Monday, 13 March 2023

The Purgatory Poisoning - Rebecca Rogers


How do you solve your own murder when you’re already dead?

Purgatory (noun):

1. Where the dead are sent to atone.

2. A place of suffering or torment.

3. A youth hostel where the occupants play Scrabble and the mattresses are paper thin.

When Dave wakes up in his own personal purgatory (St Ives Youth Hostel circa 1992), he’s shocked to discover he’s dead. And worse – he was murdered.

Heaven doesn’t know who did it so with the help of two rogue angels, Dave must uncover the truth.

As divine forces from both sides start to play the game, can Dave get out of this alive? Or at the very least, with his soul intact?

Dave is dead! And that's just the start of events for him. Waking up in a youth hostel he feels he has been here before and he has - well, sort of. It's St Ives in 1992 and this is his version of purgatory, the place you wait in between Heaven and Hell to see where you will spend Eternity.

You see, St Ives 1992 was where, on a family holiday Dave did 'the thing' and that thing set the path for everything else that happened in his life. All he has to do now is make some atonements for what he did and then solve the mystery of his own murder. 

The story follows Dave's life up to Murder Day as he and his two angel assistants investigate but even with their angelic powers there are still problems as some of the people in his life are 'blocked' so they cannot be seen or 'read'. It's a whodunnit right up to the end - and a bloomin' good laugh too.

I will say I thoroughly enjoyed this read and will be looking out for more by this author in the future

5/5* Highly Recommended 

Many thanks to Anne Cater and Random Things Tours for inviting me onto this blog tour and arranging a review copy for me (all opinions are my own).

Please have a read of the other blogger's posts (below)

Tuesday, 7 March 2023

Dark Dweller - Gareth Worthington


"Captain Kara Psomas was pronounced dead when her research vessel slammed into Jupiter.

More than a century later, the crew of the 
Paralus, a helium mining freighter, find a pristine escape pod with a healthy young girl nestled inside. A girl who claims to be Kara—and she brings a message of doom.

She says she has been waiting in the dark for that exact moment. To be found by that particular crew. Because an ancient cosmic being has tasked her with a sacred responsibility. She claims she must alter 
the Fulcrum, a lever in time—no matter the cost to the people aboard—or condemn the rest of civilization to a very painful and drawn-out demise.

She sounds convincing. She appears brave. She might well be insane."


                              My Thoughts 

This is how I like my Sci-Fi, tense, puzzling at times but not dependent on the reader having 3 science degrees to understand it. The story revolves around the Paralus and it's crew who are mining Jupiter's helium to send back to Earth where it is needed. As you would expect with them being all cosied up together a long, long way from home things get a bit fraught and niggly on board (which, let's be honest, is what we readers want).

 There is a problem when they arrive though, Jupiter isn't quite where it should be. Once adjustments are made, panic over etc the crew discover what looks to be an escape pod . . .

A bright, shiny new looking escape pod, containing a 15 year old girl who claims to be a ship's captain that died over 100 years ago when her ship crashed into Jupiter. She has a mission and needs the crew of the Paralax to help her fulfill it.

Obviously there is a lot of is she/isn't she and, I'll be honest, I was in both camps at various points in the narrative. She is, apparently, the only person who can alter time and thus save civilisation. But is the 'ancient cosmic being' who set her on this mission to be trusted or is it working to nefarious ends?.

I really enjoyed this novel, it was just the right length to keep me interested and not overdoing it on the science. The Paralax crew were your typical spacer types often seeming to have their own agendas and leaving me wondering what they may be up to (that's the thing with cooped up crews - I always think somebody must be up to something even when they are not).

I've never read Gareth Worthington before but will be looking into his back catalogue for sure - this guy really knows how to tell a tale.


 Thanks to Stephen at Black Crow PR for inviting me onto this tour and for arranging the review copy (all views and opinions are my own and not influenced in any way).

Please have a look at the reviews by the other bloggers on the tour (below)

Thursday, 2 March 2023

The Hand That Feeds You - Mercedes Rosende


"The attempted robbery of the armoured car in the back streets of Montevideo is a miserable failure. A lucky break for the intrepid Ursula Lopez who manages to snatch all the loot, more hindered than helped by her faint-hearted and reluctant companion Diego. Only now, the wannabe robbers are hot on her heels. As is the police. And Ursula's sister. But Ursula turns out to be enormously talented when it comes to criminal undertakings, and given the hilarious ineptitude of those in pursuit, she might just pull it off."

Oh, my friends, this was a whole heap of fun. It is basically a heist gone wrong, chase comedy thriller set in Montevideo, Uruguay. Our 'heroine' Ursula has come up trumps after a botched robbery and has all the loot. She's on the run and that would usually be a problem. The robbers are after her, as are the police, as is her sister (a PI). Thankfully they mostly seem to various shades of hopeless and Ursula . . .  well, let's just say she isn't.

Ursula is a likeable character, one you can't help but root for and I really hope this series continues for a long time (and somebody picks up the film rights).

I loved the setting of Montevideo as it is somewhere fresh for me and both the author and the translation bought it to life so much I want to go there.

A cracking and fun read 4.5/5*

Thanks to Anne Cater and Random Things Tours for inviting me onto this tour and Bitter Lemon Publishing for the review copy (all thoughts and opinions are my own and not influenced in any way).

Please have a look at the posts by the other bloggers on the tour (below) if you get the chance.

Wednesday, 1 March 2023

Emergence -Guy Portman



"There’s no stopping this young sociopath.

Teenager Horatio hates his mother’s boyfriend, and there is nothing his long-suffering single mum or half-sister can do about it. The tension soon boils over into school when he attacks the class bully.

While suspended, Horatio has plenty of time to plot revenge against the man he holds responsible for all his problems. It won’t take the adventurous adolescent long to stumble across a depraved and degrading solution.

Now all he needs to do is keep deceiving the psychiatrist and wait for an opportunity to strike."


Who would have guessed that getting inside the head of a sociopathic serial killer could be so much fun. Emergence is the 4th in a series but is also a good starting point in itself as the story follows Horatio, the son of the lead in the previous books. I myself haven't read those 3 (a situation that will soon be remedied) but it seems very much a case of like father, like son and the apple not falling far from the tree.

At 178 pages it is a quickish read but seeing as we follow Horatio from being a beginner in the murder business to see him honing his craft to become a cool, collected killer who plans meticulously there's a heck of a lot packed into this book.

So yeah, I really enjoyed spending time with Horatio, just wouldn't want to get on his bad side.


Thanks to Anne Cater and Random Things Tours for inviting me onto this blog tour and arranging the review copy. All views and opinions are, as always, my own.

Please have a look at the posts by the other bloggers on the tour (below)

Tuesday, 28 February 2023

The Jaguar Path - Anna Stephens


"Across all the lands of Ixachipan, its hypnotic, magical music sounds. Those who battled against the Empire have been enslaved and dispersed, taken far from their friends and their homes.

In the Singing City, Xessa must fight for the entertainment of her captors. Lilla and thousands of warriors are trained to serve as weapons for their enemies. And Tayan is trapped at the heart of the Empire’s power and magic, where the ruthless Enet’s ambition is ever growing.

Each of them harbours a secret hope, waiting for a chance to strike at the Empire from within.

But first they must overcome their own desires. Power can seduce as well as crush. And, in exchange for their loyalty, the Empire promises much."

In this second book in The Songs of The Drowned time has moved on 2 years and things are not looking good for the major characters from book 1. Lilla is training to be a soldier in a humongous army, his husband Tayan is slap bang in the middle of the enemy with powers awakening inside him and Xessa is a slave and fighting in the pits for the entertainment of the masses. 

I'm going to be honest and say I was excited by the last of these most of all. I know from Anna Stephen's last series that she really knows how to put the grim in Grimdark fiction so was expecting lots of blood, pain, death and gore in Xessa's part of the story and I wasn't disappointed one little bit.

The magic system, same as book 1, I found fascinating and the setting, which is a sort of medieval Central/South America really stands out as something different to all the regular European Middle-Ages books out there.

As the storylines come together ready for the final book and everyone gets to where they more or less where they need to be I can see only pain, blood, gore and suffering for them - and I can't wait 😉


Thanks to Anne Cater and Random Things Tours for inviting me onto this tour and to Harper Voyager for providing the review copy (all views are my own and not influenced in any way).

Please have a look at the reviews by others much more eloquent than me (below) if you get the chance. 

Tuesday, 21 February 2023

First Date: An Odyssey Earth short story - Rex Burke


Last week I got an email request from Rex Burke telling me about his upcoming book series Odyssey Earth (all coming out this year) and asking if I would be interested in reading and possibly reviewing the first in the series. As a taster he sent me this prequel short story and, my friends, it does just the right thing. 

 The general gist of the story is that space pilot Juno is recruited for a one way mission, flying an Ark ship to a new planet and this covers the training and prep period but is mostly Juno's bonding with Omnio, the ship's onboard computer system - the most powerful AI ever built (AI without the A).

Omnio is sentient to the point they have conversations about the mission and the future. There is a lot of humour here (think Red Dwarf with a side order of Hitchhiker's) and a good story that made me want to get straight on with the series.

Odyssey Earth is one you will want to keep an eye out for, trust me.

Very Highly Recommended 6/5*

Monday, 20 February 2023

Blood on the Tracks by Guy Hale


"Jimmy Wayne is headed for LA to make the new album that will hopefully make him a star. In a quiet, deserted canyon a few miles outside Blackjack lie the bodies of his victims who inspired each song – all his secrets are buried in that dry and arid ground. Can he leave his past behind or will the ghosts of his past come back to haunt him?."

A quick recap. 

- When we first met Jimmy Wayne (Killing Me Softly, The Comeback Trail book 1) he was a fairly washed up singer in what was more or less a bar band. He'd had a chance at the big time years ago but it never worked out and now he's just turning up and getting by. Then he killed his girlfriend Wendy . . .

 But it's ok, he didn't mean to - and she's forgiven him (well, her ghost has). Thing is though, when he killed her he'd been drinking heavily and passed out and when he woke he found that not only had he got a dead girlfriend he'd also seemingly written some awesome lyrics. 

Short version - Jimmy realises every time he commits a murder he wakes up with a brilliant song and the band are going from strength to strength on the new tunes. A record deal is on the table so Jimmy needs new songs and more people need to die (but as long as it's scumbags that die that's not so bad is it?).

So, here we are at book 2, Blood On The Tracks and Jimmy and The Kid are leaving the town of Blackjack (and the Song Graveyard where Jimmy buried his victims/muses) behind and heading to LA and, hopefully, the Big Time. Things are looking up for our favourite serial killer but there's always trouble lurking around the next bend in the road and Mafia type Jack Lantern still wants his piece of the pie.

As you would expect Jimmy goes from scrape to scrape, new friends, acquaintances and enemies join the story and Wendy is there keeping a ghostly eye on him and Kid. The best way I can describe Blood On The Tracks is "like Killing Me Softly, but better" and I loved Killing Me Softly.

Once again Hale hits all the right notes with this darkly funny thriller and I can't wait for the concluding part.

A well deserved 5/5* Highly Recommended (but I'd read book 1 first if I were you) 

Thanks to Anne Cater and Random Things Tours for inviting me onto the blogtour and giving me the chance to review this book, and to White Fox Publishing for supplying a copy to read (all views are my own though and not influenced in any way - I even bought kindle copies of both books so I could carry on reading in bed. Yeah, I did not want to put these down at all).

Below is a list of the other bloggers on the tour and where you can find their reviews so please go have a look at them when you get a moment.