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…

blog tour, books, reviews

Book Review: Outremer III – DN Carter*

In preparation for this book review I also received books 1 and 2 of the series, there will also be a fourth volume.

My husband often complains about all the books I receive from generous publishers and PR teams to review, so this one is for him.

Set during the Crusades in the Holy Land, which spanned more than a few years and saw kings, queens and even children (both Alianor of Aquitaine and her son Richard the Lionheart would spend time in Jerusalem) travel to the front in order to fight the Muslim forces led at one point by the legendary Saladin.

These books are part fantastical story and part discussion of religious texts and beliefs.

My husband reviewed them thus; “Really interesting, but I got attached to one set of characters and wanted more of them and less religion. This book is trying to do something different and I got a bit frustrated when it left one plot for another. ”

A lot has been written about the Crusades, about the ‘right’ of European monarchs to control and repress the local population (remember Jerusalem is holy in all three Abrahamic faiths – Judaism, Christianity and Islam) but not like this.

This is an unusual series and will appeal to people interested in history, religion, and also fantasy as it follows two young people caught up in the chaos of the time.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: Ancestral Night – Elizabeth Bear

I seem to have a slight thing for AIs with a bit of sass, from AIDAN (The Illuminae Files series), Lovelace/Lovey/Sidra (the Wayfarer series) and now Singer in Ancestral Night.

There are also cats, I also love cats. It reminded me of the Redemption Falls series, space ships with cats, all the feels.

Basically I love this book. It starts out with Singer, his two man crew and the cats (Mephistopheles, always hungry, and her sister Bushyasta, always sleeping) on a routine salvage mission.

The crew is comprised of pilot Connla and engineer Haimey, who grew up in a collective before leaving to explore the universe. She’s had augmentation that turned her feet into another pair of hands (aft-hands) which took me ages to get my hand around fyi.

The routine mission goes sideways and space pirates get involved. There’s also a giant praying mantis cop, explosions, black holes, kidnap, giant floating space creatures that are older than most civilisations, and this is only the first book!

Can you guess that I loved this book?

Seriously, a black female protagonist in a STEM role in freaking space is fantastic plus a smart-ass AI and cats, cats who have space suits and very clever names (Google them). This book legit has everything.

I cannot wait to read the second book once the author (who is a member of my new cool last name club, although she doesn’t know me at all). So go read this book! Book sales = the rest of the series definitely getting published.

Check out the rest of the blog tour too.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: The Everlasting Rose – Dhionelle Clayton

This is the sequel to The Belles (I recommend reading it before my review as there may be some mild spoilers of that book)

Following the events of The Belles, Camellia, her sister Edel and bodyguard Remy are on the run in the queendom of Orlèans from the dangerous Princess Sophia while searching for Princess Charlotte.

Camellia has learnt the terrible secrets that lurk beneath the beautiful surface and must stay alive long enough to right these wrongs and save not only herself but the whole of Orlèans.

I found The Belles to be full of clever ideas and fun details like the teacup animals and this book builds on the ideas and expands the world building.

Dhionelle is an excellent writer, and carries you along with her words. The plot is a lot more interesting than the first book, I think because there is less world building and scene setting needed.

I enjoyed this, although I had to read it as an e-book after the Royal Mail lost the copy I was kindly being sent by the publisher (which is less than ideal for me for several reasons).

I definitely think you need to read the first book though, this is very much a sequel as opposed to something that could stand alone.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: The Rock n The Roll n That… – Steven J. Gill*

“Rock ‘n’ roll is a nuclear blast of reality in a mundane world where no-one is allowed to be magnificent.” The former manager of The Runaways said that. The mad bastard. And Johnny Harrison swore by it. He had to. Almost forty, fully paid up member of the rat race and bored sh*tless. He had to believe in something. Then something happened. Something magnificent. A once in a lifetime band dropped out of the sky and right into his lap. A band unaware of just how great they could be. A band that had no idea what was about to hit them. A band that needed someone to light the fuse. That someone was Johnny Harrison and the truth was he needed them so much more. They were his ticket out. That’s how it is with THE ROCK ‘N’ THE ROLL. ‘N’ THAT. Buy your ticket and take the ride.

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Steven J. Gill is from Manchester, living just south of the city centre.

This is his first book. Previously, his writing work was limited to music and football fanzines.

He has had quite the varied career, ranging from finance, delivering enterprise days to schools, undertaker and. driver.

A self-confessed cats, coats and Beatles obsessive.

Very much in right time and right place in the early 80’s and 90’s and duly devoured all that the Manchester music scene had to offer. Talked a lot of nonsense and managed a couple of bands that never unite made it big. Sings like a donkey braying into a bucket but a very good musical ear would be a fitting epitaph…

Having had somewhat of a literary epiphany at the inaugural Festival No.6 in North Wales, Steven decided it was time to set to and get writing. ‘The Rock ‘n’ The Roll. ‘ N” That…’ is the fruit of these labours.”

As some Scouse pop genius once opined, “it took me years to write, so won’t you take a look…”

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If I’m being brutally honest, this wasn’t my cup of tea, but it is a helter skelter of a book, the plot zips along and it’s very readable. I just struggled to get into it, I guess I didn’t relate to the characters much.

The music industry has changed hugely in the last twenty years, social media and YouTube has made the way musicians reach their fans and become famous so beyond the way the pre-internet industry worked.

Even though it’s set in modern Manchester, it definitely has that vintage music scene feel. When you could find a band in a bar and make them the next big thing if you have the connections and determination.

*This post contains items gifted to me in exchange for an honest review but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

Book Review: Defense of an Other – Grace Mead

Written by a practicing lawyer this novel is very heavy on the legal details and arguments, which at times made it a struggle to read.

However it was at least an interesting case to build a story around.

Matt is a young lawyer in New Orleans who after visiting a gay bar is attacked by three thugs. Defending a new acquaintance, he kills one of the thugs and is arrested for murder. The plot follows his trial and time in Angola state prison, notorious for its human rights abuses and extreme violence.

There is a lot of legalese used throughout, having so many of the characters be lawyers means it seems natural for them to speak like that, but harder for the lay person to understand. Especially the verbatim Supreme Court transcript.

Set in 2007 before several changes in law and culture, including marriage equality, Matt’s chances of leaving prison rest on arguments around whether or not a gay person can be sentenced by a bias jury; or should be a protected characteristic like gender and race (you can’t have an all white jury if there’s a black defendant for example).

Most of my legal knowledge is, like many people’s, based around watching a lot of crime shows and hours of Law & Order. The author however went to law school and works for a large Miami firm, having done similar jobs as her character.

Overall I found this book a little hard going at times (must watch more L&O) but certainly interesting. I would suggest reading it but not when you’re a bit sleepy, you need to be wide awake to follow the legal arguments being made.

This review is part of a blog tour, check out the rest of the tour.

blog tour, books, reviews

Book Review: Skyward – Brandon Sanderson

Spensa dreams of flight, soaring past the debris that litters the skies above her home on Detritus, into the open stars. Like her father she wants to be part of the Detritus Defence Force and protect her people from their enemy the Krell. Only her father was branded a coward and the admiral doesn’t want her anywhere near the DDF.

Spensa gets into the training program and starts to uncover the truth about her father and in doing so finds a few things out about herself too.

Sanderson is a well known and rather prolific writer of fantasy and science fiction, I first read his Final Empire trilogy, enjoying his strong world building and well written characters, something Skyward shares.

I really enjoyed this book, Spensa is a strong protagonist and it is easy to empathise with her story. The plot is pacy and even all the flight school simulation bits are enjoyable and fluid. Some of it is also very funny.

The ending is quite open and this book feels like the beginning of a series, fingers crossed I’m right.

This post is part of the blog tour for Skyward – check out the rest of the tour.