Author: fantasyst95

Sunday Summary – 30th August 2020

Hi everyone and welcome to today’s Sunday Summary post. You may be a bit confused as to why this post is going live today given that I said it would be published first thing tomorrow morning in last week’s post. Well, long story short, I got my days mixed up. I have already had a blog tour this week and I have one next week; I knew what dates my posts were but completely got my days wrong! Perhaps I should have checked before I published, but never mind! I blame the bank holiday weekend throwing me off…

Anyway, let’s get into what posts I shared this week. My first post of the week was a review of The God Game by Danny Tobey. I read this book back in March this year following receipt of an ARC copy courtesy of Gollancz. If you enjoy or think you’ll enjoy a combination of science-fiction, thriller and YA then I definitely recommend giving my review a read. Then, on Friday, I shared my thoughts on a second book I’ve read – Grubane by Karl Drinkwater. This post was shared as part of the ongoing blog tour and I really enjoyed writing the post and the feedback I received from it!

 

Books Read

This week I’ve read around half of Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson. I’m hoping to get to around 75% before turning in tonight though. It’s only about 180 pages so far, but it is progress. I’ve actually spent a lot of time doing other things this week – crochet, watching TV (a rare occurrence in my house!) and even working late. Thankfully not too much of the latter! I’m really enjoying the book and it’s proving easy reading. I shouldn’t be surprised by that – I haven’t disliked a single book of his… and I’ve read a few!

I still have a couple of books on this month’s TBR to read. Thankfully both are short, so although I might just creep over into the beginning of September it shouldn’t set me back at all.

 

Books Discovered

Glad to say that once again, there are no new additions here this week! I would say that I should be thinking of the money I’m saving, but unfortunately, that’s not the case – it’s just getting spent on other things!

 

Coming Up…

My first blog post of next week is a feature post in the ongoing blog tour for Escaping Demons by Killian Wolf. I would have signed up to review, but since I had already committed to taking part in a couple of other tours with reviews, I couldn’t this time. I’m still looking forward to featuring this book on my blog and hopefully, the book catches your eye!

Midweek I will be sharing my TBR for September. I was just saying to my parents today that I can’t believe this is rolling around next week already. It doesn’t seem fair! The not being able to do anything thanks to ol’ corona makes it feel like we haven’t really had much of a year so far.

On Friday I will be foregoing my regular Shelf Control post (already on hold from this week thanks to my mix-up) and sharing another review. This week’s blog tour review is for another recent read, Mindworm by David Pollard.

Last, but not least, I’ll be sharing my Sunday Summary post as expected.

Don’t worry, I’ve fact-checked this all this week, so I’m not unintentionally lying to you!

That’s all from me in this week’s Sunday Summary post! I hope you have had a good one and enjoy the last day of the weekend tomorrow.

Until next time,

 

 

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Blog Tour Review: Grubane – Karl Drinkwater

Hello everybody and welcome to today’s blog tour post for Grubane by Karl Drinkwater! I’m glad you could join me to hear my thoughts on this fun, entertaining sci-fi short story. You may remember that I read another Lost Tales of Solace story earlier this year. If you haven’t already checked that review out and want an introduction, you can find my review of Helene here.

As always, I would like to take the opportunity to thank both Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources and the author Karl Drinkwater for the opportunity to take part in today’s blog tour. If you enjoy today’s review post be sure to check out some of the posts by other bloggers taking part in this tour as well!

 

Grubane – Karl Drinkwater

Goodreads – Grubane

Major Grubane is commander of the Aurikaa, the most feared cruiser in the UFS arsenal.

His crew is handpicked and fiercely loyal. Together, they have never failed a mission, and their reputation precedes them.

But this time he’s been sent to a key planet that is caught up in political tensions at the centre of the freedom debate. What he thought was a simple diplomatic mission turns out to be the hardest choice of his career. His orders: eliminate one million inhabitants of the planet, and ensure their compliance.

Grubane has also rediscovered an ancient game called chess, and plays it against the ship AI as a form of mental training. But maybe it could be more than that as he finds himself asking questions. Can orders be reinterpreted? How many moves ahead is it possible for one man to plan? And how many players are involved in this game?

 

Purchase Link – https://books2read.com/b/Grubane

 

My Thoughts…

Whether or not you have read any books in the Lost Solace universe, Grubane is easy to pick up and enjoy. It can be read as part of the series or as a standalone book; the narrative isn’t dependent on knowledge of events in the others. I read the first book of the Lost Tales (Helene) back in March having not read the main series. It didn’t matter in the slightest! I read Grubane with an idea of what to expect with the author’s writing style and the universe the story is set in, in general terms, but the storylines are different and are independent of one another. In addition to these shorts, have some of the main series books to read. It will be interesting to see how these all tie together later.

You might think that the narrative could come across as clinical given that the tale is told from the perspective of an AI. That isn’t the case at all! The AI’s featured in the books I have read so far are really quite special. They are highly intelligent and through human contact, they learn a lot about humans and go on to develop personalities of their own. The dynamic between Grubane and Aurikaa12 is one that emphasises the point that humans and technology can learn a lot from each other.

Through Aurikaa12 we learn a lot about the prestigious Major Grubane and there is plenty of character development. The difficult scenario he finds himself in and how he responds to such tells us a lot about him as a person. The chess component of the novel is very interesting as it proves that the Major is an excellent strategist. I also liked how the events in the book were analogised to a game of chess as well!

There is no shortage of action in Grubane and the fast-paced narrative makes this very easy to pick up and become immersed in. I read Grubane in just a couple of sittings. The narrative packs in plenty of plot twists and unexpected moments despite being just over one hundred pages long. It’s the perfect length to still be long enough to invest in the characters and storyline but also accessible and a relatively quick read. Personally, Grubane struck the perfect balance on the length to have the best of both.

 

Author Bio

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, edits fiction for other writers, 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.

Social Media Links –

Website https://karldrinkwater.uk

Twitter http://twitter.com/karldrinkwater

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

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

Newsletter http://bit.ly/newsletterkd

 

Book Review: The God Game – Danny Tobey

Hi everyone! I’m glad you can join me for today’s book review of The God Game by Danny Tobey. I was very kindly sent a copy of this book for review by Gollancz. The synopsis caught my eye immediately and I knew this was a book I was going to really enjoy – I wasn’t disappointed! Thanks to Gollancz for sending me a copy of the book in exchange for a review. As always, the opinions stated below are honest and my own.

 

The God Game – Danny Tobey

Goodreads – The God Game

For fans of Stranger Things and Ready Player OneThe God Game is a brilliantly plotted science-fiction thriller about a VR game in which the stakes are impossibly high: if you die in the game, you die in real life

Five best friends in a high school computer club get sucked into an underground hacker’s game run by a mysterious A.I. that thinks it is God. It’s all fun and games until people start to get hurt.

And the stakes keep getting higher. As the Game pits them against each other and turns their high school upside down, it offers the ultimate promise – win and learn the meaning of life; die in the game, and die for real.

 

Purchase Links:   Amazon UK     Amazon US

 

My Thoughts…

The God Game cleverly combines its sci-fi/fantasy genre with thriller to keep readers on the edge of our seats.

The most chilling part of the narrative is that, if such a game existed, I honestly think some kids today would buy into it. I graduated school a good few years ago now, but recently enough to remember what it was like. Peer pressure would definitely do its part in egging kids on to push the boundaries and do something they would regret later.

I enjoyed how well the sci-fi elements of the novel were written to be accessible to all. I didn’t find the language too technical or difficult to read. Anyone could pick this book up and understand what is going on.

I enjoyed the variety of characters in the novel. The dynamic of the group and the individuals within has a significant impact on the narrative and how each character responds to the circumstances they find themselves in. By the end of the book, I felt I knew them all well as if friends of my own. They aren’t the crowd I would choose, but the narrative is so immersive that you come to know them well by the end. The difficult and moral decisions they have to make give us an intimate knowledge of where their boundaries lie.

Sci-fi is one of those genres where I might not pick it up for a while, but then I’ll read a lot at once to make up for the fact. I read The God Game at the end of March this year and that was the fourth sci-fi book of the year. After reading it, I read another two books immediately after this. Despite this, the storyline of this particularly prominent and memorable. It’s a unique story and one that I think will be popular with a YA audience.

 

 

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Sunday Summary – 23rd August 2020

Good evening everyone and welcome back to another Sunday Summary post! I can’t believe it’s the end of another week already! I hope you are all keeping well?

This week I began with a fun Unpopular Opinions Book Tag. Having looked around for inspiration, I figured this would be an entertaining read and would give you the chance to learn a little more about me and my reading tastes. I certainly enjoyed writing it anyway.

Then on Friday, I shared my latest First Lines Friday post. This week’s theme was crime and I shared the opening to a brilliant crime/psychological thriller novel I read and reviewed last month. If you haven’t checked that post yet and you love that type of fiction I recommend you give it a read.

 

Books Read

This week I have been devoting my free time to reading Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel. It’s the only book I have picked up so far this week, but I’ve really enjoyed it! In last week’s Sunday Summary post I talked about the book (having just started it) and how I liked the chapter formatting as interviews. This continued throughout and it made a refreshing change from the continuous narrative prose that is a more typical format.

I’m hoping to start my next book, Steelheart tonight with a cup of tea before bed.

Aside from reading, I’ve taken some time out to work on an ongoing crochet project. I was also asked by a work colleague to help teach her daughter how to crochet. She had taken an interest in learning herself but needed help with the names of stitches and reading patterns. I’ve enjoyed spending the time doing that as well this week, which is why I have only read the one book.

 

Books Discovered

I’ve been pretty good again this week and there are no new additions to the TBR! Not a bad thing, given the size of it…

 

Coming Up…

I want to share another book review with you first thing next week, and the particular book I have in mind is one I received a copy of from Gollancz to review. The God Game by Danny Tobey an entertaining YA sci-fi thriller novel I read and enjoyed earlier this year. It’s definitely time to share my thoughts with you on this book; I hope you can check out that post when it goes live!

On Friday I’ll be sharing my next Shelf Control post. This week’s featured book on my TBR is a non-fiction book, which is a rarity! It dabbles in psychology, which is why I think I’ll enjoy it, but it’s also supposed to be humorous as well.

Next Sunday I am taking part in a blog tour for Grubane by Karl Drinkwater. With that in mind, that post will be going live on Sunday and my usual Sunday Summary post will be shared on Monday morning.

 

 

That’s all from me in today’s reasonably short Sunday Summary post! Have a great week and I’ll see you in the next one.

 

 

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First Lines Friday – 21/08/2020

Happy Friday everyone! It’s the end of the working week again and so it’s time for another First Lines Friday post! I hope you have all had a good one and are looking forward to the weekend?

In last week’s Sunday Summary post I committed to another theme for today’s book selection. This week’s choice is a little easier as the genre I picked (crime) is one I read a reasonable amount of. Today’s featured book is one I read and was blown away by recently. Can you pick up on the hint in the intro as to which book it is?

 

Greg Adams stared at the crime scene photos of the four dead girls. He recalled the words of his mentor during his first criminology one-on-one.

‘The dead don’t lie.’

‘The trouble is, they don’t speak either,’ Greg had replied.

Now, fifteen years later, the taut faces of four teenage girls, eyes wide with shock, stared back at him. If they could speak, he knew exactly what they would say.

Find him.

Soon there would be another photo on the wall of New Scotland Yard’s Evidence Room 3A. Officers of all ranks were out searching for the next victim but, like Greg, they had no idea where the next kill would happen. For the hundredth time scanned the photos, the map of London and it’s outer suburbs stabbed with four red-topped pins, the scrawled ideas in his notepad, the fragmentary remarks on his laptop, the cryptic clues left after each killing.

He had nothing.

Neither did the dozen others working the case. But unless he came up with something in the next hour, another girl would die.

 

 

Which book am I featuring today?

 

The Dead Tell Lies – J. F. Kirwan

Goodreads – The Dead Tell Lies

Greg Adams, a criminal psychologist at Scotland Yard, specialises in bringing serial killers to justice. He tracks down a spree serial killer nicknamed the Divine, who has already killed six teenage girls and is about to kill a seventh. Greg works out the location where he is hiding and joins a raid. The police capture the Divine and save the girl, but on the very same night, Greg’s wife is brutally murdered by another serial killer, known as the Dreamer.

A year later, unable to bring the killer to justice, Greg has quit his job and is ready to end it all, when he receives a phone call from a man who tells him the Dreamer is dead, and that he didn’t kill Greg’s wife, Kate.

Greg returns to Scotland Yard to work for Superintendent Chief Detective Donaldson in the hope he can re-examine the case with the help of two new detectives, Finch and Matthews.

As Greg delves into the case further, he becomes more convinced that the Dreamer wasn’t the man responsible for his wife’s murder.

But if it wasn’t the Dreamer, who was it?

In order to solve the mystery around his wife’s murder, Greg is going to have to delve even deeper into the mind of a terrifying psychopath. And this time he might not make it back in one piece…

 

I read The Dead Tell Lies to take part in last month’s blog tour for the book. If you haven’t already read my review, please go and take a look at that! As you can tell from that, I loved the book. The storyline was twisty and the narrative cleverly written. At times you don’t even know whether to trust Greg or his actions.

If you enjoy edge-of-your-seat whodunits, I think you’ll love The Dead Tell Lies. As a former psychology student, I really enjoyed the criminology aspect and Greg’s approach of trying to get into the killer’s head to understand his motives.

 

What did you think of today’s First Lines Friday post? As always, I would love to hear from you!

 

 

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Unpopular Opinions Book Tag

Hi guys and welcome to today’s Unpopular Opinions book tag! I knew I wanted to put together a bit of a fun post today, so I shopped around for some inspiration. I found this tag written by Erin at Book Loving Nut and thought it would be fun. Please go and check her answers to the below questions as well, and if you like the sound of taking part then please tag me so I can see your answers!

Shall we dive in?

 

A popular book you didn’t like

I couldn’t get on with Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman.

There were recognisable glimmers of Terry’s classic humour and shenanigans in the tale, but I’m sorry to say I just got bored. I have struggled with another book by Neil Gaiman in the past (American Gods) and I think it’s his writing style that I don’t get on with. I did actually finish American Gods, but I was disappointed by it.

I couldn’t finish Good Omens. The book eventually got DNF’d at 40%, so I had a decent stab at it before throwing in the towel.

 

A book series that everyone hates but you love

I couldn’t think of an obvious answer to this question so I resorted to trawling through my read books list, sorted by average rating, to find this answer. Can I say I’m shocked by this one!

The Relic Guild is a fantastic series and I am amazed that the first book’s average rating is only 3.5 stars. The second and third book fare better with an average rating of 4 stars each. I personally rated them all five stars and I really think they are under-rated.

 

A love triangle where the MC ends up with the person you didn’t want them to end up with

I rarely read books with love triangles in them. Even where I have (Hunger Games I’m looking at you), I don’t really care for this aspect of the novel. I don’t enjoy romance novels so it stands to reason that I don’t engage with this part of a book.

Probably sounds callous, but when this is going on I’m just wishing it to get resolved so we can get back to the main plot.

 

A popular genre you rarely reach for

Again, I probably have to say Romance here. It’s cringy and makes me feel really awkward reading it. I just don’t enjoy it, so I don’t bother.

 

A popular character you didn’t like

I wasn’t as much a fan of Circe as I was hoping to be, purely because I didn’t really like Circe herself. She may be the daughter of a God, but she’s mean, vindictive and overall pretty uninspiring. Since Circe spends a lot of her time banished, the narrative is very dependent on her. If her character was better I’d probably have liked the book more. But she wasn’t, and I didn’t, so that’s that I guess.

 

A popular author you can’t seem to get into

the eye of the world

On the recommendation of a friend, I tried to read The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan. Keyword there is tried. I think I got most of the way through the book, but in the end, I had enough and DNF’d it.

I got very Tolkien-esque vibes from the narrative. It’s very descriptive, almost to the point of frilliness. If you have read The Lord of the Rings you might understand what I’m saying. It’s not the easiest of reading. I can manage about 400 pages of it, but The Eye of the World is a behemoth and is over twice that length. In the end, I got bored of the overly descriptive book as it put a dampener on what was actually going on.

I’m not even sure I remember what happened…

 

A popular trope you’re tired of seeing

Since I read a lot of fantasy, it will probably surprise you to read that I’m a little tired of the coming-of-age trope. It’s everywhere within the genre, so to an extent, it’s unavoidable. But particularly the versions where there are prophecies and an unlikely hero… these are the types I’m thinking here.

 

A popular series you have no interest in reading

Twilight. That’s an easy one, and particularly topical since another book has just been released. The series didn’t appeal to me as a teenager and it still doesn’t now. You can keep your sparkling vampires thanks.

 

The saying goes “the book is always better than the movie” but what movie do you prefer to the book?

The Hunger Games books are good, but I think I preferred the movies slightly. Watching the action play out at a faster pace is more exciting, in my opinion. The characters are also portrayed really well in the movies, which I think gives them the edge over the books.

 

So that’s the Unpopular Opinions Book Tag. If you are inspired to take part, please share your answers below or tag me in your own posts! I’d love to know what you think.

 

 

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Sunday Summary – 16th August 2020

Good evening everyone and welcome back to this week’s Sunday Summary post! I hope you have had a good weekend, whatever you have gotten up to.

In terms of blog scheduling, mine has been a little busier than usual! At the beginning of the week, I managed to drag my poor attempt of a review of Days of Blood and Starlight out of the dump. I was really disappointed that I struggled with this a couple of weeks ago, but I think I’ve done it justice now. On Thursday I shared a spotlight feature post and author interview for Justice Gone by Nicholas Lombardi Jr. Since publication last year the book has gone on to win an impressive 5 awards! Friday’s was a Shelf Control post and I have finally come to the end of my classics run! This week features a book whose main character is book lover – someone I definitely relate to!

 

Books Read

After finishing Grubane last week I moved on to the next book on my TBR. I didn’t actually start Mindworm by David Pollard until midweek, but it was quite a short read and I finished the book on Saturday evening. I didn’t really know what I expected from the synopsis as it was quite vague, but it was an interesting short story. At just over 100 pages it didn’t take long to read at all.

I then moved on to my current read, Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel. I’m only a few chapters in but I’m really enjoying the format of these chapters. They’re written as case file interviews and we are only just learning who the characters are. It’s refreshing to read something in a different format and there’s a good plot developing. Sleeping Giants is one of the longer books on this month’s TBR, but I don’t expect it will take me long to read!

 

Books Discovered

There aren’t any new additions to the TBR this week thankfully. I’m trying to cut the list down a bit as I have managed to creep over 200 books – oops! Thankfully this month’s TBR has quite a few books that will come off this list.

 

Coming Up…

I have decided that I feel like starting the week with a book tag. They’re fun to write and through them, you get to know a bit more about me and my reading tastes etc. I haven’t read many tag posts lately so I ended up doing a bit of searching on the web for inspiration. I found one called the Unpopular Opinions Book Tag and having read the questions, I think it will be fun!

On Friday I’m sharing another First Lines Friday post. This week I am going to set another genre theme as the last one, non-fiction, was fun. It was also a bit of a challenge as I haven’t read much non-fiction. This week’s theme of crime will be a bit easier as I definitely read a lot more of those!

And last, but not least, another Sunday Summary post will be coming your way this time next week. I’m reverting back to my usual 3 posts per week schedule as that’s manageable. I struggled a little bit to do four and keep up the reading.

 

That’s all from me in this week’s Sunday Summary update. What have you been reading?

 

 

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Shelf Control #24 – 14/08/2020

It’s Friday – welcome to a slightly later than usual Shelf Control post. Apologies it’s a little late – normally I draft these on a Thursday night but as I was working on yesterday’s Spotlight Feature post, I didn’t get round to it.

We’re concluding the run of classic books in today’s post. I went through a phase of adding quite a few classic novels to the TBR, as you have seen over the past several weeks.

In case you haven’t read one of these posts before, Shelf Control is a meme run by Lisa at Bookshelf Fantasies. It’s a weekly celebration of the unread books on our shelves. Pick a book you own but haven’t read, write a post about it (suggestions: include what it’s about, why you want to read it, and when you got it), and link up!

For more info on what Shelf Control is all about, check out Lisa’s introductory post.

Shall we check out today’s featured book?

 

The Book Thief – Markus Zusak

Goodreads – The Book Thief

It is 1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier, and will be busier still.

By her brother’s graveside, Liesel’s life is changed when she picks up a single object, partially hidden in the snow. It is The Gravedigger’s Handbook, left behind there by accident, and it is her first act of book thievery. So begins a love affair with books and words, as Liesel, with the help of her accordian-playing foster father, learns to read. Soon she is stealing books from Nazi book-burnings, the mayor’s wife’s library, wherever there are books to be found.

But these are dangerous times. When Liesel’s foster family hides a Jew in their basement, Liesel’s world is both opened up, and closed down.

In superbly crafted writing that burns with intensity, award-winning author Markus Zusak has given us one of the most enduring stories of our time.

 

My Thoughts…

I’m a huge fan of historical fiction novels based around WW2. I’ve read and featured many on my blog over the past few years, so it’s not exactly a secret. Combine that with the main character who reveres books… I’m bound to love it!

It astounds me that the book has a rating of 4.3 on Goodreads and nearly 1.8 million ratings. That’s mad! If it’s rated that highly I have a lot of confidence I will feel the same way about it. Almost all of my Goodreads friends that have rated the book have given it 5 stars.

Have you read The Book Thief? Is it as good as it appears? Let me know in the comments!

 

 

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Spotlight Feature Post: Justice Gone – Nicholas Lombardi Jr

Today’s blog post is a spotlight feature for a fantastic legal thriller novel that is very relevant to a lot of discussions ongoing at the moment. I actually read and reviewed this particular book back in April 2019 as part of a blog tour shortly after its publication. Since then, the book has gone on to win many awards, with its fifth and latest just recently.

To celebrate the occasion, I spoke to the author about his inspiration to write the book, how it relates to current events and what more we can expect from him. Before that though, here are the details for Justice Gone: –

 

Justice Gone – Nicholas Lombardi Jr

Goodreads – Justice Gone

WINNER OF FIVE AWARDS

  • 2020 INDEPENDENT PRESS AWARD
  • NEW YORK CITY BIG BOOK AWARD 2019
  • 2019 AMERICAN FICTION AWARD
  • NATIONAL INDIE EXCELLENCY AWARD – Best Legal Thriller of 2019
  • SILVER MEDAL WINNER 2019 READERS’ FAVORITES AWARDS

Chosen by Wiki.ezvid.com among their list of 10 Gripping and Intelligent Legal Thrillers

 

The courtroom scenes are wonderfully written…the characters are well described and the author paints a picture of each in the mind of the reader…Strong plot, strong characters and a strong writing style that I really enjoyed. This one is a definite “thumbs-up.” Strongly recommend! I look forward to reading additional works by N. Lombardi, Jr.

Kim M Aalaie, Author’s Den

 

One of my favorite suspense novels of the year. It will make you question the legal system.

The Eclectic Review

The courtroom action is excellent, trimmed to the most gripping parts of the trial, with plenty of emotional impact…a fairly realistic portrayal of the way small-town US society works…a fast-moving story with plenty of dramatic moments, and a big twist in the final pages.

Crime Review 

 

An act of police brutality hurls a small town into a turmoil of rage and fear, igniting a relentless witch hunt and ending in the trial of the decade.

“When a homeless war veteran is beaten to death by the police, stormy protests ensue, engulfing a small New Jersey town. Soon after, three cops are gunned down.

A multi-state manhunt is underway for a cop killer on the loose. And Dr. Tessa Thorpe, a veteran’s counselor, is caught up in the chase.

Donald Darfield, an African-American Iraqi war vet, war-time buddy of the beaten man, and one of Tessa’s patients, is holed up in a mountain cabin. Tessa, acting on instinct, sets off to find him, but the swarm of law enforcement officers gets there first, leading to Darfield’s dramatic capture.

Now, the only people separating him from the lethal needle of state justice are Tessa and ageing blind lawyer, Nathaniel Bodine. Can they untangle the web tightening around Darfield in time, when the press and the justice system are baying for revenge?”

 

Purchase Links: –   

Amazon UK   Amazon US   Amazon India   Barnes & Noble   Book Depository   Waterstones   Kobo

 

 

Author Interview

What led you to writing this novel?

I can’t recall exactly how I came across this story: a homeless man beaten to death by police in a small town in California, but I do remember a series of YouTube videos that documented this event. There was a video recording taken from a closed circuit TV camera at the adjacent bus stop showing the beating, a silent witness to a brutal act.  What was more appalling to me than the impending assault, was the exchange of two of the police officers with the soon-to-be victim, a harrowing display of sadistic provocation. The fact that the officers were indicted and brought to trial at all was a precedent – up to that time no police officer had ever been prosecuted for excessive force in the history of Orange County, a tradition that likely imparted a sentiment of immunity on the part of the accused officers when they were partaking in their vicious act.

In addition, videos of street protests decrying such police violence illustrated the collective shock of a small town. The town was Fullerton, California; the man was Kelly Thomas. The year was 2011

This case was the seed from which my novel, Justice Gone, sprouted.

 

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How do you think it could contribute to the currently ongoing discussion?

The incident of excessive force in Justice Gone is not an isolated action, but occurs within the context of local politics and a flawed legal system, where outcomes are determined by the attitudes of people. I feel that a discussion of the violation of civil rights by law enforcement should include these elements, as they may be responsible for any sense of impunity the involved officers may have.

 

Are there any personal experiences that might have (inadvertently) made their way into the book?

Fortunately, I’ve never had an encounter with a police officer, nor was I ever trapped in the unfeeling machine of the legal system, but then again, I’ve lived most of my life outside of the United States.

 

In the current call for books by own voices, how do you feel as a white person narrating the viewpoint of an African-American person?

Well, I’ve never attempted to do that. I don’t think it would work. Justice Gone is written in a show, not tell, style of narrative. Essentially, these are the characters, this is what they do, this is what they say, and this is what happens in the story.

 

The book was published in February 2019. You must have worked on it for a while before then. Anytime during that process, did you expect the turmoil to reach the pitch it has now?

I expected the rage against abusive police actions to be sustained, and suspected that it might grow with time, but I wasn’t certain, because sometimes people forget until the next time it happens.

 

Stepping back from the book itself, what is your writing process?

Basically to relax and let my mind wander over the story – that’s the way my ideas come, usually with a glass of wine.

 

Is there anything else you want to convey to your readers?

To the few readers I have, I would like to say that we haven’t seen the last of Nat Bodine, the blind lawyer, nor the last of legal fiction that encompasses social issues. The matter of the death penalty, instances of racial discrimination, legal representation for the mentally disabled, and the sentencing of juveniles to life without parole are among a host of topics that can be explored through fiction. Although tragic, I intend to write about such inequities while infusing a note of hope in the stories.

 

About the Author

N. Lombardi Jr, the N for Nicholas, has spent over half his life in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East, working as a groundwater geologist. Nick can speak five languages: Swahili, Thai, Lao, Chinese, and Khmer (Cambodian).

In 1997, while visiting Lao People’s Democratic Republic, he witnessed the remnants of a secret war that had been waged for nine years, among which were children wounded from leftover cluster bombs. Driven by what he saw, he worked on The Plain of Jars for the next eight years.

Nick maintains a website with content that spans most aspects of the novel: The Secret War, Laotian culture, Buddhism etc. http://plainofjars.net

His second novel, Journey Towards a Falling Sun, is set in the wild frontier of northern Kenya.

His latest novel, Justice Gone was inspired by the fatal beating of a homeless man by police.

Nick now lives in Phnom Penh, Cambodia

 

Visit his Goodreads and Facebook pages!

Book Review: Days of Blood & Starlight – Laini Taylor

Hi everyone and welcome to today’s book review of Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor! After reading and enjoying her Strange the Dreamer duology, I decided I wanted to try her Daughter of Smoke & Bone series. I read the first book on holiday last October (isn’t that a far and distant memory now…) and binge-read the rest of the series shortly after!

I wouldn’t describe myself as a YA reader or fan particularly, but I will make all the exceptions for Laini Taylor. Her writing is brilliant, the stories easy to read and the characters have, in my opinion, a lot more depth than most. I find some YA to be a little trope-y and a bit shallow at times, but not with this series (or Strange) at all.

If you haven’t read my review of Daughter of Smoke & Bone yet, you can find that post here.

 

Days of Blood & Starlight – Laini Taylor

Goodreads – Days of Blood & 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?

 

My Thoughts…

I wasn’t sure how Laini Taylor was going to follow up such an epic start to the series, but I should never have doubted her! In fact, Days of Blood and Starlight has one of my favourite introductions. I featured it in a First Lines Friday post back in February this year; if you haven’t read it yet and want a chuckle I think you’ll like it.

The idea of my championing a book/series with such a prevalent plotline around a character relationship may seem strange to you. It’s not the sort of thing I normally go for at all. I talked about this in my review of the first book of the series as well, and everything I said there still applies. The relationship isn’t awkward or uncomfortable to read. It has a maturity to it and consequently, there isn’t any of the sappy stuff that I can’t read without wanting to gag. The dynamic between Karou and Akiva is a longing for companionship. In a world where they are on different sides of a bitter war, they struggle against their respective people for acceptance.

Events in Days of Blood and Starlight draw the reader into a completely new plotline. Daughter of Smoke and Bone, whilst brilliant, is really only the introduction to this explosive series. Karou has only just discovered her place in her world of monsters and in one fell swoop, her life is changed forever. And it’s Akiva’s fault. Shunned and friendless, she has plenty to grieve but steps up to do her part in the war between hers and Akiva’s kind.

The truth about Karou and the world she was being protected from is a harsh reality compared to her relatively normal human life back in Prague. Luckily for us readers (and especially me as a huge fan of world-building), Days of Blood and Starlight explores a whole new alternate world and the history of Chimaera and the Angels. The narrative becomes grittier, takes sinister turns and deadly secrets must be kept in order to fight to survive. Karou herself, whilst trying to earn the trust of her peers, must do her part in a dangerous deception. What has she got to lose?

Hope, love, and her dream for a better life. Everything.

 

 

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