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The Hatching / Skitter by Ezekiel Boone

Deep in the jungle of Peru, where so much remains unknown, a black, skittering mass devours an American tourist whole. Thousands of miles away, an FBI agent investigates a fatal plane crash in Minneapolis and makes a gruesome discovery. Unusual seismic patterns register in a Kanpur, India earthquake lab, confounding the scientists there. During the same week, the Chinese government “accidentally” drops a nuclear bomb in an isolated region of its own country. As these incidents begin to sweep the globe, a mysterious package from South America arrives at a Washington, D.C. laboratory. Something wants out.

The world is on the brink of an apocalyptic disaster. An ancient species, long dormant, is now very much awake.


Today’s Monday Book recommendation comes courtesy of one of my favourite book reviewers Redheaded Booklover. I saw this on her blog and I thought: Ugh Spiders! and This sounds amazing! Zombies are one thing… but a killer spider pandemic? *Shivers*

You can read her reviews here: The Hatching and Skitter.


About Ezekiel Boone

I live in upstate New York with my wife and kids. Whenever I travel and say I’m from New York, people think I mean NYC, but we live about three hours north of New York City. Our house is five minutes outside of a university town. We’re far enough out of town that, at night, it’s dark.
No.
Darker than that.
Dark enough that, if you’re not careful, you might fall off the small cliff at the edge of my property. If you’re lucky, the water will be up enough to break your fall. If you’re not lucky, please sign a waiver before you come to visit.
I’ve got two unruly dogs who are mostly friendly. Well, that’s not true. The part about them being unruly is true, but one of them is the most friendly dog you’ve ever met, and the other dog … isn’t. They are good writing partners, though they spend a lot of their day curled up in front of the wood burning stove and ignoring me. Unless I’m making lunch. They pay attention to me then.
The Ezekiel Boone website is www.ezekielboone.com, but I’ve also got a nifty website for THE HATCHING at www.TheHatchingBook.com. It has a cool map and some other bells and whistles.
You can also follow me on Facebook or follow me on Instagram if you are so inclined and like the idea of occasionally seeing photos of my dogs.
If you’ve read this far, I should mention that THE HATCHING is Ezekiel Boone’s first book, but it’s not actually *my* first book. I also write under the name Alexi Zentner. Alexi Zentner’s books are pretty different from Ezekiel Boone’s.

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Monday Book Recommendation: The Ghost Line

The luxury cruise ship the Martian Queen was decommissioned years ago, set to drift back and forth between Earth and Mars on the off-chance that reclaiming it ever became profitable for the owners. For Saga and her husband Michel the cruise ship represents a massive payday. Hacking and stealing the ship could earn them enough to settle down, have children, and pay for the treatments to save Saga’s mother’s life.

But the Martian Queen is much more than their employer has told them. In the twenty years since it was abandoned, something strange and dangerous has come to reside in the decadent vessel. Saga feels herself being drawn into a spider’s web, and must navigate the traps and lures of an awakening intelligence if she wants to go home again.


Andrew Gray‘s fiction has appeared in numerous speculative fiction magazines, including Nature Futures, Apex Magazine, Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show, The Sockdolager and On Spec.

He was awarded On Spec’s Lydia Langstaff Memorial Prize, has been nominated for a National Magazine Award for Fiction and has been shortlisted several times for the CBC/Saturday Night Literary Award. He was the runner-up prize winner in the 2015 Quantum Shorts flash fiction competition.

His first collection of stories, Small Accidents, was published by Raincoast Books and was shortlisted for the Ethel Wilson Award at the BC Book Prizes and an IPPY award in the US.

With co-author J.S. Herbison, he has written The Ghost Line, which is forthcoming from Tor.com’s novella imprint in mid-2017.

He lives with his family and several cranky chickens on Canada’s West Coast

December Goals: No Jingle Bells Here

5-things

It’s the 1st of December and I don’t need to go further than my emails to know that everyone is getting hyped up for Christmas and December holidays. Not me.

I’ll be busy working towards 2017 during December, and there is a lot to work through.

Anthology

I have announced before that I am working on a short story anthology. Two in fact, one of my own personal stories and another from Patreon suggested short stories. My dear friend and amazing artist Leesan Naidoo, has been designing the covers for each of my short stories, and I must say they look amazing. I look forward to publishing my anthology. Obviously it involves a lot of work, but that’s to be expected.

I’ve also changed a couple of things on my Patreon page and will be starting that up again. If you have any suggestions for a December short story, feel free to send suggestions in the comment section below.

Patreon – Nthato Morakabi

Book Reviews

I’ll be continuing my book reviews as usual. A lot of the books I read, have been for Gamecca Magazine, and I’m not sure if I’m allowed to post those reviews on my blog too. Which is why my Wednesday Book Reviews have been a little slow. I’ve effectively been reading two books a week. According to Goodreads, I’m 6 books behind but by next week it should be down to 3 at the most.

Book Review requests are still coming in, and there’s an annual February event looming that I’ll be part of. So much reading, so little time.

If you want to know what I’m currently reading, here’s my Goodreads Reading List.

General HooHah

I’ll be guest blogging during December on a friend and fellow writer’s blog Life In Light of Eternity, with our focus on Christmas in our own little Advent Calendar. Different authors, varying formats and insightful stuff. Join us!

I’ll be revamping my website NthatoMorakabi.com. Design. Content. etc. I’ll also be starting up my monthly Newsletter with updates on everything happening. You can subscribe to the newsletter here.

In last week’s post, The Creative’s Burden, I listed a number of things I wished I could do and didn’t have time for. Rather than do the whole “2017 Resolutions” thing, I’ll be kick starting a couple of those ideas this month.

In short, I’ll hitting the ground running. I hope you will continue to endure with me through the last remaining days of this month and onward to 2017.

Happy Writing!

 

Wednesday Book Review: The Lilies of Dawn

The Lillies of Dawn_Full

Title: The Lilies of Dawn

Author: Vanessa Fogg

Publisher:  Annorlunda Books

Book procurement: Won the book in a competition run by Vicky of BooksandStrips.

Release Date: July 26, 2016.

Synopsis:

There is a lake of marvels. A lake of water lilies that glow with the color of dawn. For generations Kai’s people have harvested these lilies, dependent upon them for the precious medicines they provide.

But now a flock of enchanted cranes has come to steal and poison the harvest. The lilies are dying. Kai’s people are in peril. A mysterious young man from the city thinks he might have a solution. Kai must work with him to solve the mystery of the cranes, and it will take all her courage, love, strength, and wisdom to do what she must to save both the lilies and her people. The Lilies of Dawn is a lushly written, lyrical fairy tale of love, duty, family, and one young woman’s coming of age.

Review:

Ah what a wonderfully sweet and fantastically written book. It’s too short though! I could have done with a couple more pages, but for what it was and it’s purpose, it was the perfect length.

It’s the story of Kai, who is the daughter of the Priestess of the Dawn Mother. A deity who’s beautiful lilies bloom at dawn and give an elixir that cures ills. However, mysterious sunlit cranes sweep in out of nowhere to steal the precious nectar and poison the flowers. Shamans, Priests and monks seek to rid the village of the birds but none succeed – until a mysterious young man appears with a possible solution.

I was pleasantly surprised with the story. A solid plot that combines real life with mysticism. There were a few things I predicted, but it wasn’t a disappointing experience – and there were few where I thought I knew where it was going and it didn’t. Like the ending! Although in hindsight I should have seen that coming haha.

The words flow beautifully along, strung almost poetically from the perspective of Kai. We get to understand her persona, learn about life and how everything has been building towards the climatic end.

Outside of my scope, especially considering it’s horror week on the blog. A recommended read.

Rating: A sweet 4 out of 5.


VanessaFogg

Vanessa Fogg dreams of dragons, selkies, and gritty cyberpunk futures from her home in western Michigan. She is a lapsed scientist and now works as a freelance medical writer. Her short stories have appeared in a number of science fiction and fantasy magazines, as well as in a few non-genre outlets. She is fueled by green tea.

Purchase Links: Amazon | GumRoad | iBooks | Kobo | Smashwords

Goodreads: Vanessa Fogg

Author Website: VanessaFogg.com

Wednesday Book Review: Sticky Fingers

Stick Fingers - JT Lawrence

Title: Sticky Fingers

Author: JT Lawrence

Genre: Short stories

Book procurement: Received a copy from the author for an honest review. Available on Amazon from the 28 July 2016.

Synopsis:

Diverse, dark-humoured, and deliciously bite-sized, this compelling collection of 12 short stories by JT Lawrence include:

‘Escape’ — a story about about a suicidal baby who knows he was born into the wrong life, and has to get creative to take measures correct the mistake, much to his mother’s horror.

The Itch’ — a story about an intense, uncontrollable, unexplainable itch that lands the protagonist in a mental institution.

‘Bridge Gate’ — In this poignant and charming short story, a daughter yearns to connect with her absent father through the letters they exchange. She’s not put off by his pedantic corrections of her writing, despite the slow reveal that he is less than perfect himself.

‘The Unsuspecting Gold-digger’ — a woman gradually poisons her husband so that she doesn’t have to break his heart.

Review:

As a short story writer myself, I’ve got a soft spot for anthologies. There’s something unique and expectant in short stories that novels (unless they are sequels) do not have in their endings. You know you should expect some sort of cliff hanger and JT. Lawrence, in her short stories, executes it perfectly often enough.

I think to review each story would be a bit much, so instead I’ll pick out ones that stood out for me:

Escape: This suicidal-baby short just left me traumatized. Initially I was confused by the concern of the parents; the father thinks the baby is attempting to end their life and the mother thinks he’s exaggerating. And then both agree the child has a death wish. Perhaps some clarity? Other than that, the descriptions were vivid and clear. A clever use of words, and a prompting of the question that I’m sure many have asked: how aware/cognitive are babies really?

The Itch: Eeeuuwww. I think that’s a sufficient review? No? Okay… well imagine having an itch so intense it causes you to burrow through your skull? I think my only issue is that I still don’t know what caused the itch. And I’m starting to feel an itch in my head too…

Something Borrowed: I did not see that coming. Not one bit. Such a beautiful beginning. And then I saw that one point thrown in offhandedly. But nothing is random in short stories. It’s the wriggling worm and you’re the unsuspecting fish.

Pigeon Pair: Have you watched Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds? I find pigeons far more sinister. I got the creeps reading this.I’m convinced you will be too.

The Little Pink Book: One of my favourites. Because I honestly did not see that end coming. And so casual and sweet and unassuming. Midwife fears. Another great example of good writing.

Travelling Slacks: Fantastically written although I would never go so far with a “customer”. This short is written as the communication between a reviewer and the hotel where the person stayed. It’s funny. It’s incredulous. It’s just that good.

In terms of writing, JT Lawrence is spot on with most of her stories. I enjoyed reading through all of them; some just to figure out how they end and other’s because the writing was just that compelling. I did, however, find myself wondering if all the characters were the same as they bore the same sort of characteristics often. There was even a story where I was convinced the character was female (as most of them are) and was surprised when he wasn’t. And I’m still trying to figure out what “Off the Hinge” was all about. There was a good change up in perspective with stories like Bridge Gate (which doesn’t sound like a B&B at all haha), Travelling Slacks, and Pigeon Pair. Yet, whenever the stories were based in South Africa, I didn’t get a sense of “South Africa” in them. They still felt very “Western”.

The stories in the anthology have themes that I wouldn’t personally relate to, but that make for compelling stories nonetheless: weddings, children, marriage, infidelity (marriage and religious), child birth. At the end of it, the stories played on fears that I didn’t even think I had.

In overall this is great selection of short stories, and JT Lawrence is a fantastic writer. She draws you in, builds up the tension, and then leaves you dangling over the edge only to find the edge doesn’t exist after all. And the little covers for each story are gorgeous.

Rating: An enjoyable 4 out of 5

Wednesday Book Review: Revival

Stephen King - Revival

Title: Revival

Author: Stephen King

Genre: Horror

Book procurement: Birthday gift from cousin

Synopsis: (Goodreads)

In a small New England town, in the early 60s, a shadow falls over a small boy playing with his toy soldiers. Jamie Morton looks up to see a striking man, the new minister, Charles Jacobs. Soon they forge a deep bond, based on their fascination with simple experiments in electricity.

Decades later, Jamie is living nomadic lifestyle of bar-band rock and roll. Now an addict, he sees Jacobs again – a showman on stage, creating dazzling ‘portraits in lightning’ – and their meeting has profound consequences for both men. Their bond becomes a pact beyond even the Devil’s devising, and Jamie discovers that revival has many meanings.

Review:

The King does it again. Another fascinating tale of humans verses the unknown, and all the things that make us human; with just a dash of horror to liven it up of course. What I really enjoyed about this book was the fact that the horror itself was not in the form of monsters or aliens or anything of the sort but the realm of the unknown and the ever sought answer to life’s greatest mystery: what happens after death.

Told from the perspective of Jamie Morton, we “grow up” with the six year old boy playing with toy soldiers to the young man falling in love to the older man caught in a web between himself and his old preacher Charles Jacobs. I want to say more, but I have to keep it vague in fear of writing a spoiler.

King has always been a name dropper. Band names, songs they sang, the people in the band. Places. People. Things. King makes them part of the story which thereby gives a sense of authenticity to his books; as though it were a tale that happened in the very world we live in. Looking up almost all the references in Revival leads you to a factual person, band or song, and I love that aspect of “world building” in it.

I must say I was sourly disappointed by the end. Not the ending itself but the big reveal of the mystery at the end… so anti-climatic. I mean sure, it was very King-like, and if you have watched any SK book-to-movie adaptations, this ending will fit right in. But it was not that scary nor was it spectacular. I would have thought that I was perhaps desensitised to it, but there were other aspects before hand that made me put the book down and shake the image out of my head. *shivers*

All in all, a typical King book and story that I enjoyed.

Rating: Resuscitating 3 out of 5

Monday Book Recommendation: Good Omens

Good OmensAccording to The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter,Witch (the world’s only completely accurate book of prophecies, written in 1655, before she exploded), the world will end on a Saturday. Next Saturday, in fact. Just before dinner.

So the armies of Good and Evil are amassing, Atlantis is rising, frogs are falling, tempers are flaring. Everything appears to be going according to Divine Plan. Except a somewhat fussy angel and a fast-living demon—both of whom have lived amongst Earth’s mortals since The Beginning and have grown rather fond of the lifestyle—are not actually looking forward to the coming Rapture.

And someone seems to have misplaced the Antichrist…

 

I’ve heard many great things about Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman in the last couple of months, especially following the death of Terry Pratchett. Once I was exposed to them, they showed up everywhere, and I’m not just talking about Discworld (which is a boardgame too) or the famous Neil Gaiman speech on writing.

So when a friend of mine brought out Good Omens during a visit to his home, I figured this would be a great introduction to both authors – and that proved to be true.

If you haven’t picked up Good Omens, I would suggest you do. It’s a great way of introducing yourself to both authors in a stand alone series that gives good insight to both of their writing styles in a fun way. I thoroughly enjoyed this book from start to finish and have picked up a couple of Terry Pratchett books in the process.


Have you read any books by Terry Pratchett or Neil Gaiman that you recommend? Let me know.

Monday Book Recommendation: By Darkness Hid

By Darkness Hid

I’ve decided that two days a week on my blog isn’t really cutting it. It allows me to be a little lazy. My Goodreads also informs me that I am three books behind so I plan on catching up and flying past so that I am three books ahead. Hence my Monday Book Recommendations weekly posts, where I recommend a book to you and take in book requests. I’ve started already on my Tumblr account (yes I have Tumblr, don’t judge me haha) so feel free to follow me here and there for updates. Let’s also not forget that every book I recommend or receive as recommendation, I add to my Goodreads book list.

Let’s jump right in to it with the first book recommendation of the month:


By Darkness Hid

Written by Jill Williamson

Given the chance to train as a squire, kitchen servant Achan Cham hopes to pull himself out of his pitiful life and become a Kingsguard Knight. When Achan’s owner learns of his training, he forces Achan to spar with the Crown Prince–more of a death sentence than an honor. Meanwhile, strange voices in Achan’s head cause him to fear he’s going mad. While escorting the prince to a council presentation, their convoy is attacked. Achan is wounded and arrested, but escapes from prison–only to discover a secret about himself he never believed possible.

Jill Williamson is a chocolate loving, daydreaming, creator of kingdoms and the award-winning author of several young adult books including By Darkness Hid, Replication, The New Recruit, and Captives. She got into writing one day when someone was complaining about teen books and she thought, “I could do that! How hard could it be?” Very, she soon learned. But she worked hard, and four years later, her first book, By Darkness Hid, was published and won several awards.

Jill is a Whovian, a Photoshop addict, and a recovering fashion design assistant, who was raised in Alaska. She loves teaching about writing, which she does weekly at www.GoTeenWriters.com. She lives in Oregon with her husband, two children, and a whole lot of deer. Visit her online at www.jillwilliamson.com, where adventure comes to life.


You can find plenty of my Book Recommendations on my Tumblr: Silvanthato

My TBR List is available on my Goodreads: Nthato Morakabi

 

Wednesday Book Impression: The Watchmaker of Filigree Street

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I walk into Exclusive Books Greenstone quite often. The fact that I work down the road from the mall gives me every reason to make a pit-stop at the book store, and browse the tantalizing shelves. I know there is the popular phrase, “Do not judge a book by its cover.” but when I walked past this book, my eyes were immediately drawn to it. I picked it up, read the blurb, and then put it down with every intention of coming back for it. At the end of February I headed into the bookstore, picked up this book as well as the third book in The Demon Cycle by Peter V Brett, and bought the book without hesitation.

I started this book following the amazing Endgame: The Calling which was fast paced action, an amalgamation of characters and a different tone of writing that was still fresh in my mind. So initially this book was quite slow for me. We meet Thaniel (short for Nathaniel… which is quite weird and new for me) who is a telegraphist at the Home Office in London 1883. He receives a golden watch mysteriously one day but can’t make heads or tails of the device until one very memorable day. And that is all I will say without giving away too much even though I am only about halfway through the book (hence the Book Impression rather than Book Review).

We are also introduced to a couple of other interesting characters, including a young girl who dresses like a man to use the public library (women are not allowed without an escort) as well as the clock maker himself who has an intriguing past that has led him eventually to London. As far as I can see, these three characters (and a fourth who seems to be on the outskirts yet is linked to the others) will come together somehow, I’m just really curious as to how.

Overall, I’m enjoying the book and look forward to what should be an exciting climatic end.


What book are you currently ready?

 

March Madness: Autumn Blues

Image courtesy of http://www.teamshatter.com/

 

A moment of silence for February…

… Thank you.

March has arrived and with it, a whirlwind of Autumn weather over here in the southern hemisphere, where the weather is bright and sunny one moment, then miserable and grey the next.

And it looks like my reading and writing is following suit.

The What in Wattpad

I joined Wattpad back in 2014, when I was looking for avenues that would help me build an audience for my writing. I posted two of my short stories there, one of which got me featured on a Twitter post by The Daily Post, when I was a participant in their daily prompts. Some Birds Where Meant to be Changed.

I took a step back from Wattpad when a fellow writer was in a long-standing quarrel with another Wattpad author who had taken my fellow writer’s story and posted it as their own. Plagiarism is one of my biggest fears.

I’ve decided to give Wattpad another try although it will be strictly stories I’ve posted before either here on my blog or other sources. Please feel free to go check them out.

Link to my Wattpad: NthatoM

Also, Carin Marais is on Wattpad here:  CarinMarais

What’s Good on Goodreads

I haven’t reviewed the last book I read Endgame: The Calling, which I raved about in my previous Book Impression. I just haven’t had time to get to it and now I’m deep into the third Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children: Library of Souls, with the intention of Reviewing that too. The Endgame Book review should be up on today’s Wednesday Book Review so look out for that later.

In the mean time, I managed to head to my favourite bookstore, Exclusive Books Greenstone, and I bought a couple of books to read, one of which is this amazing book I also mentioned before: The Watchmaker of Filigree Street.

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There is still plenty reading that must happen in these early days, as I attempt to catch up from a slow February.

Camping it out at CampNaNo

April is March-ing along (sorry could’t resist) towards existence, which means it will be time for Camp NaNoWrimo. It is a less intense version of NaNoWriMo in that you are not forced to write 50 000 words, and can, in fact, work on whatever you want; as long as you do some writing. So for the first time since signing up for NaNoWriMo, I will be participating in Camp NaNo, my focus this time will be a set of short stories I wrote where I personify Sin. You can see my previous attempts on the menu bar above, under the heading Wages of Sin.

camp-2016

I hope you too will be participating in this endeavour and if not, cheer us on! I have joined up with a couple of other Joburg writers and we are sharing a “cabin”, continuing in the camaraderie we have built from our last NaNo gathering.

You can check out my camper profile here: Silvanthato


What’s are your March goals?

 

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