Blog Tour: Ariadne – Jennifer Saint

Blog Tour: Ariadne – Jennifer Saint


Release Date:
April 29th 2021
Publisher: Wildfire Books
Pages: 400
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly provided an E-ARC to review
Rating: 4/5 stars

Synopsis

As Princesses of Crete and daughters of the fearsome King Minos, Ariadne and her sister Phaedra grow up hearing the hoofbeats and bellows of the Minotaur echo from the Labyrinth beneath the palace. The Minotaur – Minos’s greatest shame and Ariadne’s brother – demands blood every year.

When Theseus, Prince of Athens, arrives in Crete as a sacrifice to the beast, Ariadne falls in love with him. But helping Theseus kill the monster means betraying her family and country, and Ariadne knows only too well that in a world ruled by mercurial gods – drawing their attention can cost you everything.

In a world where women are nothing more than the pawns of powerful men, will Ariadne’s decision to betray Crete for Theseus ensure her happy ending? Or will she find herself sacrificed for her lover’s ambition?

Ariadne gives a voice to the forgotten women of one of the most famous Greek myths and speaks to their strength in the face of angry, petulant Gods. Beautifully written and completely immersive, this is an exceptional debut novel

Review

Ariadne first caught my eye because of that absolutely stunning cover. When I hear this was a retelling of the minotaur myth from the perspective of Ariadne I was incredibly excited to pick it up. The story follows Ariadne, daughter of King Minos. Ariadne lives with the sound of hoofbeats beneath the palace, as the minotaur roams the labyrinth below. When Theseus, Prince of Athens is brought to Crete as a sacrifice to the beast, Ariadne falls in love with him and decides to help him destroy the minotaur. But doing so will betray her family and her country.

I absolutely adore Greek retellings and this might possibly be my favourite one ever. I completely fell in love with this story. Saint has absolutely stunning prose and I got completely lost in this beautiful, fiercely feminist story. Ariadne is a fascinating character and it was so compelling to read the story from her point of view. The story really focuses in on all the female characters that are forgotten in the original myths, in favour of the infamous heroes. Ariadne is an impressive debut and I cannot wait to read more from Jennifer Saint.

There were so many things I loved about this book and I particularly enjoyed the sense of sisterhood between Ariadne and Phaedra. Saint has the ability to write really compelling characters and I must admit I got a bit teary-eyed at the ending. This is an exceptional debut and if you’re a fan of books by Madeline Miller and Pat Barker, this should definitely be your next read.

Blog Tour: Master Artificer – Justin Call

Blog Tour: Master Artificer – Justin Call


Series:
The Silent Gods #2 (See my review of book one here!)
Release Date: May 6th 2021
Publisher: Gollancz
Pages: 881
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 4.5/5 stars

Synopsis

Annev has avoided one fate. But a darker path may still claim him . . .

After surviving the destruction of Chaenbalu, new mysteries and greater threats await Annev and his friends in the capital city of Luqura. As they navigate the city’s perilous streets, Annev searches for a way to control his nascent magic and remove the cursed artifact now fused to his body.

But what might removing it cost him?

As Annev grapples with his magic, Fyn joins forces with old enemies and new allies, waging a secret war against Luqura’s corrupt guilds in the hopes of forging his own criminal empire. Deep in the Brakewood, Myjun is learning new skills of her own as an apprentice to Oyru, the shadow assassin who attacked the village of Chaenbalu – but the power of revenge comes at a daunting price. And back in Chaenbalu itself, left for dead in the Academy’s ruins, Kenton seeks salvation in the only place he can: the power hoarded in the Vault of Damnation . . .

Review

Master Artificer is the second instalment in Justin Call’s epic Silent Gods series. Master of Sorrows was one of my favourite reads of 2019 so I was so excited to dive back into this fascinating world. The story is full to the brim with magic and assassins and so much more – I couldn’t wait to find out what was next for Annev. Master Artificer is a bit chunkier than Master of Sorrows and it felt much much darker. I won’t say too much about the plot because it is the second book in the series but this instalment is brilliant and if possible I loved it even more than book one. We follow Annev and his friends immediately after the events of book one as Chaenbalu has been destroyed and the group find themselves in Luqura. 

Call has a really engaging writing style and despite the book being nearly 900 pages, it felt well-paced and I found myself getting completely lost in the story for hours at a time. There’s plenty of magic and battles to keep the reader hooked, but there’s also more world-building as Annev attempts to find a way to control his magic. I loved learning more about the world without feeling like I was having tons of information dumped on me. I love the way that Call weaves all the different storylines together and if you loved book one you are definitely going to want to pick this one up. It’s definitely an ambitious book and I think Call delivers it perfectly.

One of the things I enjoyed most about this series is the characters. This story is a complete page-turner and all of the characters are well crafted. I love morally grey characters and seeing Annev’s slow descent towards the darkness is so fascinating and well done. There is plenty of dark and brutal moments, Call definitely makes you root for a character only for something horrible to happen to them. Master of Sorrows was one of my favourite reads of 2019 and I have no doubt that Master Artificer will be in my favourites of this year. The story does end on a cliffhanger and I am desperate to know what will happen in book three. If you love intricate fantasy stories with complex wolf building, fascinating characters and plenty of action, this is absolutely a series to get reading.

Blog Tour: The Whole Truth – Cara Hunter

Blog Tour: The Whole Truth – Cara Hunter

Series: DI Adam Fawley #5 (See my review of book four here!)
Release Date: April 29th 2021
Publisher: Viking
Pages: 416
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 4.75/5 stars

Synopsis

When an Oxford student accuses one of the university’s professors of sexual assault, DI Adam Fawley’s team think they’ve heard it all before. But they couldn’t be more wrong.

Because this time, the predator is a woman and the shining star of the department, and the student a six-foot male rugby player.

Soon DI Fawley and his team are up against the clock to figure out the truth. What they don’t realise is that someone is watching.

And they have a plan to put Fawley out of action for good…

Review

Cara Hunter is back with an all-new thriller in the DI Fawley series. This time Fawley and the team are dealing with a sexual assault case at Oxford University, but the victim is a six-foot rugby player and the accused is a professor at the top of her field. As the team work to uncover the truth they soon learn there’s more to this case than meets the eye. As the team race against the clock, the body of a missing woman is discovered and as the investigation begins it seems the only real suspect is Fawley himself.

Cara Hunter is one of my favourite thriller writers and I was so excited to read the latest instalment in this series. All the Rage completely captured my attention, and The Whole Truth was exactly the same. When I picked up The Whole Truth I didn’t move from that spot for several hours and I ended up a very tired person at work because I’d spent the whole night reading. This series is one of the most gripping I have ever read and I could not put the book down.

Just like the previous instalments, The Whole Truth is entertaining, full to the brim with twists and turns with an extremely quick pace. I love the way Hunter weaves in different kind of media with interview transcripts, podcasts and tweets. I think this is such a fascinating addition and really brings the story to life. I also love getting to know the different officers in Fawley’s team as the investigation is mixed in with their personal lives. All of the characters in the team have different personalities and it’s fascinating watching them come together to solve the mystery. The story is incredibly well executed and I hope the wait for book six isn’t too long because I am in desperate need of more!

If you love fast-paced police procedurals, this series is an absolute must-read. All the books in the series can be read as a standalone, but I definitely suggest buying more than one at a time, as soon as you finish one you’ll definitely want to pick up another.

Book Review: The Wolf Den – Elodie Harper

Book Review: The Wolf Den – Elodie Harper


Release Date:
13th May 2021
Publisher: Head of Zeus
Pages: 464
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 4.5/5 stars

Synopsis

Sold by her mother. Enslaved in Pompeii’s brothel. Determined to survive. Her name is Amara. Welcome to the Wolf Den…

Amara was once a beloved daughter until her father’s death plunged her family into penury. Now she is a slave in Pompeii’s infamous brothel, owned by a man she despises. Sharp, clever and resourceful, Amara is forced to hide her talents. For as a she-wolf, her only value lies in the desire she can stir in others.

But Amara’s spirit is far from broken.

By day, she walks the streets with her fellow she-wolves, finding comfort in the laughter and dreams they share. For the streets of Pompeii are alive with opportunity. Out here, even the lowest slave can secure a reversal in fortune. Amara has learnt that everything in this city has its price. But how much is her freedom going to cost her?

Set in Pompeii’s lupanar, The Wolf Den reimagines the lives of women who have long been overlooked.

Review

I have been reading quite a bit of historical fiction lately so when I heard about The Wolf Den I was desperate to read it. The story follows Amara, a young woman sold into slavery and forced to work in an infamous Pompeii brothel. Working for a man she hates, Amara fights every day to survive the streets of Pompeii and find a way to secure her freedom.

The Wolf Den is a beautiful story and Harper has executed this story to perfection. I got completely wrapped up in this story and I didn’t want to put it down. I really fell in love with Amara and her fellow slaves, how they find a sense of comfort and friendship in each other despite the horror of their lives. The story is well-paced, giving the reader a chance to get to know these well-crafted characters.

Ammara is a wonderful protagonist. She is strong-willed, determined to survive life as a slave. She is also clever, doing what she needs to do to get what she wants.  The time period isn’t something I know too much about but the story was incredibly detailed and it felt like an immense amount of research had gone into this novel. The sights, sounds and smells of Pompeii all come alive in this novel and I was completely captivated by the story.

The theme of powerlessness is strong in the story and there are quite a lot of trigger warnings for violence and abuse. While it was at times dark and disturbing, it really stuck with me and I wouldn’t be surprised if this book was amongst my favourites of the year. Harper has created a really compelling and engaging tale – I cannot wait to see what she writes next.

Book Review: Firekeeper’s Daughter – Angeline Boulley

Book Review: Firekeeper’s Daughter – Angeline Boulley


Release Date:
March 16th 2021
Publisher: Rock the Boat
Pages: 496
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 4.25/5 stars

Synopsis

As a biracial, unenrolled tribal member and the product of a scandal, eighteen-year-old Daunis Fontaine has never quite fit in, both in her hometown and on the nearby Ojibwe reservation. Daunis dreams of studying medicine, but when her family is struck by tragedy, she puts her future on hold to care for her fragile mother.

The only bright spot is meeting Jamie, the charming new recruit on her brother Levi’s hockey team. Yet even as Daunis falls for Jamie, certain details don’t add up and she senses the dashing hockey star is hiding something. Everything comes to light when Daunis witnesses a shocking murder, thrusting her into the heart of a criminal investigation.

Reluctantly, Daunis agrees to go undercover but secretly pursues her own investigation, tracking down the criminals with her knowledge of chemistry and traditional medicine. But the deceptions—and deaths—keep piling up and soon the threat strikes too close to home.

Now, Daunis must learn what it means to be a strong Anishinaabe kwe (Ojibwe woman) and how far she’ll go to protect her community, even if it tears apart the only world she’s ever known.

Review

Firekeeper’s Daughter is a book that caught my eye because of that absolutely beautiful cover. The story follows Daunis a young biracial woman who struggles to fit in with her community. She hopes to go off to college and study medicine, but with recent family tragedies, she decides to stick around for another year to help her family grieve. When she meets Jamie, the new star of her brother’s hockey team, Daunis feels there might be a light at the end of the tunnel but when she witnesses a murder and becomes tangled up in a criminal investigation, Daunis finds herself becoming a confidential informant for the FBI. As she attempts to uncover who is bringing drugs into her community, what she finds could tear her world apart.

This book has been everywhere recently and it absolutely deserves the hype. This own voices story is incredibly gripping and I loved following Daunis as she attempts to protect her community and the people she loves.  I really enjoyed learning the history and traditions of the Native American people. There is a strong sense of community in the story and there were a whole host of fascinating side characters. I particularly liked the Elders and Aunt Teddie. The characters in the story are all really well developed and I definitely found myself rooting for Daunis. She was a brilliant protagonist. She’s smart and determined, but also struggling with her identity and place in the world.

As Daunis delves deeper and deeper into the mystery of who is bringing the drugs into the community, I found myself coming up with lots of different theories as to who was responsible. They all ended up being wrong and I definitely did not see that ending coming. The story has a really hopeful ending and I am so excited to see what happens in book two. If you’ve been intrigued about Firekeeper’s Daughter I would absolutely recommend picking this one up.

Book Review: Her Last Holiday – C. L. Taylor

Book Review: Her Last Holiday – C. L. Taylor


Release Date: 27th April 2021
Publisher: Avon Books
Pages: 400
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: I received an E-ARC via Netgalley
Rating: 4.5/5 stars

Synopsis

You come to the retreat to be healed. You don’t expect to die.

Two years ago, Fran’s sister Jenna disappeared on a wellness retreat in Gozo that went terribly wrong.

Tom Wade, the now infamous man behind Soul Shrink Retreats, has just been released from prison after serving his sentence for the deaths of two people. But he has never let on what happened to the third victim: Jenna.

Determined to find out the truth, Fran books herself onto his upcoming retreat – the first since his release – and finds herself face to face with the man who might hold the key to her sister’s disappearance. The only question is, will she escape the retreat alive? Or does someone out there want Jenna’s secrets to stay hidden?

Review

C. L. Taylor is one of my favourite thriller writers so I always go into her books with the highest of expectations. Once again I was completely sucked into this fast-paced tale full to the brim with suspense. The story is set around a Soul Shrink retreat in Gozo that went horribly wrong: two people died and another committed suicide. We follow Tom Wade, the man behind Soul Shrink, who has just been released from prison, his wife Kate as they attempt to put the past behind them and Fran the sister of the girl who committed suicide. Fran is trying to uncover the truth behind her sister’s death, so when Tom and Kate announce a new Soul Shrink retreat, Fran signs up. But what she uncovers might be far more than she bargained for.

This was such a compelling read. I made the mistake of starting this quite late at night and then ended up glued to the book for several hours. Taylor has a brilliant writing style and a way of sucking you in right from the very first page. The story was full of twists and turns and like all C. L. Taylor books had an ending that I absolutely did not see coming. The plot is pretty fast-paced and that definitely had me turning pages faster and faster.

C. L. Taylor always writes such fascinating characters and Her Last Holiday is no exception. The different perspectives were so intriguing as we follow Kate, Tom and Fran in the present and Kate and Jenna in the past. The characters were all complex and well creating, dealing with a variety of things: Fran with the loss of her sister and all the things she did not get to say, Kate with the breakdown of her marriage and everything she has worked for and Tom with the death of his clients and his time in prison. The characters are brilliantly created and because of them, the story was so engrossing.

Her Last Holiday is a fantastic new page-turner from C. L. Taylor. If you’re looking for a story to get completely lost in, this is definitely a must-read.

Blog Tour: The Lore of Prometheus – Graham Austin King

Blog Tour: The Lore of Prometheus – Graham Austin King


Release Date:
November 30th 2018
Publisher: Fallen Leaf Press
Pages: 287
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: I was kindly sent an e-copy of this through The Write Reads
Rating: 4/5 stars

Synopsis

John Carver has three rules: Don’t drink in the daytime, don’t gamble when the luck has gone, and don’t talk to the dead people who come to visit.

It has been almost five years since the incident in Kabul. Since the magic stirred within him and the stories began. Fleeing the army, running from the whispers, the guilt, and the fear he was losing his mind, Carver fell into addiction, dragging himself through life one day at a time.

Desperation has pulled him back to Afghanistan, back to the heat, the dust, and the truth he worked so hard to avoid. But there are others, obsessed with power and forbidden magics, who will stop at nothing to learn the truth of his gifts. Abducted and chained, Carver must break more than his own rules if he is to harness this power and survive.

Review

The Lore of Prometheus is the dark story of John Carver, a soldier struggling with memories of his time in Afganistan. Struggling to pay off his debts, he agrees to take a security position in Kabul. When he returns to Kabul the memories come flooding back of the event he has so hard to forget – the day he felt magic stirring within him. But Carver isn’t the only one with these magical abilities, and some people will stop at nothing to get them.

Urban fantasy isn’t something I would typically read but the premise for this story really intrigued me. This fantasy standalone packs a punch and from the get-go I was hooked. This is a fast-paced story and one that you won’t want to look away from. I really enjoyed learning about the magic and the different kinds of abilities and this story was unlike anything I’ve read before.

Carver is a really interesting protagonist and I liked him more and more as the story develops. He’s very stubborn, determined to survive. The story focuses a lot on PTSD and the guilt Carver feels about surviving when his regiment did not. I similarly liked Mackenzie though I preferred Carver’s storyline to hers. The last half of the book when the two come together was the part and I enjoyed most and I thought the author wrapped the story up really well. I don’t read standalones all that often so it was nice to have a story concluded in one book. There was also lots of snarky and witty humour which was unexpected, but something I really enjoyed and I thought worked really well in the story.

The Lore of Prometheus is a brilliant read and one that really gives a fresh perspective on military fantasy. If you’re a fan of dark stories, full of action and magic this is definitely one to pick up.

Book Review: The Holdout – Graham Moore

Book Review: The Holdout – Graham Moore


Release Date:
February 16th 2021
Publisher: Orion Books
Pages: 336
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 3.25/5 stars

Synopsis

One juror changed the verdict. What if she was wrong?

‘Ten years ago we made a decision together…’

Fifteen-year-old Jessica Silver, an heiress to a billion-dollar fortune, vanishes on her way home from school. Her teacher, Bobby Nock, is the prime suspect. It’s an open and shut case for the prosecution, and a quick conviction seems all but guaranteed.

Until Maya Seale, a young woman on the jury, persuades the rest of the jurors to vote not guilty: a controversial decision that will change all of their lives forever.

Ten years later, one of the jurors is found dead, and Maya is the prime suspect.

Is Maya being forced to pay the price for her decision all those years ago?

Review

The Holdout is a gripping thriller that follows Maya Seale a young woman who ten years ago was part of the jury that found Bobby Nock innocent of the murder of his fifteen-year-old student Jessica Silver. Their decision rocked the country and it has changed the lives of every person on the jury. When the jurors are asked to reunite for a television show Maya reluctantly agrees, but when one of the jurors turns up dead Maya is the prime suspect – but who is behind it and did they make the right choice all those years ago?

This was a well-crafted tale and I really enjoyed the way Moore mixed the story of the current murder with the case from ten years ago. Both parts of the plot were really fascinating and full of twists and turns. I guessed some of the twists and was surprised by others but overall it made for a really engaging read.

The story is paced well and I found the short chapters had me turning pages pretty quickly. I found the different members of the jury really interesting, particularly how their lives had changed by the outcome of the trial. I thought The Holdout was an entertaining read, but it didn’t hit completely hit the mark for me. I felt that the final ‘whodunit’ of the current murder was just a little bit far fetched and this is perhaps why I didn’t enjoy it as much as I was expecting to. Despite this, it was still a really interesting read. If you’re a fan of legal thrillers this could be exactly your type of book and I would definitely be intrigued to read more from Graham Moore.

Blog Tour: The Imposter – Anna Wharton

Blog Tour: The Imposter – Anna Wharton


Release Date:
April 1st
Publisher: Mantle
Pages: 416
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent a copy of this book to review
Rating: 4/5 stars

Synopsis

Chloe lives a quiet life. Working as a newspaper archivist in the day and taking care of her Nan in the evening, she’s happy simply to read about the lives of others as she files away from the news clippings from the safety of her desk.

But there’s one story that she can’t stop thinking about. The case of Angie Kyle – a girl, Chloe’s age, who went missing as a child. A girl whose parents never gave up hope.

When Chloe’s Nan gets moved into a nursing home, leaving Chloe on the brink of homelessness, she takes a desperate step: answering an ad to be a lodger in the missing girl’s family home. It could be the perfect opportunity to get closer to the story she’s read so much about. But it’s not long until she realizes this couple aren’t all they seem from the outside…

But with everyone in the house hiding something, the question is – whose secrets are the most dangerous?

Review

The Imposter is an expertly woven tale that tells the story of Chloe, a quiet girl who spends her time working as an archivist and looking after her Nan. She becomes obsessed with the story of a missing girl and the parents that never stopped hoping for her return. When her Nan is moved to a nursing home and she finds herself with nowhere to live, Chloe answers an ad for a lodger with the missing girls’ parents. When she moves in she learns there’s much more going on with the couple than she ever expected.

This was an absolutely cracking read. Wharton mixes this mystery story with an exploration of grief and loss, and it is incredibly well executed. This is such a captivating read and one that’s quite slow-paced. The reader is given plenty of opportunities to get to know the characters and the sad story of the missing child. There is a sense of unease throughout the story and this build and builds as the story reaches its ending.

Wharton has created some really complex and fascinating characters in this story and has done a brilliant job portraying grief. The story has many twists and turns, with a few I definitely didn’t see coming. It makes for a really compelling read, and I raced through the last half of the book in one sitting.

I thought Wharton crafted a really brilliant story and the premise was definitely something I haven’t encountered before. This sinister mystery is beautifully written and if you’re looking for a story that will keep you hooked right to the very last page, The Imposter is exactly what you’re looking for.

Blog Tour: Empire of Wild – Cherie Dimaline

Blog Tour: Empire of Wild – Cherie Dimaline


Release Date:
1st April 2021
Publisher: W&N
Pages: 300
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review

Synopsis

From the author of the YA-crossover hit The Marrow Thieves, a propulsive, stunning and sensuous novel inspired by the traditional Métis story of the Rogarou – a werewolf-like creature that haunts the roads and woods of Métis communities. A messed-up, grown-up, Little Red Riding Hood.

Broken-hearted Joan has been searching for her husband, Victor, for almost a year–ever since he went missing on the night they had their first serious argument. One terrible, hungover morning in a Walmart parking lot in a little town near Georgian Bay, she is drawn to a revival tent where the local Métis have been flocking to hear a charismatic preacher named Eugene Wolff. By the time she staggers into the tent, the service is over. But as she is about to leave, she hears an unmistakable voice.

She turns, and there Victor is. The same face, the same eyes, the same hands. But his hair is short and he’s wearing a suit and he doesn’t recognize her at all. No, he insists, she’s the one suffering a delusion: he’s the Reverend Wolff and his only mission is to bring his people to Jesus. Except that, as Joan soon discovers, that’s not all the enigmatic Wolff is doing.

With only the help of Ajean, a foul-mouthed euchre shark with knowledge of the old ways, and her odd, Johnny-Cash-loving, 12-year-old nephew Zeus, Joan has to find a way to remind the Reverend Wolff of who he really is. If he really is Victor. Her life, and the life of everyone she loves, depends upon it.

Review

Empire of Wild is one of those books that you read the premise of and are immediately desperate to know more. The story follows Joan, a woman struggling with the disappearance of her husband Victor. When she stumbles across a revival tent one more she heads inside to find her husband is the preacher. When she approaches him she discovers he does not recognise her at all. With some help from her nephew Zeus and Ajean – a woman in the community with knowledge of the old ways, she must fight to rescue Victor and remind him of who he really is.

Empire of Wild is an incredibly compelling read. I loved the slightly sinister atmosphere of the story and the tale of the Rogarou. Dimaline has gorgeous prose and the story really sucks you into this brilliant book. The story really focuses on issues of colonialism and identity and I loved the way Dimaline weaved these topics into the supernatural storyline.

Dimlaine creates really clever characters in this book and in particular, I loved Ajean and Zeus. Ajean is the wise lady who’s seen it all, and she’s a great side character. Similarly, Joan’s nephew Zeus, who is determined to come along and help rescue Victor. Think horror tale was an incredibly engrossing read and one that has definitely stuck with me. If you’re looking for a unique and compelling suspense story, Empire of Wild is one you need to add to your wishlist.