Blog Tour: The Unbroken – C L Clark

Blog Tour: The Unbroken – C L Clark


Series:
Magic of the Lost #1
Release Date: March 23rd 2021
Publisher: Orbit Books
Pages: 464
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 5/5 stars

Synopsis

Touraine is a soldier. Stolen as a child and raised to kill and die for the empire, her only loyalty is to her fellow conscripts. But now, her company has been sent back to her homeland to stop a rebellion, and the ties of blood may be stronger than she thought.

Luca needs a turncoat. Someone desperate enough to tiptoe the bayonet’s edge between treason and orders. Someone who can sway the rebels toward peace, while Luca focuses on what really matters: getting her uncle off her throne.

Through assassinations and massacres, in bedrooms and war rooms, Touraine and Luca will haggle over the price of a nation. But some things aren’t for sale.

Review

The Unbroken is the first book in an all new fantasy series. This is a dark and brutal story that follows Touraine, who was stolen from her home as a child and raised to be a soldier for the empire. Now she is returning to her homeland to help put a stop to the rebellion. As Touraine fights alongside her battalion she begins to question where her loyalties really lie – to the empire who trained her or the homeland she barely remembers? Luca is a princess doing everything she can to quash the rebellion, but she needs help to stop it while she attempts to remove her uncle from the throne. Touraine and Luca form an alliance, but will it be enough?

I loved every second I spent reading this book. This is such a compelling read and despite being nearly five hundred pages I raced through it – it’s one of those books you just can’t look away from. Clark has a really lovely writing style and it was so easy to get lost in this gripping tale. It’s a pretty fast paced book, with lots of action. It’s brimming with political intrigue and really focuses in on the themes of colonialism and racism. It’s an absolutely stunning book, that is at times painful to read.

The world building is excellent in this story, Clark has crafted a fascinating world and I cannot wait to see where the story will go in book two. This is a queernorm world and there are some incredibly compelling characters – Touraine is such a conflicted character and goes through so much in this story. I thought Luca was also a really fascinating character and it was so interesting to see two characters from such different worlds come together. Both characters go through quite a bit of growth in this story as they form an alliance and if anything that has just left me wanting more and more.

The Unbroken is a complex story that Clark has executed incredibly well. It’s full of tense moments that had me on the edge of my seat. It’s an incredible tale with a slow burn romance, tons of political intrigue and just a hint of magic. The Unbroken is undoubtedly one of my favourite books of 2021 and if you’re thinking about picking this one up, I can’t recommend it highly enough.

Blog Tour: The Fall of Koli – M R Carey

Blog Tour: The Fall of Koli – M R Carey


Series: Rampart Trilogy #3 (See my review of book one here!)
Release Date: March 25th 2021
Publisher: Orbit Books
Pages: 560
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

The Fall of Koli is the third and final novel in the breathtakingly original Rampart trilogy – set in a strange and deadly world of our own making.

The world that is lost will come back to haunt us . . .

Koli has come a long way since being exiled from his small village of Mythen Rood. In his search for the fabled tech of the old times, he knew he’d be battling strange, terrible beasts and trees that move as fast as whips. But he has already encountered so much more than he bargained for.

Now that Koli and his companions have found the source of the signal they’ve been following – the mysterious “Sword of Albion” – there is hope that their perilous journey will finally be worth something.

Until they unearth terrifying truths about an ancient war . . . and realise that it may have never ended.

Review

The Fall of Koli is the third and final book in M R Carey’s Rampart Trilogy. This stunning conclusion follows on from the events in The Trials of Koli and we see Koli and his friends continue on their quest
to locate the signal and the sword of Albion – what they uncover might be even more devastating than they could ever imagine.

I read the first two instalments of this series last year and so when The Fall of Koli appeared on my doorstep I pretty much dropped everything to dive in. Carey does a wonderful job wrapping up the series. It’s a gripping ending that I could not look away from. The pacing of the entire trilogy has been excellent and Carey has really given the reader an opportunity to get to know and grow attached to these characters. I must admit I was pretty sad to say goodbye to Koli, Monono and the gang. The characters are so well created and there’s so much growth as they reach the end of their journey.

Carey has created a really fascinating world in The Rampart Trilogy and it was great to finally get the answers to all the questions I had about the war and what had happened. The world is unlike anything I’ve read before but Carey does an excellent job of building the world in this series. There is of course plenty of action and events that keep you hooked in, I found myself cramming in chapters at every opportunity because I was so desperate to know how it was all going to end.The Fall of Koli is a heart pounding and heart breaking read and I honestly did not want to turn that last page.

Like the previous instalment we have both Koli and Spinner’s POV, as well as a few chapters from Monono’s perspective. While I love all the characters Monono is definitely my favourite. While I preferred Koli’s perspective in the story it was still fascinating to read Spinner’s POV and see what was becoming of Mythen Rood. The Rampart Trilogy is one of the most unique series I have ever read and I cannot wait to read more from M. R. Carey. If you’ve read the first two instalments you are not going to be disappointed by this ending. If you haven’t yet had the chance to try the series, now is the perfect time to binge the entire trilogy.

Blog Tour: The Shadow in the Glass – J. J. A. Harwood

Blog Tour: The Shadow in the Glass – J. J. A. Harwood


Release Date:
March 18th 2021
Publisher: HarperVoyager
Pages: 416
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

Once upon a time Ella had wished for more than her life as a lowly maid.

Now forced to work hard under the unforgiving, lecherous gaze of the man she once called stepfather, Ella’s only refuge is in the books she reads by candlelight, secreted away in the library she isn’t permitted to enter.

One night, among her beloved books of far-off lands, Ella’s wishes are answered. At the stroke of midnight, a fairy godmother makes her an offer that will change her life: seven wishes, hers to make as she pleases. But each wish comes at a price and Ella must to decide whether it’s one she’s willing to pay it.

A smouldering, terrifying new spin on Cinderella – perfect for fans of Laura Purcell and Erin Morgenstern

Review

The Shadow in the Glass is the beautifully told story of Ella, once a ward of the house and now forced to be one of the maids. Ella dreamed of a life travelling the world and wearing beautiful gowns, but with trouble brewing in the household that dream seems to get further and further away. When she stumbles upon a book in the library and a fairy godmother appears, she is offered seven wishes in exchange for her soul. But is Ella willing to pay such a high price?

The Shadow in the Glass is such a dark and compelling spin on the Cinderella tale. I loved the way that Harwood took elements from the original story and put a completely different spin on it. It is quite a subtle retelling with only some aspects of the fairy tale, but I loved the way Harwood brought the story to life. This is a really addictive read, I sat down one night to read the first chapter and was still there at three in the morning. Thoughout the story there is a tense, uneasy atmosphere – particularly towards the end of the story as the stakes are getting even higher. I loved the concept of this story and it was well paced. Harwood has a really gorgeous writing style so it was easy to get completely lost in the sights and sounds of Victorian London.

The story is quite a bleak one, showcasing the hard lives of the maids and their attempts to avoid catching the eye of Mr Pembroke. The story also touches on the subject of grief, as Ella mourns the death of Mrs Pembroke. I really liked Ella as a main character. She was a bit naive to start off, but she shows lots of depth as the story goes on and she attempts to save Aoife from Mr Pembroke.

This is a really gripping story with really beautiful writing. if you love fairy tales, this dark and sinister retelling will absolutely be the book for you.

Book Review: Horrorstör – Grady Hendrix

Book Review: Horrorstör – Grady Hendrix


Release Date:
September 23rd 2014
Publisher: Quirk Books
Pages: 248
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: I ordered a copy of this from Book Depository.
Rating: 4/5 stars

Synopsis

Something strange is happening at the Orsk furniture superstore in Cleveland, Ohio. Every morning, employees arrive to find broken Kjerring bookshelves, shattered Glans water goblets, and smashed Liripip wardrobes. Sales are down, security cameras reveal nothing, and store managers are panicking.

To unravel the mystery, three employees volunteer to work a nine-hour dusk-till-dawn shift. In the dead of the night, they’ll patrol the empty showroom floor, investigate strange sights and sounds, and encounter horrors that defy the imagination.

A traditional haunted house story in a thoroughly contemporary setting, Horrorstör is designed to retain its luster and natural appearance for a lifetime of use. Pleasingly proportioned with generous French flaps and a softcover binding, Horrorstör delivers the psychological terror you need in the elegant package you deserve.

Review

Horrorstör is a book that caught my eye online and as soon as I read the synopsis I knew I had to order a copy. A haunted house story set in an Ikea type store? Where do I sign up? I expected this to be a fun, entertaining read but what I didn’t expect was for it to be genuinely quite creepy and spine tingling. Horrorstör is a gripping and compelling read, and one I absolutely did not want to look away from.

I absolutely love the concept of this book. It’s laid out like an Ikea catalogue, with a map of the store and diagrams of the furniture on sale – that became increasingly more menacing as the story progresses. It’s clever and well executed and definitely made me intrigued to read more from Grady Hendrix.

The story itself is quite a straight forward one. Amy is an employee of Orsk, a cheap knock off of Ikea. The store has been getting vandalised at night and when her boss Basil asks Amy and another employee to work an overnight shift in attempt to find out who’s causing the trouble, Amy needs the money desperately enough that she agrees. What they find in the store is a lot darker than they expected and not everyone will survive the night.

The story is a really addictive one and I absolutely raced through it. It’s fast paced and full of atmosphere and I really liked the characters Hendrix has created. We don’t get to learn too much about them apart from Amy but I liked them all. Parts of the story are pretty funny, particularly as Amy goes through her day as a retail employee. Overall I really enjoyed this one, it was plenty of fun and incredibly creepy. If you’re looking for a unique and engaging book to devour in a weekend, this is definitely it.

Book Review: Across the Green Grass Fields – Seanan McGuire

Book Review: Across the Green Grass Fields – Seanan McGuire


Series:
Wayward Children #6
Release Date: January 12th 2021
Publisher: Tor Books
Pages: 174
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: I listened to the Audiobook on Scribd
Rating: 3.25/5 stars

Synopsis

A young girl discovers a portal to a land filled with centaurs and unicorns in Seanan McGuire’s Across the Green Grass Fields, a standalone tale in the Hugo and Nebula Award-wining Wayward Children series.

“Welcome to the Hooflands. We’re happy to have you, even if you being here means something’s coming.”

Regan loves, and is loved, though her school-friend situation has become complicated, of late.

When she suddenly finds herself thrust through a doorway that asks her to “Be Sure” before swallowing her whole, Regan must learn to live in a world filled with centaurs, kelpies, and other magical equines―a world that expects its human visitors to step up and be heroes.

But after embracing her time with the herd, Regan discovers that not all forms of heroism are equal, and not all quests are as they seem…

Review

Across the Green Grass Fields is the sixth instalment in Seanan McGuire’s Wayward Children series. Each instalment follows a child who has gone to a magical land (think Narnia). When the children return to the real world they end up at Eleanor West’s School for Wayward Children, a place for them to live while they try to find their doors. In this instalment we follow Regan as she enters the hooflands and must venture on a quest to save the herd that takes her in.

I absolutely love this series and each of the books has been really engrossing with fascinating worlds. I’m always really impressed with the amount of world building and character develop McGuire manages to pack into such a small page count and Across the Green Grass Fields is not different. The world Regan enters is full of horse type creatures and on her journey Regan meets centaurs, kelpies and other mythological creatures.

Like the previous books I really enjoyed the story and learning about the world Regan has entered, but for some reason I didn’t love this one as much as the others. I was excited to see all the different creatures but the kelpies don’t really enter the story until near the ending. I think because I wasn’t as interested in the world I wasn’t as invested in Regan’s story. I think perhaps because none of the characters from previous books featured in this story I also wasn’t as desperate to read on.

Despite not being completely hooked, I still really enjoyed this story. It was a solid three star read and I really love the overarching plot and themes of this series. McGuire has created a really spectacular series in Wayward Children and I can’t wait to see where she takes things next. I know they’ve already had two books already but I’d love to return to Jack and Jill sometime soon!

Blog Tour: Bobby March Will Live Forever – Alan Parks

Blog Tour: Bobby March Will Live Forever – Alan Parks


Series:
Harry McCoy #3
Release Date: February 21st 2021
Publisher: Blackthorn Books
Pages: 368
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

WHO IS TO BLAME WHEN NO ONE IS INNOCENT?

The papers want blood.
The force wants results.
The law must be served, whatever the cost.

July 1973. The Glasgow drugs trade is booming and Bobby March, the city’s own rock-star hero, has just ODed in a central hotel.

Alice Kelly is twelve years old, lonely. And missing.

Meanwhile the niece of McCoy’s boss has fallen in with a bad crowd. When she goes AWOL, McCoy is asked–off the books–to find her.

McCoy has a hunch. But does he have enough time?

Review

Bobby March Will Live Forever is the third instalment in Alan Parks’ Harry McCoy series. This time we’re following Harry as the drug trade is taking over Glasgow. When twelve year old Alice Kelly goes missing and rock star Bobby March over doses in a hotel room, the press churns up a storm. There’s pressure on the force to get results, but will Harry have be able to uncover the truth in time?

The Harry McCoy series is dark and gritty crime fiction at its best. Set in the 1970s, Parks paints a grim picture of a city with a hard criminal underworld. Like the previous two instalments this is a fast paced tale and one that hooks you from the very first pages. I’ve really enjoyed the previous two books in the series but Bobby March Will Live Forever is my favourite in the series so far. Harry is a really fascinating protagonist – he’s stubborn, determined to get the job done, but he also has trouble witnessing gory crime scenes and has a complicated relationship with gangster friend Stevie Cooper. It was really interesting to see Harry not be the lead on these cases but be forced to the sidelines by Raeburn too. Parks creates really realistic characters and I can’t wait to read more about them in the next instalment of this series.

Bobby March Will Live Forever is a really compelling story, and Parks weaves all the different threads together to create an ending I didn’t see coming at all. One of the things that really fascinates me about this series is that I live just outside Glasgow so it’s really interesting to see the city come alive in Parks words. All of the books in this series are brimming with atmosphere and are difficult to put down. If you’re looking for a police procedural series to binge read, the Harry McCoy series will definitely keep you hooked. This was such an entertaining read and I’m looking forward to seeing where Parks takes us in The April Dead.

Blog Tour: Dangerous Women – Hope Adams

Blog Tour: Dangerous Women – Hope Adams


Release Date:
March 4th 2021
Publisher: Michael Joseph
Pages: 352
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me an E-ARC to review
Rating: 4.5/5 stars

Synopsis

London, 1841.

The Rajah sails for Australia.

On board are 180 women convicted of petty crimes, sentenced to start a new life half way across the world.

Daughters, sisters, mothers – they’ll never see home or family again. Despised and damned, all they have now is each other.

Until the murder.

As the fearful hunt for a killer begins, everyone on board is a suspect.

The investigation risks tearing their friendships apart . . .

But if the killer isn’t found, could it cost them their last chance of freedom?

Based on a real-life voyage, Dangerous Women is a sweeping tale of confinement, hope and the terrible things we do to survive.

Review

Dangerous Women is the beautiful and heartbreaking story of 180 women convicted of petty crimes and sentenced to board The Rajah and live out the rest of their lives in Australia, never seeing their families again. On board all they have is each other, until a stabbing occurs and suspicions arise. Who is guilty and if they aren’t found, will they all survive?

This was such an incredible read, absolutely packed with atmosphere and beautiful writing. I completely fell in love with this story and the harrowing plight of the women on board. The story is based on an actual voyage and I ended up looking up the voyage online because the story was so fascinating. I loved every second of this book and I am definitely going to be picking up more books by Hope Adams in the future.

This is a truly thought provoking read, and follows multiple characters both on the ship and prior to them being convicted. It was really interesting to learn about their lives and what crime they were convicted of. Adams has created really incredible characters and each story was full of detail. The story is also a murder mystery, as they attempt to uncover who was behind the stabbing. It was a compelling read, and one I found myself thinking about even when I wasn’t reading.

Dangerous Women is quite a heart breaking read, but one that is incredibly well executed. I loved the characters and the amount of detail Adams put into the story. It felt really well researched and I enjoyed every second of it. This is a truly captivating story and historical fiction fans are going to absolutely adore this one.

Blog Tour: Sleep Tight – C S Green

Blog Tour: Sleep Tight – C S Green


Series:
DC Rose Gifford #1
Release Date: March 4th 2021
Publisher: HarperCollins
Pages: 320
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

Even in your dreams you’re not safe…

The nightmare is only just beginning…

When DC Rose Gifford is called to investigate the death of a young woman suffocated in her bed, she can’t shake the feeling that there’s more to the crime than meets the eye.

It looks like a straightforward crime scene – but the police can’t find the killer. Enter DS Moody – an eccentric older detective who runs UCIT, a secret department of the Met set up to solve supernatural crimes. Moody wants Rose to help her out – but Rose doesn’t believe in any of that.

Does she?

As the killer prepares to strike again, Rose must pick a side – before a second woman dies.

Book Review

Sleep Tight is the first in an all new thriller series – but with a supernatural twist. The story follows DC Rose Gifford as she investigates the death of a woman who dies in her bed. The cause of death is suffocation, but Rose is determined there is more going on than a typical crime scene. When Rose meets DS Moody – a detective from UCIT who solves supernatural crimes – he offers to help with the case, but does Rose even believe any of that stuff is possible? Rose has to everything she can to find the killer, before they strike again.

This was such an addictive read! I’m normally pretty much a sci-fi/fantasy reader but lately I’ve been reading quite a lot of thrillers and this felt like the perfect mix of the two genres. This is my first time reading a paranormal thriller, but it definitely won’t be the last. The pacing of the plot was excellent – the story had me hooked in right from the very beginning and it had plenty of twists I didn’t see coming. The ending also wasn’t what I expected either, which was great because I don’t think I put the book down during the last hundred pages.

I thought the story was really well executed – especially given the mix of supernatural elements. I was really intrigued by the sleep paralysis aspects of the story and it definitely made for some unsettling moments in the book. Even with the supernatural parts the story felt very believable. It felt like an incredibly unique read and one I did not want to end.

Rose makes for a really interesting protagonist and it was fascinating seeing her trying to uncover the killer and also deal with her personal life. I really liked her and I look forward to seeing what happens to her in future books. The story is a pretty fast paced one, but it has brilliant writing and a compelling plot. If you love police procedurals with a bit of a twist, this is absolutely going to be one for you.

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.