blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: Wolves at the Door – Gunnar Staalesen*

A slice of Scandi noir for you today.

PI Varg Veum is almost knocked down by a car one night, an incident he is convinced is connected to the wrongful accusation of sexual assault and child pornography he has recently dealt with.

The other men convicted in that case are being picked off one by one in apparent suicides or accidents, Veum is drawn into a case of revenge and retribution that threatens the lives of those he loves.

I’m not going to mince words, this is dark stuff, the crimes these men were involved with are nasty and at times you empathise with the unknown killer – who wouldn’t think that the short prison sentences they received weren’t enough; especially when some of the victims are still dealing with their pasts.

Veum is a compelling narrator with a clinical mind and an analytical style of investigation; he’s easy to root for and likeable, despite his somewhat odd personality and occasional coldness.

About the author: One of the fathers of the Nordic Noir genre, Gunnar Staalesen was born in Bergen, Norway in 1947. He made his debut at the age of twenty-two with Seasons of Innocence and in 1977 he published the first book in the Varg Veum series. He is the author of over twenty-three titles, which have been published in twenty-six countries and sold over five million copies. Twelve film adaptations of his Varg Veum crime novels have appeared since 2007, starring the popular Norwegian actor Trond Epsen Seim, and a further series is currently being filmed. Staalesen, who has won three Golden Pistols (including the Prize of Honour) and the Petrona Award, and been shortlisted for the CWA Dagger, lives in Bergen with his wife.


*I was gifted this book to review but all words and opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

Book Review: The Lost Shrine – Nicola Ford*

Some of you may remember I reviewed the first in this series of archaeology thrillers last year, The Hidden Bones.

Those of you who don’t, not to worry. You can read it now or just order both books.

One of the things Britain has a lot of is history – reams of it stretching far back beyond written records.

It’s fascinating to see how by gently peeling back layers of earth and building works you can discover amazing things hidden underground.

Written by a real archeologist, Dr Nick Snashall, this second murder mystery amidst the dig on a housing development is filled with drama both past and present.

Clare Hills and her team are asked to take over a dig following the shocking death of previous site supervisor Beth Kinsella. With a ruthless developer keen to get on with the building work, strange locals, and the possibility that the site is more significant than it appears, can Clare solve the mysteries therein before the foundations are poured and the past rests again?

This was another well written, cleverly plotted book, with lively characters and a twisty turny storyline that had me racing through the pages.

If Dr Snashall ever decides to give up her day job as the National Trust’s Archaeologist for Stonehenge and Avebury World Heritage Site and write thrillers full time, I reckon we’d all be ok with that!

And all this week if you’re a fan of ebooks The Lost Shrine is only 99p.

*I was gifted this book in exchange for a review, all words and opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, reviews, steampunk

Blog Tour: Geminicia – Nicholas Lovelock*

Revolution, romance and technological wonders are all in a day’s work for the decorated hero of Alavonia, Sir Arthur Pageon.

An acclaimed explorer and inventor, Sir Arthur Pageon takes his unofficial role as defender of the realm of Avalonia very seriously. A fantastical world, Avalonia is home to the Discoucian Monarchy, as well as monstrous creatures and secretive academies for the highly gifted.

Upon returning from his most recent exploits aboard on his personal flying galleon The Nostradamus, Pageon is treated to a hero’s welcome and celebratory procession through the streets of Avalonia’s capital, Evermore. Little does Pageon know he’s being followed by a mysterious group known as the Purple Guard, whose devious leader is his estranged sister, Queen Lily Pageon of Harrha Island. Fiercely intelligent, Lily specialises in dastardly technological inventions with the aim of bringing down the Discoucian Monarchy so that she may reign as its dictator. However, the heir to the throne is one Princes Josephine Oladine, whose youth and royal position masks her role in the Discoucian Secret Service.

Joining forces, Princess Josephine and Sir Arthur’s adventures will take them across the whole of Avalonia — from the fog-bound shores of Karga, to the secret underground shanty town beneath the frozen prison of Icester, south to the verdant city of Proceur and from there to the affluent Starfall Academy — in their quest to foil Lily’s revolutionary plans.

The second part of Arthur and Jo’s strange adventures throughout the land of Discoucia, and a time when Archie the Water Goddess has made the ultimate sacrifice to rid the world of her nemesis, Cordelia Paradise, the Fire Goddess.

However, things rarely go to plan and Arthur finds himself at war with Archie’s hidden agenda rather than the insane task that he has to help Archie complete.

Hidden around Discoucia in its sixteen major cities are sixteen gems that Archie must collect before a year is up. If she wins then Cordelia will disappear to another dimension and not return until she agrees to stop causing forest fires, volcanic eruptions and droughts.

Team Archie has Arthur and Jo, who both have the understanding that by collecting these gems a natural order can be brought back and maybe Jo’s father will get well again. Team Cordelia has Alicia May, who has a talent for becoming anyone and a deep malicious streak; and Iren, who has a fanatical hatred for Archie, which Archie herself doesn’t like to talk about.

Along the way they meet old friends and old enemies, as well as Archie having to perform miracles without the use of divine power. From the murky ruins of Tanalos to the haunted corridors of Ashin Dance Academy, the frozen caverns of Icester and the verdant streets of Proceur, the adventure will take them around Discoucia and beyond, unless Cordelia and Alicia May can stop them first…

About the author

Nicholas Lovelock lives in a small village in Oxfordshire and has already published Discoucia, the first part of the Alavonia Series which spans multiple novels set to be released in the future. He enjoys riding around the countryside as well as illustrating his own works, as can be seen in his second novel Gemenicia. These Illustrations in stark black and white provide a glimpse into the world of Alavonia and how he sees it, as well as showcasing the different locations and characters that make up the Alavonia series universe.

He is a keen musician capable of playing the electric guitar as well as the acoustic and the piano, often trying to play like his musical heroes David Gilmour, Jimmy Page and Jeff Lynne. His coin collection has transformed from a hobby to a passion and obsession as he attempts to collect one of every issued coin in Great Britain. He is over halfway in that respect collecting such treasures as a 1675 Charles the Second Crown and an extremely rare Edward the Seventh Half Crown of 1905, and has begun metal detecting in an effort to tick some boxes in the Hammered Coinage section.

His love of Steampunk literature and cinema has been with him from a young age when he first saw the film ‘Wild Wild West’, sought out the original series and discovered a world of fantasy that he has painstakingly tried to pay homage to in his novels, to bring the wild west to an English setting and to create something that has never been done before.

History has always been a major passion of his as he makes many references in his literature, from characters whose personalities resemble those of eccentric historical characters or monarchs. The ability to change history through literature was one of the things that attracted him to become an author in the first place, to create similar timelines and put a unique spin on the mundane.

My thoughts

At first I struggled a little to get into the first book, its unique style and the mise en scene opening took a minute to engage with. These books are great, quirky romps through a colourful world a little like ours but mostly completely different. The characters of Arthur and Jo are vividly drawn and you get swept up in their adventures. If you like steampunk, fantasy and adventure these are worth a whirl.

Find them on Amazon here:

Discoucia

Geminicia

*I was gifted these books in exchange for a review, all thoughts and opinions remain my own.

beauty, cruelty free, reviews, skincare

Skincare Saturday: Essential Vie Review*

Today I thought I’d share my thoughts on some skincare I was recently sent to review.

Essential Vie Hydrating Moisturiser

🍓Highlighted ingredients were organic Argan Oil and Vitamin E.

🍓Suitable for sensitive skin (very important for me)

🍓Not tested on animals.

🍓Vegan.

🍓Free from parabens and sulphates.

🍓Made in the UK

This is a medium thick daily moisturiser, lightly scented from ingredients not added perfumes. It absorbs quickly and leaves the lightest of residues on the skin during absorption.

I did struggle with the pump at first as it seemed to get clogged and stop working, only allowing tiny amounts out. But I persevered as it seemed like a cream my notoriously stroppy skin could get on with.

I avoided areas where my eczema has flared as that really needs something a bit more ferocious and steroid-y (prescription time!)

I had no bad reactions to this and overall it’s similar I think to Superdrug’s Vitamin E cream in texture and consistency.

You can get this from Boots priced at £9.99 for 100ml.

Essential Vie Anti Stretch Mark Oil

🍓Highlighted ingredients are organic Argan Oil and Vitamin E.

🍓Cruelty Free.

🍓A blend of essential oils designed to reduce the appearance of stretch marks.

The only fragrance is from the oils, this is easy to use and suitable for the whole body.

I used it on some rather angry looking marks on my arm from blood tests that have always bothered me. It seemed to lighten the skin a bit, and certainly added some moisture and improved the overall appearance of my skin.

I had no negative reaction and found this nicer to use than Bio Oil which I find slightly unpleasant to smell or feel. This didn’t leave my skin greasy or my hand after application.

You can pick this up in Boots priced at £11.99 for 100ml.

*I was sent these products to test and review but all words and opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: Smoke in the Glass – Chris Humphreys*

Today I’m hosting a review blog tour stop for Chris Humphreys’ new book Smoke in the Glass, the first in a series set in a world where some people are born immortals and worshipped as gods.There are four lands, surrounded by impassable mountains and uncrossable seas, to most of the residents this means they are the only people in the world – unaware of others beyond their borders.In Midgarth (think Norse mythology) immortals are seen as gods who live amongst us, fighting each other over territory and drinking mead at feasts. Luck has always thought there might be more than just this and when someone starts murdering gods starts to look for a killer.Ferros is a soldier, sworn to serve the empire (Greco-Roman), finding out he’s immortal after a fight with bandits leads him to the school of immortals and as his life starts to change, new enemies threaten the Empire, he must lead the fight.In Ometope (Incan/Mayan) the god Intitepe has killed all his fellow immortals and his sons, sacrificing them to the volcano Toluc, trying to prevent a prophecy about his own death from coming true. When he banishes the latest of his women, Atisha and her newborn to the City of Women, his tightly controlled domain starts to unravel.A fourth land waits for the One, neither male nor female, they will bring changes that affect all four worlds, breaking down barriers and crossing impassable terrains. What is the strange addictive smoke they carry, and why are they so interested in Atisha’s baby Poum?Cleverly written, at times very funny, I thoroughly enjoyed this new book. I liked the clever usage of ancient religions from our world and the characters of Ferros, Luck and Atisha.This first novel nicely sets up the rest of the upcoming series, explaining the history of this world and how it works without being dry or boring. The plot jogs along at a nice pace, switching between storylines and protagonists confidently and smoothly.I look forward to reading the rest of the series and finding out more about the mysterious fourth land.*I was sent this book in exchange for my review, however all words and opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog tour: Death at the Plague Museum – Lesley Kelly*

Today I am hosting a stop on the blog tour for Lesley Kelly’s Death at the Plague Museum. And if that title doesn’t intrigue you, I don’t know what will.

Set in a version of Edinburgh where a deadly outbreak of flu has left the need for a Health Enforcement Team, who in this book, the third in the series, are looking into a missing senior civil servant following a top secret meeting held at the Museum of Plagues and Pandemics.

This is a clever and witty book, the pacing is excellent and carries you along through all the twists and turns of the smart plot. The ending is very unexpected and hopefully book four continues the story…

books, reviews

Book Review: Emily Eternal – M.G. Wheaton*

Emily is an AI designed by a team at university, she exists in a synthesised version of the campus and she’s very, very smart.However not everyone wants to leave her in her home, some want to turn her into a weapon and Emily doesn’t agree.Forced to make decisions for more than just herself after a military incursion on her campus Emily has to stretch the limits of her programming and become more than just code.Told from Emily’s POV this is a clever, twisty thriller set in the near future. Well written and pacey, I really enjoyed this and it sits nicely among my growing collection of clever AI books.You can get a copy of Emily Eternal at all good bookshops from 23rd April.*I received a copy of this book in exchange for my review – but all words and opinions are my own.