House Spirits to Keep You Company

House Spirits to Keep You Company


The Great Hunt by Robert Jordan

The Great Hunt

Classic SFF Review

A Wizard’s Sacrifice by A. M. Justice – Cover Reveal and Excerpt

A Wizard’s Sacrifice

Cover Reveal & Excerpt


Urskuul’s Reading Circle: Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough

Hello, and welcome to the first official Urskuul’s Reading Circle Newsletter! Read on for brand new details of the discussions that occurred at the latest meeting (wherein we reviewed the book of the month), and of the thoughts and insights that were raised during the meet.

Urskuul's Reading Circle (banner)

Now, as some of you may be aware, we originally attempted to hold the first meeting some time ago. However, there was an unfortunate incident that occurred involving a time machine and the accidental erasure of Oscar from existence.

Ah, Oscar, we miss you so.

What do you mean you don’t remember Oscar?

Oh, right…

Anyway, we decided to ignore that initial failure and hold another First Official Meeting. The book up for discussion this month was Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough. A lovely read, as everyone agreed.

Well, most of us. One member seemed to think we were actually going to remove a face from one of our female members to see what was behind her eyes, and was rather put out when we explained the Reading Circle was actually a book club and Behind Her Eyes was a book we were supposed to have read. He proved somewhat disruptive after we explained it to him and, eventually, we decided to cancel his membership. Being reluctant to refund his subscription fee, we cancelled it in the old-fashioned way. If you’re interested, I believe his funeral is next Thursday. I don’t think many of us will be attending, though, as it was the first time meeting him for most of us.

Now, if you’ve not been doing really well at hide and seek for the last few months, you have probably heard about Pinborough’s latest already. There’s been all manner of news articles praising it and it has been hovering in various best seller lists, so apologies if we’re a bit late in telling you about it. Especially if you’re on twitter and, if you have a modicum of common sense and good taste, you’re already stalking her (sorry, following her), meaning you will have been exposed to the viral hashtag #WTFThatEnding.

If you’re not on twitter, I don’t blame you. There’s a lot of nasty yelling people on there who seem annoyed whenever you express an opinion that they disagree with. If someone did that away from social media, e.g. wandered into your garden and started shouting at you, I think you’d be justified in throwing things at them to make them go away (probably not a piano. That might be construed as attempted murder). It’s not so easy to do that on Twitter, especially if you do want to throw a piano at them. No doubt there are just as many nice people. However, they tend to be politer and less shouty and so are more difficult to find.

My minor negative feelings about Twitter to one side, you can obviously tell that the hashtag was signifying something interesting and unexpected happened at the end of the book. This made people want to read the book and find out what everyone was raving about. Humans are easily manipulated like that (unlike cats, who don’t seem to pay attention to hashtagged words in the slightest). It was a bit like clickbait, except for a book. And the book was a hell of a lot better than the websites clickbait normally sends you to, which tend to be a bit rubbishy.

To make proceedings a little bit more interesting, we had a little bet amongst our members to read halfway through and then predict what the twist in the tale could be. The person who came closest would be ritually sacrificed to appease the Thunder Gods next time a storm occurred, since that person would obviously be the cleverest and most likely to mollify the Thunder Gods anger, since gods don’t tend to like uppity, smart mortals (frequently, neither do other mortals). I’ve posted a few of those theories below for your enjoyment:

1. A demon jumps out of the final page, rips the reader’s head off and consumes their soul. Before returning, it logs on to the reader’s Twitter account to tweet about the book and entice the next batch of food to purchase it.

2. A static force field is generated around the reader and the book upon reaching the final chapter. Instructions are contained within that chapter advising that to deactivate the force field the reader must tweet the hashtag on Twitter. Woe betide the poor soul who didn’t have their phone to hand.

3. A GIF of a baby otter and a kitten playing hide and seek. This, by the way, is how all books should end from now on. No, I don’t know how to install a gif viewer on a paper page to make this dream a reality, so perhaps we can only hope for this when reading on electronic devices.

4. Everyone lived happily ever after, except for the Ugly Stepsisters because everyone hated them.

I have a suspicion that the member who posited theory number four (Trevor, one of our older members) may have picked up the wrong book to read but still wanted to join in.

Don’t worry, none of these are how the book actually ends so I haven’t inadvertently spoiled it for you. I will leave you to come up with your own theories.

Run Book by Fleurine-RetoreWhat we did agree on, that I can reveal to you without spoiling anything, is that it was a truly great read (rather than those false great reads I keep hearing about and picking up poor books as a result of). Wonderfully interesting characters in a f**ked-up love triangle that drives the story all the way to it’s fascinating conclusion. I doubt too many will guess before they reach the end (and if you did, please let us know because we still need a candidate for the Thunder Gods’ ritual sacrifice. No one really came close enough for us to have a clear winner, so I might end up nominating Trevor if we don’t get anyone else).

It is considerably less of a fantasy book than we might normally read since it doesn’t have any dragons. But if you do get drawn in, then you really want to know Adele and David’s secrets so you can understand why they’re so messed up. Not to mention wanting to know what is going to happen with Louise (poor naïve Louise) as she gets drawn into the middle of their marriage. Most people are probably going to be on Louise’s side and hoping things go well for her story. Less so for Adele, she’s not so nice (as in she appears to be a puppet-master, laughing evilly as the other characters’ dance along to the strings she controls). And David? Well, I didn’t like him. Others did, but they’re not me so I wouldn’t trust them too much. By the end, at least we all understood David, which is where we wanted to get to. And all the way through, still trying to work out what the giant twist is that’s going to cause the WTF moment. Definitely, definitely, pick up a copy. Hopefully you’ll enjoy it as much as the members of Urskuul’s Reading Circle did.

Before you go, here’s a quick word from our sponsor:

Urskuul, the Demon Lord, would like to remind you that he is starting up a sister film club whereby everyone comes together to watch a film in his state of the art private cinema. Unlike the Reading Circle, there is no monetary subscription fee or cost for turning up on the night; you just have to agree to a thousand years of torment and servitude in Urskuul’s Netherhell Palace after your unfortunate death (which may or may not occur shortly after agreeing to join).

That’s all for this time around, folks. See you next time!



  1. Avatar Lynn Kempner says:

    This is great! Just the thing for Monday morning blahs. Thank you!

  2. Avatar Tracey Morrissey says:

    Bloody hilarious. Breaks the mould of some of these serious types on here ???! Really enjoyed this.

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