Monday, 31 December 2018

The best of 2018 and what's to come in 19

So, 2018 draws to a close and, as usual, it is time to look back at books I've enjoyed and forward to what's up and coming. 

This year has been a good one with new books in KT Davies' Breed series (Dangerous To Know, Tooth and Claw, Something Wicked) with a promise of more to come. Also, good to see that Jen Williams, Anna Smith Spark and Anna Stephens all managed to pull off the tricksy middle book of the trilogy. Looking forward to all 3 finishing in 2019 with The Poison Song (J Williams), The House of Sacrifice (A Smith Spark) and Bloodchild (A Stephens).

Two book series that have finished this year and are both really good are Adrian Tchaikovsky's Echoes of the Fall and RJ Barker's Wounded Kingdom- of you haven't tried these yet do yourself a favour.

Anyhoo, here's my 3 choices for 2018. First off, Newcomer of the Year is Alicia Wanstall-Burke. I've been watching her posts about Blood of Heirs for a good while on fb and am happy to say that when it finally landed it more than held up to expectations. Alicia is certainly one to keep an eye on.
Next up is Novel of the Year which (after much contemplation) goes to Miles Cameron's Cold Iron (review on the blog). This starts what promises to be a really interesting series. I'll admit I do already have a copy of book 2 from NetGalley and it's even better so far.

Finally, Best Compilation - and this one really was a no-brainer for me. I'm a big fan of Adrian Tchaikovsky's Shadows of the Apt series and with The Scent of Tears (Newcon Press) Adrian has invited other authors to write in his world - and each and every one of them steps up to the plate. An absolute delight.
And on that point I'll wish you a Happy New Year

Friday, 7 December 2018

The Sky Woman by J D Moyer

Welcome to Day 4 of the Blog Tour for J D Moyer's 'The Sky Woman' (Flame Tree Press).

Set on and above a future Earth that has been ravaged by various factors (population decline, volcanic eruption etc) this has a cast of both primitive (ish( and scientific people. The main lead is Car-En, an anthropologist from the Ringstation circling the Earth. She is on her first field assignment and is watching a viking-like village (especially a handsome hunter). When the sister of Esper (he's the hunky hunter) is abducted by someone who shouldn't be there she decides to take an active role instead of the passive observing role she should, cuts off all contact and sets off to follow and hopefully rescue the sister. This may have dire consequences for her career but I'm thinking you've guessed that already.

To be honest, on finishing this book I still don't know whether I enjoyed it or not. It wasn't a bad story although it did feel a bit 'flabby' in places. The mix of Sci-Fi and fantasyesque settings and characters felt a bit of a mish mash in places but the ideas weren't as bad as I thought they would be.

I guess the best I can say is that I'm sure many will Enjoy it but this story just wasn't for me which is a shame.


Thanks, as always, to Anne Cater for inviting me onto the tour and for providing a copy of the book. And please, if you get the opportunity to have a look at the blogs from the other reviewers on the tour please do

Monday, 3 December 2018

Kosmos by Adrian Laing

 Welcome to Day 2 of the blog tour for Adrian Laing's novel Kosmos (Flame Tree Press)

I really liked the premise of this one;

An old man is found sleeping on Hampstead Heath by two dog patrolers. They try to wake him by prodding him with his staff. In the ensuing kerfuffle one of them is injured and later dies. The old man is arrested and sent for trial. Right from the off the old man insists he is Merlin, awoken from a long sleep. His defence at court is 'rookie' barrister George Winsome and this is as much his story as it is Merlin's.

The actual trial takes up a lot of the book and, if I'm being honest gets a little wearing after a while. The trial is farcical, and also slightly ridiculous but it all leads nicely into the final third of the novel where Merlin's identity becomes clear, as does the 'life path' for George and his partner Heather.

As a big fan of Arthurian legend I was really looking forward to this and, although I found the trial section a bit trying at times (but judge for yourself, don't take my word for it) the final pay off was worth the perseverance.
 Thank you, as always, to Anne Cater for inviting me to take part in this Blog Tour and supplying me with a copy of the book. Of you get the chance please take a look at the other review blogs on this tour.

Tuesday, 27 November 2018

Tales of Ramion

Welcome to the Blog Tour for Frank Hinks' Tales of Ramion series of children's books. I have two books from the series, Story 1 - The Land of Lost Hair and Story 17 - The Dream Thief.

Both stories involve three brothers, Alexander, Benjamin and Julius and their protector, the Dream Lord cat Snuggle. In The Land of Lost Hair the evil witch Griselda tries to enchant the boys so she can eat them but things go awry and all she achieves is making the family lose their hair. Snuggle takes them to the titular land, pursued by Griselda and various giant items of hairdressing paraphernalia.

Will they get their hair back?
Will the boys become tea for the evil Griselda?

In The Dream Thief the boys' mother's dream of being an artist is stolen by The Dream Thief and they, along with Snuggle and their mother (as a six year old child - trust me, it all makes sense) head to the Land of Dreams to try and get it back.

These are, I must say, lovely books to own. As well as captivating stories they are beautifully illustrated by the author. The stories can seem a bit surreal at times but are just the kind of thing children (of all ages) will love and the illustrations are equally so. A welcome addition to any library, in my opinion.
Please, if you get the opportunity, check out the other posts and bloggers on the tour

Sunday, 25 November 2018

The Lingering by S J I Holliday

Well, this was a surprise. I jumped on the chance to review The Lingering as soon as I read the blurb. I was expecting a good read but not as good as it turned out.

The premise is a fairly standard one - a young couple move to a new location to start a 'new life' but all may not be as it seems...

The new location in this case is a commune on the site of an old psychiatric hospital. In it's own way the hospital almost becomes a character in the story itself, looming large over everything. 

As 'unexpected and unexplained incidents' affect the lives of the residents the history of the site unravels itself and we are kept guessing as to who is responsible.

So, the first thing that drew me in to The Lingering was, obviously I guess, the story. It had a feel of the creepy kind of tale I enjoy. The idea of 'new location, new start' has been done many times before so it takes a confident author to take it on and do something interesting with it and, thankfully Holliday pulls it off here. 

Also, a quick mention of the cover art (I am a big fan of good cover art). The art here is both exceptionally good and also confusing, which sets the tone for the story. It draws you into the picture but leaves you feeling something is 'off'. And inside, just before you start, are two roughly pencil drawn floor plans of Rosalind House and grounds. Again, slightly creepy in a way I couldn't quite put my finger on. BUT!! Creepy is good when it comes down to story. This is a story that will leave you unsettled at times with hints of Hitchcock and (for me) James Herbert.

 Please, if you get the chance, have a look at the other review blogs on this tour.
Thanks, as always, to Anne Cater for inviting me to take part in this Blog Tour and to Orenda Books for supplying the book itself

Monday, 12 November 2018

Skyward by Brandon Sanderson

All Spensa wants is to be a pilot like her dad was and take the fight to the alien Krell. The problem is that her dad was killed when he seemingly deserted his squad mid battle and no-one is going to let that act of cowardice be forgotten.

But just when it seems all Spensa's dreams are shattered the Krell massively increase their attack numbers and the people of Desolation will need every available body that can get to try and survive. It looks like Spensa is going to flight school after all.

Skyward is a rather hard book to place for readership. In a way, with it's young protagonist the easy thing would be to call it YA but that would probably mean a lot of older readers may miss out (although, in my opinion, YA is a misleading label as there are a hell of a lot of cracking books in that genre that I enjoy - and at 50+ years old I'm a long way from being YA). The story itself is as good as I expected from Sanderson, he does characters really well and Spensa is just that - a really well drawn heroine, flaws and all.

Where this book comes into it's own though is when the pilots take to the air. These scenes are both epic and breathtaking with the pages whizzing by.

The animosity from many towards Spensa is strongly felt but there's also a sense of kinship and acceptance from some which balances things nicely.

Hopefully Sanderson will have more of this story to tell and when he does I'll be at the front of the queue to grab a copy and see what the future holds.

Many thanks to Stevie Finnegan and Gollancz for inviting me to take part in this Blog Tour and please, if you get the time, have a look at the reviews from these other lovely bloggers who have taken part

Wednesday, 31 October 2018

Cover Reveal for New Suns anthology from Tor

So, the question I was asked on Twitter this week was "would you like to share the cover reveal and 'boost' for New Suns, an anthology being published by Tor?

I read the blurb and 'Table of Contents' and, without further ado, post both here for you now.

New Suns: Original Speculative Fiction by People of Color showcases emerging and seasoned writers of many races telling stories filled with shocking delights, powerful visions of the familiar made strange.
Between this book’s covers burn tales of science fiction, fantasy, horror, and their indefinable overlappings. These are authors aware of our many possible pasts and futures, authors freed of stereotypes and clichéd expectations, ready to dazzle you with their daring genius.
Unexpected brilliance shines forth from every page.

Foreword, LeVar Burton

The Galactic Tourist Industrial Complex, Tobias Buckell

Deer Dancer, Kathleen Alcalá

The Virtue of Unfaithful
Translations, Minsoo Kang

Come Home to Atropos, Steven Barnes

The Fine Print, Chinelo Onwualu

unkind of mercy, Alex Jennings

Burn the Ships, Alberto Yáñez

The Freedom of the Shifting Sea, Jaymee Goh

Three Variations on a Theme of Imperial Attire, E. Lily Yu

Blood and Bells, Karin Lowachee

Give Me Your Black Wings Oh Sister, Silvia Moreno-Garcia

The Shadow We Cast Through Time, Indrapramit Das

The Robots of Eden, Anil Menon

Dumb House, Andrea Hairston

One Easy Trick, Hiromi Goto

Harvest, Rebecca Roanhorse

Kelsey and the Burdened Breath, Darcie Little Badger

Afterword, Nisi Shawl

To say I'm excited by this collection would be an understatement.

 Also, isn't the cover art itself something else! Yoshi Yoshitani has done a really good job of making some eye-catching art here

Friday, 26 October 2018

Bay City Monsters by Duncan Reyneke - A Review

Sometime last week I got a tweet asking 'How do I get a review from you?' I responded and asked for details of the book and thankfully it appealed to me.

That author was Duncan Reyneke and the book was Bay City Monsters, so crazy as all hell, end of the world is coming type horror/spec fic novel with a strong vein of humour.

As the book starts we find our hero, Paul trapped in a hotel room with the body of his dead girlfriend beside him on the bed, an animated dead guy (not a zombie) breaking down the door and a magical portal/black hole outside the window. The majority of the story tells of how we got to this point. It starts off crazy and just gets crazier.

The two big plus points for me were the dialogue and banter between Paul and his hunter of supernatural creatures girlfriend/not girlfriend Cheri, and the setting - Port Elizabeth, South Africa.

Right from the moment Paul and Cheri first meet, when she is escaping through a hospital window they are rigging off each other, banter and insults slung around willy-nilly and a lot of it is quality stuff. Often it is used to try to cover their fear and here, again, it works really well.

As for the setting, I don't see many books set in South Africa so this is a refreshing change. The downside to it, I guess, is that I didn't get all the local terms and references but y'know what? When the story is this good I think I can cope with that.

If I had to compare BCM with another book I'd have to say Wong's 'John Dies At The End' but with one big difference - Bay City Monsters is actually a good read and a whole heap of fun

Highly Recommended 4/5*

Sunday, 21 October 2018

Clovenhoof's Diary (September) by Heide Goody and Iain Grant

Good news my friends - Jeremy Clovenhoof (aka Satan) is back, and doing what he does best - causing mayhem.

This time around his story is in the form of a diary, which I'm guessing will be published monthly but don't quite me on that. Anyway, this book covers the month of September and the October volume will be available soon.

Right, down to business.

For those not in the know Satan has been kicked out of Hell and is now living in Suburban Birmingham. He's filling his time by causing mayhem (although, to be fair, it's not with evil intent, just  general mischief making) often involving his neighbours, Ben and Nerys (whether they want to be involved or not). So, without wanting to drop spoilers this volume mainly revolves around Clovenhoof getting a job as he needs to start earning money and also inventing a replacement for his beloved Lambrini (the stock at his local is destroyed).

As always there are chuckles aplenty and although it is not a lengthy tome it was enjoyable and I am eagerly awaiting the next one as there are unanswered questions.

Another winner from my favourite nutters


Friday, 19 October 2018

Rejoice by Steven Erikson

 to day 2 of the Blog Tour for Steven Erikson's new novel Rejoice.

A novel of First Contact, this tells of an alien AI representative (of 3 alien races) on a mission to save Earth's eco system. Unfortunately the biggest threat to the eco system is mankind so a decision must be made as to whether or not humanity deserves to be saved.

To help with the decision making the AI (named Adam) abducts one person from Earth to be it's spokesperson, Sci-Fi author Samantha August. Right from the off Adam seems to have integrated himself into the planet and has put a stop to such things as violence, destruction of nature etc and it is to be seen how the human race will manage with this or if certain individuals will try and adapt the situation to there own ends (oh, you just know someone will 😉).

Erikson makes a good job of keeping the story flowing by interspersing chapters which are just Samantha and the Adam discussing the rights and wrongs of what is happening or going to happen (admittedly these can be a bit of a slog at times) with chapters that are a series of vignettes showing how the changes are affecting people around the globe.

I only really know Erikson from his Malazan Books of the Fallen fantasy series so when offered the chance to review this move to Sci-Fi I was keen to see how he would handle the change of genre. I'm happy to say he's made a really good job of it. This novel is possibly one that people will be talking about for a long time to come.

Highly Recommended

Thanks very much to Alex Layt and Gollancz for inviting me onto this blog tour and please, if you get a moment, check out the other blogs

Monday, 8 October 2018

The House by the Cemetery by John Everson

Welcome to Day 7 of the Blog Tour for John Everson's ' The House by the Cemetery' (Flame Tree Press)

I must say I liked the premise of this. Mike Kostner needs a job (he's a carpenter by trade), his friend needs a house doing up in time for Halloween and the house has a spirit/witch that needs blood, death etc.

Going into this I was hoping for something quite gory and blood soaked and in that respect I wasn't disappointed. I grew up in the age where video was king and horror movies ruled the roost. This reads like it would have been made for those times. The horror/gore when it comes (more on that soon) is the type that can unsettle the reader (in a good way, that is what the genre is  for really). I often found myself slightly nervous about turning the page - kind of like when you watch a movie and want to turn away even though you know you won't. This was what Everson did really well.

Where it fell down for me slightly was the early section of the tale. After the initial set up it seemed to take an age for the story to get going. I just wanted to skip through to the scares (I'm not handy by any sense of the imagination so the DIY and house rebuilding did nothing for me). If it had been a video I would have been hitting the fast forward a lot I guess.

So, in short, a decent haunted house story just in time for Halloween from an author I have not read before but certainly will in the future.

3 1/2 of 5 stars
Many thanks to Anne Cater and Flame Tree Press for providing me with a review copy of this book and for inviting me onto the tour. If you get the time please have a look at the other reviews and blog posts too.
Final word on the publisher themselves. I am fairly new to Flame Tree Press but must say I am really impressed by the quality of both the physical quality of the books and the stories and authors they have on board.

Tuesday, 11 September 2018

The Doll House by Ashley Lister - Blog Tour

 Welcome to Day 2 of the Blog Tour for Ashley Lister's Doll House (Caffeine Nights Publishing)

Well, this one starts as it means to go on. The first chapter features a woman, Tina, taking a break in a house owned by her friend. In the bedroom is a doll, a creepy doll. And when she decides to get rid of it... "Don't kick me mama, please don't kick me"

Yeah, the doll speaks!!

Cut to now and author Ben Haversham stays at his agents house in the village of Sandalwood to try and get over his writer's block. Yup, it's the same house Tina was in. And if you thought the first chapter was creepy, believe me, it really kicks up a gear from here. The house is creepy, the village and it's residents - creepy. You get the idea.

This is what I want from Horror Fiction. I want to be unsettled from the get-go. I want to be wary of turning the page even though I need to know what happens next. And Doll House delivers every time.

If you liked James Herbert then this is for you. A cracking nerve shredder with an ending that is... yeah, you guessed it, creepy as all hell.     

Thanks, as always, to Anne Cater for inviting me to take part in this Blog Tour and supplying me with a copy of the book for review. And please, if you get the chance, try and visit the other spots on the tour

Monday, 10 September 2018

Distortion by Gautam Malkani Blog Tour

 Welcome to Day 6 of the Blog Tour for Gautam Malkani's new novel Distortion.

I must start, I guess, with full disclosure - I haven't quite got to the end of this book yet. But don't think of that as a bad thing, it's more that it is just taking me longer than I expected. It is a very good read so far (with about 60 pages left)

The premise is a good one, and very apt for the modern day. Our protagonist is a young man with 3 different identities - Dillon, Dhilan and Dylan. All 3 cover different aspects of his life, student, carer, business developer and each has a different online persona, different devices to keep them separate and, I gurss, to keep things from other people. It often seems as if 3 three entities are on the verge of unravelling and becoming wrapped up in each other, especially when all the different targeted advertising on his separate online lives (the bane of the online world) leaves him feeling less in control.

Where this book works especially well is when Dhilan and his dying mother (cancer) take centre stage, giving the reader some kind of understanding on just what a hard time it can be for carers (the unsung heroes of our generation imo). It is understandable, I guess, that because of this he developed the other 'selves'.

This is not a book to read quickly (no, I'm not making excuses) as there is a lot to take in and the different voices (as well as the 'modern speak') sometimes need you to concentrate but it is a book worth the effort.
 Thanks to Anne Cater and Unbound for supplying the copy and, as always, if you get the time please look at the other posts on this tour

Thursday, 6 September 2018

Thirteen Days by Sunset Beach by Ramsey Campbell

 Welcome to Day 1 of the Blog Tour for Ramsey Campbell's Thirteen Days by Sunset Beach (Flame Tree Press).

I guess I'll start with a touch of honesty - I read a lot of Ramsey Campbell's novels when I was younger but of late, not so much. I remember that I enjoyed them so when the chance to review this new one came up I was curious as to whether he was as good as I remembered.

The story revolves around three generations of a family on a summer holiday to a Greek Island that has just opened up to tourism. The elder generation, Ray and Sandra have a secret, Sandra is ill and this may well be the last family holiday, although they don't plan on telling the others.

As soon as they land in the resort it is clear something is 'off'. The buses won't stop at Sunset Beach after dark, there are no mirrors on the walls and some people are bitten in the night and seem to develop an aversion to sunlight.

Yes, what we have here is a version of the Vampire Myth but, more than that it is a story of family, of growing old. As Horror novels go it is very much a slow burner and that really benefits the story. Campbell leads the reader, dropping clues as breadcrumbs along the way, picks up the pace at the 'reveal', then you realise it's all over and you might have just read the nicest horror story ever.

There was plenty of suspense etc but what stood out was the interaction between Ray and Sandra. As I said earlier she is ill and the possibility of impending loss looms large between them, but they are determined to play a brave face to the others.

Ah yes, the rest of the family. All came across as quite likable characters apart from one, their Son-in-Law Julian. For some reason (and it was probably intended) I really disliked him. To the point I was glad he was in a horror novel and hoped he would meet a really grizzly end (Spoiler Alert - it's not a horror novel of that ilk so I was disappointed).

All in all this was a very enjoyable read, highly recommended.

Thank you to Anne Cater for inviting me onto this Blog Tour and for providing the copy for me to read.

As always, please try and visit the other stops on the tour if you get the chance

Thursday, 30 August 2018

Cold Iron by Miles Cameron

I'll admit, I've always been a sucker for old school 'farmboy to hero' style fantasy tales. And this one really hits all the buttons. Right from the early set up scenes where Aranthur (the protagonist in this yarn) is traveling home to his village from the city where he is a scholar stops off at an inn and, due to events, meets up with characters you guess will become part of his story, it already feels like you are with old friends. From this point he, kinda 'levels up' and starts on the path to 'Hero-dom' The world feels more 'Dickensian' era than medieval which I enjoyed a lot, there is plenty of plotting and 'scheming' and a good cast of interesting characters (and it's not all about the men being heroic while the ladies fill the minor roles - all feels fairly equal here. All good points.

What threw me was that, again early on, it became obvious that guns/firearms are starting to make an impact into this world. As a general rule I'm not a fan of guns in FF, give me swords and axes any day of the week. But it soon became clear that Cameron knows what he's talking about and I really bought into it.

And, obviously there is magic (there HAS to be magic!) and this system works well.

 Following Aranthur from student to whatever he will become is a journey I'm looking forward to continuing so this, as book 1 (of 3, I believe) is a cracking read and sets the story up well.


Thanks to Stevie Finegan at Gollancz for inviting me onto this blog tour and for providing me with a copy. Please try and take a moment to look at the other posts on this tour

Wednesday, 29 August 2018

 Welcome to Day 3 of the 'The Mouth of the Dark' Blog Tour.

This is a story of the strange. At times, VERY strange. And, when it comes to Horror Fiction, that is just how I like it.  Emory has gone missing somewhere around the area of town known as The Cannery and her father, Jayce, is desperate to find her. The thing is, The Cannery is the place where 'weird' is the order of the day. Things happen there that are unexplainable, dog-eaters roam the alleyways (and, yeah, does what it says on the tin).

Jayce will do whatever it takes to find his daughter and, maybe, in doing so he will find himself too. He has a lot of memories that he has kept hidden from himself and they may just be the key he needs to unlock The Cannery.

I really enjoyed this book. It's nice to get Horror Fiction that just goes for the same old thing. This is more in the vein of Clive Barker and Paul Kane, horror of the weird where the differences are on the edge of sight as well as in your face.

I have never read Tim Waggoner before but after this I certainly will now.

Really enjoyable Horror Fiction that hooked from the beginning and didn't let up (in fact the weirder it got the more I enjoyed it.

 Many thanks to Anne Cater for inviting me onto this Blog Tour and for providing the copy to read.

Please try and catch the other stops on the tour

Sunday, 26 August 2018

The Genes of Isis by Justin Newland

 Firstly, many thanks to Anne Cater for inviting me to take part in this Blog Tour and supplying me with a copy of the book for review.

The Genes of Isis is part Fantasy novel, part Sci-Fi and part Historical Fiction. The setting is recognisable as Ancient Egypt but, at the same time, with its turquoise sky and waters that 'hang in the sky' it also feels rather alien too.

The main protagonist here is Akasha, a young girl who may well be the instigator of the next step in evolution. There is also Horque, a member of the Solarii, a tribe of angels sent to ensure everything goes in the right direction. As I guess you might expect the two meet, romance blossoms... but will they save the day or doom the world?

I must say I enjoyed this book more than I expected to when I started it. Over the first quarter or so I found myself looking back on what I had just read as some of it seemed a bit 'baffling' but once I got into the flow of it the pages just rattled by (so persevere with it, my readerly friends, it's worth it). The central characters carried the story well and the threat of the Biblical flood certainly helped ramp up the tension.

A good effort for a first novel and I shall certainly be on the lookout for more from this author

Again, many thanks to Anne Cater for inviting me onto this Blog Tour, please check out the other review posts on the tour when you get the chance.

Wednesday, 22 August 2018

The Bad Neighbour by David Tallerman - A Blogtour Review

 When Ollie Clay comes into some money from an inheritance he decides to buy a home. Unfortunately the amount puts quite a limit on what kind of home. After looking at several rather squalid properties he 'panic buys' a rather run down property on the outer edges of Leeds. As it turns out though the squalid state of his new home is the least of his problems (I guess the title kinda gives that away).

Ollie's neighbour is Chas, a knuckle-headed thug with a penchant for loud music, drugs and beating people up for fun. Not a nice chap. He and his associates are very much of a 'Britain For The British' frame of mind so the fact that Ollie's new girlfriend, Yasmina, is of Iranian descent doesn't help matters along.

When the story starts Ollie, by all accounts, is a bit of a 'wet lettuce', spending most of his time cowering in the dark, hoping it will all go away. Obviously it won't and as the stresses and strains get to him we see him unravel and 'man up' a bit. When a local shop is firebombed and people go missing Ollie is certain his neighbour and his equally brutish and intimidating friends have links but trying to find proof might just be the worst idea he has had.

I must say, I was lucky enough to read an early version of this story a couple of years ago. I enjoyed it then and have enjoyed this newer, tightened up version just as much. Maybe with Brexit and the rise of the far right movement it is a tad more relevant now.

Before reading this I had only known David Tallerman as a writer of (rather excellent, in my opinion) Science Fiction and Fantasy but with The Bad Neighbour he shows he can turn his hand to Thrillers too.

Dark, unsettling and relevant - 4.5/5*
 Thanks to Anne Cater for inviting me to take part in this blog tour and please, if you get a moment, have a look at the other reviews and reviewers on the tour.

Friday, 17 August 2018

Darksoul by Anna Stephens - A Review

Coming to the second book in a series can often be a daunting experience for a reviewer. When the first book (in this point Godblind) was more than a bit special then it can become even more so. Thankfully, in this case, there was nothing to worry about.

Godblind put a lot of the characters in a similar area, in or around the city of Rilporin. The invaders want in, the defenders want to keep their city and survive. And the Gods are getting involved...

This is Grimdark as it should be. The characters are really put through the wringer (as, to be honest, so is the reader), the pace never really lets up from page 1 and there certainly came several points where I thought "She's not going to do that" (she did though!!).

Anna Stephens has done a cracking job again and I really am looking forward to seeing how this finishes in book 3.

Also, a nod to Sophie E Tallis for another excellent map.

A cracking sequel and certainly a contender for book of the year for me


Tuesday, 31 July 2018

Now You See Her by Heide Perks

 Harriet needs someone to look after her young daughter while she attends a course. Her best friend, Charlotte, is more than happy to help out. All is well and good until Charlotte takes her eye off her for a brief moment and Alice (the daughter) vanishes.

Obviously both women are distraught, a huge wedge has been driven into their (former) friendship but it may just be that they are the only two people who can get a positive result from the situation.

As the story begins it is two weeks after the event and both women are being questioned by police. The early parts are mainly told in flashback as Charlotte and Harriet relate their version of events. It soon becomes apparent that there is more going on here than a straightforward child abduction.

I'll be honest, this one had me guessing till quite late on in the narrative. Right from the off it makes for a quite uncomfortable read as both women try to come to terms with what has happened. As the mystery unravelled I did find myself having a few later nights than I had intended as things got just that little bit more twisty and dark. It's one of those books that just keeps you wanting ' just one more page's.

Heidi Perks is certainly an author I will be keeping an eye on.

Highly recommended

Friday, 27 July 2018

Disbelief by MJT Meijer - a blog tour review

First and foremost, thanks to Anne Cater and Crimson Cloak Publishing for inviting me onto this blog tour. Now, down to business...

Disbelief was, for me, quite an intriguing novel. With multiple killings at religious sites around the world, an artist who, seemingly, paints the killings, quite unknowingly, before they happen, a serial killer leaving bodies in Amsterdam hotel rooms and a psychic who is helping the police solve the Amsterdam crimes this could have been an overly ambitious effort but, somehow the author manages to pull it all together, and in a way that works well.

In true thriller style it all leads to a dash around various cities and sites worldwide in the hopes of saving the day and, I'll be honest, it was a dash that kept me up reading late into the night,  needing to know 'what next?'

What lead me to look up this book in the first place was, I'll be honest, the fact that some of it was set in Amsterdam, one of my favourite cities. What could have put me off was that it sounded a bit 'Dan Brownish' - I am not a fan of Mr Brown's books or writing style. Thankfully the city won out and this turned out to be a cracking tale with good characters and a pace that, as I said, kept me turning the page long after I should have been asleep.

If you like Dan Brown's novels you'll love this, if you don't then let this book show you how it should be when it is done right.

I'll certainly be looking out for the next in the series

Please be sure to visit the other spots on the tour, thank you