Blog Tour: Far From the Light of Heaven – Tade Thompson

Blog Tour: Far From the Light of Heaven – Tade Thompson


Release Date:
October 26th 2021
Publisher: Orbit Books
Pages: 384
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

The colony ship Ragtime docks in the Lagos system, having traveled light-years from home to bring thousands of sleeping souls to safety among the stars.

Some of the sleepers, however, will never wake – and a profound and sinister mystery unfolds aboard the gigantic vessel as its skeleton crew make decisions that will have repercussions for the entire system – from the scheming politicians of Lagos station to the colony of Nightshade and the poisoned planet of Bloodroot, poised for a civil war.

Review

Far From the Light of Heaven is the beautifully told story of the spaceship Ragtime, which is bringing a thousand souls from Earth to a colony among the stars. This should be a routine journey, captained by an AI. When Shell wakes she discovers the AI has failed and thirty-one of the thousand souls on board have been murdered. As the mystery unfolds it soon becomes clear that there is much more going on, with secrets that could have repercussions far bigger than anyone could imagine.

This book captivated me right from the very first page. Thompson has a beautiful writing style that kept me hooked on this story throughout. The bleak, loneliness of space was so vividly captured and I found myself completely hooked. The story is well paced, with lots of surprise moments that I absolutely did not expect.

The story contains multiple points of view and it was interesting seeing the story unfold from different perspectives. I really liked Shell, a woman thrust into the responsibility of looking after a spaceship and all the people aboard on her first interstellar flight. I enjoyed the mix of mystery and politics that Thompson created in this book and I think it’s the first time I’ve ever read a whodunnit set in space.

Far from the Light of Heaven is an incredibly addictive read, one that sci-fi fans will completely adore. If you’re looking for something that will keep you guessing but also keep you on the edge of your seat, this is definitely one to get reading.


Blog Tour: The Hiding Place – Amanda Mason

Blog Tour: The Hiding Place – Amanda Mason


Release Date: October 14th 2021
Publisher: Zaffre
Pages: 400
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

Nell Galilee, her husband, and twelve-year-old step-daughter Maude rent a holiday cottage by the sea, needing time and space away from home after Maude became involved in some troubling events. Nell grew up in this small, wind-blown town and has mixed feelings about returning, and it isn’t long before she is recognised by a neighbour, seemingly desperate to befriend her. The cottage too has been empty for some time, and from the start Nell feels uncomfortable there. Something isn’t quite right about this place . . .

Maude, furious about being brought here against her will and her father’s attention falling so often elsewhere, soon finds herself beguiled by the house’s strange atmosphere. There are peculiar marks in the roof beams above her bedroom, and in another room, a hiding place, concealing a strange, unnerving object.

As the house gradually reveals its secrets, Nell becomes increasingly uneasy – and Maude spellbound. But these women – and the women that surround them – are harbouring their own secrets too, and soon events will come to a terrible head . . .

Review

The Hiding Place is the dark and compelling story that follows Nell Galilee and her family as they return to the place by the sea that Nell grew up. Renting a holiday cottage so they can attend a family party, Nell is soon recognised by some of the neighbours who are desperate to befriend her. As they spend more time in the cottage strange things start to happen, making Nell uncomfortable and her stepdaughter Maude captivated by its secrets, but will Nell and Maude discover the truth behind Elder House and the villagers that surround them?

The Hiding Place is an incredibly atmospheric read, one that’s absolutely perfect for reading in the dark, wintry nights. I started reading late one evening and was completely captivated by this story. I loved the way there was a slightly uneasy feeling to begin with, growing steadily more unsettling until I was on the edge of my seat for the last quarter of the book. I was completely fascinated and desperate to know what was going on with this creepy old house.

The Hiding Place is a well-paced story and I loved the Whitby setting. The characters were well created and it was interesting reading about the dynamics between the family, with Maude and Nell being left on their own whilst Chris has to return home. There were more than a few moments that sent a shiver up my spine and I definitely felt this was the kind of book that sticks with you long after reading. The book did give me Laura Purcell vibes so if you’ve enjoyed books like The Silent Companions I think you would adore this book. A captivating and atmospheric read, this is one not to be missed.

Book Review: A Clockwork River – J. S. Emery

Book Review: A Clockwork River – J. S. Emery


Release Date:
October 7th 2021
Publisher: Head of Zeus
Pages: 736
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 4/5 stars

Synopsis

Lower Rhumbsford is a city far removed from its glory days. On the banks of the great river Rhumb, its founding fathers channelled the river’s mighty flow into a subterranean labyrinth of pipes, valves and sluices, a feat of hydraulic prowess that would come to power an empire. But a thousand years have passed since then, and something is wrong. The pipes are leaking, the valves stuck, the sluices silted. The erstwhile mighty Rhumb is sluggish and about to freeze over for the first time in memory.

In a once fashionable quarter of the once great city, in the once grand ancestral home of a family once wealthy and well-known, live the last descendants of the city’s most distinguished engineer, siblings Samuel and Briony Locke.

Having abandoned his programme in hydraulic engineering, Samuel Locke tends to his vast lock collection, while his sister Briony distracts herself from the prospect of marriage to a rich old man with her alchemical experiments. One night Sam leaves the house carrying five of his most precious locks and doesn’t come back…

As she searches for her brother, Bryony will be drawn into a web of ancestral secrets and imperial intrigues as a ruthless new power arises. If brother and sister are to be reunited, they will need the help of a tight-lipped house spirit, a convict gang, a club of antiques enthusiasts, a tribe of troglodytes, the Ladies Whist Club, the deep state, a traveling theatrical troupe and a lovesick mouse.

Review

A Clockwork River is a beautifully written tale set in the town of Little Rhumbsford. The place is not what it once was and the great feats of engineering that were once infamous have now started to decay and fail. The story follows Sam and Briony Locke, two residents of the town as they find themselves wrapped up in an epic adventure. Sam was once a student of hydraulic engineering and is passionate about locks. When one night Sam goes to give a lecture on his lock collection, he does not come home. His sister Briony,  a young woman fascinated by alchemy, will do anything to avoid marriage to rich old man to save her family home. When she discovers her brother is missing she soon finds herself wrapped up in a web of secrets. Will she be able to uncover the truth and find her brother before it’s too late?

A Clockwork River is a chunky book but this compelling story had me captivated right from the very first chapter. I loved the gorgeous language, the fascinating plot and the intriguing characters. J. S Emery has created a really unique hydro punk world and I constantly wanted to know more and more. It was completely unlike anything I’ve read before and despite it being over 700 pages I ended up reading this in just a few days. The story is charming and excellently plotted, making for a quaint and engaging read.

A Clockwork River has some really fascinating characters and this was the thing that captured my attention most. They felt very realistic as there was an immense amount of depth and character development throughout the story. They felt like real, flawed human beings who sometimes don’t get it right. I particularly liked Briony, she’s a clever young woman, determined to avoid marriage and I enjoyed her character arc the most. There are a whole host of fascinating secondary characters too and Emery has created a brilliant cast of characters.

A Clockwork River is one of those books that’s just a pleasure to read. If you’re looking for a unique fantasy story with beautiful prose and complex characters, this book is a must read.

Book Review: The Turnout – Megan Abbott

Book Review: The Turnout – Megan Abbott


Release Date:
August 3rd 2021
Publisher: Virago Press
Pages: 352
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 3.5/5 stars

Synopsis

After the sudden death of their parents, the Durant sisters, Dara and Marie, inherit a ballet school and take over running it with Dara’s husband Charlie. The sisters’ connection is intense, forged by a glamorous but troubled family history.

But after they hire Derek, a charismatic, possibly shady contractor to renovate the studio, Marie throws herself into an intense affair with him that threatens their tight bonds and brings forward family secrets until an act of violence overturns everything.

Review

The Turnout is one of those stories that completely captivates you and you continue to think about long after reading. The story follows sisters Dara and Marie who take over the running of their mother’s ballet school after the sudden death of their parents in a car accident. Alongside Dara’s husband Charlie, the three work to ensure the running of the infamous ballet studio. When they hire a contractor to renovate the studio, Marie falls into a relationship with him. As Marie spends more and more time with Derek the dynamics of the studio begin to change and long-buried family secrets slowly come to life.

This book was completely unlike anything I’ve read before. It was such a dark story, with a really tense, unsettling atmosphere that continued to build as the story progressed. This is my first book by Megan Abbott and it completely captured my attention. It was a well-executed story, with twists and turns I absolutely did not see coming. The story also really highlights the brutal things that the dancers put their bodies through and the intense rivalry between the dancers.

One of the most intriguing things about this book is the dynamics and the focus on the sister dynamics. The characters very much felt like real people and the way their relationship changed was really fascinating to see as the story unfolded. There were some quite shocking moments in the story that I didn’t expect. It is a dark and gritty read, one that will keep you hooked right until the very last page. If you’re looking for a compelling psychological thriller that will have you turning pages long into the night, The Turnout should definitely be on your to be read pile.

Book Review: The River Has Teeth – Erica Waters

Book Review: The River Has Teeth – Erica Waters


Release Date:
July 27th 2021
Publisher: HarperCollins
Pages: 400
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 2.75/5 stars

Synopsis

Her car was found abandoned on the edge of a local nature preserve known as the Bend, but as the case goes cold, Natasha’s loss turns to burning anger.

She’ll do anything to find answers.

Della’s family has channeled magic from the Bend for generations, providing spells for the desperate. But when Natasha appears on her doorstep, Della knows it will take more than simple potions to help her.

But Della has her own secrets to hide.

Because Della thinks she knows the beast who’s responsible for the disappearance — her own mother, who was turned into a terrible monster by magic gone wrong.

Natasha is angry. Della has little to lose.

They are each other’s only hope.

Review

The River Has Teeth is a dark fantasy story that follows Natasha, a young girl whose sister is missing. Natasha will do anything to discover what has happened to her. Della lives near the place where her sister was last seen and her family have harnessed the magic of the area for generations, but the magic is acting strangely and Della has secrets of her own. Will the two girls be able to overcome their differences and discover what’s really happening on the bend?

This is one of those books that had so much potential but just didn’t really work for me. The story felt a bit messy at times and I wanted more of an explanation around the magic. I liked the alternating viewpoints of the two main characters because it was interesting seeing the story from different perspectives but I found Natasha to be a bit on the irritating side.

This is my first book from Erica Waters and I did like her writing style. The story had lots of atmosphere and an interesting setting, but the story just didn’t grab me the way I was expecting. There were a few twists and turns but the reveal at the end was a bit on the predictable side and I saw it coming quite early on. I would have loved to learn more about Della’s family and the magic they create rather than Natasha trying to find out what happened to her sister. I did think the romance was well done and fit well within the story. Overall this book just wasn’t a hit for me, but if you’re looking for an atmospheric mystery story with lots of atmosphere, this could be just the book for you.

Book Review: The Final Girls Support Group – Grady Hendrix

Book Review: The Final Girls Support Group – Grady Hendrix


Release Date:
July 13th 2021
Publisher: Titan Books
Pages: 384
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 4/5 stars

Synopsis

A fast-paced, thrilling horror novel that follows a group of heroines to die for, from the brilliant New York Times bestselling author of The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires.

In horror movies, the final girl is the one who’s left standing when the credits roll. The one who fought back, defeated the killer, and avenged her friends. The one who emerges bloodied but victorious. But after the sirens fade and the audience moves on, what happens to her?

Lynnette Tarkington is a real-life final girl who survived a massacre twenty-two years ago, and it has defined every day of her life since. And she’s not alone. For more than a decade she’s been meeting with five other actual final girls and their therapist in a support group for those who survived the unthinkable, putting their lives back together, piece by piece. That is until one of the women misses a meeting and Lynnette’s worst fears are realized–someone knows about the group and is determined to take their lives apart again, piece by piece.

But the thing about these final girls is that they have each other now, and no matter how bad the odds, how dark the night, how sharp the knife, they will never, ever give up.

Review

Grady Hendrix is fast becoming one of my favourite horror writers and I was incredibly intrigued about The Final Girls Support Group. The story follows Lynnette Tarkington – the survivor of a massacre twenty-two years ago. Being a final girl has defined her, but he’s not the only one. Over the last ten years, Lynette has been meeting with five other final girls and a therapist to discuss the horrific things that happened to them. When one of the girls doesn’t show up at the meeting, Lynette knows the worst has occurred and is knows only she can figure out what’s going on and save the other girls.

Much like the other Grady Hendrix books I’ve read, this is a fast-paced story that kicks off right from the very first chapter. I thought the premise of this book was really intrigued and the story well-executed. I didn’t want to put the book down and ended up racing through the last half of the book in one sitting. There were twists and turns I didn’t expect. I really liked the articles and reports at the end of each chapter that gave the reader more information about the murders or the horror movie franchises that were created off the back of them.

Lynette is a fascinating protagonist, she’s a very unreliable narrator and at times quite unlikeable but she felt like such a real person who had struggled through this awful event only to have it take over every moment of her life. The Final Girl Support Group is a gripping, page-turner of a book and another must-read from Grady Hendrix.

Book Review: Monstrous Heart – Claire McKenna

Book Review: Monstrous Heart – Claire McKenna


Series:
Monstrous Heart Trilogy #2
Release Date: April 2nd 2020
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Pages: 400
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 3/5 stars

Synopsis

When Arden Beacon is sent to the lighthouse, she is simply a woman with a job to do. She neither seeks, nor expects, distraction. After years tainted by disappointment, Arden is finally taking up her family’s profession. She must prove herself worthy of her name, for she has nothing else.

But the coast she has been tasked with lighting is far from the world she knows – the salt-swept, backwater town of Vigil is battered by a sea teeming with colossal, ancient beasts. It is a place of secrets, rumours and tight-lipped expectations of a woman’s place.

More than anyone, the folk of Vigil whisper about Arden’s new neighbour, Jonah Riven, hunter of leviathans. He murdered his wife, they whisper – a perfect, golden girl, full of charm and potential. So very different to Arden Beacon.

They say he is as much a monster as his prey, but Arden cannot get this dark stranger out of her head.

A sensational debut novel perfect for fans of Outlander and The Binding. This is gothic, epic, romantic fantasy at it’s very best; a tale of magic, intrigue on dangerous waters.

Review

Monstrous Heart is the beautifully written story of lighthouse keeper Arden Beacon. Finally taking up the profession she has always wanted, Arden travels to the coastal town of Vigil to take up her post, but things are not all that they seem – townspeople whisper that Arden’s neighbour Jonah murdered his wife, but can Arden discover the truth?

I generally love books that are set on and around the sea so I was completely fascinated by the premise of this story. McKenna has a really gorgeous and lyrical writing style, one that catapults the reader into this unique world. I was most intrigued by the magic and the sea creatures though I did at times feel there wasn’t enough world building to really explain how it works. I did feel a bit lost in parts which pulled me out of the story.

Arden is a great main character, she’s complex and stubborn, determined to do what she thinks is right and uncover the mysteries surrounding Jonah Riven. The romance was a central part of the story but I was more interested in the other things that were going on. The story is an intriguing one and fans of books such as Outlander will absolutely love this one. Whilst I did get a bit lost I overall enjoyed the story and am intrigued to find out where things will go in book two.

Book Review: For Your Own Good – Samantha Downing

Book Review: For Your Own Good – Samantha Downing


Release Date: August 19th 2021
Publisher: Michael Joseph
Pages: 400
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 4/5 stars

Synopsis

Teddy Crutcher won Teacher of the Year at the prestigious Belmont Academy. Everyone thinks he’s brilliant.
Only you know the truth.

They all smile when he tells us his wife couldn’t be more proud.
But no-one has seen her in a while.

They’re impressed when he doesn’t let anything distract him – even the tragic death of a school parent.
Even when the whispers start, saying it was murder.

You’re sure Teddy is hiding something about what happened that day.

You’re sure you can prove it.

But you didn’t stop to think that when it comes to catching a killer, there’s no place more dangerous than just one step behind . . .

Review

For Your Own Good is the latest novel from thriller writer Samantha Downing. I’ve always wanted to try a book by Samantha Downing but hadn’t had the chance to pick one up. This sounded like a really intriguing read and I ended up being hooked immediately. This is a fast-paced story, full of twists and turns. The short chapters had me turning pages faster and faster and I ended up reading late into the night to finish this in one sitting.

The story follows Teddy Crutcher. A teacher at Belmont Academy. Teddy has one teacher of the year and will let absolutely nothing distract him – not even the sudden death of one of the pupil’s parents on school grounds. Even when one of the pupils is arrested for murder. Is the pupil really responsible or does Teddy Crutcher know much more than he seems to?

This was such a fun book to read. It’s one of those stories that hooked you right from the very first page and I found myself squeezing in an extra chapter whenever I could. Teddy Crutcher is a fascinating character, he does what he thinks is best and absolutely no one will stand in his way. It was so compelling reading from his point of view and I had no idea what he was going to do next. I loved the setting of the elite school that really came to life in Downing’s writing. For Your Own Good is definitely one of those one-sitting kind of books and there are some incredibly well-crafted characters. If you’re looking for a thriller to keep you reading long into the night this Autumn, this should absolutely be your next read.

Blog Tour: Nick – Michael Farris Smith

Blog Tour: Nick – Michael Farris Smith


Release Date:
24th September 2021
Publisher: No Exit Press
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

Critically acclaimed novelist Michael Farris Smith pulls Nick Carraway out of the shadows and into the spotlight in this fascinating look into his life before Gatsby.

Before Nick Carraway moved to West Egg and into Gatsby’s periphery, he was at the center of a very different story-one taking place along the trenches and deep within the tunnels of World War I.

Floundering in the wake of the destruction he witnessed firsthand, Nick delays his return home, hoping to escape the questions he cannot answer about the horrors of war. Instead, he embarks on a transcontinental redemptive journey that takes him from a whirlwind Paris romance-doomed from the very beginning-to the dizzying frenzy of New Orleans, rife with its own flavor of debauchery and violence.

An epic portrait of a truly singular era and a sweeping, romantic story of self-discovery, this rich and imaginative novel breathes new life into a character that many know but few have pondered deeply. Charged with enough alcohol, heartbreak, and profound yearning to paralyze even the heartiest of golden age scribes, Nick reveals the man behind the narrator who has captivated readers for decades.

Review

Nick is the beautiful and moving new novel from Michael Farris Smith and is a fascinating look at one of literature’s most famous characters. The story centres around Nick Carraway, the narrator from F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. We meet Nick long before he moves to West Egg and follow him as he attempts to survive life in the trenches. Struggling with all he has seen, Nick puts off returning home and goes on a journey of self-discovery, visiting Paris before ending up in the wild streets of New Orleans.

The Great Gatsby is one of my favourite books of all time so I was incredibly intrigued to read this story. Nick Carraway is a character we learn very little about so I was excited to see where the author would take this story. One of the things that struck me most was how well Michael Farris Smith fit in with the tone of The Great Gatsby. It was a really compelling story one that really focuses on the horrors of war and the effects this can have on people. It is very different from the glamour and opulence of The Great Gatsby, but I found I was completely wrapped up in the story and did not want to put it down.

Michael Farris Smith has created a really brilliant prequel, one that is well executed. This is my first time reading a book by the author and I am absolutely going to be picking up more. The horrors of the trenches and the sights and sounds of New Orleans all came to life in Smith’s vivid writing and the characters were equally captivating. If you’re a fan of The Great Gatsby, this book is absolutely worth reading.

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.