Blog Tour: The Ballad of Perilous Graves – Alex Jennings

Blog Tour: The Ballad of Perilous Graves – Alex Jennings


Release Date:
June 23rd 2022
Publisher: Orbit Books
Pages: 480
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

Put on your dancing shoes and step into New Orleans as you’ve never seen it before in this vibrant and imaginative debut.

Nola is a city of wonders. A place where haints dance the night away, Wise Women keep the order and songs walk, talk and keep the spirit of the city alive. To those from Away, Nola might seem strange. To failed magician Perilous Graves, it’s simply home.

Then the rhythm of the city stutters.

Nine songs of power have escaped from the magical piano that maintains the city’s beat, and without them, Nola will fail. Unexpectedly, Perry and his sister, Brendy, are tasked with saving the city. But a storm is brewing and even if they capture the songs, Nola’s time might be coming to an end.

Review

The Ballad of Perilous Graves is one of those books that sucks you in right from the very first chapter and absolutely does not let you go. It was a joy to read, and I did not want it to end.

Set in a magical New Orleans, Nola is held together by nine songs of power – without these Nola will fall apart. When the songs escape Perry and his sister Brendy must do everything they can to save their city – but will it be enough?

The Ballad of Perilous Graves is without a doubt, unlike anything I’ve ever read. This story completely captured my attention and I still think about it even after finishing it a few weeks ago. This story felt like such a fresh take and I know this crazy, wild ride of a story is going to be adored by fantasy fans. The story is fast paced with multiple points of view and there were some moments where I had no idea where the story was going to go. Jennings has a brilliantly vivid writing style and the world of Nola absolutely lept off the page. I loved the amount of detail put into creating the world and the magic.

This complex story has absolutely tons going on, but it’s definitely one of those books you’re best going into blind. The Ballad of Perilous Graves is a compelling magical read full of incredibly crafted characters. I adored Brendy, Perry and Peaches and it was so entertaining to see the world through their eyes. If you’re looking for a book full of beautiful, lyrical writing with a world you cannot get enough of, this one is an absolute must read.

Book Review: Ash Princess – Laura Sebastian

Book Review: Ash Princess – Laura Sebastian


Series:
Ash Princess Trilogy #1
Release Date: April 14th 2018
Publisher: Macmillan
Pages: 448
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: I bought a copy of this book from Waterstones
Rating: 3.5/5 stars

Synopsis

Theodosia was six when her country was invaded and her mother, the Fire Queen, was murdered before her eyes. On that day, the Kaiser took Theodosia’s family, her land, and her name. Theo was crowned Ash Princess–a title of shame to bear in her new life as a prisoner.

For ten years Theo has been a captive in her own palace. She’s endured the relentless abuse and ridicule of the Kaiser and his court. She is powerless, surviving in her new world only by burying the girl she was deep inside.

Then, one night, the Kaiser forces her to do the unthinkable. With blood on her hands and all hope of reclaiming her throne lost, she realizes that surviving is no longer enough. But she does have a weapon: her mind is sharper than any sword. And power isn’t always won on the battlefield.

For ten years, the Ash Princess has seen her land pillaged and her people enslaved. That all ends here.

Review

Ash Princess is the first in a YA fantasy trilogy that follows Theodosia, a young princess who lives at the mercy of the Kaiser who murdered her mother and stole her throne. For ten years she has suffered under his abuse and ridicule when she decides that enough is enough and will do everything in her power to reclaim her lost throne.

Ash Princess is a pretty standard YA story. It was a bit darker than I was expecting but it follows a similar plot to other YA fantasy stories. I have found myself reading less and less YA lately so I wasn’t really sure going in if this was going to be for me. In the end, I did actually enjoy this book immensely, I really liked Sebastian’s writing style and the fast paced, action driven storyline had me glued to the book for long periods of time.

As this is the first book in the series I’m really interested to see how the story develops. Theo does go through some character growth in the story but I felt like some of the other characters could have done with a bit more development. The story does end on a bit of a cliffhanger so I am intrigued to see where Sebastian will take things. This is a fun, fast read and if you’re looking for a YA fantasy tale to keep you hooked this one will be right up your street.

Book Review: The Lighthouse Witches – C J Cooke

Book Review: The Lighthouse Witches – C J Cooke


Release Date:
October 5th 2021
Publisher: HarperCollins
Pages: 432
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: I bought a copy of this book in a secondhand bookshop
Rating: 5/5 stars

Synopsis

Upon the cliffs of a remote Scottish island, Lòn Haven, stands a lighthouse.

A lighthouse that has weathered more than storms.

Mysterious and terrible events have happened on this island. It started with a witch hunt. Now, centuries later, islanders are vanishing without explanation.

Coincidence? Or curse?

Liv Stay flees to the island with her three daughters, in search of a home. She doesn’t believe in witches, or dark omens, or hauntings. But within months, her daughter Luna will be the only one of them left.

Twenty years later, Luna is drawn back to the place her family vanished. As the last sister left, it’s up to her to find out the truth . . .

But what really happened at the lighthouse all those years ago?

Review

I was really excited to pick up The Lighthouse Witches after reading and loving The Nesting by C J Cooke. The Nesting is an addictive, eerie read and I was hoping for much the same with The Lighthouse Witches. What I got was one of the most unputdownable books I’ve ever read.

The story follows Liv, a single mum to three girls – Sapphire, Clover and Luna. Liv takes a job on the remote island of Lòn Haven, where she has been asked to paint a mural inside the old lighthouse. As the family get to know the island they soon learn about the history of witches on the island, and children going missing. Liv believes this to be nothing but superstitious nonsense until one night one of her daughters vanishes. Twenty years in the future, Liv’s youngest daughter Luna is drawn back to the place where her family was torn apart. This time she is determined to find out what happened to her sisters and her Mum.

The Lighthouse is an incredibly impressive book. It seamlessly weaves together a number of different storylines – we follow Liv in 1998 during their time on the island, Luna in the present-day as she attempts to discover the truth about what happened to her family and the grimoire of a witch living on the island hundreds of years ago. The story was utterly compelling and drew me in more and more as the story progressed. This is a dark and twisty tale and I was never sure what was going to happen next. The ending was something I never could have predicted and I thought it was delivered beautifully.

This is my second book from C J Cooke and I really enjoyed her writing style. This book is so easy to get lost in and there were a couple of really eerie moments that sent a shiver up my spine. The book is full to the brim with atmosphere and I loved every second of it. This is definitely a new favourite and I can’t wait to read more from C J Cooke.

Book Review: Elektra – Jennifer Saint

Book Review: Elektra – Jennifer Saint


Release Date:
April 28th 2022
Publisher: Headline
Pages: 400
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

The House of Atreus is cursed. A bloodline tainted by a generational cycle of violence and vengeance. This is the story of three women, their fates inextricably tied to this curse, and the fickle nature of men and gods.

Clytemnestra
The sister of Helen, wife of Agamemnon – her hopes of averting the curse are dashed when her sister is taken to Troy by the feckless Paris. Her husband raises a great army against them, and determines to win, whatever the cost.

Cassandra
Princess of Troy, and cursed by Apollo to see the future but never to be believed when she speaks of it. She is powerless in her knowledge that the city will fall.

Elektra
The youngest daughter of Clytemnestra and Agamemnon, Elektra is horrified by the bloodletting of her kin. But, can she escape the curse, or is her own destiny also bound by violence?

Review

Jennifer Saint, author of Ariadne is back with an all new Greek myth retelling that focuses on Clytemnestra – wife of Agamemnon, Cassandra – princess of Troy and Elektra – Clytermenstra’s youngest daughter. Saint weaves a spellbinding tale of these three women and the horrors they face.

I read Ariadne last year and really enjoyed it, so I was very intrigued to pick this one up. The story sounded so intriguing and combined with that absolutely stunning cover, I knew I couldn’t resist. Just like Ariadne this story is so beautifully written and captivated me right from the very beginning. I honestly did not want to put this book down. The story is exquisitely crafted and was at times quite harrowing. I must admit I do not know a lot about the Greek myths so there were a few moments that I did not expect.

The story revolves around three particular women and I felt that Saint did a brilliant job of creating these well fleshed out characters. Each one had such a vivid voice in the story. It was fascinating to see the way Saint portrayed them and I was particularly interested in the Clytemnestra and Elektra’s relationship and the way this develops over the course of the story. I really enjoyed the way Saint gave a voice to such well known characters.

Elektra is a beautiful and moving tale, one that I enjoyed immensely. If you’ve read Ariadne or looking for a Greek myth retelling with gorgeous, vivid writing, this is definitely one to pick up. Elektra was a really fantastic read and I can’t wait to see what Jennifer Saint does next.

Book Review: Glitterati – Oliver Langmead

Book Review: Glitterati – Oliver Langmead


Release Date:
May 17th 2022
Publisher: Titan Books
Pages: 288
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

Simone is one of the Glitterati, the elite living lives of luxury and leisure. Slave to the ever-changing tides – and brutal judgements – of fashion, he is immaculate. To be anything else is to be unfashionable, and no one wants to be unfashionable, or even worse, ugly…

When Simone accidentally starts a new fashion with a nosebleed at a party, another Glitterati takes the credit. Soon their rivalry threatens to raze their opulent utopia to the ground, as no one knows how to be vicious like the beautiful ones.

Enter a world of the most fantastic costumes, grand palaces in the sky, the grandest parties known to mankind and the unbreakable rules of how to eat ice cream. A fabulous dystopian fable about fashion, family and the feckless billionaire class.

Review

Oliver Langmead’s Glitterati is a rollercoaster of a book. The story follows Simone – one of the Glitterati. The Glitterati are the absolute elite in society – they live their lives in complete luxury, but they must follow the strict rules around what is fashionable and what is not. If a new fashion comes along they must join in, or risk being seen as unfashionable. When Simone attends a party and accidentally has a nosebleed, it sparks a new trend. Simone expects to be hailed as a fashion genius, but another Gltterati – Justine – takes credit. This sparks an intense rivalry between the two and Simone must do everything he can to stop Justine from destroying him.

Glitterati is a fast-paced read, and one I read in just a few sittings. It’s such a unique idea and I was fascinated by the absurd, over the top life that Simone and the other Glitterati lead. The ever-changing fashions were unreal – even ones that could kill you. There are some quite funny moments in the story too – such as when Simone is confronted with denim or children. Langmead has a really vivid writing style so each scene practically leaps off the page. The story felt well written and well executed.

Overall Glitterati is an enjoyable read, but the characters are so unlikeable it’s hard to root for Simone to succeed. As a result, I didn’t feel as invested in the story. Glitterati is certainly a unique tale and if you’re on the hunt for a fresh take on the dystopian genre, Glitterati should definitely be your next read.

Blog Tour: Glorious Poison – Kat Dunn

Blog Tour: Glorious Poison – Kat Dunn


Series: Battalion of the Dead #3 (See my review of book one  (Dangerous Remedy) and book two (Monstrous Design)
Release Date: June 9th 2022
Publisher: Head of Zeus
Pages: 432
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 5/5 stars

Synopsis

The daring and dramatic conclusion to Kat Dunn’s epic C18th French Revolution trilogy ‘with lashings of lust, love, sacrifice, betrayal and horror’.

Robespierre is dead. The Reign of Terror is over.

As Royalist strength grows, the Duc de L’Aubespine plots a coup that will consign the revolution to history. With Olympe in his clutches, he believes nothing can stop him. But he’s reckoned without the intrepid Battalion of the Dead!

Reunited in Paris, Ada is poised for action – but if she plays her hand too soon, everything she’s sacrificed to gain his trust will be lost. Meanwhile, an unlikely alliance with an old enemy might be Camille’s only option to save Olympe and stop the duc in his tracks.

The glittering and macabre bals des victimes and the eerie catacombs make the perfect backdrop for the final episode of the Battalion’s tale.

Review

Glorious Poison is the third and final book in Kat Dunn’s brilliant Battalion of the Dead series. Picking up after the events of Monstrous Design, we follows Camille and her battalion as they attempt to rescue Olympe from the hands of the Duc and stop him from destroying the revolution.

For the last two years the installments of this series have been among my favourite books of the year, so Glorious Poison was one of my most anticipated releases of 2022. I absolutely did not want this series to end and ended up rereading books one and two over a weekend in preparation. Dunn has done an incredible job of bringing all the characters and story arcs together. The ending was everything I was hoping for and while I’m sad it’s over, I cannot wait to see what Kat Dunn writes next.

I won’t say much about the plot because it is the third book in the series, but safe to say there is plenty of action and moments that will have you on the edge of your seat. I love seeing the tricky situations the battalion finds themselves in and the clever ways they get out. I love the historical setting in this series and Dunn’s vivid and beautiful writing really brights the sights and sounds of 18th Century France to life.

While I absolutely love all the action and heists in this series, what has captivated me most throughout the three books are the brilliant characters. They have all gone on such a journey over the three books and I am so sad to say goodbye to them. Dunn brings the story to a satisfying conclusion and I think the battalion will forever be some of my favourite characters of all time. I am not particularly a romance person but I love the relationship between Ada and Camille. They’re both such fascinating characters dealing with secrets from their past and I really enjoyed the way Dunn developed their relationship over the course of the series.

Glorious Poison is a magnificent conclusion to an epic YA fantasy series. If you’re caught up with the series you absolutely need to pick up Glorious Poison. If you haven’t yet had the chance to pick up Dangerous Remedy, now is the perfect time to binge the entire trilogy.

Blog Tour: The Dark – Sharon Bolton

Blog Tour: The Dark – Sharon Bolton


Series:
Lacey Flint #5
Release Date: May 26th 2022
Publisher: Orion Books
Pages: 464
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of the book to review
Rating: 4.25/5 stars

Synopsis

ONCE, SHE SAVED HIS LIFE…
NOW, HE’LL TAKE HERS.

When a baby is snatched from its pram and cast into the river Thames, off-duty police officer Lacey Flint is there to prevent disaster. But who would want to hurt a child?

DCI Mark Joesbury has been expecting this. Monitoring a complex network of dark web sites, Joesbury and his team have spotted a new terrorist threat from the extremist, women-hating, group known as ‘incels’ or ‘involuntary celibates.’ Joesbury’s team are trying to infiltrate the ring of power at its core, but the dark web is built for anonymity, and the incel army is vast.

Pressure builds when the team learn the snatched child was just the first in a series of violent attacks designed to terrorise women. Worse, the leaders of the movement seem to have singled out Lacey as the embodiment of everything they hate, placing her in terrible danger…

Review

Sharon Bolton is fast becoming one of my all time favourite thriller writers. Having read and loved The Split I immediately picked up as many of her books as I could and each has been, dark, twisty and difficult to put down. The Dark is absolutely no exception. The Dark is the fifth installment in Bolton’s Lacey Flint series and follows Flint as she stops someone attempting to throw a baby into the Thames. Flint soon learns this is just the start of a series of attacks against women and an extremist group might be the cause. The pressure soon builds as Flint and the team must work to stop the group before things get even worse.

Much like Bolton’s other books, I was hooked on this story right from the very first chapter. Bolton has a really compelling writing style and I was completely drawn into this fast-paced plot. As I have come to expect from Bolton there were twists I never saw coming and there were more than a few moments that had me on the edge of my seat. Bolton is brilliant at keeping you guessing, all the while building up the tension.

While The Dark has an utterly addictive plot, it also features some really well crafted characters. Flint is a brilliant protagonist, she is a strong female character with lots of mystery surrounding her past. I similarly liked DCI Mark Joesbury and I enjoyed seeing the relationship develop between the two. Altogether The Dark makes for some really compelling reading. If you’re a fan of Bolton’s work or in the mood for something twisty and hard to put down, The Dark definitely has you covered.


Blog Tour: Misrule – Heather Walter

Blog Tour: Misrule – Heather Walter


Series:
Malice Duology #2 (See my review of book one here!)
Release Date: May 10th 2022
Pages: 480
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 5/5 stars

Synopsis

The Dark Grace is dead.

Feared and despised for the sinister power in her veins, Alyce wreaks her revenge on the kingdom that made her an outcast. Once a realm of decadence and beauty, Briar is now wholly Alyce’s wicked domain. And no one will escape the consequences of her wrath. Not even the one person who holds her heart.

Princess Aurora saw through Alyce’s thorny facade, earning a love that promised the dawn of a new age. But it is a love that came with a heavy price: Aurora now sleeps under a curse that even Alyce’s vast power cannot seem to break. And the dream of the world they would have built together is nothing but ash.

Alyce vows to do anything to wake the woman she loves, even if it means turning into the monster Briar believes her to be. But could Aurora love the villain Alyce has become?

Or is true love only for fairy tales?

Review

Misrule is the second book in Heather Walter’s Malice duology. I read Malice last year and absolutely adored this dark fairytale retelling. Misrule was one of my most anticipated releases and it absolutely did not disappoint. Following on from the events in book one, Briar has been destroyed and Nimara (Alyce) now rules the dark court. Despite searching for decades, she has been unable to find a cure for the curse placed on Aurora and she remains asleep. Nimara will do anything to break this curse becoming even more of a villain in search of the cure. As she battles the Fae courts in search of answers she begins to wonder when Aurora finally wakes will she still love the person Nimara has become?

This book was so incredibly addictive. It’s the sort of book you just cannot put down and I ended up having a few very late nights because I stayed up reading. Walter’s writing flows really well and it’s so easy to get wrapped up in the story. I love the world Walter created in this duology and after reading this second book I’m going to read everything they publish. The story is quite fast-paced and there were plenty of twists and turns that kept me engaged. I loved that Misrule felt much darker than Malice and the vivid descriptions of the dark court captivated me.

Walter does a fantastic job of creating these really complex characters. There is so much character growth and development across the two books. It was so fascinating to see Nimara grow into her role as Mistress of the dark court and I loved how the dynamics changed between Nimara and Alyce as things progress. In Misrule we get to meet a whole host of different characters and creatures but my favourite has got to be the Imps – they’re so mischievous and added a touch of humour to the story.

Overall Misrule is a brilliant conclusion – Walter managed to bring all the different threads together into a really satisfying conclusion. If you’re looking for a beautifully written story with a morally grey protagonist this duology is definitely not to be missed.

Blog Tour: Equinox – David Towsey

Blog Tour: Equinox – David Towsey


Release Date:
12th May 2022
Publisher: Head of Zeus
Pages: 368
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 4/5 stars

Synopsis

Christophor Morden lives in a world where everybody changes with the rising and setting of the sun. For every person contains two distinct identities – a day brother and a night brother. One never sees the light, the other nothing of night.

One evening Christophor, one of the king’s special unit of witch hunters, is woken early by a call to the city prison. A young woman has torn her own eyes out, and the police suspect supernatural causes. The investigation takes Christophor far from home, to a village on the edge of the kingdom.

There he will find his witch – and his night brother will find himself desperate to save her. And as this battle of the self rages, the witch’s ancient and apocalyptic ritual comes ever closer to completion…

Review

Equinox is an intriguing book that lured me in for a number of reasons. Firstly it has an absolutely stunning cover and second it’s a fantasy standalone – something I definitely don’t read enough of. The story also has such a fascinating concept that I couldn’t resist diving straight into it.

Equinox tells the story of Christophor Morden. Christophor lives in a world where everyone has two identities – one for the day and one for the night. One only ever sees the darkness and the other the day. Christophor is a member of the king’s special unit, whereas his day brother Alexsander is a musician. When Christophor is called to the city prison to witness a prisoner who has torn out their eyes. The cause is thought to be supernatural in origin, sending Christophor and his day brother on a quest to find the witch responsible.

Equniox is such a unique story – it felt like such a fresh take on the fantasy story. It felt wholly original and unlike anything I’ve read before. It was so fascinating to see these two characters who lead completely different lives and have completely different personalities inhabit one body. I really liked Christophor as the main protagonist and felt the story was well-paced. It did take me a little while to get into the story but after the first quarter of the book, I was completely invested in the story.

Towsey does a really brilliant job of creating that tense atmosphere, particularly as the mystery begins to unfold. The magic in this story is pretty dark and it was probably the thing that intrigued me most about this book. There are some moments that are on the creepy/gory side and Towsey doesn’t shy away from scenes that send a shiver down your spine. Equinox is a brilliantly told dark fantasy story that I thoroughly enjoyed. If you’re looking for some dark, gripping fantasy this should definitely be on your reading list. Whilst this is my first book from David Towsey, I cannot wait to read more from this author!

Blog Tour: The Girl and the Moon – Mark Lawrence

Blog Tour: The Girl and the Moon – Mark Lawrence


Series:
Book of the Ice #3
Release Date: April 28th 2022
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Pages: 544
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 5/5 stars

Synopsis

The fate of the world hangs from the Moon

The green world overwhelms all of Yaz’s expectations. Everything seems different but some things remain the same: her old enemies are still bent on her destruction.

The Corridor abounds with plenty and unsuspected danger. To stand a chance against the eyeless priest, Eular, and the god-like city-mind, Seus, Yaz will need to learn fast and make new friends.

The Convent of Sweet Mercy, like the Corridor itself, is packed with peril and opportunity. Yaz needs the nuns’ help – but first they want to execute her.

The fate of everyone squeezed between the Corridor’s vast walls, and ultimately the fate of those labouring to survive out on ice itself, hangs from the moon, and the battle to save the moon centres on the Ark of the Missing, buried beneath the emperor’s palace. Everyone wants Yaz to be the key that will open the Ark – the one the wise have sought for generations. But sometimes wanting isn’t enough.

Review

The Girl and the Moon is the third and final instalment in Lawrence’s unputdownable Book of the Ice series. Mark Lawrence is one of my favourite authors and The Girl and the Moon was one of my most anticipated releases of 2022. I absolutely loved every second of this story and it is without a doubt one of my favourite books of the year.

Picking up after the events of The Girl and the Mountain, the book is full to the brim with action and there were more than a few moments I was on the edge of my seat. I was hooked from the very beginning and I honestly had to force myself to put the book down. Lawrence has such a brilliant way of keeping the reader engaged and hungry for more. I’d be hard pushed to pick my favourite book in this trilogy because they have all been equally compelling.

Lawrence really does an excellent job of bringing everything together in this book and there were more than a few moments that I wasn’t expecting. I must admit that although I think the ending was brilliant, I’m sad to say goodbye to the incredible characters Lawrence has created. Yaz and her friends are so well crafted and I absolutely did not want to say goodbye to them. I won’t say much about the plot given this is the final instalment, but safe to say there is plenty to keep the reader hooked.

The Girl and the Moon is a rollercoaster of a book and one you do not want to miss. This is a multi-POV story and Lawrence manages to bring all the threads of their stories together seamlessly. Like all of Lawrence’s books the worldbuilding is excellent, the plot action-packed and the characters fascinating. If you haven’t yet had a chance to pick up this series (or any books by Mark Lawrence for that matter), I can’t recommend it highly enough.