Blog Tour: A Song for a New Day – Sarah Pinsker

Blog Tour: A Song for a New Day – Sarah Pinsker


Release Date:
August 20th 2020
Publisher: Head of Zeus
Pages: 386
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

An unnervingly prescient, Nebula-award-winning novel explores life in a world permanently locked down in the aftermath of a pandemic.

Before: Luce Cannon is on the road. Success is finally within her grasp: her songs are getting airtime; the venues she’s playing are getting larger. But mass shootings, bombings and now a strange contagion are closing America down around her.

The gig Luce plays tonight will turn out to be the last-ever rock show as the world’s stadiums, arenas and concert halls go dark for good.

After: Rosemary is too young to remember the Before. She grew up, went to school and works in the virtual world of Hoodspace. Only a few weeks ago she was a customer service rep for Superwally, the corporate monolith of automated warehouses and drone deliveries that services almost every consumer need, but now she’s about to do something she’s never done before… she’s going to take to the road, in the real world.

Working for StageHoloLive, which controls what is left of the music industry, her job is to find new talent, search out the illegal backroom jams and bring musicians into the Hoodspace hologaphic limelight they deserve.

But when Rosemary sees how the world could actually be, that won’t be enough.

Review

A Song for a New Day is the beautifully told story of a world where everyone has retreated into virtual Hoodspace. People don’t meet up in groups anymore and everything happens virtually. The story follows two characters – Rosemary the perfect employee of corporation giant Superwally and Luce, the musician who played the last face to face concert. When Rosemary makes the decision to leave Superwally and take a job with StageHoloLive, the company which has the monopoly on the music industry, Rosemary finds herself on the road travelling across the country in search of new bands. The job takes her to illegal venues and places she could not imagine. But once Rosemary begins to get to know the people still making live music, she learns Hoodspace might not be enough.

This is an utterly fascinating tale, and one that gripped me so much. The world fell due to a virus that killed lots of people, forcing people to remain indoors and retreat online – given all that’s going on in the world that felt pretty realistic. It was really interesting to see a future where the world has developed in a way that people no longer really go out. It was at times an uncomfortable read, but one I did not want to look away from. The plot is a well paced one, that gives the reader time to get to know our main characters and understand how the world has changed.

The story is told in alternating POVs between Rosemary and Luce. While I really liked them both as protagonists I was drawn more to Rosemary’s story and her attempt to move away from her life as a Superwally employee never leaving her small town. I loved seeing her grow and try new things, particularly as she became more and more involved in the underground music scene.

As someone who loves going to concerts I adored the way that Pinsker described the music and the venues in this book. The writing really brought the music to life and as there hasn’t been any live music for the past year it definitely left me wishing I could go to one soon. A Song for a New Day is a thought-provoking read and one that I find myself still thinking about even though I’ve long finished the book. It’s a book that really shows Pinsker’s passion for music and I am incredibly keen to read more from this author.

Blog Tour: The Black Coast – Mike Brooks

Blog Tour: The Black Coast – Mike Brooks


Series:
The God-King Chronicles #1
Release Date: February 18th 2021
Publisher: Orbit Books
Pages: 672
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

Epic world-building at its finest, in an upcoming author’s fantasy debut. The Black Coast is the start of an unmissable series filled with war-dragons, armoured knights, sea-faring raiders, dangerous magic and crowd-pleasing battle scenes.

When the citizens of Black Keep see ships on the horizon, terror takes them, for they know who is coming: for generations, Black Keep has been raided by the fearsome clanspeople of Iwernia. Saddling their war dragons, the Naridans rush to defend their home only to discover that the clanspeople have not come to pillage at all. Driven from their own homeland by the rise of a daemonic despot who prophesies the end of the world, they have come in search of a new home. Meanwhile the wider continent of Narida is lurching toward war. Black Keep is about to be caught in the cross-fire of the coming war for the world – if only its new mismatched society can survive.

Review

The Black Coast is the first in an all new fantasy series by Mike Brooks. This is my first time reading a book by Mike Brooks and I was completely sucked in by that absolutely stunning cover. The story follows two different cultures in their attempts to make peace, The people of the Black Keep see ships on the horizon and immediately prepare for an invasion. But the people aren’t coming to raid as they normally would, they’re looking to stay there and flee the horrors of their homeland. As the two cultures attempt to live together war looms on the horizon and the Black Keep will become caught in the middle – but will they be able to survive?

I honestly loved every second of this book. The world building is superb, it’s well plotted and incredibly detailed. I enjoyed spending time in this world and I can’t wait to see how Brooks continues to expand the world in later instalments. This is quite a chunky book so there is plenty of time to get to know the characters and the world. The Black Coast felt like such a fresh take, with the focus being on working together rather than fighting and conquering. I really liked seeing these two different cultures interact, particularly as they had different systems and beliefs in place.

That being said there is plenty of action and tons of intrigue that keeps the reader hooked and I definitely found myself reading late into the night with this one. I really enjoyed the writing style in The Black Coast and it was easy just to get completely lost in the story. We are treated to multiple POVs in the story which I really enjoyed, although Saana and Daimon feature most. Each of the characters felt really well crafted and I can’t wait to see more of them in book two.

Brooks has weaved a really compelling story, one that’s full of dragons, magic and intrigue. If you’re looking for your next addictive fantasy read, The Black Coast will definitely be it.

Blog Tour: The Searching Dead – Ramsey Campbell

Blog Tour: The Searching Dead – Ramsey Campbell


Series:
The Three Births of Daoloth #1
Release Date: February 16th 2021
Publisher: Flame Tree Press
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

1952. On a school trip to France teenager Dominic Sheldrake begins to suspect his teacher Christian Noble has reasons to be there as secret as they’re strange. Meanwhile a widowed neighbour joins a church that puts you in touch with your dead relatives, who prove much harder to get rid of. As Dominic and his friends Roberta and Jim investigate, they can’t suspect how much larger and more terrible the link between these mysteries will become. A monstrous discovery beneath a church only hints at terrors that are poised to engulf the world as the trilogy brings us to the present day…

Review

Ramsey Campbell is an author I have always wanted to try so when I was offered the chance to read The Searching Dead I jumped at it. The story follows young Dominic Sheldrake as he begins to have suspicions about his history teacher Mr Noble. He learns that his widowed neighbour is part of a church that allows you to contact your dead loved ones and as Dominic and his friend Jim explore France on a school trip he learns that Mr Noble might have other reasons for being there. As Dominic and his friends attempt to uncover the mysteries surrounding them, they uncover much more than they bargained for.

This was such a fun and fascinating read. The story is set in 1950’s Liverpool and Campbell has put an incredible amount of detail into bringing the city to life. All the sights and sounds of post-war Britain leap from the page and it made for a really compelling read. The story has a slightly sinister atmosphere throughout, and this continues to build as we get further and further into the mysteries surrounding Dominic.

I loved that this was also a coming of age story, as Dominic and his friends grow up and begin to question the things around them. I really liked Dominic, Jim and Bobbie, they made for a really great group of friends to follow. All the characters are well fleshed out in the story, from the eerie Mr Noble to the grieving widow next door. While the story is quite quick paced this is a slow building horror but I read the last half of the book in one sitting because I couldn’t look away. It’s a compelling read and I’m really eager to see what book two has in store.

The Searching Dead is a tense and gripping read and if you’re a fan of Lovecraftian horror stories, this is absolutely one to check out. Whilst this is my first book from Ramsey Campbell, it definitely will not be my last.

Blog Tour: Winter’s Orbit – Everina Maxwell

Blog Tour: Winter’s Orbit – Everina Maxwell


Release Date:
February 4th 2021
Publisher: Orbit Books
Pages: 448
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 5/5 stars

Synopsis

Ancillary Justice meets Red, White & Royal Blue in Everina Maxwell’s exciting debut.

While the Iskat Empire has long dominated the system through treaties and political alliances, several planets, including Thea, have begun to chafe under Iskat’s rule. When tragedy befalls Imperial Prince Taam, his Thean widower, Jainan, is rushed into an arranged marriage with Taam’s cousin, the disreputable Kiem, in a bid to keep the rising hostilities between the two worlds under control.

But when it comes to light that Prince Taam’s death may not have been an accident, and that Jainan himself may be a suspect, the unlikely pair must overcome their misgivings and learn to trust one another as they navigate the perils of the Iskat court, try to solve a murder, and prevent an interplanetary war… all while dealing with their growing feelings for each other.

Review

Winter’s Orbit is an absolutely incredible debut that I did not want to end. The story follows Prince Kiem of the Iskat empire and Count Jainan of the planet Thea as they are rushed into an arrange marriage following the sudden death of Jainan’s partner Prince Taam. The marriage must appear perfect in every way to smooth over the tensions between the two worlds. When it’s discovered that Taam’s death may not have been an accident, Kiem and Jainan must work together to find the truth and stop a war from brewing.

If I could give this book six stars I would. After hearing so many rave reviews I went in with pretty high expectations but it was everything I wanted and more. This is a brilliantly told story, with a well paced plot and detailed world building. I just loved the concept of this book – the reckless prince who always gets into trouble and the serious science scholar who have to stop a war and understand their feelings for each other? I loved the mix of political intrigue, murder mystery and romance. It was such a creative story and I loved it from beginning to end.

Everina Maxwell has created some really brilliant characters and I really liked seeing both Kiem and Jainan as their awkward relationship built into something more. The story is told from both perspectives which I really enjoyed too. The romance is a slow burn and I liked the way that Maxwell developed the relationship slowly, giving the reader a chance to really get to know both characters. The story does focus quite a bit on domestic abuse, so there are trigger warnings for that too.

Whilst this is a space opera it also felt like a cosy, comforting read and I flew through it because Maxwell has such a lovely writing style. I think this would be a great crossover for someone looking to read more science fiction. It’s a cute and fun read, whilst still full of political intrigue and mystery. Overall I thought this was a truly fantastic debut and I cannot wait to see what Everina Maxwell writes next.

Blog Tour: The Shape of Darkness – Laura Purcell

Blog Tour: The Shape of Darkness – Laura Purcell


Release Date:
January 21st 2021
Publisher: Raven Books
Pages: 416
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 5/5 stars

Synopsis

As the age of the photograph dawns in Victorian Bath, silhouette artist Agnes is struggling to keep her business afloat. Still recovering from a serious illness herself, making enough money to support her elderly mother and her orphaned nephew Cedric has never been easy, but then one of her clients is murdered shortly after sitting for Agnes, and then another, and another… Why is the killer seemingly targeting her business?

Desperately seeking an answer, Agnes approaches Pearl, a child spirit medium lodging in Bath with her older half-sister and her ailing father, hoping that if Pearl can make contact with those who died, they might reveal who killed them.

But Agnes and Pearl quickly discover that instead they may have opened the door to something that they can never put back…

Review

Laura Purcell is one of my favourite authors so when I heard she was releasing a new book I was incredibly excited to read it. All of the books I have read by her have been five star reads so I had pretty high expectations going in. The story follows Agnes, a silhouette artist who lives in Bath with her elderly mother and nephew Cedric. Her business is struggling to stay afloat and when her customers start being murdered she wonders who exactly is targeting her. In a search for answers Agnes meets Pearl, a child who is able to contact the spirit world. Agnes asks Pearl to help uncover who the killer is, but in doing so reveals so much more.

Like Purcell’s previous novels, The Shape of Darkness is dark, full to the brim with a tense, unsettling atmosphere. I was completely hooked in by this book and I read it over the course of a couple of days. It’s beautifully written and I loved the way Purcell weaved this story of seances and murder. The story is pretty fast paced, it felt faster than either The Corset or The Silent Companions and I absolutely did not want it to end.

The story is a fascinating one and I really liked learning about the work Agnes did as a silhouette artist. Agnes is a really interesting protagonist and it was fascinating to see her attempt to juggle her business, providing for her family and uncovering the killer. I also really liked Pearl and enjoying seeing the story unfold from both points of view.

The Shape of Darkness is perfect winter reading. It’s a tense, addictive read and one you will not be able to look away from. If you’ve read any of Purcell’s other books or you’re a fan of Victorian Gothic fiction, this is absolutely a must read.

Blog Tour: The Mask of Mirrors – M A Carrick

Blog Tour: The Mask of Mirrors – M A Carrick


Series:
Rook & Rose #1
Release Date: January 21st 2021
Publisher: Orbit Books
Pages: 672
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

Fortune favors the bold. Magic favors the liars.

Ren is a con artist who has come to the sparkling city of Nadežra with one goal: to trick her way into a noble house, securing her fortune and her sister’s future.

But as she’s drawn into the elite world of House Traementis, she realizes her masquerade is just one of many surrounding her. And as nightmare magic begins to weave its way through the City of Dreams, the poisonous feuds of its aristocrats and the shadowy dangers of its impoverished underbelly become tangled…with Ren at their heart.

The Mask of Mirrors is the unmissable start to the Rook & Rose trilogy, a dazzling and darkly magical fantasy adventure by Marie Brennan and Alyc Helms, writing together as M. A. Carrick

Review

The Mask of Mirrors is the first in an all new adult fantasy trilogy from authors Marie Brennan and Alyc Helms. The story follows Ren, a street rat and con artist who is attempting to scheme her way into one of the noble families of Nadezra. As she becomes drawn into the world of House Traementis she becomes ensnared in a web of secrets and nightmare magic.

As soon as I read the synopsis I knew this was going to be my perfect kind of book. I loved everything about this story. The Venetian style setting was beautifully described and the world building is incredibly detailed. It took me a little while to get to grips with everything in this world but I was completely captivated by it. The story is quite a slow paced one and it gives the reader plenty of time to get to know the world and the characters. I really liked the magic system in this story too and I’m so intrigued to learn more in the next instalment.

Carrick created some really fascinating characters and I loved Ren, she’s clever and stubborn – doing whatever she can to make her schemes work. I also liked her sister Tess who moonlights as her handmaid and it was so fascinating to have the emphasis on clothes and fashion as Tess attempted to make Ren look like one of the nobility. I also really liked Grey as a character and I cannot wait to see where Carrick takes the characters next. I absolutely love heist/con stories and this is an incredibly well executed one – despite it being nearly seven hundred pages it was such an easy read and I raced through the last two hundred pages in one go.

Mask of Mirrors is an impressive start to a new fantasy series. With a compelling plot and impeccable world building, this is an absolute must read for fantasy fans.

Blog Tour: Dear Edward – Ann Napolitano

Blog Tour: Dear Edward – Ann Napolitano


Release Date:
4th February 2021
Publisher: Penguin
Pages: 352
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 3.75/5 stars

Synopsis

One summer morning, twelve-year-old Edward Adler, his beloved older brother, his parents, and 183 other passengers board a flight in Newark headed for Los Angeles. Among them is a Wall Street wunderkind, a young woman coming to terms with an unexpected pregnancy, an injured vet returning from Afghanistan, a septuagenarian business tycoon, and a free-spirited woman running away from her controlling husband. And then, tragically, the plane crashes. Edward is the sole survivor.

Edward’s story captures the attention of the nation, but he struggles to find a place for himself in a world without his family. He continues to feel that a piece of him has been left in the sky, forever tied to the plane and all of his fellow passengers. But then he makes an unexpected discovery–one that will lead him to the answers of some of life’s most profound questions: When you’ve lost everything, how do find yourself? How do you discover your purpose? What does it mean not just to survive, but to truly live?

Review

Dear Edward is the heartbreaking and emotional story of Edward Adler, a twelve year old boy who is flying from New York to Los Angeles along with 183 other passengers. When the plane crashes, tragically Edward is the only one who survives. Told in two timelines of the moments leading up to the crash and Edward afterwards as he attempts to understand his purpose in life and how he will cope when he’s lost everything.

Dear Edward isn’t the kind of book I normally pick up but it sounded like a really compelling story and I was so intrigued. This book is a beautiful story, following Edward as he moves to live with his aunt and uncle, attempts to live a normal life as well as honour all those that died in the crash. The story is quite a slow paced one, it’s very much a character study of Edward and the people on the plane. I really liked Napolitano’s writing style and the characters were very well developed. Even though we only get snapshots of the people on the plane, they felt very real and relatable.

I was really surprised that some of the moments before the plane crash are taken from black box recordings of actual plane crashes and that Edward is inspired by a young boy who was the only survivor in a plane crash. It really added another layer to the story and left me thinking about this story longer after I’d finished turning the pages.

I really enjoyed seeing Edward grow up and I loved his relationship with his neighbour Shay. It was fascinating to see how the crash affected so many people even if they were direct family members of the victims. This is a thought-provoking read and despite it being at times quite a difficult read, it’s a story well worth reading.

Blog Tour: The Island – C. L. Taylor

Blog Tour: The Island – C. L. Taylor


Release Date: January 21st 2021
Publisher: HQ Stories
Pages: 384
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher sent me an E-ARC to review
Rating: 3.75/5 stars

Synopsis

Lost meets The Hunger Games in the thrilling new young adult novel from C.L. Taylor, the Sunday Times and million-copy bestselling author.

Welcome to The Island.
Where your worst fears are about to come true…

It was supposed to be the perfect holiday: a week-long trip for six teenage friends on a remote tropical island.

But when their guide dies of a stroke leaving them stranded, the trip of a lifetime quickly turns into a nightmare.

Because someone on the island knows each of the group’s worst fears. And one by one, they’re coming true.

Seven days in paradise. A deadly secret.

Who will make it off the island alive?

Review

The all new addictive YA thriller from C. L. Taylor, the story follows six families who holiday together every year. This time they’re in Thailand and the six teenagers are taking part in a week long survival trip on a remote island. When their guide dies suddenly the teenagers are stranded and the trip quickly takes a dark turn. As the group attempt to survive they quickly learn someone on the island knows their worst fears – but who is making them come true?

This was such a fast paced read and I raced through it in just over a day. I always love C. L. Taylor’s books and this one is no exception. Full of twists and turns, I didn’t guess the ending until it was revealed. Taylor has such a great writing style that it’s really easy to get absorbed in the story. I really adored the premise of this one – the idea of a once in a life time trip gone horribly wrong and the sinister notion of whether they are in fact the only people on the island.

The characters were well developed and I liked some of them and hated others. They made for a fascinating group and it was really interesting seeing the dynamics change as they fought to survive and grew suspicious of each other. Like the other C. L. Taylor books I’ve read there’s a tense, unsettling atmosphere that continues to climb right to the very last page.

If you’re a fan of C. L. Taylor or you love compelling YA thrillers, this is absolutely a must read. This is my fifth read by this author and I cannot wait to see what she does next.

Blog Tour: The Game Weavers – Rebecca Zahabi

Blog Tour: The Game Weavers – Rebecca Zahabi


Release Date:
October 25th 2020
Publisher: ZunTold Publishing
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

Seo is Twine’s youth champion.

We are in a darker Britain and the national sport is not football but Twine, a game where weavers craft creatures from their fingertips to wage battle against others in vast arenas, watched by thousands.

But we are living in intolerant times and Seo harbours a secret. When he is outed as gay by the media, Seo cannot use his magic to save him.

With the help of his brother Minjun and Jack, the man he can’t quite decide if he loves or not, Seo has to fight to get his life back on track whilst facing the biggest match of his career.

A fantastical yet hauntingly contemporary debut novel from Rebecca Zahabi.

Review

The Game Weavers is the absolutely fascinating debut novel from Rebecca Zahabi. The story follows Seo, a young man who is a champion at Britain’s national sport Twine – a game in which the player must create creatures that battle each other in huge arenas. Despite the futuristic game society has become even more intolerant and when the media outs Seo as gay, he has to fight to get his life back on track as well as continue to compete in the legendary game.

Zahabi has created a really fresh and unique premise, and I found this story to be incredibly gripping. I absolutely loved the idea of Twine, a fighting game similar to the idea of Pokemon in which creatures must battle each other. The story was well paced and I enjoyed learning about the game and the world that Zahabi has brought to life. I really enjoyed her writing style and it was so easy to sink into this brilliant debut novel.

The Game Weavers features a diverse cast of characters and I really liked Seo as a main protagonist. I was really rooting for him and it was interesting seeing him attempt to get his life back to normal, figure out his feeling for Jack as well as play in the game. All the characters were well created and I also really liked the sibling relationship between Seo and Minjun.

The story focuses on homophobia and as such there are some trigger warnings for this. I thought the subject was well handled and the idea of being true to yourself really shined through in the story. The Game Weavers is a well crafted novel with a unique and engaging premise. This is a very impressive debut and I’m excited to see what Rebecca Zahabi writes next.

Blog Tour: Poisoned – Jennifer Donnelly

Blog Tour: Poisoned – Jennifer Donnelly


Release Date:
October 20th 2020
Publisher: Hot Key Books
Pages: 320
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 3.75/5

Synopsis

From Jennifer Donnelly, author of the acclaimed New York Times bestseller Stepsister, comes a fairytale retelling that’ll forever change the way you think about strength, power, and the real meaning of “happily ever after.”
Once upon a time, a girl named Sophie rode into the forest with the queen’s huntsman. Her lips were the color of ripe cherries, her skin as soft as new-fallen snow, her hair as dark as midnight. When they stopped to rest, the huntsman pulled out his knife . . . and took Sophie’s heart.

It shouldn’t have come as a surprise. Sophie had heard the rumors, the whispers. They said she was too kind and foolish to rule — a waste of a princess. A disaster of a future queen. And Sophie believed them. She believed everything she’d heard about herself, the poisonous words people use to keep girls like Sophie from becoming too powerful, too strong . . .

With the help of seven mysterious strangers, Sophie manages to survive. But when she realizes that the jealous queen might not be to blame, Sophie must find the courage to face an even more terrifying enemy, proving that even the darkest magic can’t extinguish the fire burning inside every girl, and that kindness is the ultimate form of strength.

Review

Poisoned is the new release from acclaimed author Jennifer Donnelly, author of Stepsister. Having read and really enjoyed Stepsister last year, I was really intrigued how Donnelly was going to take the tale of Snow White and turn it on its head. The story follows Sophie, a princess who ventures into the forest with the huntsman. While there he removes Sophie’s heart. The kingdom had been awash that she was never fit to rule, that she was too soft and sweet to be a good Queen and so she isn’t surprised by the assassination attempt. Sophie manages to survive and with the help of seven strangers, must face a horrifying enemy and prove that kindness can be just as strong as hate.

Much like Stepsister, Poisoned is a dark and gripping feminist retelling of a story we all know and love. I really enjoyed the way that Donnelly adapted the story and brought something new to the tale. This is such a fun feminist retelling and I ended up racing through it. The chapters are pretty short so I often found myself saying ‘oh just one more’ and then still being there ten chapters later.

The world building is well done in this story, and I loved the feminist perspective in this book. The story is obviously a bit darker and bloodier than the Disney version but it’s still full of whimsy like a traditional fairy tale. Donnelly has a really beautiful writing style and I loved the vivid descriptions of the forest and the creatures that dwell there. The one thing I struggled with was that I felt the pacing was a bit off – some parts were really fast paced and others were much slower and this threw me out of the story a little.

The thing that made this story for me was the characters. Donnelly has created some really fascinating characters and we are treated to multiple POVs in this story. All the characters felt well fleshed out and I really liked Sophie as a main character. Poisoned is a dark and compelling tale and if you’re looking for a fresh take on a beloved fairytale, this will absolutely be up your street.