Book Review: The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle – Stuart Turton

I read and enjoyed The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton in August last year. I had heard great things about the book, so I treated myself to a paperback copy earlier in the year. For those of you that don’t know, I tend to only buy paperbacks when I have confidence that I’ll really enjoy them. Living in a two-bedroom flat, I don’t have a lot of room for books here. Since space is at a premium, I have to be selective about what I buy physical copies of.

I don’t regret getting The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle in paperback. It’s unlike anything I have ever read before!

 

The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle – Stuart Turton

Goodreads – The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle

THE SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER.

“Gosford Park” meets “Groundhog Day” by way of Agatha Christie – the most inventive story you’ll read this year.

Tonight, Evelyn Hardcastle will be killed… again.

It is meant to be a celebration but it ends in tragedy. As fireworks explode overhead, Evelyn Hardcastle, the young and beautiful daughter of the house, is killed.

But Evelyn will not die just once. Until Aiden – one of the guests summoned to Blackheath for the party – can solve her murder, the day will repeat itself, over and over again. Every time ending with the fateful pistol shot.

The only way to break this cycle is to identify the killer. But each time the day begins again, Aiden wakes in the body of a different guest. And someone is determined to prevent him ever escaping Blackheath…

SELECTED AS A BOOK OF THE YEAR BY THE GUARDIAN, I PAPER, FINANCIAL TIMES AND DAILY TELEGRAPH.

 

Purchase Links: – Amazon UK       Amazon US     Waterstones

 

My Thoughts…

Murder mystery meets Groundhog Day in this spectacular mystery/thriller novel! The clock is ticking and Aiden’s chance to solve the murder dwindles day by day. I love the concept of him waking up every morning in someone else’s body. Who he wakes up as on a given day gives him different access to other guests and information to piece together to solve a murder that doesn’t look like murder.

I cannot praise enough how well each different perspective is written! Each of the guests has their own distinctive attitude and personality, which you can see Aiden contending with as he wears their shoes. They have a strong influence over his behaviour – it’s clear whose body he is in at a given time.

Not only do the character shifts work well, but the author also successfully throws in a mix up of chronology in places. You’d think all this mix up would be confusing, but surprisingly, it wasn’t really. You have to concentrate, don’t get me wrong, but I wasn’t wading through the narrative completely lost as to what was going on and why. There’s enough left hanging to entice you to read on. Naturally, all the answers can’t be given at once. I was never in any doubt that the unresolved plotlines wouldn’t be tied up and explained.

There are plenty of plot twists to keep you hooked on the novel. I for one didn’t foresee any of it coming! There’s a lot of back story about now Aiden came to be at Blackheath, which I thought was very interesting and unusual. It’s amazing what we are able to learn about Aiden, given that we never meet him as truly himself. The characterisation in this book is fantastic.

There isn’t too much I can say without spoiling the story for you, so apologies if my review seems vague. I can say this; The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle is the most unique mystery novel I have read to date. I will without a doubt be picking up Stuart Turton’s future novels.

 

 

signature

Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

 

*** Please note this post contains affiliate links, meaning that I will earn a small commission on purchases made through them. If you like what you read and are interested in purchasing a copy of the book(s) featured in this post, please consider using these links and supporting a book blogger! Thank you! ***

Blog Tour Review: Unborn – Rachel McLean

Good morning everyone and welcome to today’s review of Unborn by Rachel McLean. Unborn is a dystopian fiction novel with elements of a legal thriller. The premise – abortion has been criminalised. Women are denied the right to terminate a pregnancy, even for medical reasons.

As soon as I received the invite to the tour from Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources I knew I had to take part. I find myself in a position where I think I can offer a unique perspective to the book and the topic.

Abortion laws have been a hot topic locally in the last few years. The current abortion law in the UK was passed in 1968, but as a crown dependency, the Isle of Man has its own Government and laws. As such, our Government didn’t follow suit until the 24th May 2019. Yes, you read that right – it was passed less than a year ago.

The idea of abortion being criminalised may seem ludicrous to many, but still, for some, it is a horrific reality. Unborn challenges some of these difficult scenarios.

 

Unborn – Rachel McLean

Goodreads – Unborn

She killed her unborn child. The punishment will fit the crime.

America, 2026.
Feminism has been defeated.
Equality is a memory.
And abortion has been criminalized.

Three women find themselves on the wrong side of the law.

Kate, carrying the child of a sexual predator.
Grace, whose baby will be born with a fatal deformity.
And Cindee: abused, abandoned and pregnant.

Can these three very different women come together to fight an oppressive system and win their freedom?

Find out by reading Unborn, a chilling dystopia combined with a gripping legal thriller.

 

Purchase Links –   Amazon UK      Amazon US

 

My Thoughts…

The most standout element of Unborn, for me, is the quality of writing and the tact in dealing with potentially upsetting situations. Unborn has multiple female characters that have become pregnant in less-than-ideal circumstances. They live in a world where they are not permitted to freely choose the fate of their lives once they conceive. Some of the ideas in the book about how to go about abortion in a country where it is illegal are, shockingly, options that some have to take. I would argue that the book is informative in the struggle some women had historically or do have to go through. I suppose it makes you appreciate having the freedom of choice to terminate, even if you don’t want to take it.

As a woman who has lived through the debate and could one day be affected by the issues touched on in the book (although I sincerely hope not!), I found Unborn to be very emotive. The main characters are very easy to relate to and my heart went out to all of them. I was invested in these women and them trying to fight a system that degrades them to nothing but biology. Although they are from different backgrounds, they are fundamentally the same – women denied the right to make a decision that is best for either them or even for their baby.

Unborn is an easy read, but it prompts you to think. The narrative puts you into the shoes of each of the women but brings you into contact with people on both sides of the argument (pro-life vs pro-choice). I didn’t detect any kind of underlying bias from the author. The characters tell the story and the arguments themselves. Regardless of your opinion, you will find someone you can relate to. It encourages you to weigh up both sides of the argument and think about what your views are on this hotly debated subject. Thanks to the recent debate and reform here, it’s a topic that has been at the forefront of attention. It’s something that I have thought about at length myself. I think it’s something that all women consider at some point.

 

Author Bio

My name’s Rachel McLean and I write thrillers that make you think.

What does that mean?

In short, I want my stories to make your pulse race and your brain tick.

Do you often get through a thriller at breakneck pace but are left with little sense of what the book was really about? Do you sometimes read literary fiction but just wish something would damn well happen?

My books aim to fill that gap.

If you’d like to know more about my books and receive extra bonus content, please join my book club at rachelmclean.com/bookclub. I’ll send you a weekly email with news about my writing research and progress, stories and bonus content for each book. And I’ll let you know when my books are on offer.

Social Media Links –

Twitter: https://twitter.com/rachelmcwrites

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/rachelmcleanwrites/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/rachelmcwrites/

 

Sunday Summary – 23rd February 2020

Good evening everyone and welcome to this week’s Sunday Summary post! I hope you have had a good week, just as I have? I had a pretty good week and a great weekend with family, as my sister came to visit. We’ve enjoyed a nice long weekend together, but it’s back to reality tomorrow!

Before we get into the goings-on of next week, let’s recap this one! I shared a couple of book reviews this week: The War Within by Stephen Donaldson was shared on Tuesday and The Girl from the Workhouse by Lynn Johnson on Friday.

The War Within was an ARC I received from Gollancz last year in exchange for a review. It was good to catch up with this so I am up-to-date with the series! My second review of the week was shared in conjunction with the tour Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources. If you haven’t read either of my reviews yet, I hope you find the links to them useful.

 

Books Read

I picked up where I left off in last week’s Sunday Summary post in reading Unborn by Rachel McLean. By the end of least week I had already read over half of this, so it didn’t take too long to finish the book. I really enjoy dystopian fiction and the subject matter is one that I feel pretty passionate about. If you want to know my thoughts on this book, my tour post is being published tomorrow (24th February).

My next (and current) read is one I am picking up for my Beat the Backlist challenge! City of Stairs has been on my reading list since January 2015, so just over 5 years. Mad, right? It’s definitely overdue reading and I am really enjoying it so far! I’m hoping to have time to pick this up again tonight before bed, but it really depends how quickly I get all my blogging done this evening. I can’t see this taking me long to read.

In addition to the above, I have also been listening to more of Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo. My usual car share buddy has been skiing this week, so I’ve effectively been able to listen to twice as much of the audiobook as I normally do. I’m about a third of the way through now and I’m excited about the schemes being cooked up by Kaz and the crew.

 

Books Discovered

I decided to spend some of my birthday vouchers this week and I had fun doing it too! I had a good look around my local Waterstones. Finally, I decided to use them to buy the rest of Stephen King’s The Dark Tower series. I already had the first three books, so I treated myself to the other four to complete the set. I was always going to read them, so why not?

The remainder of the vouchers will go towards a paperback set of Jay Kristoff’s Nevernight Chronicles once the third book of the trilogy, Darkdawn, is out in June.

 

Coming Up…

Next week’s blogging schedule starts early. Tomorrow, in fact. MY first post of the week is my review of Rachel McLean’s Unborn for the current blog tour with Rachel’s Random Resources. I have lots to say about both the book and the topic it covers, so I hope you can tune in for that!

On Wednesday I’ll be sharing another book review. I have quite a few to get through! I’ve decided the next book on the list is The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle. I read this book in August last year and it’s unlike anything I have read before. I enjoyed the format of the book, as well as the mystery.

On Friday I’ll be back to my regular feature posts. I took last week off to take part in a blog tour, but this week I’m back with a Shelf Control post. This week’s post is about a book written by an author whose books I have read before. I gather from reviews that it has a slightly different vibe to those I have picked up previously. That said, I really enjoy the genre and his writing style, so I don’t think it’ll matter one little bit!

As always, I’ll be rounding off the week with a Sunday Summary post and we can talk about my bookish adventures all over again!

Have you read any of the books discussed in my post? What have you been reading this week? Let me know in the comments!

Until next time,

 

 

signature

Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

Blog Tour Review: The Girl from the Workhouse – Lynn Johnson

Today’s review of The Girl from the Workhouse will, I hope, appeal to anyone who loves historical fiction novels or family sagas. I personally signed up to today’s blog tour for the historical fiction element, but I loved the book for many more reasons besides this!

Thank you to the author Lynn Johnson and to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for organising the tour. I am very grateful to have received a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review!

 

The Girl from the Workhouse – Lynn Johnson

Goodreads – The Girl from the Workhouse

Even in the darkest of times, she never gave up hope

Staffordshire, 1911. Ginnie Jones’s childhood is spent in the shadow of the famous Potteries, living with her mother, father and older sister Mabel. But with Father’s eyesight failing, money is in short supply, and too often the family find their bellies aching with hunger. With no hope in sight, Ginnie is sent to Haddon Workhouse.

Separated from everything she has known, Ginnie has to grow up fast, earning her keep by looking after the other children with no families of their own. When she meets Clara and Sam, she hopes that she has made friends for life… until tragedy strikes, snatching away her newfound happiness.

Leaving Haddon three years later, Ginnie finds work as a mouldrunner at the Potteries, but never stops thinking about her friends in the workhouse – especially Sam, now a caring, handsome young man. When Sam and Ginnie are reunited, their bond is as strong as ever – until Sam is sent to fight in WW1. Faced with uncertainty, can Ginnie find the joy that she’s never had? Or will her heart be broken once again?

An emotional, uplifting and nostalgic family saga that will make you smile, while tugging on your heart-strings. Fans of Sheila Newbury, Kitty Neale and Sheila Riley will love this beautiful read.

 

Purchase Links:    Amazon     Kobo

 

My Thoughts…

WW1 is the historical setting of this fictional saga. I love reading historical fiction novels in this time period. The main character Ginnie is from a poor family. When they cannot make ends meet, she is sent with her parents to a workhouse and in the care of the state. Separated from her parents and her sister, Ginnie is thrown into a whole new world of work, new friendships and tragic loss.

The ‘make-do-and-mend’ attitude of the characters is really appropriate for the time and background of their story. Not only that though, it reminds me of another historical fiction novel set in northern EngIand really enjoyed. The time setting is different but the characters and sentiment are the same: tough it out and make the best of what you’ve got.

A number of characters are given the chance to shine throughout this novel. Ginnie is thick-skinned and robust at adjusting to workhouse life and even becomes a pillar for others to lean on in hard times. Her friend Constance is a suffragette and plays no small part in the movement that gains some women the right to vote. When the war does break out and men are called up into service, some men are ecstatic to serve their country. More so, however, there is a vibe of palpable fear in many that they won’t come back to their families. It’s heartbreaking but I’m glad that this is portrayed. It’s a very raw and honest emotion that men aren’t expected or encouraged by society to show.

I didn’t think I’d say it, but my favourite part of the novel is the relationship between Ginnie and Sam. Each has known their own share of hardship even before they come to know each other all that well. Their companionship grew on me the more I read and their interactions with each other aren’t dominated by physical need or pining over each other. It’s a relationship built on an emotional bond. Both have grown-up in the workhouse at the rear end of society (to put it politely), and have been there for each other when they needed it. Theirs is a childhood friendship that blooms into something more and I really found myself rooting for the pair. I’m not a romance reader, but they managed to thaw my frosty heart.

The Girl from the Workhouse is a little different from my typical reading habits, but I’m glad I put myself forward to take part in the tour. I really enjoyed reading the book and the added bonus of perspective gained on life in Britain during the war.

 

Author Bio

Lynn Johnson was born in the Staffordshire Potteries and went to school in Burslem, where the novel is set. She left school with no qualifications and got a job as a dental nurse (and lasted a day), a nursery assistant, and a library assistant before her ambition grew and she enrolled at the Elms Technical College, Stoke-on-Trent and obtained six O’levels. She obtained a Diploma in Management Studies and a BA Hons in Humanities with Literature from the Open University while working full-time.

Most of her working life was spent in Local Government in England and Scotland, and ultimately became a Human Resources Manager with a large county council.

She started to write after taking early retirement and moving to the north of Scotland with her husband where she did relief work in the famous Orkney Library and Archives, and voluntary work with Orkney’s Learning Link. Voluntary work with Cats Protection resulted in them sharing their home with six cats.

She joined Stromness Writing Group and, three months after moving to Orkney, wrote a short story which would become the Prologue to The Girl From the Workhouse.

Social Media Links – https://twitter.com/lynnjohnsonjots

Book Review: The War Within – Stephen Donaldson

I was very fortunate to receive a copy of The War Within by Stephen Donaldson last year from Gollancz in exchange for an honest review. The synopsis caught my eye right away as something I would enjoy – and I did!

Before I could read The War Within though, I had to catch up with the first book in the series. I read Seventh Decimate in May last year when I found a copy at my library. If you haven’t checked out that review yet, catch up with the first instalment of the series here.

 

The War Within – Stephen Donaldson

Goodreads – The War Within

It has been twenty years since Prince Bifalt of Belleger discovered the Last Repository and the sorcerous knowledge hidden there. At the behest of the repository’s magisters, and in return for the restoration of sorcery to both kingdoms, the realms of Belleger and Amika ceased generations of war. Their alliance was sealed with the marriage of Bifalt to Estie, the crown princess of Amika. But the peace – and their marriage – has been uneasy.

Now the terrible war that King Bifalt and Queen Estie feared is coming. An ancient enemy has discovered the location of the Last Repository, and a mighty horde of dark forces is massing to attack the library and take the magical knowledge it guards. That horde will slaughter every man, woman, and child in its path, destroying both Belleger and Amika along the way.

With their alliance undermined by lingering hostility and conspiracies threatening, it will take all of the monarchs’ strength and will to inspire their people into defiance…

 

Purchase Links: Amazon UK     Amazon US     Waterstones

 

My Thoughts…

The War Within is on a completely different scale to Seventh Decimate. Where the first book in the series follows a very personal quest by Prince Bifalt to assure the safety of his nation, The War Within has a grander focus on the fictional world as a whole. A larger plotline and conflict involving multiple nations open this story up significantly, and with that, we are also introduced to multiple perspectives.

The War Within was a bit of a slow starter for me. Getting through the first quarter of the book (150 pages) took the longest. But, once I got that far, I read the rest of the book in a week. I think because this book was so different to the first, and set so much later, it took a bit of time for the author to fill in that time gap to get us up to speed with events in between. It also wasn’t what I expected based on the first book, but it actually turned out better once I got into it!

Books written in the third person and from multiple character viewpoints are my favourite. I find it’s easier to get a lot more depth about a character, setting etc without any bias. For fantasy novels where there isn’t any form of intrigue, I like that. Bias has its place and if written well can add to a story. It wouldn’t have really fit into this novel though.

As a result of the stressful situations Bifalt has had to deal with, he’s actually difficult to get on with. His demeanour has completely changed from the first book to the point where he isn’t all that likeable anymore. It’s fitting with what has happened and I like that the author hasn’t been too protective over his characters. Books that have you worry about what could happen are a lot more entertaining than ones where you feel characters are “safe” because they are the hero of the narrative.

I’m interested to see how the story concludes and the character conflicts resolve themselves. There is a lot of potential for an epic conclusion – let’s hope it’s delivered!

 

 

signature

Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

 

***Please note this post contains affiliate links, meaning that I will earn a small commission on purchases made through them. If you like what you read and are interested in purchasing a copy of the book(s) featured in this post, please consider using these links and supporting a book blogger!
Thank you!***

Sunday Summary – 16th February 2020

It’s Sunday evening, so it can only be time for this week’s Sunday Summary post!

I feel really good about this week’s progress. Not only have I shared two book reviews with you, but I have also done well on reading during the week too! My first post of the week was a review of Fires of the Dead by Jed Herne. I really enjoyed this short story courtesy of the author and BookSirens. If you want to check out my full review, here’s a handy link.

My second review of the week was shared on Wednesday. I shared my review of this sinister thriller novel as part of the blog tour that has been running with Blackthorn Book Tours. It was my first time working with them and I really enjoyed reading The Mentor!

On Friday, I published a First Lines Friday post loosely themed on Valentine’s Day. It features a very funny opening about a relationship (of sorts). It’s the funniest take I could find on the subject of romance; I don’t read romance so in my defence, I didn’t have much to work with. I’ve had some great comments on it though, so I think it’s been well received!

Something else happened this week, which I haven’t really shouted about – I celebrated my birthday! I got some really lovely presents that I wanted, as well as gift cards that I can put to good use! I also got some book vouchers, so I’m sure you can imagine how happy this gal is right now!

 

Books Read

As promised in last week’s Sunday Summary post, I did finish The Mentor after my post went live. I didn’t have too long left and I was desperate to find out how this ended!

My main read of the week has been The Girl from the Workhouse by Lynn Johnson. I did actually start this last Saturday (I needed a wee break from the intensity of The Mentor) but hadn’t gotten too far into it. I finished this yesterday and it’s a lovely, albeit slightly sad story. The reason I picked this up is becuase of its historical fiction element, but I ended up enjoying it for many more reasons than that!

I also started reading another book yesterday – Unborn by Rachel McLean. I’ve managed to read a lot of this considering I’ve only just picked it up too! I’m currently at 58% and hoping to finish this in the next day or so.

And now, onto the audiobooks! I finished listening to Darkdawn on Monday night and can I say, wow! This series is absolutely fantastic. I’ve already decided I am going to be spending some of my book vouchers on buying these in paperback. I have to wait until June for Darkdawn to come out in paperback. I think I am going to wait and see if I can get them as a set. That way I can be sure they all match!

I couldn’t listen to another audiobook straight away, so I didn’t start listening to Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo until the next day. I haven’t long finished listening to Six of Crows so I’ve managed to get into it really quickly!

 

Books Discovered

Since the TBR has topped 200 books, I’m trying not to add anything really. It’ll get out of control otherwise.

That said, my colleague Brita did make a recommendation for me this week. She was more recommending the TV series that has been made based on the book, but you know me. I am going to watch the series on catch-up if I can, but I have also added this epic book to the TBR.

 

Coming Up…

Next week is also going to be one where I share a couple of reviews. I have a few waiting in the wings to be written, so I’ll be starting the week by taking on one of these. My first review of the week is for a book that I was kindly sent by Gollancz last year. The War Within is the second book of a series and is set on a grander scale to its predecessor, Seventh Decimate. I hope you can check out my review!

On Friday I’ll be taking a break from my usual posts to take part in the blog tour for The Girl from the Workhouse by Lynn Johnson. I finished reading this family saga yesterday and can’t wait to share my thoughts with you all about it!

Last, but by no means least, I’ll be sharing next week’s Sunday Summary at the usual time.

That’s all from me today folks! What have you been reading this week? Have you read any of the books on my list?

 

 

signature

Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

First Lines Friday – 14/02/2020

Happy Friday, Happy Valentine’s Day and welcome back to another First Lines Friday post! I’ve chosen today’s featured book as a best fit for Valentine’s Day. I’m not a big romance reader so I don’t have an abundance of books to choose from. However, I remembered this particular book starts with dialogue pertaining to a relationship and it really appealed to my sense of humour! I hope it makes you laugh as it did for me!

Anyway, let’s jump into the opening paragraph. Can you guess what, or who, it is?

 

Prague, early May. The sky weighed gray over fairy-tale rooftops, and all the world was watching. Satellites had even been tasked to surveil the Charles Bridge, in case the … visitors… returned. Strange things had happened in this city before, but not this strange. At least, not since vide existed to prove it. Or to milk it.

“Please tell me you have to pee.”

“What? No. No, I do not. Don’t even ask.”

“Oh, come on. I’d do it myself if I could, but I can’t. I’m a girl.”

“I know. Life is so unfair. I’m still not going to pee on Karou’s ex-boyfriend for you.”

“What? I wasn’t even going to ask you to.” In her most reasonable tone, Zuzanna explained, “I just want you to pee in a balloon so I can drop it on him.”

 

Shall we find out what it is?

 

Days of Blood and Starlight – Laini Taylor

Goodreads – Days of Blood and Starlight

Once upon a time, an angel and a devil fell in love and dared to imagine a world free of bloodshed and war.

This is not that world.

Art student and monster’s apprentice Karou finally has the answers she has always sought. She knows who she is—and what she is. But with this knowledge comes another truth she would give anything to undo: She loved the enemy and he betrayed her, and a world suffered for it.

In this stunning sequel to the highly acclaimed Daughter of Smoke & Bone, Karou must decide how far she’ll go to avenge her people. Filled with heartbreak and beauty, secrets and impossible choices, Days of Blood & Starlight finds Karou and Akiva on opposing sides as an age-old war stirs back to life.

While Karou and her allies build a monstrous army in a land of dust and starlight, Akiva wages a different sort of battle: a battle for redemption. For hope.

But can any hope be salvaged from the ashes of their broken dream?

 

Purchase links:   Amazon UK     Amazon US     Waterstones

 

Did you enjoy today’s First Lines Friday post and extract of Days of Blood and Starlight? Is it on your list to read as well? Let me know in the comments!

 

 

signature

Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

***Please note this post contains affiliate links, meaning that I will earn a small commission on purchases made through them. If you like what you read and are interested in purchasing a copy of the book(s) featured in this post, please consider using these links and supporting a book blogger!

Thank you!***

 

Blog Tour Review: The Mentor – Lee Matthew Goldberg

The Mentor is a chilling thriller novel that blends seamlessly into the horror genre. It’s not a book for the fainthearted, that’s for sure! It explores a sinister side of obsession and the consequences of depravity.

Today’s review is part for the ongoing blog tour with Blackthorn Book Tours. It’s my first time working with them, so a huge thank you for organising the tour and for providing me with a copy of The Mentor in exchange for an honest review.

 

The Mentor – Lee Matthew Goldberg

Goodreads – The Mentor

Kyle Broder has achieved his lifelong dream and is an editor at a major publishing house.

When Kyle is contacted by his favorite college professor, William Lansing, Kyle couldn’t be happier. Kyle has his mentor over for dinner to catch up and introduce him to his girlfriend, Jamie, and the three have a great time. When William mentions that he’s been writing a novel, Kyle is overjoyed. He would love to read the opus his mentor has toiled over.

Until the novel turns out to be not only horribly written, but the most depraved story Kyle has read.

After Kyle politely rejects the novel, William becomes obsessed, causing trouble between Kyle and Jamie, threatening Kyle’s career, and even his life. As Kyle delves into more of this psychopath’s work, it begins to resemble a cold case from his college town, when a girl went missing. William’s work is looking increasingly like a true crime confession.

Lee Matthew Goldberg’s The Mentor is a twisty, nail-biting thriller that explores how the love of words can lead to a deadly obsession with the fate of all those connected and hanging in the balance.

 

Purchase Link:   Amazon

 

My Thoughts…

If you like dark thriller or mystery novels then The Mentor is a book I would recommend, provided you won’t be put off by gory descriptions. Describing the book as a twisty, nail-biting thriller is every inch the truth. I really liked the concept of the novel within this novel. Kyle recognises the book is reminiscent of a missing person case years ago. The girl who disappeared was Kyle’s girlfriend. As events unravel we can only discover what may be the truth behind the case as Kyle reads the manuscript. Effectively, Lee Matthew Goldberg cleverly interweaves the two plotlines together and in my opinion, was pulled off really well.

The Mentor boasts an eclectic range of characters. From intense personalities like William and Kyle to naive Sierra and hot-head Jaime, there’s a complete range present. Each character is portrayed believably; their character traits and mannerisms fit together perfectly to form whole, distinct identities. Even for the likes of Kyle and William, who I suggest are more alike than they would like to admit, have their own distinct voice.

The plot is so cleverly written especially in unravelling the truth of the crime William’s depraved book centres obsessively on. Knowing that both William and Kyle have obsessive personalities and a hand in the events that took place all those years ago, I started to question the truth. Can we trust our narrator? That’s a question I found myself asking and it added a whole new layer to the reading experience.

The ending is what earns the book it’s rating from me. Some of the build-up takes a little bit of time to set up, but the ending unfolded rapidly and unexpectedly! I couldn’t put the book down and read the last quarter in one sitting!

 

Author Bio

Lee Matthew Goldberg is the author of the novels THE DESIRE CARD, THE MENTOR, and SLOW DOWN. He has been published in multiple languages and nominated for the 2018 Prix du Polar. The second book in the Desire Card series, PREY NO MORE, is forthcoming in 2020, along with his first Sci-Fi novel ORANGE CITY. His new endeavor will be as the editor-in-chief and co-founder of Fringe Press and Fringe Digital, dedicated to publishing fiction that’s outside-of-the-box. His pilots and screenplays have been finalists in Script Pipeline, Book Pipeline, Stage 32, We Screenplay, the New York Screenplay, Screencraft, and the Hollywood Screenplay contests. After graduating with an MFA from the New School, his writing has also appeared in the anthology DIRTY BOULEVARD, The Millions, Cagibi, The Montreal Review, The Adirondack Review, The New Plains Review, Underwood Press and others. He is the co-curator of The Guerrilla Lit Reading Series and lives in New York City. Follow him at leematthewgoldberg.com.

 

Website – Leematthewgoldberg.com

FB – https://www.facebook.com/leemgol

IG – https://www.instagram.com/leematthewgoldberg/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/LeeMatthewG

Book Review: Fires of the Dead – Jed Herne

Fires of the Dead by Jed Herne is a fantasy novella I read last month – my first book of the year, in fact! That’s not the only reason it’s a first for me. It’s also the first book I have downloaded from BookSirens, a provider of ARC’s similar to Netgalley.

I’ve made more of an effort to read short stories and novellas since last year. I typically pick up reasonably long books, especially fantasy ones. I definitely want to keep up interspersing some shorter reads into my normal reading schedule. It’s nice to have a little something to break up the other books I am reading, or even something I can read and enjoy in one sitting.

Based on my experience of Fires of the Dead, I’ll definitely be trying more fantasy novellas.

 

Fires of the Dead – Jed Herne

Goodreads – Fires of the Dead

Fire can’t be tamed.

Wisp is a pyromancer: a magician who draws energy from fires to make his own flames. He’s also a criminal, one job away from retirement. And it can’t come bloody soon enough.

Leading his misfit crew, Wisp ventures into a charred and barren forest to find a relic that could change the realm forever. But they aren’t the only ones on the hunt, and the forest isn’t as barren as it seems …

A jaded gang leader longing for retirement

A bloodthirsty magician with a lust for power

A brutish fighter who’s smarter than he looks

A young thief desperate to prove herself

A cowardly navigator with secrets that won’t stay buried

Together, they must survive fights, fires, and folk tales that prove disturbingly real – if they don’t kill each other first.

A dark fantasy novella with a unique magic system, perfect for Joe Abercrombie or Brandon Sanderson fans wanting a fast-paced read.

 

My Thoughts…

A common misconception about fantasy novels is that they are all epic, thousand-page long tomes. Yes, some of them are. I’ve even read a few myself. Authors that come to mind include George R R Martin and Brandon Sanderson. Those are just two examples. Fires of the Dead proves that you don’t need to write reams of narrative to fit all the components of a classic fantasy novel into one tale.

A number of personalities shine through in the narrative, predominantly seen through the eyes of the man that recruited them all for the job, Wisp. Wisp himself is a refreshing character to read. Intent to retire on the riches the job has promised to yield, Wisp imagines it’s his last job – and about bloody time too! His brutal honesty and almost pessimist attitude add a lot of humour to the tale.

Wisp isn’t the only narrator of the tale, however, and in a couple of places, I felt his narrative voice bled through into other parts of the book not written from his perspective. Maybe there is a logical explanation for that. The characters have known each other for a while, so perhaps they have picked up each other’s speech patterns, use of slang and such. That said, the moments were few and far between, making me think it wasn’t entirely intentional. It didn’t have a huge impact on my enjoyment of the book though.

World-building, magic (in particular pyromancy), character development and an enjoyable action-packed plotline all come together in just under 200 pages. I personally loved the roguish, ramshackle nature of the band undertaking the quest to retrieve a magical relic. There’s just enough history touched upon for the reader to bond with the characters without hampering the action or clogging up the narrative with excessive detail.

Thank you to the author and BookSirens for providing me with a copy of Fires of the Dead in exchange for an honest review!

 

 

signature

Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

Sunday Summary – 9th February 2020

It’s that time again folks! Yep, it’s time to write my Sunday Summary post and wrap-up everything that has been going on during the week. I hope you have all had a good one?

I kicked off the week by sharing my reading list for February. Just like last month, I have a number of blog tours that I am taking part in. So, this month’s list consists of four ARCs and two books for my Beat the Backlist challenge.

Next, I published a Shelf Control post on Friday. This week’s featured book has been on the TBR for nearly three years. Not as old as some of the books on my list, but still old enough! It reminds me a lot of a book I read and enjoyed not that long ago – Ctrl+S by Andy Briggs. If you enjoy science-fiction that focuses on virtual reality, you might be interested in checking it out!

Yesterday’s blog post was my second blog tour of the month. Regular readers of my blog may recognise the name of the author, as I have read and reviewed a number of her books now. One: Rage Vengeance Murder by K. J. McGillick is the epic conclusion to her Path of Deception and Betrayal series. If you haven’t read my review yet, well, why not – haha!

 

Books Read

My top priority this week was finishing reading One, for what I hope are obvious reasons! I had only just started this last week, so I needed a reasonably quick turnaround. Thankfully, K. J. McGillick’s books are really easy to get into, so I finished on Thursday – well in time to draft my review.

The next book I picked up was The Mentor by Lee Matthew Goldberg. I have read most of this book as of writing this post. I’m now 75% of the way through and eager to get to the sinister conclusion of the novel. I really have no idea where it’s going to go so I’m crossing my fingers I’ll have the time to finish this tonight!

I did also start another book yesterday. Having read quite a bit yesterday after all the housework and boring jobs, I needed to change things up. So, I started the next book on my TBR. The Girl from the Workhouse is a historical saga novel as opposed to a dark psychological thriller. It was exactly what I needed. I only read the first few chapters, but I’ve made a decent start. As soon as I have finished reading The Mentor, I’ll be picking this up full-time.

Darkdawn – oh my goodness guys!! I must only have about two hours left and I can’t wait to finish it. I actually listened to a couple of hours or so today because I knew I was near the end. I’ll definitely have finished it by this time next week guys. Heads up, I’ll probably be gushing over it and equally really sad it’s over!

 

Books Discovered

I’ve been naughty nice and added a few books over the last few weeks. However, I have been good this week and not added anything new. I should hope so too since my TBR has just topped 200 books again!

Less time adding and more time reading, eh?

 

Coming Up…

I’m looking forward to next week for a number of reasons. I’m going to be sharing four posts over the course of the week, which I hope you can join me for.

One of my reviews is the first ARC I downloaded from a provider called Book Sirens – Fires of the Dead. I’ll be posting this on Tuesday. The other is for my third blog tour of the month – The Mentor, which will be published on Wednesday.

On Friday I’ll be sharing a First Lines Friday post. As always, the subject matter has yet to be decided, but I enjoy going through my books to find interesting intros to catch your eye!

Last but not least, I’ll be rounding up the week as I am now with a Sunday Summary.

I hope you have enjoyed today’s Sunday Summary post. What have you been reading this week? As always, I love to hear from you!

 

 

signature

Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads