Blog Tour: A Song for a New Day – Sarah Pinsker

Blog Tour: A Song for a New Day – Sarah Pinsker


Release Date:
August 20th 2020
Publisher: Head of Zeus
Pages: 386
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

An unnervingly prescient, Nebula-award-winning novel explores life in a world permanently locked down in the aftermath of a pandemic.

Before: Luce Cannon is on the road. Success is finally within her grasp: her songs are getting airtime; the venues she’s playing are getting larger. But mass shootings, bombings and now a strange contagion are closing America down around her.

The gig Luce plays tonight will turn out to be the last-ever rock show as the world’s stadiums, arenas and concert halls go dark for good.

After: Rosemary is too young to remember the Before. She grew up, went to school and works in the virtual world of Hoodspace. Only a few weeks ago she was a customer service rep for Superwally, the corporate monolith of automated warehouses and drone deliveries that services almost every consumer need, but now she’s about to do something she’s never done before… she’s going to take to the road, in the real world.

Working for StageHoloLive, which controls what is left of the music industry, her job is to find new talent, search out the illegal backroom jams and bring musicians into the Hoodspace hologaphic limelight they deserve.

But when Rosemary sees how the world could actually be, that won’t be enough.

Review

A Song for a New Day is the beautifully told story of a world where everyone has retreated into virtual Hoodspace. People don’t meet up in groups anymore and everything happens virtually. The story follows two characters – Rosemary the perfect employee of corporation giant Superwally and Luce, the musician who played the last face to face concert. When Rosemary makes the decision to leave Superwally and take a job with StageHoloLive, the company which has the monopoly on the music industry, Rosemary finds herself on the road travelling across the country in search of new bands. The job takes her to illegal venues and places she could not imagine. But once Rosemary begins to get to know the people still making live music, she learns Hoodspace might not be enough.

This is an utterly fascinating tale, and one that gripped me so much. The world fell due to a virus that killed lots of people, forcing people to remain indoors and retreat online – given all that’s going on in the world that felt pretty realistic. It was really interesting to see a future where the world has developed in a way that people no longer really go out. It was at times an uncomfortable read, but one I did not want to look away from. The plot is a well paced one, that gives the reader time to get to know our main characters and understand how the world has changed.

The story is told in alternating POVs between Rosemary and Luce. While I really liked them both as protagonists I was drawn more to Rosemary’s story and her attempt to move away from her life as a Superwally employee never leaving her small town. I loved seeing her grow and try new things, particularly as she became more and more involved in the underground music scene.

As someone who loves going to concerts I adored the way that Pinsker described the music and the venues in this book. The writing really brought the music to life and as there hasn’t been any live music for the past year it definitely left me wishing I could go to one soon. A Song for a New Day is a thought-provoking read and one that I find myself still thinking about even though I’ve long finished the book. It’s a book that really shows Pinsker’s passion for music and I am incredibly keen to read more from this author.

Blog Tour: The Black Coast – Mike Brooks

Blog Tour: The Black Coast – Mike Brooks


Series:
The God-King Chronicles #1
Release Date: February 18th 2021
Publisher: Orbit Books
Pages: 672
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

Epic world-building at its finest, in an upcoming author’s fantasy debut. The Black Coast is the start of an unmissable series filled with war-dragons, armoured knights, sea-faring raiders, dangerous magic and crowd-pleasing battle scenes.

When the citizens of Black Keep see ships on the horizon, terror takes them, for they know who is coming: for generations, Black Keep has been raided by the fearsome clanspeople of Iwernia. Saddling their war dragons, the Naridans rush to defend their home only to discover that the clanspeople have not come to pillage at all. Driven from their own homeland by the rise of a daemonic despot who prophesies the end of the world, they have come in search of a new home. Meanwhile the wider continent of Narida is lurching toward war. Black Keep is about to be caught in the cross-fire of the coming war for the world – if only its new mismatched society can survive.

Review

The Black Coast is the first in an all new fantasy series by Mike Brooks. This is my first time reading a book by Mike Brooks and I was completely sucked in by that absolutely stunning cover. The story follows two different cultures in their attempts to make peace, The people of the Black Keep see ships on the horizon and immediately prepare for an invasion. But the people aren’t coming to raid as they normally would, they’re looking to stay there and flee the horrors of their homeland. As the two cultures attempt to live together war looms on the horizon and the Black Keep will become caught in the middle – but will they be able to survive?

I honestly loved every second of this book. The world building is superb, it’s well plotted and incredibly detailed. I enjoyed spending time in this world and I can’t wait to see how Brooks continues to expand the world in later instalments. This is quite a chunky book so there is plenty of time to get to know the characters and the world. The Black Coast felt like such a fresh take, with the focus being on working together rather than fighting and conquering. I really liked seeing these two different cultures interact, particularly as they had different systems and beliefs in place.

That being said there is plenty of action and tons of intrigue that keeps the reader hooked and I definitely found myself reading late into the night with this one. I really enjoyed the writing style in The Black Coast and it was easy just to get completely lost in the story. We are treated to multiple POVs in the story which I really enjoyed, although Saana and Daimon feature most. Each of the characters felt really well crafted and I can’t wait to see more of them in book two.

Brooks has weaved a really compelling story, one that’s full of dragons, magic and intrigue. If you’re looking for your next addictive fantasy read, The Black Coast will definitely be it.

Blog Tour: The Searching Dead – Ramsey Campbell

Blog Tour: The Searching Dead – Ramsey Campbell


Series:
The Three Births of Daoloth #1
Release Date: February 16th 2021
Publisher: Flame Tree Press
Pages: 256
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 4/5

Synopsis

1952. On a school trip to France teenager Dominic Sheldrake begins to suspect his teacher Christian Noble has reasons to be there as secret as they’re strange. Meanwhile a widowed neighbour joins a church that puts you in touch with your dead relatives, who prove much harder to get rid of. As Dominic and his friends Roberta and Jim investigate, they can’t suspect how much larger and more terrible the link between these mysteries will become. A monstrous discovery beneath a church only hints at terrors that are poised to engulf the world as the trilogy brings us to the present day…

Review

Ramsey Campbell is an author I have always wanted to try so when I was offered the chance to read The Searching Dead I jumped at it. The story follows young Dominic Sheldrake as he begins to have suspicions about his history teacher Mr Noble. He learns that his widowed neighbour is part of a church that allows you to contact your dead loved ones and as Dominic and his friend Jim explore France on a school trip he learns that Mr Noble might have other reasons for being there. As Dominic and his friends attempt to uncover the mysteries surrounding them, they uncover much more than they bargained for.

This was such a fun and fascinating read. The story is set in 1950’s Liverpool and Campbell has put an incredible amount of detail into bringing the city to life. All the sights and sounds of post-war Britain leap from the page and it made for a really compelling read. The story has a slightly sinister atmosphere throughout, and this continues to build as we get further and further into the mysteries surrounding Dominic.

I loved that this was also a coming of age story, as Dominic and his friends grow up and begin to question the things around them. I really liked Dominic, Jim and Bobbie, they made for a really great group of friends to follow. All the characters are well fleshed out in the story, from the eerie Mr Noble to the grieving widow next door. While the story is quite quick paced this is a slow building horror but I read the last half of the book in one sitting because I couldn’t look away. It’s a compelling read and I’m really eager to see what book two has in store.

The Searching Dead is a tense and gripping read and if you’re a fan of Lovecraftian horror stories, this is absolutely one to check out. Whilst this is my first book from Ramsey Campbell, it definitely will not be my last.

Book Review: This Golden Flame – Emily Victoria

Book Review: This Golden Flame – Emily Victoria


Release Date:
February 2nd 2021
Publisher: Hodder Books
Pages: 384
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent a copy of this book to review
Rating: 3.5/5 stars

Synopsis

Orphaned and forced to serve her country’s ruling group of scribes, Karis wants nothing more than to find her brother, long ago shipped away. But family bonds don’t matter to the Scriptorium, whose sole focus is unlocking the magic of an ancient automaton army.

In her search for her brother, Karis does the seemingly impossible: she awakens a hidden automaton. Intelligent, with a conscience of his own, Alix has no idea why he was made. Or why his father – their nation’s greatest traitor – once tried to destroy the automatons.

Suddenly, the Scriptorium isn’t just trying to control Karis; it’s hunting her. Together with Alix, Karis must find her brother… and the secret that’s held her country in its power for centuries.

Review

This Golden Flame is the fun and fast paced adventure of a young orphan woman named Karis who is forced to serve at the Scriptorum for the rest of her life. All Karis wants is to be reunited with her brother, but he was shipped away by the scribes and she has no idea where. In her search for answers she uncovers a hidden automaton with a mind of his own. This discover rockets Karis onto a path of danger and rebellion as she attempts to find her brother and stop the Magistrate gaining unlimited power.

This Golden Flame is set in a really fascinating world and I really liked the Greek inspired setting. The idea of automatons was really interesting and I enjoyed learning about their lore and history. The story is a bit on the predictable side but nonetheless it was well paced and enjoyable to read. Victoria has a really nice writing style and the story is well structured.

The thing that most intrigued me about This Golden Flame was the characters. There’s great representation in this story and it was really great to read a story that focuses on platonic friendships rather than a romance. The story is told in alternating POVs from Alix and Karis and I liked them both as main characters. Although they were interesting my favourite character was Zara, the pirate Queen turned rebellion leader. I would love to read more about her and it would be fascinating to read a story from her perspective.

Overall This Golden Flame is an exciting adventure and a solid debut from Emily Victoria. If you love fast paced YA stories with fascinating worlds, this could definitely be one for you.

Blog Tour: Winter’s Orbit – Everina Maxwell

Blog Tour: Winter’s Orbit – Everina Maxwell


Release Date:
February 4th 2021
Publisher: Orbit Books
Pages: 448
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 5/5 stars

Synopsis

Ancillary Justice meets Red, White & Royal Blue in Everina Maxwell’s exciting debut.

While the Iskat Empire has long dominated the system through treaties and political alliances, several planets, including Thea, have begun to chafe under Iskat’s rule. When tragedy befalls Imperial Prince Taam, his Thean widower, Jainan, is rushed into an arranged marriage with Taam’s cousin, the disreputable Kiem, in a bid to keep the rising hostilities between the two worlds under control.

But when it comes to light that Prince Taam’s death may not have been an accident, and that Jainan himself may be a suspect, the unlikely pair must overcome their misgivings and learn to trust one another as they navigate the perils of the Iskat court, try to solve a murder, and prevent an interplanetary war… all while dealing with their growing feelings for each other.

Review

Winter’s Orbit is an absolutely incredible debut that I did not want to end. The story follows Prince Kiem of the Iskat empire and Count Jainan of the planet Thea as they are rushed into an arrange marriage following the sudden death of Jainan’s partner Prince Taam. The marriage must appear perfect in every way to smooth over the tensions between the two worlds. When it’s discovered that Taam’s death may not have been an accident, Kiem and Jainan must work together to find the truth and stop a war from brewing.

If I could give this book six stars I would. After hearing so many rave reviews I went in with pretty high expectations but it was everything I wanted and more. This is a brilliantly told story, with a well paced plot and detailed world building. I just loved the concept of this book – the reckless prince who always gets into trouble and the serious science scholar who have to stop a war and understand their feelings for each other? I loved the mix of political intrigue, murder mystery and romance. It was such a creative story and I loved it from beginning to end.

Everina Maxwell has created some really brilliant characters and I really liked seeing both Kiem and Jainan as their awkward relationship built into something more. The story is told from both perspectives which I really enjoyed too. The romance is a slow burn and I liked the way that Maxwell developed the relationship slowly, giving the reader a chance to really get to know both characters. The story does focus quite a bit on domestic abuse, so there are trigger warnings for that too.

Whilst this is a space opera it also felt like a cosy, comforting read and I flew through it because Maxwell has such a lovely writing style. I think this would be a great crossover for someone looking to read more science fiction. It’s a cute and fun read, whilst still full of political intrigue and mystery. Overall I thought this was a truly fantastic debut and I cannot wait to see what Everina Maxwell writes next.

Blog Tour: The Shape of Darkness – Laura Purcell

Blog Tour: The Shape of Darkness – Laura Purcell


Release Date:
January 21st 2021
Publisher: Raven Books
Pages: 416
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 5/5 stars

Synopsis

As the age of the photograph dawns in Victorian Bath, silhouette artist Agnes is struggling to keep her business afloat. Still recovering from a serious illness herself, making enough money to support her elderly mother and her orphaned nephew Cedric has never been easy, but then one of her clients is murdered shortly after sitting for Agnes, and then another, and another… Why is the killer seemingly targeting her business?

Desperately seeking an answer, Agnes approaches Pearl, a child spirit medium lodging in Bath with her older half-sister and her ailing father, hoping that if Pearl can make contact with those who died, they might reveal who killed them.

But Agnes and Pearl quickly discover that instead they may have opened the door to something that they can never put back…

Review

Laura Purcell is one of my favourite authors so when I heard she was releasing a new book I was incredibly excited to read it. All of the books I have read by her have been five star reads so I had pretty high expectations going in. The story follows Agnes, a silhouette artist who lives in Bath with her elderly mother and nephew Cedric. Her business is struggling to stay afloat and when her customers start being murdered she wonders who exactly is targeting her. In a search for answers Agnes meets Pearl, a child who is able to contact the spirit world. Agnes asks Pearl to help uncover who the killer is, but in doing so reveals so much more.

Like Purcell’s previous novels, The Shape of Darkness is dark, full to the brim with a tense, unsettling atmosphere. I was completely hooked in by this book and I read it over the course of a couple of days. It’s beautifully written and I loved the way Purcell weaved this story of seances and murder. The story is pretty fast paced, it felt faster than either The Corset or The Silent Companions and I absolutely did not want it to end.

The story is a fascinating one and I really liked learning about the work Agnes did as a silhouette artist. Agnes is a really interesting protagonist and it was fascinating to see her attempt to juggle her business, providing for her family and uncovering the killer. I also really liked Pearl and enjoying seeing the story unfold from both points of view.

The Shape of Darkness is perfect winter reading. It’s a tense, addictive read and one you will not be able to look away from. If you’ve read any of Purcell’s other books or you’re a fan of Victorian Gothic fiction, this is absolutely a must read.

Blog Tour: The Mask of Mirrors – M A Carrick

Blog Tour: The Mask of Mirrors – M A Carrick


Series:
Rook & Rose #1
Release Date: January 21st 2021
Publisher: Orbit Books
Pages: 672
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

Fortune favors the bold. Magic favors the liars.

Ren is a con artist who has come to the sparkling city of Nadežra with one goal: to trick her way into a noble house, securing her fortune and her sister’s future.

But as she’s drawn into the elite world of House Traementis, she realizes her masquerade is just one of many surrounding her. And as nightmare magic begins to weave its way through the City of Dreams, the poisonous feuds of its aristocrats and the shadowy dangers of its impoverished underbelly become tangled…with Ren at their heart.

The Mask of Mirrors is the unmissable start to the Rook & Rose trilogy, a dazzling and darkly magical fantasy adventure by Marie Brennan and Alyc Helms, writing together as M. A. Carrick

Review

The Mask of Mirrors is the first in an all new adult fantasy trilogy from authors Marie Brennan and Alyc Helms. The story follows Ren, a street rat and con artist who is attempting to scheme her way into one of the noble families of Nadezra. As she becomes drawn into the world of House Traementis she becomes ensnared in a web of secrets and nightmare magic.

As soon as I read the synopsis I knew this was going to be my perfect kind of book. I loved everything about this story. The Venetian style setting was beautifully described and the world building is incredibly detailed. It took me a little while to get to grips with everything in this world but I was completely captivated by it. The story is quite a slow paced one and it gives the reader plenty of time to get to know the world and the characters. I really liked the magic system in this story too and I’m so intrigued to learn more in the next instalment.

Carrick created some really fascinating characters and I loved Ren, she’s clever and stubborn – doing whatever she can to make her schemes work. I also liked her sister Tess who moonlights as her handmaid and it was so fascinating to have the emphasis on clothes and fashion as Tess attempted to make Ren look like one of the nobility. I also really liked Grey as a character and I cannot wait to see where Carrick takes the characters next. I absolutely love heist/con stories and this is an incredibly well executed one – despite it being nearly seven hundred pages it was such an easy read and I raced through the last two hundred pages in one go.

Mask of Mirrors is an impressive start to a new fantasy series. With a compelling plot and impeccable world building, this is an absolute must read for fantasy fans.

Blog Tour: Dear Edward – Ann Napolitano

Blog Tour: Dear Edward – Ann Napolitano


Release Date:
4th February 2021
Publisher: Penguin
Pages: 352
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 3.75/5 stars

Synopsis

One summer morning, twelve-year-old Edward Adler, his beloved older brother, his parents, and 183 other passengers board a flight in Newark headed for Los Angeles. Among them is a Wall Street wunderkind, a young woman coming to terms with an unexpected pregnancy, an injured vet returning from Afghanistan, a septuagenarian business tycoon, and a free-spirited woman running away from her controlling husband. And then, tragically, the plane crashes. Edward is the sole survivor.

Edward’s story captures the attention of the nation, but he struggles to find a place for himself in a world without his family. He continues to feel that a piece of him has been left in the sky, forever tied to the plane and all of his fellow passengers. But then he makes an unexpected discovery–one that will lead him to the answers of some of life’s most profound questions: When you’ve lost everything, how do find yourself? How do you discover your purpose? What does it mean not just to survive, but to truly live?

Review

Dear Edward is the heartbreaking and emotional story of Edward Adler, a twelve year old boy who is flying from New York to Los Angeles along with 183 other passengers. When the plane crashes, tragically Edward is the only one who survives. Told in two timelines of the moments leading up to the crash and Edward afterwards as he attempts to understand his purpose in life and how he will cope when he’s lost everything.

Dear Edward isn’t the kind of book I normally pick up but it sounded like a really compelling story and I was so intrigued. This book is a beautiful story, following Edward as he moves to live with his aunt and uncle, attempts to live a normal life as well as honour all those that died in the crash. The story is quite a slow paced one, it’s very much a character study of Edward and the people on the plane. I really liked Napolitano’s writing style and the characters were very well developed. Even though we only get snapshots of the people on the plane, they felt very real and relatable.

I was really surprised that some of the moments before the plane crash are taken from black box recordings of actual plane crashes and that Edward is inspired by a young boy who was the only survivor in a plane crash. It really added another layer to the story and left me thinking about this story longer after I’d finished turning the pages.

I really enjoyed seeing Edward grow up and I loved his relationship with his neighbour Shay. It was fascinating to see how the crash affected so many people even if they were direct family members of the victims. This is a thought-provoking read and despite it being at times quite a difficult read, it’s a story well worth reading.

Book Review: The Crooked Mask – Rachel Burge

Book Review: The Crooked Mask – Rachel Burge


Series:
The Twisted Tree #2
Release Date: September 17th 2020
Publisher: Hot Key Books
Pages:  278
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 4/5 stars

Synopsis

Deep in a forest in Northern Norway lies the Circus of Myth & Mayhem.

Martha is certain that unsolved mysteries are hidden there – and talks her way into getting a job as a psychic.

She soon learns there’s something very strange about the circus. Costumed performers re-enact stories of the Norse gods wearing masks, which move and change expression, yet no one notices but her. And then there’s the creepy jester who invites her to ‘play’.

When an old friend shows up at the circus Martha is thrown into turmoil. Is he there because he misses her or because he wants to stop her discovering the truth? And he isn’t the only liar she has to worry about. Loki has taken an interest in the circus and Martha finds herself drawn into a dangerous game of the gods. She must look behind the mask and see what’s really happening . . . before it’s too late.

Review

The Crooked Mask is the sequel to Rachel Burge’s The Twisted Tree. Following on from the events of book one the story follows Martha as she ends up working at the Circus of Myth and Mayhem in an attempt to uncover the truth behind Nina’s death. When she discovers there is much more going on in the circus than she first thought, she is drawn into a dangerous game with the trickster god Loki, but can she uncover the truth before it’s too late?

I really loved The Twisted Tree so I was super excited to dive into this second instalment. The story is just as beautifully written and Burge’s writing really brings to life the wintry landscape and the magical setting of the circus. Burge writes really great scary moments and there were definitely some scenes where I felt a shiver up my spine. Like the first book the story is pretty fast paced and I found myself racing through The Crooked Mask just as quickly as I did The Twisted Tree.

I really liked Martha as a main protagonist in book one so I enjoyed following her again in book two as she continued to learn more about her powers and her family history. Burge has created a really fascinating world in this book and I loved the way she weaved this ghost story with Norse mythology. There were quite a few twists I didn’t see coming in this one and I loved how it all ended.

If you’re a fan of creepy stories and Norse mythology this is definitely a series to get reading. I enjoyed every second of this one and really hope there will be a third book in the series!

Book Review: Black Sun – Rebecca Roanhorse

Book Review: Black Sun – Rebecca Roanhorse


Series:
Between Earth and Sky #1
Release Date: January 21st 2021
Publisher: Rebellion Publishing
Pages: 454
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent a copy of this book to review
Rating: 5/5 stars

Synopsis

A god will return
When the earth and sky converge
Under the black sun

In the holy city of Tova, the winter solstice is usually a time for celebration and renewal, but this year it coincides with a solar eclipse, a rare celestial event proscribed by the Sun Priest as an unbalancing of the world.

Meanwhile, a ship launches from a distant city bound for Tova and set to arrive on the solstice. The captain of the ship, Xiala, is a disgraced Teek whose song can calm the waters around her as easily as it can warp a man’s mind. Her ship carries one passenger. Described as harmless, the passenger, Serapio, is a young man, blind, scarred, and cloaked in destiny. As Xiala well knows, when a man is described as harmless, he usually ends up being a villain.

Crafted with unforgettable characters, Rebecca Roanhorse has created an epic adventure exploring the decadence of power amidst the weight of history and the struggle of individuals swimming against the confines of society and their broken pasts in the most original series debut of the decade.

Review

Black Sun is the first book in a new series from Rebecca Roanhorse, author of Trail of Lightning. The story is a multi-perspective tale following different characters on the lead up to a rare solar eclipse in the holy city of Tova. We follow Xiala, captain of a ship that is carrying a strange man to the city. The passenger – Serapio – is a blind and scarred young man with much more to him than meets the eye. Then there is the Sun Priest, preparing for this celestial event and attempting to navigate the politics of the order. As the solar eclipse begins, the three characters must battle for survival.

This is my first time reading a book by Rebecca Roanhorse but I absolutely loved it. This well executed fantasy tale gripped me from the very beginning and I found myself picking this book up at every opportunity, even getting up early in the morning just to squeeze in a few extra chapters. I loved the complex and diverse characters that Roanhorse created in this world. Xiala was my favourite, she’s much more than a down on her luck sea captain and I loved seeing the relationship grow between her and Serapio. I similarly found Serapio fascinating, he’s an ambiguous character and you’re never quite sure if he’s a villain or not. Roanhorse created incredible characters in this wold and I’m so excited to see where they end up in the next instalment.

The world building is well plotted and we are treated to lots of information and history without feeling info-dumpy. I really loved the world and the magic in this one and I can’t wait to learn more as the story progresses. The story was quick paced with plenty of action to keep the reader hooked in. If you’re a fan of dark and fast paced fantasy this is definitely one to pick up. Black Sun will absolutely be in my favourite books of 2021 and I’m already dying to get my hands on book two.