Blog Tour: King of Fools – Amanda Foody Q&A

Blog Tour: King of Fools – Amanda Foody Q&A

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Series:
The Shadow Game #2
Release Date: May 2nd 2019
Publisher: HQ Stories
Pages: 602
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.

Synopsis

book cover (44)Indulge your vices in the City of Sin, where a sinister street war is brewing and fame is the deadliest killer of them all…

On the quest to find her missing mother, prim and proper Enne Salta became reluctant allies with Levi Glaisyer, the city’s most famous con man. Saving his life in the Shadow Game forced Enne to assume the identity of Seance, a mysterious underworld figure. Now, with the Chancellor of the Republic dead and bounties on both their heads, she and Levi must play a dangerous game of crime and politics…with the very fate of New Reynes at stake.

Thirsting for his freedom and the chance to build an empire, Levi enters an unlikely partnership with Vianca Augustine’s estranged son. Meanwhile, Enne remains trapped by the mafia donna’s binding oath, playing the roles of both darling lady and cunning street lord, unsure which side of herself reflects the truth.

As Enne and Levi walk a path of unimaginable wealth and opportunity, new relationships and deadly secrets could quickly lead them into ruin. And when unforeseen players enter the game, they must each make an impossible choice: To sacrifice everything they’ve earned in order to survive…

Or die as legends.

Interview

1. For those that haven’t had the chance to read Ace of Shades yet, what three words would you use to describe it?

Casinos. Magic. Gangsters.

2. Ace of Shades was such a hit with fans, how did it feel writing the second book?

I wrote the first draft of it before Ace of Shades released, so I was really just writing it for me–all the story elements I wanted to explore, all the ways I hoped to see these characters grow. The hardest part was wanting to blab about all the new characters and new things that happen when readers were still experiencing the first book for the first time. I’ve felt more of that pressure in writing the third book. I know there are characters readers really want to see survive or end up together, but whatever happens, I hope it still lives up to their expectations.

3. What was the process like for writing King of Fools – was it different to Ace of Shades?

Very! I originally wrote Ace of Shades in high school, and it was rewritten over and over again throughout a span of five years. King of Fools was drafted in two months. I wrote King of Fools as a more experienced writer, and as a book that was already contracted for publication. There was less time, fewer readers, and set deadlines. Still a deeply rewarding experience, though!

4. What was the inspiration for the magic system in the series?

My initial idea was magic as currency, but I still wanted to create the sort of world where people had powers. Thus the currency had to come from one of those powers–the power that the world valued the most. That was how I created the backstory for this world, the Mizers, the Revolution, everything.

5. The cover designs for all of your books are beautiful, did you have much input into their designs and what was your reaction when you saw them?

I had the most input on the King of Fools cover. I think this was because there were a lot of delays on the manuscript’s editorial process, which meant my design team needed to put together a cover without actually knowing what was in the book, so I got to be the authority. I suggested the color and the stripes, mainly. And I wrote the tagline. Kathleen Oudit at Inkyard made it all come together.

6. Now that King of Fools is about to be released what are you working on next?

The final book in The Shadow Game series, Book 3, which releases Fall 2020. I’m also thinking a lot about what comes after–I have a lot of ideas.

7. Finally could you recommend us a good book you read recently?

The Devouring Gray by Christine Lynn Herman–a creepy woods aesthetic, lovable and memorable characters… and a book happened to be written by my best friend. 10/10 would recommend.

Thank you so much to Amanda Foody for answering my questions and be sure to check the other stops on the tour!

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Blog Tour: As Far as the Stars – Virginia MacGregor

Blog Tour: As Far as the Stars – Virginia MacGregor

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Release Date:
May 21st 2019
Publisher: HQ Stories
Pages: 448
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

How do you change what’s already written in the stars?

Christopher is the sort of guy that no one notices, yet when Air catches sight of him making intricate paper birds in the airport, she can’t look away.

But their worlds are about to collide in ways they never expected. Someone they love is on Flight 0217 from London Heathrow. And it’s missing.

Convinced that her brother was on a different flight, Air drives them hundreds of miles across the country, on a trip that will change their lives forever.

But how do you tell the person you’re falling for that you might just be the reason their life has fallen apart?

Review

35657726This is my first time reading a book by Virginia Macgregor and I very quickly became absorbed in this emotional tale. The story follows Air, a young woman who is tasked with one job: get her brother Blake from the airport and make sure he turns up on time to their sister’s wedding. Whilst waiting for the plane to arrive she sees Christopher, who is also waiting on the arrival of the same flight. Their worlds collide when they learn that flight 0217 is missing. Unsure whether her brother even got on the flight, the two drive across the country in a desperate attempt to find him.

This is a beautifully written story that grips hold of you and doesn’t let go. I completely fell in love with Christopher and Air – two complete strangers who have ended up together as a result of this horrible incident. The story is intense and the plot well paced but the thing I loved most about this story is the characters. Air is the youngest sibling but is always looking after her brother, bailing him out and making sure he turns up on time. Christopher is quieter, used to waiting around for his pilot Dad. I loved seeing them interact and watching as their relationship developed.

As Far as the Stars is a heartbreaking story and I struggled to put it down. It’s two people coming together but it’s also full of worry and stress at not knowing where their loved ones are. It was such a unique story – a mix of heavy worry and beautiful romantic moments. I love stories with a road trip in them and I think this has definitely become one of my favourites. If you’re looking for a new contemporary read that will definitely stick with you, As Far as the Stars should be your next read.
4 stars
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Blog Tour: Emily Eternal – M. G. Wheaton

Blog Tour: Emily Eternal – M. G. Wheaton

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Release Date:
23rd April 2019
Publisher: Hodder and Stoughton
Pages: 256
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 4/5

Synopsis

Meet Emily – she can solve advanced mathematical problems, unlock the mind’s deepest secrets and even fix your truck’s air con, but unfortunately, she can’t restart the Sun.

She’s an artificial consciousness, designed in a lab to help humans process trauma, which is particularly helpful when the sun begins to die 5 billion years before scientists agreed it was supposed to.

So, her beloved human race is screwed, and so is Emily. That is, until she finds a potential answer buried deep in the human genome. But before her solution can be tested, her lab is brutally attacked, and Emily is forced to go on the run with two human companions – college student Jason and small-town Sheriff, Mayra.

As the sun’s death draws near, Emily and her friends must race against time to save humanity. But before long it becomes clear that it’s not only the species at stake, but also that which makes us most human.

Review

book cover - 2019-03-24T180649.748This book is unlike anything I’ve ever read. It’s a fresh take on the artificial intelligence tale and I absolutely loved it.

The story follows protagonist Emily who is an artificial consciousness, she’s incredibly intelligent and built to help human beings cope with trauma. As the sun starts to die and humanity’s days are numbered, Emily discovers something that could solve the world’s problems. In the midst of her discovery the lab is attacked and Emily, along with Jason and Mayra have to flee.

This story is fast paced, exciting and incredibly thought provoking. It’s not a long book and I raced through it, eager to know more and spend time with these incredibly complex and well developed characters. The story is very much a coming of age tale and it was fascinating seeing Emily make mistakes, be flawed and learn what it means to be human. Emily is a wonderful protagonist – she’s so smart but she’s also funny and combined with some fascinating side characters, it makes for a wonderful cast for this tale.

The plot is well developed and I really enjoyed Wheaton’s writing style. It was so easy to just sink back into the story when I unfortunately had to put it down. There are plenty of moments in this story that had me on the edge of my seat and I was rooting for the characters the entire time. It’s an exciting story, but it’s definitely also one that gives you food for thought – if you’re a science fiction fan you absolutely have to pick this one up.
4 stars
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Blog Tour: The Devil Aspect – Craig Russell

Blog Tour: The Devil Aspect – Craig Russell

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Release Date:
March 7th 2019
Publisher: Constable
Pages: 496
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

A terrifying novel set in Czechoslovakia in 1935, in which a brilliant young psychiatrist takes his new post at an asylum for the criminally insane that houses only six inmates–the country’s most depraved murderers–while, in Prague, a detective struggles to understand a brutal serial killer who has spread fear through the city, and who may have ties to the asylum 

In 1935, Viktor Kosarek, a psychiatrist newly trained by Carl Jung, arrives at the infamous Hrad Orlu Asylum for the Criminally Insane. The state-of-the-art facility is located in a medieval mountaintop castle outside of Prague, though the site is infamous for concealing dark secrets going back many generations. The asylum houses the country’s six most treacherous killers–known to the staff as The Woodcutter, The Clown, The Glass Collector, The Vegetarian, The Sciomancer, and The Demon–and Viktor hopes to use a new medical technique to prove that these patients share a common archetype of evil, a phenomenon known as The Devil Aspect. As he begins to learn the stunning secrets of these patients, five men and one woman, Viktor must face the disturbing possibility that these six may share another dark truth.

Meanwhile, in Prague, fear grips the city as a phantom serial killer emerges in the dark alleys. Police investigator Lukas Smolak, desperate to locate the culprit (dubbed Leather Apron in the newspapers), realizes that the killer is imitating the most notorious serial killer from a century earlier–London’s Jack the Ripper. Smolak turns to the doctors at Hrad Orlu for their expertise with the psychotic criminal mind, though he worries that Leather Apron might have some connection to the six inmates in the asylum.
Steeped in the folklore of Eastern Europe, and set in the shadow of Nazi darkness erupting just beyond the Czech border, this stylishly written, tightly coiled, richly imagined novel is propulsively entertaining, and impossible to put down.

Review

“I will return,” the voice hissed in Viktor’s ear. “I will return and show you the truth and you will be blinded by it. I will show you such horror and fear that you will be burned by its beauty and its clarity.”book cover - 2019-04-19T094103.467

This is my first time reading a book by Craig Russell and I can tell you right away that it definitely won’t be my last. The Devil Aspect follows a young and ambitious psychiatrist named Viktor Kosarek who begins work at an institute for the most criminally insane people of Czechoslovakia. Victor is determined to prove that the six murderers housed here are evidence of the devil aspect. Also occurring in the story is a serial killer loose in Prague, striking fear into the cities residents. As police investigator Lukas Smolak attempts to uncover who’s behind the murders, he discovers there may be a connection to the inmates of the infamous asylum.

I honestly couldn’t put this book down. This story is so tense and gripping, it will definitely have you reading long past bedtime. The story kept me guessing at every turn and I really enjoyed the two different story arcs and the way that they weaved together. I really liked the characters, they were well developed and Viktor and Lukas made for really fascinating protagonists. The story blended murder mystery with supernatural horror incredibly well and the whole way through I was questioning what was real and what wasn’t.

The story in this book is really superb but thing that really made this a five star read for me was the atmosphere. It was so dark and chilling, it made me feel like I was right there in the story. Russell really brings to life this dark and creepy asylum and the freezing foggy streets of Prague. This Gothic horror tale is an addictive roller coaster ride that doesn’t let you off till the very last page. If you’re looking for a new favourite read, I can’t recommend this enough.
5 stars
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Blog Tour: Star Crossed – Minnie Darke

Blog Tour: Star Crossed – Minnie Darke

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Release Date:
March 5th 2019
Publisher: Michael Joseph
Pages: 387
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy to review
Rating: 4/5 stars

Synopsis

Why rely on fate when you can rewrite the stars?

When Justine Carmichael (Sagittarius, aspiring journalist and sceptic) bumps into her old friend Nick Jordan (Aquarius, struggling actor and true believer) it could be by change.Or perhaps it’s written in the stars.

Justine works at the Alexandria Park Star – and Nick, she now learns, relies on the magazine’s astrology column to guide him in life.

Looking for a way to get Nick’s attention, Justine has the idea of making a few small alterations to ‘Aquarius’ before it goes to print.

It’s only a horoscope, after all. What harm could changing it do?

Review

book cover - 2019-04-03T105924.120Star Crossed follows the story of two childhood friends – Justine and Nick. Whilst working working at the Alexandria Park Star Justine finds out that Nick is using an astrology column to help make decisions in life, hoping to reconnect with him she makes some changes to the column before it goes to print causing a chain reaction of events.

Star Crossed is such a sweet and fun story! I completely found myself falling in love with these characters. This book was so easy to fall into and I was completely swept up in seeing if Justine and Nick would end up together. I’m a massive fan of the ‘childhood friends reconnecting’ trope and it is done so well in this book. This is the kind of trope you see a lot in books but it felt like a fresh take and really got me rooting for these two. Both characters were well developed and I loved this unique idea of a love story centred around horoscopes.

Star Crossed is set in Australia and I thought it was the perfect setting for this brilliantly written story. There are plenty of moments that had me laughing and I loved seeing not only how Nick and Justine’s story developed but also the effect that changing the horoscope has on other people too. It’s an incredibly charming tale and it weaved the themes of fate and love incredibly well. If you’re a fan of movies like Love Actually this is definitely going to be one for you.

The chapters also follow the star signs and I really liked the subtle ways that this was incorporated into the story. It made it totally different to any romance story I’ve read before and I loved the overall structure of the book. I have also completely adore the beautiful cover that fits so well with the story.

Star Crossed is cleverly written and I really liked Darke’s writing style, the story easily flowed and it was the perfect easy read over an afternoon. This is definitely the kind of sweet and enjoyable story you want for a spring weekend or a summer holiday. If you’re looking for a heartwarming tale with characters that will melt your heart, Star Crossed should definitely be your next read.
4 stars

Blog Tour: Muse of Nightmares – Laini Taylor

Blog Tour: Muse of Nightmares – Laini Taylor

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Series:
Strange the Dreamer #2
Release Date: April 4th 2019
Publisher: Hodder and Stoughton
Pages: 528
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 5/5 stars

Synopsis

In the wake of tragedy, neither Lazlo nor Sarai are who they were before. One a god, the other a ghost, they struggle to grasp the new boundaries of their selves as dark-minded Minya holds them hostage, intent on vengeance against Weep.

Lazlo faces an unthinkable choice–save the woman he loves, or everyone else?–while Sarai feels more helpless than ever. But is she? Sometimes, only the direst need can teach us our own depths, and Sarai, the muse of nightmares, has not yet discovered what she’s capable of.

As humans and godspawn reel in the aftermath of the citadel’s near fall, a new foe shatters their fragile hopes, and the mysteries of the Mesarthim are resurrected: Where did the gods come from, and why? What was done with thousands of children born in the citadel nursery? And most important of all, as forgotten doors are opened and new worlds revealed: Must heroes always slay monsters, or is it possible to save them instead?

Love and hate, revenge and redemption, destruction and salvation all clash in this gorgeous sequel to the New York Timesbestseller, Strange the Dreamer.

Review

book cover - 2019-04-02T135442.190Strange the Dreamer was one of my favourite books of 2017, it completely sucked me in and so I went into Muse of Nightmares with the highest of expectations. I’m so happy to report that it was even better than I could have imagined. If you haven’t picked up this beautiful duology yet, now is definitely the time.

Muse of Nightmares picks up after Strange the Dreamer left off, taking us back to the characters we fell in love with in the first book. It was great to see them continue to develop and expand and I loved seeing how much they’d changed since the beginning of Strange the Dreamer. Muse of Nightmares also introduces us to some new characters – two sisters named Kora and Nova. I completely adored their story and was completely captivated in seeing how their story connected with that of Lazlo and Sarai. Laini Taylor writes these complex and multi-layered characters that are just a pleasure to read about – Lazlo Strange will forever be one of my favourite characters of all time.

Previous to this duology I had never read anything by Laini Taylor but I completely fell in love with her writing style in these books. It’s so beautiful and really brings everything to life that you cannot help but sink into this rich and magical world. The world building is excellent and it is put to good use in this book, giving us more back story and history of the gods. Muse of Nightmares delivers a fast and exciting plot and I was on the edge of my seat more than a few times. I think the story ended perfectly it was full of excitement and heartbreak and everything I hoped for. I for one am so excited to see what Laini Taylor is going to bring out next.

5 stars
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Blog Tour: The Last – Hanna Jameson

Blog Tour: The Last – Hanna Jameson

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Release Date: 31/01/19
Publisher: Viking
Pages: 392
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review.

Synopsis

Breaking: Nuclear weapon detonates over Washington

Breaking: London hit, thousands feared dead

Breaking: Munich and Scotland hit. World leaders call for calm.

Historian Jon Keller is on a trip to Switzerland when the world ends. As the lights go out on civilization, he wishes he had a way of knowing whether his wife, Nadia and their two daughters are still alive. More than anything, Jon wishes he hadn’t ignored Nadia’s last message.

Twenty people remain in Jon’s hotel. Far from the nearest city and walled in by towering trees, they wait, they survive.

Then one day, the body of a young girl is found. It’s clear she has been murdered. Which means that someone in the hotel is a killer.

As paranoia descends, Jon decides to investigate. But how far is he willing to go in pursuit of justice? And what kind of justice can he hope for, when society as he knows it no longer exists?

Review

book cover (38)This story follows the events of in which a series of nuclear bombings occur which triggers the end of the world as we know it. Jon Keller is attending a conference at a hotel in the middle of nowhere in Switzerland and so survives the attack along with 19 other people. Jon decides to document his time at the hotel in an attempt to process what has happened to the world. Whilst checking the water tanks the boy of a young girl is found and Jon begins to investigate her murder – but how will he get justice for her murder when the world as they know it no longer exists?

I loved this quiet and fascinating story because it was so unlike the typical end of the world books I’ve read. It really gripped me from the outset and it has immediately become one of my favourites of the genre. The story felt so realistic and I think that’s one of the reasons I enjoyed it so much. The world ends because of politicians that make the wrong decision – something that could easily happen given the current political climate. We never find out much about why the bombings occur and the story very much focuses on the creepy setting of this old hotel and the twenty strangers that are surviving there.

The story was well paced and I really liked the characters. It’s really interesting to see them change as the story develops, as panic and paranoia sets in about which one of them could have murdered the young girl. While it’s a really gripping story it is very much character focused and the action mostly happens elsewhere. There’s plenty of really interesting interactions between the characters and I loved the realistic way everyone was portrayed.

If you’re a fan of post-apocalyptic stories this is a must read. The Last is a dark, tense and originally told story that feels incredibly real, so if you’re looking for something on the scarier side, this will certainly do the trick.
4 stars
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