Blog Tour: The Year of the Reaper – Makiia Lucier

Blog Tour: The Year of the Reaper – Makiia Lucier


Release Date:
November 9th 2021
Publisher: Hodder Books
Pages: 336
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 4/5 stars

Synopsis

The past never forgets . . .

Before an ambush by enemy soldiers, Lord Cassia was an engineer’s apprentice on a mission entrusted by the king. But when plague sweeps over the land, leaving countless dead and devastating the kingdom, even Cas’ title cannot save him from a rotting prison cell and a merciless sickness.

Three years later, Cas wants only to return to his home in the mountains and forget past horrors. But home is not what he remembers. His castle has become a refuge for the royal court. And they have brought their enemies with them.

When an assassin targets those closest to the queen, Cas is drawn into a search for a killer…one that leads him to form an unexpected bond with a brilliant young historian named Lena. Cas and Lena soon realize that who is behind the attacks is far less important than why. They must look to the past, following the trail of a terrible secret—one that could threaten the kingdom’s newfound peace and plunge it back into war.

Review

Year of the Reaper first caught my eye because of that absolutely beautiful cover. The story follows Cassia, a member of one of the most trusted families in the kingdom. When Cas is taken prisoner by a rival kingdom, he is forced to reside in a prison cell for three years. On returning home he finds the villages and towns destroyed by plague. His family castle has become a sactuary for the king and queen, desperate to escape the plague. When an assassin begins to target those closest to the queen, Cas must team up with historian Lena to uncover the truth behind the attacks. As the delve deeper into the mysteries of the past, what they uncover could destory the peace between the two kingdoms.

Year of the Reaper is one of those books that captivates you right from the very first page. Lucier has a brilliant, vivid writing style and I was immediately caught up in the story. The plot was well-paced and I was completely glued to the book for the latter half of the book. The world was really fascinating and I loved learning about the history of these kingdoms that have been so affected by the plague.

Where Year of the Reaper really excels is the characters. Cas is a compelling protagonist and it was so interesting seeing him grow as he adapts to once again living in the castle. There was a really intriguing cast of secondary characters and I similarly really liked Lena. Year of the Reaper is a marvelous read, one with a few surprise reveals that I did not expect. I loved that this was a standalone story and whilst this is my first time reading a book from Makiia Lucier, this will definitely not be my last.

Book Review: A Clockwork River – J. S. Emery

Book Review: A Clockwork River – J. S. Emery


Release Date:
October 7th 2021
Publisher: Head of Zeus
Pages: 736
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 4/5 stars

Synopsis

Lower Rhumbsford is a city far removed from its glory days. On the banks of the great river Rhumb, its founding fathers channelled the river’s mighty flow into a subterranean labyrinth of pipes, valves and sluices, a feat of hydraulic prowess that would come to power an empire. But a thousand years have passed since then, and something is wrong. The pipes are leaking, the valves stuck, the sluices silted. The erstwhile mighty Rhumb is sluggish and about to freeze over for the first time in memory.

In a once fashionable quarter of the once great city, in the once grand ancestral home of a family once wealthy and well-known, live the last descendants of the city’s most distinguished engineer, siblings Samuel and Briony Locke.

Having abandoned his programme in hydraulic engineering, Samuel Locke tends to his vast lock collection, while his sister Briony distracts herself from the prospect of marriage to a rich old man with her alchemical experiments. One night Sam leaves the house carrying five of his most precious locks and doesn’t come back…

As she searches for her brother, Bryony will be drawn into a web of ancestral secrets and imperial intrigues as a ruthless new power arises. If brother and sister are to be reunited, they will need the help of a tight-lipped house spirit, a convict gang, a club of antiques enthusiasts, a tribe of troglodytes, the Ladies Whist Club, the deep state, a traveling theatrical troupe and a lovesick mouse.

Review

A Clockwork River is a beautifully written tale set in the town of Little Rhumbsford. The place is not what it once was and the great feats of engineering that were once infamous have now started to decay and fail. The story follows Sam and Briony Locke, two residents of the town as they find themselves wrapped up in an epic adventure. Sam was once a student of hydraulic engineering and is passionate about locks. When one night Sam goes to give a lecture on his lock collection, he does not come home. His sister Briony,  a young woman fascinated by alchemy, will do anything to avoid marriage to rich old man to save her family home. When she discovers her brother is missing she soon finds herself wrapped up in a web of secrets. Will she be able to uncover the truth and find her brother before it’s too late?

A Clockwork River is a chunky book but this compelling story had me captivated right from the very first chapter. I loved the gorgeous language, the fascinating plot and the intriguing characters. J. S Emery has created a really unique hydro punk world and I constantly wanted to know more and more. It was completely unlike anything I’ve read before and despite it being over 700 pages I ended up reading this in just a few days. The story is charming and excellently plotted, making for a quaint and engaging read.

A Clockwork River has some really fascinating characters and this was the thing that captured my attention most. They felt very realistic as there was an immense amount of depth and character development throughout the story. They felt like real, flawed human beings who sometimes don’t get it right. I particularly liked Briony, she’s a clever young woman, determined to avoid marriage and I enjoyed her character arc the most. There are a whole host of fascinating secondary characters too and Emery has created a brilliant cast of characters.

A Clockwork River is one of those books that’s just a pleasure to read. If you’re looking for a unique fantasy story with beautiful prose and complex characters, this book is a must read.

Book Review: The Final Girls Support Group – Grady Hendrix

Book Review: The Final Girls Support Group – Grady Hendrix


Release Date:
July 13th 2021
Publisher: Titan 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 stars

Synopsis

A fast-paced, thrilling horror novel that follows a group of heroines to die for, from the brilliant New York Times bestselling author of The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires.

In horror movies, the final girl is the one who’s left standing when the credits roll. The one who fought back, defeated the killer, and avenged her friends. The one who emerges bloodied but victorious. But after the sirens fade and the audience moves on, what happens to her?

Lynnette Tarkington is a real-life final girl who survived a massacre twenty-two years ago, and it has defined every day of her life since. And she’s not alone. For more than a decade she’s been meeting with five other actual final girls and their therapist in a support group for those who survived the unthinkable, putting their lives back together, piece by piece. That is until one of the women misses a meeting and Lynnette’s worst fears are realized–someone knows about the group and is determined to take their lives apart again, piece by piece.

But the thing about these final girls is that they have each other now, and no matter how bad the odds, how dark the night, how sharp the knife, they will never, ever give up.

Review

Grady Hendrix is fast becoming one of my favourite horror writers and I was incredibly intrigued about The Final Girls Support Group. The story follows Lynnette Tarkington – the survivor of a massacre twenty-two years ago. Being a final girl has defined her, but he’s not the only one. Over the last ten years, Lynette has been meeting with five other final girls and a therapist to discuss the horrific things that happened to them. When one of the girls doesn’t show up at the meeting, Lynette knows the worst has occurred and is knows only she can figure out what’s going on and save the other girls.

Much like the other Grady Hendrix books I’ve read, this is a fast-paced story that kicks off right from the very first chapter. I thought the premise of this book was really intrigued and the story well-executed. I didn’t want to put the book down and ended up racing through the last half of the book in one sitting. There were twists and turns I didn’t expect. I really liked the articles and reports at the end of each chapter that gave the reader more information about the murders or the horror movie franchises that were created off the back of them.

Lynette is a fascinating protagonist, she’s a very unreliable narrator and at times quite unlikeable but she felt like such a real person who had struggled through this awful event only to have it take over every moment of her life. The Final Girl Support Group is a gripping, page-turner of a book and another must-read from Grady Hendrix.

Book Review: For Your Own Good – Samantha Downing

Book Review: For Your Own Good – Samantha Downing


Release Date: August 19th 2021
Publisher: Michael Joseph
Pages: 400
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 4/5 stars

Synopsis

Teddy Crutcher won Teacher of the Year at the prestigious Belmont Academy. Everyone thinks he’s brilliant.
Only you know the truth.

They all smile when he tells us his wife couldn’t be more proud.
But no-one has seen her in a while.

They’re impressed when he doesn’t let anything distract him – even the tragic death of a school parent.
Even when the whispers start, saying it was murder.

You’re sure Teddy is hiding something about what happened that day.

You’re sure you can prove it.

But you didn’t stop to think that when it comes to catching a killer, there’s no place more dangerous than just one step behind . . .

Review

For Your Own Good is the latest novel from thriller writer Samantha Downing. I’ve always wanted to try a book by Samantha Downing but hadn’t had the chance to pick one up. This sounded like a really intriguing read and I ended up being hooked immediately. This is a fast-paced story, full of twists and turns. The short chapters had me turning pages faster and faster and I ended up reading late into the night to finish this in one sitting.

The story follows Teddy Crutcher. A teacher at Belmont Academy. Teddy has one teacher of the year and will let absolutely nothing distract him – not even the sudden death of one of the pupil’s parents on school grounds. Even when one of the pupils is arrested for murder. Is the pupil really responsible or does Teddy Crutcher know much more than he seems to?

This was such a fun book to read. It’s one of those stories that hooked you right from the very first page and I found myself squeezing in an extra chapter whenever I could. Teddy Crutcher is a fascinating character, he does what he thinks is best and absolutely no one will stand in his way. It was so compelling reading from his point of view and I had no idea what he was going to do next. I loved the setting of the elite school that really came to life in Downing’s writing. For Your Own Good is definitely one of those one-sitting kind of books and there are some incredibly well-crafted characters. If you’re looking for a thriller to keep you reading long into the night this Autumn, this should absolutely be your next read.

Book Review: That Night – Gillian McAllister

Book Review: That Night – Gillian McAllister


Release Date:
June 10th 2021
Publisher: Michael Joseph
Pages: 464
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent a copy of this book to review
Rating: 4/5 stars

Synopsis

What would you do to protect your family?

ANYTHING.

That night everything changed.

The night Frannie committed a murder, but she didn’t mean to…

That night we helped her bury the body, what else could we do?

One hot summers night in Italy, Joe and Cathy Plant receive a phone call that will change their lives forever.

Their sister Frannie has killed a man, and she needs their help.

They were always close, some might say too close, siblings who worked together, lived next door to each other

And now they’ve buried a body together…

But when they return to England, Frannie, Joe and Cathy become tangled in lies in they’ve been telling,

to the police, to their friends, to each other…

But if you can’t trust your family, who can you trust?

Review

That Night is the newest dark and twisty thriller from Gillian McAllister and follows the Plant family. Whilst on holiday in Italy, Joe and Cathy receive a phone call – their sister Frannie has killed a man and needs their help. They decide to bury the body, pretend nothing ever happened. But as the police start asking questions, Joe, Cathy and Frannie must do everything they can to keep the truth from spilling out. But can you trust your family?

This was my first time reading a Gillian McAllister book and I absolutely raced through this one. The short, snappy chapters had me turning pages late into the night and there were so many tense, cliffhanger moments that I just had to keep reading. There is a brilliant atmosphere in the story, and I really enjoyed the way the tension climbed higher and higher as the story progressed. The story is pretty fast-paced and whilst I did guess a couple of the twists there were more than a few I didn’t see coming.

That Night has such an intriguing premise – how far would you go to protect your family? I thought it was fascinating seeing how one night could change so much for a group of siblings, particularly as the guilt and paranoia set in. I thought the characters were well crafted and I loved the way McAllister portrayed the sibling dynamic. That Night is a compelling read, one that physiological thriller fans are sure to devour. If you’re looking for something to keep you hooked right until the very last page, this one is a must-read.

Blog Tour: Girl, 11 – Amy Suiter Clarke

Blog Tour: Girl, 11 – Amy Suiter Clarke


Release Date:
June 3rd 2021
Publisher: Pushkin Press
Pages: 352
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 4/5 stars

Synopsis

The countdown has begun…

True-crime podcaster Elle Castillo has been obsessed with The Countdown Killer for decades. Twenty years ago, he established a gruesome pattern of taking and murdering three girls over seven days, each a year younger than the last. No one’s ever known why he followed this pattern, or why they stopped abruptly after the eleventh victim. Most believe him to be dead. Elle knows he is not and is hellbent on serving historic justice.

When the kidnappings start up once again, Elle must confront her responsibility in forcing the killer out of hiding. She needs to stop the deadly countdown and convince both the authorities and her podcast audience before the Countdown Killer can claim his next victim.

Review

Girl, 11 is a dark and twisty thriller that follows Elle Castillo – a true-crime podcaster from the hit show Justice Delayed. After several successful seasons of the show, Elle focuses on The Countdown Killer, a case that she has been obsessed with for decades. With no leads, the case has gone cold and the killer’s pattern of murdering three girls over seven days has stumped investigators. Everyone believes The Countdown Killer must be dead, but Elle is determined to uncover the truth and get justice for the families of the victims. When the kidnappings start again, Elle knows she’s in a race against time to uncover the truth before he strikes again.

Girl, 11 is one of those books where you sit down to read a chapter or two and find yourself still completely absorbed in the story hours later. For me, I made the mistake of starting this book before bed and got so hooked that I kept reading until the wee hours of the morning. This was such a well-crafted story, with plenty of twists and turns I did not see coming. I loved the podcast angle of the story and the way Suiter Clarke weaved in the transcripts from the show. This definitely made the story feel more real and kept me turning pages faster and faster as the story progressed.

From the beginning, the story sets quite a quick pace and towards the end, the tense atmosphere had me on the edge of my seat. There were more than a few surprise moments I didn’t see coming and I felt that the podcast focus brought a fresh take to the serial killer story. Elle was quite an interesting protagonist and I enjoyed seeing her work with the police in an attempt to uncover the truth. Girl, 11 is an impressive debut and I cannot wait to see what Amy Suiter Clarke writes next. If you’re looking for a thriller that will keep you engrossed from the very first page, Girl, 11 is definitely one to check out – just don’t do what I did and start it before bed, because you’re sure to be sleep deprived the next day.

Blog Tour: The Gauntlet and the First Beneath – Ian Green

Blog Tour: The Gauntlet and the First Beneath – Ian Green


Release Date:
August 5th 2021
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: 4/5 stars

Synopsis

Fight the Storm.

Protect your people.
The endless rotstorm rages over the ruins of the Ferron Empire. Floré would never let the slavers of the Empire rise again. As a warrior of the Stormguard Commandos, she wrought horrors in the rotstorm to protect her people. She did her duty and left the bloodshed behind.

Fight for your family.
Floré’s peace is shattered when blazing orbs of light cut through the night sky and descend on her village. Her daughter is abducted and Floré is forced into a chase across a land of twisted monsters and ancient gods. She must pursue the mysterious orbs, whose presence could herald the return of the Empire she spent her entire life fighting.

Destroy your enemies.
Now, Floré must take up the role she had sworn to put aside and become the weapon the Stormguard trained her to be, to save not only her daughter, but her people…

Review

The Gauntlet and the First Beneath is the first in an all-new fantasy series from Ian Green. The story follows Floré, who was once a great warrior of the stormguard. She has left all that behind her to be with her daughter until one night there are mysterious orbs in the sky and her daughter is abducted, forcing  Floré to embark on a quest to get her daughter back and ensure the Empire she once fought against is not returning to power. This was such a unique and fascinating fantasy story. One that hooked me from the very beginning. The story drops you into the action straight away and there tons of brilliantly plotted fighting scenes in this story. 

The Gauntlet and the Fist Beneath is a well paced story and Green gives the reader a chance to learn about Floré’s life and the world around her. I thought the world building was well done and the magic system and gods were all well explained. I felt like Green did a brilliant job of explaining the world without dumping all the info in at the start of the story, it’s woven into the plot throughout. I also enjoyed learning the history of the world and the fight against the Empire. This made the story really intriguing and I can’t wait to see more of this world as the series develops. I was particularly hooked during the last hundred pages of the book, and I cannot wait to see where Green takes the story next.

Floré is a really interesting main character, a woman who is desperate to get her daughter back. The story does have multiple points of view but she was definitely the character I was most interested in. The Gauntlet and the Fist Beneath is a really impressive debut, one I think lots of fantasy fans will fall in love with. It has fascinating and complex characters, fast paced action scenes and a unique world. If you’re looking for a captivating fantasy read to keep you engrossed on a long summer evening, The Gauntlet and the Fist Beneath should definitely be on your wish list. 
4 Stars

Book Review: Vampires Never Get Old – Zoraida Cordova & Natalie C. Parker

Book Review: Vampires Never Get Old – Zoraida Cordova & Natalie C. Parker


Release Date:
May 25th 2021
Publisher: Titan Books
Pages: 293
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

Eleven fresh vampire stories from young adult fiction’s leading voices!

In this delicious new collection, you’ll find stories about lurking vampires of social media, rebellious vampires hungry for more than just blood, eager vampires coming out―and going out for their first kill―and other bold, breathtaking, dangerous, dreamy, eerie, iconic, powerful creatures of the night.

Welcome to the evolution of the vampire―and a revolution on the page.

Vampires Never Get Old includes stories by authors both bestselling and acclaimed, including Samira Ahmed, Dhonielle Clayton, Zoraida Córdova and Natalie C. Parker, Tessa Gratton, Heidi Heilig, Julie Murphy, Mark Oshiro, Rebecca Roanhorse, Laura Ruby, Victoria “V. E.” Schwab, and Kayla Whaley.

Review

Vampires Never Get Old is a fun anthology containing eleven stories that all put a fresh spin on the vampire story. I’m a big fan of vampire novels so I was really intrigued by this, particularly as it contained stories from writers I’m a big fan of. It’s a relatively short book and I ended up racing through most of them in a single day. I loved the way these authors took the vampire story and turned it on its head, coming up with stories that felt unique and engaging.

As with all anthologies, there were some stories I really loved and some that I was less interested in. The one that stuck out most for me was the final one in the book – First Kill by V. E. Schwab. It’s a quick story and one that completely captured my attention. I turned the final page and couldn’t believe that was the end. I absolutely want more and I cannot wait to see what happens with the TV adaption.

I similarly really enjoyed The Boys From Blood River by Rebecca Roanhorse which was eerie and gave me serious Lost Boys vibes. The House of Black Sapphires was my other favourite and I definitely felt like I wanted more from both of them. If you’re a fan of vampire stories or you’re looking for a fun, quick anthology to dive into, Vampires Never Get Old is one to check out.

Blog Tour: Good Neighbours – Sarah Langan

Blog Tour: Good Neighbours – Sarah Langan

Release Date: July 13th 2021
Publisher: Titan Books
Pages: 388
Find it on: Goodreads. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 4/5 stars

Synopsis

Welcome to Maple Street, a picture-perfect slice of suburban Long Island, its residents bound by their children, their work, and their illusion of safety in a rapidly changing world.

But when the Wilde family moves in, they trigger their neighbours’ worst fears. Arlo and Gertie and their weird kids don’t fit with the ways Maple Street sees itself.

As tensions mount, a sinkhole opens in a nearby park, and neighbourhood Queen Bee Rhea’s daughter Shelly falls inside. The search for Shelly brings a shocking accusation against the Wildes. Suddenly, it is one mom’s word against the others in a court of public opinion that can end only in blood.

Review

Good Neighbours is the dark and sinister story of the residents of Maple Street, a suburban street that appears on the surface to be pretty perfect. When the Wildes move in the other residents quickly feel that the family don’t fit in and tensions begin to mount. When a sinkhole erupts in Sterling Park and one of the residents falls inside, it quickly brings accusations and secrets to the surface. As tensions climb higher it becomes one family against another – but will everyone survive unscathed?

Good Neighbours is the perfect book to read on a warm summer day. The creeping, uneasy atmosphere is brilliant and I loved the way the tension began to build slowly and then quicker and quicker as the story reached its end. I was completely fascinated by this tale – how a group of seemingly normal families can end up in this situation. Langan really brought to life the dynamics of the families and each character is well crafted. All the residents of Maple Street have their own motivations and secrets, I loved seeing how things changed as the story progressed. The families felt quite relatable and that made the story all the more creepy and unsettling.

One of the things I liked most about Good Neighbours is the addition of the articles and reports that are written after the events on Maple Street. It brought another side to the story and definitely had me turning pages more and more, I just had to find out how it was going to end.

The story focuses in on a number of topics include trauma, families and friendship. Good Neighbours is one of those books that’s quite a slow burn story but ends up being an incredibly quick read because you don’t want to put it down. This story had me completely hooked from the get-go. If you love thriller stories brimming with suspense, this is absolutely a must-read.

Blog Tour: Deepwater King – Claire McKenna

Blog Tour: Deepwater King – Claire McKenna


Series:
The Monstrous Heart Trilogy #2
Release Date: June 24th 2021
Publisher: HarperVoyager
Pages: 400
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 4/5 stars

Synopsis

Since losing her great love to the Queen of the Sainted Isles, Arden must fulfil an impossible promise before she can return home – she must complete the dangerous Rite that will return Jonah’s spirit to the abyssal Court of the Deepwater King.

This sets her off on a journey far out at sea to find believers of the old religion on the oil-slick and mysterious islands beyond the horizon. But such a responsibility will not come without sacrifice, for the Deepwater folk who worship the King require the most desperate payments the soul, and with one man Arden may have to pay the greatest price of all…

Astonishingly original, with world-building to rival the depths of the ocean, McKenna has drawn a rich tale of longing and courage – penning the perfect oceanic steampunk fantasy.

Review

Deepwater King is the second instalment in the beautiful Monstrous Heart trilogy by Claire McKenna. Monstrous Heart is a book that’s been on my radar for quite a while and I ended up reading both books back to back. Deepwater King picks up immediately after the events of Monstrous Heart and I found it so easy to get sucked back into the story. We are once again following Arden as she heads out on her journey to complete the rite and return Jonah’s spirit to the court of the deepwater king.

While I really enjoyed Monstrous Heart I enjoyed Deepwater King even more. The world is so unique and – it’s a Victorian-style world full of mysterious sea creatures and fascinating abilities. The blood magic was something that I was particularly intrigued by and the way McKenna incorporated that into the world. I liked that we got the opportunity to learn more about it as the series progressed. It took me a little while to get to grips with the world in book one so I found it much easier to understand what was going on in book two. McKenna has an absolutely beautiful writing style and the vivid writing really made the story come alive.

Arden is an interesting protagonist – she’s the light mistress and in this second instalment there is danger wherever she turns. She’s quite a strong-willed main character and she will do whatever she can to fulfil her promise. She has been on such a journey since the first book and I really enjoyed seeing the character development. I also liked Jonah who is much more than we first suspect in Monstrous Heart. Deepwater King is definitely a book I found myself thinking about when I wasn’t reading it and I was always desperate to get back to the story. I ended up reading the last hundred pages of the book in one sitting, and I am desperate to see how it all ends in the final instalment. If you’re looking for a captivating fantasy story with plenty of twists and turns, this is definitely one to check out.