Fantasy/SciFi

Fantasy/SciFi/Urban Fantasy/Post Apocalyptic/Paranormal shenanigans can all be found here.

Publication Date: Available Now from Pan Macmillan

Source: Netgalley

Kyndra has saved and damned the people of Mariar. Her star-born powers healed a land in turmoil, but destroyed an ancient magic – which once concealed them from invaders. Now Kyndra must head into enemy territory to secure peace.

She finds the Sartyan Empire, unstable but as warlike as ever. It’s plagued by dissident factions, yet its emperor still has the strength to crush her homeland. The Khronostians, assassins who dance through time, could help Kyndra; or they might be her undoing. And deep within the desert, Char Lesko struggles to control his own emerging powers. He’s been raised by a mercenary whose secrets could change everything – including the future and the past.

But when Kyndra and Char meet, will their goals align? Kyndra must harness the full glory of the stars and Char has to channel his rage, or two continents will be lost.

I absolutely adored Starborn, the first novel in this series, I’ve had Heartland hanging around for a while as I wanted it to be a complete treat read and recently the time I really needed that arrived – so in I dove and hey, turns out I loved this too. Also, I now have the next one ready and waiting so you can be sure I’ll be into that in fairly short order.

Kyndra is still struggling to embrace her fate, her true self and still trying to control it in a world that she is somewhat responsible for. Heartland follows Kyndra and our other characters as they set out to make peace, finding allies and enemies and following an unknown path.

The intricate and beautifully layered world  Lucy Hounsom created and continues to create in this series is truly second to none – such a gorgeous descriptive immersive sense of where the characters live and breathe. Magic on the page, with well defined, intriguing and often emotive  characters, vibrant and very real in the moment, it is a truly addictive and wonderful reading experience.

Rich in language, full of heart stopping action and deeply felt emotional resonance, this is fantasy at its very best – unique in its storytelling and creatively dazzling I just loved it. Really cannot recommend it highly enough – this short, sharp review will hopefully ensure a few more people pick it up. You won’t be disappointed!

You can purchase Heartland HERE

If you’ve not read Starborn yet, you can get that HERE – Read First.

 

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Publication Date: Available Now from Orbit

Source: Review Copy

From the dark, cold void came an unknown force. Their target a remote planet, the home for a group of people distancing themselves from mankind and pursuing a path of piety and peace. If they have any chance at survival a disparate group of pilots must come together to fight back any way they can. But the best these aces can do might not be good enough.

Now I’m a sucker for a good space adventure in book form and Forsaken Skies worked on many levels for me – I fell for all the characters, loved the world building and this had enough action to shake a stick at without losing sight of the story and the people.

So a planet in trouble, nobody is coming to save them because, well, politics, just not worth it. Cue a motley crew of pilots deciding (or in one case having not an awful lot of choice) that they’ll just pootle over and save the day. But of course its not that easy especially when they ARE rather motley and not always in agreement. So shenanigans.

What I loved about this one was the slow but sure build up of information about the world(s) these guys inhabit, about the mysterious and seemingly unstoppable force that suddenly threatens them and about all the things that have lead them to this point. It is gripping and fascinating, this is a tome of a novel but I found that it flew by. Descriptively it is gorgeous, an imaginative and intense sense of place and time and a perfect mix of action and contemplation.

As the start of a series Forsaken Skies works very well. We get a lot of information but there is a lot still to learn, I’m very very much looking forward to the next instalment, I’m especially interested in watching the group dynamic grow. A lot of my love for this one was based on the way their relationships worked, ebbed and flowed, changed as I read. And boy there were some thrills and spills along the way too – genuinely very good indeed.

Highly Recommended for SciFi fans.

You can purchase Forsaken Skies HERE

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Publication Date: Available Now from Ebury

Source: Netgalley

When the world ends and you find yourself stranded on the wrong side of the country, every second counts.

No one knows this more than Edgar Hill. 550 miles away from his family, he must push himself to the very limit to get back to them, or risk losing them forever…

His best option is to run.
But what if your best isn’t good enough?

Before reading “The End of the World Running Club” I’d heard a few things about it, both good and bad, turns out that it gets points from me mostly for addictive quality and for its main character, Edgar, who seems to have divided opinion – but who I loved because he was so utterly whiny yet absolutely determined.

Poor Edgar. Really. He drinks a fair bit and is not that fit, he’s not particularly happy with his lot in life, finding family life somewhat mundane. Cue fiery asteroids from outer space decimating the UK and elsewhere, enforcing upon him some kind of actual responsibility.

The beginning of this novel was superbly engrossing, as things go pear shaped in spectacular fashion, descriptively you are right in there with the desperate survivors, I read the first 25% of this novel in record time. Then things settle down somewhat with more introspection from Edgar when his family are swooped away and he has little time to do anything except, well, run after them.

Teaming up with a hotch potch of other survivors a kind of twisted type of road trip begins as Edgar attempts to catch up to his family before they are beyond his reach. Literally by running after them. Across destroyed landscape, facing down danger and erm ok he’s still a bit whiny really. But it is SO ENGAGING. The rest of the story also encompasses a sort of coming of age for Edgar as he realises what is actually important, hey it doesnt matter how old you are you can still suddenly come into your own. I liked this aspect of the story very much.

As for Bryce well. I’m not even going to go into that, he was our light relief and our conscience in a lot of ways – definitely a character I’d like to know more about away from the rest. Little small request to the author there perhaps?

Overall I really enjoyed this one, I read it over 2 sittings whilst gulping down lots of cups of tea, it is one of those books that you just bang through because you have to know where the journey ends. I was rooting for Edgar and wanting to slap him for the majority of the time, equalling a recommended tag from me.

You can purchase The End of the World Running Club HERE

 

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Publication Date: Available now from 47North

Source: Netgalley

A powerful sorcerer. A forgotten past. Hellequin is back, and the end is near.

A terrible storm is brewing in London, and Nathan Garrett, the sorcerer known as Hellequin, is the only one who can stop it.

But his enemies have other plans. Harnessing the power of an ancient stone tablet, they cast Nate and his allies into another realm, where a bloody conflict rages between creatures twisted by magic. Meanwhile, with his friends’ lives in danger, Nate must put centuries of differences aside, and place his trust in one of his greatest foes.

Time is running out. Trapped and outnumbered, Nate must use all his wits and power to survive and find his way home before his enemies start a war that could destroy everything he holds close. Welcome to the penultimate chapter of the Hellequin Chronicles.

Its probably no secret that I’m a bit of a fan of this series – having been in it from the start and watched it grow and go from strength to strength – Promise of Wrath edges us towards a conclusion for Nate and his band of few in an addictive page turning thrill ride. I banged through it. Mind you I always do with these…

This instalment is actually a little bit more difficult to review than the others because so much happens that is spoilerific and we can’t have that – no no no. But seriously its basically Nate doing what he does best, dealing with the bad guys, protecting the good guys, Steve McHugh blurring those lines beautifully so often you are not entirely sure which is which.

I like those shades of grey – Nate has plenty of them he’s not the shining hero but more the type of anti-hero I adore in urban fantasy, often torn between right and the urge to just burn everything in a fiery ball of hell flame (actually I love it when he loses those battles it is an adrenalin fuelled reading rush) As a main protagonist for this ever fascinating story he is utterly perfect.

The same blend of mythology we know and love with the authors own twist and imaginative sense means that Promise of Wrath, like all the Hellequin chronicles before it, is a dream of a read for fans of this genre. One more to go. This saddens and excites me in equal measure.

Bring. It. On.

Highly Recommended.

You can purchase Promise of Wrath HERE.

 

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Publication Date: Available Now from Headline

Source: Bookbridgr

AFTER ALICE, Gregory Maguire’s ninth novel for adults, returns to the mid-19th century summer day on which Alice disappeared into Wonderland, tracing what happened to her sister left behind on an Oxford riverbank, and also what happened when Alice’s friend Ada follows her down the rabbit hole.

I’m a huge fan of the Oz retelling, where the wicked witch was perhaps not quite so wicked after all – I’ve read the books I’ve seen the musical and done my fair share of singing (badly) along to Defying Gravity – so I was really looking forward to seeing what Mr Maguire did with another classical favourite, Alice in Wonderland.

Well it was not as good. For me it didn’t quite hit the highs of Wicked – but still it was an enjoyable little reimagining, following Ada as she follows Alice down that rabbit hole. What I did like was the attempt made to keep it true to the original in style and substance especially in the writing, although I think possibly this made it a little drier and over wordy than it needed to be or would  have been if he had just said sod it I’m writing  something completely different.

What worked? Well it had that magical quality during the “wonderland” portions of the story and I grew rather fond of Ada along the way. What was maybe not so good? The “those left behind” portions dragged a little especially with regard to Lydia, I kept wanting to return to Ada.

That said, I did get caught up in it and I read it fast – one sitting on Saturday night. I think a lot of whether you will enjoy this or not will come down to your love (or not) of literary language and your personal relationship with the original work by Lewis Carroll. Me? I enjoyed it. I didnt adore it but it was a fun read.

You can purchase After Alice HERE

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Publication Date: 28th June from Simon and Schuster

Source: Netgalley

An exiled police detective arrives at a lunar penal colony just as a psychotic android begins a murderous odyssey across the far side of the moon. Purgatory is the lawless moon colony of eccentric billionaire, Fletcher Brass: a mecca for war criminals, murderers, sex fiends, and adventurous tourists. You can t find better drugs, cheaper plastic surgery, or a more ominous travel advisory anywhere in the universe. But trouble is brewing in Brass s black-market heaven. When an exiled cop arrives in this wild new frontier, he immediately finds himself investigating a string of ruthless assassinations in which Brass himself and his equally ambitious daughter are the chief suspects. Meanwhile, two-thousand kilometers away, an amnesiac android, Leonardo Black, rampages across the lunar surface.

Loved this one – it was dark and violent yet humerous and often human nature insightful – a pretty banging story that fairly rocks along.

First of all in the severely creepy stakes comes Leonardo Black, a murderous android. He is CHILLING for sure, as he rampages across the moon, very politely and with due consideration, yet you cross his path at your peril. This layer of the novel appealed very much to MY dark side. I kind of loved Mr Black.

The other side of the story is one man on a mission to bring justice to the moon. A job with rather a lot of issues seeing as how the moon happens to harbour the worst of the worst – the author does some intriguing and clever character building alongside some gorgeous and hip descriptive prose to create a beautifully vivid backdrop peppered with fascinating people (and androids) – The Dark Side is a totally immersive novel, one of those you live in the moment.

The narrative is  intelligently complex , Anthony O’Neill paints pictures with words and there is really addictive quality to this one. The two sides of the story come together explosively for the conclusion and overall it was an entirely enjoyable and fun read. With murderous androids. And explosions and chases and criminally good characters. Spot on. More please.

You can purchase The Dark Side HERE

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Publication Date: 19th May from Pan Macmillan

Source: Netgalley

Someone has murdered the ghost of Sherlock Holmes. As a fictional character remembered by the people of London, Holmes’ ghost walked the city, and now someone has put a ceremonial dagger through his chest. What could be the motive? The small team of Metropolitan Police detectives who have The Sight find themselves pursuing a criminal genius who soon lures them into a Sherlockian maze of too many clues and too much evidence. Ross finds herself drawn to an actor who may or may not be a deity, and goes on a quest to win back her happiness. Lofhouse seeks the answers, finally, about why she brought the team together. Quill battles for his sanity. Costain battles for his soul. And Sefton just wants to bring his team back together, even if that takes him to the edge of death

I love the Shadow Police series – top notch urban fantasy with some banging characters and beautifully plotted storylines and really engaging world building.

There is a London that not everyone can see – a London that remembers. Quill and his team have the sight and can follow this shadowy underworld, their cases therefore go nowhere near anything resembling normal – yet Paul Cornell makes it all horribly believable with his pacy and often witty descriptive prose and a character group dynamic that works on every level.

I think this is probably my favourite yet as the author envelops Sherlock Holmes into the story to create a dream read  (big fan of Sherlock in all his various forms, me) although unfortunately someone has just killed his ghost. Cue lots of shenanigans as our guys try to track down the culprit and find out just what is going on.

These are great fun to read but they have a dark and emotive heart – this is Fantasy for adults, Paul Cornell does explore some dark themes within the narrative.  Especially when it comes to the ongoing storyline, as the main characters grapple with their sight and with their own personal circumstances. In this instalment Quill is facing a real battle in the aftermath of previous events, to some degree they all are and the ever shifting landscape in which they reside is endlessly fascinating.

Never one to let you off easy, Mr Cornell also put a finish on things with a flourish here leaving me desperate for the next book. Who Killed Sherlock Holmes was brilliant and clever and a proper page turner, terrific writing as ever and continuing to build this world into one you want to keep visiting. But you wouldnt want to live there….

Highy Recommended (and best read in order)

You can purchase “Who Killed Sherlock Holmes” HERE

 

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Publication Date: Available Now from Amazon/47 North

Source: Netgalley

Reporter Emily Baxter has a great job, an apartment in Manhattan, and a boyfriend she loves. All that changes the day the red rain falls from a cloudless sky. Just hours after the first reports from Europe, humanity is on the brink of extinction, wiped from the face of the earth in a few bloody moments, leaving Emily alone in an empty city. As she struggles to grasp the magnitude of her situation, Emily becomes the final witness to the end of our world… and the birth of a terrifying new one.

I’m a bit of a sucker for a good apocalypse it has to be said. Extinction Point was a highly readable example, lone surivor, strange alien goings on, people dropping dead all over the place and the world changing rather significantly.

This is a fairly short and quick read following our main protagonist Emily in the 7 days following a mysterious red rain that has wiped everyone else out (and not in a pretty way either, some of the descriptive passages in this novel are rather horrific which all adds to the fun). Emily is preparing to go looking for other survivors. In that interim though she is going to face some very weird goings on.

I very much enjoyed the concept and the execution of this one – I was quite fond of Emily, which always helps and I’m admittedly hooked into the narrative now and am going to HAVE to hunt down the sequels and see what is next. This is very much a “Part One” in that there are no answers to be found, simply questions – intriguing questions at that, the flow of it is pretty perfect, it was a 2 sitting read for me.

The fact that my chronic impatience kicked in as I read the epilogue bodes well, all in all a pretty great read and I’m looking forward to eventually getting my answers. Recommended for fans of post apocalyptic tales.

Happy Reading Folks!

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Publication Date: Available Now from Urbane

Source: Publisher Review Copy

LONDON solicitor Libby Butler’s life is in a mess. Her affair with her boss is going nowhere as is her position in a city law firm. A narrow escape from the knife of south London’s elusive serial murderer, The Vampire Killer, has challenged her outward bravado and left her nerves in tatters.

When duty calls Libby to a police station in the middle of the night, she meets the enigmatic Gabriel Radley. Dressed like an ancient warrior, Gabriel has a habit of disappearing from police custody and danger appears to dog him.

Thoroughly enjoyed this – you know in the kind of way that makes you remember the joy of your first of any type of novel – I dived right in and found myself caught up in a strange and wonderful world sitting right next to reality…

Libby is such an engaging character – and Gabriel was a perfect foil – enigmatic and ironically amusing, as soon as I read the scenes where these two first met I knew I was in for a treat.

Sara Bain writes with a cutting edge of authenticity whilst telling us a fantastical tale of humans and, well, not humans – throws in a serial killer element for good measure (I do love a good serial killer, not sure what that says about me) and has generally written a romping, fast paced, intuitive and highly intriguing story that will have you turning the pages long after you should probably be sleeping.

There are twists and turns and I have to say the author writes her character relationships particularly well, giving you a real sense and feeling for them – but mostly it is just a rip rollicking adventure of the highest order. Whilst the most attractive portion of it for me was the Libby/Gabriel dynamic, there are a plethora of other characters to love and not so much and be actually quite freaked out by…and a fresh approach to the genre that really impressed me.

Loved it. Highly Recommended.

Happy Reading Folks!

 

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Publication Date: 28th April 2015 from Harlequin UK Mira Ink

Source: Netgalley

Deserter. Traitor. ROGUE. Ember Hill left the dragon organization Talon to take her chances with rebel dragon Cobalt and his crew of rogues. But Ember can’t forget the sacrifice made for her by the human boy who could have killed her-Garret Xavier Sebastian.

So I read Talon recently, when it accidentally fell into my shopping basket at Waterstones – I have yet to review that one properly, bear with me, but when I saw the sequel on Netgalley I was ecstatic, having been DYING to find out what was next for Ember, Cobalt, Dante and co.

Julie Kagawa has a huge following for her previous series but this is my first set of her books I have read and having done so I can see why the rest are so popular. With “Talon” she created a world where dragons exist – hiding in human form, looked after by governing body Talon and trying to stay out of the way of the St George soldiers who are determined to bring them down. But neither Talon nor St George are exactly nice groups and when dragon Ember meets Soldier Garrett, they both gain a better understanding of the realities behind these war torn factions.

Now Ember has gone “Rogue” from Talon and along with a small band of rebels is determined to rescue more hatchlings from their clutches. Meanwhile Garrett also has turned his back on his clan and together they must fight the good fight.

The mythology created here really appeals to me and Julie Kagawa has a great sense of character and timing, building atmosphere with an absorbing slow burn (yes sorry about that one) which suddenly explodes into some really terrific action sequences which get the heart going…

There is a beautiful depth to the characters, I especially like the “bad” guys – they are wonderfully moustache twirlingly cool whilst also being insightfully drawn to really make you root for the good guys. Still the author manages to blur the moral lines in an intelligent way – especially with the relationship between Ember and her brother Dante – on opposite sides of the fence both feeling like they have to rescue the other from themselves.

So mixing some interesting themes about prejudice, the meaning of family and loyalty alongside a really great fantasy background makes this a really terrific read. Talon set things up elegantly, Rogue continues the tale and really adds spice to the mix and overall I have no hesitation in recommending them.

Roll on book 3 – my chronic impatience just kicked in!

Happy Reading Folks!

 

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Publication Date: 14th April 2015 from Grand Central Publishing (US) and Hodder and Stoughton (UK)

Source: Netgalley via Grand Central Publishing – thank you

A super flu and nuclear fallout have made a husk of the world we know. A few humans carry on, living in outposts such as the Sanctuary-the remains of St. Louis-a shielded community that owes its survival to its militant defense and fear-mongering leaders.
Then a rider comes from the wasteland beyond its walls. She reports on the outside world: west of the Cascades, rain falls, crops grow, civilization thrives. But there is danger too: the rising power of an army that pillages and enslaves every community they happen upon.
Against the wishes of the Sanctuary, a small group sets out in secrecy. Led by Lewis Meriwether and Mina Clark, they hope to expand their infant nation, and to reunite the States. But the Sanctuary will not allow them to escape without a fight.

I really enjoyed this one – it seems to have been a bit hit and miss with advanced reviewers but for me it was a big hit for several reasons.

Firstly I was fascinated by the set up and the world building. Set in two locations if you like, firstly The Sanctuary which is anything but and secondly in The Dead Lands – the world outside The Sanctuary. The world has been decimated both by an epidemic and by nuclear explosions – in the world of The Sanctuary safety comes at a high cost, outside the walls danger lurks around every corner.

Secondly I loved the characters – Found them all endlessly fascinating and was more than happy to take a journey with them even though I had no idea where it was going.

There are echoes of both The Stand and The Road here whilst also being definitively its own thing, which very much appealed to me, it was like taking an old journey with some new friends. As a small group leaves The Sanctuary in hope of something better, those left behind are living more and more dangerously under the thumb of an arrogant dictator. Jumping between the two situations gives the story an intriguing flavour, a dual narrative that is intelligently done.

There is also a beautiful storytelling twist as Lewis and Clark follow the path of another Lewis and Clark from our real world history – added into the mix is a possible evolutionary jump alongside some terrifically imagined creatures and wild west type dangers. The road trip portion was probably my favourite but overall for me it was just a stonking good read.

I guess I’m just a fan of this authors writing style and storytelling ability – after Red Moon which was a book I devoured, once more with The Dead Lands Benjamin Percy has captured my imagination, kept me up into the early hours and given me a remarkably good and satisfying yarn. Left open for a possible sequel I really do hope to read more from this devastated world – but for now I am very sorry to say goodbye to them all. I had a great time.

Happy Reading Folks!

 

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Publication Date: 14th April 2015 from Amazon/47 North

Source: Netgalley

Long ago, Olympian gods imprisoned the demon Pandora in a human—Hope—creating a creature whose only purpose was chaos and death. Remorseful, the gods locked Pandora away in Tartarus, ruled by Hades. Now, centuries later, Pandora escapes. Nate Garrett, a 1,600-year-old sorcerer, is sent to recapture her and discovers her plan to disrupt the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games, killing thousands in a misplaced quest for vengeance. Fast forward to modern-day Berlin, where Nate has agreed to act as guardian on a school trip to Germany to visit Hades at the entrance to Tartarus. When Titan King Cronus becomes the second ever to escape Tartarus, Nate is forced to track him down and bring him back, to avert a civil war between those who would use his escape to gain power.

Prison of Hope is book 4 in the (wonderfully addictive) Nate Garrett series from Mr McHugh, once again I loved it – they are always the most tremendous fun, with magical mayhem, thrills and spills and a hugely intelligent mythology that borrows from our own.

In this instalment Nate goes on a school trip which turns out to be somewhat stressful – the witches are playing up, there is an escapee from Tartarus and once again he finds himself caught up in the political maelstrom that is Avalon..

I always enjoy the Hellequin Chronicles books SO much, so readable and beautifully done as far as flow and storytelling goes, with some marvellously drawn characters, all of which are enigmatically brilliant. I’m absolutely in love with Nate, although I would not want to get him mad..

The mythology is rich and full of depth, descriptively speaking the author has the knack of putting you right on the spot, making this whole world seem as real as our own, the action is always edge of the seat stuff and with each new instalment the relationships between the characters ebb and flow meaning you are always desperate for the next part.

Overall then a really great read, all of them, another strength being that you can read any one on its own, you don’t necessarily  have to read in order. A series that I hope will run and run.

Highly Recommended

Happy Reading Folks!

 

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Publication Date: March 31st 2015 from St Martins Griffin.

Source: Netgalley

Bree Bennis finally has it all—a non-comatose mother, an uber-hot (albeit anachronistic) boyfriend named Finn, and a newfound mission to protect the timeline from those who would skew it for their own gain. But when she leans over one day to smooch said boyfriend, her lips meet those of her arch-nemesis Wyck instead. The timeline has been altered, and Bree is caught in the crosshairs. But when she goes back to repair the damage, she is stopped by none other than her Future Self, who delivers an urgent message: Someone is kidnapping Shifters from the distant past. It’s up to Bree to stop them. But first, she has to figure out who…and why.

So first of all I want to say I LOVED this one. It was one of those books that I raced through in record time and had a rip roaring brilliant reading experience. The second thing I want to say is the story does not start here, it starts in “Loop” and whilst I was vaguely befuddled early on in this story due to having completely missed that fact, for me it worked really well.

It is so well written that very shortly you will know what is going on. Well thats a lie, but you won’t have missed out by not reading the first book in the series – however my recommendation would be that you do. Simply because if it is as good as this one then you will have a whale of a time, erm, travel.  Of course as I am reviewing this early (via netgalley or due to my own time shift I shall leave you to decide) you can read one then the other with no waiting.

So Bree then is actually happy. She has her boyfriend, her mother is fine but then as things do when you can shift back and forth in time, things start to go a bit haywire, to put it mildly. Stuck with her arch nemesis and trying to sort out a myriad of twists in time, this is a terrific adventure that will keep you right on your toes.

One of the strengths of this novel for me was the intelligent and terrific  development of the story – sometimes time travel stories can end up with immense plot holes that leave you scratching your head – not so here, even though during the reading of it the head scratching may happen, especially when you try to imagine being in Bree’s shoes and having to see how each individual action may further confuse issues. Add to that the fact that Karen Akins does not sacrifice characters for plot, all of them are extremely well drawn and likeable – even the villains. Definitely the most fun I’ve had with a book for ages.

The world building is dazzling especially as the author has to manage so many little nuances, different times and places and yet manages to keep you where you need to be whilst offering you a lot of things to think about. I am a big fan of that – trust the reader to keep up and just go go go! There is a lot of go in this story and the journey is a magical one.

I don’t think I need to say much more really. It is a story to surprise and delight you, twist you and turn you, keep you on the edge of your seat and also give your brain a bit of a workout as you try to keep up with Bree, Wyck, Finn and the myriad of other magnificent characters you will find within – I am very ready for more, whilst this instalment is well rounded I imagine there is a part three on the cards. I can’t wait!

Highly Recommended.

Happy Reading Folks!

 

 

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Publication Date: 7th April 2015 from Sourcebooks

Source: Netgalley

In an Alpine town reeling from a devastating accident, the families of dead wish their lost loved ones could come back…only to wake up one day to the chilling reality of their prayers being answered. But the victims of the accident are not the only ones to have returned from the dead. Their arrival coincides with a series of grizzly murders which bear a chilling resemblance to the work of a serial killer from the past…

I had a love/hate relationship with this novel – extremely well written and most definitely addictive, I have not seen the tv show but am now very tempted to take a look.

Some huge plus points – the writing style has such a flow to it that it pulls you right into the story, into the lives of these people who are suddenly facing the very real consequence of “Be careful what you wish for”. I could barely put it down as I watched the aftermath of the dead returning, the joy and the disbelief and the very chilling events that follow..

The prose does have a very “screenplay” feel, which works extremely well, yet does not lose any sense of character in order to thrill – the heart of the story is in the emotional side of things, with the mystery and also horror elements woven around that in a great way. Overall then a really good, thought provoking read.

My one little bugbear was that after a terrific build up, a real sense of anticipation, the ending felt to me a little rushed and was definitely unsatisfying. Having said that I’m fairly sure there is more to come. I’m unsure whether there is more than one season of the visual version, but if that ended as this did I truly hope so. And I hope that there will be another instalment from Seth Patrick, – he has given us a page turner with heart and soul and I would love to know what happens next.

Recommended

Happy Reading Folks!

 

 

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Publication Date: Available Now from Orbit

Source: Purchased Copy

As Harry nears the end of his eleventh life, a little girl appears at his bedside. “I nearly missed you, Doctor August,” she says. “I need to send a message.”
This is the story of what Harry does next, and what he did before, and how he tries to save a past he cannot change and a future he cannot allow.

Read this one in a few short sharp bursts – beautifully written, highly compelling and often very strange, Harry August will steal your heart.

He does his best poor chap – but when you live the same life over and over, often falling sooner than you should despite your best efforts to avoid it, it is bound to get wearing. When a young girl tells him that in the future  the world is ending and that he needs to sort it out, Harry has even more on his plate.

You are probably thinking Life after Life (an also beautifully written tale) right now but this is very different, just as compelling but for entirely different reasons. Across history there are many like Harry, living out their tiny portions of time over and over again – messages are passed generationally and the world building is stunningly imaginative. Harry himself is a marvel, his thought processes and decision making will keep you hooked into this – despite his best efforts the future world keeps looking bleaker. He has a marvellously brilliant nemesis that he comes up against in each separate life and the interaction between these two is one of the huge strengths of the novel. Loved both of them to be honest really was not sure who I wanted to “win”.

Overall then a magnificent read. Loved it. Highly Recommended as is Touch, Claire’s latest novel. I don’t think I’d like to be Harry though. I truly think that once is enough!

Happy Reading Folks!

 

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Publication Date: Available now from Smithcraft Press

Source: Publisher review copy

Tom Evans and Ceri Lewis occupy a silent new world. Little more than a million people survived The Cleansing; now they are spread out, weak and bewildered, compelled by a force beyond their comprehension to remain where they are. Their fate – humanity’s fate – lies in the hands of the few, like Tom and Ceri, who can resist the power that seeks to control them. But resistance may be futile.

I was a HUGE fan of book one of this series – The Cleansing – it was a fresh take on the apocalyptic genre, and if you have not read it I would certainly recommend reading it first in order to get the full impact.  I would also recommend that you do not read this review until you have as it will inevitably contain spoilers for Book One.

The Beacon follows straight on from the events in The Cleansing as we find Tom and Ceris slowly getting used to the new reality – however they discover that it is not quite over yet and however bad things are, they can always get worse…

The Cleansing was hugely exciting and scary as we watched this alien race, who had been hidden among us for years, finally take over and in the most horrific way – in The Beacon we discover more about their background and society and their plans, it is terrifically well imagined and so addictive its honestly worse than chocolate – if you want to go on a book diet don’t pick this one up for heavens sake.

We have such a lovely and eclectic range of characters to follow along with, both from Planet Earth and not, all extremely well drawn. I am kind of fond of “The Chosen” who is utterly mad but strangely compelling, there are some new people to meet along the way, I don’t want to give anything away but by the end of this you will be desperate to get to the (assumed) finale, heck I don’t even know if this is a trilogy but I’d happily read on further if this standard keeps up.

It really is so well constructed – the story fairly races along even though there is plenty of room for contemplation. The world building is fantastic and right in there the author manages to get some great depth to the characters, a definite ironic look upon occasion at human nature and overall it is really really great reading. Oh and the dog BETTER live through the whole thing. In fact you can cleanse the earth of everyone but NOT THE DOG.

Highly Recommended from me – can’t wait to see what happens next. Now where did I put the maltesers?

Happy Reading Folks!

 

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Publication Date: 26th Febuary 2015 from Hodder and Staughton

Source: Advanced Reading Copy.

They enslaved humanity three thousand years ago. Tall, strong, perfect, superhuman and near immortal they rule from their glittering palaces in the eternal city in the centre of the world. They are called Those Above by their subjects. They enforce their will with fire and sword.
Twenty five years ago mankind mustered an army and rose up against them, only to be slaughtered in a terrible battle. Hope died that day, but hatred survived. Whispers of another revolt are beginning to stir in the hearts of the oppressed: a woman, widowed in the war, who has dedicated her life to revenge; the general, the only man to ever defeat one of Those Above in single combat, summoned forth to raise a new legion; and a boy killer who rises from the gutter to lead an uprising in the capital.

Oh I loved this one! To be honest I wasnt sure that Daniel Polansky could top the wonder that was the “Low Town” series but if anything this is even better in a lot of ways- great world building, a huge amount of depth to the characters and a real page turner.

There is a lot of character building and scene setting in the early chapters which can be a tad confusing at first, but it comes into focus quick smart and from then on in is a rollicking read, a huge amount of fun, with a dark side that really appealed to me. There is a richness to the often strange language used, a unique feel to the whole thing and some terrific plot arcs that make it an intelligent and often heart stopping read.

An intricate set of circumstances, an eclectic and hugely differing cast of characters (Bas, I loved Bas!) a heck of a story beautifully told, as a “book one” it was pretty perfect. Am VERY much looking forward to what is next, as now we have a picture and understanding, Chapter two cannot be anything but brilliant.

Highly Recommended for Fantasy fans. And much as I dislike comparisons, I do think honestly that if you are a Game of Thrones fan you will adore this.

Happy Reading Folks!

 

 

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Publication Date: 26th Feb 2015 from Little Brown.

Source: Netgalley

Kepler had never meant to die this way — viciously beaten to death by a stinking vagrant in a dark back alley. But when reaching out to the murderer for salvation in those last dying moments, a sudden switch takes place.
Now Kepler is looking out through the eyes of the killer himself, staring down at a broken and ruined body lying in the dirt of the alley.
Instead of dying, Kepler has gained the ability to roam from one body to another, to jump into another person’s skin and see through their eyes, live their life — be it for a few minutes, a few months or a lifetime.
Kepler means these host bodies no harm — and even comes to cherish them intimately like lovers. But when one host, Josephine Cebula, is brutally assassinated, Kepler embarks on a mission to seek the truth — and avenge Josephine’s death.

Really really great book is what I’m going to say first. Definitely going on my favourites list, innovative in style and story, I was absolutely buried in this one from first page to last.  Kepler is a truly fascinating character(s?) who you will come to love, or maybe not so much, we’ll see – either way you won’t be able to help following this tale all the way to the rather brilliant conclusion.

It is a very interesting concept – leaping from person to person, taking over their lives for a minute or for years, not having a body,  but able to co-opt that of others and use it as your own. Kepler in a lot of ways leads a very lonely “life” but even so it is an eclectic and endlessly fascinating one. As we find out more about his  (her?) past it is terrifically engaging and often somewhat sad. Claire North writes with a wonderfully touching style that is almost matter of fact but gets across a real sense of feeling and emotion.

On top of that there is a great “thriller” aspect to this story – as Kepler comes under threat there are some heart stopping moments –  Add to the mix other great characters, some like Kepler, some solidly and often scarily human and you have one heck of a good yarn. I will not say more – this is a book to dive into head first and enjoy every second of.

I like a novel that pushes the boundaries – Claire North does that here in a captivating way, with a cutting edge writing style and a truly remarkable protagonist and as such this gets a Highly Recommended from me.

Never have I been so pleased that I missed out on a debut – this is Claire’s second novel, her first, “The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August” somehow managed to pass me by but I have it on my shelf now and I’m dying to get to it – if it is anything close to as good as “Touch” I am in for a treat.

Happy Reading Folks!

 

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Publication Date: March 5th 2015 from Little Brown Book Group UK.

Source: Netgalley

On a sunny spring morning the settlement of Kahukura in Tasman is suddenly overwhelmed by a mysterious mass insanity. A handful of survivors find themselves cut off from the world, and surrounded by the dead. As the group of try to take care of one another, and survive in ever more difficult circumstances, it becomes apparent that this isn’t the first time that this has happened.

So, what to say about Wake then. Well firstly I read this in a day, got extremely annoyed every time I had to do other things, so utterly utterly addictive was it that it really should come with some kind of warning. Not only because it will take over your life for a while but because afterwards you may find that you have a heightened perception of your surroundings and not necessarily in a good way. The type of novel that will come back and haunt you when you least expect it, those of course being the very best ones..

Theresa is a police officer and witnesses a helicopter crash. Upon heading off to search for survivors, she gets interrupted by the insanity of others – quite literally. Everyone in Kahukura has gone mad and they are busy killing themselves and each other – when the dust settles, Theresa and an eclectic bunch of other survivors must band together to try and stay alive as there seems to be no way to leave the settlement.

This is highly intriguing and a terrific mix of horror, speculative ficton, drama and fantasy – Elizabeth Knox writes absolutely beautifully and with such a deft touch that you are absorbed immediately into the tale, it will engulf you completely and refuse to let go. Some of it is horrific, descriptively speaking there is nowhere to hide from the horror of a group of previously normal people suddenly becoming violently unpredictable and that is just while the scene is being set – what happens next is, in its own way, even more frightening, whilst at the same time terrifically engaging.

As the surviving bunch take stock of their situation, come together and get torn apart, it is brilliant brilliant stuff. The relationships forming are key to everything and as things develop it is impossible to put aside. Sam is one of the most enigmatic and terrifically drawn characters I have found in fiction recently – and she is not the only one who will have you sitting on the edge of your seat.

As someone who does not know New Zealand well, I thought the sense of place was terrific, it really put me right there, I could feel the surroundings and go on this journey with Theresa and co as if I had lived there all my life. The wildlife, the backdrop,  all comes to vivid, authentic life in the hands of an author who is a magical weaver of words – the entire novel is so elegantly constructed I genuinely thought it was a work of genius.

Overall a terrific read – and the great thing for me is, as this is my first novel from Elizabeth Knox I have a lovely little backlist to get to. And get to it I will.

Highly HIGHLY recommended. Although possibly not for the faint of heart. Scary, intuitive and perfect.

Happy Reading Folks!

 

 

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Publication Date: 26th Feb 2015 from Headline

Source: Netgalley

Beware the dawning of a new mage…
Wydrin of Crosshaven, Sir Sebastian and Lord Aaron Frith are experienced in the perils of stirring up the old gods. They are also familiar with defeating them, and the heroes of Baneswatch are now enjoying the perks of suddenly being very much in demand for their services.
When a job comes up in the distant city of Skaldshollow, it looks like easy coin – retrieve a stolen item, admire the views, get paid. But in a place twisted and haunted by ancient magic, with the most infamous mage of them all, Joah Demonsworn, making a reappearance, our heroes soon find themselves threatened by enemies on all sides, old and new. And in the frozen mountains, the stones are walking…

Lets start with “Beware the dawning of a new mage”…ha! Brilliant tagline for a brilliant book full of adventure and blinking good characters.

I was a HUGE fan of The Copper Promise, the first outing for our protagonists, it was great fun and a bit like a swashbuckling old school pirate movie in its feel and The Iron Ghost is no different, if anything its even more adventurous as our gang come into their own.

I’m a bit of a funny one with fantasy – the biggest fantasy series out there, The Lord of the Rings, I have never managed to get along with either in book or film form. It just goes on a bit..and on…and, well you get the picture. What I love about Jen Williams and her writing is how she manages to blend effortlessly a beautiful old school feel to the whole thing and a thoroughly modern twist that brings it bang up to date. It flows beautifully, is never dull, doesnt ramble but manages to keep you right in the heart of it throughout. Lovely jubbly.

I’m madly in love with the characters, the setting, the world building –  and just about everything you need for a great fantasy read is right here. The Promise of the first book has been solidified, no second book syndrome to be found and overall I HIGHLY recommend both this and “The Copper Promise” to anyone looking for a rollicking good tale and a whole lot of reading fun.

Happy Reading Folks!

 

 

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Publication Date: Available Now from 47North.

Source: Purchased copy for Kindle.

Khara has spent centuries discovering everything about the Underworld―except her place in it. But when she’s ripped from her home, solving the riddle of her origins becomes more important than ever. With evil stalking her through the dark alleys of Detroit, she finds salvation from an unlikely source: a group of immortal warriors sworn to protect the city.

Really enjoyed this start to a new series, some great characters and excellent world building made it a stonking good read.

Khara is taken from her home and thrown into Detroit where she meets her “family” and starts on a journey to discover her origins and understand her place in the world. She’s a great character to follow along with, clever and impulsively intuitive, she can come across as cold and uncaring yet she is very well drawn, a girl amongst many “brothers” who wants nothing more than to get back home. But it may not be that easy, and as the novel progresses the main character really comes into her own.

There is a fair bit of information to assmilate early on, and overall I would definitely say this is a “Part One” – setting the scene, fairly slow build up but very accessible reading and I found it to be a bit of a page turner despite the fact that it is not necessarily full of action. A great way to wet the appetite to find out more about the world Khara inhabits and what the heck is going on. Some clever little twists on mythology and a great sense of place when it comes to Detroit. Both worldly and other worldly at the same time I really thought the atmospheric writing style hit the spot and it engaged me from the start.

Overall then a very good read and I’ll look forward to reading the next one.

Happy Reading Folks!

 

 

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Publication Date: available now from Hodder and Staughton.

Source: Bookbridgr

All that is left of humanity is on a thousand-year journey to a new planet aboard one ship, The Noah, which is also carrying a dangerous serial killer…

Oh dear I struggled with this one. The premise is brilliant, the world building is excellent and the first part of the book was really really engaging. Then I found myself bogged down in an awful lot of what I found to be unneccesary technical jargon and rambling prose on the set up of the ship and this and that and I found myself skim reading a fair bit of it to get back to the parts that were fantastic.

I loved the idea of it – and in places, quite a lot of places to be fair, it really was a terrific read. The plot is intriguing – a ship carrying the last of humanity to a new planet, a hidden killer on board and a conspiracy of silence and cover up. I really liked Hannah Dempsey as a character, when we meet her she has just given birth and struggles with the aftermath – On Noah you don’t keep your children, in fact you sleep through the whole nine months and wake up as if it never happened – which set the scene for some great inner turmoil. When she gets caught up in the hunt for a killer, some of the story is mind blowingly addictive.

The problem was every time it got going, it stopped again. More technical stuff, more rambling and whilst I like the idea of being able to visualise the workings and environment when reading Science Fiction and Fantasy, this was all just a bit too much to get my head round and it kept dumping me out of the experience.

Overall I liked it ok, and there was such a lot of promise, but because I felt it never really got going I was kind of put out by the whole thing. I did struggle to finish it (although I’m glad I did, the end part was really really good again) and I think David Ramirez is a terrific writer, but I DO feel it could have been a lot more accessible. That of course is subjective – if you have a techie brain and like Scifi/Fantasy you will ADORE this because it has the best of both worlds. For me though, it was a bit over egged.

Happy Reading Folks!

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Publication Date: Available Now from Headline

Source: BookBridgr/Netgalley. Ok I was pretty determined to read this book!

High in the mountains of the Swiss Alps Leah Wilde is about to gamble her life to bring a powerful man an offer. A promise.
Leah has heard the dark stories about him and knows she is walking into the lion’s den. But her options are running out. Her rare lineage, kept secret for years, is under terrible threat. That is, unless Leah and her mother Hannah are prepared to join up with their once deadly enemies. Should the prey ever trust the predator?

Before I start the review I would note for Readers: I Highly Recommend that you read “The String Diaries” prior to “Written in the Blood” it will enhance the reading experience! Review here:

http://lizlovesbooks.com/lizlovesbooks/liz-currently-loves-the-string-diaries-by-stephen-lloyd-jones/

I loved The String Diaries, the first instalment in this absolutely brilliantly imaginative story and with Written in the Blood the author takes it up a notch – several notches in fact – and delivers a fantastic and often heart pounding tale steeped in an intelligently drawn mythology which he expands and improves upon making this an absolute page turner.

Here we find Leah, determined to find a way to help her people, entering dangerous territory in order to obtain support – but what she finds is not quite what she expects and as we move between past and present, discovering old alliances and events, it becomes more and more fascinating.

I hesitate to say too much about the actual plot because the joy of this one is very much in the world building and the characters and the strange lineage that Leah has discovered she is a part of.  Whilst The String Diaries set up this world beautifully, focussing very much on the thrill of the chase, Written in the Blood takes a step back and fills in some of  the blanks, gives the characters a greater depth and pulls you further into a hidden world which is often frightening yet always beautiful.

I am very fond of Leah but my heart was with Izsak throughout this one, all the characters are really well drawn and everyone will have their favourites, both old and new. The tension builds throughout, there is a magnificent finale and I really really hope that there is more to come.

Its not often that a sequel beats an original hands down, but I think in this case I would have to say that it has happened here. Whilst The String Diaries was dazzling and nicely original in its concept, Written in the Blood has outdone it by quite a clear margin for me. Stephen Lloyd Jones has been added to my “must read” list and I simply cannot wait for the next novel. No pressure Mr Lloyd Jones!

Highly Recommended

Happy Reading Folks!

 

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Publication Date: Available now from Raven Crest Books.

Source: Publisher Review Copy.

When Mike Travis stays at home to finish writing his next book he doesn’t expect to be embroiled in a new case.
A mysterious letter and diary are sent to him and he soon finds himself battling ancient demons with the help of friends old and new.
He believes that Victoria Little is the victim of possession rather than mental illness and sets out to free her and rid her of the vicious demon Ahriman. The fight takes him into the world of ancient dark magic which has stretched its legacy into lives past and present.

This is actually the fourth Mike Travis Paranormal mystery but it is the first one I have read  – I’ve added the others to my reading list though as this was a tremendously fun and intriguing read, a bit of a thrill, some haunting moments, a touch of romance and an eclectic character cast.

If you like all things Paranormal in your reading, enjoy being a bit freaked out and are a fan of  occult stories then you will find an awful lot to love here. Very addictive and a beautiful flow to the story that keeps you involved throughout, Mike and Beth are great characters.

The tale itself is often creepy, very well put together and has enough horror to keep ardent fans happy without being over the top or caricature, although I sense that I might have been better off reading the previous novels first so would perhaps recommend that you do that.  As a first introduction though I enjoyed it very much, extremely well written, the world building is good, and Jan McDonald writes with an easy, intelligent style that will sink you into the moment.

Definitely recommended for fans of Paranormal Fantasy.

Happy Reading Folks!

 

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Publication Date: Available Now from Jo Fletcher Books.

Source: Publisher Review Copy

Thomas is thirty-two. He comes from the small town of Barkley. He has a wife there, Sarah, and a child, Mary; good solid names from the Good Book. And he is on his way home from the war, where he has been serving as a conscripted soldier.
Thomas is also dead – he is one of the Walkin’.
And Barkley does not suffer the wicked to live.

Really enjoyed this one – a fresh take on a “zombie” story as we meet the inhabitants of Barkley – in a world where not all the dead  stay dead. These “zombies” are not shuffling human eating beings however, they are simply people who do not lie still when they die. Enter Thomas, newly awakened “Walkin” who would very much like to be reunited with his family. However Barkley is not a place where he will still be welcome – their belief system views the undead as wicked and they “show mercy” by ensuring a destruction that you do not come back from.

Part road trip and part family drama, this was beautifully written, with a deep seated moral dilemma at the core of it, using an intriguing plot twist to explore themes of isolation and bigotry, where a section of society is viewed as less than worthy by some and treated accordingly. Thomas himself questions his existence and back in Barkley the belief system they have does not allow for a being such as Thomas and the author takes this idea and runs with it..

For all the violent parts that there are in this story, it is kind of a gentle rolling tale. If you want flesh eating undead cutting a swathe through hapless humans this one is not for you – in this case the lines are blurred between good and evil, it is a character driven piece entirely but it is endlessly fascinating and completely addictive.

Intelligent plotting and terrific storytelling throughout, I found this utterly gripping and am very much looking forward to getting onto the next book in the trilogy – Your Servants and Your People – watch this space!

Happy Reading Folks!

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Publication Date: Available Now from Jo Fletcher Books.

Source: Publisher Review Copy

Laura Lensky’s daughter, Peri, has been missing for two years. For the police it’s a closed case – she wanted to run away – but for her mother and
boyfriend, it’s a different story. When Laura hires private investigator Ian Kennedy, it is a last-ditch attempt to find her daughter before she leaves for America. Drawn in by strange parallels to an obscure Celtic myth and his first, almost unexplainable case, Ian takes the job. But his beliefs are about to be stretched to their limit – there are darker and more devious forces at work here than any of them imagined.

A strange yet wonderfully readable hybrid of detective story and fairytale, Lisa Tuttle’s “The Mysteries” takes you on a fantastical journey through our very mundane world.

When Ian takes on the case of missing Peri, he is haunted by similarities to his first case – a case that set him determinedly on the path of reuniting missing people with their loved ones. But Peri’s case will challenge him in unexpected ways.

There is a great elegance to the prose here which definitely drew me in immediately – yet it flowed along at a fairly gentle pace, no rush to judgement, using past and present to paint a magical picture that is also strangely grounded in reality.

I particularly enjoyed the “break” chapters where various fairy stories and legends were told, all of which added to the story set in modern times and kept a lovely continuity to proceedings. It is often haunting and odd, with various threads all woven together into a clever tale which definitely captured my imagination.

Overall a terrific little read  –  my one bugbear is that I didnt like the ending, but that is purely subjective, it certainly fit in perfectly with the rest. Most definitely recommended for fans of fantasy steeped in reality.

Happy Reading Folks!

 

 

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Publication Date: Available Now from Simon and Schuster ( Simon 451)

Source: Netgalley

Jeanie and Ben arrive in Paris just in time for a festive New Year’s Eve celebration with local friends. They eat and drink and carry on until suddenly, at midnight, all the lights go out. Everywhere they look, buildings and streets are dark, as though the legendary Parisian revelry has somehow short circuited the entire city.
By the next morning, all hell has broken loose. Fireballs rain down from the sky, the temperatures are rising, and people run screaming through the streets. Whatever has happened in Paris—rumors are of a comet striking the earth—Jeanie and Ben have no way of knowing how far it has spread, or how much worse it will get.

I love apocalyptic novels they are one of my very favourite things to read…and “The Undying” by Ethan Reid certainly fit the bill and there was a whole lot about this novel I adored. Honestly, for me, it also had its faults but we’ll come to that.

So Jeanie and Ben are in France celebrating with friends. Jeanie is getting over the death of her father and Ben has tagged along to help her and support her. They are having a great time dining and drinking with local friends when suddenly the lights go out. Assumed at first to be a power cut, this is anything but, so cue madness mayhem and fire and suddenly Ben, Jeanie and friends are running for their lives through the streets of Paris…

So firstly the excellent stuff: The sense of place is amazing, terrifically well imagined and places you right at the centre of the action. The “zombies” are VERY cool, very frightening and have just enough mystery about them to make you long for a sequel. Introduced subtly they will certainly haunt your dreams. There is also a great adventure to be had as our protagonists try to work out what is going on and face a whole plethora of obstacles in their desperation to escape. It is emotional at times, most definitely scary in places and written beautifully – the descriptive prose is top notch.

However I question some things: The author chooses to let us know at the beginning of the novel who survives this journey and who does not – the rest is told in a flashback scenario. I can’t help but feel this reduced the tension – after all you may not know when or how but you DO know who – therefore it is a bit harder to relate to characters and commit. Occasionally as well, some of the placement of the flashbacks regarding Jeanie and her father felt misplaced – right in the middle of an extremely exciting moment, and by the time you’d got through the flashback the tension again had gone.

Even taking the above into account I have to say that overall I thought this was an excellent read – I am assuming that there will be more set in this world based on where we were at the end of the book (although it could stay there) and if that is the case I will certainly be reading them. The world building is superb and the writing is very good and there were a lot of teasers and information that make you want to know what is going on beyond what  we have already discovered here.

A solid 4* with some reservations and most definitely recommended for fans of Apocalyptic novels – and hopefully there is more to come.

Happy Reading Folks!

 

 

 

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Publication Date: Available now from Headline.

Book 2 of the “All Souls” trilogy.

Source: Netgalley

Seeking safety, Diana and Matthew travel back in time to London, 1590. But they soon realise that the past may not provide a haven. Reclaiming his former identity as poet and spy for Queen Elizabeth, the vampire falls back in with a group of radicals known as the School of Night. Many are unruly daemons, the creative minds of the age, including playwright Christopher Marlowe and mathematician Thomas Harriot.

So I LOVED “A Discovery of Witches” the first novel in this series, I have to admit to not being quite as enamoured of this one, but still I read it in pretty much one sitting so that comes as an overall viewpoint rather than speaking to the quality of the tale itself.

I did really enjoy the Historical aspect of this, meeting Marlow and Shakespeare and Harriot – and found it amusing as Diana settled into a very different life, getting used to the speech and the clothing. Obviously well researched (well of course!) the sense of time and place came across extremely well. I think the main problem was that I missed Oxford, a place I know well, and was also suffering from chronic impatience – I very much wanted all our heroes and heroines to be back together again, not separated by centuries…so definitely a case of Middle book syndrome. I want to know the outcome and I want to know now!

I also felt that Diana was a little lost as a character in amongst all the other goings on, it was not until towards the end of this part of the tale that I reconnected with her in the same way that I did in “Discovery” – equally I felt that Matthew was slightly overshadowed by Kit, but him I adored so that was not so bad.

This really is terrific writing and despite the pitfalls overall I really liked it, if not loved and I cannot WAIT until “The Book of Life” arrives on my reading schedule, I have it on good authority that the ending of the trilogy is fantastic and highly satisfactory. Watch this space!

Happy Reading Folks!

 

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Publication Date: Available Now from Headline

Source: Publisher review copy via BookBridgr.

It is ten years since the attack that reduced Pittsburgh to ashes. Today all that remains is the Archive: an interactive digital record of the city and its people.
John Dominic Blaxton is a survivor, one of the ‘lucky ones’ who escaped the blast. Crippled by the loss of his wife and unborn daughter, he spends his days immersed in the Archive with the ghosts of yesterday.
It is there he finds the digital record of a body: a woman, lying face down, half buried in mud. Who is she … and why is someone hacking into the system and deleting the record of her seemingly unremarkable life? This question will drag Dominic from the darkest corners of the past into a deadly and very present nightmare.

Highly enjoyable and very different (for me) tale here, a wonderful eclectic mixture of mystery, thriller and science fiction, with a healthy dose of irony and some very emotional content. Despite me needing to get my head around the style of writing (the characters in this world all have implanted adware which fills their vision with never ending updates and advertising which constantly interrupt the narrative as much as Dominic’s thought processes!) once I had it boy was I right there. A future world that is not at all unlikely (google glass anyone?) but which I’m not sure I would want to live in it was intriguing and fascinating.

Tomorrow and Tomorrow apparently is “Cyberpunk” which is a sub genre I’ve never really been able to get my head around the meaning of (who makes up these things anyway?) but for me it was at its heart a tale of loss and grief. Our main protagonist John “Dominic” Blaxton lost his wife to a bomb that reduced the city of Pittsburgh to ashes. The technology of the day has created an “archive” which allows him, and other survivors, to immerse themselves in a virtual reality and relive moments with their loved ones. Dominic practically lives there while working on the side for a company investigating insurance claims – when he discovers a body, a possible murder – he ends up caught up in a web of deceit and a dangerous cover up. Threatened with the loss of his memories, he finds himself in all kinds of trouble and off we go…

So we have an adventure to be sure, the world building is stunningly good, the mythology behind the bombing is a mystery and its kind of very much in the background. One city gone, the rest of the world moves on pretty much, works around it, which in a way made the whole thing quite horrific. There are many weird and wonderful characters to meet along the way, all well drawn. There is also a subtle complexity to the writing that absorbs you completely into their lives, a clever and thoughtful prose that allows the world to come alive.  Then bang at the centre is a murder mystery and a villain just waiting to be uncovered..

There is an interesting theme throughout, and one that captured my imagination, about letting go, working through loss, coming out the other side. In a way the archive prevents Dominic from doing this – how DO you accept the death of a loved one if you can constantly see them in your peripheral vision, can always visit with them in an old memory. On the surface this seems like a magical ability to have but a broader viewpoint would suggest otherwise. That is one thing I’m going to have to think about…

Overall I thought this was brilliant. If this is Cyberpunk I want to read more of it – a lot more. Preferably from this author.

Highly Recommended.

Happy Reading Folks!

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Publication Date: Available now from Elsewhen Press

Thank you to the author and publisher for the review copy.

The Convergence Project is a covert military/governmental science project that uses prisoners on death row to explore what happens to people as they die. The experience of life flashing before your eyes, just before death is a process called active retrieval where memories are being recalled and lived out again in the mind.

Now a heads up, this book can easily be read as a standalone (I know because I did) but is part of “The Dandelion Trilogy” which also includes “The Ascent of Isaac Steward” and Blue Friday”. I would say that perhaps the initial start is a little confusing  if you have not read what came before, but  it soon comes into focus so was not an issue for me.

Speculative fiction is always best when it gives you a thought process, something to have to wrap your brain around, and this most certainly did that. Blurring the lines between reality and alternate reality, with a bit of a love story in there and an extremely imaginative and compelling premise, this engaged my mind in a wonderful way. Admittedly it won’t be for everyone – but I’m someone who likes to test her reading mettle every once in a while with something a little out of the ballpark and this fit the bill perfectly.

Once I’d gotten used to the Vatican being in Kent, and various other little foibles, I was transported to a different world, one full of twists and turns and  magnificent characters some of whom you will recognise (maybe!) and some very new – all involved in a beautifully complex and even more beautifully plotted story that plays on a lot of different aspects. Science, technology, religion and politics are all in here and mesh together really well to create a well rounded yet unique story.

Overall an excellent read especially if you are looking for something intriguing and a little bit off the beaten path.

Happy Reading Folks!

 

 

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Publication Date: Available now from Jo Fletcher.

Thank you to the author and publisher for the review copy.

Enough time has passed for the young girl Jaenelle, heir to the magical Darkness, for her physical wounds to heal, while amnesia keeps her frightening memories at bay. But with Saetan–a Black-Jewelled Warlord Prince and Jaenelle’s foster-father–to protect her, she will continue to grow. Her magic will mature. Her memories will return. And Jaenelle will face her destiny.

Well the first book in this trilogy ” Daughter of the Blood” was a deeply strange and enthralling read so I came to Book 2 with much excitement and it did not disappoint – if anything it was superior, probably due to the depth the author manages to give her weirdly wonderful characters and the fact that you know them now and are more than ready to find out what is next.

At the end of Book One things were not going well for Jaenelle, now she is in recovery under the watchful eye of Saetan (my absolute favourite of ALL the characters, boy was I pleased to see him again) As she suffers the aftermath and struggles to regain her emotional equilibrium, her amnesia protects her from the horror she suffered. Meanwhile Daemon Sadi is suffering a breakdown due to the lies he has been told and believed and his injury sustained during Jaenelle’s rescue.

Whilst the rich imagery and beautiful prose from the first novel remains intact, the sexual content and violence is toned down somewhat, which is very fitting for the portion of the tale being told – the bridge if you like between start and finish – we already know how darkly disturbing some of the living conditions are –  and here we learn more about the lavish and extravagant world the author has created.

It really is stunning in its complexity, so wonderful to read, as far as dark fantasy goes you won’t find much better than this that is for sure. The end of the book had me absolutely on the edge of my seat and I simply cannot wait to find out what is going to happen in the finale. You see here one happy reader.

So Queen of the Darkness up next then. As soon as I can possibly get around to it. Certainly the first 2 books in the Black Jewels Trilogy come highly recommended from me.

Happy Reading Folks!

 

 

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Available Now

Thank you to the author for the review copy.

In 2014 humanity didn’t stand a chance. A series of fatal climatic disasters struck, entirely drowning the planet. Now, just one hundred and twenty-five souls remain, surviving on a flotilla of damaged ships. But their survival isn’t guaranteed. Facing severe threats to their numbers by a fatal bacterium and increasingly warring factions, they discover a serial killer within their midst.

Highly enjoyable tale this one, combining two of my very favourite things, Post Apocalypse and Crime thriller, cleverly meshing to create a quite addictive tale. Some great characters and a very tight and claustrophobic feel to the whole thing, being set as it was in a very small area, gave it great added depth and sense of place.

One of the best things for me was the ebb and flow of the relationships on board the flotilla, where not everyone is quite what they appear. Jim is probably my favourite, how he changes over the course of the novel, but Eva was also highly intriguing. There is a mystery within a mystery here – who is killing the survivors, and what happens to the ones who leave and never return? Add to that a virus that appears uncurable and you have a heady mix of hurdles faced by a very small cross section of society – and one that is becoming more fractured by the day..

Overall an excellent read, like Waterworld if it had been a darn good novel, but with a much better feel to it. Intelligently plotted I would recommend this for fans of both Apocalyptic thrillers and Crime/Mystery – whether you like one, the other, or both you will find a great read here.

It feels like there is more to discover  – I, for one, am hoping for a sequel

Happy Reading Folks!

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Publication date: 22nd May 2014 from Pan Macmillan.

Thank you SO much to the author and publisher for the netgalley review copy.

Summer in London: a city in turmoil. The vicious murder of a well-known MP is like a match to tinder but Detective Inspector James Quill and his team know that it’s not a run-of-the-mill homicide. Still coming to terms with their new-found second sight, they soon discover that what is invisible to others – the killer – is visible to them. Even if they have no idea who it is.

Its hell out there…and was in my house when people tried to interrupt my reading while I was in this one. Ever since I read “London Falling” I had been dying to get back into the world of Quill et al and it was worth every minute of the wait.

I love Urban Fantasy and I especially love it when its done this well. The world and the people inhabiting it having been so well established in the first book ,this was easy to dive straight back into, and from the opening few paragraphs I knew I was going to be hooked. When an unseen killer strikes and an innocent man is at risk, Quill and team take a closer look – and with their particular brand of vision see what others do not. So begins a rip roaring adventure, some edge of the seat moments and a wonderfully addictive reading experience.

The one thing I do adore about these particular books is that they are very definitely aimed at and written for adults, but without feeling the need to say “hey look at all the swearing and stuff look how grown up I am” – and hey we’ve all read books like that – in this its just adult characters put in untenable situations and reacting in realistic ways, even with the paranormal and fantasy elements. In this instalment we also get a guest appearance in the form of a rather well known author (who I also adore but I won’t spoil it for you) and this gave it such a great edge and made me smile a lot.

The characters get added depth (I particularly loved the developing yin/yang relationship between Costain and Ross) the mythology expands and encompasses more London legend (Jack the Ripper anyone?) and overall if anything I enjoyed this even more than the first one. And that was a tough act to follow…

Definitely highly recommended by me. The only problem now is, getting over this major book hangover. Thats two I’ve had this weekend…

Happy Reading Folks!

 

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Publication Date: 6th May 2014 from Orbit.

Thank you to the author and publisher for the review copy via NetGalley.

Only five still guard the borders between the worlds.
Only five hold back what waits on the other side.

Once the Oversight, the secret society that policed the lines between the mundane and the magic, counted hundreds of brave souls among its members. Now their numbers can be counted on a single hand.
When a vagabond brings a screaming girl to the Oversight’s London headquarters, it seems their hopes for a new recruit will be fulfilled – but the girl is a trap.

I do love a bit of gothic fantasy me, and this one was absolutely terrific. Wonderfully imagined, beautifully drawn and still keeping a high level of characterisation and intelligence of storyline. Add in the Historical setting and there is a lot to love here.

The world building is intriguing and mesmerising without being over complicated, the characters that live there are genuinely fascinating and the tale – that of a world beyond our own but within it- is very addictive. You will rattle through the pages getting more and more immersed into the mythology and the struggles faced by The Oversight to keep order and sanity. I could hardly put it down, and devoured it in great big glorious chunks of reading time.

You may think there is nothing new here – many a tale of this type has been told, but when it is all done with such fabulous flow and captivating storytelling it feels very fresh and new. More please. That would be nice.

Happy Reading Folks!

 

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Some places are too good to be true.
Under a pink moon, there is a perfect little town not found on any map.
In that town, there are quiet streets lined with pretty houses, houses that conceal the strangest things.
After a couple years of hard traveling, ex-cop Mona Bright inherits her long-dead mother’s home in Wink, New Mexico. And the closer Mona gets to her mother’s past, the more she understands that the people of Wink are very, very different …

This was a weird and wonderful story, full of amazingly well drawn characters and with a highly fascinating and often disturbing premise. It was also another thing I love – a good, long book! Not many writers give us novels of the longer variety that manage to keep up the pace, interest and quality from page one to end but Robert Jackson Bennett has done exactly that here.

When Mona inherits her mother’s house, in a place she never knew existed, she hopes to find somewhere to settle and some more about her mother’s history – but Wink is not like other small towns – something lurks just below the surface that is unimaginable.

This was a terrific blend of science fiction, supernatural and mundane. That is the best way I have of describing it – the story ebbs and flows in beautiful fashion, with little nuggets of information as to the truth behind Wink and its inhabitants seamlessy woven into the bigger picture, all written in an addictive and compelling way that keeps you right in each moment throughout the reading experience.

Clever and highly imaginative, with some exquisite prose and magnificent world building, all alongside some strangely fabulous characters that you will love, this is one of the best novels in its genre I have read for a while.

Happy Reading Folks!

 

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A killer is murdering Goths with brutal relish – skinning and butchering them. The cops aren’t getting anywhere, so Jack Nightingale’s nemesis, Superintendent Chalmers, asks him for help.

So another adventure for Jack Nightingale and as usual it was fast paced, brilliant, often dark but offset with ironic humour and the most fun you are likely to have with a book for a while.

In this instalment, after all the work Jack has put in to make his world right again, he is in for a bit of a rollercoaster ride of doom. After he is cajoled and pretty much threatened into helping the indomitable Superintendent Chalmers work out who might have it in for the local goth community he finds himself caught up in old grudges and in a heck of a lot of trouble.

What I adore most about these books is that Stephen Leather NEVER lets his characters or his world stagnate – you are never exactly sure where he will take you or Jack and it gives the whole series a fresh feel with every single novel. Every single time I finish one of these I immediately want more and that was especially true at the end of this one – How can I wait? Its cruel and unusual punishment…

I love this series with a fiery vengeance. Like “Supernatural” on acid, it always take me on a fascinating, endlessly compelling, terrifically terrifying and never ever dull journey to the dark side. More please. As soon as possible.

Happy Reading Folks!

 

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Thank you to the author for the review copy.

Lenna Faircloth thought she was content enough to be junior librarian at one of the grandest libraries on the Continent, so long as at the end of the day she can enjoy a glass (or two) of wine and some decent shut-eye. Reticent and unconcerned with trivial matters, Lenna is almost laughably nonplussed the day her childhood friend, Gilbert, appears at her door, asking her to help smuggle stolen goods across national borders.

LIBRARIAN is the first part of a young woman’s long journey set in an alternate, sparsely-populated world.

So I’d had this one on my Amazon wishlist for a while so was very grateful to the author for sending me a copy – and it was highly enjoyable in so many ways.

First of all descriptively speaking – the world is imaginative and well formed, the  fantasy elements are extremely well done and I loved the characters. Lenna was brilliant – funny and flawed and a terrific main protagonist to follow along with.

I would say its kind of a slow burner, the building blocks of a longer story to be told – but it flows along tremendously well. I can’t say I’ve read a novel quite like it before and don’t want to give too much away, but one thing I did like is the addictive nature of the read and how Mr Fence always encourages that “just one more chapter before I go to sleep” feeling.

I’m not sure how many books are planned for the series but this was a brilliant beginning and I will certainly follow it along to its conclusion. I’m very much looking forward to returning to the journey with the sequel.

Recommended for: Young and Young at Heart Adults with a love of fantasy and SteamPunk.

Happy Reading Folks!

 

 

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Thank you to the author and publisher for the review copy.

There are some far-fetched rumours about the caverns beneath the Citadel…
Some say the mages left their most dangerous secrets hidden there; others, that great riches are hidden there; even that gods have been imprisoned in its darkest depths.
For Lord Frith, the caverns hold the key to his vengeance. Against all the odds, he has survived torture and lived to see his home and his family taken from him … and now someone is going to pay. For Wydrin of Crosshaven and her faithful companion, Sir Sebastian Caverson, a quest to the Citadel looks like just another job. There’s the promise of gold and adventure. Who knows, they might even have a decent tale or two once they’re done.

I loved this one – such a read of pure pleasure, adventure and mayhem, some wonderful characters and a quest Indiana Jones would have been proud of.

Sebastian and Wydrin are hired by Lord Frith to search the caverns beneath the Citadel, Sebastian having the secondary plan to track down a friend who has recently disappeared there. What they find is unexpected and dangerous and what follows is a wonderful magical adventure with some heartstopping action and intriguing world building.

Wydrin is a beautifully drawn character, hilarious and pragmatic with an ironic edge, as she and her companions face the dangers of the Citadel both together and separately, I was with her all the way. Those surrounding her are equally well drawn and as a group they work extremely well together.

I don’t want to give too much away but we have fantastic creatures, hidden secrets, an ancient enemy and many many shenanigans. Absolutely perfect reading. Bring on the next adventure!

Happy Reading Folks!

 

 

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Thank you to the author and publisher for the review copy.

The Darkness has had a Prince for a long, long time. Now the Queen is coming.
For years the realm of Terreille has been falling into corruption, as the powerful Queens who rule it have turned to cruelty.
But there is hope – a prophetic vision has revealed the coming of a Queen more powerful than any other. And once the foundations of her power – father, brother, lover – are in place, she will emerge from the darkness, bringing freedom.
For she is the living myth, dreams made flesh; not just any witch, but Witch.

It took me a while to sink into this one – I found the Jewel system quite complicated and there seemed to be a lot of rushing around in the first little bit – but once it kicked in I very much enjoyed it. The world the author has created here has a lot of depth and beauty – but also a lot of very dark places to visit and I would warn that there is some strong erotic content as well as some sexual violence – all in keeping with the story being told however.

High Jewelled women rule the roost here – decadent and cruel, power is their key. However one has been born who is not like the rest – she is Janelle, her coming was predicted, she is not just any witch but WITCH. Over the course of the novel we watch many people seek to find her, control her and she herself is immature and does not understand the depth of her power. Into this mix comes a terrific cast of characters all of which I would prefer you met for yourself…I’m with Saetan though!

The further I got drawn into the world the more compelling I found it – as I headed towards the end I was reading it practically non stop. This is a highly imaginative tale of myth and magic, often horrific, always intriguing and dark fantasy indeed. It feels like there is a lot more development, both of the characters and the world they inhabit, and I am looking forward greatly to book 2.

All in all terrific fantasy, as a series I am extremely keen to see where the author takes it.

Happy Reading Folks!

 

 

 

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With thanks to the author and publisher for the review copy.

His name is Nathan Garrett, but he’s also known as Hellequin. And murdering one of his friends and trying to blow him up is a good way to get this centuries-old sorcerer’s full attention…

A long time ago (It feels like now) I impulsively purchased “Crimes Against Magic” the first in the Hellequin series from Steve McHugh featuring sorcerer Nate Garrett and immediately and irrevocably fell in love.

I had only just started my foray into Urban Fantasy and was looking for another fix and here it was right here. Now we are onto Book 3 (with a short story bridge as well) and these just get better and better. For sheer reading fun, it rarely gets better than this- a glorious mix of known mythology, a brand new world to explore, some tremendous characters and always a heartstopping and well constructed story.

In this instalment someone makes the rather extreme error of killing a person Nate is fond of. Then attempting to blow him up. Follow all that with a good deal of smug goading and your fate is probably sealed. And so it begins.

Once again we have a past/present twist to the tale, some magnificently evil bad guys and some beautifully imagined settings where magic and reality collide. WereLions, Cave Trolls and Guardians, other realms, wizardry and mayhem all tied up together in a fantastic package of adrenalin rushing goodness. Like a Rollercoaster ride in novel form, you are in for one hell of a ride.

These are adult in nature – the violence is as violent as real violence is.. the fights are down and dirty with no holds barred and Nate himself is the very definition of anti hero. He kind of follows his own moral code but when the chips are down if you are in his way he really is not going to give much thought before wiping you off the face of the planet. I love that about him. Flawed yes, not indestructible by any means but if you are going to annoy him you had better be sure you can either beat him at his own game or that you can run REALLY fast.

The supporting cast of characters are all superb. I am absolutely in love with Nate although he does now have a rival for my affection after this story in the form of Galahad.  Caitlin is my favourite kind of kick ass female – one who stands no nonsense but is very aware of both her limitations and her surroundings. As for Hades well, who DOESNT love Hades? I am definitely an unapologetic fangirl all round for this series. All the way.

This is definitely a set of books that has grown in stature since its humble beginnings as Nate and the mythology surrounding him has grown, developed and taken on a life of its own. So, all in all a terrific 3rd book in a series that is now absolutely one of my favourites in the Urban Fantasy stakes alongside Felix Castor and Alex Verus. Possibly not for the faint hearted but if you like your Urban fantasy absolutely Urban and fantastical these will probably bring great satisfaction.

Note: With Silent Screams can easily be read as a standalone book with no problem whatsoever, so if you fancy starting with this one, go right ahead!

Happy Reading Folks!

 

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When Mrs D arrives in Stress City, and takes on the job of City Problem Solver, the inhabitants are delighted, thinking their problems are over.

Yeah, right…

Thank you to the author for the copy of this book for review. Great cover!

So here we have an entertaining and slightly different “fairytale” following the antics of an eclectic mix of characters living in the beautifully imagined Stress City. Highly humerous and a great deal of fun I enjoyed this one thoroughly!

Foolish Folk Jack and Dundee, bookshop owner Duggey and so called problem solver Mrs D will capture your imagination – and a fun filled story awaits – a battle for the souls of Stress City.

Pure escapism with a unique twist, this will have you laughing out loud and longing for more.

I leave you to discover the rest for yourselves…

Happy Reading Folks!

 

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Thank you to the author and publisher for the copy via netgalley

Apollo 13 meets Castaway in this grippingly detailed, brilliantly ingenious man-vs-nature survival thriller-set on the surface of Mars.
Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first men to walk on the surface of Mars. Now, he’s sure he’ll be the first man to die there.

Grippingly detailed? Yep. Brilliantly ingenious? Yep. This was me while reading this book.

HA! This guy’s hilarious. Wait WHAT HAPPENED? No. Oh its ok. Phew. Giggle, this guy really IS funny. LOOK OUT! Jeez. Sigh. Really? Nooo you can’t do that where’s my chocolate? Oh no worries its ok. Isnt it? Laugh. AARGH that can’t be good. And so on…

The further I got into it the more gripping it got. Literally gripping…often highly funny, always keeping you on your toes – and in Mark Watney the author has created one of the most humerous, brave, versatile characters I have seen in years. You WILL root for him with every fibre of your being. You will laugh with him, cry with him, feel the highs and the lows as he desperately struggles to survive in a highly dangerous and alien environment and yet you really have no idea whether or not he will live. There are no guarantees here and I for one was desperate DESPERATE for him to find some way home.

When one character dominates the majority of a novel (or a film, think “Castaway”, or the amazingly brilliant and tense “Buried” with Ryan Reynolds) then they have to be good, worth the effort, make the reader or the observer NEED to take that journey with them…or it won’t work. In that sense Andy Weir really is a genius writer – there was not one second, not one single second, even during the quieter moments when Mark is pondering his next challenge, that I was not 100% with him. All the way to the heart stopping conclusion.

This is a book with true highs and lows in the emotional response department. You will either be fist pumping the air or hyperventilating through a dangerous moment and inbetween all that you get some witty, ironic and truly wonderful life observations.

Absolutely and totally fantastic. Now I’m off to dance to some 70’s disco….

Happy Reading Folks!

 

 

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Thank you kindly to Steve McHugh for sending me this and helping me with my chronic impatience.

In late 15th century England, two young princes are given over by Merlin to the protection of their uncle, King Richard III. They soon vanish from sight, igniting tales of their demise at Richard’s hand and breeding unrest throughout the land.
Nathanial Garrett, also known as Hellequin, is sent to London to decipher fact from rumor and uncovers a plot to replace the king. But his investigation quickly becomes personal when he learns that an old nemesis is involved. He soon finds himself racing against time to rescue the boys before their fate, and the fate of all England, is sealed in blood.

Oh how I love Nate Garrett so I was very much looking forward to this novella, a short but sweet addition to the Hellequin series.

As usual Mr McHugh weaves a magical tale blending myth, legend, history and fantasy with terrific effect. Taking the story of “The Princes in the Tower” as a backdrop and putting Nate Garret bang at the centre of it, this is a beautifully fast paced action driven instalment in Nate’s story.

If you are a fan of this series this will certainly wet the appetite for the next book. If you have yet to dip your toes into Nate’s world this is a gorgeous little taster for you that will have you rushing out to get the rest.

Happy Reading Folks!

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Thank you to the author for the review copy.

Dan Amenta woke up one morning to discover the world had changed…the Apocalypse had arrived.

Death, destruction, and disaster were wreaking havoc across the globe. Yet Dan and his family remained untouched and he sensed some sort of supernatural power had left them the only three people alive on Earth. They were not.

Post Apocalyptic novels are my favourite kind and this one was in the way of being slightly different to the norm. The end comes quietly and the whole book I would describe as quietly contemplative.

A beautifully written story which begins with a look at our society that is both frightening and real, this had the benefit of immediately grabbing my attention. After the event Dan and his family believe they may be the only people left alive. As they prepare for this possibility this is an extremely compelling look at human nature and our reactions to impossible circumstance.

I do not want to give much away. The author weaves a haunting authentic feeling end of days tale using his characters to drive home the horrors of it all. I read this fast – it was difficult to leave behind and I look forward to more.

Recommended for fans of Post Apocalyptic fiction.

Happy Reading Folks!

 

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In a ruined and toxic landscape, a community exists in a giant silo underground, hundreds of stories deep. There, men and women live in a society full of regulations they believe are meant to protect them. Sheriff Holston, who has unwaveringly upheld the silo’s rules for years, unexpectedly breaks the greatest taboo of all: He asks to go outside.

So I’m aware that this was originally written in parts and this is the whole brought together in one volume – I am actually immensely grateful that this did not appear on my radar earlier because it would have driven me absolutely insane to have to wait for each new instalment – ok I am pretty insane most of the time anyway, but still.

Wool is that rarest of things – a completely character driven dystopian novel. Its a beautifully written one at that. The pace is fairly slow but oh so compelling – as we meet various characters living in the Silo, a lot of whom for one reason or another start to doubt the facts they have been living with. Endlessly fascinating, this little snapshot of a life led in one place and in one way, following very specific rules whose purpose seem to have been lost in the mists of time, its a living breathing thing.

Of course that is not all there is to it by any means. The world building here is also superb but rather than extensive descriptive passages, we see pretty much all of it through the eyes of our characters – as they move through the various levels of the Silo and a wider picture emerges. The various aspects of the life they lead, the social structures and different communities  that make up the whole. Some familiar themes are woven into the narrative – power, responsibility, rebellion and realisation – at times its emotive stuff – you will come to know these people well.

As our protagonists start to learn more about the realities, what came before, what is being hidden, it is absolutely addictive – I could  barely put it down. Absolutely brilliant writing.

I am so pleased that I still have two more novels to go – I believe the next one is in the way of being a “prequel” and that the last will pull all the various strands of the tale together. I  can’t wait to see the whole picture. I really can’t. Highly recommended.

Happy Reading Folks!

 

 

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Coming December 22nd from SmithCraft Press.

 

Thank you to the publisher and author for the review copy via netgalley.

Apocalypse unleashed, the Cleansing begins. Relentless. Survival, uncertain.

Seven billion people inhabit this world, unaware our destruction is at hand. Death arrives unheralded—swift and nearly certain—not from meteors or nuclear holocaust or global warming, but from a source no one even knows exists.

So, this was brilliant. Yep. It really was. Mainly because, although it has as its basic premise a story told often before (The end of mankind etc etc),  the author has given it a little twist, a little spark of new life, thrown in a spot of originality and mixed the whole thing up into a rather addictive adventure.

Its difficult to go into a lot of detail here without spoiling the sense and ambience of it – because of the variations on a theme, the discovery of those variations are at the heart of the enjoyment of the story so I won’t give anything away. Its certainly new to me and I was engaged and intrigued all the way through.

The writing is pacy and compelling, easy to read and sink into, and there are some terrific characters to be found here…all in all it is certainly one of the best books of its kind I have read this year.

This is very much Book One – the author has taken this opportunity to do some proper mythology, background and world building, to situate his characters and at least imply their purpose, all without resorting to mundane exposition which might bore the reader. Cleverly achieved – and when I reached the end I was ready to metaphorically kill people in order to get Book Two, but did not feel short changed at all by the story as a whole.

Excellent. Loved it. Highly Recommended.

Happy Reading Folks!

 

 

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A new darkness is rising. Myth and legend will become reality. Three teenagers must embrace a new destiny. Join them in an epic battle.

Not many fourteen year olds can say that they are the subject of an ancient prophecy. Fewer still can say that they have inherited the powers of a wizard and a responsibility for the fate of the world. Simon, Evelyn and James are three who can. From the moment they learn that they are the subjects of a prophecy made by Merlin long ago, they are thrown into a war against the nefarious witch, Morgana. A witch whom prophecy states they will one day defeat.

There is a lot of fantasy about at the moment, especially aimed at a YA audience, a lot of it self published. Some of it is amazing (Jack Croxall Tethers springs to mind) some of it absolutely horrific (No not telling, wouldnt be fair) so I was interested to see what Sam (who I converse with on Twitter) had managed to do with the start of the Keys of Time series.

Firstly its a terrifically imagined story – based in magic and mythology, its paced extremely well and has some great characters at its heart…I was very fond of Evelyn in particular (girl power folks!) but Simon and James help make a perfect trio to travel along with.

The world building is well done – the mythology we all know and love (Merlin) is well imbedded and altered to fit, and its written in an appealing and absorbing style. Yes there is room for improvement in the writing skill, but for a first novel, and a series jump off point its extremely well done.

Certainly it is compelling enough to make me want to read the rest of the books as they appear – I would recommend it for young at heart adults who like a tale that takes a well known story and puts a modern twist on it.

Happy Reading Folks!

 

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Thank you kindly to the authors for the copy of this book to review.

The Virus spread. Billions died. The Ending began. We may have survived the apocalypse, but the Virus changed us.

Right, the first thing I need to do is apologise for the “sitting on the fence” feel to this review  – there were things I loved about this book and things I really didnt get on with. This being my first foray into fiction termed “New Adult” it was the Post Apocalyptic aspects of this one that drew me to it…

This had a good if cliched premise, reasonably well executed for the most part – with two female protagonists – Best friends who find themselves at opposite ends of the country when the virus hits and determined to be reunited. I liked that idea very much as a focus. As the survivors become “changed”, again, it was an aspect of the read that I was drawn to. The writing style is engaging,  light, and involving enough.

However, I also had several issues. Most importantly the continuing ability of the two friends to interact via email. It seems most unlikely and takes you out of the story somewhat. Also despite their age, these two sound more like teenagers than the young ladies they are described as – and quite often act that way as well. This didnt really work for me, nor did the heavy romantic content – I was not convinced that A) within a very short timescale after discovering your boyfriend was dead you would be emailing anyone and B) that not that long after that your attention would be taken by another man.

Having said that, despite its faults, I did enjoy this. The road trip aspect of it was good, and the ending had enough of an edge to make me want to find out what happens next. Still,on a very personal reading level, I prefer less romantic content and more action and angst in my post apocalyptic fiction.

If you like this type of novel with a strong romantic element rather than a more relentless survival aspect feel, then I think you would enjoy this. I’m not sure what age group I would direct it towards – certainly it is more adult than young adult in content but equally I’m not sure the characters would stand up to the scrutiny of a totally adult audience. There is certainly room for development here.

Happy Reading Folks!

 

 

 

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Thank you to the author, publisher and netgalley for the copy of this book for review.

 

Negative Space tells the story of a provocative Los Angeles painter named Max Higgins, on the verge of local fame. The secret to his work’s haunting allure? He collects photos of missing persons and incorporates them into his paintings, giving the often melancholy faces, as he puts it, a “home in his work.”

 

Hmm. Well, not what I was  expecting thats for sure. A slightly odd one this, in a good way – I think. Where I was expecting a mystery based on missing people I instead got a story about Max, his half sister and a rather weird and wonderful journey to find their Father, with some hint of something not so nice over the horizon.

Mike Robinson has an interesting turn of phrase to say the least – and really this book was pretty much metaphorical, perhaps overly so. Set during the Rodney King trial the tension of that is added to the story, but I fancy that for me a lot of the nuances of the story may have been lost in translation…it didnt really seem to go anywhere that it hinted that it might. I can’t really put it better than that.

Beautiful writing to be sure. I think this one might be for readers of a more “deep thinking” nature than I tend to be (although I have my moments!) yet I did love some of the characters – Karen particularly. All the characters including Max himself were well drawn but I felt some were not really required – Norman Ritter, who writes about Artists for example, seemed out of place.

Overall I can’t really be sure what I thought of this one…I would recommend it if you are looking for something a bit different, from an author who knows his craft and uses words to perfection. A haunting tale. Worth the journey.

Happy Reading Folks!

 

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Coming November 5th from Macmillan – Tor/Forge

Thank you to the author and publisher for the copy of this book for review via netgalley.

Cassie Klyne, nineteen years old, lives in the United States in the year 2015—but it’s not our United States, and it’s not our 2015.

 

An intriguing concept I was looking forward to this one – I admittedly have not read this author before so I wouldnt like to say how it compares to previous novels however I very much enjoyed it.

Cassie has knowledge that others do not – and her parents died for it. She and her brother now live with an Aunt, trying to forge a peaceful existance and not bring attention to themselves…but soon she finds herself in a battle for the planet itself.

It was an interesting idea  – what if our history, our way of living had all been influenced by an outside authority – and an alien one at that. If we are more peaceful because of it then where is the harm? Not perhaps a new concept in science fiction but this was a well written, reasonably compelling and well flowing version of a done before story and a tale well told is always worth the time. Will Cassie save the world or doom it to destruction? A bit of a dilemma there it seems – a moral tale as well as a fantastic one.

All in all if you like science fiction, with an idea that might give you pause for thought, and simply love to live in an alternate universe for a while, then I would say that you would enjoy this. Whilst there is nothing much new under the sun these days, a good story is still a good story.

Happy Reading Folks!

 

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Thank you to the author for the copy of this book to review.

 

Buddy Jackson is the world’s greatest superhero. He just doesn’t know it. He’s unemployed, a drunk, and has a tendency to go weeks without showering; yet Buddy Jackson may be the only person capable of saving the world from total destruction.

 

Well what a lot of fun this one was! Cleverly written and quirky, Buddy is a wonderful creation and a great person to travel along with for a while…

Everything you need for a SuperHero origin story (sort of!) is here, villainous villains and wonderful sidekicks (sort of ) with all the bits in brackets you can see where I am going with this…

Its very much its own thing, an interesting take on the whole genre, Buddy’s motivations are very much at the heart of the tale..and I loved Dominion very much. The thought of having some kind of superpower is very much at the heart of the dreams of many children..and adults alike and this book encompasses that – I would wonder which power the author would like to have…

A terrific sense of humour and a wonderfully compelling yet hilarious story, this was a perfect Sunday read for me. The ending allows for more. I shall be there…

Happy Reading Folks!

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Thank you to netgalley and the publisher for the review copy of this book.

 

Thy Kingdom Fall is the provocative, debut thriller of author Austin Dragon-a dramatic mix of politics, religion, and intrigue set over 75 years in the future.

 

Right. Difficult one for me this. Extremely well written with an intriguing premise, and the start of a new series, I believe that this is going to very much be what I call a “marmite” book. It has many positives and equally some negatives for me. As anyone that follows me knows, I dislike being about the downside so lets start with the great aspects of this novel..

Firstly characters..probably the best thing to be said for the book is this author knows how to create a character that you will either adore or loathe…and is pretty clear cut about who you SHOULD be loving or loathing (Kristiana being my favourite incidentally) with very little prevarication. And in the context of the story this works very well.

Secondly, the technical, or more “science fiction” aspects of the book are very well done. Certainly seeming realistic (everyone is connected to “the net” in one way or another!) it speaks to a very possible future..

The story moves along apace (some of the back and forth between time periods can be disconcerting but work fine once you are used to how it goes) and there are some twists and turns along the way to hold your interest.

For me though, the religious tone of the book was vaguely disturbing. SOME portions of the novel felt like one long sermon…on the rather shameless way we live our current lives and the possible consequences.  There are definite religious divides, although in the interests of fairness, I should point out that there is also a lot of the world in the story where religion has been made illegal – equally distasteful if it were to happen in reality. For clarification my views on religion in a nutshell are : Not for me, up to everyone else what they believe. But on a very personal level it all felt a bit paranoia bound in the odd few places.

 

So yes, a marmite read. But I can’t fault the writing or the talent behind it – and of course I can’t be sure what, if any, message the author may have been trying to convey with the tale he has told. This one is very much going to be in the eyes of the beholder folks. If you like political/religious thrillers with a post apocalyptic feel or indeed I might like to call it a techno thriller then I would say give it a try. I remain undecided on whether I will continue with this series, if I’m completely honest I will say it will depend upon my reading list at the time.

Happy Reading Folks!

 

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Thank you to the author for the copy of this book to review.

 

When branch manager Giles Macintosh arrives to open up one morning and finds an injured bum and his battered dog lying in the doorway of the bank, he little suspects what lies in store for them all.

This was a quirky and intriguing little story – my one complaint is that I would have liked it to be longer..it felt like a novel in the making. Thats not a bad thing incidentally, it meant that I would happily have read on….

Its a bit difficult to put this one in a genre box. It was a fairly gritty read whilst also having a heart warming message at its heart and an intriguing supernatural element.

I love the mish mash of styles here – depending on whats going on and who we are with at the time, the style and content of the writing changes to give each character and/or situation its own voice. Even the more magical elements felt realistic. I love that – it makes me wonder if there really are people out there with strange and wonderful gifts…

Plot wise it is involving and flows nicely- you will want to contine to the end – and the ultimate resolution for me was satisfying. I have not read any of this authors other work but I would surely read another tale of this ilk. I very much enjoyed it. It would make a wonderful full length novel if the tale could be embellished and expanded – there are definitely certain aspects I would like to know more about. All in all a terrific read and great for a Sunday afternoon. My Sunday Side Read this week was well worth the effort.

Happy Reading Folks!

 

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Hellequin Chronicles 2. Thank you to the author and publisher for the updated review copy.

 

So a little while ago, I was browsing some Kindle titles and having just finished a great Urban Fantasy story I came across “Crimes against Magic”, the first of the Hellequin Chronicles. I decided to give it a go and I loved it. You can find my review for that one a bit further down on this very page.

I was very pleased therefore to receive the updated copy of Born of Hatred…and I dived in pretty much immediately and didnt really stop reading (well I DID pop out and get chips!) until I was done. Once again I was immersed into the world of Nathan Garrett and co and what a world it is.

This instalment finds Nathan investigating a string of crimes as a favour for a friend, that leads him to a killer like no other…Born of Hatred indeed. Nathan may not be as feared as he once was but you don’t mess with him and his without consequences…As you learn more about Nathan through the intriguing use of flashback (as in Book 1) one wonders if it is really sensible to challenge him at all…

The reason I enjoy these so much I think is that they really are for adults…Steve Mchugh does not pull any punches and Nathan has a side to him that is less than pure – terrific fun to read and enthralling to imagine, the world he occupies bears a strong resemblance to our own but with a supernatural and magical underbelly. As with book 1 the supporting characters all add ambience to the tale, and there are plenty of new people to meet. More backstory means more grounding in the mythology of the series and as a sequel it works particularly well.

The plot is complex enough to keep your interest throughout – some twists and turns and once again Mr McHugh has used legends we are all aware of to flesh out the tale. Very enjoyable and I am looking forward to the next.

A quick comment – Comparisons to novels such as the Dresden Files and other Urban Fantasy tales are unavoidable for the author I imagine,  but I would say that, as usual, I don’t like to compare and contrast too much. However I think this bears saying:  Dresden is terrific. As are Felix Castor and Alex Verus – Nathan Garrett is his own man with his own mythology. I can’t put him in a box any more than I could the previously mentioned. I have enjoyed all on their own merits….and I will continue to do so. There is no “best” only what you enjoy. And you will enjoy this if you like Urban Fantasy, don’t mind adult content and simply love a book adventure.

 

Look out for an interview with Steve McHugh coming soon!

 

Happy Reading Folks!

 

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So we come to the second book in the Alex Verus series from Benedict Jacka and it has solidified in my mind that this is a set of books I’m going to adore…and read every single one for as long as the author cares to keep writing them. Brilliant Urban Fantasy.

 

This instalment finds Alex still hoping for the quiet life..but with his reputation growing its not as easy as it sounds. Luna, his sometime apprentice and friend is living up to her name, and when a beautiful woman literally throws herself at his feet whilst in mortal danger Alex reluctantly realises that, quiet life wishes aside, he’s just going to have to leap back into the fray…

I do love the characters and the world they live in. A familiar world on the surface but with hidden depths you can only imagine. Alex is a terrific creation – constantly questioning his own motivations then just shrugging and getting on with it, there are some terrific scenes involved when he is in ironic mode. His “sidekick” if you like, Luna, is emotional and torn between wanting to enter the world of magic and yet not really wanting to follow the rules. ..hence she often finds herself in trouble with Alex attempting to ride heroically to the rescue. He is a bit of an anti hero and often luck rather than judgement wins the day…all in all this makes for terrific reading.

Humerous yet dark in places, and with some very real life themes hidden cleverly within the plot lines (cruelty to animals in this case…there are nefarious goings on surrounding the mystical creatures who pepper the world of Verus) these are terrific books and will take you away from the mundane in life and give you a hint of wonder…

Happy Reading Folks!

 

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Thank you to the author and publisher for the copy of this book via netgalley.

 

Paige is a dreamwalker – a special kind of clairvoyant in a world where she and anyone with abilities is termed “Unnatural”. Hiding from Scion, she works for the criminal underworld. One day her luck runs out…caught and arrested she fears death…but faces something much worse.

I loved this book. From the very start, with its strange and wonderful world and inhabitants – well imagined and well described – I drifted off into that netherworld of reading pleasure that you can only reach with a book that engulfs you. From the richness of the characters to the intricate and detailed landscapes, some recognisable, the book as a whole is an incredible start to what is to be a series of 7. I for one, am very pleased that this is the case.

Paige is an interesting protagonist – having to hide her true self for so long affects her judgement – and her ability to trust people if there are indeed any people to trust..its a dark world this one and life is cheap. The gifted face a fight for survival every day. Thrust into a new and violently unpredictable future, Paige must find the true source of her power in order to live.

Surrounded by people she does not know, in a world she does not understand, Paige finds a new fight…one that is in turn enthralling, heart stopping and emotional…and I can’t wait for the next instalment.

Happy Reading Folks!

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First of all thank you so much to Mr Mooney for sending me a copy of this book to review.

 

When I first started this novel I wasnt sure it was going to be for me, whilst I do love a good fantasy novel I’m a bit picky! The news on this one is – its GOOD.

Aphrodite has betrayed the Gods and in a last ditch attempt to save them Hera expels the remaining Gods to the mortal world . After some time has passed Aphrodite is on a mission to kill all the descendants and give her the power to return to Olympus and release the demons trapped there upon the world at large. The only thing standing in her way is a small group of eclectic people who do not really understand how to use the power they have..

And so the scene is set. This was quite a slow moving story, using flashback to good effect and building the characters in an interesting way. As the start of a series, I felt that this was cleverly done – I was especially fond of the attention given to Aphrodite and her back story – motivation for characters in a novel is always important I feel. The best villains have the most intriguing reasons…

I don’t want to give the impression that this book has no action. It has and plenty of it. Mr Mooney’s descriptive talents are top notch – The nightclub scenes in particular I felt were very well written and drew you straight into the heart of what was going on. The “hero powers” our descendants have are varied and matched perfectly to their protagonists. I really would love the ability to slow down time – hey how many books would I get in then? The whole story kept me interested and intrigued to the end…a terrific first instalment. I don’t know much about actual Mythology it has to be said, beyond watching the classic “Clash of the Titans” film but certainly I have now developed an interest in finding out more – I think this will add greatly to my enjoyment of the future books in this series.

All in all a great read – the only minor negatives for me were slightly over egging the pudding with descriptive prose on occasion and also some of the dialogue didnt flow quite as well as perhaps it could…I think that is a side effect that some self published novels suffer from but it didnt detract from the enjoyment and I would certainly recommend picking this up if you like a good fantasy novel, with a mythology base and a bit of an adventure….

 

Happy Reading Folks!

 

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In my quest to find the best ever Urban Fantasy out there having fallen in love with this genre due to the Felix Castor novels by Mike Carey (thanks to my good friend Gary for his recommendations!) I came to the first in the series of Alex Verus novels from Benedict Jacka.

Alex Verus is a mage, a diviner to be exact, he see’s all possible futures and can act accordingly. Much preferring to stay out of the magic community, he runs a little magic shop and tries to stay out of trouble. Unfortunately a would be apprentice, a strange artifact at the British Museum and other mages both light and dark combine to foil his plans for peace and he ends up chasing clues all over London and trying to keep himself and his friends alive.

I LOVED this book. Its a rip roaring adventure with tons of humour, lots of action and, well, magic to boot. Who could ask for more? As is often the case for this type of novel, London is the setting, Camden more particularly and it lends itself well to the story – Benedict Jacka has an amazing ability to put you right on the spot, I’m never going to look at Camden in the same way again when I visit and I’ll certainly be looking out for Starbreeze! As for the characters they are all well drawn and despite their magical abilities very very like you and I. I loved all of them  – even the bad guys were great – I lived in that world while I was reading it and when I emerged I wanted to go back.

I would highly recommend this novel if you are looking to dip your toes into Urban Fantasy and I would also say for those of you who already love this type of thing that its at the top of its class. Brilliant. The very second my reading schedule allows I shall be returning to see Alex Verus again. You should join me. Happy Reading folks!

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This is my first book by R A Salvatore received via Net Galley – thank you. I’m a recent convert to fantasy of this nature with one exception, and I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I have been dipping in and out of it for a while – its one of those pleasurable reads for when you need true escapism.

I have not read any of the previous adventures but that mattered little. There is more than enough information in the story to fill in the background and this is the first in a new series, however I will definitely now be heading backwards to read the previous novels as I thoroughly enjoyed the writing style – characterisation was terrific and it was a fun adventurous read.

The plot followed Catti-Brie, Regis, and Bruener having been reincarnated as they move through a second childhood and was cleverly done – especially for those readers who may be picking this novel up first having no clue as to the original adventures that these three had with Drizzt – who is unaware that goddess Mielikki has offered his companions a second chance. I won’t say more about the plot in case you want to read previous stories first, but I WILL say that The Dark Elf books are now high on my list of must reads.

The world they inhabit is brilliantly drawn – and the challenges they face are many and intriguing. I have to say I loved Bruener – I will be interested to see that characters previous life!

All in all I would recommend this to anyone that loves fanatasy novels – I am a huge fan of Piers Anthony – if you are too you will probably adore this. Happy Reading folks!

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Hurray! Jack Nightingale is back and just as good as he ever was. I rather love this series of books – if you continue to scroll down this page you will find a review for the previous novel in the series, but if you are new to Jack’s world you need to start with “NightFall” currently (20th June 2013) a very good price on Amazon for the Kindle!

In this adventure we find Jack living in a very different scenario after the events of “Nightmare” and investigating a school shooting on behalf of the brother of the man who carried it out. Of course this being Jack’s version of our world, all is not as it seems and soon he finds himself embroiled in a child abuse ring, satanic rituals and all sorts of horrendously nightmarish things. Meanwhile, elsewhere, a child has been kidnapped and the outcome of that case rocks Jack’s world and offers him a choice that no-one would want to make.

Witty writing and a flowing story means that despite the subject matter, this is a terrific story and a fine addition to Jack’s ongoing drama. Favourite characters, including MY favourite Prosperine, return and whichever way Jack turns it usually gives him a headache. I love that he is a very moral man even though he has been known to do some rather immoral things over the course of the series – those grey area’s boy do they give you pause for thought! Of course this is fantasy, so magic and mystery abound and you can have some fun with it. Equally Mr Leather has managed to make quite a social comment on Child Abuse and pedophilia and that is not easy to pull off within a fantasy novel – so Kudos. Yes, some of it is uncomfortable reading but it is not gratuitous here and only used to move the story along. Overall I thoroughly enjoyed it. Ok admittedly NOT my favourite of them all, that would be so far the previous book, Nightmare, mainly because of the terrific twist in that particular tale, but this one had loads going for it. And boy, I can’t wait to find out what Jack gets up to next.

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Well. What can I say. Having just finished this sprawling wonderful expanse of a novel, peppered with the most unlikely characters you will ever have the joy to encounter, and set in a future where the world we know has changed in indescribable ways, I am feeling quite honoured to be amongst the first in this country to read it. Winner of the 2007 Athens Prize for Literature, quite deservedly so in this reader’s opinion, this is post apocalyptic fiction at its best. Not only that, Ioanna Bourazopoulou has managed to write a mystery, a thriller and an adventure all tied up into one wonderful package.

Rising oceans have engulfed much of the planet and changed the landscape forever. From amid this new world a strange “salt” peppers the earth, addictive and hallucinogenic, and controlled by the mysterious “Consortium” of the 75. In their strictly controlled Colony, their employee’s live and work to a tight, unyielding rule of law, overseen by the governer and his six star bearers. When the governer is found dead, it is clear that chaos may well ensue, but what exactly are the 75 up to?  Meanwhile, away from the colony, Phileas Book creates and publishes his strange and wonderful “crosswords” made up from letters sent to The Times, until one day, approached by a representative of the 75, he finds himself thrust into the mystery of what exactly happened in the immediate aftermath of the death of Governer Bera. By reading the letters of the six, he is asked to extrapolate a theory by using his “crossword” methods…but Book is suspicious. Of the Consortium, of the Six and of the motives behind the request. Was it murder? Or even something more sinister….

This is an extremely clever story…utterly insane in its concept in the best way possible, it will have you tied up in the most amazing literary knots – and the ultimate resolution may well take your breath away. It certainly did mine, because really, despite all the information being freely available I never actually came to the correct conclusion whilst engrossed in its pages. A lot of that may well be to do with the brilliant writing – the scene setting is superb and a lot of your head will be wrapping itself around this strange new world…and perhaps even imagining what your place in it might have been. And so the author distracts you from the clues you might otherwise have picked up on – with hindsight it was all perfectly clear but I would like to bet that the majority of you will scratch your heads just as much as I did both during and after reading the book. Which you must. Don’t miss it! Phileas Book is perfect – through his eyes you will discover what went before – as one of the original survivors of the change, he leads us through the terror and the emotion – and why he now stagnates, creating his puzzles, but not really living in any real sense. The six all have their own brilliant mindsets – I wonder which you will sympathise with, hate or love….When you have read it come back and tell me. Enquiring minds want to know. This is inspiring writing – originality and the ability to surprise and delight has definitely not been lost as far as this author is concerned. I hope to see many more marvellous creations in the future.

To finish I must thank the publisher for sending me an advance copy of this novel, and I hope that the above review has done it justice. If you follow me on Twitter I will be talking about this one a lot – and pointing you in the right direction to find out more. Happy Reading!

 

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So we come to Black Feathers by the wonderfully funny (on Twitter!) Joseph D’Lacey a book I’ve been dying to get around to and finally did! Stephen King, my favourite author, reckons Joseph D’Lacey rocks. Having completed this novel I have to say I’m in utter agreement. He sure does.

This is a fable of sorts. A dark fairy tale. Telling two stories, interlinked but in different times, it follows two young people on their journey towards a prophetic future. Megan has an encounter that will change her life forever, Gordon is learning who he is and what his part will be in the world.  Is an apocalypse coming? Shadowing them both is the Crowman, a mythical figure, and one who is absolutely fascinating. As we journey with them, there are unexpected challenges and both will have to grow up fast. As plot details go thats all you are getting. But its brilliant!

Pacing is perfect for the story being told. Slowly but surely the plot unfolds and it will have you turning pages – a warning, the temptation WILL be there to flip forward a bit – I nearly did at several stages because I was dying to know but don’t do it. It comes when it comes and when it does its electrifying. I held my breath through the last few chapters and boy, I’m not sure how patient I’m going to be waiting for whatever comes next. Thanks Mr D’Lacey. You rock!

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During my quest to find any and all examples of good Urban Fantasy novels, started by my love of the Felix Castor stories, I have found many strange and wonderful worlds – That of Jack Nightingale, Constable Grant and Matthew Swift to name but a few. And now to my utter joy, here is Nathan “Nate” Garrett, who awoke in a warehouse ten years ago with no knowledge of who he is. His only clues – A gun, a Sword and a piece of paper with his name on it, along with a tendency to practice magic. And there is the backdrop for a magnificent tale of magic, mayem and general delightful madness. Set in two time periods, we slowly learn more about Nate, his true identity and what has brought him to where he is today. Using his skills as a thief, one particular job puts him on the path to this knowledge and also sets in motion a series of events that throw him right into the deep end of all things strange and magical. This was a great novel to read – I especially liked how the author has woven a mystical tale around his protagonist, taking on such great legends as Arthur and Merlin, Helen of Troy, amongst others. Nate as a character is both honourable and frightening in his actions, you will certainly root for him all the way, whilst at the same time feeling a vague need to give him a good talking too! The supporting cast of characters are all just as good – you will meet Vampires and Werewolves, Gargoyles and Psychics, all of whom add depth and heart to the tale. If you like Urban Fantasy you will love this. If you love Thrillers and Mystery but have not yet dipped your toe into the world of UF, then this is for you – you will get the best of all worlds. I don’t think I have ever been so pleased to see the great words “Book 1” in the title! “Born of Hatred” Book 2 is now sitting on my Kindle and I will be heading back to see what Nate is up too very very soon. You should come too…

 

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Termed “new weird” this is my first China Mievelle novel and despite quite enjoying it, I’m not sure I shall rush to read another. It took me a while to get my head around the world the characters inhabited, but once I had, the story was great. I’m not sure I can describe the plot well enough to do it justice so I won’t try – but if you like Urban Gothic novels you will probably adore this – its certainly terrific in its field but maybe just a bit too much for my brain to get around in terms of pure enjoyment.

 

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This came up in my recommended by Amazon list and it looked interesting so off I went. Very glad I did, it was great! What starts off as a police procedural, following several characters involved in an undercover operation to bring down a rather nefarious gang member, it soon shoots off into paranormal fun and games. After these characters develop “the sight” they see a new and disturbing version of London, and set about attempting to put things right. It is most definitely an adult book – some of the themes are extremely dark, but you also have your moments of humour, and a great deal of nail biting action. The characters are well drawn – I especially liked the dynamics between the group and the fact that their backgrounds are well enough described to allow you to understand why they act as they do. There are enough twists and turns along the way to keep the most jaded of readers happy, and the atmosphere created carries you along for a heart stopping ride. And if you are a fan of football, West Ham in particular, you will certainly have a smile on your face. The ending is satisfying and suggests a series has just been born and if that is the case, I will be extremely happy. I’m hoping we won’t have to wait too long for the next instalment. Wonderful stuff.

 

 

 

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This, the 3rd in the “Thursday Next” series of books, finds Thursday taking refuge in an unpublished novel of dubious merit while she ponders her next move in her quest to retrieve her Husband, Landon, cruelly eradicated from history during “Lost in a Good Book”. At the same time continuing her training with Jurisfiction and trying desperately to hold onto her memories of Landen and keep them safe from Aornis Hades, as usual she finds herself in all sorts of hilarious trouble..with Miss Haversham along for the ride to try and keep her out of it. These novels are a complete joy to read and unique in their imaginative world building, I would be a fool to try and find the right words to describe the sheer scale of them. Suffice to say, if you havent yet met Thursday Next nip out and buy a copy of “The Eyre Affair” – and if, like me, you are an avid reader and lover of all types of novels, you will very much appreciate what Jasper Fforde has done here – You will laugh, you may even shed a tear, and you will certainly turn the last page with a wistful sigh and wonder how quickly you can pick up the next story. I would also highly recommend that you pick these books up in print format, not Kindle format, because the cover art and the “tactile” feel of them is another reason that they are so great. In these days of ebooks (and don’t get me wrong, I adore my Kindle and would not be without it!) the quest to find great artistry and eye catching covers seems to be losing pace with publishers – and that would be a shame. Enjoy!

 

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So, there I was, a while ago, wandering aimlessly round my local bookshop, bereft, having just finished the last (at the time) Felix Castor novel from Mike Carey. I wanted something at least vaguely similar and I had no idea where to start, hence the aimless wandering. Then I spotted that Stephen Leather, author of the terrific Spider Shepherd series, had a new book out. This book was “Nightfall”. Now how’s that for a fortunate stroke of serendipity. I got to meet Jack Nightingale and instantly broke up with Felix Castor and fell hopelessly in love with Jack. Sometime after followed “Midnight” the second in the series, and now here we are with “Nightmare” the book under review. Jack had some problems in the first two novels – a death he couldnt prevent led him into a series of tangles involving a demon who was determined to have his soul, a sudden inclination from those around him to commit suicide and an ex colleague, Chalmers, determined to arrest him. For what, he didnt seem to mind. Having negotiated these waters somewhat satisfactorily, or so he thought, he is awoken at the beginning of “Nightmare” to armed police knocking down his door and dragging him out of bed. It seems as if a local drug dealer, having been shot and now basically brain dead, will keep sitting up and saying “Jack Nightingale” at regular intervals. Well that is music to the ears of Jack’s bete noire, the wonderfully annoying Chalmers, who is ready to lock Jack up and throw away the key. And we are off again on a mad adventure, where dark magic abounds, demons stand around in doorways, and Jack wisecracks his way to the resolution of the tale. These novels are both laugh out loud funny and dive behind the sofa scary, whilst always maintaining a wry eye towards the weird and wonderful. With a wonderful and entertaining supporting cast, you don’t get much better than this for pure page turning fun. And Stephen Leather pulls a fast one with a little twisty twist that JJ Abrams would be proud of. If you havent read these yet, I envy you – start at the beginning and I guarantee that by the end of “Nightmare” you will be metaphorically sat at my side desperate for the next instalment (Nightshade, end of April 2013!) Enjoy!

 

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Ok, so fantasy novels are not my thing. But I was told in no uncertain terms that I should at least have a go, so I found this, having seen some stuff about it on Twitter. I’ve read some great “urban fantasy” and in my youth I did enjoy the Zanth novels by Piers Anthony so this looked like it might be a good place to start. I made the right choice. Mr Kenney has created a most tremendous character in Hagan Marindel..and the world he inhabits is superb in its imagining – I was drawn in immediately, and never looked back. You have dwarves (not enough of them!) and Elves, Trolls (who are not so evil after all it seems – I rather adored Gorin) as well as some beautifully depicted evil “monsters”. Apparently I’m told, all staples of a good fantasy novel. The story flowed tremendously well, not one boring bit did I find and no skimming required. I devoured every word over a few days. You don’t need a great amount of plot synopsis to know if it might be for you, basically Hagan is a hero who has taken to the drink, leaving his heroic side behind… but when a dark cloud approaches he is forced to pick up the mantle once again and sets of on a journey back to Harquinn, the ancient city, and he has a motley crew tagging along with him, of which the character Shindire was my favourite! The war is coming and come hell or high water, Gorin is going to be in it! Now…where is Book 2?

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Satan is having some mental health issues. In order to overcome this problem, his Doctor makes him write a diary – and that is what this short but sweet book has contained within its pages – Satan’s diary. I giggled a great deal while reading this and found it highly enjoyable, and something a little bit different. I especially found amusing the fact that one of Satan’s assistants was in hell for running over a vicar! I believe there are more to come and I will certainly be reading them – its the type of story that is perfect for a chilly afternoon when you don’t want to get out from under the duvet.

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Firstly I will assume that if you are reading this review you have already read the magnificent “Rivers of London” and “Moon over Soho”. No? Why are you here then? Off you go, read them, you are in for a treat! When you come back I can tell you – “Whispers Underground”, the third instalment in the adventures of Peter Grant, does not disappoint and is up too, if not superior too, the standards of the previous adventures. Peter gets himself mixed up in all sorts of magical mayhem whilst investigating the death of a US Senator’s son – and he has a hotshot FBI agent on his trail to boot. Back as well are the superb supporting cast – the magnificent Lesley, still coming to terms with the trauma she suffered in “Rivers” and now learning all about the magical world alongside Peter, and of course Nightingale, a man of many talents, not least of which is severe eye rolling at the often madly conceived plans of the aforesaid Peter Grant. The various Rivers make an appearance as does our Dr of all things weird and wonderful Walid. We also have several new and exciting characters, I won’t discuss them – you must meet them as new, although I will give a passing mention to Abigail, who it seems is going to have a lot more to get her teeth into in future. As usual, this is witty and clever – Mr Aaronovitch has a great style of storytelling, it sucks you in and spits you out feeling satisfied and filled with the joy of life. “Holy Paranormal Activity Nightingale, to the Jag mobile!” had me giggling like a schoolgirl, not least because it brought back memories of many jokes made over the years at the expense of the caped crusader. Don’t get me wrong – it has its dark side, which tempered with the humour, makes this another tremendous read in what I hope will become an extremely long running series. The next one I hear you ask? “Broken Homes” June 2013. I, for one, can’t wait.

 

 

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One Response to Fantasy/SciFi

  1. sharon sant says:

    I just picked up Moon over Soho in a shop before I’d read this review so you must have been sending me psychic messages! I can’t wait to read it now.

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