Thursday 19 December 2019

Gone by Leona Deakin

 Welcome to Day 10 of the Blogtour for Leona Deakin's Gone.

This certainly had an interesting premise - not just your average 'missing persons' case, the victims here leave only one clue behind, a birthday card that reads "YOUR GIFT IS THE GAME. DARE TO PLAY?" and "HAPPY FIRST BIRTHDAY"

Brought in to investigate the disappearances are Psychologist and Private Detective Dr. Augusta Bloom and her colleague Marcus Jameson (ex MI6). As they get deeper into the mystery and more people go missing it quickly becomes clear that maybe these people aren't under threat, possibly they ARE the Threat. The waters here are very muddy and I did change my mind several times as to what was actually going on.

As for the lead characters, Bloom and Jameson, they worked well together, feeling like a comfy fit. I would definitely like to spend more story time with them and that's not always something you get from these kind of stories. They each bring their own skill sets to the table and what they have complements each other.

I enjoyed this a lot, twisty crime/mystery fiction is 'my thing' and even though it got a bit daft towards the end that didn't spoil what was a gripping read.

Recommended 3.5/5*

Thanks, as always, to Anne Cater for inviting me onto this tour and please, if you get the chance, have a look at the blog posts by the other reviewers on this tour.

Thursday 12 December 2019

The Vagabond King by Jodie Bond

Welcome to Day 3 of the The Vagabond King Blogtour.

Well, this was a nice surprise. So many times in fantasy fiction the hero is a turnip farmer or somesuch who turns out to be the prophesied king. In this, Book 1 of Jodie Bond's trilogy we have a Prince who's land is attacked and on escaping his life takes a definite downward turn.

As the titular Vagabond King though and with the help of a witch, a rebel soldier and a woman touched/cursed by a God he plans to return and take what is his. And that, my friends, is just the bare bones of this gritty, bloody, sometimes downright nasty (but oh so wonderful) book.

The people here are ruled by three Gods (of Air, Earth and Water) and, as you would expect, they are Gods of the meddlesome variety. It is a world where the rich get richer and the poor get poorer but maybe there's a change in the air. If anything I would have liked a little more backstory for some of the characters as our motley band all have 'issues' and 'stuff to overcome' but that may come with later volumes

The world building here is really good quality and it feels very much like the rich heritage and myths of the author's native Wales shines through (which is another pleasant change to the norm).

Highly recommended 4/5* (I'm saving the extra star for the later books)

Thanks as always to Anne Cater for inviting me onto the tour for this book, Parthian for supplying the review copy and please, if you get the chance, have a look at the other blog posts on the tour

Thursday 28 November 2019

CTRL+S by Andy Briggs

Welcome to the blog tour for Andy Briggs' debut novel for adults.

CTRL+S is firmly in the cyber-future arm of the Sci-fi genre. The story concerns Theo and the search for his shady (or so you're led to believe) mother - but that's just the simple version.

To go deeper, the setting is the thing. It is the near future and things are looking up for the human race - global warming is reversed, the bee colonies are in great condition and smoking is illegal. The main entertainment is an online virtual world called SPACE and, to be fair, SPACE is the star of this book. As a virtual world it is one of the best created in Sci-fi.

Anyhoo, back to the story. Theo (our hero) is pulled from a trip to the virtual London of SPACE by a call on his mother's rig (think vr headset amped up to the max). It's not good... "Bring me what you owe me by tomorrow or we'll start taking it out on your son - in many and varied painful ways" Not knowing what his mother has got into Theo and his friends are on a hiding to nothing but somehow, in this world and in SPACE, they must get answers, escape the bad guys (real and virtual) and handle all the peril both worlds can throw their way.

So, in a story like this, the world is all and Briggs has done a cracking job here with both the real world and SPACE. Where SPACE is all futuristic and shiny (everything you'd want from an online existence really) the real world feels kinda grubby... and I like it.

It's fair to say the pace never really lets up and the feel is rather cinematic (not surprising as the author is a screenwriter among other things) so I wouldn't be surprised to see a big screen version of this soon.

A cracking debut and an author to watch

4/5 stars

Sunday 24 November 2019

Into The Dark by Karen Rose

  Welcome to yesterday's stop on the blog tour for Karen Rose's latest thriller (sorry, my bad, I got the days muddled up).
This was a book of two halves for me. It starts off as a murder mystery coupled with a will they/won't they romance angle. The main story concerns two young boys that see their step father murdered (don't worry, he deserved it) and go on the run. They end up with Dani (a doctor) and Diesel (a hacker/journalist). He loves her, she him but keeps him at arms length for reasons that become obvious soon enough. For the most part this early part of the book gripped me. The plight of the brothers was edge of the seat stuff and the way the older looked after the younger kinda makes you want to crawl into the book and look after both.

As for the romance angle, well, that's where I struggled. The first part worked really well with the tension and the 'need' but when they (SPOILER ALERT!!!) finally get together it just seems to be all about his muscles, his tattoos, his bald head and I did find myself losing interest for a while.

Thankfully though the murder mystery angle saved it with a very interesting bad guy. The main reason being that when it started out he didn't kill anyone who didn't deserve it though that did change later on.

All being said, I enjoyed the story but feel it may appeal more to female readers.

Thanks as always to Anne Cater for inviting me on to this tour and please, if you get chance, check out the posts from the other bloggers on the tour

Wednesday 13 November 2019

Eye of the Observer by David Tallerman

 And so, with a happy heart I return to the world of Tallerman's Black River Academy. As you may know by now The Academy is the place would be Dungeoneers and Questers go to learn their craft (well, let's be fair, D+D can be a very risky pursuit so it's good to get your necessary skills learnt and honed beforehand rather than just blundering in with a rusty poker that might, just might, one day turn into Excalibur)

Anyhoo, EotO sees our heroes from the previous books, Durren, Tia, Arein and Hule up to their necks in adventure and peril as they embark on their level 3 journey. This time round magic has gone awry - in a bad way. And it might just be our heroes own fault.

As with the previous books in the series this is pure D+D style fun that feels just like someone has taken a table-top gaming session and turned it into a book (and a blooming good one at that). With different classes, races, monsters, quests and all the peril a group of aspiring Dungeoneers can handle this is Tallerman doing what he does best - telling wondrous tales (Maybe he should be known as Tallerman the Teller an 🤣)

Highly recommended 6/5*

Wednesday 30 October 2019

Angel Mage by Garth Nix

Welcome to the blog tour for Garth Nix's first adult novel. Following on from his previous young adult series this story starts over a century after the end of the last series.

Liliath, our villain, has woken from her magical sleep and, looking just as she did when she crept into the sarcophagus that was her resting place for all that time is now looking to with Palleniel, her archangel lover.

As things have moved on she will need the help of 4 strangers, all unknown to each other but also, in a way, feeling a kindred spirit when they meet. They may not know they are being manipulated but they know something is happening and they are part of it. With Angelic magic, action reminiscent of The Three Musketeers and a magic system that feels very religion based this large tome is a very fast moving tale and certainly one that will appeal to Nix's fans and, I think will win him an army of new ones.

4/5 *

Thanks to Stevie Finegan at Gollancz for the invite onto this tour and supplying the review copy. Please, if you get the chance, have a read of the posts by the other bloggers on the tour

Beyond Kidding by Lynda Clark

Rob's life is in a bit of a rut. Working in his friend's 'adult entertainment' shop, the marvelously named 'Empornium', drinking and takeaways is all there is. After a falling out he applies for a job at  Credit Co, embellishing his life to date in the hopes of making a better impression.

Part of that embellishment is inventing a son he doesn't have, which is all well and good until people want to meet him. Thinking on his feet (not his best idea!) Rob tells his colleagues his son, Brodie, has been kidnapped. As folk rally round to help him in his 'hour of need' Rob digs himself ever deeper until a situation that was already drifting out of control really goes off the rails. Rob gets a call from the police saying they've found his son... Everybody is happy now apart from Rob

Who is the little boy fitting the exact (made up) description of Brodie? How can people remember a boy who never existed? Is Rob going insane? 

This is a good, weird story, quite humorous in places and quite 'laddish' in it's characterisation. And although the ending was kinda what I expected it still wrapped up well.

3.5/5 stars 

Wednesday 23 October 2019

Doing Time by Jodi Taylor

 Welcome to the final day of the Blogtour for Doing Time, the first in a new series by Jodi Taylor.

Set in the same world as the author's other series (The rather wonderful St Mary's books) this is, in a way, more of the same but it's so much more than that too. The Time Police, for this is their story, are responsible for keeping the time lines straight as, now that time travel is 'available' to all trouble is never far away. Much like the Star Trek Redshirts new recruits are easily lost in action so the need for replacements is constant.

Enter our 'heroes' Jane, Luke and Matthew, three totally different characters whose very differences mean they will never get on so, of course, they are put together and forced to do so.

Jane is very timid but wants to be more, Matthew is the geek kid whose parents are part of St Mary's (The Time Police's 'rivals') and Luke is a bit of a playboy type whose father has enrolled him to teach him a lesson but who is determined to get through his probation and leave with as little effort put in as usual. When one of the 3 is accused of a crime they may or may not have committed only by coming together can our bunch of misfits find the answers they need. Yup, they'll never get on but events don't give them much choice.

If you've read the St Mary's books you'll have an idea of what you are getting - time travel, historical settings, humour and great characters. If you haven't I truly recommend you start at the beginning as this is really entertaining stuff.

How much did I enjoy it though? Well, let's just say I had this with me on holiday and got through it in 2 days. Yeah, I guess you could say I enjoyed it.

Thanks as always to Anne Cater for inviting me onto this tour and please, if you get a chance check out the other bloggers posts.

Tuesday 15 October 2019

Effin Birds

Welcome to Day 2 of the Blogtour for Effin' Birds by Aaron Reynolds.

Have you ever strolled down a country lane hearing nothing but the sweet song of the birds? If so you probably think they are twittering away about the joys of life, a warm nest and the juicy worm they had for breakfast. This is the book to show you how wrong you may be

Billed as A Field Guide to Identification this rather lovely book is a hearty chuckle on every page. What the author has done, with gorgeous illustrations to boot, is give us his take on what the birds are really saying. Such things as

"Can this shit be someone else's problem"

"It must be dickhead season"

"Listen to my opinions"

Added to this are descriptions and where to find such joys as

The Abstruse Heron

The Snub Gull

The Truculent Hawk

So, yes, this is very much a tongue in cheek (tongue in Bill?) look at nature's minstrels but it's really good fun, beautifully illustrated and just the thing to brighten the day.

You'll never listen to birdsong in quite the same way again

Thanks, as always to Anne Cater for inviting me onto this tour, Unbound for providing the review copy and please have a look at the blog posts by the other bloggers on this tour

Monday 14 October 2019

The Ruin of Kings by Jenn Lyons

This could have been a confusing read. The story, as it begins, is framed as a conversation between jailer and prisoner and both tell their part, in alternating chapters and in separate timelines. Our hero, Khirin, tells the tale of how he got to where he is now. Talon, his jailer tells what is basically Khirin, the earlier years.

And then it all comes together in an ending that just blows everything else out of the water.

The Ruin of Kings has everything you need and want from a fantasy classic - prophecy, artefacts, Gods and Demons etc etc plus a healthy dollop of politics (though not heavy and boring) and world building that is up there with the best of the best. Oh, and a humongous dragon, can't forget the dragon.

It takes a few chapters to get into the rhythm of the different timelines but the end result is well worth it.

Another name to add to the list of awesome ladies who are taking fantasy fiction by storm. Thankfully I have book 2, The Name Of All Things with me now so expect that review soon

Wednesday 2 October 2019

The Black Hawks by David Wragg

Welcome to Day 3 of this Blogtour. Today is an excerpt post with part of the first chapter so I can't really say much about the story as...well, it starts here. There will be a proper review post on this very blog in the next week or so but until then, suffice to say I absolutely loved this book and I think you will too.

So, here we go with The Black Hawks chapter one

Chel ran. His feet slapped against the dusty pale stone of the winter palace ramparts, blood thumping at his temples and breath rasping his throat, while gulls wheeled above and the sleepless harbour bustled beneath. He rounded a corner, the yawning guards on the tower watching his progress with vague interest at best.
A mound of refuse lay stacked against the sea wall, a pile of ashen rags with a long stick propped beside it. Chel shifted to round it, teeth gritted, when the pile moved. It became abruptly man-shaped, and its stick swung out into his path. Before he could react, the stick smashed into his shin. He tumbled, arms outstretched, and sprawled head-first into the stones. A blast of pain tore up his shoulder.
Cursing and swearing vengeance, he tried to whirl, but his vision went purple and the combination of running, falling, and a pounding hangover sent him retching back into the dust. By the time the convulsions passed, the rag-pile man and his stick were gone, the ramparts empty.
‘Thrice-damned pig-fucker!’ Chel spat onto the ground, still leaning on one arm. 
A pair of boots stepped to fill his vision, their laces intricately bound, the soft leather grime-free. 
‘I admit it, I did not expect to find you on the walls this time.’ 
He squinted up at the figure blotting the pink-flecked morning sky. ‘Marekhi,’ he coughed. ‘Was just on my way to you.’ 
His liege’s first sworn regarded him steadily. Her face was placid, her tone light. ‘What did they challenge you with this time? A brandy cask? The barrel-dregs? Did you even make it back to the barracks?’ 
Chel coughed again by way of answer, wiped at his mouth as he pushed back on his haunches. His shoulder throbbed in time with his headache. 
The slightest lip-curl marred Marekhi’s flawless cheek, although her tone remained even. ‘Lord Sokol will be expecting to see his festival robes at ten bells. You will be present, as will the robes, and you will look as though you belong.’ 
‘Oh, he’ll be up by then, will he?’ 
‘Your odour will also be much improved. Am I understood, Master Chel?’ 
He sat back against the flagstones, no longer trying to stand. Her silhouette glowed golden in the morning light. ‘Come on, Marekhi, where’s your festival spirit?’ he croaked. 
‘These petty defiances are a stain on our liege’s name, Master Chel.’ Her chin tilted. Her voice was quiet but carried clear over the sounds of the clamour of the port below. ‘You are a man in sworn service to a lord who is a guest at this palace, and your deeds and . . . presentation are those of our liege. It’s time you acted like it.’ 
‘I can take a beating, if Sokol wishes to make me an example.’

‘That should not be a point of pride,’ she said, her voice steel-edged. ‘You swore an oath. This behaviour shames your uncle and your family.’ 
‘If my step-uncle wants the value of my service, he can earn it.’ 
‘Boy, how much do you think your service is worth?’ 
For a moment she was snarling, then calm swept over her face. She turned and began striding away, boots clicking on the flagstones. ‘Ten bells, Vedren Chel, with the robes,’ she called over her shoulder. ‘Obey, or don’t. But attend to your stench.’ 
A breeze ruffled the palms in the courtyard, and they slapped together like a round of sarcastic applause. Chel caught a whiff of himself, recoiled, then nodded his thudding head in bitter acknowledgement. 
Chel bent over one of the stables’ water-troughs, scooping handfuls of cool, musty water over his face. A palace horse watched him from the dark of its stable. Chel did his best to ignore it. He felt disapproved of enough already. 
‘You’re up, Master Chel! Up-ish, at least.’ A broad and beaming figure in a battered guardsman’s uniform was at his elbow. ‘Didn’t think we’d be seeing you for a good while this morning.’ 
‘Ungh,’ Chel grunted, and wiped himself down with a horse blanket. ‘Heali.’ 
‘So,’ the guardsman said, leaning forward, in a conspiratorial fashion. ‘Did you win?’ 
Chel pressed one palm to his thudding temple. ‘In a manner of speaking.’

Heali chuckled, a sound like marbles rattling. ‘Can’t say no to a challenge, can you, my boy?’ 
Chel grunted again and leaned back against the stable wall. The stable-yard churned with a gathering retinue, another of the minor lords assembling his host now that the campaigning season was drawing to a close. Chel watched the formation of their column with envious eyes. Within the hour, the column would be on the road, and its host would be back in their homes before winter hit. 
‘They’re not staying for the festival, then,’ Heali said with a nod to the milling horse. ‘Any chance your lot . . .?’ 
Chel spat a wad of sticky dust. ‘Sokol’s so obsessed with rubbing up against royalty that he’s hanging on for the court’s arrival, and he’s chummy enough with the grand duke that we’ll not be kicked onto the road any time soon. I’m not that lucky.’ He flicked away a spherical fly, hangover sweat mixed with trough water dripping from his brow. ‘Five hells, how can you stand this heat?’ 
Heali chuckled again. ‘How can you not, Master Chel? Thought you Andriz were the blooms of the desert?’ 
‘Give it a rest, Heali. I grew up in the south. It’s not that hot down there, not like this – by the harvest festivals we’re usually a month or two into the rains.’ 
Heali cast a glance up at the pristine, punishingly cloudless sky. ‘Doesn’t look like rain any time soon, Master Chel. So happens, I was heading down to the kitchen to muster a bit of breakfast – care to join me? You look like a man in need of a feed.’ 
Chel’s stomach hissed bile. His hangover agreed.

Please check out the other bloggers on this tour if you get the chance

A Savage Generation by David Tallerman

Welcome to the final day of the Blogtour for A Savage Generation.

You'd be forgiven for starting this and thinking 'oh no, not another end of the world zombie apocalypse'. It does indeed start out with an unknown disease striking down mankind, those infected become bloodthirsty savages, if you are bit you become one etc. In a time when it seems a very other horror novel is another ZA it takes something a bit better than the rest to stand out. This is that book.

 Ben, his Girlfriend and son are trying to get out of their quarantined city (SPOILER - they do) and head to a former  prison, now known as Funland. But Funland might just not be all they were hoping for. It has already become something of a survivalist camp under the rule of former prisoner Plan John who may well be a bigger monster than the 'sickers' on the outside.

The setting feels reminiscent of early years The Walking Dead but doesn't suffer for that. It is a well written tale that focuses more on the characters and their personal situations more than the sickers.

I'll admit I'm a big fan of Tallerman and his writing in various genres, I've been reading him for years but I don't let that colour my judgement. I tell it as it is and this is one of his best.

Thanks, as always, to Anne Cater for inviting me onto this tour and to Flame Tree Press for providing the copy.
Please, if you get the chance, have a look at the posts of the other bloggers on this tour.

Tuesday 1 October 2019

The Secret Of Cold Hill by Peter James

You wait ages for a good haunted house story and then two come along at once - not that I'm complaining.

In this story a new housing estate is being built on the site of an old Manor house. The first two houses have been sold, the owners have moved in and the previous tenants aren't happy. It isn't long before both households sense the presence of others in their homes and learn of the curse "no-one ever leaves and no-one lives beyond 40" - and from their it just gets weirder and creepier.

By the mid point of the story the lead character wonders if he is going crazy. He can't fathom what is going on and, to be honest it wasn't clear to me either but that not knowing worked for me.

Reminiscent of the novels of James Herbert this was a good read, just the thing now the nights are drawing in

One by One - D W Gillespie

 Welcome to Day 11 of the blog tour for D W Gillespie's One By One.

I do like a good haunted house story and thankfully this, from Flame Tree Press, certainly falls into that bracket. Our protaganists are The Eastons (dad, mum, and two kids, Alice and Dean), a family down on their luck. Dad finds a fixer-upper for them to live in while he...well, fixes it up. Right from the off the house seems to give off bad vibes to everyone but dad (Frank).

It's no real spoiler (it's on the back cover!) that Alice discovers a hidden painting that relates to the Eastons and not long after that, one by one, they start to disappear 😱

I have to say, I really enjoyed this book. The house was creepy, the family (apart from Alice thankfully) were quite annoying, especially the brother, Dean. Everything I would want from a ghost/horror story. There's just something quite satisfying about unlikable characters 'getting there's.

Thankfully the character we spend most time with is Alice and as she is a 10 year old child it makes for an interesting angle to the story telling.

So, how creepy/scary is it as a story? I read this on holiday in 30+ degree heat and it still gave me chills so that's a pretty good testament to how good Gillespie's writing is (and I got through it in two afternoons. Very much recommended.

 Thanks as always to Anne Cater for inviting me onto this tour and Flame Tree Press for providing a copy of the book. Please, if you get chance, have a look at the other bloggers posts on the tour.

Saturday 28 September 2019

The Regret by Dan Malakin

OK, I'll start by making it clear that the author contacted me, as a reviewer and blogger to ask if I would be interested in having a look at his book. I agreed and he sent me a copy. I also bought a copy for kindle as it was on offer and I was going on holiday (and prefer to use my kindle then)

Anyhoo, onto the book itself. This is an, at times, dark read. The lead character, Rachel, is a recovering anorexic who was stalked as a teenager (which lead to her problems). The stalker was sent to jail but now he's out and the stalking starts again but online this time. Her life quickly spirals downwards and old habits return. But is it her former stalker ruining her life or someone else?

Several times I worked out 'whodunit' and each time I changed my mind again and only sussed out the culprit just before the reveal. It did get a little bit silly towards the end to be fair but I didn't mind that as the story kept me hooked. How hooked? Well, I started it poolside on Thursday afternoon, read all the way on the flight home, then the train journey. I was exhausted by the time we got back but I had to keep on reading, so I took it to bed with me (but had to stop as I kept dropping it). Eventually, just short of 24 hours after starting it I was done - that's how hooked.

I guess this book should maybe come with trigger warnings for those that need them but I enjoyed the darkness of it and the author obviously knows what he is talking about.

Would I read this author again? Damn right I would


Friday 27 September 2019

Fuck Yeah Video Games by Daniel Hardcastle

 Welcome to Day 9 of the Blogtour for Fuck Yeah Video Games

Subtitled The Life and Extra Lives of a Professional Nerd this book does exactly what it says on the cover. This is the life of Dan as he approaches his 30th birthday, looking back at his time through some of the video games, friends, people he's met etc. Looking back at some of these weird and (sometimes) bizarre games brought back a lot of good memories of hours spent playing them myself so it will certainly appeal to all gamers, not just the hardcore.

But it's not just the games, there's a history of the hardwear too, looking at the consoles that have enabled us to play the games we love.

This book is fun, funny, entertaining and a real love letter to gaming. And gorgeously illustrated too. Highly recommended
 Thanks, as always, to Anne Cater for inviting me to this tour, Unbound for providing the copy and please, if you can find the time to have a look at the blog posts of the others on this tour.

A Little Hatred by Joe Abercrombie

Welcome to Day 5 of the Blogtour for A Little Hatred, the first book in a new series by Lord Grimdark himself, Joe Abercrombie. 

A Little Hatred is set in the same world as his First Law books but things have moved on slightly. We are now in a time where machinery is starting to become more of 'a thing' so I'd say Industrial Revolution. Machinery and Magic in a Grimdark setting... maybe this will start a genre offshoot - Grimdarker.

As it starts we meet Rikke who has the gift of foreseeing, 'the long eye' and a prophecy...but hey, I wouldn't have it any other way, I love prophecy in my fiction. And as that prophecy comes to fruition things take a turn. There is war coming, there is politic s and wrangling - basically there is everything you would expect from a Joe Abercrombie novel with the added joy of knowing there is more to come. 

Where Abercrombie excels is his characters, even the horrible ones you kinda like. From lords and nobles to lowly soldiers and the mad Hill-woman all have their part to play and all feel they deserve their place in the story. 

Now, I have to go finish the last 100 or so pages (it's been a busy couple of weeks) 

Thanks to Patricia Deever for inviting me onto the tour and Gollancz for the copy. Please, if you can, try and have a look at the blog posts by the other bloggers on the tour

Sunday 22 September 2019

Bloodlust and Bonnets by Emily McGovern

 Welcome to Day 5 of the Bloodlust and Bonnets Blogtour.

I don't often read graphic novels, solely because I find they are over too quickly. This tale of vampire slaying in early 19th century England intrigued me though.

Our heroes in this tale are Lucy, a young lady who wants more from life than the prim and properness expected at that time, Sham, an androgynous person and Lord Byron (yes, THAT Lord Byron). Between them they traipse the length and breadth of the country killing vampires, raising mayhem at society events while flirting and winding each other up. It felt very much like Buffy written by the Brontes

The banter between Lucy, Byron and Sham is good fun but what really makes this is the artwork. The character drawings seem fairly basic at first glance but the colouring makes it look gorgeous.

As I said earlier, I don't often do graphic novels but in this case I'm glad I did
 Thank you, as always, to Anne Cater for inviting me onto this tour and I hope you can make time to have a look at the blog posts by the other lovely people on the tour.

Thursday 19 September 2019

The Story of John Nightly by Tot Taylor

 Welcome to Day 1 of the Blogtour for The Story of John Nightly. Before we start let me just say, I have not finished this book yet so I'm only commenting on what I have read so far. The only reason I haven't finished it though is time. I recieved the book a week ago and it is a big one. 800+ pages big.

Right, down to the important stuff...

The Story of John Nightly is a biography of a non-existent musical genius featuring real people and made up characters. Confused? Don't worry, it all becomes clear early on.

John Nightly comes to us as a shy chap when we first meet him but he has musical talents that rank him as a genius. As his talents are recognised and fame beckons so too does the high life and then he disappears from the limelight to live a reclusive life in Devon with his friend/carer John (believe me there are a lot of Johns in this book, and I do mean A LOT! I don't know if this is just a running joke by the author or something that will be explained later on)

The story slips between the Swinging Sixties and The Noughties and a lot of it is made up of interviews, newspaper and magazine articles etc. which makes it all seem as if John Nightly was real. The different sides of JN, the slightly obnoxious wunderkind of the 60's, the reclusive character of the 00's are well defined and relatable.

It's very obvious from reading this that the author knows a lot about music and the recording industry but this adds to the story rather than baffle the reader with 'industry-speak.

As I said earlier this is a huge book but it flows really well and I found myself doing the '1 more page' thing many times over.

This was a book like no other I've read before and I highly recommend it.

Thank you, as always, to Anne Cater for inviting me onto this tour and I hope you will try and find time to read the posts by the rest of the bloggers on the tour

Tuesday 17 September 2019

Jaffle Inc. by Heide Goody and Iain Grant

Welcome to Day 2 of the Blogtour for Heide Goody and Iain Grant's latest novel Jaffle Inc. 
Set in the near(ish) future this is a world where 97% of the population are fitted with a Jaffle port. This is a device which allows each person to give the unused capacity of their brain power to the upkeep of the infrastructure of the country. It feels very much like the next step from mobile phone obsession really.

Our protagonist, Alice, works for Jaffle Tech Inc. and is on one of the lower level Jaffle packages. Due to a series of events Alice accidentally ends up doing a 'favour' for the head of Jaffle Tech which results in her getting all her brain capacity back. This results in her seeing the world in a much better light...but how long can she keep her secret.

It's no secret that I'm a big fan of Goody and Grant, their madcap sense of humour makes their books a must read for me, but with Jaffle Inc. the humour isn't as much 'front and centre'. This isn't of any detriment to the story. What we have here is a top-notch near future sci-fi thriller with a dash of humour. There are moments that really stand out, such as when Alice discovers real food and music (before she had been eating beans and watching bland TV).

Throw in corporate espionage and what you have here is Grant and Goody's best work to date and something that deserves to be noticed.

Thanks, as always, to Anne Cater for inviting me onto the tour and please, if you can find time, have a look at the posts by the other bloggers on the tour

Friday 6 September 2019

The Nursery by Asia Mackay

Welcome to Day 6 of the Blogtour for Asia Mackay's The Nursery.

This starts off as an espionage/thriller tale, all guns and high speed chases but once the initial action is over our hero, Lex Tyler, is off across London on a second, equally important mission - to pick her daughter, Givi, up from daycare. And that, more or less, sets the standard for the rest of the book.

Assassination attempts, the Dark Web, keeping your career secret from your husband and managing your little one's love of biting - all in a day's work for Lex.

This is the second book in the series (I haven't read the first yet but I will) and with it's mix of edge of your seat action and the more humorous family side of  things this was a very entertaining read. I could see this being televised soon.

As always, please try and find a few spare moments to have a look at the other blogs on this tour

Tuesday 27 August 2019

A River Of Bodies by Kevin Doyle

Welcome to the 1st day of the Blogtour for Kevin Doyle's A River of Bodies (#2 in The Solidarity Books trilogy)

Right, first things first, this is, as I said, the second in a series so, although you can probably get away with it, you would benefit more from reading #1 To Keep A Bird Singing first.

Right, onto the book. The setting is Cork, Republic of Ireland in 2010. These are dark times, austerity is kicking in hard and revelations about Ireland's past make for uncomfortable reading.

Noelie Sullivan 'disaffected ex-punk and grassroots activist' has been investigating missing boys from an Industrial School and his enquiries have made him and his friends some dangerous enemies.

Dodgy priests (that's putting it mildly!), abuse of children in care, bodies buried in ruins it's all here and over it all lies a sense of impending threat for our heroes. The recent Irish scandals feature strongly and it feels unsettling at times. But that doesn't detract from the fact that this is a good story that will keep you (WARNING!!! CLICHÉ ALERT! ) on the edge of your seat throughout.

The only real issues I had with this are personal ones - I really didn't like the name Noelie (picky I know but there you go) and there is a character known as Black Gary who is always referred to as such. It's always 'Black Gary this, Black Gary that' nobody ever calls him just plain Gary.

The setting of Cork and the Irish Republic meant I had to look up a few things I didn't know but that only added to the sense of place.

There was a lot of rehashing of 'what's gone before' in River but as a middle book that's to be expected I guess. Middle books are often mainly about setting things up for the big finish in book 3. That said, I got through this in 2 days.

The real test then is will I read book 3 when it comes out and that's a resounding yes.

As always, thanks to Anne Cater for inviting me onto this tour and now you've read my thoughts on the book please try and find some time to look at the blog posts from the other reviewers (above) on the tour