Blog Tour: Far From the Light of Heaven – Tade Thompson

Blog Tour: Far From the Light of Heaven – Tade Thompson


Release Date:
October 26th 2021
Publisher: Orbit Books
Pages: 384
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 colony ship Ragtime docks in the Lagos system, having traveled light-years from home to bring thousands of sleeping souls to safety among the stars.

Some of the sleepers, however, will never wake – and a profound and sinister mystery unfolds aboard the gigantic vessel as its skeleton crew make decisions that will have repercussions for the entire system – from the scheming politicians of Lagos station to the colony of Nightshade and the poisoned planet of Bloodroot, poised for a civil war.

Review

Far From the Light of Heaven is the beautifully told story of the spaceship Ragtime, which is bringing a thousand souls from Earth to a colony among the stars. This should be a routine journey, captained by an AI. When Shell wakes she discovers the AI has failed and thirty-one of the thousand souls on board have been murdered. As the mystery unfolds it soon becomes clear that there is much more going on, with secrets that could have repercussions far bigger than anyone could imagine.

This book captivated me right from the very first page. Thompson has a beautiful writing style that kept me hooked on this story throughout. The bleak, loneliness of space was so vividly captured and I found myself completely hooked. The story is well paced, with lots of surprise moments that I absolutely did not expect.

The story contains multiple points of view and it was interesting seeing the story unfold from different perspectives. I really liked Shell, a woman thrust into the responsibility of looking after a spaceship and all the people aboard on her first interstellar flight. I enjoyed the mix of mystery and politics that Thompson created in this book and I think it’s the first time I’ve ever read a whodunnit set in space.

Far from the Light of Heaven is an incredibly addictive read, one that sci-fi fans will completely adore. If you’re looking for something that will keep you guessing but also keep you on the edge of your seat, this is definitely one to get reading.


Blog Tour: The Winter Garden – Alexandra Bell

Blog Tour: The Winter Garden – Alexandra Bell


Release Date:
2nd September 2021
Publisher: Del Rey
Pages: 528
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 4.75/5 stars

Synopsis

Welcome to the Winter Garden. Open only at 13 o’clock.

You are invited to enter an unusual competition.

I am looking for the most magical, spectacular, remarkable pleasure garden this world has to offer.

On the night her mother dies, 8-year-old Beatrice receives an invitation to the mysterious Winter Garden. A place of wonder and magic, filled with all manner of strange and spectacular flora and fauna, the garden is her solace every night for seven days. But when the garden disappears, and no one believes her story, Beatrice is left to wonder if it were truly real.

Eighteen years later, on the eve of her wedding to a man her late father approved of but she does not love, Beatrice makes the decision to throw off the expectations of Victorian English society and search for the garden. But when both she and her closest friend, Rosa, receive invitations to compete to create spectacular pleasure gardens – with the prize being one wish from the last of the Winter Garden’s magic – she realises she may be closer to finding it than she ever imagined.

Review

The Winter Garden is the magical new book from Alex Bell and the story follows Beatrice, who receives an invitation to a magical garden on the night her mother dies. She spends seven days exploring this strange and beautiful place, but when she returns no one believes it was real. When eighteen years later Beatrice is arranged to marry an English Duke, someone her father very much approved on. Beatrice cannot face the idea of being married to him and cancels the wedding, heading off in search of the mysterious garden. When Beatrice and her friend Rosa receive invitations to compete in a competition to create the most brilliant pleasure gardens, they discover the prize is a wish from the last of the Winter Garden’s magic.

The Winter Garden is my second time reading a book from Alex Bell. I read Music and Malice in Hurricane Town on a whim and completely loved it, so I have been really intrigued to pick up more from this author. I sat down to read The Winter Garden one night and ending up sitting there many hours later. Bell completely sucks you in with her beautiful writing style and I was completely captivated by the vivid descriptions of the gardens. The story was so easy to get swept up in and while it was on the chunkier side, I completely raced through this fast-paced story. I loved the Victorian setting of the book and the story is definitely one I still think about long after turning the last page.

The Winter Garden is a brilliant, engrossing read, one I think fans of The Night Circus will completely adore. If you love stories with that fairytale-like feel to them I think this is definitely a must-read. I really liked Beatrice as a main character and I loved the way she made the decision to follow her dreams rather than end up in an unhappy marriage. There is quite a lot of character growth within the story and it does focus quite a lot on the theme of regret. The Winter Garden is a captivating and moving tale and if you’re looking for a magical, wintery story to keep you entertained over the Autumn, this is definitely one to order now.

Blog Tour: A Master of Djinn – P. Djèlí Clark

Blog Tour: A Master of Djinn – P. Djèlí Clark


Release Date:
August 19th 2021
Publisher: Orbit Books
Pages: 416
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

Cairo, 1912: Though Fatma el-Sha’arawi is the youngest woman working for the Ministry of Alchemy, Enchantments and Supernatural Entities, she’s certainly not a rookie, especially after preventing the destruction of the universe last summer.

So when someone murders a secret brotherhood dedicated to one of the most famous men in history, al-Jahiz, Agent Fatma is called onto the case. Al-Jahiz transformed the world 50 years ago when he opened up the veil between the magical and mundane realms, before vanishing into the unknown. This murderer claims to be al-Jahiz, returned to condemn the modern age for its social oppressions. His dangerous magical abilities instigate unrest in the streets of Cairo that threaten to spill over onto the global stage.

Alongside her Ministry colleagues and her clever girlfriend Siti, Agent Fatma must unravel the mystery behind this imposter to restore peace to the city – or face the possibility he could be exactly who he seems…

Review

A Master of Djinn is the first book in P. Djèlí Clark’s Dead Djinn Universe. I’ve been making my way through the novellas and short stories in this world and I was incredibly excited to pick up this full-length novel. The story follows  Fatma el-Sha’arawi, an agent in Egypt’s Ministry of Alchemy, Enchantments and Supernatural Entities. When a secret brotherhood ends up murdered in mysterious circumstances, Agent Fatma is on the case. When the murderer claims to be al-Jahiz returned, Fatma must work with her colleagues and girlfriend Siti to uncover who the imposter is or risk the civil unrest in Cairo spreading over the globe.

A Master of Djinn is a brilliant, addictive tale. After thoroughly enjoying the other stories set in this world, I got completely wrapped up in this fantastic story. I would note while this can be read without reading the other stories, I would highly recommend picking up A Dead Djinn in Cairo first. They are of course all brilliant stories and worth picking up. Clark has incredible worldbuilding and I loved learning about the magic and creatures. Steampunk Cairo practically leapt off the page and Clark’s vivid writing really brought it to life. A Master of Djinn is quite a quick-paced story, full of magic, murder and mystery. The book has had quite a bit of buzz around it already, and it’s absolutely easy to see why. This is a compelling book and one fantasy fans will just adore.

One of the stand out things for this book is the fascinating characters. Fatma is a brilliantly, clever detective. She’s a really quick, sarcastic character that you absolutely cannot help falling in love with. I enjoyed learning more about her backstory as well as seeing her cope with getting a new partner. I also really liked the dynamics between Fatma and Siti and enjoyed seeing how their relationship developed as the story progressed.

A Master of Djinn is a fascinating, unputdownable read. If you’re looking for a fantasy story to completely sweep you away, this is an absolute must-read.

Book Review: It’s Behind You – Kathryn Foxfield

Book Review: It’s Behind You – Kathryn Foxfield


Release Date:
July 1st 2021
Publisher: Scholastic
Pages: 352
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of the book to review
Rating: 4.5/5 stars

Synopsis

Welcome to the reality game show that’ll scare you to death! Have you got what it takes to last the night?

Five contestants must sit tight through the night in dark and dangerous Umber Gorge caves, haunted by a ghost called the Puckered Maiden. But is it the malevolent spirit they should fear … or each other?

As the production crew ramps up the frights, secrets start to be revealed. These teenagers have hidden motives for taking part in It’s Behind You! and could some of them be … murder?

Review

It’s Behind You is the chilling new YA thriller from Good Girl’s Die First author Kathryn Foxfield. The story follows a reality TV show where five contestants much spend the night in a haunted location. This time around they’re at the Umber Gorge caves, a place rumoured to be haunted by the Puckered Maiden. All the contestants have to do is last the night and the money is theirs. Everyone has their own motivations for being on the show and Lex is determined to win that money. When things start to go wrong the contestants wonder – will they make it out alive?

I absolutely love horror movies and I think I picked this up at completely the right time. I was in the mood for something fun and fast-paced and that was definitely what I got. The story also has some real spine-tingling moments and I got completely captivated by this creepy story. I read it in a single sitting, and there were quite a few surprise moments I didn’t see coming. I really liked Foxfield’s writing style and her descriptions of the dark and eerie caves did freak me out. The dark, claustrophobic setting really comes to life in the story and as the tension increased I found myself turning the pages quicker and quicker, it felt like a race to know how it was going to end.

Foxfield has created some brilliant characters for It’s Behind You. They’ve all got their motivations for why they’re on the show and people are more than they appear. Our main character Lex is determined to win and she’s not above scaring her fellow contestants into quitting. At times she is quite unlikeable but by the end, I was definitely rooting for her. Jackie was another character I was fascinated by. She has everything riding on making this show a success and nothing will get in her way. This is a pretty chilling read, but there are quite a few humorous moments in there too. If you’re looking for a fast-paced and spooky read this Autumn, I highly recommend It’s Behind You.

Book Review: Wicked Little Deeds – Kat Ellis

Book Review: Wicked Little Deeds – Kat Ellis


Release Date:
5th August 2021
Publisher: Penguin Books
Pages: 400
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: I received an E-ARC to review via The Write Reads
Rating: 4.5/5 stars

Synopsis

From its creepy town mascot to the story of its cursed waterfall, Burden Falls is a small town dripping with superstition. Ava Thorn knows this well – since the horrific accident she witnessed a year ago, she’s been plagued by nightmares.

But when someone close to her is brutally murdered and Ava is the primary suspect, she starts to wonder if the legends surrounding the town are more fact than fiction.

Whatever secrets Burden Falls is hiding, there’s a killer on the loose, and they have a vendetta against the Thorns…

Review

Wicked Little Deeds is the new book from horror writer Kat Ellis. The story follows Ava Thorn, a resident of the small, superstitious town of Burden Falls. Ava is plagued by nightmares since witnessing a horrific accident a year ago, but when someone close to her is murdered, Ava is the prime suspect. Burden Falls is a town full of secrets and whoever is behind the murder has a grudge against Ava’s family.

Harrow Lake was one of my favourite reads of last year so when I heard Kat Ellis was releasing a new creepy horror book full of family secrets and a creepy small town, I was absolutely desperate to read it. The story had me hooked from the very first page and it was just as addictive as Harrow Lake. I ended up reading this book in a single day because I just couldn’t look away and I had to know how it was going to end. The story is full of twists and turns and there were lots of moments I didn’t see coming.

Kat Ellis has a really brilliant writing style, and I found myself completely captivated by this story. I won’t say too much about the plot as it’s definitely one of those books where you should go in knowing as little as possible. Ellis really knows how to give a scene that chilling atmosphere and there was definitely a few moments that sent a shiver up my spine. Wicked Little Deeds is a fast paced story – one you might not want to read with the lights off.

Wicked Little Deeds has some really fascinating characters and I really liked our protagonist Ava – she’s still dealing with the loss of her parents as well as the pain of knowing her Uncle Ty has sold the family home to their enemies. Ava is a complex character, one that felt realistic and well developed. She’s the prime suspect in a murder and she’ll do anything to find out who’s really behind it. One of the things that I enjoyed most about this story was the urban legend of Dead Eyed Sadie, it made for some very spooky moments that had me on the edge of my seat. Wicked Little Deeds is a brilliant read, one that blends mystery and horror (and even has a bit of romance too!). If you’re looking for a chilling story that will keep you hooked right till the very last page, this is absolutely what you’re looking for. I enjoyed every second of Wicked Little Deeds and I can’t wait to see what Kat Ellis writes next! 

3cdf9f4d-be9b-f849-506c-54263830f0e2

Book Review: A Narrow Door – Joanne Harris

Book Review: A Narrow Door – Joanne Harris


Release Date:
4th August 2021
Publisher: Orion 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

Now I’m in charge, the gates are my gates. The rules are my rules.

It’s an incendiary moment for St Oswald’s school. For the first time in its history, a headmistress is in power, the gates opening to girls.

Rebecca Buckfast has spilled blood to reach this position. Barely forty, she is just starting to reap the harvest of her ambition. As the new regime takes on the old guard, the ground shifts. And with it, the remains of a body are discovered.

But Rebecca is here to make her mark. She’ll bury the past so deep it will evade even her own memory, just like she has done before. After all…

You can’t keep a good woman down.

Review

A Narrow Door is the brand new novel by acclaimed author Joanne Harris. A return to the world of St Oswald’s the story follows Rebecca Buckfast – the first female headteacher of the school. She’s determined to take down the old regime and she’s doing it by allowing female students for the first time in the school’s history. As plans are made to create new state of the art facilities on the premises, human remains are uncovered in the construction work. As Rebecca works to protect everything she has built, secrets that have long stayed buried will soon be revealed.

Joanne Harris is one of my favourite authors so as soon as I heard about this I was incredibly excited to pick it up. Harris weaves a complex and exhilarating story, one that hooked me from the very first chapter. A Narrow Door is well crafted and I loved the prickling sense of unease that continued to build and build as the story progressed. Joanne Harris has such a beautiful writing style and the excellent descriptions of the hallowed halls of St Oswald’s and King Henry’s really came to life. The story was well-paced and I ended up reading the second half of the book in a single afternoon. There were some surprising moments that I definitely didn’t expect and while this is the third book set around St Oswald’s, it can absolutely be read as a standalone.

The thing that fascinated me most was the complex and multi-layered characters that Harris has created. Rebecca Price is a fascinating character and I really enjoyed reading the story of her life. She is a determined and ambitious woman and will do anything to succeed in the man’s world she finds herself in. She made for a really compelling protagonist, even more so as the story grew darker. A Narrow Door is an incredibly gripping and clever read, one you absolutely won’t want to put down.

Book Review: The Metal Heart – Carolina Lea

Book Review: The Metal Heart – Carolina Lea


Release Date:
April 29th 2021
Publisher: Michael Joseph
Pages: 464
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 4.5/5 stars

Synopsis

Orkney, 1940. On a remote island, a prisoner-of-war camp is constructed to house five hundred Italian soldiers. Upon arrival, a freezing Orkney winter and divided community greets them.

Orphaned sisters Dorothy and Constance volunteer to nurse the men. Dot is immediately drawn to Cesare, a young man fighting on the wrong side and broken by war and destruction.

The soldiers spend their days building a secret barricade between the islands. By night, however, they construct a reminder of their native land – an exquisite chapel.

As tensions between the islanders and outsiders grow, the sisters’ loyalty is tested. Will Dot choose love or family?

Review

The Metal Heart is a beautifully written historical fiction set in 1940s Orkney. It follows the story of two sisters – Dot and Con, who volunteer at the nursing station for the Italian prisoner of war camp. As the soldiers spend their days building a barricade against rivalships, Dot becomes drawn to Cesare, a prisoner and painter. As tensions grow between the prisoners and the islanders, Dot and Con have to fight for their very survival.

I must admit I don’t read much historical fiction set during the war. It’s not really my thing but I thought this sounded so intriguing and I couldn’t resist picking it up. It’s a fascinating story and led me to spend a fair bit of time googling the Italian chapel that was built in Orkney. Lea does a brilliant job bringing to life the harsh, remote landscape of Orkney and I became totally swept up in the story. It’s an emotional tale and I shed more than a few tears at the ending.

The story is quite a slow-paced one and gives the reader plenty of time to get to know the characters. Dot and Con are such fascinating protagonists and the story really highlights the hardships they have been through and how much they have done to survive. I thought the romance between Dot and Cesare was well crafted and I loved seeing their relationship develop. I similarly liked the way Lea portrayed the islanders, who are unhappy with the prisoners being brought to Orkney. Lea did a brilliant job of building that tension more and more as the story progressed.

The Metal Heart is a captivating tale and I read the last hundred pages in a single sitting. The book has an absolutely stunning cover, but it has an even more fascinating story inside. If you’re a fan of historical fiction, this book is a must-read.

Blog Tour: Threadneedle – Cari Thomas

Blog Tour: Threadneedle – Cari Thomas


Series:
The Language of Magic #1
Release Date: May 27th 2021
Publisher: HarperVoyager
Pages: 576
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

Within the boroughs of London, nestled among its streets, hides another city, filled with magic.

Magic is the first sin. It must be bound.

Ever since Anna can remember, her aunt has warned her of the dangers of magic. She has taught her to fear how it twists and knots and turns into something dark and deadly.

It was, after all, magic that killed her parents and left her in her aunt’s care. It’s why she has been protected from the magical world and, in one year’s time, what little magic she has will be bound. She will join her aunt alongside the other Binders who believe magic is a sin not to be used, but denied. Only one more year and she will be free of the curse of magic, her aunt’s teachings and the disappointment of the little she is capable of.

Nothing – and no one – could change her mind before then. Could it?

Review

Threadneedle is the first book in a new fantasy series from Cari Thomas, following Anna a young girl living with her incredibly strict aunt. Anna is warned about the dangers of magic – it killed her parents and is a sin. In one year’s time, Anna’s magic will be bound and she will join her aunt as part of the Binders. Nothing will stop her from following the plan her aunt has laid out for her – or will it?

Threadneedle is a spellbinding read. It hooks you in from the very first chapter and you become completely lost in this magical story. It definitely gave me Harry Potter vibes but the story is incredibly different. This is quite a slow-paced story, giving the reader a chance to get to know the world and the magic. I really enjoyed getting to know the magic system in this world and the story kept me turning pages long into the night. Despite it being nearly 600 pages, I read this one pretty quickly because I just could not put it down.

Thomas has a gorgeous writing style and I found it easy to dive back into the story when I picked it up again. Anna is a fascinating protagonist and it is very much a coming of age story as we see Anna progress and find her place in the world. I also thought Effie was a really interesting character and enjoyed seeing the way a friendship forms between the two girls. Threadneedle felt like such a unique and interesting take on the witchcraft story and I couldn’t get enough. I was kept guessing right till the end and I cannot wait to see where Thomas takes us in book two.

Threadneedle is a compelling and unforgettable read, full to the brim with magic. If you’re a fan of YA fantasy – this one is a must-read.

Blog Tour: Master Artificer – Justin Call

Blog Tour: Master Artificer – Justin Call


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

Synopsis

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

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

But what might removing it cost him?

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

Review

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

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

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

Book Review: The Wolf Den – Elodie Harper

Book Review: The Wolf Den – Elodie Harper


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

Synopsis

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

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

But Amara’s spirit is far from broken.

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

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

Review

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

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

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

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