blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: The Trials of Koli – M.R. Carey*

Read my review of the first Book of Koli here.


The Book of Koli is the unforgettable story of a young boy struggling to find his place in a world where nature itself has turned against humanity: Everything that lives hates us…

Beyond the walls of the small village of Mythen Rood lies an unrecognizable landscape. A place where overgrown forests are filled with choker trees and deadly seeds that will kill you where you stand. And if they don’t get you, one of the dangerous shunned men will. Koli has lived in Mythen Rood his entire life. He believes the first rule of survival is that you don’t venture too far beyond the walls. He’s wrong.

My thoughts:

Koli and his companions, Ursula and Cup are on the road, trying to reach London and find whoever is sending out a signal, but the journey is dangerous.

I enjoyed this a lot more than the first book, it felt more fully realised and I liked that the perspective went back and forth from Koli and Spinner, back in Mythen Rood.

A lot happens in the pages of this second novel – Koli and his friends fight off attacks from old enemies and of course nature, which really has it out for humans, and who can blame it.

They do meet some good people though, ones who offer them help rather than threats.

Meanwhile Spinner is trying to find her place in Mythen Rood, having married Haijon in the previous book. She’s beginning to see some things about the all powerful Ramparts that leave her with questions no one wants to answer.

This was a really good book and I’m already looking forward to the third and final installment.

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

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: Emily Knight I Am… Becoming – A. Bello*

Homecoming. Sacrifice. Family. Fire.
The Knights are finally reunited and ready to defeat Neci once and for all. But Neci is one step ahead and is targeting them one by one. When Neci takes one of Emily’s best friends hostage, Emily leads the elite team on a rescue mission but nothing can prepare them for what Neci has planned.

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A. Bello is an award-winning author and publishing entrepreneur, born and raised in London, where she still lives and works. In 2018, Abiola was named ‘Trailblazer of the Year’ by London Book Fair.
Abiola wrote her first novel at the age of eight – when she fought monsters and dragons on a daily basis – and experienced her first taste of ‘being published’ after winning a school poetry competition at the age of 12. Seeing her words in print fuelled a passion for writing that remains to this day.
The first incarnation of the Emily Knight story can be traced back almost 20 years; Abiola wanted to fill the gaping hole in children’s fiction for an inspirational, strong, black, female, young protagonist. This ‘gap’ in publishing remains in today’s publishing world despite continued calls for more diversity in terms of the authors creating the books and the characters and plot lines within the stories.
She is the founder of The Lil’ Author School and co-founder of The Author School (shortlisted for The Great British Entrepreneur Awards 2016 and celebrating its fifth birthday in 2020). Abiola is also co-founder of The Diverse Book Awards and Hashtag BLAK.
Abiola is regularly asked to contribute to the media; she has been featured in About Time Magazine, Cosmopolitan, Female First, Daily Mirror, BBC1XTRA, The Bookseller, The British Blacklist, Melan Magazine, London Post, and many more.

Abiola is also a regular at literary festivals and gives talks to children in primary and secondary schools, as well as to young writers and people wishing to get into the publishing business.

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My thoughts:

This was a fun and enjoyable read, Emily and her family and friends are super powered humans who fight against evil versions led by a woman called Neci.

Emily is fifteen, and as well as dealing with teenage dramas, she’s dealing with being a warrior, and the return of her long lost father and brother, both of whom are seen as heroes and attract attention Emily would rather avoid.

I hadn’t read the previous books in the series and I think I might have got into this faster if I had, it took me a little while to understand what was happening and who everyone was.

I’ve recommended the series to a few friends raising daughters who read and who might enjoy having a female hero.

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

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: May Day – Josie Jaffrey*


If the murderer you’re tracking is a vampire, then you want a vampire detective. Just maybe not this one.It’s not that Jack Valentine is bad at her job. The youngest member of Oxford’s Seekers has an impressive track record, but she also has an impressive grudge against the local baron, Killian Drake.

When a human turns up dead on May Morning, she’s determined to pin the murder on Drake. The problem is that none of the evidence points to him. Instead, it leads Jack into a web of conspiracy involving the most powerful people in the country, people to whom Jack has no access. But she knows someone who does.

To get to the truth, Jack will have to partner up with her worst enemy. As long as she can keep her cool, Drake will point her to the ringleaders, she’ll find the murderer and no one else will have to die.
Body bags on standby.

May Day is the first book in Josie Jaffrey’s Seekers series, an urban fantasy series set in Oxford, England.
Goodreads

My thoughts:

This was a good slice of crime noir, with added fangs. Vampire detectives investigating crimes potentially committed by their own crime, finding all kinds of creeps lurking in the shadows along the way.

Keeping their bloodthirsty secrets safe from the human population and making sure not too many bloodless corpses turn up is a full time job, so the last thing they need is a weird murder.

These vamps seem to be Daywalkers, blending in amongst the students and locals of Oxford as they carry out their investigation, problem is it all seems to loop back round to the people they least want to be guilty.

Riddled with pitch black humour, pop culture references and a healthy dose of old fashioned British irreverence, this is an excellent new addition to the vampire literary canon.

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

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: The Beast & the Bethany – Jack Meggitt-Phillips, illustrated by Isabelle Follath*


Beauty comes at a price. And no one knows that better than Ebenezer Tweezer, who has stayed beautiful for 511 years. How, you may wonder? Ebenezer simply has to feed the beast in the attic of his mansion. In return for meals of performing monkeys, statues of Winston Churchill, and the occasional cactus, Ebenezer gets potions that keep him young and beautiful, as well as other presents.

But the beast grows ever greedier with each meal, and one day he announces that he’d like to eat a nice, juicy child next. Ebenezer has never done anything quite this terrible to hold onto his wonderful life. Still, he finds the absolutely snottiest, naughtiest, and most frankly unpleasant child he can and prepares to feed her to the beast.

The child, Bethany, may just be more than Ebenezer bargained for. She’s certainly a really rather rude houseguest, but Ebenezer still finds himself wishing she didn’t have to be gobbled up after all. Could it be Bethany is less meal-worthy and more…friend-worthy?

My thoughts:

This was lots of fun, and very silly.

What amused me before I read it was the title – my sister-in-law is called Bethany and I told my husband that made him the Beast!

However the book was even better than it’s title suggests.

The Beast lives on the top floor of Ebenezer Tweezer’s enormous house, where it demands more and more unusual delicacies to eat. In exchange he vomits up whatever Ebenezer, a sprightly 511 years old, desires.

Until the Beast wants to eat a plump, juicy child. I think it might be related to the witch in Hansel & Gretel.

Enter Bethany – a short hurricane of bad manners, petty theft, and obstinence. She’s also a lot smarter than anyone gives her credit for.

With Bethany’s help Ebenezer starts to plot against the Beast and put a stop to its greed.

I laughed so much at times I snorted like a pig!

This book may be aimed at child readers but even an old crone like me can enjoy it.


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

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: The Trouble with Peace – Joe Abercrombie*

Read my review of A Little Hatred here.

Peace is just another kind of battlefield . . .
Savine dan Glokta, once Adua’s most powerful investor, finds her judgement, fortune and reputation in tatters. But she still has all her ambitions, and no scruple will be permitted to stand in her way.
For heroes like Leo dan Brock and Stour Nightfall, only happy with swords drawn, peace is an ordeal to end as soon as possible. But grievances must be nursed, power seized, and allies gathered first, while Rikke must master the power of the Long Eye . . . before it kills her.
Unrest worms into every layer of society. The Breakers still lurk in the shadows, plotting to free the common man from his shackles, while noblemen bicker for their own advantage. Orso struggles to find a safe path through the maze of knives that is politics, only for his enemies, and his debts, to multiply.
The old ways are swept aside, and the old leaders with them, but those who would seize the reins of power will find no alliance, no friendship, and no peace lasts forever.

My thoughts:

I do enjoy the world building of Joe Abercrombie – the politics and never ending feuds that threaten the Union as much as the countries on their borders.

People are bored in peace times, there are too many hours in the day to scheme and plot.

Savine hasn’t fully recovered from the events of A Little Hatred, and a politically savvy marriage might just be the thing to save her.

Leo gets dragged into schemes at the heart of government, not realising he’s being manipulated and lied to.

Things aren’t much better in the North, but then when have they ever in this world?

I thoroughly enjoyed this new addition to the Abercrombie canon – lots of action as always, with a wry humour and plenty of intrigue.

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

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: The Bone Shard Daughter – Andrea Stewart*

The Bone Shard Daughter is an unmissable fantasy debut from a major new voice in epic fantasy — a stunning tale of magic, mystery, and revolution in which the former heir to the emperor will fight to reclaim her power and her place on the throne.
The emperor’s reign has lasted for decades, his mastery of bone shard magic powering the animal-like constructs that maintain law and order. But now his rule is failing, and revolution is sweeping across the Empire’s many islands.
Lin is the emperor’s daughter and spends her days trapped in a palace of locked doors and dark secrets. When her father refuses to recognise her as heir to the throne, she vows to prove her worth by mastering the forbidden art of bone shard magic.
Yet such power carries a great cost, and when the revolution reaches the gates of the palace, Lin must decide how far she is willing to go to claim her birthright – and save her people.

My thoughts:

This is an incredibly good start to what is going to be an amazing fantasy series and the beginning of an excellent career for its author.

The book was so good I didn’t want it to end, I was that engrossed. The magic system is really intriguing, as well as sinister and a bit creepy.

As the plot unravels and the Empire literally starts to crumble, the intrigue grows – why is the Emperor losing his grip on the constructs and what made Deerhead Island sink?

People are starting to doubt the power of the throne and wake up in some cases. Setting up a confrontation in the next book already.

I liked Lin’s determination to find out what her father is up to and Jovis’ attempts to stop helping people, even as he helps them.

My favourite character was obviously Mephi, the magical creature Jovis rescues. I’m looking forward to finding out more about him.

This was a really great read, inspired by the author’s own Chinese ancestry, and I can’t wait till the second book is published.

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

books, reviews

Book Review: The Scapegracers – Hannah Abigail Clarke

I was sent this book to review at the beginning of the year but then 2020 went insane and publication was delayed, so I held this back and re-read it. Hope you enjoy my thoughts!

An outcast teenage lesbian witch finds her coven hidden amongst the popular girls in her school, and performs some seriously badass magic in the process.
Skulking near the bottom of West High’s social pyramid, Sideways Pike lurks under the bleachers doing magic tricks for Coke bottles. As a witch, lesbian, and lifelong outsider, she’s had a hard time making friends.

But when the three most popular girls pay her $40 to cast a spell at their Halloween party, Sideways gets swept into a new clique. The unholy trinity are dangerous angels, sugar-coated rattlesnakes, and now–unbelievably–Sideways’ best friends.Together, the four bond to form a ferocious and powerful coven.

They plan parties, cast curses on dudebros, try to find Sideways a girlfriend, and elude the fundamentalist witch hunters hellbent on stealing their magic. But for Sideways, the hardest part is the whole ‘having friends’ thing.

Who knew that balancing human interaction with supernatural peril could be so complicated?

My thoughts:

When I was 14 or 15 I wanted to be a witch, Practical Magic and The Craft made me wish for powers, a way to drown out the intense sadness and loneliness coiling in my brain. Instead I had books, which have a kind of magic all their own.

Even now, I sort of wish I had the ability to cast spells and make things happen, I wish I was a Scapegracer.

Sideways, Daisy, Jing and Yates are baby witches, taking back control from fuck boys and doing fun magic things, like levitating. Sideways has always been an outsider, but the ultimate cool girls are inviting her in.

Obviously it all goes a bit wonky, there are witch hunters, and dangerous love interests and book demons and gay dads (I adore Boris and Julian and would happily read a book all about them) and some parties to throw and high school, yada yada.

Sideways takes Jing to her first gay bar, Dorothy’s, and they meet a sort of witch librarian, who I would also happily read a book about, and I just love the idea of witches living amongst us, hidden by their ordinariness.

Basically this is a really fun book with teenage witches, some of whom are gay, and I want the next book ASAP!!!

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: The Riven Realm Vol 1 – Deck Matthews*


How do you kill a shadow?

As a raging storm descends on the Blasted Coast, the crippled young rigger, Caleb Rusk, meets a stranger on the road. Little does he know that the encounter will pull him into a conflict that threatens everything he holds dear—and change the course of his life forever.

Meanwhile, in the Capital of Taralius, a string of inexplicable deaths have captured the attention of the Ember Throne. Second Corporal Avendor Tarcoth is tasked with uncovering the truth behind a danger that could threaten the very fabric of the Realm

Goodreads

About the Author
Deck Matthews is a pseudonym for one particular Matthew Ward. He is a life-long reader who fell in love with writing and fantasy in middle school.

He remains an avid reader, a casual gamer and a dabbler in the visual arts. He has worked as a designer and currently spends his days neck-deep in code as a front-end web developer.
He also holds a Master’s degree in English Literature and currently resides in Ottawa, Canada with his wife, two daughters and one little fluff ball of a dog named Wicket.

My thoughts:

The three novellas that make up volume one of the Riven Realm cover a lot of ground, literally in terms of the distance the characters cover, and in terms of the plot.

Shadow monsters are attacking people, seeking a source of power once in the the ownership of the royal family. Caleb, our hero, now has it and is now a target.

Meanwhile in the capital there are signs of other trouble brewing and the Queen brings together a team to investigate.

The two plot lines slowly begin to coalesce, could there be a connection between the shadow monsters and the disturbances in the capital?

Although the two groups don’t meet up in this collection of stories, I imagine they will eventually and pool their experiences.

I preferred Caleb’s story line, I found his family and friends more engaging than the other plots. He’s an interesting protagonist, full of doubts and in awe of his companions, but with his own gifts.

Overall I really enjoyed this volume of stories and I can imagine as all the plots come together that they grow into a complex and interesting conclusion.

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

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: Duelling Fates – Stephanie M. Allen*

In the world of Erez, three kingdoms share a tentative peace. In the far west, Princess Isemay yearns for much more than frilly dresses and etiquette classes. While her twin sister, Alena, prepares for life as a monarch in a neighboring kingdom, Isemay roams the woods with her loyal cheetah, hunting dagger strapped to her belt. It’s only when two surprising visitors arrive at the castle that Isemay must come to terms with her royal future – and a secret magical heritage. Now engaged to the king of the east, Isemay prepares for a position she never wanted.

After saying good-bye to all that she loves, Princess Alena travels north in trepidation – fully prepared to marry a spoiled prince she does not desire and usurp the throne from his insane father who does not deserve it. But when tragedy strikes at her wedding ceremony and she is wrongfully imprisoned, she can only hope that her hurried plea for help will reach her father in time.

Frantic to save her sister – and against the wishes of her betrothed – Isemay joins the army sent to free Alena. A mysterious encounter with a dragon in disguise leaves her with a warning that her life is in danger – but can it save her from the battle to come?

Goodreads

Amazon

Stephanie M. Allen graduated from California Baptist University in 2009 with a B.A. in English and a desire to share her imaginative stories with the world. She loves to write fantasy, particularly centered around young adults. Aside from writing, Stephanie loves to read, ride horses, and sing. She currently lives in Wyoming with her husband and two children.

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My thoughts:

The story of three kingdoms entwined through shared beliefs and now Royal marriages, shattered by evil and madness, dragging innocent lives into ancient feuds between powerful creatures is complex and creative, there is so much hinted at, a whole ancient war that this is just the latest stage of.

The characters are well drawn and distinctive and realistic. There’s humour and adventure, magic and myth.

The ending is left open for more adventures and more of the mythology to be revealed.

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

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: A Girl Made of Air – Nydia Hetherington*

A lyrical and extraordinary debut packed with myth, magic, and folklore. An atmospheric homage to the strange and extraordinary, perfect for fans of Angela Carter, Bridget Collins and Stacey Halls.

This is the story of The Greatest Funambulist Who Ever Lived…

Born into a post-war circus family, our nameless star was unwanted and forgotten, abandoned in the shadows of the big top. Until the bright light of Serendipity Wilson threw her into focus.

Now an adult, haunted by an incident in which a child was lost from the circus, our narrator, a tightrope artiste, weaves together her spellbinding tales of circus legends, earthy magic and folklore, all in the hope of finding the child…

But will her story be enough to bring the pair together?

About the Author

Originally from Leeds, Nydia Hetherington moved to London in her twenties to embark on an acting career. Later she moved to Paris where she studied at the Jacques Lecoq theatre school before creating her own theatre company. When she returned to London, she completed a creative writing degree at Birkbeck. Nydia is based in London.

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My thoughts:

I have always been fascinated by stories set in circuses, I blame it entirely on Disney’s Dumbo animated film and Angela Carter’s Nights at the Circus, and there is definitely an element of Fevvers in the protagonist of this story. And not just because they both happen to be funambulists.

The Girl is abandoned by her mother, raised amongst the greasepaint and animal enclosures of a slightly sad fading British travelling circus.

Taken on by the mysterious Serendipity Wilson and taught to walk the high wire, she’s drawn into a world of Manx fairy tales and leotards, that all of a sudden come tumbling down.

She then heads on a journey of redemption to New York’s famous Coney Island. Her story unravels in a confessional letter to the young journalist who came to interview her.

It’s a sad, beautiful, magical tale of big tops, fairies, llamas, and defying gravity.

Underneath the glitter and bright lights reality is harsher and sadder than it seems. Everyone has a story of their own and The Girl sees glimpses of them but caught up in her own tales, she doesn’t see the hurt that is hidden within.

I loved the dark, Gothic blend of glory on the wire and tragedy at ground level, the way others stories opened into hers, like Matryoshka stacking dolls.

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