Blog Tour: The Path and the Way – Michael S. Jackson

Blog Tour: The Path and the Way – Michael S. Jackson

Series: The Ringlander #1
Release Date: April 27th 2021
Pages: 484
Find it on: Goodreads. Amazon.
Source: The author kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 5/5 stars

Synopsis

Holes between worlds are tearing through Rengas. Firestorms are raging as multiple realities battle for control of the elements. Even the Way, the turbulent channel that separates Nord, Határ and Kemen, the lifeblood of the city of Tyr, has turned.

Kyira’s search for her missing brother draws her away from the familiar frozen lines of Nord and south into the chaotic streets of Tyr where games are played & battles fought. As reality tears Kyira must choose between her family or her path before the worlds catch up with her.

Review

When I first heard about Ringlander: The Path and the Way I was immediately intrigued – partly because of that stunning cover – but also because it sounded like such a unique and engaging tale. In a world in which holes are beginning to tear between worlds, we follow Kyira, a young girl trying to find her missing brother. Her search will take her away from everything she knows – her home in freezing Nord to the bustling streets of Tyr. As Kyira fights to find her brother and stay alive reality begins to tear, forcing her to choose between the things most important to her: her family or her path.

The thing that struck me most about this book was how much I was torn between reading it slowly, savouring the fascinating world and magic system or racing through it because it was so compelling and I just had to know what was going to happen. This is an exceptionally addictive read, one that is well-paced and excellently plotted. The story kept me engaged throughout and as soon as I finished it I was desperate for more. The Path and the Way felt like such a fresh take on this type of story and despite it being a thicker book I read it in only a few sittings.

Jackson really excels at creating multi-layered characters and I find it rare to read a multi-POV story where I’m captivated by all of their storylines. There’s usually always one or two I am less fond of but each one was fascinating. Kyria is a particularly compelling character, battling to find her brother and succeed despite the odds being stacked against her. If you’re someone who loves books with plenty of action, this book definitely has you covered. From the very first page, there is tons to keep you hooked and turning pages late into the night.

The Path and the Way is an impressive tale and one that I did not want to end. If you’re looking for a fantasy read with detailed worldbuilding and incredible characters, this one is a must-read. The Path and the Way is absolutely one of my favourite fantasy reads of the year and I can’t wait to read more from Michael S. Jackson.

Blog Tour: The Shadowing – Rhiannon Ward

Blog Tour: The Shadowing – Rhiannon Ward

Release Date: September 16th 2021
Publisher: Trapeze
Pages: 320
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 well-to-do Hester learns of her sister Mercy’s death at a Nottinghamshire workhouse, she travels to Southwell to find out how her sister ended up at such a place.

Haunted by her sister’s ghost, Hester sets out to uncover the truth, when the official story reported by the workhouse master proves to be untrue. Mercy was pregnant – both her and the baby are said to be dead of cholera, but the workhouse hasn’t had an outbreak for years.

Hester discovers a strange trend in the workhouse of children going missing. One woman tells her about the Pale Lady, a ghostly figure that steals babies in the night. Is this lady a myth or is something more sinister afoot at the Southwell poorhouse?

As Hester investigates, she uncovers a conspiracy, one that someone is determined to keep a secret, no matter the cost…

Review

The Shadowing is the latest novel from Rhiannon Ward and this compelling tale follows Hester, a young woman who learns of her sister’s death in a workhouse. Determined to find out how her sister ended up in such a place, Hester travels to Southwell for answers. Hester is told her sister was pregnant and that they both died of cholera, despite there being no outbreak at the workhouse. Hester soon learns of children going missing from the workhouse, and a sinister pale lady who takes them. Hester must uncover what’s really going on in order to find out what really happened to her sister, but will she be strong enough to discover the truth?

The Shadowing is a dark and creeping story, full of atmosphere and tension. I was immediately hooked on this story and ended up reading it in one sitting. I really enjoyed Ward’s engaging writing style and whilst this is my first book from the author it definitely won’t be my last. I loved the mix of historical fiction and paranormal in this story and the mystery and suspense kept me turning pages because I had to know how it was going to end.

Hester is a really fascinating protagonist and I enjoyed seeing her delve deeper and deeper into the mystery. She’s a determined woman and her shadowings were really interesting. The Shadowing is a haunting story, with a strong sense of atmosphere and unease. The Pale Lady in particular fascinated me and the horror of the workhouse really came to life in the story.

The Shadowing is a book that’s hard to put down. If you’re looking for a tense and spooky Gothic tale to keep you hooked this autumn, this one is definitely worth checking out.

Blog Tour: The Wisdom of Crowds – Joe Abercrombie

Blog Tour: The Wisdom of Crowds – Joe Abercrombie

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Series: The Age of Madness #3
Release Date: September 14th 2021
Pages: 560
Publisher: Gollancz
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 5/5 stars

Synopsis

Chaos. Fury. Destruction.

The Great Change is upon us…

Some say that to change the world you must first burn it down. Now that belief will be tested in the crucible of revolution: the Breakers and Burners have seized the levers of power, the smoke of riots has replaced the smog of industry, and all must submit to the wisdom of crowds.

With nothing left to lose, Citizen Brock is determined to become a new hero for the new age, while Citizeness Savine must turn her talents from profit to survival before she can claw her way to redemption. Orso will find that when the world is turned upside down, no one is lower than a monarch. And in the bloody North, Rikke and her fragile Protectorate are running out of allies… while Black Calder gathers his forces and plots his vengeance.

The banks have fallen, the sun of the Union has been torn down, and in the darkness behind the scenes, the threads of the Weaver’s ruthless plan are slowly being drawn together…

Review

The Wisdom of Crowds is the third and final installment in Joe Abercrombie’s The Age of Madness series. Picking up after the events of The Trouble With Peace, this story is full to the brim with chaos and revolution. A magnificent conclusion to an incredibly gripping trilogy, this final book was everything I wanted and more.

Joe Abercrombie is one of my favourite authors and going into this book I had the highest of expectations, but even with that Abercrombie still managed to blow me away. Abercrombie does a brilliant job of wrapping things up and creates a heart pounding finale that I did not want to look away from.

I won’t say much about the plot as it is the third book in the series but there is an excellent mix of action and political intrigue in the story. Abercombie has a real knack for writing dynamic and engaging battle scenes. The Wisdom of Crowds is the kind of book that hooks you in from that very first page and doesn’t let you go till the very end.

The Age of Madness trilogy has felt like a fresh prospective on the typical fantasy story and Abercrombie has created some truly incredible characters. There are so many complex and fascinating characters but throughout the series Rikke and Savine have been my favourites. This has been such a compelling trilogy and The Wisdom of Crowds is an absolute must read. Though I am sad to see the series completed, I cannot wait to see what Joe Abercrombie writes next.

5 Stars

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: The Hand of the Sun King – J. T. Greathouse

Blog Tour: The Hand of the Sun King – J. T. Greathouse


Series:
Pact and Pattern #1
Release Date: August 5th 2021
Publisher: Gollancz
Pages: 367
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 5/5 stars

Synopsis

My name is Wen Alder. My name is Foolish Cur.

All my life, I have been torn between two legacies: that of my father, whose roots trace back to the right hand of the Emperor. That of my mother’s family, who reject the oppressive Empire and embrace the resistance.

I can choose between them – between protecting my family, or protecting my people – or I can search out a better path . . . a magical path, filled with secrets, unbound by Empire or resistance, which could shake my world to its very foundation.

But my search for freedom will entangle me in a war between the gods themselves…

Review

The Hand of the Sun King is a vivid and engrossing epic fantasy debut from J T Greathouse. The story follows Wen Alder, or Foolish Cur who is torn between the two sides of his family. There is the legacy of his father, who can trace his ancestry to the right hand of the Emperor. Then there is his mother’s family, staunch objectors to the Empire and part of the resistance. Wen finds himself torn between protecting his family or his people, but his path could lead him to something much greater – a place of magic and secrets away from the influence of the Empire or the resistance. But taking this path will entangle him in a war greater than he could possibly imagine.

The Hand of the Sun King is such a well-executed story and one I completely fell in love with. The world-building was well crafted and I was completely fascinated by the world Greathouse has created in this story. I also thought the magic system was really intriguing, particularly as the story progressed and we learned more. Greathouse has a really vivid writing style and the setting was really brought to life in the story. I raced through this book in a matter of days and I cannot wait to see where the story goes next. This coming of age tale will appeal to so many readers as it’s full to the brim with magic, action-packed battle scenes and well-crafted characters.

One of the things that really shines in The Hand of the Sun is the complex characters. Wen is a really fascinating story and there is so much character growth as the story progresses. He isn’t always the most likeable of characters as he goes on his journey, but he was certainly a compelling protagonist, dealing with conflicting loyalties and searching for his path in life. The Hand of the Sun King is a brilliant read, one with absolutely beautiful writing and an intriguing world. The book has already been getting lots of hype and it’s easy to see why. This will definitely be in my top books of the year and I cannot wait to read more from J T Greathouse.

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.

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! 

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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

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: Notes From the Burning Age – Claire North

Blog Tour: Notes From the Burning Age – Claire North


Release Date:
July 20th 2021
Publisher: Orbit Books
Pages: 401
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 4.25/5 stars

Synopsis

Ven was once a holy man, a keeper of ancient archives. It was his duty to interpret archaic texts, sorting useful knowledge from the heretical ideas of the Burning Age—a time of excess and climate disaster. For in Ven’s world, such material must be closely guarded so that the ills that led to that cataclysmic era can never be repeated.

But when the revolutionary Brotherhood approaches Ven, pressuring him to translate stolen writings that threaten everything he once held dear, his life will be turned upside down. Torn between friendship and faith, Ven must decide how far he’s willing to go to save this new world—and how much he is willing to lose.

Review

Notes From the Burning Age is the newest release from Claire North, author of The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August. The story follows Ven who is tasked with interpreting ancient texts and sorting through the information inside. The information inside is closely guarded to stop a repeat of the burning age. When the Brotherhood persuade Ven to translate stolen texts, Ven has everything he knows turned upside down and Ven will have to use everything he knows to save the world.

This was such a fascinating and engrossing read and is one of those stories you end up getting completely wrapped up in. I usually read a couple of books at the one time and I ended up abandoning all the others because I just could not look away from this one. This is my first book by Claire North (though I have quite a few of her books on my shelf) and it will definitely not be my last. I really enjoyed her writing style and the story was well-paced throughout. I thought this was such a fascinating premise – a future where Earth has been ravaged by pollution and the new world where information is closely guarded to protect it.

Ven was a really interesting main protagonist and I felt the world was really well explained. All the characters in this story felt really well developed and I really enjoyed seeing Ven grow as a character as the story progressed. Notes From the Burning Age also has elements of a spy thriller and there is tons of suspense in the story. North weaves elements of science fiction and spy thriller in a really clever way and this story will definitely appeal to a wide range of readers. Notes From the Burning Age is an unforgettable story and completely unlike anything I’ve read before. If you’ve read books from Claire North before you’re bound to love this one. If you’re in the mood for some speculative fiction that will keep you on the edge of your seat, Notes From the Burning Age is a must read.