books, reviews

Books You May Have Missed*

Here’s a mini round up of some books I’ve read recently that might not have come to your attention. Definitely worth sticking on your TBR.

Lord of Secrets (The Empty Gods Book 1) by [Teintze, Breanna]

Outlaw wizard Corcoran Gray has enough problems. He’s friendless, penniless and on the run from the tyrannical Mages’ Guild – and with the search for his imprisoned grandfather looking hopeless, his situation can’t get much worse.

So when a fugitive drops into his lap – literally – and gets them both arrested, it’s the last straw – until Gray realises that runaway slave Brix could be the key to his grandfather’s release. All he has to do is break out of prison, break into an ancient underground temple and avoid killing himself with his own magic in the process.

In theory it’s simple enough. But as secrets unfold and loyalties shift, Gray discovers something with the power to change the nature of life and death itself.

Now Gray must find a way to protect the people he loves, but it could cost him everything, even his soul…

You Die Next: The twisty crime thriller that will keep you up all night (Starke & Bell) by [Marland, Stephanie, Broadribb, Stephanie]

In a dangerous alliance with troubled amateur sleuth Clementine Starke, DI Dominic Bell must hunt down a ruthless killer targeting a group of urban explorers who risk their lives exploring abandoned London locations. Can Starke and Bell identify the masked victims before it’s too late?

A group of anonymous urban explorers stumble into a murderer’s kill room in a derelict film studio. Terrified, they run, thinking they are safe as no one in the group knows their identities. When one of them is brutally murdered during an exploration of an abandoned underground station, they realise they are being hunted.

DI Dominic Bell and his team are investigating the series of murders but cannot find the connection between the victims. The only person who can help is Clementine Starke, who is researching adult thrillseeekers as part of a university research project. However, Clementine is haunted by dark and violent obsessions, primarily her former relationship with DI Dominic Bell.

The Academy of Chaenbalu has stood against magic for centuries.

Hidden from the world, acting from the shadows, it trains its students to detect and retrieve magic artifacts, which it jealously guards from the misuse of others. Because magic is dangerous: something that heals can also harm, and a power that aids one person may destroy another.

Of the Academy’s many students, only the most skilled can become Avatars – warrior thieves, capable of infiltrating the most heavily guarded vaults – and only the most determined can be trusted to resist the lure of magic.

More than anything, Annev de Breth wants to become one of them.

The Migration by [Marshall, Helen]

When I was younger I didn’t know a thing about death. I thought it meant stillness, a body gone limp. A marionette with its strings cut. Death was like a long vacation – a going away.

Storms and flooding are worsening around the world, and a mysterious immune disorder has begun to afflict the young. Sophie Perella is about to begin her senior year of high school in Toronto when her little sister, Kira, is diagnosed. Their parents’ marriage falters under the strain, and Sophie’s mother takes the girls to Oxford, England, to live with their Aunt Irene. An Oxford University professor and historical epidemiologist obsessed with relics of the Black Death, Irene works with a centre that specializes in treating people with the illness. She is a friend to Sophie, and offers a window into a strange and ancient history of human plague and recovery. Sophie just wants to understand what’s happening now; but as mortality rates climb, and reports emerge of bodily tremors in the deceased, it becomes clear there is nothing normal about this condition – and that the dead aren’t staying dead. When Kira succumbs, Sophie faces an unimaginable choice: let go of the sister she knows, or take action to embrace something terrifying and new.

Tender and chilling, unsettling and hopeful, The Migration is a story of a young woman’s dawning awareness of mortality and the power of the human heart to thrive in cataclysmic circumstances.

 

 

*I was kindly gifted these books from the publishers with no requirement to review or share, but as I enjoyed them I have done so.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: A Sinner’s Prayer – M.P. Wright*

The last book in the JT Ellington series, set in 1970s Bristol, featuring PI turned school caretaker Ellington.

Drawn back into the world of criminals and life under the radar by an old acquaintance in the police, Ellington is asked to look into the disappearance of a young Indian man who disappears hours before his wedding.

Ellington uncovers links to the underworld and gang kingpins, murders and secrets around every corner. His own family become targets as someone works against him to keep hidden things hidden.

The author has had a fascinating career history, including a stint as a PI himself, lending realism to his writing.

I enjoyed this book, I have been in a crime thriller kind of mood of late, and this did the trick.

Well written, clever and pacey, I was drawn swiftly into the world Ellington is so determined to leave.

*I was gifted this book to take part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: The Closer I Get – Paul Buston*

Tom is a successful author, but for the first time in his life, he has writer’s block. His main distraction is an online admirer, Evie, who simply won’t leave him alone. Evie is smart, well read and unstable; she lives with her sick father and her social media friendships are not only her escape, but everything she has. When she’s hit with a restraining order, her world collapses, whilst Tom is free to live his life again, and to concentrate on writing. But things aren’t adding up. For Tom is also addicted to his online relationships, and when they take a darker, more menacing turn, he’s powerless to change things. Because maybe he needs Evie more than he’s letting on. A compulsive, disturbingly relevant, twisty and powerful psychological thriller, The Closer I Get is also a searing commentary on the fragility and insincerity of online relationships, and the danger that can lurk on the other side of a screen…

Paul Burston is the author of five novels and the editor of two short story collections. His most recent novel The Black Path, was a WHSmith bestseller. His first novel, Shameless, was shortlisted for the State of Britain Award. His third novel, Lovers & Losers was shortlisted for a Stonewall Award. His fourth, The Gay Divorcee, was optioned for television. He was a founding editor of Attitude magazine and has written for many publications including Guardian, Independent, Time Out, The Times and Sunday Times. In March 2016, he was featured in the British Council’s #FiveFilms4Freedom Global List 2016, celebrating “33 visionary people who are promoting freedom, equality and LGBT rights around the world”. He is the founder and host of London’s award-winning LGBT+ literary salon Polari and founder and chair of The Polari First Book Prize for new writing and the newly announced Polari Prize.

My thoughts: no spoilers here, this is a twisty, compelling thriller. Well paced and clever, I read this in one sitting. If you like smart psychological thrill rides then do yourself a favour and get a copy.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: Life Ruins – Danuta Kot*

A body, briefly glimpsed at the bottom of an abandoned mineshaft, vanishes when the police investigate.

Jared, recovering from an almost fatal injury and addicted to painkillers, knows he saw something terrible in that mine… but he has no evidence, and fears he’s losing his grip on reality.

A girl is attacked so savagely she can’t be identified, and dumped late at night in an isolated campground.

She’s alive, but only just.

Becca, tossed out of university and just let go from her dead-end job, is certain she knows who the victim is. But no one will believe her, and she can hardly even trust herself.

Kay, recently widowed and coming to terms with life on her own, suddenly finds herself forced to get involved.

For years she and her husband fostered difficult children – including Becca, whom trouble follows like a stray puppy. And now Becca seems to be in the worst trouble of her life.

And then Jared and Becca meet.

Becca, strong-minded and fiercely independent, is confident they can figure out what’s going on. She pulls Kay into the mix, knowing they’ll need all the help they can get…

because the police don’t believe them.

And more girls are vanishing.

Separately, Kay, Becca and Jared believe their lives have hit rock bottom. But drawn together under extraordinary circumstances, they’ll discover the strength to fight back… and ultimately rebuild their lives from the ruins.

Danuta Kot grew up with stories. Her Irish mother and her Polish father kept their own cultures alive with traditional tales they shared with their children. For many years, she worked with young people in Yorkshire who were growing up in the aftermath of sudden industrial decline. She uses this background in her books to explore some of the issues that confront modern, urban society: poverty, alienation and social breakdown, using the contexts of the modern crime novel. She has previously written under the names, Danuta Reah and Carla Banks. Danuta was also a former chair of the Crime Writers’ Association. She now works as a senior education consultant, work that involves travel to establish education and training in other parts of the world. She is a regular academic speaker at conferences and literary festivals, and has appeared on radio and television.

My thoughts:

I think I’m starting to prefer not-cops investigating crimes. They have to be smarter, more resourceful and use their wits, rather than relying on back up and the ability to shout “Stop, police”.

Becca and Jared definitely fall into this category, they have no back up, no way to convince the police to help them. Both have reasons to stay away from the authorities, but they’re smart and capable.

I couldn’t work out how all the disparate threads tied together, something I’m usually quite good at, and there were some truly shocking moments.

If you like a clever thriller, complete with twists you won’t spot, then this is the book for you.

*I was gifted this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: The Fragility of Bodies – Sergei Oluguin*

The first in a series of novels by Olguín starring the journalist Veronica Rosenthal. It is set in Buenos-Aires and has been made into a TV series currently showing in Argentina.

Veronica is a successful young journalist, beautiful, unmarried, with a healthy appetite for bourbon and men. She is a fascinating and complicated heroine, driven by a sense of justice but also by lust and ambition.

Sensual and terse, the novel is also fiercely critical of a system that tolerates the powerful and wealthy of Buenos Aires putting the lives of young boys at risk for their entertainment.

When she hears about the suicide of a local train driver who has jumped off the roof of a block of flats, leaving a suicide note confessing to four mortal ‘accidents’ on the train tracks, she decides to investigate.

For the police the case is closed (suicide is suicide), for Veronica it is the beginning of a journey that takes her into an unfamiliar world of grinding poverty, junkie infested neighborhoods, and train drivers on commuter lines haunted by the memory of bodies hit at speed by their locomotives in the middle of the night.

Aided by a train driver informant, a junkie in rehab and two street kids willing to risk everything for a can of Coke, she uncovers a group of men involved in betting on working-class youngsters convinced to play Russian roulette by standing in front of fast-coming trains to see who endures the longest.

With bodies of children crushed under tons of steel, those of adults yielding to relentless desire, the resolution of the investigation reveals the deep bonds which unite desire and death.

Sergio Olguín was born in Buenos Aires in 1967 and was a journalist before turning to fiction. Olguín has won a number of awards, among others the Premio Tusquets 2009 for his novel Oscura monótona sangre (“Dark Monotonous Blood“)

His books have been translated into German, French and Italian. The Fragility of Bodies is his first novel to be translated into English.

The translator Miranda France is the author of two acclaimed volumes of travel writing: Don Quixote’s Delusions and Bad Times in Buenos Aires.

She has also written the novels Hill Farm and The Day Before the Fire and translated much Latin American fiction, including Claudia Piñeiro’s novels for Bitter Lemon Press.

My thoughts:

I really enjoyed this, it reminded me of the Millennium novels,but without sexual violence.

The crimes Veronica investigates are seemingly accidental but turn out to involve powerful and corrupt men.

The writing is compelling and well paced, drawing you into the knotty investigation and Veronica’s own complicated life.

This is definitely a thriller for fans of Scandi noir – only hotter and with more South American. I hope there are translations of the author’s books in the pipeline.


*I was gifted this book in exchange for taking part in this blog tour.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: The Last Stage – Louise Voss*

At the peak of her career as lead singer of a legendary 1980s indie band, Meredith Vincent was driven off the international stage by a horrific incident. Now she lives incognito in a cottage on the grounds of Minstead House, an old stately home, whilst working in the gift shop. Her past is behind her and she enjoys her new life. But a series of inexplicable and unsettling incidents have started to happen around her – broken china, vandalised gardens… And when a body is found in the gardens of Minstead House, Meredith realises that someone is watching, someone who knows who she is and who wants to destroy her…

A dark, riveting and chilling psychological thriller, The Final Stage is a study of secrets and obsessions, where innocent acts can have the most terrifying consequences.

Over her eighteen-year writing career, Louise Voss has had eleven novels published – five solo and six co-written with Mark Edwards: a combination of psychological thrillers, police procedurals and contemporary fiction – and sold over 350,000 books. Her most recent book, The Old You, was a number one bestseller in eBook.

Louise has an MA (Dist) in Creative Writing and also works as a literary consultant and mentor for writers at http://www.thewritingcoach.co.uk.

She lives in South-West London and is a proud member of two female crimewriting collectives, The Slice Girls and Killer Women.

My thoughts:

This was such a good book I read it twice. Having read some of Voss’ previous work I knew I was in for a treat and I was not wrong.

Having read so many thrillers and watched so many crime shows (thanks dad for getting me into all this!) I am usually pretty good at figuring out whodunnit, but I was genuinely scuppered by this one. I had no idea who it was that was stalking Meredith and the final twist had me shouting “no way!!”

The writing is so sharp, the characters strong and well drawn. Honestly it was a treat to read.

*I was gifted a copy of this book in order to take part in this blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: Our Little Secrets – Peter Ritchie*

This is the fifth book in the Grace Macallan series, but the first one I’ve read.

Written by a retired senior police officer with an extensive career, this book delves deep into the gangs and criminal conspiracies in Scotland’s underworld.

Grace Macallan is working in Counter Corruption, investigating dodgy officers like DI Janet Hadden who is running her own schemes involving some dangerous men.

I found this book really enjoyable and well written; the plot is well paced and draws you into the narrative.

The characters are well drawn, you even end up feeling sorry for one of the criminals; I don’t think he deserved what he got!

*I was gifted a copy of this book in order to take part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.