Thursday 16 November 2023

Bookshops and Bonedust by Travis Baldree


Today is my spot on the Blogtour for Travis Baldree's NYT #1 Best Seller Bookshops and Bonedust.

B&B is a prequel to last year's Legends and Lattes and I guess if you've already read that you know what to expect - you won't be disappointed. The story takes place 20 years before L&L and features our favourite orc, Viv who is injured in battle and left to recover in the town of Murk. With very little to do Viv soon discovers the titular Bookshop and its grumpy owner and an unexpected love of books. 

The people and creatures she meets in Murk and through the bookshop are what really makes the story stand out for me, the interactions and banter are even more enchanting than in L&L. The bookshop owner, Fern, a grumpy, foul mouthed ratkin was an absolute gem, one of those characters you would happily spend more reading time with.

B&B was a comfy (if not as much so as L&L) read with magic, intrigue, friendship, adventure and was just as much fun as I had hoped it would be. The added snippets from other books only added to the overall enjoyment.

Now, I know a lot of genre fans may turn their noses up at the idea of Cosy Fantasy (and yeah, I would have been one of those before last year) but both Legends and Bookshops were a massive surprise. Sometimes you just don't know that the book you need isn't always the book you would choose.

5/5* and a definite contender for my favourite book of the year.

Thanks to Black Crow PR for inviting me onto this tour and providing me with a review copy (which in no way influenced my thoughts or opinions). Please have a read of the reviews by the other bloggers on the tour (below) 

Sunday 5 November 2023

The Darkness Before Them - Matthew Ward


 I really enjoyed Matthew Ward's Legacy Trilogy so a chance to read an early review copy of The Darkness Before Them was a definite no-brainer for me.

 The setting here is more of a Middle Eastern one, so certainly different to Legacy's more British feel and while I liked that I did find myself struggling with some of the pronunciation and that did cause me to take a bit longer reading it than I had hoped. But I got there just this afternoon and very satisfying it was too.

 Right, the story . . .

 TDBT starts off at a run with Kat and her girlfriend in the middle of a heist. We are quickly introduced to the magic system which, is a kind of spirit magic I guess. It has the spirits of the dead watching over the treasure rooms of the wealthy making them practically impregnable. Kat has a special gift though, she can talk to, and command the spirits. This heist, the one big job, is the one that will clear her debt, which she had to take on from her father when he died, will be a doddle then.

 Nah, of course not. As expected things go wrong and our hero is in a whole world of trouble.

 The other POV is that of Damant, castellan to one of the ruling families and this allows us to see things from the wealthier side of the city.

It is very much a case of the rich getting more and the poor making do with scraps (if they're lucky) but rebellion and uprising is in the air and Kat and Damant are going to end up in the middle of it.

 There is a lot going on in this story, the world building is top notch (apart from my struggles with pronunciation . but that's on me), the battles exhausting (in a good way) and, most importantly the characters have me invested in their plight that I am already Jonesing for the next in the series.

 Thanks to Matthew Ward for inviting me onto this blogtour and arranging the review copy. All opinions and views are my own and not influenced in any way. Please have a look at the posts from the other bloggers on the tour (below).

Friday 8 September 2023

A Crime In The Land Of 7000 Islands by Zephaniah Sole


Well, this was certainly different. A police procedural that sees FBI special agent Ikigai Johnson heading out from their Portland office to The Philippines with the aim of bringing justice to the children abused by an American but told in a way that also feels like a fantastical fable. Told from several different points of view (hence the different styles of storytelling) this novel worked so much better than I expected.

The fantastical element comes because Ikigai is trying to explain to her child (Ikigai Jr) why she has to be away and what she has to do - and you can't just come straight out and tell a young child mummy's going off to catch an evil paedophile. Sole surprised me by filling a good portion of this book, which deals with a lot of nasty subjects, with some really evocative and gorgeous imagery.

A Crime In The Land Of 7000 Islands is a book I will be recommending to all, a true feast of a novel despite the subject matter. I can safely say I have never read anything quite like this.


Thanks to Anne Cater and Random Things Tours for inviting me onto this tour and for supplying the review copy (all thoughts, comments and opinions are my own).

Please check out the reviews by the other bloggers on the tour (below).

Wednesday 16 August 2023

Bride of the Tornado by James Kennedy



"In a small town tucked away in the midwestern corn fields, the adults whisper about Tornado Day. Our narrator, a high school sophomore, has never heard this phrase but she soon discovers its terrible meaning: a plague of sentient tornadoes is coming to destroy them. 

The only thing that stands between the town and total annihilation is a teen boy known as the tornado killer. Drawn to this enigmatic boy, our narrator senses an unnatural connection between them. But the adults are hiding a secret about the origins of the tornadoes and the true nature of the tornado killer—and our narrator must escape before the primeval power that binds them all comes to claim her"


Ok, first up, I am not quite at the end of this novel yet, it's a Netgalley copy and, unfortunately, not an easy copy to read (happens sometimes with NG, life goes on) so it's taking longer than planned to finish. There's also the fact that I seem to have to keep going back with a ' . . .WTF just happened!'

I was unsure whether the narrator was of the 'reliable' type and I'm still not quite sure to be honest. All that being said, I am really enjoying it so far. 

Bride of the Tornado is weird - sentient tornados, just one boy who can battle and beat them (so far, so Buffy the Tornado Slayer)  and a town with a deep dark secret. Yup, that's right up my street but the deeper I get into the story the weirder it gets and I'm hoping it doesn't go completely off the chart by the end. 

The narrator holds the story together well as we find out what is happening at the same time as them for the most part and her attraction to the tornado killer feels a palpable thing - not always an easy thing to pull off amongst all the weirdness.

A big plus for BotT is the cover art - how fantastic is that?

If you like your fiction on the weird side you are gonna love this 

Friday 28 July 2023

13 Doors - G J Phelps


                    BOOK DESCRIPTION

Thirteen doors, thirteen hauntings. News reporter Joe Baxter has a plan.

His idea is simple – to use his newsroom contacts across England to find thirteen haunted places to stay, and then record his experiences in a book. From an abandoned cinema to a dank pub cellar, from a World War Two airfield to a lonely, landlocked cruise liner, Joe is prepared to spend long nights in the cold and dark, but has no idea what he is about to unleash.

For, as he endures increasingly dangerous vigils, meeting a succession of gruesome, tragic and terrifying spectres, a terrible truth begins to emerge.

Something – or someone – is reaching out to Joe, awakening long-buried memories of his father’s death, a dark family secret and his teenage brush with madness. And then there is Wilko, the imaginary friend who haunted his childhood. After decades of silence, Wilko has found his voice again…

                             MY THOUGHTS

 I've been a reader of creepy tales for as long as I can remember but I can't recall the last time a book made me feel quite as unsettled as 13 Tales has (and, trust me, I'm not complaining). 

 Joe is a reporter who sets out with a plan to visit 13 haunted sights and spend a night at each then writing a book to record his experiences. The way the book is set out the 13 visits are interspersed with chapters that cover Joe's early life and it soon becomes apparent that the 2 timelines may be linked.

 I think what has made this book feel creepier is that with each of the haunting sights visited you are never quite sure what is going to happen, when are the jump scares going to come, will it be subtle or ghastly. All through 13 Doors I felt I was looking over my shoulder. Yeah, this book creeped me out a bit . . .     AND I LOVED EVERY MINUTE OF IT!!


Thanks to Anne Cater and Random Things Tours for inviting me onto this blog tour and please have a look at the posts by the other bloggers (below)

Thursday 27 July 2023

Karakorum - Don McVey


                     BOOK DESCRIPTION

Ok, first things first, I am about three quarters of the way done with Karakorum so this post is more of a 'my thoughts so far' than a full review (I'll aim to post a full review at a later date).

If you like your Fantasy/Sci-Fi dystopian with strong hints of Ready Player One meets the Matrix you are in for a treat. Karakorum is told from several different viewpoints but our main protagonist is Sorcha, an outcast who makes money playing a game called Scratch on what I can only think of as a massive internet. While playing the game she sees something she shouldn't . . . and things really kick off.

I'm not wanting to give spoilers so trust me when all I say is that things are really full on from here. What really stands out is the world building. McVey is a debut author and really knocks it out of the park. Believable characters (although not many which keeps the writing tight) in an almost tactile world - what's not to love?

If there is a downside (and it's not a bad thing really) it's that I seem to have spent the early parts of the book trying to work out what the heck was going on but once I got into the flow all started to make sense. I will be going back to the book a few weeks after I finish it for a re-read where I guess an already amazing book will be even better.

As I mentioned earlier this is a debut novel and I look forward to reading more from this author in the future (and hopefully more from the Karakorum.

4.5/5* so far

Oh, and I have to mention the cover art  - HOW COOL IS THAT!?!?😁

Many thanks to Anne Cater and Random Things Tours for inviting me onto the tour and supplying a review copy (all thoughts and opinions are my own)

Please have a look at the posts from the other bloggers on the tour, below.

Monday 24 July 2023

The Genius Killer - Mark Robson


                   BOOK DESCRIPTION 

'The dark heart of a brilliant and ruthless psychopath A celebrated but haunted detective A determined young reporter hunting for justice - and the big story.

 Karl Jackson is a particularly vengeful sociopath with his unique way of 'problem-solving’. 

DCI Tex Deacon suffers from the trauma of his beloved wife's death and finds it immensely difficult to come to terms with it.'

Ah, The Lake District, scene of many a holiday as a youngster, what memories . . . but maybe I'll look at those hills in a slightly different light after reading this cracking debut.

What we have here is a serial killer who could quite easily be up there with Hannibal Lecter as one of the top fictional psychopaths and a DCI who is really struggling to cope with the death of his wife. The author delves deep into both characters so both come out quite well rounded - which doesn't always happen with first novels (or even second, fifth, ninth etc in some cases). Jackson the serial killer in particular is an enthralling character. As the title suggests, a genius, his varying methods of dispatching people keeps the reader hooked and putting him up against a detective so close to the edge of a complete mental breakdown - well, it's an old adage I guess but the pages just kept on turning.

I'm going to give this a 4.5/5* rating just because I cannot wait to see where this author goes from here and if he gets even better I need that extra 1/2* to show that. I eagerly await his next book.

Many thanks to Anne Cater and Random Things Tours for inviting me onto this tour (and apologies for the late posting) and to Orla Kelly Publishing for the review copy (which did not affect my opinions in any way - all thoughts and comments are mine and mine alone).

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