Blog Tour: The Stars Undying – Emery Robin

Blog Tour: The Stars Undying – Emery Robin


Series:
Empire Without End #1
Release Date: November 8th 2022
Publisher: Orbit Books
Pages: 528
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 spectacular space opera debut perfect for readers of Ann Leckie’s Ancillary Justice and Arkady Martine’s A Memory Called Empire, inspired by the lives and loves of Cleopatra and Julius Caesar.

Princess Altagracia has lost everything. After a bloody civil war, her twin sister has claimed not just the crown of their planet Szayet but the Pearl of its prophecy, a computer that contains the immortal soul of Szayet’s god. Stripped of her birthright, Gracia flees the planet—just as Matheus Ceirran, Commander of the interstellar Empire of Ceiao, arrives in deadly pursuit with his volatile lieutenant, Anita. When Gracia and Ceirran’s paths collide, Gracia sees an opportunity to win back her planet, her god, and her throne…if she can win the Commander and his right-hand officer over first.

But talking her way into Ceirran’s good graces, and his bed, is only the beginning. Dealing with the most powerful man in the galaxy is almost as dangerous as war, and Gracia is quickly torn between an alliance that fast becomes more than political and the wishes of the god—or machine—that whispers in her ear. For Szayet’s sake, and her own, Gracia will need to become more than a princess with a silver tongue. She will have to become a queen as history has never seen before—even if it breaks an empire.

Review

The Stars Undying is an epic space opera debut that follows Altagracia, a young princess that lost everything when her twin sister claimed the crown.  With no choice but to go on the run, Gracia soon runs into Matheus Ceirran, the deadly Commander of the Empire of Ceiao. Gracia knows Ceirran could be her ticket to reclaiming her birthright, but only if she can win him over first.

I must admit that two of the main things that drew me to this book was the absolutely stunning cover and the tag line that the story is inspired by the lives of Julius Ceasar and Cleopatra. It has been a while since I’ve read a science fiction book that completely captivated me, but that’s exactly what The Stars Undying did. The story is quite quick paced, with really beautiful writing. It’s the sort of book that you think about even when you aren’t reading it and I often found I was itching to get home at the end of the day to find out what would happen next.

The world building is incredibly detailed and it did take me a little while to get to grips with the different worlds and their beliefs. While I know bits and pieces about Ceasar and Cleopatra, I don’t know loads about their history. I noticed some parallels but I think even if you knew nothing about the historical figures, you would be completely gripped by this story. The story is told in alternating points of view and I was fascinated by both Gracia and Ceirran. Both characters felt so well crafted and developed – it was so intriguing to watch their relationship progress as they’re such determined and power hungry characters.

The Stars Undying is a richly told, unforgettable space opera that I could not put down. If you’re looking for a science fiction retelling that will have you on the edge of your seat, look no further. This is an incredibly impressive debut and without a doubt my favourite science fiction book of 2022. I cannot wait to see what happens in book two.

Blog Tour: Widdershins Series – Helen Steadman

Blog Tour: Widdershins Series – Helen Steadman

Book One – Widdershins


Release Date:
July 1st 2017
Publisher: Impress Books
Pages: 250
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 4/5 stars

Synopsis

‘Did all women have something of the witch about them?’
Jane Chandler is an apprentice healer. From childhood, she and her mother have used herbs to cure the sick. But Jane will soon learn that her sheltered life in a small village is not safe from the troubles of the wider world.

From his father’s beatings to his uncle’s raging sermons, John Sharpe is beset by bad fortune. Fighting through personal tragedy, he finds his purpose: to become a witch-finder and save innocents from the scourge of witchcraft.

Inspired by true events, Widdershins tells the story of the women who were persecuted and the men who condemned them.

Review

Widdershins is a beautiful, thought-provoking tale inspired by true events. The story follows two main characters – Jane Chandler who is learning how to be a healer, using herbs and lore to cure the sick. Meanwhile, John Sharpe has endured a hard childhood – his mother died during his birth and his father blames him for this. After enduring vicious beatings from his father he is sent to stay with his Uncle, a pastor. He finds purpose in becoming a witch-finder and rooting out all trace of witchcraft.

This story fascinated me right from the very beginning. The story is well paced and full to the brim with atmosphere. I really enjoyed Steadman’s writing style and was captivated by these two vastly different characters and how their stories would converge. I was really intrigued by the fact the story was based on true events and this made parts of the story all the more heartbreaking. I felt the characters were well developed. I ended up reading the book mostly in one sitting because I just had to know where the story was going to go next. If you’re looking for a compelling historical fiction tale will keep you turning pages long into the night, this series should definitely be on your wishlist.

Book Two – Sunwise


Release Date:
April 1st 2019
Publisher: Impress Books
Pages: 208
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

When Jane’s lover, Tom, returns from the navy to find her unhappily married to his betrayer, Jane is caught in an impossible situation. Still reeling from the loss of her mother at the hands of the witch-finder John Sharpe, Jane has no choice but to continue her dangerous work as a healer while keeping her young daughter safe.

But, as Tom searches for a way for him and Jane to be together, the witch-finder is still at large. Filled with vengeance, John will stop at nothing in his quest to rid England of the scourge of witchcraft.
Inspired by true events, Sunwise tells the story of one woman’s struggle for survival in a hostile and superstitious world.

Review

Sunwise is the second installment in Helen Steadman’s Widdershins series, focusing on the witch trials in England and Scotland. Following on from the events in book one, the story follows Jane as her lover Tom returns to find her married to the worst person imaginable. She’s stuck in an impossible situation, still trying to cope with the loss of her mother at the hands of John Sharpe and find a way to protect her daughter. As Tom tries to find a way for them to be together, Jane knows the witchfinder is still out there and John will stop at nothing to rid the world of witches and their magic.

I ended up picking up Sunwise almost immediately after I finished Widdershins, partly because I was so keen to see where the story was going to go next and partly because that cover is just beautiful. I really enjoyed both installments in this series but I must admit that this second book was my favourite of the two. Having gotten to know the characters I was absolutely hooked and desperate to see where the story would take them. Both main characters are really well developed, Jane is trying to do her best to protect those around her and John has become this dark and despicable person. The atmosphere was even tenser in this story and I loved the way Steadman’s writing brought the sights and sounds of the 1600s to life.

This historical fiction series feels incredibly well researched. I loved all the details surrounding the herbs and rituals, It’s a compelling story, one that historical fiction fans will absolutely fall in love with. While this is my first time reading from Helen Steadman it will definitely not be the last and I cannot wait to read more from his author.

Blog Tour: The Children of Gods and Fighting Men – Shauna Lawless

Blog Tour: The Children of Gods and Fighting Men – Shauna Lawless


Release Date:
1st September 2022
Publisher: Head of Zeus
Pages: 416
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 4.25/5 stars

Synopsis

They think they’ve killed the last of us…

981 AD. The Viking King of Dublin is dead. His young widow, Gormflaith, has ambitions for her son – and herself – but Ireland is a dangerous place and kings tend not to stay kings for long. Gormflaith also has a secret. She is one of the Fomorians, an immortal race who can do fire-magic. She has kept her powers hidden at all costs, for there are other immortals in this world – like the Tuatha Dé Danann, a race of warriors who are sworn to kill Fomorians.

Fódla is one of the Tuatha Dé Danann with the gift of healing. Her kind dwell hidden in a fortress, forbidden to live amongst the mortals. Fódla agrees to help her kin by going to spy on Brian Boru, a powerful man who aims to be High King of Ireland. She finds a land on the brink of war – a war she is desperate to stop. However, preventing the loss of mortal lives is not easy with Ireland in turmoil and the Fomorians now on the rise…

Review

The Children of Gods and Fighting Men is a stunning debut historical fantasy tale from Shauna Lawless. Lawless weaves history and Irish mythology into this unforgettable tale. Set in 10th Century Ireland, the story follows Gormflaith, the widow of the King of Dublin. Gormflaith has high hopes for her son, but kings don’t always stay king for long. Gormflaith also has a secret – she is part of an immortal race with fire magic that she has kept hidden to protect herself from the Tuatha Dé Danann – those sworn to kill her kind. Meanwhile, Fódla is one of the Tuatha Dé Danann with a gift for healing. When she lands in Ireland she finds a county on the precipice of war and she will do anything to stop it.

Going into this book I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. I was captivated right from the very beginning and I found I could not put this book down. The story is full of political intrigue and scheming. The story is well executed and I definitely found myself thinking about the book when I wasn’t reading it. Lawless has created a really clever story with a really tense and compelling plot.

One of the things that captivated me most about The Children of Gods and Fighting Men was the detailed worldbuilding. The story and world felt so well crafted and I am so looking forward to reading more from this author. Not only is the worldbuilding excellent, but Lawless has also created some truly fascinating characters. Our two main POVS – Gormflaith and Fódla were really well developed. I enjoyed both points of view a lot but I think my favourite was Gormflaith, she was so determined to get what she wants for her son and there is nothing she won’t do to succeed.

The Children of Gods and Fighting Men is a tense, addictive fantasy tale. If you’re looking for a story with strong female characters, lots of political intrigue, and a plot that will keep you turning pages long into the night – this one is definitely worth checking out.

Blog Tour: The Generation Killer – Adam Simcox

Blog Tour: The Generation Killer – Adam Simcox


Series:
The Dying Squad #2
Release Date: August 18th 2022
Publisher: Gollancz
Pages: 320
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 4/5 stars

Synopsis
On the sixth day, God created MANchester. On the seventh, The Generation Killer intends to tear it down.

There’s a new serial killer in Manchester – and it’s up to a dead guy to catch him. Joe Lazarus, specifically: his latest Dying Squad assignment demands he bring to justice The Generation Killer, a psychopath who murders the oldest member of a family, as well as the youngest. Joe and his new partner Bits have mere hours to catch the killer and save his latest kidnap victim.

Joe’s former partner, Daisy-May has her own problems. Children in the Pen are going missing and Daisy-May resolves to find out who’s taking them, one of the many, Warden-of-the-Pen jobs on her to do list. Her predecessor The Duchess won’t be able to lighten her load; she’s tracked her terrorist-in-waiting sister, Hanna, to Tokyo. The Duchess doesn’t know what Hanna’s planning, she only knows that unless she stops her, it’s going to be very bad news for the living…

Review
The Generation Killer is the newest installment in Adam Simcox’s The Dying Squad series. In this sequel, we follow Joe Lazarus on his newest assignment for the Dying Squad. He’s tasked with taking down The Generation Killer – a serial killer who murders both the oldest and youngest member of the family. Teaming up with his new partner Bits, they have to race against the clock to save The Generation Killer’s latest victim. Meanwhile, Joe’s former partner Daisy-May has her own case to deal with – Children in the Pen are going missing and Daisy-May must use all her wits to find out who’s taking them.

This series is such a fun, fresh take on the crime thriller. It’s a fascinating blend of police procedural and urban fantasy. It’s fast paced, addictive, and has more than a few eerie moments. There are also plenty of plot twists and pretty much all of them I didn’t see coming. The story is set in Manchester, a city I’ve visited on quite a few occasions so it was so interesting to see Simcox bring the city to life in the story.

The characters are well crafted in this story and I really enjoyed seeing how they tackle the challenges in their investigations. There’s also plenty of really quick, funny dialogue in the story which definitely kept me wanting more. While The Generation Killer could absolutely be read as a standalone book, I’d definitely recommend picking up The Dying Squad first. If you’re looking for an utterly compelling, fresh take on the crime thriller with loads of tension and atmosphere, this series is a must read.

Blog Tour: Regency Faerie Series – Olivia Atwater

Blog Tour: Regency Faerie Series – Olivia Atwater


Series:
Regency Faerie 1-3
Release Date: April 5th 2022
Publisher: Orbit
Find them on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me copies of these books to review

Half a Soul

Rating: 4.25/5 stars

Synopsis

It’s difficult to find a husband in Regency England when you’re a young lady with only half a soul.

Ever since she was cursed by a faerie, Theodora Ettings has had no sense of fear or embarrassment – a condition which makes her prone to accidental scandal. Dora hopes to be a quiet, sensible wallflower during the London Season – but when the strange, handsome and utterly uncouth Lord Sorcier discovers her condition, she is instead drawn into dangerous and peculiar faerie affairs.

If Dora’s reputation can survive both her curse and her sudden connection with the least-liked man in all of high society, then she may yet reclaim her normal place in the world. . . but the longer Dora spends with Elias Wilder, the more she begins to suspect that one may indeed fall in love, even with only half a soul.

Review

This magical regency fantasy romance tale will completely sweep you away. Following the story of Dora, we see her as she accompanies her cousin to London for the season. As a child, Dora was cursed by a faerie and her emotions are dulled – she has no sense of fear or embarrassment. When Dora meets the infamous Lord Sorcier at a ball and he discovers her condition. As he attempts to help her condition, Dora becomes entangled in a web of strange faerie goings on, but will her reputation survive spending so much time with the uncouth Elias Wilder?

Half a Soul is the perfect book for a summer evening. It’s the kind of story you get completely caught up in, and you absolutely cannot help but fall in love with the characters. If you love quick, snarky dialogue and the grumpy/sunshine trope, you’re going to adore Dora and Elias. I loved seeing their relationship develop. The story felt really well plotted and there was never a dull moment. The regency setting felt so vivid and it really came to life in Atwater’s writing style. It’s an engaging story, full of charm and if you love regency fantasy tales you cannot miss this one.

Ten Thousand Stitches

Rating: 4.5

Synopsis

Regency housemaid Euphemia Reeves has acquired a faerie godfather. Unfortunately, he has no idea what he’s doing.

Effie has most inconveniently fallen in love with the dashing Mr Benedict Ashbrooke. There’s only one problem; Effie is a housemaid, and a housemaid cannot marry a gentleman. It seems that Effie is out of luck until she stumbles into the faerie realm of Lord Blackthorn, who is only too eager to help Effie win Mr Ashbrooke’s heart. All he asks in return is that Effie sew ten thousand stitches onto his favourite jacket.

Effie has heard rumours about what happens to those who accept help from faeries, but life as a maid at Hartfield is so awful that she is willing to risk even her immortal soul for a chance at something better. Now, she has one hundred days – and ten thousand stitches – to make Mr Ashbrooke fall in love and propose. . . if Lord Blackthorn doesn’t wreck things by accident, that is. For Effie’s greatest obstacle might well prove to be Lord Blackthorn’s overwhelmingly good intentions.

Review

In this second installment in Olivia Atwater’s Regency Faerie series, we follow Effie, a housemaid who has fallen in love with the gentleman Benedict Ashbrooke. She knows that they could never be married because she’s a housemaid, but when she finds herself in the faerie realm and meets Lord Blackthorn, he offers to help her win Ashbrookes heart in exchange for stitching ten thousand stitches to his favourite jacket. Effie knows help from faeries always comes with a price but is she willing to risk her soul for the chance of getting everything she’s dreamed of?

I really thought when I read Half a Soul that it would be my favourite in the series, but after reading Ten Thousand Stitches this one is definitely my favourite. I didn’t want to put this book down and read through it in a single sitting. Just like the previous book, it’s full of charm and magic. This story is just as heartwarming as Half a Soul and if you’re looking for something light and fun in between epic fantasy tomes, this is the perfect series for that. I think the reason I adored Ten Thousand Stitches is in part due to our main protagonist, who is so stubborn and determined to succeed. The book also delves into some social commentary around class which was really interesting to read. Overall Ten Thousand Stitches is a fantastic installment in the series and I cannot wait to read more from Olivia Atwater.

Longshadow

Rating: 4/5 stars

Synopsis

Proper Regency ladies are not supposed to become magicians – but Miss Abigail Wilder is far from proper.

The marriageable young ladies of London are dying mysteriously, and Abigail Wilder intends to discover why. Abigail’s father, the Lord Sorcier of England, believes that a dark lord of faerie is involved – but while Abigail is willing to match her magic against Lord Longshadow, neither her father nor high society believes that she is capable of doing so.

Thankfully, Abigail is not the only one investigating the terrible events in London. Mercy, a street rat and self-taught magician, insists on joining Abigail to unravel the mystery. But while Mercy’s own magic is strange and foreboding, she may well post an even greater danger to Abigail’s heart.

Review

In this third installment in Olivia Atwater’s Regency Faerie series, we follow Abigail Wilder. When young women start dying mysteriously in London, Abigail is determined to investigate the cause. Her father – the Lord Sorcier – thinks it might be the work of a dark lord of faerie. Abigail believes she can stop him, and teaming up with a street rat named Mercy, the two must do everything they can to unravel the mystery.

This beautiful third book in the series captivated my attention just as much as the previous two and it was full of the charm and beautiful writing that I’ve come to expect from Olivia Atwater. This installment has a bit more going on and it was so interesting watching Abigail attempt to unravel the mystery behind the dying women. Atwater has a brilliant way of making you just completely adore the main character and that’s exactly how I felt about Abigail. Longshadow is an entertaining read that’s full of heart. If you’ve read the other two books in the series I highly recommend picking this one up. These stories all felt so unique and engaging so if you haven’t had the chance to try them out they are absolutely perfect for binge reading.

 

Blog Tour: The First Binding – R. R. Virdi

Blog Tour: The First Binding – R. R. Virdi


Series:
Tales of Tremaine #1
Release Date: August 16th 2022
Publisher: Gollancz
Pages: 832
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review

Synopsis

All legends are born of truths. And just as much lies. These are mine. Judge me for what you will. But you will hear my story first.

I buried the village of Ampur under a mountain of ice and snow. Then I killed their god. I’ve stolen old magics and been cursed for it. I started a war with those that walked before mankind and lost the princess I loved, and wanted to save. I’ve called lightning and bound fire. I am legend. And I am a monster.

My name is Ari. And this is the story of how I let loose the first evil.

Review

The First Binding is the first in a new epic South Asian inspired fantasy series and it is without a doubt my favourite read of 2022. Reminiscent of The Name of the Wind, the story follows storyteller Ari as he recounts his life story. The First Binding was one of my most anticipated releases of the year and it was an unforgettable, magical tale.

There are so many things about this book that I loved. For starters, I have been in a horrible reading slump for weeks and this was the book that pulled me out. Despite being over 800 pages, I read this book in just a few days because I could not look away. Virdi has an incredibly, beautiful writing style. Each sentence felt so well crafted and The First Binding is definitely the kind of book to be savoured. This is a slow burn, coming of age story, one that fantasy fans will completely fall in love with.

The First Binding is an incredibly well executed story. Given the scope, that’s no mean feat and I am so excited to see where the story goes next. Ari is a truly fascinating character and Virdi has done a brilliant job crafting our main protagonist. He is a fascinating, flawed character and I loved seeing him go on this incredible journey.The world building felt so detailed and well fleshed out and I enjoyed learning about the magic in this world.

The First Binding is a unique, compelling fantasy tale. A beautifully told story from start to finish, this is the kind of book that will stay with you long after you finish reading. It’s easy to see why this book has so much hype already and it’s so well deserved. If you’re looking for an epic fantasy story full of magic and lyrical writing, this one is absolutely not to be missed.

Blog Tour: The It Girl – Ruth Ware

Blog Tour: The It Girl – Ruth Ware


Release Date:
August 3rd 2022
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
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

Everyone wanted her life
Someone wanted her dead

It was Hannah who found April’s body ten years ago.
It was Hannah who didn’t question what she saw that day.
Did her testimony put an innocent man in prison?

She needs to know the truth.

Even if it means questioning her own friends.
Even if it means putting her own life at risk.

Because if the killer wasn’t a stranger, it’s someone she knows…

Review

Ruth Ware is back with a new twisty and compelling thriller. The book tells the story of April and Hannah, best friends at Oxford. When April dies, porter John Neville is convicted of killing her, in part thanks to Hannah’s testimony. As the ten-year anniversary of April’s death approaches, Hannah makes contact with her old friendship group from Oxford. She soon begins to wonder if John Neville was an innocent man and if he was, does that mean one of her friends is the killer?

One of the things I love about Ruth Ware’s books is that she always comes up with the most intriguing concepts. The It Girl was no exception and I was hooked pretty much from the very beginning. Ruth Ware has a brilliant way of slowly pulling you into the mystery. Ware has a really engrossing writing style and there were more than a few times when I resented having to put the book down.

The It Girl is the sort of book that continually keeps you guessing. I was never quite sure who was responsible and there were definitely a few surprise moments I did not expect. I always love when I don’t guess the ending and this was one I absolutely did not predict. I really enjoyed the way the story was told over two different timelines and the characters felt well developed. This is a tense, gripping novel from Ruth Ware and I cannot wait to see what she comes up with next. If you’re looking for something that will keep you turning pages long into the night, this one is not to be missed.

Blog Tour: The Garden of Empire – J. T. Greathouse

Blog Tour: The Garden of Empire – J. T. Greathouse

Series: Pact and Pattern #2 (See my review of book one here!)
Release Date: August 4th 2022
Publisher: Gollancz
Pages: 448
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book
Rating: 4.5/5 stars

Synopsis

WAR MAKES MONSTERS OF EVERYONE.

Foolish Cur, once named Wen Alder, finds that his allies in the rebellion might cross any line if it means freedom from the Empire. But he can’t overcome a foe as strong as Emperor Tenet alone.

REBELLION HAS UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES.

Koro Ha, Foolish Cur’s former tutor, discovers the Empire is not so forgiving of those who raise a traitor. And their suspicion may cost him and his people more than he can imagine.

THE GODS ARE LURKING IN THE SHADOWS.

As war against the Empire rages, Foolish Cur knows there is a greater threat. The emperor plans his own coup against the gods, and they will wreak destruction if he tries. To stop him, Foolish Cur might have to risk everything – and resort to ancient magics that could tear the world apart.

Review

The Garden of Empire is the second installment in J. T. Greathouse’s Pact and Pattern series. The Hand of the Sun King was one of my favourite reads of last year so I was really excited to see where Greathouse would take the story next. Following on from the events in book one, where Foolish Cur finds himself in the middle of the war between the Sienese and the Nayeni. He knows the Emperor plans to fight a war against the gods themselves and will destroy everything in his path as he does so. Foolish Cur must do everything he can to stop him, even resorting to an ancient magic that could destroy everything.

Just like The Hand of the Sun King, Garden of Empire is a hugely engrossing read. Greathouse continues to expand on the worldbuilding and I was hooked from the very first chapter. I really liked that the reader gets the chance to learn more about the magic system and understand how it works. Greathouse has a really nice writing style and it was so easy to get lost in the story. One thing that did surprise me was the introduction of different POV characters in this installment as book one is all told from the same perspective. This was a really interesting addition as it added multiple layers to the story and allowed the reader to see things from a different angle.

One of the most interesting things about this series is our main protagonist Foolish Cur. Greathouse has created a really fascinating character who is at times flawed and unlikeable. I enjoyed seeing him grow through the course of Garden of Empire, particularly as he reflects on the events that have led him to where he is and the decisions he has made. Garden of Empire is an incredibly fascinating fantasy tale, with a few twists I definitely did not see coming. If you’ve already read Hand of the Sun King this is an absolute must read and I am already looking forward to book three.

 

Blog Tour: The Retreat – Sarah Pearse

Blog Tour: The Retreat – Sarah Pearse


Series:
Detective Elin Warner #2
Release Date: July 21st 2022
Publisher: Bantam Press
Pages: 368
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 4/5 stars

Synopsis

Most are here to recharge and refresh.
But someone’s here for revenge . . .

An eco-wellness retreat has opened on an island off the coast of Devon, promising rest and relaxation – but the island itself, known locally as Reaper’s Rock, has a dark past. Once the playground of a serial killer, it’s rumoured to be cursed.

DS Elin Warner is called to the retreat when a young woman’s body is found on the rocks below the yoga pavilion, in what seems to be a tragic fall. But the victim wasn’t a guest – she wasn’t meant to be on the island at all.

When a man drowns in a diving incident the following day, Elin starts to suspect that there’s nothing accidental about these deaths. But why would someone target the retreat – and who else is in danger?

Elin must find the killer – before the island’s history starts to repeat itself…

Review

The Retreat is the newest twisty thriller from Sarah Pearse, author of The Sanatorium. Featuring the same protagonist, the story follows DS Elin Warner as she is called to a remote wellness retreat on an island. A body has been found and the death looks like a horrible accident, however, the woman wasn’t a guest and wasn’t supposed to be there. As Elin dives deeper into the retreat, she discovers the island has a dark past and the deaths might not be so accidental.

I really enjoyed Sarah Pearse’s The Sanatorium and was really intrigued to pick up The Retreat. The story is just as addictive and I found myself turning pages long into the night. Pearse has a brilliant way of keeping the reader hooked and the short chapters definitely had me reading longer and longer. The story is full to the brim with twists and turns – there were more than a few moments I didn’t see coming. The story is really well plotted and are plenty of heart-pounding, edge of your seat moments too.

I absolutely loved the setting for the story and it really provided that tense, remote atmosphere. The vivid descriptions really brought the island to life and there were some moments that sent a shiver up my spine. The characters were also well developed and I enjoyed seeing Elin’s character growth as she grows in confidence. The story is multi-perspective, giving the reader an insight into those on the island too. The Retreat is a compelling tale, one that will absolutely keep you on your toes. If you’re looking for a clever, compelling thriller that you won’t be able to put down, definitely add this to your reading list.

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.