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.

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: Crimson Reign – Amélie Wen Zhao

Blog Tour: Crimson Reign – Amélie Wen Zhao


Series
: Blood Heir #3
Release Date: March 3rd 2022
Publisher: HarperVoyager
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

The Red Tigress, Ana Mikhailov, has returned to Cyrilia, but the country she once called home has fallen under a dark rule. Across the land, the Empress Morganya is tightening her grip on Affinites and non-Affinites alike. Ana dealt a blow to the Empress when she and her allies turned back Morganya’s troops in Bregon, but she couldn’t stop Morganya from gaining possession of the last remaining Bregonian siphon: a dangerous new weapon with the power to steal Affinities.

Ana’s forces are scattered, and her tenuous alliance with the Cyrilian rebel group, the Red Cloaks, is becoming more frayed by the day. What’s worse, she’s lost her Affinity to blood and without it, Ana barely knows who she is anymore–or if she has the strength to defeat Morganya.

Morganya’s reign of terror is close to crushing the nation Ana was born to rule. And now Ana will finally face the sinister empress, but will she survive? Will anyone? And will her Empire welcome her back to the throne, or turn her out to survive on her own.

The Affinites and Non-Affinites of Cyrilia will determine Ana’s future, if Morganya doesn’t kill her first.

Review

Crimson Reign is the third and final installment in Amelie Wen Zhao’s heart pounding Blood Heir trilogy. Continuing where things left off in Red Tigress, Ana has returned to Cyrilia, fresh from fighting back Morgana’s troops in Bregon. Morgana is determined to solidify her rule and spread fear through Ana’s country. With her troops scattered is she strong enough to stop her?

The Blood Heir trilogy is a brilliant example of a compelling YA fantasy series. There’s something for everyone and each book in the series has gone from strength to strength. Crimson Reign is probably my favourite of the trilogy and Zhao does a brilliant job of rounding things off and bringing the story to a satisfying conclusion.

Like the previous installments, Crimson Reign is pretty fast-paced and I raced through it. The world is really intriguing and I love seeing the different affinite abilities. There is of course plenty of action and battle scenes and there were more than a few moments I was on the edge of my seat. I really enjoyed Zhao’s writing style and I’m really looking forward to reading more from this author.

My favourite thing about this series has to be the characters. If you like plenty of banter between your main characters this series has you covered. Ana is a compelling protagonist, trying to make the right decisions for her people. Ramson very much steals the show but I also really liked Linn and the rather terrifying Sorsha. Crimson Reign is a highly addictive fantasy tale and if you’ve read the first two books in this series then this is definitely a must-read. If you haven’t picked up Blood Heir yet this is the perfect series to binge read.

Blog Tour: Our Lady of Mysterious Ailments – T. L. Huchu

Blog Tour: Our Lady of Mysterious Ailments – T. L. Huchu


Series:
Edinburgh Nights #2
Release Date: 8th March 2022
Pages: 368
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: Black Crow PR kindly sent me a copy to review
Rating: 4.25/5 stars

Synopsis

Some secrets are meant to stay buried

When Ropa Moyo discovered an occult underground library, she expected great things. She’s really into Edinburgh’s secret societies – but turns out they are less into her. So instead of getting paid to work magic, she’s had to accept a crummy unpaid internship. And her with bills to pay and a pet fox to feed.

Then her friend Priya offers her a job on the side. Priya works at Our Lady of Mysterious Maladies, a very specialized hospital, where a new illness is resisting magical and medical remedies alike. The first patient was a teenage boy, Max Wu, and his healers are baffled. If Ropa can solve the case, she might earn as she learns – and impress her mentor, Sir Callander.

Her sleuthing will lead her to a lost fortune, an avenging spirit and a secret buried deep in Scotland’s past. But how are they connected? Lives are at stake and Ropa is running out of time.

Review

T. L. Huchu’s Library of the Dead was a book I absolutely adored so I was incredibly excited to pick up the sequel. This time we’re following Ropa as she gets a job at Our Lady of Mysterious Maladies in order to pay her bills. There she hears about a new illness that is resisting all remedies – both the magical and non-magical kind. Ropa must do everything she can to uncover what is causing the illness, but discovering the truth will cause her to delve deep into’s Scotland’s past.

There are so many things to love about this series. Huchu has created such a fascinating world – this dystopian, magical future is completely unlike anything I’ve read before. Huchu puts in an incredible amount of detail into the depiction of Edinburgh and I love seeing all the streets and places brought to life. The story is excellently paced, with plenty of action and mystery to keep the reader intrigued. Just like the first book I was captivated right from the beginning and in all honesty, I didn’t want this book to end.

Where this series really shines is the brilliant cast of characters who you can’t help growing attached to. Ropa is full of attitude, but she’s determined to do what’s right and help those around her. While Ropa is the star of the show there are plenty of other clever characters and I loved both Priya and Jomo. If you’re looking for a dark, fast-paced fantasy read, Our Lady of Mysterious Ailments will have you engrossed until the very last page. I thoroughly enjoyed this one and I cannot wait to see where Huchu takes things in the next book.

Blog Tour: The Cartographers – Peng Shepherd

Blog Tour: The Cartographers – Peng Shepherd


Release Date:
March 15th 2022
Publisher: Orion Books
Pages: 320
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

There are some maps you can lose yourself in…
Nell Young has lived her life in and around maps. Her father, Dr. David Young, was one of the most respected cartographers in the world. But this morning he was found dead – or murdered? – in his office at the New York Public Library.

Nell hadn’t spoken to her father in years, ever since he fired her after an argument over a seemingly worthless highway roadside map. A map which was mass-produced – and every copy of which is now being found and destroyed. But why?

To answer that question, Nell will embark on a dangerous journey into the heart of a conspiracy beyond belief, the secrets behind her family, and the true power that lies in maps . . .

Review

A book that stays with you long after you finish reading – The Cartographers is definitely a new favourite. The story follows Nell Young, a young woman currently working for Classic – a company that reproduces ancient maps for people. Nell had once held the hope of following in her father’s footsteps and working at the New York Public Library, but after he publicly fired her over a worthless highway roadside map, Nell hasn’t set foot in the library in years. Until one morning she receives a phone call that her father has been found dead – or murdered – in his office. When Nell discovers that same highway roadside map hidden in her father’s desk it will lead her on a dark journey to discover the truth behind her family and the power of maps.

This was such a fun and intriguing read! I’ve always wanted to read The Book of M by Peng Shepherd but I’ve never quite gotten around to it. When I read the synopsis for this book (and saw that incredibly beautiful cover) I knew I had to read this one as soon as possible. From the beginning, I was so intrigued and the story kept me engaged till the very last page. I really enjoyed Shepherd’s writing style – she really took the reader on a journey. The story does start off a bit slower paced but it increases quickly as the plot develops.

The Cartographers is a clever, compelling story and has definitely made me want to read more from Peng Shepherd. The story has some really interesting characters and I really enjoyed the multiple points of view. The characters felt well crafted and I really liked Nell as a main character. As there is quite a bit of mystery in the story I was constantly trying to work out what was going on. There were more than a few moments I didn’t see coming and that definitely kept me glued to the book and turning pages long into the night.

The Cartographers is a really fascinating tale, so if you’re looking for something that will keep you hooked right to the very last page, this should definitely be your next read.

Book Review: Sundial – Catriona Ward

Book Review: Sundial – Catriona Ward


Release Date:
March 10th 2022
Publisher: Viper Books
Pages: 352
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

You can’t escape the desert. You can’t escape Sundial.

Rob fears for her daughters. For Callie, who collects tiny bones and whispers to imaginary friends. For Annie, because she fears what Callie might do to her. Rob sees a darkness in Callie, one that reminds her of the family she left behind. She decides to take Callie back to her childhood home, to Sundial, deep in the Mojave Desert. And there she will have to make a terrible choice.

Callie is afraid of her mother. Rob has begun to look at her strangely. To tell her secrets about her past that both disturb and excite her. And Callie is beginning to wonder if only one of them will leave Sundial alive…

From the bestselling author of The Last House on Needless Street comes a stunning thriller exploring the toxicity of the mother-daughter bond, and the power of the past to twist the present.

Review

Sundial is the newest twisty thriller from Catriona Ward, author of The Last House on Needless Street. I read Needless Street last year and found it incredibly gripping so I was really intrigued to see what Ward would do next. The story follows Rob, a teacher trapped in a bitter marriage. She worries about her daughters, namely Callie who collects bones and talks to herself. When Rob feels she has no choice left she embarks on a mission to Sundial, the place where she grew up. Callie knows her mother is acting strangely and is worried about what might happen when they reach Sundial. As Rob starts to reveal the truths about her upbringing, Callie beings to suspect they might not leave Sundial alive.

Sundial hooked me right from the very beginning. It’s a rollercoaster of a book, with plenty of surprise twists and turns that I could not begin to guess. The story was engaging and well-paced – I read the last third of the book in one sitting because I just had to know how it was going to end. Ward is excellent at creating atmosphere and that really shines through in Sundial. The dark, uneasy feeling continued to build as the story raced to its conclusion.

Sundial is an incredibly addictive read and thriller fans will absolutely adore this one. I really liked the way the story was written – we get both Rob and Callie’s point of view as well as Rob in the past and chapters set in Rob’s fictional world of Arrowood. Ward has crafted some really complex and fascinating characters and I was so fascinated by the exploration of childhood and that mother-daughter relationship. I actually think I might have enjoyed Sundial even more than The Last House on Needless Street so if you’re looking for a compulsively readable thriller to sink your teeth into, Sundial is absolutely it.

Blog Tour: The Gifts – Liz Hyder

Blog Tour: The Gifts – Liz Hyder


Release Date:
24th February 2022
Publisher: Manilla Press
Pages: 400
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

October 1840. A young woman staggers alone through a forest in Shropshire as a huge pair of impossible wings rip themselves from her shoulders.

Meanwhile, when rumours of a ‘fallen angel’ cause a frenzy across London, a surgeon desperate for fame and fortune finds himself in the grips of a dangerous obsession, one that will place the women he seeks in the most terrible danger . . .

Review

The Gifts is a beautiful and engrossing tale set in October 1840. When a young woman finds a pair of wings protruding from her back, rumours of a fallen angel begin to take London by storm. When a surgeon finds the most unbelievable corpse, he believes this will be the making of the fame and fortune he has always dreamt of. As the obsession grips him tighter, he goes in search of others like the corpse, threatening the lives of those he seeks.

The Gifts has quite a mysterious synopsis so I wasn’t really sure what to expect going in. I won’t say much about the plot – this is definitely one of those books that it’s best to go in knowing nothing. Early on in the story, I was hooked and I raced through the book in a few days. Hyder has written a really engaging story, one I could not look away from. It was well-paced and the sights and sounds of London really came to life. I really enjoyed the blend of historical fiction and magical realism and felt it was really well crafted.

The Gifts has some really compelling characters and I grew really invested in the story of these women. The story focuses in on the treatment of women and is at times quite hard-hitting. The multiple perspectives in this book were also well crafted. Rarely do I find a book where I enjoy all the points of view equally, but I was eager to see what was going to happen to all the characters in this one. The Gifts is a dark and addictive read – in particular the short chapters had me turning pages faster and faster, desperate to know how it was all going to end.  If you’re looking for a story that will have you hooked right until the very last sentence, The Gifts should definitely be your next read.

Book Review: Scorpica – G. R. McAllister

Book Review: Scorpica – G. R. McAllister


Series:
The Five Queendoms #1
Release Date: February 22nd 2022
Publisher: Titan Books
Pages: 464
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

A centuries-long peace is shattered in a matriarchal society when a decade passes without a single girl being born in this sweeping epic fantasy that’s perfect for fans of Robin Hobb and Circe.

Five hundred years of peace between queendoms shatters when girls inexplicably stop being born. As the Drought of Girls stretches across a generation, it sets off a cascade of political and personal consequences across all five queendoms of the known world, throwing long-standing alliances into disarray as each queendom begins to turn on each other—and new threats to each nation rise from within.

Uniting the stories of women from across the queendoms, this propulsive, gripping epic fantasy follows a warrior queen who must rise from childbirth bed to fight for her life and her throne, a healer in hiding desperate to protect the secret of her daughter’s explosive power, a queen whose desperation to retain control leads her to risk using the darkest magic, a near-immortal sorcerer demigod powerful enough to remake the world for her own ends—and the generation of lastborn girls, the ones born just before the Drought, who must bear the hopes and traditions of their nations if the queendoms are to survive.

Review

Scorpica is an epic fantasy tale that follows multiple characters across the five Queendoms. The Queendoms have had peace for hundreds of years, but this is soon thrown into uncertainty when no new baby girls are born. As the drought causes tensions to erupt, new alliances are drawn and old scores will be settled.

Scorpica is one of those books that hooks you in right from the very beginning. The plot was instantly gripping and it felt like such a unique story. I also found myself becoming invested in the characters and the fate of the five Queendoms. Scorpica has such an intriguing world and I was fascinated by the magic system, which is powered by sand. I really enjoyed seeing the different abilities and how the characters choose to use them. I feel like I’ve only seen a small part of the world in this book and I can’t wait to see where McAllister takes the story next.

Where I think Scorpica really excels is the well-crafted characters. There are a number of different POV characters and each one has their own motivations and ambitions. I was never sure who to trust, or who was going to survive. There’s tons of political intrigue and there were more than a few moments that had me on the edge of my seat. Tamura was particularly fascinating as she strives to navigate being queen and I really liked Eminel too. Scorpica is an incredible start to a new fantasy series and if you’re looking for a fresh and engaging fantasy read, this one should definitely be on your TBR.

Book Review: The Key in the Lock – Beth Underdown

Book Review: The Key in the Lock – Beth Underdown


Release Date: January 13th 2022
Publisher: Viking
Pages: 304
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

I still dream, every night, of Polneath on fire. Smoke unfurling out of an upper window and a hectic orange light cascading across the terrace.

By day, Ivy Boscawen mourns the loss of her son Tim in the Great War. But by night she mourns another boy – one whose death decades ago haunts her still.

For Ivy is sure that there is more to what happened all those years ago: the fire at the Great House, and the terrible events that came after. A truth she must uncover, if she is ever to be free.

Brimming with secrets, this lyrical haunting historical thriller is perfect for fans of Elizabeth Macneal, Sarah Waters and Diane Setterfield.

Review

The Key in the Lock is the newest release from Beth Underdown, author of The Witchfinder’s Sister. I absolutely loved The Witchfinder’s Sister so I was really intrigued to pick this one up. In the book, we follow Ivy Boscawen who is struggling with the grief of losing her son Tim in the war. Mourning the loss of his young life, she reflects on the death of another boy decades earlier – a mystery that still haunts her. Though there was a fire and a tragic death, Ivy knows that isn’t the whole truth. Ivy soon discovers if she is ever going to let that night go, she must find out what really happened.

The Key in the Lock is a slow burn mystery. It is atmospheric and Underdown feeds the reader little bits of information as the story progresses. It’s incredibly well-paced and throughout the tale, I was never quite sure who to trust. Each character has their own motivations and Underdown does a terrific job of bringing the characters to life. Ivy is a brilliant protagonist, determined to uncover the truth whilst still learning to cope with the loss of her son. She felt like such a realistic person – she’s flawed and makes mistakes but ultimately wants to do the right thing. The Key in the Lock is a beautifully told story and one that kept me reading for hours on end.

I really enjoyed the way the story was told in two different timelines and the Cornwall setting really comes to life in Underdown’s prose. The Key in the Lock feels very well researched and I did not want this story to end. The Key in the Lock is a stunning historical fiction read and I am so excited to see what Beth Underdown does next.

Book Review: A Painted Winter – H. Bernard

Book Review: A Painted Winter – H. Bernard


Series:
Pictish Conspiracy #1
Release Date: December 21st 2021
Publisher: Shadowfax Publishing
Pages: 341
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 4.25/5 stars

Synopsis

In the misty highlands of fourth-century Scotland, two Pictish brothers conspire with the Ancient People from beyond the Great Wall to attack the Romans.

Roman power in Britannia is weakening. Brothers Brei and Taran, Princes, and warriors of a Pictish Kingdom, seek revenge against the Romans for attacking their city, killing their father, and taking their mother as a slave. The sudden arrival of Sorsha, a mysterious woman with an incredible gift, sets the brothers on a path to warfare.

A Painted Winter is book one of the four-part Pictish Conspiracy series. H. Barnard’s debut novel blends historical fiction and Celtic mythology in a thrilling adventure that will leave you wondering who the real barbarians are…

Review

A Painted Winter is the first part in a four-part story that follows two princes from a Pictish Kingdom in fourth-century Scotland. Taran and Brei are still reeling from the Roman attack that took their mother and killed many in the village. When they come upon a strange woman whilst out on patrol, she tells them that the Romans were the cause. The power of the Romans in Britannia is fading and this sets Brei and Taran on a path of revenge against those who took their mother, but the strange woman isn’t all that she seems and within her lies an incredible gift.

A Painted Winter is an impressive debut novel. It’s a beautifully told story and was captivating from the outset. It felt quite fast-paced and I raced through this one pretty quickly, eager to know the fate of the characters. The author combines history and Celtic mythology and the story felt incredibly detailed and well researched. I found myself getting lost in this story for hours at a time and I cannot wait to see where Bernard takes the story in book two.

The story is mainly told from the perspective of Brei and Sorsha and both characters felt very realistic and fleshed out. I was completely fascinated by Sorsha’s powers and I can’t wait to see how that develops in the sequel. Brei too is an interesting character, wrestling with the mistakes he has made and trying his best to protect his people. A Painted Winter is a really compelling historical fiction tale, one that hooks you in from the very first chapter. It was an excellent start to the series and I am eagerly awaiting the release of book two. If you’re a historical fiction fan – this one is a must-read.