I run this segment in conjunction with the Can’t-Wait Wednesday meme that is currently running at Wishful Endings.  Stay tuned to see reviews of these books when I get a copy of them.  In this latest Waiting on Wednesday, I check out the next entry in the always exciting Mitch Rapp series with Code Red by Kyle Mills.

Code Red Cover


Every year there are several great series that I just have to continue due to their excellent storytelling and writing styles.  Of these, one of the ones I have a particularly fun time is the amazing Mitch Rapp thriller books which are always worth a read.  Initially written by Vince Flynn, the series follows deadly spy Mitch Rapp as he faces off against all of America’s enemies in his typical brutal and efficient way.  Since Flynn’s death, the Mitch Rapp books have been continued by the very talented Kyle Mills who has produced some very clever and unique novels that show an older Rapp getting into more and more dangerous situations in a continually deteriorating world.  All the Mitch Rapp books I have had the pleasure of reading so far, such as Red War, Lethal Agent, Total Power, Enemy at the Gates and Oath of Loyalty, have been pretty epic, and I love the cool range of stories, from terrorists destroying the power grid in Total Power to Mitch Rapp facing off against a corrupt president in Oath of Loyalty.  As such, I am always extremely excited to read the new Mitch Rapp book each year and it looks like I won’t have too much longer to wait.

That is because the next Mitch Rapp novel is coming out in September with Code Red.  The 22nd Mitch Rapp novel, Code Red sees Rapp thrust into another deadly and dangerous mission with global ramifications.

Plot synopsis:

Mitch Rapp returns to make a mortal enemy of Russia in this high-octane and up-to-the-minute installment in the #1 New York Times bestselling series from “one of the best thriller writers on the planet” (The Real Book Spy).

Mitch Rapp hates owing anyone a favor—especially when it’s the world’s most powerful crime lord. But when Damian Losa calls, Mitch is honor-bound to answer.

The Syrian government appears to have created a highly addictive new narcotic that it plans to distribute throughout Europe. It’s a major threat to Losa’s business and he’s determined to send someone to keep him on top by any means necessary.

Rapp is the perfect choice for the mission. Not only does he have extensive experience operating in the Middle East, but he’s also entirely expendable.

As he crosses into war-torn Syria, Rapp quickly discovers a shocking truth. The new drug isn’t being produced by Damascus to prop up the government’s collapsing finances. Instead, it was created by Russia’s asymmetrical warfare unit, not for profit but as a weapon against the West.

With far more than Damian Losa’s interests at stake, Rapp devises a desperate plan that forces him and his team onto a battlefield where the United States is virtually powerless and allegiances shift almost hourly. Further, if Russia uncovers their plot, it will set off a confrontation between the two countries that could change the course of human history.

Ooh, now this is a very interesting sounding new novel from Mills.  After dealing with several domestic threats in the last few books it will be fun to see Rapp going after his old foes the Russians again, this time in Syria.  Code Red sounds like a much more classic spy thriller read with Rapp going up against enemy agents to try and stop an impending disaster, and the plot idea about Rapp accidently stumbling on this trying to clear a debt is very interesting.  I have a feeling this is going to turn out to be a pretty awesome read and I am curious to see Rapp’s take on certain world events when we get to it.

Based on how impressive and captivating the Mitch Rapp series by Kyle Mills has been in the past, I have very little doubt that I am going to have a wonderful time getting through Code Red.  No doubt containing the usual great blend of spy craft, over-the-top action, and intriguing commentary, Code Red is a book I will dive into the moment I get a copy and I know I will an outstanding time with it.

Waiting on Wednesday – Starter Villain by John Scalzi

Welcome to my weekly segment, Waiting on Wednesday, where I look at upcoming books that I am planning to order and review in the next few months and which I think I will really enjoy.  I run this segment in conjunction with the Can’t-Wait Wednesday meme that is currently running at Wishful Endings.  Stay tuned to see reviews of these books when I get a copy of them.  In this latest Waiting on Wednesday, I highlight one of the more entertaining sounding books of 2023 with the fun new release from John Scalzi, Starter Villain.

Starter Villain Cover


There are few authors in the world right now that are more inventive and more hilarious that the always imaginative John Scalzi.  Best known for his Old Man’s War and The Interdependency series, Scalzi has made a name for himself by producing captivating reads that make excellent use of high-concept science fiction elements.  I have only had the opportunity to read a few of his books yet, but the ones that I have were pretty damn epic.  This includes the incredible and brilliant standalone novel Redshirts, which serves as the ultimate parody of Star Trek by focusing on an Enterprise-esque spaceship whose ordinary crew start to realise that something very wrong is happening when all of them start brutally dying in ridiculous situations.  This was an outstanding read and my love of Redshirts led me to read his 2022 release, The Kaiju Preservation Society.  A clever new take on monster movies, The Kaiju Preservation Society saw a young man join a mysterious scientific organisation that protects giant monsters in an alternate dimension.  I absolutely powered through both of these books, and I love the incredible scenarios Scalzi comes up with.

Needless to say, I am a pretty big fan of Scalzi at this point, but I was even more excited when I saw that his next book was going to take on the superhero/supervillain genre with the fantastic upcoming book Starter Villain.  Set for release in September 2023, Starter Villain is another hilarious sounding novel that sees a young protagonist enter the world of capes and capers when they unwillingly become a supervillain.

Plot Synopsis:

Following the bestselling The Kaiju Preservation Society, John Scalzi returns with Starter Villain, another unique sci-fi caper set in the strangest of all worlds, present-day Earth.

Inheriting your mysterious uncle’s supervillain business is more complicated than you might imagine.

Sure, there are the things you’d expect. The undersea volcano lairs. The minions. The plots to take over the world. The international networks of rivals who want you dead.

Much harder to get used to…are the the sentient, language-using, computer-savvy cats.

And the fact that in the overall organization, they’re management…

Ok, so there is absolutely no way that I am not going to have a ball of fun when I read Starter Villain later this year.  I’m already a big fan of comic books and superheros and any great parody or deconstruction of this genre is always a blast to read.  Having this parody written by John Scalzi, who is planning to focus on the supervillain side of things, is an incredible recipe for success and one that I am pretty damn excited for.  This synopsis is already painting a pretty awesome picture of what Starter Villain is going to feature, including lairs, minions and sentient, sinister cats, which I am always down for.  This is going to be such an entertaining and amazing book and I cannot wait to get my hands on Starter Villain later this year.

Waiting on Wednesday – Murtagh by Christopher Paolini

Welcome to my weekly segment, Waiting on Wednesday, where I look at upcoming books that I am planning to order and review in the next few months and which I think I will really enjoy.  I run this segment in conjunction with the Can’t-Wait Wednesday meme that is currently running at Wishful Endings.  Stay tuned to see reviews of these books when I get a copy of them.  For my latest Waiting on Wednesday I highlight a somewhat surprising but highly anticipated upcoming release with the epic Murtagh by Christopher Paolini.

Murtagh Cover


I have been a fantasy fan for a long time and have had the great pleasure of reading quite a few impressive series over the years.  However, one of my favourite all-time fantasy series is the epic Inheritance Cycle that was the debut series of amazing author Christopher Paolini.  Starting in 2003 with Eragon, the Inheritance Cycle told the tale of a young hero who uncovers a dragon egg and uses his newly hatched companion to battle an evil empire and defeat the fallen Dragon Rider turned evil king, Galbatorix.  Taking place over four books, including Eldest, Brisingr and Inheritance, this was a particular favourite series of mine growing up and I made sure to read every single book the moment they came out.  While the story was a little derivative in places, I had a great deal of love for this series due to its elaborate fantasy universe, the cool magical systems, the fantastic bond between the human protagonist and his dragon, and the many exceptional battles Paolini detailed.  The Inheritance Cycle has become something of a comfort series for me and since the final book dropped in 2011 I have reread (and relistened) to these books multiple times with great enjoyment, and I also did a fun joint review of the entire series.

Due to how much I enjoyed his debut series, I have kept an eye on Paolini’s career, which also saw him produce some intriguing science fiction novels, including the massive To Sleep in a Sea of Stars and the upcoming prequel Fractal Noise.  However, I hadn’t really expected to see anything more from the Inheritance cycle, especially after over 12 years of waiting.  That is why I was pretty damn thrilled when I saw last week that Paolini was releasing a standalone sequel later this year with the fantastic sounding Murtagh.

Murtagh is an awesome book that is currently set for release in November 2023.  Set shortly after the events of Inheritance, this cool novel will follow fan-favourite character and anti-hero Murtagh as he attempts to find his place in the world after serving the previous series’ big bad, while also embarking on a new adventure.

Plot Synopsis:

Master storyteller and internationally bestselling author Christopher Paolini returns to the World of Eragon in this stunning epic fantasy set a year after the events of the Inheritance Cycle. Join Dragon Rider—and fan favorite—Murtagh and his dragon as they confront a perilous new enemy!

 The world is no longer safe for the Dragon Rider Murtagh and his dragon, Thorn. An evil king has been toppled, and they are left to face the consequences of the reluctant role they played in his reign of terror. Now they are hated and alone, exiled to the outskirts of society.

Throughout the land, hushed voices whisper of brittle ground and a faint scent of brimstone in the air—and Murtagh senses that something wicked lurks in the shadows of Alagaësia. So begins an epic journey into lands both familiar and untraveled, where Murtagh and Thorn must use every weapon in their arsenal, from brains to brawn, to find and outwit a mysterious witch. A witch who is much more than she seems.

In this gripping novel starring one of the most popular characters from Christopher Paolini’s blockbuster Inheritance Cycle, a Dragon Rider must discover what he stands for in a world that has abandoned him. Murtagh is the perfect book to enter the World of Eragon for the first time . . . or to joyfully return.

Ok, so if I wasn’t already pretty damn excited for a new Inheritance Cycle novel, I am even more hyped after reading that synopsis.  Out of all the characters that Paolini could have set his next novel around, Murtagh is one of the absolute best, as he is probably one of Paolini’s more complex characters.  The son of a notoriously evil Dragon Rider and the secret half-brother of series’ protagonist Eragon, Murtagh is a rogue and adventurer who spent his appearances in the first novel trying to escape his past.  However, he was captured at the start of the second novel, Eldest, and morphed into a deadly weapon, bound to the red dragon Thorn and forced to fight against his brother as Galbatorix’s ultimate enforcer.  Essentially serving as the Darth Vader of the series, Murtagh killed several key supporting characters and became quite a good brooding villain.  Managing to free himself at the end of the series and help Eragon kill Galbatorix, Murtagh departs with his dragon, attempting to find his own place in the world.  This opens quite a lot of interesting potential storylines which Paolini looks set to fully explore in his new book.  I love the idea of the author fully exploring all of Murtagh’s trauma and guilt, especially after all the terrible things Galbatorix made him do, and I am sure that it will play into the story extremely well.  It was also be very interesting to see the story told from Murtagh’s point of view, something we never got in the previous books, and I am hoping that we’ll get an eye on the events of the original series from his perspective.

On top of the fantastic focus on the great character of Murtagh, the rest of this story sounds pretty damn awesome.  The idea of this lone and despised character travelling the lands, attempting to find a place where he isn’t hated is an excellent basis for a story, especially when he attempts to finally be a hero and tries to solve a dangerous mystery.  No doubt this will lead to another dangerous adventure and it will be cool to see how he deals with it on his own.  I am also quite excited to see some expansions of the already vast land of Alagaësia, which Paolini really built up well in his previous books.  It will be fascinating to see how much Alagaësia changes in the aftermath of the war, and I am very hopeful that Paolini will take us to some new locations that will no doubt add a lot to it.  Throw in references to a mysterious witch, who could potentially be the always entertaining Angela, who readers have been wanting to see more of for years, and Murtagh has all the ingredients you need for a pretty epic book.

Now if am going to be honest, I was always going to eagerly grab up any new additions to the Inheritance Cycle that Paolini created, but I am particularly excited for Murtagh, which has so much damn potential.  I cannot wait to see how the author expands on his complex protagonist in this upcoming novel, and I am sure it will feature an epic adventure.  Murtagh is going to be such a nostalgia filled blast for me and I am sure that I will enjoy every damn second of it.


Waiting on Wednesday – Immortal Longings and The Jasad Heir

Welcome to my weekly segment, Waiting on Wednesday, where I look at upcoming books that I am planning to order and review in the next few months and which I think I will really enjoy.  I run this segment in conjunction with the Can’t-Wait Wednesday meme that is currently running at Wishful Endings.  Stay tuned to see reviews of these books when I get a copy of them.  For my latest Waiting on Wednesday, I’m doing a double feature and looking at two awesome and epic upcoming fantasy novels set around deadly tournaments.

Now I hope that I’m not going to sound too weird, but I love a good death tournament.  Death tournaments, competitions or games lie at the heart of so many exceptional fantasy or science fiction read, and there is something very fun watching people compete in brutal fights to the death in elaborate scenarios.  As such, I was pretty intrigued when I came across two separate upcoming fantasy books that are strongly set around lethal tournaments, and I very much want to grab both of them.  These two books are set for release in late July 2023, and I have a feeling that they will end up being extremely fun and impressive novels.

Immortal Longings Cover 2

Amazon     Book Depository

The first of these books is Immortal Longings by bestselling author Chloe Gong, who is making her adult fantasy debut here.  While I haven’t had the chance to read any of her previous novels, I have heard good things about her young adult fantasy These Violent Delights books, and I am intrigued to experience her writing style.  It helps that her first adult fantasy book sounds pretty damn epic, and comes with a very awesome looking cover.

Plot Synopsis:

 #1 New York Times bestselling author Chloe Gong’s adult epic fantasy debut, inspired by Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra, is a fiery collision of power plays, spilled blood, and romance amidst a set of deadly games.

The only way to win, is to survive.

Every year, thousands flock to San-Er, the dangerously dense capital twin cities of the kingdom of Talin, where the palace hosts a set of deadly games. Those confident in their ability to jump between bodies can enter a fight to the death – for the chance to win unimaginable riches.

Princess Calla Tuoleimi has been in hiding for five years, ever since she murdered her parents to free the people of Talin from her tyrannical family. Only one person stands in her way of finishing the job: her reclusive uncle King Kasa. However, she knows he always greets the victor of the games. If she wins, she will finally get the chance to kill him.

Enter Anton Makusa, whose childhood love has lain in a coma since they were both ousted from the palace. He’s deep in debt trying to keep her alive. Which means his last chance at saving her is entering the games and winning.

When Anton proposes an unexpected alliance with Calla, they quickly find their partnership spiraling into something all-consuming. But before the games close, Calla must decide what she’s playing for – her lover or her kingdom. For no matter what, only one of them can walk out alive . . .

Ok, now this is one very interesting sounding book.  I love the idea of a fugitive princess entering a death tournament to try and kill her corrupt uncle, and from the plot you know that plan is going to get very complicated thanks to the other major protagonist.  I am also quite intrigued by the underlying magical concept that see people jump between bodies, and I am curious to see how the author will showcase that throughout the book.  Based on this plot synopsis, I am incredibly excited for Immortal Longings, and I think this might end up being one of the most captivating, exciting and potentially heartbreaking fantasy novels of 2023.

The Jasad Heir Cover

Amazon     Book Depository

The next novel that I wish to highlight in this post is the dark and powerful sounding fantasy read, The Jasad Heir by debuting author Sara Hashem.  This amazing sounding book will see another fugitive princess, this time running from the conquerors of her kingdom, get co-opted into a dangerous tournament by her enemy’s son, and must learn to control and unleash her magic to survive.

Plot Synopsis:

In a world of scorched kingdoms, forbidden magic, and cunning royals, a fugitive queen strikes a deadly bargain with her fallen kingdom’s greatest enemy and soon finds herself embroiled in a political game that could resurrect her scorched kingdom or leave it in ashes forever in this stunning debut epic fantasy.

At ten years old, the Heir of Jasad flees a massacre that takes her entire family.

At fifteen, she buries her first body.

At twenty, the clock is ticking on Sylvia’s third attempt at home. Nizahl’s armies have laid waste to Jasad and banned magic across the four remaining kingdoms. Fortunately, Sylvia’s magic is as good at playing dead as she is.

When the Nizahl Heir tracks a group of Jasadis to Sylvia’s village, the quiet life she’s crafted unravels. Calculating and cold, Arin’s tactical brilliance is surpassed only by his hatred for magic. When a mistake exposes Sylvia’s magic, Arin offers her an escape: compete as Nizahl’s Champion in the Alcalah tournament and win immunity from persecution. In exchange, Arin will use her as bait to draw out the Jasadis he’s hunting.

To win the deadly Alcalah, Sylvia must work with Arin to free her trapped magic, all while staying a step ahead of his efforts to uncover her identity. But as the two grow closer, Sylvia realizes winning her freedom as Nizahl’s Champion means destroying any chance of reuniting Jasad under her banner. The scorched kingdom is rising again, and Sylvia will have to choose between the life she’s earned and the one she left behind.

This is another amazing novel that has really grabbed my attention and which I am extremely keen to check out.  Featuring a cool new fantasy world and a dangerous situation that will force a young princess to endure a deadly tournament and the regard of her enemies, The Jasad Heir sounds like another gripping and outstanding read, and I think it has a ton of potential.  It sounds like Hashem will be combining some great political, personal and magical elements in this narrative, and I have a feeling that this will end up being one of the top debuts of the year.  As such, I will make a great effort to grab a copy and I cannot wait to see how this book unfolds.

As you can see, we are going to be very spoiled when it comes to impressive fantasy death tournaments later this year, and that is something that I am very grateful for.  Both Immortal Longings and The Jasad Heir should prove to be a lot of fun and I can’t wait to experience the amazing stories they contain.

Waiting on Wednesday – Dark Corners by Megan Goldin

Welcome to my weekly segment, Waiting on Wednesday, where I look at upcoming books that I am planning to order and review in the next few months and which I think I will really enjoy.  I run this segment in conjunction with the Can’t-Wait Wednesday meme that is currently running at Wishful Endings.  Stay tuned to see reviews of these books when I get a copy of them.  In this week’s Waiting on Wednesday I check out a cool upcoming crime fiction reader from acclaimed Australian author Megan Goldin, Dark Corners.

Dark Corners Cover

Amazon     Book Depository

Readers of this blog will probably be familiar with my habit of supporting and highlighting Australian authors in my various reviews and posts.  This is primarily because, as a book reviewer living in Australia, a lot of this local fiction gets sent to me by publishers.  However, I also like supporting my fellow countrymen, especially when they are killing it across a variety of genres, and it is always fun to see an Australian representing the rest of us international markets.  As such, the subject of this Waiting on Wednesday article is perhaps one of the most impressive and well-known Australian authors now, compelling crime fiction writer Megan Goldin.

Goldin has been writing for a few years now and has so far produced several amazing and highly regarded bestselling novels.  I personally first became familiar with Goldin back in 2018 when I was lucky enough to get a copy of her epic thriller, The Escape Room, which I powered through in a single night.  I had an amazing time with its fantastic narrative, especially as it detailed the corrupt dealings of Wall Street, and it ended up being one of my favourite pieces of Australian fiction at the time.  However, Megan was far from done and she has since produced two more outstanding reads.  This includes her heartbreaking and dramatic novel, The Night Swim (one of my favourite Australian novels of 2020) and the impressive thriller from last year, Stay Awake (one of my favourite Australian novels of 2022).  All her books have had great concepts, backed up with excellent writing, and I would strongly recommend each and everyone of her previous books.

Unsurprisingly, I am always excited when I see that Goldin has another book on the horizon, and it looks like we will only have to wait till August 2023 for her next novel, Dark Corners.  A sequel to The Night Swim, Dark Corners will bring back Goldin’s excellent pod-casting protagonist Rachel Krall, who is recruited by the FBI for an investigation.  Thrust further into the deep end than ever before, Rachel will have to uncover the dark world of influencers and social media celebrities to find a deadly killer.

I have to say that I love the sound of this cool upcoming book, not just because Goldin is apparently going to unleash a serial killer on convention full of influencers.  Goldin is always such an exceptional writer, and this book sounds like it will have some excellent murder mystery elements to it, which I am excited to see.  I am deeply intrigued to see how this elaborate and fun sounding story unfolds, and I am particularly keen to see Goldin’s take on the influencer/social media scene.  I have no doubt that Dark Corners is going to be one of the top novels by an Australian author in 2023 and I full plan to dive into this novel the second I have my hands on it.

Plot Synopsis:

 Rachel Krall, the true crime podcaster star of Megan Goldin’s acclaimed The Night Swim, returns to search for a popular influencer who disappears after visiting a suspected serial killer.

Terence Bailey is about to be released from prison for breaking and entering, though investigators have long suspected him in the murders of six women. As his release date approaches, Bailey gets a surprise visit from Maddison Logan, a hot, young influencer with a huge social media following. Hours later, Maddison disappears, and police suspect she’s been kidnapped―or worse. Is Maddison’s disappearance connected to her visit to Bailey? And why was she visiting him in the first place?

When they hit a wall in the investigation, the FBI reluctantly asks for Rachel Krall’s help in finding the missing influencer. Maddison seems to only exist on social media; she has no family, no friends, and other than in her posts, most people have never seen her. Who is she, really? Using a fake Instagram account, Rachel goes undercover to BuzzCon, a popular influencer conference, where she discovers a world of fierce rivalry that may have turned lethal.

When police find the body of a woman with a tattoo of a snake eating its tail―identical to a tattoo Rachel had seen on Bailey’s hand―the FBI must consider a chilling possibility: Bailey has an accomplice on the outside and a dangerous obsession with influencers, including Rachel Krall herself. Suddenly the target of a monster hiding in plain sight, Rachel is forced to confront the very real dangers that lurk in the dark corners of the internet.

Amazon     Book Depository

Waiting on Wednesday – Gods of the Wyrdwood by R. J. Barker

Welcome to my weekly segment, Waiting on Wednesday, where I look at upcoming books that I am planning to order and review in the next few months and which I think I will really enjoy.  I run this segment in conjunction with the Can’t-Wait Wednesday meme that is currently running at Wishful Endings.  Stay tuned to see reviews of these books when I get a copy of them.  For this latest entry I look at one of my most anticipated fantasy releases of 2023 with Gods of the Wyrdwood by R. J. Barker.

Gods of the Wyrdwood Cover

Amazon     Book Depository

There have been some outstanding fantasy works in the last few years and I have been lucky enough to experience a range of talented authors and fantastic stories.  However, few authors have engaged me with their creativity, cleverness and ability to bring complex characters to life than the phenomenal and continually improving author, R. J. Barker.  Barker debuted back in 2017 with his debut novel, Age of Assassins that kicked off The Wounded Kingdom trilogy.  Following an assassin and his master as they attempt to unravel a political conspiracy in a dark castle, Age of Assassins was an awesome book that served as a great introduction to Barker’s writing style.  However, Age of Assassins was only the start, as he soon followed up this first book with two epic sequels, Blood of Assassins and King of Assassins, both of which saw the aging protagonist become involved in several elaborate plots and battles as he tries to keep his king/best friend alive.  Both these novels were extremely good and Barker seemed to markedly improve with each book, with King of Assassins being an exceptional, five-star read in my opinion, especially with its many dark twists.

As such, by the end of The Wounded Kingdom trilogy, I was very impressed with Barker as an author, however, Barker was just getting started.  In 2019, only two years after his debut, Barker unleashed a second trilogy with The Tide Child series.  Set in a whole new fantasy world, The Tide Child trilogy was an intriguing nautical-based dark fantasy that followed a crew of a condemned ship, made of dragon bone, as they attempt to survive the dark machinations of a corrupt government while attempting to bring back the ancient sea dragons previously hunted to extinction.  This incredible trilogy stated with The Bone Ships (one of my favourite books and audiobooks of 2019), an excellent and powerful read that perfectly introduced the trilogy’s main characters and showcased just how far Barker had come as an author as he seamlessly dived into a whole new sub-genre of fantasy fiction by pulling together an epic tale on the high seas.  The following two novels, Call of the Bone Ships and The Bone Ship’s Wake (one of my favourite books and audiobooks of 2021), were incredible sequels the expertly continued the great story while providing some powerful development to the main character.  Everything was given a dramatic and fitting ending in the final novel and The Tide Child series ended up being one of the very best trilogies I have ever read.

Naturally, after how exceptional his first two trilogies have been, I have been quite eager to see what this talented author would do next and I am deeply excited to see what new and elaborate fantasy setting and scenario he brings together.  Well, after a couple of years of waiting, my fantasy fiction prayers are about to be answered as a brand-new R. J. Barker series is set to start in June 2023.

This new Barker series will be known as the Forsaken trilogy and will once again be set in a new dark fantasy world.  The first book in this Forsaken series will be the 2023 release, Gods of the Wyrdwood, which they just released an epic cover for.  This new book has a very intriguing narrative to it and I have been very excited by all the cool details that have been revealed.

Plot Synopsis:

In a world locked in eternal winter and haunted by prophecy, a young boy trains for years to become the Chosen One, only for another to rise and claim his place in the start of an unmissable epic from a rising star in fantasy.

The northlands of Crua are locked in eternal winter, but prophecy tells of the chosen child – who will rule in the name of their God, and take warmth back from the South. Cahal du Nahere was raised to be this person: the Cowl-Rai, the saviour. Taken from his parents and prepared for his destiny.

But his time never came.

When he was fifteen he ceased to matter. Another Cowl-Rai had risen, another chosen one, raised in the name of a different God. The years of vicious physical and mental training he had endured, the sacrifice, all for nothing. He became nothing.

Twenty years later, and Cahal lives a life of secrecy on the edges of Crua’s giant forests – hiding what he is, running from what he can do. But when he is forced to reveal his true nature, he sets off a sequence of events that will reveal secrets that will shake the bedrock of his entire world, and expose lies that have persisted for generations.

So Barker is going to put his own unique spin on the classic ‘Chosen One’ storyline, yeah now that is something I can really get behind.  I already knew that I was going to love this awesome book, but damn me if that above awesome synopsis hasn’t gotten me extra excited.  I am extremely intrigued with the idea of the story following a chosen child who is replaced and made obsolete by another rising chosen champion, especially as it going to play into the larger storyline and the character’s growth so extremely well.  I can just imagine how much chaos the character is going to unleash when he reveals his existence to the world, and I am sure that every damn second of it is going to be glorious.  Thrown in an inventive and cool new fantasy world from Barker, this time an ice-locked wilderness, and I am very damn sure that this is going to be another exceptional novel.

Look, based on how much I raved about Barker at the start of this article, I doubt anyone is too surprised that I have some very high hopes for Gods of the Wyrdwood.  This author has produced some truly epic and exceptional works over the years, and it honestly seems to me that everything he touches turns to gold.  As such, I was already pretty damn excited for this book, and the powerful plot synopsis and the very striking cover has only reinforced this.  As such, I fully expect Gods of the Wyrdwood to be one of the very best books of 2023 and I intend to grab it the second that it comes out.  Everything about this book, from the story to the author, is already very outstanding and my mind, and I cannot wait to see what magic Barker weaves in this promising upcoming trilogy.

Amazon     Book Depository

Waiting on Wednesday – The Hunters by David Wragg

Welcome to my weekly segment, Waiting on Wednesday, where I look at upcoming books that I am planning to order and review in the next few months and which I think I will really enjoy.  I run this segment in conjunction with the Can’t-Wait Wednesday meme that is currently running at Wishful Endings.  Stay tuned to see reviews of these books when I get a copy of them.  In this latest Waiting on Wednesday, I check out a fun sounding upcoming fantasy book with The Hunters by David Wragg.

The Hunters Cover

Book Depository

A few years ago, I grabbed a copy of a very entertaining and compelling fantasy novel from a new author, The Black Hawks by David Wragg.  An excellent novel that saw a desperate young noble and a cowardly prince get rescued/kidnapped by an eclectic band of dangerous mercenaries who drag them into a series of deadly encounters across the lands.  Fast-paced, action-packed, and loaded with funny and memorable characters, The Black Hawks was a pretty epic read and I really enjoyed how the excellent story played out.  I had a lot of fun with The Black Hawks and I was really impressed by Wragg’s writing and storytelling ability.  While I haven’t had a chance to read the sequel to The Black Hawks, The Righteous, yet, I have been keeping an eye out for more books from Wragg and I was intrigued when I heard the premise for his next book, The Hunters.

The Hunters, which is currently set for release in July 2023, will be the first book in his Tales of the Plains trilogy.  Set in the same universe as The Black Hawks, The Hunters will be only loosely connected to Wragg’s first two books, with a mostly standalone a plot.  As such, I am very interested in checking it out, especially as the plot synopsis below sounds extremely fun.  The Hunters will follow a violent woman and her niece as they are hunted through the wilderness of the realms by several bands of mercenaries for unknown reasons.  Sure to be loaded with action, adventure and some crass by clever humour, The Hunters is bound to be one of the most exciting fantasy novels of 2023 and I am really keen to check it out, especially after all the fun I had with The Black Hawks.  I might also try to read The Righteous in advance of The Hunters coming out, but even if I don’t this book remains one of the top upcoming fantasy books that I am looking forward to this year.

Plot Synopsis:

Ree is a woman with a violent past – a past she is eager to put behind her. After years of wandering, she and her niece, Javani, have built a small farm in mining country, at the edge of the known world, and Ree is keeping her head down.

But one day two groups of professional killers arrive in town, looking for a young girl and an older woman. A deadly chase through deserts, mountains, and mines begins. And Ree will have to discover her former self if she is to keep them both alive.

Waiting on Wednesday – The Armour of Light by Ken Follett

Welcome to my weekly segment, Waiting on Wednesday, where I look at upcoming books that I am planning to order and review in the next few months and which I think I will really enjoy.  I run this segment in conjunction with the Can’t-Wait Wednesday meme that is currently running at Wishful Endings.  Stay tuned to see reviews of these books when I get a copy of them.  For my latest Top Ten Tuesday, I look at the book that is probably going to be the most epic historical fiction read of 2023 with The Armour of Light by Ken Follett.

The Armour of Light Cover

Amazon     Book Depository

Out of all the authors who dive into the complex and impressive genre of historical fiction, few are as well-known or epic as Ken Follett, who has been dominating the genre for years with his massive and epic tomes.  An accomplished thriller author, I have only really had the chance to explore Follett’s historical fiction books, with his Century trilogy being a particular favourite of mine (one of my favourite trilogies of all time).  However, Follett’s most iconic work has to be his Kingsbridge series, which have long gained mass recognition and accolades.

The Kingsbridge books are a series of massive, epic novels that chronicle the complex lives of the residence of the town of Kingsbridge in historical England.  Each book follows the lives of several intriguing characters as they attempt to survive the various challenges and turmoil of the age, often coming into conflict with each other in some elaborate and extended ways.  The series started in 1989 with The Pillars of Earth, which is probably Follett’s most successful novel.  Set over the course of 50 years in the 12th century, The Pillars of Earth showcased a range of personal, political, economic and social issues that the characters spent their lives overcoming in different ways, often loaded with dramatic or historical significance.  An exceptionally epic book, The Pillars of the Earth is very highly regarded and was turned into a compelling TV miniseries with an awesome cast.

Follett has since followed up his original novel several times throughout his career, with each of the Kingsbridge books set in a different period of the town’s history.  For example, the 2007 release World Without End (which was also adapted into a miniseries), is set in the 14th century around the start of the Hundred Year’s War.  The 2017 novel, A Column of Fire, was another compelling sequel that mirrored the life and reign of Queen Elizabeth I and featured a compelling plot involving Catholic spies and religious conflict.  The fourth book was the 2020 novel, The Evening and the Morning, which served as a prequel to the rest of the series and showed the founding of Kingsbridge in the early years of Viking infested 11th century.  All four of these books have been exceptionally good, and I love following a whole new group of characters while exploring the unique aspects and conflicts of their particular historical era.

Due to how impressive and addictive the first four books of this series have proven to be, I was naturally deeply excited when I found out that Follett was releasing a fifth Kingsbridge novel later this year with The Armour of Light.  Set for release in late September 2023, The Armour of Light will follow several new characters amid the age of revolution and industry.

Plot Synopsis:

The grand master of gripping fiction is back. International No.1 bestseller Ken Follett returns to Kingsbridge with an epic tale of revolution and a cast of unforgettable characters.

Revolution is in the air

1792. A tyrannical government is determined to make England a mighty commercial empire. In France, Napoleon Bonaparte begins his rise to power, and with dissent rife, France’s neighbours are on high alert.

Kingsbridge is on the edge

Unprecedented industrial change sweeps the land, making the lives of the workers in Kingbridge’s prosperous cloth mills a misery. Rampant modernization and dangerous new machinery are rendering jobs obsolete and tearing families apart.

Tyranny is on the horizon

Now, as international conflict nears, a story of a small group of Kingsbridge people – including spinner Sal Clitheroe, weaver David Shoveller and Kit, Sal’s inventive and headstrong son – will come to define the struggle of a generation as they seek enlightenment and fight for a future free from oppression…

Taking the reader straight into the heart of history with the fifth novel in the ground-breaking Kingsbridge series, The Armour of Light is master storyteller Ken Follett’s most ambitious novel to date.

Wow, 2023 just keeps looking brighter and brighter for awesome upcoming books and I am particularly happy to see that Follett is dropping another Kingsbridge book, which is easily one of my favourite historical series of all time.

My excitement has been peeked even further by the fact that The Armour of Light is going to be set around the Napoleonic era and the following industrial revolution of the early 19th century.  The hints of the turmoil and conflict that follows the industrial revolution is pretty intriguing, especially as the wool and cloth trade has always been such a centrepiece of the Kingsbridge novels, with the characters usually involved with them in some way.  Seeing that entire industry get radically altered in The Armour of Light is going to be exceeding interesting, especially as two of the main characters are a spinner and a weaver.  I have no doubt this is going to result in quite an epic story of revolt and a philosophical war, and that’s not even taking into account the inevitable and powerful personal conflicts that are bound to show up.  Follett is bound to take this story in some extremely captivating and dangerous directions, and I am sure I will be caught up in them the entire way through.

If I’m going to be honest, there is no way that I will not have an amazing time reading The Armour of Light when it comes out.  All of Follett’s previous Kingsbridge novels have been incredible and I doubt The Armour of Light is going to be any different.  If it features the author’s usual impressive combination of historical detail and awesome characters, then I will power through this upcoming book in no time at all, even with its 1000+ page length.  I have very little doubt this is going to be one of the absolute best historical books of 2023 and I cannot wait to get my hands on this fantastic tome later this year.

Waiting on Wednesday – The Will of the Many by James Islington

Welcome to my weekly segment, Waiting on Wednesday, where I look at upcoming books that I am planning to order and review in the next few months and which I think I will really enjoy.  I run this segment in conjunction with the Can’t-Wait Wednesday meme that is currently running at Wishful Endings.  Stay tuned to see reviews of these books when I get a copy of them.  For my latest Waiting on Wednesday, I look at an awesome upcoming fantasy novel with a dark magical school setting, The Will of the Many by James Islington.

The Will of the Many Cover

Amazon     Book Depository

One of the things that I love about fantasy fiction is that there are so many awesome potential settings that can be used as a backdrop for an epic tale.  Fantasy can incorporate anything from modern urban settings to outrageous alien communities, and everything in between, and you can get some amazing reads out of that.  However, if I had to choose one of my absolute favourite settings for a fantasy, it would have to be a magical school.  Maybe its because the Harry Potter books were such a big part of my childhood, or maybe because there have been some outstanding recent novels set in fantasy academies (check out a Top Ten Tuesday list I did on the subject), but I have always loved these novels in a big way.  As such, when I see that a talented fantasy author is releasing a cool new book with a magical school setting later this year, it really gets my attention.

This upcoming book is The Will of the Many by new-to-me author James Islington, which is currently set for release in May 2023.  Set to combine mystery, intrigue, politics and the future of a nation with a dark magic school, The Will of the Many sounds particularly epic, and I am actually really excited to check it out.  The plot synopsis below has some very intriguing details to it, and the entire magical system, which is based on people ceding their Will into someone else to give them power, is very unique and opens up a raft of possibilities.  I look forward to seeing how Islington will bring everything together and I have feeling that The Will of the Many is going to end up being one of the most interesting and compelling fantasy novels of 2023.

Plot Synopsis:

At the elite Catenan Academy, where students are prepared as the future leaders of the Hierarchy empire, the curriculum reveals a layered set of mysteries which turn murderous in this new fantasy by bestselling author of The Licanius Trilogy, James Islington.

Vis, the adopted son of Magnus Quintus Ulcisor, a prominent senator within the Hierarchy, is trained to enter the famed Catenan Academy to help Ulciscor learn what the hidden agenda is of the remote island academy. Secretly, he also wants Vis to discover what happed to his brother who died at the academy. He’s sure the current Principalis of the academy, Quintus Veridius Julii, a political rival, knows much more than he’s revealing.

The Academy’s vigorous syllabus is a challenge Vis is ably suited to meet, but it is the training in the use of Will, a practice that Vis finds abhorrent, that he must learn in order to excel at the Academy. Will—a concept that encompasses their energy, drive, focus, initiative, ambition, and vitality—can be voluntarily “ceded” to someone else. A single recipient can accept ceded Will from multiple people, growing in power towards superhuman levels. Within the hierarchy your level of Will, or legal rank, determines how you live or die. And there are those who are determined to destroy this hierarchal system, as well as those in the Academy who use it to gain dominance in internationally bestselling author James Islington’s wonderfully crafted new epic fantasy series.

Waiting on Wednesday – Fire With Fire by Candice Fox

Welcome to my weekly segment, Waiting on Wednesday, where I look at upcoming books that I am planning to order and review in the next few months and which I think I will really enjoy.  I run this segment in conjunction with the Can’t-Wait Wednesday meme that is currently running at Wishful Endings.  Stay tuned to see reviews of these books when I get a copy of them.  In this week’s Waiting on Wednesday, I check out an awesome upcoming thriller from a particularly talented Australian author, Fire With Fire by Candice Fox.

Fire With Fire Cover

Amazon     Book Depository

Over the last few years, I have been lucky enough to read several books from one of Australia’s premier authors, Candice Fox.  Fox is an exceptional author who has been wowing Australian crime fiction audiences since 2014 with her Australian crime fiction books, including the Archer and Bennet series and the Crimson Lake books (recently adapted into the Australian television show, Troppo).  In recent years, Fox has moved on to a larger international audience with several amazing books set in America, as well as some great collaborations with legendary thriller author James Patterson, including her Detective Harriet Blue series.  I personally have had the pleasure of reading her last three books, the standalone novels Gathering Dark, The Chase, and 2 Sisters Detective Agency (co-written with James Patterson), and all of them were exceedingly good reads (2 Sisters Detective Agency was one of my favourite Australian books of 2021).

After how incredible her last three books were, there is no way I am going to miss out on her next epic read, and luckily for me, there is only a couple of months until her new book, Fire With Fire, is out.  Set for release in early April 2023, Fire With Fire is another gritty crime-read set in America that will push several complex characters over the edge.  I absolutely love the sound of the epic plot below, especially the idea of desperate parents holding an evidence lab hostage, and there is no way that this doesn’t result in an intense, emotionally powerful crime fiction read.  With Fox’s proven writing ability, Fire With Fire is sure to be an outstanding novel and it wouldn’t surprise me if it becomes one of the best books by an Australian author released in 2023.

Plot Synopsis:

A married couple launch a deadly plan to find their missing child.
A half-dead man washes up on a Los Angeles beach.
A rookie cop is fired on her first day.

Ryan and Elsie Delaney don’t accept the official line that their young daughter drowned on Santa Monica beach. Her body has never been found and their pleas for a proper investigation are rejected.

So now the desperate pair are raining hellfire on the police.

Taking three hostages at the Hertzberg-Davis Forensic Science Center, they give law enforcement an ultimatum: if Tilly isn’t located in the next 24 hours, they will destroy evidence in several major cases.

Detective Charlie Hoskins only just survived five years embedded with the ruthless gang known as the Death Machines. All his work is in that lab. If the police won’t look for Tilly, he will. Even if that means accepting help from Lynette Lamb, the rookie officer sacked for blowing his cover – and having him thrown to the sharks.

Finding Tilly is now a matter of life and death – for the Delaneys, for their hostages, for Charlie and Lamb, and for the little girl who one day simply vanished . . .