Blog Tour: Master Artificer – Justin Call

Blog Tour: Master Artificer – Justin Call


Series:
The Silent Gods #2 (See my review of book one here!)
Release Date: May 6th 2021
Publisher: Gollancz
Pages: 881
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

Annev has avoided one fate. But a darker path may still claim him . . .

After surviving the destruction of Chaenbalu, new mysteries and greater threats await Annev and his friends in the capital city of Luqura. As they navigate the city’s perilous streets, Annev searches for a way to control his nascent magic and remove the cursed artifact now fused to his body.

But what might removing it cost him?

As Annev grapples with his magic, Fyn joins forces with old enemies and new allies, waging a secret war against Luqura’s corrupt guilds in the hopes of forging his own criminal empire. Deep in the Brakewood, Myjun is learning new skills of her own as an apprentice to Oyru, the shadow assassin who attacked the village of Chaenbalu – but the power of revenge comes at a daunting price. And back in Chaenbalu itself, left for dead in the Academy’s ruins, Kenton seeks salvation in the only place he can: the power hoarded in the Vault of Damnation . . .

Review

Master Artificer is the second instalment in Justin Call’s epic Silent Gods series. Master of Sorrows was one of my favourite reads of 2019 so I was so excited to dive back into this fascinating world. The story is full to the brim with magic and assassins and so much more – I couldn’t wait to find out what was next for Annev. Master Artificer is a bit chunkier than Master of Sorrows and it felt much much darker. I won’t say too much about the plot because it is the second book in the series but this instalment is brilliant and if possible I loved it even more than book one. We follow Annev and his friends immediately after the events of book one as Chaenbalu has been destroyed and the group find themselves in Luqura. 

Call has a really engaging writing style and despite the book being nearly 900 pages, it felt well-paced and I found myself getting completely lost in the story for hours at a time. There’s plenty of magic and battles to keep the reader hooked, but there’s also more world-building as Annev attempts to find a way to control his magic. I loved learning more about the world without feeling like I was having tons of information dumped on me. I love the way that Call weaves all the different storylines together and if you loved book one you are definitely going to want to pick this one up. It’s definitely an ambitious book and I think Call delivers it perfectly.

One of the things I enjoyed most about this series is the characters. This story is a complete page-turner and all of the characters are well crafted. I love morally grey characters and seeing Annev’s slow descent towards the darkness is so fascinating and well done. There is plenty of dark and brutal moments, Call definitely makes you root for a character only for something horrible to happen to them. Master of Sorrows was one of my favourite reads of 2019 and I have no doubt that Master Artificer will be in my favourites of this year. The story does end on a cliffhanger and I am desperate to know what will happen in book three. If you love intricate fantasy stories with complex wolf building, fascinating characters and plenty of action, this is absolutely a series to get reading.

Blog Tour: The Whole Truth – Cara Hunter

Blog Tour: The Whole Truth – Cara Hunter

Series: DI Adam Fawley #5 (See my review of book four here!)
Release Date: April 29th 2021
Publisher: Viking
Pages: 416
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

When an Oxford student accuses one of the university’s professors of sexual assault, DI Adam Fawley’s team think they’ve heard it all before. But they couldn’t be more wrong.

Because this time, the predator is a woman and the shining star of the department, and the student a six-foot male rugby player.

Soon DI Fawley and his team are up against the clock to figure out the truth. What they don’t realise is that someone is watching.

And they have a plan to put Fawley out of action for good…

Review

Cara Hunter is back with an all-new thriller in the DI Fawley series. This time Fawley and the team are dealing with a sexual assault case at Oxford University, but the victim is a six-foot rugby player and the accused is a professor at the top of her field. As the team work to uncover the truth they soon learn there’s more to this case than meets the eye. As the team race against the clock, the body of a missing woman is discovered and as the investigation begins it seems the only real suspect is Fawley himself.

Cara Hunter is one of my favourite thriller writers and I was so excited to read the latest instalment in this series. All the Rage completely captured my attention, and The Whole Truth was exactly the same. When I picked up The Whole Truth I didn’t move from that spot for several hours and I ended up a very tired person at work because I’d spent the whole night reading. This series is one of the most gripping I have ever read and I could not put the book down.

Just like the previous instalments, The Whole Truth is entertaining, full to the brim with twists and turns with an extremely quick pace. I love the way Hunter weaves in different kind of media with interview transcripts, podcasts and tweets. I think this is such a fascinating addition and really brings the story to life. I also love getting to know the different officers in Fawley’s team as the investigation is mixed in with their personal lives. All of the characters in the team have different personalities and it’s fascinating watching them come together to solve the mystery. The story is incredibly well executed and I hope the wait for book six isn’t too long because I am in desperate need of more!

If you love fast-paced police procedurals, this series is an absolute must-read. All the books in the series can be read as a standalone, but I definitely suggest buying more than one at a time, as soon as you finish one you’ll definitely want to pick up another.

Blog Tour: The Lore of Prometheus – Graham Austin King

Blog Tour: The Lore of Prometheus – Graham Austin King


Release Date:
November 30th 2018
Publisher: Fallen Leaf Press
Pages: 287
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: I was kindly sent an e-copy of this through The Write Reads
Rating: 4/5 stars

Synopsis

John Carver has three rules: Don’t drink in the daytime, don’t gamble when the luck has gone, and don’t talk to the dead people who come to visit.

It has been almost five years since the incident in Kabul. Since the magic stirred within him and the stories began. Fleeing the army, running from the whispers, the guilt, and the fear he was losing his mind, Carver fell into addiction, dragging himself through life one day at a time.

Desperation has pulled him back to Afghanistan, back to the heat, the dust, and the truth he worked so hard to avoid. But there are others, obsessed with power and forbidden magics, who will stop at nothing to learn the truth of his gifts. Abducted and chained, Carver must break more than his own rules if he is to harness this power and survive.

Review

The Lore of Prometheus is the dark story of John Carver, a soldier struggling with memories of his time in Afganistan. Struggling to pay off his debts, he agrees to take a security position in Kabul. When he returns to Kabul the memories come flooding back of the event he has so hard to forget – the day he felt magic stirring within him. But Carver isn’t the only one with these magical abilities, and some people will stop at nothing to get them.

Urban fantasy isn’t something I would typically read but the premise for this story really intrigued me. This fantasy standalone packs a punch and from the get-go I was hooked. This is a fast-paced story and one that you won’t want to look away from. I really enjoyed learning about the magic and the different kinds of abilities and this story was unlike anything I’ve read before.

Carver is a really interesting protagonist and I liked him more and more as the story develops. He’s very stubborn, determined to survive. The story focuses a lot on PTSD and the guilt Carver feels about surviving when his regiment did not. I similarly liked Mackenzie though I preferred Carver’s storyline to hers. The last half of the book when the two come together was the part and I enjoyed most and I thought the author wrapped the story up really well. I don’t read standalones all that often so it was nice to have a story concluded in one book. There was also lots of snarky and witty humour which was unexpected, but something I really enjoyed and I thought worked really well in the story.

The Lore of Prometheus is a brilliant read and one that really gives a fresh perspective on military fantasy. If you’re a fan of dark stories, full of action and magic this is definitely one to pick up.

Blog Tour: The Imposter – Anna Wharton

Blog Tour: The Imposter – Anna Wharton


Release Date:
April 1st
Publisher: Mantle
Pages: 416
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent a copy of this book to review
Rating: 4/5 stars

Synopsis

Chloe lives a quiet life. Working as a newspaper archivist in the day and taking care of her Nan in the evening, she’s happy simply to read about the lives of others as she files away from the news clippings from the safety of her desk.

But there’s one story that she can’t stop thinking about. The case of Angie Kyle – a girl, Chloe’s age, who went missing as a child. A girl whose parents never gave up hope.

When Chloe’s Nan gets moved into a nursing home, leaving Chloe on the brink of homelessness, she takes a desperate step: answering an ad to be a lodger in the missing girl’s family home. It could be the perfect opportunity to get closer to the story she’s read so much about. But it’s not long until she realizes this couple aren’t all they seem from the outside…

But with everyone in the house hiding something, the question is – whose secrets are the most dangerous?

Review

The Imposter is an expertly woven tale that tells the story of Chloe, a quiet girl who spends her time working as an archivist and looking after her Nan. She becomes obsessed with the story of a missing girl and the parents that never stopped hoping for her return. When her Nan is moved to a nursing home and she finds herself with nowhere to live, Chloe answers an ad for a lodger with the missing girls’ parents. When she moves in she learns there’s much more going on with the couple than she ever expected.

This was an absolutely cracking read. Wharton mixes this mystery story with an exploration of grief and loss, and it is incredibly well executed. This is such a captivating read and one that’s quite slow-paced. The reader is given plenty of opportunities to get to know the characters and the sad story of the missing child. There is a sense of unease throughout the story and this build and builds as the story reaches its ending.

Wharton has created some really complex and fascinating characters in this story and has done a brilliant job portraying grief. The story has many twists and turns, with a few I definitely didn’t see coming. It makes for a really compelling read, and I raced through the last half of the book in one sitting.

I thought Wharton crafted a really brilliant story and the premise was definitely something I haven’t encountered before. This sinister mystery is beautifully written and if you’re looking for a story that will keep you hooked right to the very last page, The Imposter is exactly what you’re looking for.

Blog Tour: Empire of Wild – Cherie Dimaline

Blog Tour: Empire of Wild – Cherie Dimaline


Release Date:
1st April 2021
Publisher: W&N
Pages: 300
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review

Synopsis

From the author of the YA-crossover hit The Marrow Thieves, a propulsive, stunning and sensuous novel inspired by the traditional Métis story of the Rogarou – a werewolf-like creature that haunts the roads and woods of Métis communities. A messed-up, grown-up, Little Red Riding Hood.

Broken-hearted Joan has been searching for her husband, Victor, for almost a year–ever since he went missing on the night they had their first serious argument. One terrible, hungover morning in a Walmart parking lot in a little town near Georgian Bay, she is drawn to a revival tent where the local Métis have been flocking to hear a charismatic preacher named Eugene Wolff. By the time she staggers into the tent, the service is over. But as she is about to leave, she hears an unmistakable voice.

She turns, and there Victor is. The same face, the same eyes, the same hands. But his hair is short and he’s wearing a suit and he doesn’t recognize her at all. No, he insists, she’s the one suffering a delusion: he’s the Reverend Wolff and his only mission is to bring his people to Jesus. Except that, as Joan soon discovers, that’s not all the enigmatic Wolff is doing.

With only the help of Ajean, a foul-mouthed euchre shark with knowledge of the old ways, and her odd, Johnny-Cash-loving, 12-year-old nephew Zeus, Joan has to find a way to remind the Reverend Wolff of who he really is. If he really is Victor. Her life, and the life of everyone she loves, depends upon it.

Review

Empire of Wild is one of those books that you read the premise of and are immediately desperate to know more. The story follows Joan, a woman struggling with the disappearance of her husband Victor. When she stumbles across a revival tent one more she heads inside to find her husband is the preacher. When she approaches him she discovers he does not recognise her at all. With some help from her nephew Zeus and Ajean – a woman in the community with knowledge of the old ways, she must fight to rescue Victor and remind him of who he really is.

Empire of Wild is an incredibly compelling read. I loved the slightly sinister atmosphere of the story and the tale of the Rogarou. Dimaline has gorgeous prose and the story really sucks you into this brilliant book. The story really focuses on issues of colonialism and identity and I loved the way Dimaline weaved these topics into the supernatural storyline.

Dimlaine creates really clever characters in this book and in particular, I loved Ajean and Zeus. Ajean is the wise lady who’s seen it all, and she’s a great side character. Similarly, Joan’s nephew Zeus, who is determined to come along and help rescue Victor. Think horror tale was an incredibly engrossing read and one that has definitely stuck with me. If you’re looking for a unique and compelling suspense story, Empire of Wild is one you need to add to your wishlist.

Blog Tour: Malice – Heather Walter

Blog Tour: Malice – Heather Walter


Release Date:
April 13th 2021
Publisher: Del Rey
Pages: 496
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 5/5

Synopsis

Once upon a time, there was a wicked fairy who cursed a line of princesses to die, and could only be broken by true love’s kiss. You’ve heard this before, haven’t you? The handsome prince. The happily-ever-after.

Utter nonsense.

Let me tell you, no one actually cares about what happens to our princesses. I thought I didn’t care, either. Until I met her.

Princess Aurora. The last heir to the throne. The future queen her realm needs. One who isn’t bothered that I am the Dark Grace, abhorred and feared for the mysterious dark magic that runs in my veins. Aurora says I should be proud of my gifts. That she . . . cares for me. Even though it was a power like mine that was responsible for her curse.

But with less than a year until that curse will kill her, any future I might see with Aurora is swiftly disintegrating – and she can’t stand to kiss yet another insipid prince. I want to help her. If my power began her curse, perhaps it’s what can lift it. Perhaps, together, we could forge a new world.

Nonsense again. Because we all know how this story ends, don’t we? Aurora is the beautiful princess. And I-

I am the villain.

Review

I am an absolute sucker for a fairytale retelling, so when I heard about Malice – a sleeping beauty retelling where Princess Aurora falls in love with the villain – I was immediately desperate to get my mitts on it. This story was everything I wanted and more – it was an incredibly dark and compelling read.

The story follows Alyce – the one and only Dark Grace. Feared and shunned for her powers, Alyce has very few friends and knows almost nothing about her Vila heritage. Meanwhile the kingdoms last remaining heir – Princess Aurora – has turned twenty, meaning she only has one more year to find her true love before she dies. Can Alyce find a way to lift the curse – even though she’s the villain and we all know how that story ends?

As soon as I picked up Malice I was completely hooked and I was swept along in this gorgeous story. I loved the world Walter created for this. It was beautifully imagined and there was plenty of well-explained world-building to allow the reader to get to know the world more. The story is pretty fast-paced but I found that just kept me turning the pages quicker and quicker because I didn’t want to miss anything.

Our main character Alyce is a really fascinating one. She’s the ‘wicked villain’ but she’s so much more than that. I really enjoyed seeing her learn more about her powers and there’s tons of character growth. I found myself quickly becoming sympathetic towards Alyce and I was rooting for her from the get-go. I love morally grey characters and it was such a fascinating exploration of the evil sorceress character.

Malice might be inspired by Sleeping Beauty but I felt like this was such a unique story that brought a fresh perspective to a familiar story. I loved the slow burn romance in this story too, it was well executed and I loved seeing Alyce and Aurora’s relationship develop. Malice was an incredible read and one I know fantasy fans are going to absolutely fall in love with. This has been one of my favourite books of 2021 so far and I cannot wait to see what Walter writes next.

Blog Tour: The Drowned City – K J Maitland

Blog Tour: The Drowned City – K J Maitland


Release Date:
April 1st 2021
Publisher: Headline
Pages: 448
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 4/5 stars

Synopsis

1606. A year to the day that men were executed for conspiring to blow up Parliament, a towering wave devastates the Bristol Channel. Some proclaim God’s vengeance. Others seek to take advantage.

In London, Daniel Pursglove lies in prison waiting to die. But Charles FitzAlan, a close adviser to King James I, has a job in mind that will free a man of Daniel’s skill from the horrors of Newgate. If he succeeds.

For Bristol is a hotbed of Catholic spies, and where better for the lone conspirator who evaded arrest, one Spero Pettingar, to gather allies than in the chaos of a drowned city? Daniel journeys there to investigate FitzAlan’s lead, but soon finds himself at the heart of a dark Jesuit conspiracy – and in pursuit of a killer.

Review

This is my first time reading a book by Karen Maitland and it was a rollercoaster ride. The story is set in 1606, the year after the gun powder plot. As a giant wave destroys much of Bristol, Daniel Pursglove is freed from a London prison and sent to Bristol to investigate a Jesuit conspiracy. As Daniel delves deeper into the conspiracy, Pursglove uncovers far more than he ever suspected.

The Drowned City is a really compelling read and Maitland brings to life the sights and sounds of the 1600s in great detail. The story came across as well researched and Maitland really brought Bristol to life in the story. The Drowned City is packed with atmosphere and I absolutely felt swept away into this tense story. The book is a fairly large one but the story moves pretty quickly and I found myself turning pages quicker and quicker as we raced towards the final chapters. The Drowned City is the first in a new series, so I’m incredibly intrigued to see where the story will go next.

Our main protagonist is a really fascinating character and I enjoyed getting to know him and understand more about his history that led him to end up in prison. All the characters in this story felt well-created and that really came across in the story. The story is brimming with political intrigue and there are more than a few gruesome moments. The Drowned City is dark and atmospheric and overall a brilliant start to the series. If you’re looking for a well-plotted historical thriller with plenty of mystery and menace, this is definitely a book to pick up.

Blog Tour: The April Dead – Alan Parks

Blog Tour: The April Dead – Alan Parks


Series:
Harry McCoy #4
Release Date: March 25th 2021
Publisher: Canongate Books
Pages: 352
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 an American sailor from the Holy Loch Base goes missing, Harry McCoy is determined to find him. But as he investigates, a wave of bombings hits Glasgow – with the threat of more to come. Soon McCoy realises that the sailor may be part of a shadowy organisation committed to a very different kind of Scotland. One they are prepared to kill for.

Meanwhile Cooper, McCoy’s long-time criminal friend, is released from jail and convinced he has a traitor in his midst. As allies become enemies, Cooper has to fight for his position and his life. He needs McCoy to do something for him. Something illegal.

McCoy is running out of time to stop another bomb, save himself from the corrupt forces who want to see him fail and save the sailor from certain death. But McCoy discovers a deeper, darker secret – the sailor is not the first young man to go missing in April.

Review

The April Dead is the fourth heart pounding instalment in Alan Parks’ Harry McCoy series. This time we’re following Harry as he investigates bomb explosions in Glasgow. When Harry learns there might be more bombs on the way, he knows he’s running out of time to find out who’s behind it. As Harry digs deeper he finds way more than he bargained for.

Just like the previous books in this series, The April Dead is a dark and gritty read. It really brings to life the violent criminal underworld of Glasgow, and it’s hard to look away from this tense and gripping story. Harry McCoy has become one of my favourite detectives and it’s fascinating seeing him attempt to uncover the truth. I love the way Parks has created a really unique detective, one who saves the day but is also close friends with a crime boss. I also like the way Parks has created a detective who can’t stand the sight of blood which is something I’ve never encountered before. Along with the high stakes of his job Harry is also dealing with a stomach ulcer in this instalment and in typical Glasgow fashion continues to drink and smoke despite the pains. I also really like seeing how the friendship between Harry and Wattie has developed as the series progresses. Wattie has gone from the new boy to Harry’s partner and the razor sharp banter between the two is always great.

The April Dead is full of twists and turns and it makes for a really compelling read. Like the previous books I had no idea how it was going to end and the final few chapters had me on the edge of my seat. This is a fast paced read and I loved all the details Parks put in to bring the streets of Glasgow to life. The entire series is full of atmosphere and Parks has created a series that crime fans will not be able to get enough of. If you’ve read the other books this one is absolutely worth picking up. If you’ve not had a chance to start this series, it’s a fantastic set of books to get sucked into.

Blog Tour What Beauty There Is – Cory Anderson

Blog Tour What Beauty There Is – Cory Anderson


Release Date:
8th April 2021
Publisher: Penguin Random House
Pages: 368
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review

Synopsis

An exhilarating, emotionally powerful and superbly written thriller that’s Winter’s Bone meets The Road

Winter. The sky is dark. It is cold enough to crack bones.

Jack Morton has nothing left. Except his younger brother, Matty, who he’d do anything for. Even die for. Now with their mother gone, and their funds quickly dwindling, Jack needs to make a choice: lose his brother to foster care, or find the drug money that sent his father to prison. He chooses the money.

Ava Bardem lives in isolation, a life of silence. For seventeen years her father has controlled her fate. He has taught her to love no one. Trust no one. Now Victor Bardem is stalking the same money as Jack. When he picks up Jack’s trail, Ava must make her own wrenching choice: remain silent or help the brothers survive.

Choices. They come at a price.

Review

What Beauty There Is is a stunningly beautiful story that follows Jack Morton who will do anything to look after his brother Matty. With their mother gone and their father in Prison, Jack will do whatever he can to stop Matty being taken into foster care. Jack has only one choice: find the drug money that put his father in Jail. But Jack isn’t the only one looking for the money.

This book was completely not what I expected. Going in I thought this would be a quick mystery thriller but what I found was a really heart wrenching story of a boy fighting to protect his brother. It was an incredibly compelling story with really engaging prose. I raced through this story in a couple of hours because I was so completely wrapped up in the story of Jack and Ava.

Anderson has a lovely writing style that is really lovely and this multi-layered story is well crafted. Cory Anderson does a terrific job of creating a tense atmosphere as the story races to the end. It’s rare you find a book that breaks your heart and has you on the edge of your seat, but that’s definitely how I felt with What Beauty There Is.

The thing I liked most about this story was the fascinating characters. Jack is a really likeable protagonist and I was rooting for him so much. Ava was really interesting too and I loved seeing the characters get to know each other and grow. What Beauty There Is is a dark and enthralling read full of atmosphere and well crafted characters. I enjoyed this one a lot and this is definitely a book you will not want to miss out on.

Blog Tour: The Unbroken – C L Clark

Blog Tour: The Unbroken – C L Clark


Series:
Magic of the Lost #1
Release Date: March 23rd 2021
Publisher: Orbit Books
Pages: 464
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 5/5 stars

Synopsis

Touraine is a soldier. Stolen as a child and raised to kill and die for the empire, her only loyalty is to her fellow conscripts. But now, her company has been sent back to her homeland to stop a rebellion, and the ties of blood may be stronger than she thought.

Luca needs a turncoat. Someone desperate enough to tiptoe the bayonet’s edge between treason and orders. Someone who can sway the rebels toward peace, while Luca focuses on what really matters: getting her uncle off her throne.

Through assassinations and massacres, in bedrooms and war rooms, Touraine and Luca will haggle over the price of a nation. But some things aren’t for sale.

Review

The Unbroken is the first book in an all new fantasy series. This is a dark and brutal story that follows Touraine, who was stolen from her home as a child and raised to be a soldier for the empire. Now she is returning to her homeland to help put a stop to the rebellion. As Touraine fights alongside her battalion she begins to question where her loyalties really lie – to the empire who trained her or the homeland she barely remembers? Luca is a princess doing everything she can to quash the rebellion, but she needs help to stop it while she attempts to remove her uncle from the throne. Touraine and Luca form an alliance, but will it be enough?

I loved every second I spent reading this book. This is such a compelling read and despite being nearly five hundred pages I raced through it – it’s one of those books you just can’t look away from. Clark has a really lovely writing style and it was so easy to get lost in this gripping tale. It’s a pretty fast paced book, with lots of action. It’s brimming with political intrigue and really focuses in on the themes of colonialism and racism. It’s an absolutely stunning book, that is at times painful to read.

The world building is excellent in this story, Clark has crafted a fascinating world and I cannot wait to see where the story will go in book two. This is a queernorm world and there are some incredibly compelling characters – Touraine is such a conflicted character and goes through so much in this story. I thought Luca was also a really fascinating character and it was so interesting to see two characters from such different worlds come together. Both characters go through quite a bit of growth in this story as they form an alliance and if anything that has just left me wanting more and more.

The Unbroken is a complex story that Clark has executed incredibly well. It’s full of tense moments that had me on the edge of my seat. It’s an incredible tale with a slow burn romance, tons of political intrigue and just a hint of magic. The Unbroken is undoubtedly one of my favourite books of 2021 and if you’re thinking about picking this one up, I can’t recommend it highly enough.