Tag: book love

Book Birthday Blitz Review: The Rue Stone – Janet Stock

Hi everyone and welcome to today’s review of The Rue Stone as part of the organised book birthday blitz blog tour with Rachel’s Random Resources. The Rue Stone is an entertaining fantasy novella, so if that sounds like something you are interested in, please stick around to read on. Before diving into the detail, I’ like to say a huge thank you to Rachel and the author of the novella, Janet Stock, for the opportunity to take part in the tour!

In addition to my review, today’s post also provides the opportunity for UK readers to enter a giveaway and win a paperback copy of the novella! Those details can be found later in the post! For now, though, let’s talk about what I loved about the book!

 

The Rue Stone – Janet Stock

Goodreads – The Rue Stone

The rue is a mysterious and rare being who is rarely seen, and Janna is amazed when one arrives at the inn where she works, looking for a room. The next morning, her life has changed, and she is left wondering whether she will ever see him again, but only time and the rue stone know the answer to that question.

 

Purchase Links –  Amazon UK      Amazon US

 

My Thoughts…

Whether you are a regular reader of fantasy novels or are looking to explore the genre, The Rue Stone is a perfect read regardless of audience. As a fairytale-like novella, it is really easy to pick up; there isn’t a huge commitment to a long, complex storyline to invest into. I personally read The Rue Stone in one sitting, so it’s also ideal for anyone who doesn’t have much time to set aside and read.

Even though the novella is only 80 pages, there is plenty of beautiful descriptions and folklore incorporated into the narrative. The rue are mysterious, magical beings of legend. Janna has heard the stories, but she learns the truth of them when a rue walks into the inn she works in and changes her life. There is a great deal of mystery about the rue and they have plenty of potential to be explored further.

There is an element of romance in the novella, but I liked that it didn’t overshadow the plot. Regular readers of mine will know that I’m not a big romance fan, but the budding relationship in The Rue Stone isn’t too heavy.

The amount of detail in the background of the story is well proportioned with current events. I would, however, like to see more from this world and the backstory to the rue explored further. Having read this particular story from the perspective of Janna I’m intrigued to know how different the story would be from Arval’s viewpoint. There is definitely potential in this story for further stories and I would definitely be interested in seeing Janet’s fantasy world explored in more depth.

 

Author Bio

Having written all of my life, I decided to self-publish my writing when I turned 50. I have published four books since then. Two are collections of short stories; Dark & Fluffy; Dark & Fluffy II and 500 Words, which is flash fiction. My latest book The Rue Stone is a fantasy novella.

My passion is medieval fiction, and I am working on my first novel The Little Servant – The Wait’s Son, set in the 12th century, in Lincoln, where I live.

All four books are available on Amazon.

Social Media Links –

www.janetstockwriter.wordpress.com

fb Janetstockwriter

@janetstock12

 

Giveaway to Win 5 paperback copies of The Rue Stone (UK Only)

*Terms and Conditions –UK entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will be passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/33c69494390/

Top Ten Tuesday – Fantasy Novel Covers

Hello everyone and welcome to today’s fun Top Ten Tuesday post. Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Artsy Reader Girl. Whilst I don’t take part every week, I do enjoy some of the topics that are chosen to feature and this week is one of those. It is one of the broader topics I have seen for a while as the topic centres around book covers. Which ones are entirely at my discretion!

In today’s post, I have decided to feature my top ten fantasy novel covers. Whether it’s just the aesthetic or artistic appeal of a cover or the clues they give as to the plot, characters or tone of the novel, I love each and every one of the covers listed below for a variety of reasons. I have read the vast majority of these books, with just one exception. There are also a couple of entries where I share a series because I couldn’t narrow it down to just one book! They all have a similar style, so I think it’s only fair to share them all.

Shall we find out my top ten fantasy book covers?

 

Mistborn Trilogy – Brandon Sanderson

 

 

Caraval – Stephanie Garber

Caraval

 

The Way of Kings – Brandon Sanderson

 

The Black Prism – Brent Weeks

 

The Name of the Wind – Patrick Rothfuss

 

Strange the Dreamer – Laini Taylor

 

King of Thorns – Mark Lawrence

 

Daughter of Smoke and Bone – Laini Taylor

 

Circe – Madeline Miller

 

The Relic Guild trilogy – Edward Cox

 

So, here are my top ten book covers! Do you agree with any of my selections? What is your favourite fantasy novel cover? It can be featured here in today’s Top Ten Tuesday post, or any other cover you like! As always, I would love to hear from you!

 

 

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Blog Tour Review: Freedom of the Creed – Nicholas Coleridge

Hello everyone and welcome to today’s blog tour post for Freedom of the Creed by Nicholas Coleridge. In today’s blog tour post, I am featuring my review of the book. Thank you for checking out my post and also a huge thank you to the author and Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for organising the tour.

If you enjoy western-themed novels then saddle up and read on, as this book (and review) should be right up your street! Don’t forget to check out the other blogs that have featured in the tour as well. The details can be found at the bottom of my post.

 

Freedom of the Creed – Nicholas Coleridge

Goodreads – Freedom of the Creed

The Woe-Be-Gone boys, a vicious gang of outlaws rushes south through the American frontier, leaving desolation in their wake.

On their trail is Saoirse Creed, a bounty hunter with a debt to pay. Her only chance to pay that debt rides with the gang, but what depths will she sink to achieve her goal.

Now, as she tracks them down to a town on the precipice of despair, Saoirse must overcome the final hurdle in order to capture her man and return to a life that she thought was all but lost.

 

Purchase Links – Amazon UK      Amazon US

 

My Thoughts…

It was Freedom of the Creed’s western theme that appealed to me. It’s not a genre I pick up very often, but when I do, I really enjoy them! I suppose the most recent read that it reminds me of is Stephen King’s The Dark Tower series.

Saoirse (pronounced Sur-sha) is by far the character I loved best. She is a wickedly smart and fierce young woman. Her motivations are largely unclear for the majority of the book, making her passion and drive in the chase an intriguing mystery. I’m glad the pronunciation of her name is clarified early on in the book – I couldn’t even have made a guess! It is unusual and makes her doubly stand out as a unique character.

The plot is full of deceit, subterfuge and layers of depth that make it easy to immerse you in the detailed storyline. Exciting clues and revelations to further developments of the story are timed perfectly for maximum impact. The pace of the novel is well balanced and allows for full, detailed setting of the scene whilst still including plenty of action to drive events forward. It’s a steadily fast-paced novel but equally doesn’t come across as rushed in any way.

The author really captured the essence of old-fashioned attitudes in small communities very well. Each individual character has their own distinct personality, but they also gel together as a community. There is enough commonality between them that implies years of co-existence together in a desolate, now derelict town. I could picture the characters and their interactions in the town of Kites Run so clearly! The Woe-Be –Gone boys are a sort of community in themselves and I enjoyed the dynamic and power struggle within the group. They’re also the seedy types of human beings that you love to hate; routing for Saoirse in her hunt for them couldn’t be easier.

I really enjoyed the conclusion of the book and there is a lot of potential for the remainder of the series. I can’t wait to see where Saoirse and Wolfe find themselves in the next chapter of their story. Given how well the book has been written, I am amazed this is the author’s first novel!

 

Author Bio

N.J Coleridge finds time to write when he is not performing his official duties as his daughter’s “royal servant.”

He has always had a passion for the frontier and the old-west. Freedom of the Creed is his first novel.

For more adventures featuring Saoirse be sure to read the novella “A Prayer for the Dying”.

Social Media Links – https://www.facebook.com/AuthorNickColeridge/

Blog Tour Review: Mindworm – David Pollard

Hello everyone and welcome to today’s review of Mindworm as part of the ongoing blog tour with Rachel’s Random Resources. Thank you to both Rachel and the author David Pollard for a copy of the book in exchange for today’s review.

 

Mindworm – David Pollard

Goodreads – Mindworm

The placid life of a college librarian is plunged into a desperate fight for survival when he witnesses the death of his only friend. Suddenly he is forced to confront disturbing changes in his nature and appetites and their consequences. Suspected of murder and pursued by an implacable police detective he runs – but is he running from the law or from himself?

 

Pre-Order Links: Amazon UK     Amazon US

 

My Thoughts…

The synopsis of this book caught my attention immediately. I naturally have some compulsion to draw towards other book-minded folks, as would be expected really. Not only that though, but there’s enough there to form an idea in your mind of what it’s about but also keep you guessing. In the end, Mindworm was unlike anything I expected… in a good way! It is a lot more sinister and had more of a fantasy/supernatural element than I anticipated. I love that kind of thing, so that worked well for me! If you like supernatural as well then Mindworm is the perfect novella to pick up.

At around 100 pages Mindworm is quite a short read. Even so, there is plenty of action driving the plot forward and compelling you find out what happens next. Each chapter is concise as well, so Mindworm is really easy to read as a result – I personally read it in a couple of sittings.

Given the length and plotline of the story, I think there are a good number of main and supporting characters. The story is told from the perspective of our main character the librarian, but there is a whole host of characters that flesh out the story. Equally, each character is distinctive and so there aren’t too many to make it difficult to remember who is who. How much each character is developed is really dependent on their significance in the story. Some were only quite superficial but they only had a small impact on the plot, so overall it’s proportional.

Mindworm is an enjoyable novella to pick up if you are looking for a quick, intense and sinister read. The book could definitely remain standalone, but I think there is potential to expand this into a series. It’ll be interesting to see whether this does in fact happen. I would definitely pick up any future books based on what I have read already!

 

Author Bio

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After more than forty years of paid employment David Pollard retired to glorious Hereford and immersed himself in the theatrical activities of the county. He is currently Chair of Hereford County Drama Festival.

David  sees himself as a teller of tales – he is a playwright, author of short stories and novels. He has a preference for dark and dystopian material. He is also an actor and theatrical director. Among the many authors admired by David is Robert Louis Stevenson – for his website David adopted the appellation Tuistala – Samoan for ‘Teller of Tales’ which the Samoan people called RLS.

Several of David’s plays have been published by Lazybee Scripts – one of which ‘Aspects of a Betrayal’ was shortlisted for the Kenneth Branagh prize at the Windsor Fringe Festival.

David has two works published on KDP/Amazon:

‘His Cat and Other Strange Tales’ – a collection of macabre short stories

‘The Alienation of Ludovic Weiss’ – a psychological thriller

A third book ‘Mindworm ‘ is scheduled for publication in September 2020

When not writing, directing or acting David runs a podcast platform for the streaming of radio plays and short story readings – Hand to Mouth Sound Theatre.

 

For relaxation David reads voraciously with a liking for history and thriller fiction. He also enjoys country walks of the strolling variety.

Social Media Links –

Twitter: @dpollardauthor

Website: www.thetusitala.co.uk 

Reading List – September 2020

I can’t believe it’s September. Where has this year gone?

Given the current circumstances I don’t suppose it’s a bad thing that this year is flying, but still… shortly we’ll be 75% through with 2020 and it doesn’t feel like it should be at all!

Regardless, it is the beginning of a new month, and you know what that means. It’s time to share my TBR for the month ahead. This month’s list features a couple of books that I am reading for blog tours. Another is a request from the author and the rest are all from my TBR and contribute towards my Beat the Backlist challenge I set earlier this year. 8 months ago.

Again, where has this year gone? That barely felt like five minutes ago!

Anyway, shall we check out the books on this month’s reading list?

 

Freedom of the Creed – N. J. Coleridge

Goodreads – Freedom of the Creed

The Woe-Be-Gone boys, a vicious gang of outlaws rushes south through the American frontier, leaving desolation in their wake.

On their trail is Saoirse Creed, a bounty hunter with a debt to pay. Her only chance to pay that debt rides with the gang, but what depths will she sink to achieve her goal.

Now, as she tracks them down to a town on the precipice of despair, Saoirse must overcome the final hurdle in order to capture her man and return to a life that she thought was all but lost.

 

I am reading this particular book for an upcoming blog tour. The first thing that caught my attention when reading the synopsis is the chase through the desert. Might sound daft, but that combined with the western vibe reminds me of Stephen King’s The Dark Tower. If you’ve read the book I think you’ll get it.

I haven’t read anything like this in a little while so I’m looking forward to it!

 

The Rue Stone –Janet Stock

Goodreads – The Rue Stone

The rue is a mysterious and rare being who is rarely seen, so Janna is amazed when one arrives at the inn where she works, looking for a room. The next morning, her life changed forever, she is left wondering whether she will ever see him again. Only time and the rue stone have the answer.

 

The Rue Stone is a fantasy novella that I’m squeezing into my blog tour schedule. It’s only around 80 pages, so a nice short read. I’ve enjoyed picking up some shorter books lately and I’m sure this will be no exception. Janet has published four books to date but this will be the first time I have tried anything of hers. Novellas are a great way to try a new author and I’m looking forward to giving this a go. The synopsis doesn’t give much away, so I’m intrigued to find out what happens!

 

 

Rags of Time – Michael Ward

Goodreads – Rags of Time

London.1639.

Thomas Tallant, a young and ambitious Spice Merchant, returns from India to find his city in turmoil.

A bitter struggle is brewing between King Charles I and Parliament, as England slides into civil war. The capital is simmering with dissent. The conflict is ready to boil over.

But Thomas soon has other troubles to contend with. A wealthy merchant, Sir Joseph Venell, is savagely killed; then his partner Sir Hugh Swofford plunges to his death, in the Tallant household.

Suspicion falls on Thomas, who is sucked into a mire of treachery and rumour within the City of London. As the merchant struggles to clear his name, he becomes captivated by the enigmatic Elizabeth Seymour, whose passion for astronomy and mathematics is matched only by her addiction to the gaming tables.

Pursued by the authorities, Thomas races to unmask the real killer who claims a third victim to implicate him further, toying with his future in a deadly cat and mouse game.

In a desperate race against time, Elizabeth applies her powers of logic and deduction to unearth the clues that will point to the killer, but her way is barred by a secret message from the grave.

Can she crack its code before Thomas, now a wounded and exhausted fugitive, succumbs to the chase?

And, if she succeeds, has Thomas the strength to face his tormentor and win his life and reputation back?

Rags of Time is the first book in an engaging and entertaining new historical crime series, set during the upheaval of the 17th Century.

 

Despite not really taking on many ARC’s at the moment, I’m glad the author Michael Ward contacted me to ask for a review of Rags of Time. It’s a historical/crime fiction novel which is right up my street! It’s not too long a novel either, so should fit perfectly into this month’s TBR with my other reads. It’ll also be nice to have a bit more variety in genre as there’s a high proportion of fantasy in this month’s list.

 

The Psychology Book: Big Ideas Simply Explained – Various authors

Goodreads – The Psychology Book

Clearly explaining more than 100 groundbreaking ideas in the field, The Psychology Book uses accessible text and easy-to-follow graphics and illustrations to explain the complex theoretical and experimental foundations of psychology.

From its philosophical roots through behaviorism, psychotherapy, and developmental psychology, The Psychology Book looks at all the greats from Pavlov and Skinner to Freud and Jung, and is an essential reference for students and anyone with an interest in how the mind works.

 

Regular readers of my blog will have picked up on the fact that I’m a huge psychology fan. I studied it back in school and loved the lessons since I had a great teacher. I added this book to my TBR a good few years ago as a refresher to some of the things I have learnt already. I’m hoping there are also some new and different things in there as well though.

I have picked up this book before so I have an idea of its formatting. Its chapters are quite short and there is a new one for each ‘idea’. This will be a good book to pick up here and there as these chapters are very short and digestible.

 

Dune – Frank Herbert

Goodreads – Dune

Before The Matrix, before Star Wars, before Ender’s Game and Neuromancer, there was Dune: winner of the prestigious Hugo and Nebula awards, and widely considered one of the greatest science fiction novels ever written.

Melange, or ‘spice’, is the most valuable – and rarest – element in the universe; a drug that does everything from increasing a person’s life-span to making intersteller travel possible. And it can only be found on a single planet: the inhospitable desert world Arrakis.

Whoever controls Arrakis controls the spice. And whoever controls the spice controls the universe.

When the Emperor transfers stewardship of Arrakis from the noble House Harkonnen to House Atreides, the Harkonnens fight back, murdering Duke Leto Atreides. Paul, his son, and Lady Jessica, his concubine, flee into the desert. On the point of death, they are rescued by a band for Fremen, the native people of Arrakis, who control Arrakis’ second great resource: the giant worms that burrow beneath the burning desert sands.

In order to avenge his father and retake Arrakis from the Harkonnens, Paul must earn the trust of the Fremen and lead a tiny army against the innumerable forces aligned against them.

And his journey will change the universe.

 

It’s only taken me three and a half years since being gifted my copy of this book to get around to reading it…

I’m finally going to read an iconic sci-fi novel and I can’t wait to see if I agree with all the reviews. I have actually picked it up and flicked through the first few pages before now. I think I must have been bored one day and needed a change of genre. I’ve only really read enough to sample it so I know I like the writing style. It’s the longest book on this month’s list at just over 500 pages. Fingers crossed it lives up to its reputation as a brilliant book.

 

Red Sister – Mark Lawrence

Goodreads – Red Sister

I was born for killing – the gods made me to ruin.

At the Convent of Sweet Mercy young girls are raised to be killers. In a few the old bloods show, gifting talents rarely seen since the tribes beached their ships on Abeth. Sweet Mercy hones its novices’ skills to deadly effect: it takes ten years to educate a Red Sister in the ways of blade and fist.

But even the mistresses of sword and shadow don’t truly understand what they have purchased when Nona Grey is brought to their halls as a bloodstained child of eight, falsely accused of murder: guilty of worse.

Stolen from the shadow of the noose, Nona is sought by powerful enemies, and for good reason. Despite the security and isolation of the convent her secret and violent past will find her out. Beneath a dying sun that shines upon a crumbling empire, Nona Grey must come to terms with her demons and learn to become a deadly assassin if she is to survive…

 

I couldn’t tell you how old I was when I last picked up a book by Mark Lawrence. I’d quite safely bet that I was a teenager, but that’s as specific as I could guess.

The only series of his I have read to date is The Broken Empire series; I loved it! I’m surprised it has taken me so long to read another of his books. Red Sister has been on my TBR since April 2017 and it’s one of the books on my Beat the Backlist challenge. I’m not sure if I’ll get to finish this one before the end of the month, but I’ll try my best!

So, that’s my reading list for September! Have you read any of these books? What are you reading?

 

 

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Blog Tour Promo and GIVEAWAY: Escaping Demons – Killian Wolf

Good morning everyone and welcome to today’s feature post for Escaping Demons by Killian Wolf! This is the second time I have featured this author on my blog; it’s a pleasure to be able to again today. There is also the chance to win an Amazon gift card in today’s post – please see the details and terms and conditions before entering below!

Escaping Demons is a re-written version of a story I read and reviewed last year, previously called The Haunting at Paradise House. If you want to check out my review for a general feel of the book, you can find my review here. Please bear in mind though that Escaping Demons will differ from the version I read. However, based on the synopsis I think the story is similar enough for my review to still be relevant.

Here are the details for the re-written version and the synopsis. I hope you like the sound of it as much as I did!

 

Escaping Demons – Killian Wolf

Goodreads – Escaping Demons

One phone call landed me the perfect job. Too bad it didn’t come with life insurance.

I didn’t think this job would be anything special. Sure, the first phone call was weird, and yeah, maybe it wasn’t the smartest idea to come to someone’s house before I met them in person, but Dax seemed nice. All he wanted was a caretaker for his sick father.

Oh, and an exorcist for the spirits haunting his family’s estate. Now he’s left me alone with his father, and the ghosts know my name. Caring for an old man with dementia, I can do. Fighting evil spirits? That’s way above my pay grade.

But Dax has disappeared so I have to learn on my own or both Orlando and I might not live to see tomorrow…

 

Purchase Links –  Amazon UK     Amazon US

 

Author Bio –

Killian Wolf is a Miami, FL native who enjoys pirates, rum, and skulls as much as she loves writing about dark magick and sorcerers. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Cultural Anthropology and Sociology and a Master of Science in Environmental Archaeology and Palaeoeconomy.

Killian writes books about obtaining magickal powers, and stepping into other dimensions. She lives in England with her husband, a tornado of a cat, and the most timid snake you’d ever meet.

When she isn’t writing, you might find her at an Archaeological dig, rock climbing, or sipping on dark spiced rum while working on a painting.

Social Media Links –

FB: https://www.facebook.com/killianwolfauthor/

IG: https://www.instagram.com/killian_wolf_author/

Twitter: @killian_wolf22

TikTok: @Killian_wolf_author

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/killian-wolf

Goodreads:
https://www.goodreads.com/killianwolf

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCEQvyqjMZxhQ6U_N-iS4L5w?view_as=subscriber

 

Giveaway to Win a £25/ $25 Amazon Gift Card (Open INT)

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/33c69494387/

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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Reading List – August 2020

I can’t believe another month has flown by and I’m sharing August’s reading list with you already! It only feels like five minutes since I published the last one.

My reading has been a little on the reserved side for the last few months. Given everything else I’ve had going on I think it’s completely understandable why. I’m still keeping busy with the house and work and all, but this month I want to make a push to clawing back towards this year’s reading goal if I can. As of writing this post I am 10 books behind schedule. Even if I can’t get back on target, I’d like to say I made an effort!

With that in mind, I’m going to try and read a few more, slightly shorter books than my usual this month. Two books are for upcoming blog tours and four more are on the list for my Beat the Backlist challenge. I wouldn’t say deliberately choosing something slightly lighter is cheating. If I dedicated a month to reading short stories out of nowhere, that would be a fair call. We’re still talking books that are mostly three-hundred-and-something pages at least, so they aren’t short to say the least. I just don’t fancy getting bogged down in five hundred page epics this month.

So, would you like to see what’s on August’s reading list?

 

This is Going to Hurt – Adam Kay

Goodreads – This is Going to Hurt

Welcome to the life of a junior doctor: 97-hour weeks, life and death decisions, a constant tsunami of bodily fluids, and the hospital parking meter earns more than you.

Scribbled in secret after endless days, sleepless nights and missed weekends, Adam Kay’s This is Going to Hurt provides a no-holds-barred account of his time on the NHS front line. Hilarious, horrifying and heartbreaking, this diary is everything you wanted to know – and more than a few things you didn’t – about life on and off the hospital ward.

 

This is actually a carryover from July, although it was a book I picked up pretty spontaneously. Long story short, I’ve just gone back to work and one of my colleagues read the book during lockdown. He says himself that he isn’t that much of a reader but he couldn’t put this one down… and I can see why! It’s brilliant! I read around 40% last month and have been reading more since the beginning of August. Realistically I am going to finish this very, very soon, but since I’ll have read most of it in August and I need to document it somewhere, it’s on this month’s reading list.

 

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?

Lost Tales of Solace are short side-stories set in the Lost Solace universe.

 

I discovered this author when I read another short story, Helene, for a blog tour back in March this year. Since reviewing that book I have also received copies of the main Lost Solace series from the author to read in exchange for review. I haven’t gotten round to them yet, but I knew when I saw this second upcoming blog tour I wanted to read more based around the universe before I dive into the main series!

I’ll be sharing my thoughts on this at the end of the month, so I have plenty of time to read Grubane.

 

Mindworm – David Pollard

The placid life of a college librarian is plunged into a desperate fight for survival when he witnesses the death of his only friend. Suddenly he is forced to confront disturbing changes in his nature and appetites and their consequences.Suspected of murder and pursued by an implacable police detective he runs – but is he running from the law or from himself?

 

Mindworm is my second blog tour read; although my post isn’t due to be published until the beginning of next month. I wanted to read it in plenty of time before my post is due to go live! Mindworm is a psychological thriller novel and having read some great ones lately, I’m really in the mood for another good read from this genre!

 

Sleeping Giants – Sylvain Neuvel

Goodreads – Sleeping Giants

A girl named Rose is riding her new bike near home in Deadwood, South Dakota, when she falls through the earth. She wakes up at the bottom of a square-shaped hole, its walls glowing with intricate carvings. But the firemen who come to save her peer down upon something even stranger: a little girl in the palm of a giant metal hand.

Seventeen years later, the mystery of the bizarre artifact remains unsolved – the object’s origins, architects, and purpose unknown.

But some can never stop searching for answers.

Rose Franklin is now a highly trained physicist leading a top-secret team to crack the hand’s code. And along with her colleagues, she is being interviewed by a nameless interrogator whose power and purview are as enigmatic as the relic they seek. What’s clear is that Rose and her compatriots are on the edge of unravelling history’s most perplexing discovery-and finally figuring out what it portends for humanity. But once the pieces of the puzzle are in place, will the result be an instrument of lasting peace or a weapon of mass destruction?

 

Sleeping Giants was on last month’s TBR, but since I didn’t want to hang onto This is Going to Hurt too long on account of it being a loan, I chose to delay reading this until this month. It’s also the first read of the month that will go towards my completion of the Beat the Backlist challenge. Sleeping Giants has been on my TBR since April 2016… so it’s definitely overdue reading!

 

Steelheart – Brandon Sanderson

Goodreads – Steelheart

Ten years ago, Calamity came. It was a burst in the sky that gave ordinary men and women extraordinary powers. The awed public started calling them Epics. But Epics are no friend of man. With incredible gifts came the desire to rule. And to rule man you must crush his will.

Nobody fights the Epics…nobody but the Reckoners. A shadowy group of ordinary humans, they spend their lives studying Epics, finding their weaknesses, and then assassinating them.

And David wants in. He wants Steelheart — the Epic who is said to be invincible. The Epic who killed David’s father. For years, like the Reckoners, David’s been studying, and planning — and he has something they need. Not an object, but an experience.

He’s seen Steelheart bleed. And he wants revenge.

 

At 386 pages, Steelheart is the longest book on this month’s TBR. It’s quite common for me to pick up books that are around or even well over 500 pages, so it’s short(ish) by my standards. I am a huge fan of Brandon Sanderson, as you may have guessed by the number of books of his I’ve read in the last year! Steelheart has been on my TBR for a long time as well – since January 2016! My Beat the Backlist challenge is the one I am most behind in and the TBR is growing slightly faster than it’s shrinking… I want to work on that and so a focus on some of the older books on my TBR kills two birds with one stone. Plus, if they’re that old I really do need to pull my finger out!

 

Lord of the Flies – William Golding

Goodreads – Lord of the Flies

At the dawn of the next world war, a plane crashes on an uncharted island, stranding a group of schoolboys. At first, with no adult supervision, their freedom is something to celebrate; this far from civilization the boys can do anything they want. Anything. They attempt to forge their own society, failing, however, in the face of terror, sin and evil. And as order collapses, as strange howls echo in the night, as terror begins its reign, the hope of adventure seems as far from reality as the hope of being rescued. Labeled a parable, an allegory, a myth, a morality tale, a parody, a political treatise, even a vision of the apocalypse, Lord of the Flies is perhaps our most memorable novel about “the end of innocence, the darkness of man’s heart.”

 

My recent Shelf Control posts have made me very aware that I have a cluster of classics that I need to read as part of my Beat the Backlist challenge. I don’t want to find myself trying to read them all one after another. With that in mind, I decided to include one in August’s reading list. Lord of the Flies is probably one of the ones I am looking forward to reading the most – I can’t wait to let you know what I think of it.

 

The Feedback Loop – Harmon Cooper

Goodreads – The Feedback Loop

Stuck in a virtual dreamworld called The Loop, a man named Quantum Hughes struggles to free himself from a glitch that forces him to live the same day on repeat. His life changes when a mysterious letter arrives one morning from a woman named Frances Euphoria, the first human player he has made contact with in a very long time. Once Frances appears, members of a murder guild known as the Reapers begin surfacing in The Loop, hoping to capture Quantum or worse — kill him. To further complicate matters, The Loop itself is doing everything it can to stop Quantum from finding the hidden logout point by turning everything in the virtual dreamworld against him.

With time running out, will Quantum break free from his digital coma before he’s captured or killed by the Reapers? Who is Frances Euphoria, and what does she actually know about how long Quantum has been trapped?

The Feedback Loop Series takes place thirty years before the Life is a Beautiful Thing Series. It shares the same world, but is a standalone series that focus on dream-based virtual reality worlds and the people who are trapped in them. The next book in the series will be called Steampunk is Dead, and will be released in the fall.

 

Last but certainly not least, I thought I could try and squeeze one more book onto the list to round off the month. I hadn’t actually realised that The Feedback Loop was that short! I didn’t expect it to weigh in just under 200 pages, but there we go! I’ve liked the sound of this sci-fi novel even though I haven’t read any of the books it relates to. I think it’s the perfect opportunity to give it a go and then if I enjoy it, I can consider the rest of them!

So, guys, that’s my reading list for August! It looks long compared to my previous lists, but in terms of page count I don’t think it is any longer than my previous ones.

What are you reading?

 

 

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Blog Tour Review: The Dead Tell Lies – J F Kirwan

Good morning everyone and welcome to today’s blog tour post for The Dead Tell Lies by J. F. Kirwan. It is books like this that make me very happy to be a book blogger and to have a place to tell people that they really must, absolutely and unequivocally read a certain book. I finished The Dead Tell Lies less than half an hour before writing this post and I can hand on heart say that this is one of the best psychological thrillers I have ever read!

Before I get stuck in with rambling about just how great it is, I want to say a massive thank you to the author and to Rachel @ Rachel’s Random Resources for the chance to read this book and take part in the blog tour. If you haven’t been following it or want to check out more details/opinions of the book, you can check out the other participants of the tour at the end of the post. Please go and check out their posts as well! There are also more posts coming up in the next few days, so don’t forget to keep an eye out for those too!

 

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…

 

Purchase Links –   Amazon UK     Amazon US

 

My Thoughts…

For me, the best indicator of a good psychological thriller is how obsessed you become about trying to work everything out. If it occupies your mind even when you have to put down the book to do the mundane things, you’re on to a good start. Find one that keeps you on the edge of your seat and guessing until all is revealed, and you are onto a winner! The Dead Tell Lies is both of these things. I have been thinking about it almost constantly for the past two days, the timeframe over which I have read the majority of the book.

The Dead Tell Lies is a psychological thriller in the literal sense; our main character Greg is a criminal psychologist, renowned for putting away six serial killers throughout his career. He has the scary ability to get into the mind of a serial killer to unravel their motives and use it to get them off the streets for good. When his wife turns up dead with the classic signature of The Dreamer’s killings, it seems that things have gotten personal.

Greg is a really likeable character. He’s wickedly smart but just as human and vulnerable as the rest of us. I think that is the part that appealed to me as a reader. He is the personality we get behind emotionally. When he summons his ‘cold fire’, his semi-detached emotional drive, to get under a serial killer’s skin and crack the case, he’s a completely different man. We stand firmly behind him as his motives are to save lives by catching the killer, but his demeanour and mental state when he is “in the zone” is unnerving!

The Dead Tell Lies is packed full of action and there is never a dull moment. It’s easy to pick up but impossible to put down once you are in the thick of the narrative and dying to know what happens next. The book is also very cleverly written. I found myself trying to find hidden clues and working out the subtext constantly, but alas, authors only leave behind clues for the things they want you as a reader to know! It makes it all the more exciting when it’s time for the big reveal.

With the way this book ended, it could equally remain a standalone or become part of a series. I seriously hope for the latter because I would love to don Greg’s shoes again and delve into another captivating thriller. I have already added another series written by this author to my TBR having loved this so much! I’ll just have to pick that up and cross my fingers in the meantime…

 

Author Bio

J. F. Kirwan is an insomniac who writes thrillers in the dead of night. He is also a psychologist, and has drawn upon this expertise, including being taught by a professor who examined serial killers for Scotland Yard, to pen the crime/mystery/thriller The Dead Tell Lies for Bloodhound Books. He wanted to shed light not only on the darkness of serial killers, but of those who track them down, who must inevitably step inside the serial killer’s worldview, and may not come out clean afterwards. He is also the author of the Nadia Laksheva thriller series for HarperCollins (66 Metres, 37 Hours and 88 North). His favourite authors include Lee Child, David Baldacci and Jo Nesbo. He is married, and has a daughter and a new grandson, and lives between Paris and London.

Social Media Links –

www.jfkirwan.com

@kirwanjf

https://www.facebook.com/kirwanjf/

Reading List – July 2020

I can’t believe I am writing yet another reading list post. Where is the year going? Don’t get me wrong, with this year’s track record it’s not a bad thing, but still! We’re now over halfway through the year, and I’m definitely not half-way through my reading challenges. Oh well, maybe that’s a discussion for another post, but I’m not beating myself up over it.

For now though, shall we jump into the next few books I am planning to read over the next month?

 

Chimeborn – Daniel Curry

Goodreads – Chimeborn

Welcome to Whitby, the quaint, magical town on the sea. Its ruined Abbey watches over from the East Cliff, broken and long since abandoned. However a magic within watches over Darcy Colben and his friends – the Chimeborn.

Born in the witching hour of midnight and gifted with magical sight, Chimeborn can see the Abbey for what it really is. A centuries old academy for their kind, and home to the Council of Chime. The power of Saint Hilda still resides in Whitby and this power has been shattered among the modern Chimeborn. A battle brews for control of the ancient magic, and sides will need to be chosen by all.

Ideal for strong young readers, and an enjoyable story up to young adult, this tale of power and growing up will leave you desperate to explore the shores of the north-east of England and find the magic for yourself.

 

I’ll admit I wasn’t expecting to carry this book forward to this month, but here we are. I had to cut back a lot of my jobs around the house, as well as hobbies in order to study for an exam. As it happens, I actually sat that exam this morning and the hard work paid off, so it was worth it! I still have around two-thirds of the book to finish, but that equates to a couple of hours reading time, so not a huge thing.

 

The Burning Land – Bernard Cornwell

Goodreads – The Burning Land

The enemy is massing on the borders, a united force for once.

The king, a man of many victories, is in failing health, and his heir is an untested youth.

Uthred, the king’s champion, leads his country’s forces to war, but his victory is soured by personal tragedy and by the envy of the king’s court. So he breaks with the king and takes off for the land of his birth, determined to resist all calls for his return. That is, until one unexpected request…

This is the making of England brought magnificently to life by the master of historical fiction.

 

Despite not finishing Chimeborn, I did actually start The Burning Land – the last book on last month’s TBR. I was confident this was going to be a carryover when I wrote last month’s TBR, so its reappearance isn’t a surprise.

A few nights ago I did allow myself a break from studying to have a ‘fun’ read before bed, but I was in the mood to start this book. I’ve read the first few chapters, so I’m 7% of the way through at the moment. I’m optimistic I will get to finish it this month!

 

Grace & Serenity – Annalisa Crawford

Goodreads – Grace & Serenity

Living on the streets is terrifying and exhausting. Grace’s only comforts are a steady stream of vodka, and a strange little boy who’s following her around.

At nineteen, Grace has already had a child and endured an abusive marriage. But she’s also had her baby abducted by her vengeful husband and been framed as a neglectful mother. Even her own parents doubted her version of the story. So she did the only thing that made sense to her—run away.

The streets are unforgiving. Winter is drawing in. And Grace isn’t prepared for the harsh realities of survival. At her very bleakest, a Good Samaritan swoops into her life and rescues her. With a roof over her head and food in her stomach, she longs to see her baby again.

But nothing ever comes for free.

 

I was really glad to be invited onto the blog tour for this book because doesn’t it sound so sinister?! I’m intrigued to read more and find out what it’s all about! I recently read another novel with a strong theme of abuse and it was written really well. I hope this is just as good, because if so, I am bound to enjoy it!

 

The Dead Tell Lies – J  R Kirwan

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…

 

It has been a little while since I’ve read a crime thriller, so I’m looking forward to taking part in this publication blog tour. I’m a sucker for a psychology element to a novel! More details about the book are being published closer to the publication date, including the cover. So, I can’t share that with you right now, hence the placeholder image. Sorry guys!

 

Sleeping Giants – Sylvain Neuvel

Goodreads – Sleeping Giants

A girl named Rose is riding her new bike near home in Deadwood, South Dakota, when she falls through the earth. She wakes up at the bottom of a square-shaped hole, its walls glowing with intricate carvings. But the firemen who come to save her peer down upon something even stranger: a little girl in the palm of a giant metal hand.

Seventeen years later, the mystery of the bizarre artifact remains unsolved – the object’s origins, architects, and purpose unknown.

But some can never stop searching for answers.

Rose Franklin is now a highly trained physicist leading a top-secret team to crack the hand’s code. And along with her colleagues, she is being interviewed by a nameless interrogator whose power and purview are as enigmatic as the relic they seek. What’s clear is that Rose and her compatriots are on the edge of unravelling history’s most perplexing discovery-and finally figuring out what it portends for humanity. But once the pieces of the puzzle are in place, will the result be an instrument of lasting peace or a weapon of mass destruction?

 

I’m going to try my best to get to this last book on the TBR, but as with The Burning Land in last month’s reading list – if I manage to start it I’ll be happy. In theory, I do have a bit more free time coming up so there isn’t any reason why I wouldn’t get round to this. I picked Sleeping Giants as the genre varies from the books already on the TBR, but also as it will count towards the Beat the Backlist challenge I am taking part in this year. I’ll admit, I’ve written off completing it, but that doesn’t mean I have to give up on it entirely!

Have you read any of the books on this month’s reading list? What are you reading?

 

 

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