Blog Tour: Soul of the Sword – Julie Kagawa

Blog Tour: Soul of the Sword – Julie Kagawa

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Series:
Shadow of the Fox #2
Release Date: June 25th 2019
Publisher: HQ Stories
Pages: 304
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 4/5 stars

Synopsis

One thousand years ago, a wish was made to the Harbinger of Change and a sword of rage and lightning was forged. Kamigoroshi. The Godslayer. It had one task: to seal away the powerful demon Hakaimono.

Now he has broken free.

Kitsune shapeshifter Yumeko has one task: to take her piece of the ancient and powerful scroll to the Steel Feather temple in order to prevent the summoning of the Harbinger of Change, the great Kami Dragon who will grant one wish to whomever holds the Scroll of a Thousand Prayers. But she has a new enemy now. The demon Hakaimono, who for centuries was trapped in a cursed sword, has escaped and possessed the boy she thought would protect her, Kage Tatsumi of the Shadow Clan.

Hakaimono has done the unthinkable and joined forces with the Master of Demons in order to break the curse of the sword and set himself free. To overthrow the empire and cover the land in darkness, they need one thing: the Scroll of a Thousand Prayers. As the paths of Yumeko and the possessed Tatsumi cross once again, the entire empire will be thrown into chaos.

Review

41733208Soul of the Sword is the second instalment in Julie Kagawa’s Shadow of the Fox series. This quick, action packed adventure was one of my favourites of last year so I was so excited to return to this world. What I got was even more action, even more gripping plot and of course the characters that I love.

The setting for this story is just so beautiful and it really comes to life in Julie Kagawa’s writing. The vibrant world leapt off the page, and I loved every second of being in that world. The plot is very much a journey as the characters continue on their quest and I really enjoyed seeing the different places they ended up. Soul of the Sword is incredibly quick paced, and definitely has that anime-adventure feel to it.

The story is told in alternating POVs between quite a few different characters, and I really liked getting to see things from these different perspectives. Yumeko is absolutely my favourite character, she’s so sweet and lovely and I loved her take on the world. There’s lots of fun banter between the characters, which split up the action nicely too.

This second book is everything you could want. The plot went places I absolutely didn’t expect and the last few chapters had me racing through to find out how it was going to end. I am now absolutely desperate to read book three and I can’t wait to see where Kagawa takes this brilliant story next.
4 stars

Blog Tour: My Secret Lies With You – Faye Bird

Blog Tour: My Secret Lies With You – Faye Bird

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Synopsis
Three close friends. Two unforgettable summers. One girl’s darkest secret.

Alys appeared last summer, and then she vanished without a trace. Cait’s new in town and she needs to know the truth: Who is Alys?
“A tantalizing story of summer, secrets and deep unease” – Sue Wallman, author of Lying About Last Summer.

Guest Post: My Favourite Mysteries

This film, based on Stephen King’s Novella The Body, has a very special place in my heart. Four twelve-year old boys go in search of missing boy Ray Brower. There’s a rumour that he is dead and that his body is lying somewhere outside of town. The boys want to find it. They set off together. They walk and they talk. And as they do they share the biggest and the smallest things of their lives so far in small town Oregon,1959.

Conversations range from survivor guilt over the death of a sibling through to a discussion about who, in a fight between Mighty Mouse and Superman, would win. It’s Superman, by the way. “No way can a cartoon beat up a real guy.” There’s a whole heap of other serious, funny, moving, brilliant, painful conversation in between. The boys encounter danger – a man in a junkyard, leeches in a swamp, and there is the classic moment as they walk along the railway line over a bridge that is a real heart-in-your-mouth-gasp-scream-at-the-screenmoment because by this point in the film you love these boys like they are your brothers or your sons. Well, I did anyway. I still do.

This film was made in 1986 and is definitely one of the main influences that the scriptwriters of Stranger Things the Duffer Brothers, drew on when they created the characters of Will, Mike, Dustin and Lucas. In fact if you haven’t watched this film already then do, and look again at episode 4 of Season 1 of Stranger Things. I’m a huge fan of Stranger Things in part because it draws on so many of the iconic movies of my own 80’s childhood. ET, Poltergeist, Alien and Firestarter immediately come to mind, but there are references that reach far wider, small details or scenes that tip their hat to Indiana Jones (literally – see Hopper) and The Breakfast Club (see Steve and Nancy) and even extend to Karate Kid.

But what I particularly love is that I can watch the show with my teenage daughter who is as hooked as I am despite the fact that she sees none of these 80’s throwbacks and references.

Genius Duffer Brothers! I can’t wait for Season 3. And if you ever ask me if I want to sit down and watch Stand By Me again, I’ll say yes. Always yes. It’s a powerful story about friendship and coming of age and it’s brilliance, for me, never wanes.

Massive thank you to Faye for her wonderful guest post and be sure to check out all the other blog stops for more mysteries. Check back tomorrow for a full review of the gripping My Secret Lies With You!

Blog Tour: Nexus – Lindsay Cummings & Sasha Alsberg

Blog Tour: Nexus – Lindsay Cummings & Sasha Alsberg

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Series:
The Androma Saga #2
Release Date: May 7th 2019
Publisher: HQ Stories
Pages: 544
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.

Synopsis

Her ship is gone, her crew is captured and notorious mercenary Androma Racella is no longer the powerful Bloody Baroness, but a fugitive ruthlessly hunted across the Mirabel Galaxy. The bloodthirsty Queen Nor now rules most of the galaxy through a mind-control toxin and she’ll stop at nothing to destroy her most hated adversary.

Andi will risk anything, even her precious freedom, to find a cure. Stranded with her unlikely ally, Dex, on the unforgiving ice planet of Solera, their plan to infiltrate a black-market city proves dangerously irresistible.

Back in Arcardius, Nor’s actions have opened Mirabel to invasion. As Andi’s crew fights to regain their freedom, Andi and Dex discover a threat far greater than anything they’ve faced before.

Only by saving their mortal enemy can the crew of the Marauder make one last desperate strike to save the galaxy—unaware that a shattering, centuries-old secret may demand the most wrenching sacrifice of all.

Q&A

 1. For those that haven’t read Zenith, can you sum it up in three words?

L: fearless space pirates 🙂

S: Blood. Friendship. SPACE!

2. What is the process like for writing the books – do each of you focus on particular characters or do you collaborate on everything?

L: This was a very collaborative duology, where we both worked together on FaceTime and Google Docs, so we could do a lot of the plotting together, (and laughing a lot), and then kind of alternating throughout each POV as we went.

S: For Zenith we wrote on top of each others writing, so we each worked on every character together. Meanwhile for Nexus, we each took a few characters each and wrote 4-5 chapters from each POV then would switch with each other. Both ways worked for us!

3. How did working on Nexus compare to working on Zenith?

L: ZENITH was done in 6 weeks, whereas NEXUS had over a year of time to work on! Second books are difficult, so we’re grateful for that extended time to get the book to where it needed to be!

S: It felt very different because as an author, you cannot expect all books to be done the same way as the last. It was tricky finding that happy medium. We had less time to write Zenith but Nexus almost felt like a (good) upward battle. We learned a lot…and deleted a lot.

4. What was the inspiration behind the story?

L: we just wanted to write a series about friendship, specifically female friendships that don’t turn sour. Our own friendship helped spark the idea!!

S: Friendship and our love for space. We wanted to create a book where girls could be friends without turning against each other. We also just wanted to have an epic space opera with a diverse cast of characters like they do on Firefly and Star Wars.

5. Now that Nexus is about to be released, what are you working on next?

L: I have an upcoming book (stay tuned on info for that!!) full of outlaw girls and alien horses, dark magic and mayhem.

S: Im working on an urban folklore fantasy novel called Project Red (no the official title). You can follow my progress on it over on its IG page: @Projectredbook 🙂

6. Finally can you recommend us a good book you read recently?

L: I’m really loving Maureen Johnson’s TRULY DEVIOUS series. It’s a great mystery!

S: THE CHOSEN by Taran Matharu! So. Good. Its about a group of kids who suddenly disappear, just to be transported to another world and from there, things get really EPIC. It has lost history, dinosaurs, an *amazing* cast of characters and an ancient, unknown evil who is playing puppeteer.

Massive thank you to Lindsay and Sasha for participating in this Q&A and make sure to check out the other stops on the tour!
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Blog Tour: King of Fools – Amanda Foody Q&A

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

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

Synopsis

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

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

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

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

Or die as legends.

Interview

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

Casinos. Magic. Gangsters.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Blog Tour: As Far as the Stars – Virginia MacGregor

Blog Tour: As Far as the Stars – Virginia MacGregor

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Release Date:
May 21st 2019
Publisher: HQ Stories
Pages: 448
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review.
Rating: 4.25/5 stars

Synopsis

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

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

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

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

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

Review

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

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

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

Blog Tour: Emily Eternal – M. G. Wheaton

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

Synopsis

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

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

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

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

Review

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

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

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

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

Blog Tour: The Devil Aspect – Craig Russell

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Release Date:
March 7th 2019
Publisher: Constable
Pages: 496
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 4.5/5 stars

Synopsis

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

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

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

Review

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

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

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

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