blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: Lost Solace – Karl Drinkwater*

Sometimes spaceships disappear with everyone on board – the Lost Ships. But sometimes they come back, strangely altered, derelict, and rumoured to be full of horrors.

Opal is on a mission. She’s been seeking something her whole life. Something she is willing to die for. And she thinks it might be on a Lost Ship.

Opal has stolen Clarissa, an experimental AI-controlled spaceship, from the military. Together they have tracked down a Lost Ship, in a lonely nebula far from colonised space.

The Lost Ship is falling into the gravity well of a neutron star, and will soon be truly lost … forever. Legends say the ships harbour death, but there’s no time for indecision.

Opal gears up to board it. She’s just one woman, entering an alien and lethal environment. But perhaps with the aid of Clarissa’s intelligence – and an armoured spacesuit – Opal may stand a chance.


Karl Drinkwater is originally from Manchester but lived in Wales for twenty years, and now calls Scotland his home. He’s a full-time author, and was a professional librarian for over twenty-five years. He has degrees in English, Classics, and Information Science. He writes in multiple genres: his aim is always just to tell a good story. Among his books you’ll find elements of literary and contemporary fiction, gritty urban, horror, suspense, paranormal, thriller, sci-fi, romance, social commentary, and more. The end result is interesting and authentic characters, clever and compelling plots, and believable worlds. When he isn’t writing he loves exercise, guitars, computer and board games, the natural environment, animals, social justice, cake, and zombies. Not necessarily in that order.

My thoughts:

So you probably know by now that I love a good AI-human in space romp, and this is one of them. The backstory that led to Opal being on a lost ship with only Clarissa the AI to help is revealed slowly, only answering your questions bit by bit.

There’s something else on that ship, something that might answer Opal’s own questions, but they need answering before her pursuers catch up and this cranks the tension up.

Opal’s smart and resourceful, Clarissa is a good foil to her search for secrets. The menace comes from two sides, and as a reader you’re left wondering “what next?”

There’s something of a locked room mystery about the plot – mostly taking place in a supposedly empty drifting space ship.

Book two Chasing Solace is also available now.


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

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: A Chain Across the Dawn – Drew Williams*

Bigger spaceships. Bigger explosions. Bigger planets. Bigger problems.

It’s been three years since Esa joined the ranks of the Justified after her rescue from the fanatical murderers the Pax.

Together, Esa and her mentor Kamali travel from planet to planet, searching for children with supernatural abilities.

It’s hard work, but Esa has never felt more assured of her place in the universe.

On a visit to a planet so remote that its inhabitants never learned that the Sect Wars ended over a hundred years ago, they learn that the Justified are not the only people searching for gifted children. There is a creature with unexpected powers who will stop at nothing to get its hands on the children that Esa and Kamali are trying to rescue.

With their latest recruit in tow — a young Wulf child named Sho — Esa and Kamali will travel halfway across the galaxy in pursuit of answers. But the answers only lead to more questions, and the danger will only increase as their terrifying nemesis turns his eyes on them.

Drew Williams was born and raised in Birmingham, Alabama, in the southern United States of America. He is a bookseller at the Little Professor Book Center in Homewood, Alabama. A Chain Across the Dawn is his second book.

My thoughts:

Firstly go read The Stars Now Unclaimed, then read this book.

I have become a bit obsessed with space books – honestly I never used to enjoy sci fi but books like this have totally changed my mind.

It’s fun, adventurous, well written, funny, clever, the characters are excellent, the plot rips along at a pace.

Basically I love it.

If you’re a fan of Becky Chambers’ Wayfarer series, The Illuminae Files, Ancestral Night, or any of the other books I rave about on Instagram then this is for you.

Bring on book three!


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

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.

books, reviews

Book Review: Howling Dark – Christopher Ruocchio*

Howling Dark (Sun Eater) by [Ruocchio, Christopher]

Following on from the first volume of the Sun Eater Sequence (Empire of Silence – I suggest reading it first so this one makes more sense), Howling Dark finds Hadrian Marlowe travelling through space with his ragtag band of fake mercenaries, the Crimson Company, having entangled himself with the Sollan Empire again.

He is on a quest for the lost planet of Vorgossos, a place of myth, hoping it holds the keys to resolving the conflict with the Ceilcin – an alien race determined to destroy anyone who stands in their way.

Hadrian, being Hadrian, doesn’t exactly go about this in a calm and rational manner, all sorts of chaos and carnage ensue, as Hadrian and his friends ricochet around the far reaches of the galaxy following leads, both useful and not, trying to be a diplomat and not always succeeding.

I loved Empire of Silence and couldn’t wait to get stuck into this chunky boi. Hadrian is a brilliant protagonist, eminently flawed and prone to acting like an idiot, despite his previous experiences. There were fewer new locations than book one, as he bounces around following leads, but the world building (or galaxy building) is strong and while I can’t quite picture the creepy Ceilcin, I see them as a bit like the alien in Alien, but creepier.

The ending twists and turns, and I am not remotely sure what will happen next!

 

*This book was kindly gifted to me by the publisher with no requirement to review but as I enjoyed it, I thought I’d share!

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.

books, reviews

Review: Illuminae – Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

First, survive. Then tell the truth. 

I’m not the biggest fan of science fiction/speculative fiction but as I really enjoy Kristoff’s other books (Godsgrave may be my book of the year) I was intrigued by this.

I took part in the #Ninjabookswap organised by the team behind Ninja Book Box recently and my lovely box of goodies contained this book. Which was fantastic. 

Taking place mostly in cyber space, in the comms system of two spaceships trying to outrun their deaths, Illuminae charts the corporation war that destroys an illegal mining operation and murders hundreds of people. 

Following that come other disasters including an infectious disease that turns people into murderous zombies and a rogue AI system that may or may not have gone insane. 

I really enjoyed this “found documents” style novel. Pieced together by the mysterious Illuminae from hacked data and downloaded reports, this is cleverly printed up to resemble the documents and “thoughts” of AIDAN, the AI system during the Kerenza evacuation and what followed. 
I have book two ready to go and book three on order – it’s that good.