blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: The Night Has Seen Your Mind – Simon Kearns*

Tech billionaire, Mattias Goff, has invited five creative professionals – programmer, pianist, writer,
actor, and photographer – for a monthlong residency at Crystal Falls, his Arctic retreat.

Researching brain waves, and especially the enigmatic gamma wave, Goff asks his guests to wear a
kind of EEG cap in order to record the electrical activity in their brains while they engage with their
respective disciplines. Although they will be paid $5million each for the experience, they all start their sojourn a little wary – some more than others.

Cut off from the outside world in the stunningly beautiful, if stark, Alaskan winter landscape they immerse themselves in their work. Soon, though, reality seems to be shifting.

What is Goff really researching? Are his guests only being observed, or manipulated?

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Simon Kearns was born in London in 1972 and grew up in Northern Ireland. In his teens he returned to London to study philosophy. At the end of 2004 he moved to the south of France where he lives with his partner and two children.

His debut, Virtual Assassin, (Revenge Ink, 2010), explores personal responsibility in a corrupt society. It was followed by Dark Waves, (Blood Bound Books, 2014), about a powerful haunting and the scientist determined to debunk it.

His stories have appeared in publications such as The Future Fire, Litro, The Honest Ulsterman, and on numerous websites. He revels in etymology, guitar, gaming, and the science of superstition.

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My thoughts:

This book was very strange and sinister and a tiny bit bewildering, but all in a good way. Five creatives are invited to the Alaskan hideaway of a reclusive tech millionaire to help with his new project – he wants to record their gamma waves while they create. Or does he?

Weird things start happening and there’s an intense sense of claustrophobia despite being in the middle of nowhere. It gets stranger and more terrifying the longer the five are in the house. Will they survive?

I was gripped, desperate to figure out just what was going on, this book did not go anywhere I could possibly expect it to, but was way more out there.

It was however, super enjoyable and written in a relatable, easy to follow style, not getting too technical for me (I’m not great with techy stuff). I was completely drawn in and it reminded me a little of those classic locked house mysteries like Agatha Christie specialised in. But more modern and terrifying.

*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: Murder: It’s All in Your Head – Cynthia Hilston*

Someone has been getting away with murder for over 100 years in the small town of Hurston, Ohio.
But the wrong person has been convicted of those murders every time.

In 2018, Cassie Meadows is
on her way to school when a bright flash comes out of nowhere, and she wakes in millionaire Randy Davis’s body with blood on her hands…the blood of Randy’s wife, who lies in a pool of crimson in the bathtub with her throat slit.

Meanwhile, an old man everyone calls Jimmy Williams raves that he’s
the real Randy Davis as he lives out his days in a ward for the criminally insane.

In 1914, young Helen Hawkins is unloved and repetitively abused by her father, who is also the town’s pastor. Her only escape is in her dreams, where she wakes in others’ bodies, living other lives, but when her dreams turn out to be reality, the tables are turned on her father.

In a story where no one is who they seem, how can Cassie, the latest victim accused of a murder she didn’t commit, end the cycle?

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Cynthia Hilston is a stay-at-home mom of three young kids, happily married, and lives in the Cleveland, Ohio, area.

Writing has always been like another child to her. After twenty years of
waltzing in the world of fan fiction, she stepped away to do her debut dance with original works of fiction.

In her spare time – what spare time? – she devours books, watches Supernatural and Outlander, pets
her orange kitty, looks at the stars, drinks wine or coffee with good friends, and dreams of what other stories she wishes to tell.

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My thoughts:

This was a clever, twisted thriller, which gave me of a sort-of Quantum Leap, Killer Bob from Twin Peaks with its body jumping twist and trouble explaining exactly what’s happening when you wake up in the wrong body covered in blood.

With multiple victims (both murdered and just not where they’re meant to be) and a clever denouement, this was an intriguing and enjoyable read.

*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: Titanborn – Brian Schutter

I was gifted a copy of this book by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

“No more death.”

In Titanborn, Schutter weaves the vivid world of Shangri-La — a colony living in isolation on Saturn’s moon, Titan — and the genetically-engineered humans known as Titanborn, whose task is simply to prove they can survive.

Meera is just one cog in the wheel of Shangri-La. Assigned to fulfill a role, Meera struggles to find a place for herself and overcome the trauma of loss as Titan casually takes the lives of her fellow colonists.

When a friend goes missing, Meera must choose to face her fears to save not just him, but all of the Titanborn, as the colony begins to unravel.

Can Meera and her people overcome the dangers of the inhospitable moon, or will the Titanborn fall to an enemy closer to home?

My thoughts:

This was really interesting, an action packed thriller set on Saturn’s moon, Titan, where AIs are so commonly used that those without implants and augmentations are seen as backward and a bit weird.

After her friend goes missing, Meera joins a mission to rescue him and uncovers a rogue AI system that is slowly taking over all the robots the Titanborn use, including the ones in their implants.

The five rescue team members have to learn to work together, and without relying solely on technology to defeat this threat and find their missing friend. The motto is No More Death, and they’re running out of time.

Despite being set in space, this story is more about human relationships and determination than aliens or space ships. It is the very human desire to stay alive and help one another that enables the five Titanborn to survive the inhospitable environment and take the fight right to the heart of the destructive AI.

Gripping, engaging and fast paced, an excellent addition to the new sci-fi thrillers of recent years.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: Seven Devils – Elizabeth May & Laura Lam*

This first book in a feminist space opera duology follows seven resistance fighters who will free the galaxy from the ruthless Tholosian Empire–or die trying.
When Eris faked her death, she thought she had left her old life as the heir to the galaxy’s most ruthless empire behind. But her recruitment by the Novantaen Resistance, an organization opposed to the empire’s voracious expansion, throws her right back into the fray.
Eris has been assigned a new mission: to infiltrate a spaceship ferrying deadly cargo and return the intelligence gathered to the Resistance. But her partner for the mission, mechanic and hotshot pilot Cloelia, bears an old grudge against Eris, making an already difficult infiltration even more complicated.
When they find the ship, they discover more than they bargained for: three fugitives with firsthand knowledge of the corrupt empire’s inner workings.
Together, these women possess the knowledge and capabilities to bring the empire to its knees. But the clock is ticking: the new heir to the empire plans to disrupt a peace summit with the only remaining alien empire, ensuring the empire’s continued expansion. If they can find a way to stop him, they will save the galaxy. If they can’t, millions may die.

My thoughts:

Anyone who knows me knows I love me some space pirates/rebels. And I loved this book.It’s got humour, it’s got romance, it’s got action, adventure, swearing, spaceships, an evil AI, baddies with ancient world names, heroes with other ancient world names. It’s basically excellent.I don’t want to give any spoilers, if you’ve read it and want to gush, meet me in the Twitter DMs.

The love story is so perfect, I adore our lesbian romance, I love that their leader is trans, that the smartest person there is a sixteen year old girl who associates the taste of chocolate with freedom.

That the villain is called Damocles (as in Sword of), and one of the heroines Ariadne (who led Theseus out of the Minotaur’s lair with her ball of thread), another Rhea (a titan and mother of Zeus and Hera) is just another moment of nerdy delight (please see my enormous collection of mythogy books).

The AI, Oracle, genuinely is creepy, evil and corrupt and horrible. It gave me shivers thinking about how it was in everyone’s minds, slowly turning them into zombies devoted only to it. Like that bacteria that enslaves ants by seeping into their brains.I had a sampler of the first chapter from last year’s Gollanzcfest and I love the work of both authors (whose books you need to go check out now please) so I knew good stuff was imminent but this was so much more than I expected.

And yes, I have the Florence & the Machine song stuck in my head whenever the words “seven devils” is used but that’s fine.Now the long wait for book two commences, guess I’ll just have to read this one again!

*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: 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.