Tag: Rachel’s Random Resources

Blog Tour Book Review: Magical Intelligence – M. K. Wiseman

I’m really excited to be taking part in the blog tour for Magical Intelligence by M K Wiseman. Today kickstarts the blog tour for Magical Intelligence, which will be running up until its publication next week! As a huge fan of fantasy, magic and the concept of wizard spies, I have been looking forward to reading this book and sharing my thoughts with you about it.

Before I start these posts I always like to take the time to thank both Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for organising the tour and to the author for providing me with a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review!

Would you like to find out a little about Magical Intelligence before we jump into my thoughts of the book?

 

Magical Intelligence – M K Wiseman

Goodreads – Magical Intelligence

When you are a member of Britain’s first team of wizard spies, every mission might be your last. But as the dawning of the 20th century draws ever nearer, magic grows weak. Violectric Dampening, the clash of man-made electricity with the Gifts of magekind, threatens M.I.’s existence. And if that isn’t enough, they’ve now been discharged from their own government. Obsolete. Distrusted.

And now hunted by one of their own.

Myra Wetherby has always feared her so-called fits, strange visions of people and places that she cannot explain. It is the emotional manipulation, however, a strange empathic connection to those around her, which threatens her very sanity. A danger to her family, Myra runs away, falling straight into the hands of the newly ousted Magical Intelligence team. Who just so happen to need an ability like hers.

Which makes Myra one of them . . . whether she likes it or not.

 

Purchase Links –   Amazon UK     Amazon US

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f-LocPwqQiU

 

My Thoughts…

The first thing that caught my attention about the book was the plotline. I love how it revolves around magic and how scientific discovery (electricity) has a negative impact on wizardry. Those of you that read my other reviews may remember that one of my favourite things about fantasy writer Brandon Sanderson is that his magic systems have a physical element or limitation to them. I love when magic interacts with the world we know and love. It lends a sense of realism to what is going on; it has rules and that way it can’t be used to make a plothole problem disappear randomly. For this reason, I really enjoyed the concept behind this story.

Myra is an Empath. She has the ability to experience other’s emotions as well as manipulate them. I really liked this power in our protagonist. I would say I am quite an empathetic person so even though she is a teenage girl, we have common ground and that makes her relatable. As I am sure all women can tell you, handling emotions as a teenage girl is no walk in the park. It’s a confusing, ever-changing mess – just like Myra’s emotions for a good portion of the book. But again, this all adds to her being an overall relatable character.

The age and circumstance are perfect for allowing Myra to mature and really show off her development as a person and with her powers. Having grown up being misunderstood, Myra finds a sense of belonging amongst a ‘family’ she never knew existed. I’m looking forward to seeing how she grows throughout the rest of the series, as well as find out more about her past. There are a few little hints, but a lot of mystery as to how she ended up on her own. Hopefully, all will be revealed!

The Violectric Dampening also serves to build and differentiate a number of characters within M.I. Some of the wizards within the group are more prone to it than others. As Myra quite literally lands herself in the action from one of her visions, she is chucked in the deep end. We are introduced to a number of different wizards and magical abilities that, up until now, have served them in serving the Crown. Now working in an unofficial capacity to protect their magic from one threatening it, they train Myra to control her abilities as well as teach her about their own to aid them in their difficult mission.

Magical Intelligence is a fun read for fans of fantasy, magic and action-packed adventure! I really enjoyed the unique storyline, the setting and how well this whole package comes together. Thanks again to the author for the opportunity to read and review the book!

 

Author Bio

M. K. Wiseman has degrees in animation/video and library science – both from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Today, her office is a clutter of storyboards and half-catalogued collections of too, too many books. (But, really, is there such a thing as too many books?) When she’s not mucking about with stories, she’s off playing brač or lying in a hammock in the backyard of her Cedarburg home that she shares with her endlessly patient husband.

 

Social Media Links –

Website: http://mkwisemanauthor.com/

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

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/FaublesFables

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

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7073540.M_K_Wiseman

Blog Tour Review: iRemember – S. V. Bekvalac

Happy weekend readers! I hope you are having a good one? Since we are all in the middle of lockdown, what better way to spend your time than curled up with a good book? That’s how I am spending mine anyway.

If you are looking for book recommendations, then I hope I can help you here. Today I am taking part in the blog tour for iRemember by S. V. Bekvalac and sharing my thoughts on her book. iRemember is perfect for science fiction and/or dystopian fiction fans… so if that’s your cup of tea please read on!

Quickly before I jump in, huge thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for organising the tour and to the author for a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

 

iRemember – S. V. Kekvalac

Goodreads – iRemember

The city of iRemember shimmers in the desert haze, watched over by the Bureau, a government agency that maintains control through memory surveillance and little pink pills made from the narcotic plant Tranquelle.

It looks like an oasis under its geodesic dome, but the city is under siege. ‘Off-Gridder’ insurgents are fighting to be forgotten.

Bureau Inspector Icara Swansong is on a mission to neutralise the threat. Her investigation leads her into iRemember’s secret underbelly, where she finds herself a fugitive from the very system she had vowed to protect. She has to learn new rules: trust no one. Behind every purple Tranquelle stalk lurk double-agents.

A sci-fi noir with a psychedelic twist, iRemember explores the power the past holds over us and the fragility of everything: what is, what once was, and what will be.

 

Purchase Links –   Amazon UK     Amazon US

For a limited time, iRemember will be available for only 99p.

 

My Thoughts…

iRemember has all the elements expected of dystopian fiction novels – the means to subdue a population and then control it. iRemember was created to allow citizens to protect their memories. The human mind is far from perfect, so why risk losing your precious moments to time and degradation or forgetfulness when you can upload them? That was the idea anyway… and citizens signed up in the thousands.

Helena Frome is the head of the totalitarian government now governing the City. iRemember has become her means of surveillance. Citizens own thoughts and memories can betray them if picked up by those monitoring the data being uploaded to iRemember. Icara Swansong is an agent of the Bureau working for Helena Frome, to rid the world of corruption, but she is fighting a losing battle. Beneath the calming Tranquelle fumes, a dark side of the city simmers away, longing to be forgotten and will do whatever they can to achieve it.

As a huge fan of both science fiction and dystopian novels, iRemember was a great read for me! Set in a futuristic world, the Bureaucrats have all the latest, fancy technology and software. Primitive versions of tech and traditional weapons we know today are relegated to the city’s forgotten underbelly, the Sub Urbs. Despite being more advanced, the technology used in this futuristic universe is very similar to some of the more sophisticated technology we have now and is therefore familiar.

The narrative of iRemember is so twisty that you don’t know who to trust at any given moment. Who is in whose pocket and undercover influence shape the story in an exciting way. Character relations are complex and you’ll find yourself second-guessing people’s motives constantly! I certainly did! There is a vast array in the characters within the novel too. I really enjoyed Lucian’s personal history and cynicism, especially paired with Icara’s overzealous optimism.

The overall story is written really well and draws the reader into the complex web. I really enjoyed reading iRemember and the combination of genres it encompasses. Nothing is ever as it seems and the narrative keeps you on your toes throughout! iRemember is a twisty tale full of deceit, lies and corruption… and cover-ups!

 

Author Bio

SV Bekvalac was born in 1987 in Croatia, in what was then Yugoslavia, but grew up in London.

She studied German and Russian at Oxford, and went to film school in Prague. After almost becoming a film-maker and then an academic, researching cities and films, she found herself writing fiction about cities instead. She started off with screenplays and short stories, but they got longer and longer. iRemember is her first novel.

She has lived in cities all over Europe. Now she lives in London, or in one of her own imaginary cities.

 

Social Media Links Twitter @sandra_bek @EyeAndLightning

Blog Tour Review: Tooth and Blade – Julian Barr

Welcome to today’s blog tour review for Tooth and Blade by Julian Barr. I hope you are having a lovely weekend?

I’m looking forward to sharing my thoughts with you about this book. When Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources circulated the book and tour details, I was immediately drawn in by the combination of Norse mythology and fantasy. I’ve read a few books with elements of Norse mythology in them, such as Bernard Cornwell’s The Saxon Stories (aka The Last Kingdom) series. I really enjoy reading more about it and was curious to see how these elements would come together.

As always, thank you to Rachel and to the author Julian Barr for a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review!

 

Tooth and Blade – Julian Barr

Parts 1-3 of the legendary TOOTH AND BLADE series together for the first time!

Two worlds. One destiny.

Dóta has dwelled sixteen years among the trolls. She knows nothing but the darkness of her family’s cave. Her mother says humans are beasts who would slay them all. Yet the gods of Asgard whisper in the night: Dóta is a child of men, a monster unto monsters.

To discover her human side, Dóta must take up her bone knife and step into the light above. Secrets await her in the human realm—beauty, terror, the love of a princess.

Soon Dóta must choose between her clan and humankind, or both worlds will be devoured in fire and war.

A monster sheds no tears.

Norse mythology meets historical fantasy in TOOTH AND BLADE. Step into a realm of haunted meres, iron and magic.

 

Purchase Links – Amazon UK     Amazon US     Books2Read

 

My Thoughts…

Dóta is a daughter of two worlds. Born to human parents but raised by trolls, she is a unique character. Until she is permitted to go up to the surface and experience the world for herself, Dóta lives a sheltered life. Only her mother and brother’s stories about her past and the world above feed her curiosity, until one day she is sent above to hunt for herself.

Tooth and Blade is a tale of magic, discovery, identity and conflict. As I expected, I really enjoyed the Norse mythology element. I am still a novice when it comes to knowledge of Norse mythology, however, I know the basics. The gods and concepts of destiny and fate were present consistently throughout the book, so it definitely has a significant influence on the narrative.

At 288 pages, these three novellas together are an excellent length to establish an interesting world and allow for plenty of action and character development. I actually read Tooth and Blade in a couple of days. The story and writing style flow so well that it makes for an easy read to pick up and enjoy.

Tooth and Blade has many elements that wouldn’t typically be put together into one narrative, and yet it all gelled perfectly. The narrative has a solid plotline that cleverly brings all the characters and their different backgrounds together. Dóta is my favourite of all though. She is a truly unique character who doesn’t strictly fit in. She’s fierce and a fighter, and after all the turmoil of discovering who she really is, she decides to carve her own path instead of letting others decide what role she should play.

Dóta isn’t the only strong female character. There are other female warriors, trained to protect the King no less. My experience of Norse/Viking novels is that lead characters are very young, alpha-male personalities. Men. Tooth and Blade showed a completely different perspective, which is refreshing!

If you’d like to read more about Tooth and Blade, you can check out some of the other blog tour posts – details below.

 

Author Bio

Julian Barr first fell in love with all things ancient and magical in childhood, when he staged his own version of I, Claudius using sock puppets. After his PhD in Classics, he did a brief stint as a schoolteacher, hated being called ‘sir,’ and dived into storytelling. Although he remains open to the possibilities of sock puppet theatre, historical fantasy is his passion. He has published scholarly research on Roman medicine and the gastronomic habits of Centaurs, but prefers to think of himself as an itinerant bard. He is also the author of the Ashes of Olympus trilogy.

Social Media Links –

https://twitter.com/jbarrauthor

https://www.facebook.com/jbarrauthor/

https://jbarrauthor.com/

 

Blog Tour Review: Helene – Karl Drinkwater

Today’s blog tour post is a review of Helene by Karl Drinkwater. Helene is a really enjoyable short science-fiction story that relates to Karl’s Lost Solace series. As it happens, I haven’t read these books and I am new to this author. If you haven’t read these books don’t worry, because you don’t really need to! I actually enjoyed reading Helene as an introduction to the Lost Solace universe.

Before I get stuck in with my review in earnest, I would like to take the opportunity to thank both Karl and Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for organising the tour! It’s only day one of the tour, so please lookout for the other posts coming up over the coming days. You can find a list of all those taking part in the tour at the bottom of this post!

Helene – Karl Drinkwater

Goodreads – Helene (Lost Tales of Solace #1)

Dr Helene Vermalle is shaping the conscience of a goddess-level AI.

As a leading civilian expert in Emergent AI Socialisation, she has been invited to assist in a secret military project.

Her role? Helping ViraUHX, the most advanced AI in the universe, to pass through four theoretical development stages. But it’s not easy training a mind that surpasses her in raw intellect. And the developing AI is capable of killing her with a single tantrum.

On top of this, she must prove her loyalty to the oppressive government hovering over her shoulder. They want a weapon. She wants to instil an overriding sense of morality.

Can she teach the AI right and wrong without being categorised as disloyal?

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

 

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

 

My Thoughts…

Short stories are a great way of changing up your reading habits or trying something new. I read more short stories last year than I ever have before, and reading Helene has reminded me of why I enjoy them so much! At 72 pages, this science-fiction novel is a great way to enjoy a good story in a small space of time. I read Helene in two sittings over this weekend in coffee breaks. Sometimes it’s nice to enjoy something lighter than the several-hundred-page epics I’m known to read.

Helene has a simple, easy to read writing style, so it’s perfect to just pick up and dive into straight away. I think there is a certain stigma to science-fiction and that it’s perceived as complicated. This really wasn’t. Any science terms were explained in layman’s terms so it wasn’t an effort to understand at all. The narrative style has a relaxed flow that I found really easy to read. The chapter lengths also make this easy to pick up and put down at leisure.

What also made Helene great for me was that even in the conciseness of the story, there is plenty of background information for the reader to get to learn a little of the Lost Solace universe. It’s just enough to serve as an introduction without getting too heavy or detracting from the action of the short story in itself. It was a perfect balance. The ending of the book links in with the Lost Solace series, which I didn’t understand entirely until I read the synopsis of that book and a couple of reviews afterwards. It doesn’t detract from the book at all though – if anything, it makes you want to read on and find out how the story evolves.

Artificial Intelligence is a huge topic within the science-fiction genre. That said, the premise of teaching and socialising ViraUHX was one that I haven’t come across before and is quite unique. It also allows plenty of opportunity for humour and there are a good number of laugh-out-loud moments in this short book.

 

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 –

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

https://twitter.com/karldrinkwater

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

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5766025.Karl_Drinkwater

 

Blog Tour Review: Songbird – Karen Heehan

In today’s blog tour review post I’ll be talking about Songbird by Karen Heehan. I’m in a great position to write this review as I have just finished the book. Songbird is a historical fiction novel set in one of my favourite historical time periods. I have a good number of books on the Tudor period of history on my TBR, which is testament to my love of the subject!

Before I jump into my review, I’d firstly like to thank the author and Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for organising the tour and providing me with a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review. As always, the views expressed within are my own.

 

Songbird: A Novel of the Tudor Court – Karen Heehan

Goodreads- Songbird

Bess has the voice of an angel, or so Henry VIII declares when he buys her from her father as a member of the music, the Royal company of minstrels, best grows up with in the decadent Tudor Court navigating the ever-changing tide of royals and courtiers. Friends come and go as cracked voices, politics, heartbreak, and death loom over even the lowliest of musicians. Tom, her first and dearest friend is her only constant but as Bess becomes too comfortable at court, she may find that constancy has its limits.

Purchase Link:  https://books2read.com/tudorsongbird

 

My Thoughts…

Combine one of my favourite historical fiction time periods with a character born to sing and perform – a hobby of mine as a teenager – and Songbird is an ideal read for me! In truth, Songbird is far much more than that. I expected a novel a lot more light-hearted than this proved to be, but it is so much better for its unexpected depth.

From a historical perspective, the tale of Katherine’s downfall, Anne Boleyn’s ascension and the political/religious rumblings of the move by Henry VIII is an interesting one. Having the tale narrated by a well-placed servant, party to all the gossip but without allegiance in all the machinations made a refreshing change of perspective. The life of a minstrel in the King’s Court is dictated by his will entirely. Yet, Bess’ personal life and the historical element of the novel are both distinct and complementary to one another. Neither overshadows the other, making for a perfect balance of historically-driven plot and character development.

Elizabeth, or Bess, lives a comfortable life at Court, performing for King Henry VIII. It’s an honour well earned by our songbird, but that honour is tainted by the knowledge that Bess was sold to the King by her family. As a child, Bess is resented by her mother and sister for frittering away her days fostering her talent instead of helping with ‘honest’ work. She is also wrongly blamed for a family tragedy, marring one of the few relationships she has in her young life. Only her father has good motivations in securing her a place in King Henry’s court.

I should have known that such an emotional beginning would be setting a precedent for the rest of the novel. Songbird’s narrative is powerfully emotive. Friendship, love, longing and loss all touch Bess from an early age. The narrative is written entirely from her perspective and her character development plays a strong part in the book. As a reader we experience Bess grow up from an immature young girl into a young woman tempered by her experiences. The stark differences in her character at the start and end of the book are remarkably written.

I confess to shedding a tear or two at times whilst reading this. It might seem bizarre that my next statement is a compliment, but at times the narrative was hard to read. The depth of emotion woven into the narrative is so stark and real. I was so invested in Bess, Tom and the other members of the Music and Henry VIII’s court that their loves and losses were mine. The feelings evoked are incredibly relatable to the reader. Songbird has a profound rawness of emotion throughout the novel that will stick with me for a long time.

 

Author Bio

Karen Heenan was born and raised in Philadelphia. She fell in love with books and stories before she learned to read, and has wanted to write for nearly as long. After far too many years in a cubicle, she set herself free to follow her dreams – which include gardening, sewing, traveling and, of course, lots of writing.

She lives in Lansdowne, PA, not far from Philadelphia, with two cats and a very patient husband.

Social Media Links – 

www.karenheenan.com

www.facebook.com/karenheenanwriter

www.twitter.com/karen_heenan

www.instagram.com/karen.heenan

 

Blog Tour Promo Post: Lady Edith’s Lonely Heart – Audrey Harrison

Good morning readers!

Today I am featuring a historical fiction novel that I hope will be of interest to you to read about. Maybe I can tempt you to read for yourself! As a Regency Romance, it’s a little different to the books I typically read. However, I really like the concept behind the novel. At 23, Lady Edith is on the verge of being considered a spinster. Poor woman. By these standards, what does that make me…?

Lady Edith’s Lonely Heart has been described as ‘witty and clever’, and like ‘landing in a Jane Austen’s world with more daring characters’ by Elodie at Elodie’s Reading Corner. She is just one blogger to have taken part in the tour.

If you would like to find out more, here are the details of the book and the participants in the blog tour if you want to check out other’s thoughts on it!

 

Lady Edith’s Lonely Heart – Audrey Harrison

Goodreads – Lady Edith’s Lonely Heart

A dashing tale of romance from a bestselling author of Regency Romance.

She is under pressure to find a husband she doesn’t want.

He keeps to the fringes of society because of family constraints.

Will the written word be enough to bring two lost souls together?

Lady Edith Longdon is an heiress, in danger of being classed a spinster, and disillusioned with the fops, dandies, and fortune hunters surrounding her in society. Deciding it’s time to take her future into her own hands, she devises a foolproof way of finding someone she can love. She’s convinced nothing could go wrong…

Lord Ralph Pensby, overwhelmed by a sense of obligation, and with no one he can turn to, is adrift from those around him…

Two people drawn together, both on a journey which will affect them in ways they could never have foreseen. Secret correspondence, mistrust and confusion, not to mention cads of the highest order, make this novel a fast-paced, heart-warming story, with appealing characters and a strong sense of time and place.

Perfect for lovers of all things Regency.

 

Purchase Links:  Amazon UK     Amazon US

 

Author Bio

AMAZON UK KINDLE STORYTELLER COMPETITION FINALIST 2018!

Audrey was born about two hundred years too late. She wants to belong to a time when men were men and women were dressed in gowns and could float, simper and sigh.

In the real world she has always longed to write, writing a full manuscript when she was fourteen years old. Work, marriage and children got in the way as they do and it was only when an event at work landed her in hospital that she decided to take stock. One Voluntary Redundancy later, she found that the words and characters came to the forefront and the writing began in earnest.

So, although at home more these days, the housework is still neglected and meals are still late on the table, but she has an understanding family, who usually shake their heads at her and sigh. That is a sign of understanding, isn’t it?

 

Social Media Links – www.audreyharrison.co.uk (sign-up for emails and receive a free novella)

www.facebook.com/AudreyHarrisonAuthor

https://www.instagram.com/audrey.harrisonauthor/

www.twitter.com/AudreyHarrison2

Blog Tour Review: Unborn – Rachel McLean

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

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

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

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

 

Unborn – Rachel McLean

Goodreads – Unborn

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Purchase Links –   Amazon UK      Amazon US

 

My Thoughts…

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

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

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

 

Author Bio

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

What does that mean?

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

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

My books aim to fill that gap.

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

Social Media Links –

Twitter: https://twitter.com/rachelmcwrites

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

The Girl from the Workhouse – Lynn Johnson

Goodreads – The Girl from the Workhouse

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

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

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

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

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

 

Purchase Links:    Amazon     Kobo

 

My Thoughts…

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

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

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

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

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

 

Author Bio

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

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

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

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

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

Blog Tour Review: One: Rage Vengeance Murder – K. J. McGillick

Today’s blog tour post features my review of One: Rage Vengeance Murder by K. J. McGillick, the last book in the Path of Deception and Betrayal series. You may have gathered at this point that I am a huge fan of this author and her books. She writes crime thrillers so well that they keep you hooked chapter after chapter! If you haven’t seen any of my reviews or heard anything about the Path of Deception and Betrayal series, here’s a link to my last review of the second book in the series, Two.

Once again, let me say thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for organising the tour, as well as the author for a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review!

 

One: Rage Vengeance Murder – K. J. McGillick

Goodreads – One: Rage Vengeance Murder

A stolen life. A Faustian bargain. Prey becomes predator.

Azar Abed is out for revenge for the life Dr. Adrian Armond stole from her. No matter what the cost. Adrien Armond will stop at nothing to recover the massive fortune Azar Abed embezzled from him. Neither will walk away until the other is dead. Someone’s going to die, that is for certain.

Personal revenge gets caught up in a bio-terror plot to crash the world’s economy as darkness spirals into darkness and terror is the order of the day. Azar Abed and Adrien Armond are on a collision course that could have catastrophic consequences on a global scale.

Who will kill who first? Will it be enough? Can anyone stop the bio-terror plot to destroy the world’s economy that is already in motion? Does anyone have enough humanity left even to try?

Set against a backdrop of Washington, DC, ONE is a heart pounding-psychological thriller pitting greed against greed in a cat-and-mouse game where vengeance is the only prize. It can be read as a standalone, or as the conclusion to events begun in its predecessor, TWO. It concludes the Path of Deception and Betrayal series.

 

Purchase Links – Amazon UK     Amazon US

 

My Thoughts…

Events from previous books come together in a near-catastrophic crescendo in this last instalment of the series. One is a twisty tale with a sharp focus on the destructive nature of two corrupt individuals, each out for revenge against the other. One has harvested organs from those desperate enough to seek favour and a better life, all for financial gain. The other is plotting to unleash dangerous bio-weapons on the population of Earth, culling the planet of useless mouths that drain on society and gain from a stock market crash.

I was sucked into the story quickly. K J McGillick’s writing is very easy and enjoyable to read. I have pointed something out with every book I have reviewed, but for a good reason. Her medical, legal and art history knowledge shines through throughout her novels. I have the advantage of working in an investments industry, so I particularly enjoyed the economical aspects of the plot. In my opinion, you don’t need any advanced knowledge of the topics brought up; I think it is all explained simply.

One: Rage Vengeance Murder maintains the use of multiple character perspectives to bring together the thriller narrative. Overall, I think we actually get a greater insight into the minds of the corrupt individuals in this final book of the series. I personally feel their characters get a little more exposure to the reader than the previous books. Since the narrative is driven by them, I actually really enjoyed this! We have been introduced to all of the characters previously; I already felt I had somewhat of a rapport with them going into the book.

I had no idea how K. J. McGillick was going to pull together all the threads of this tale, but I was impressed by the ending. I didn’t anticipate it at all, which for me is a sure sign of a great thriller mystery novel!

 

Author Bio

K. J. McGillick was born in New York and once she started to walk she never stopped running. But that’s what New Yorker’s do. Right? A Registered Nurse, a lawyer now author.

As she evolved so did her career choices. After completing her graduate degree in nursing, she spent many years in the university setting sharing the dreams of the enthusiastic nursing students she taught. After twenty rewarding years in the medical field she attended law school and has spent the last twenty-four years as an attorney helping people navigate the turbulent waters of the legal system. Not an easy feat. And now? Now she is sharing the characters she loves with readers hoping they are intrigued by her twisting and turning plots and entertained by her writing

 

Social Media Links –

https://www.facebook.com/KJMcGillickauthor/

Kathleen McGillick

@KJMcGillickAuth

http://www.kjmcgillick.com/

https://twitter.com/KJMcGillickAuth

https://www.goodreads.com/Kmcgillick

Reading List – February 2020

January passed by in a whirlwind – I can’t believe I am here sharing my next monthly TBR already! Aside from one DNF, January was a good month for me! I managed to read 7 books in their entirety, as well as finish an audiobook from last year! I’m hoping for an equally productive February. I have already started this month’s TBR, so fingers crossed!

What am I reading this month? I have a number of blog tours lined up, as well as a couple more books on the list that will contribute to my Beat the Backlist challenge.

 

One – K. J. McGillick

Goodreads – One

A stolen life. A Faustian bargain. Prey becomes predator.

Azar Abed’s veiled memories of her childhood were too dark and traumatic to revive. Raised by the man who murdered her mother she moves through life numb and emotionally bankrupt. That is until her father goes one step too far. With the help of his business partner, Dr. Adrien Armond, her father implements a plan to steal her life to save his own. Their downfall? Her survival.

Her obsession to extract retribution leads her into a dark abyss of rage. Azar and her lover devise a plan to upend global economies but her need for vengeance compels her to take it one step further. Biological weapons of mass destruction are on her agenda and innocent bystanders become collateral damage. Would the few that see it coming have the resources to stop the plan already in motion.

 

One is the first book I have picked up this month… and with good reason! I’m taking part in theblog tour for this third instalment in the Path of Deception and Betrayal. On Saturday. Yep, it’s coming around quickly, although in fairness I’m making reasonable progress with it. I just read the previous book Two in a matter of days, so I’m sure I’ll have this read in no time!

I can’t wait to see how this particular series ends and how all the novels tie together!

 

The Mentor – Lee Matthew Goldberg

Goodreads – The Mentor

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

When Kyle is contacted by his favorite college professor, William Lansing, Kyle couldn’t be happier.

Kyle has his mentor over for dinner to catch up and introduce him to his girlfriend, Jamie, and the three have a great time. When William mentions that he’s been writing a novel, Kyle is overjoyed. He would love to read the opus his mentor has toiled over.

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

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

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

 

Doesn’t this thriller sound fantastic? Well, I think so and that’s what matters! I am also reading The Mentor as part of a blog tour this month. This particular tour is a first for me, as I haven’t toured with Blackthorn Book Tours before.

I’m looking forward to delving into this sinister-sounding novel and finding out just how well the novel lives up the synopsis! I’ll be sure to let you know.

 

The Girl from the Workhouse – Lynn Johnson

Goodreads – The Girl from the Workhouse

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

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

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

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

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

 

I was drawn to signing up for the blog tour for this book as it is a completely new topic of historical fiction that I haven’t explored before. I am definitely diversifying more in what time periods I pick up (although I still have my favourites and I make no apology for it either). Books around the second World War tend to be my preference rather than the first, so it will make for an interesting change I hope!

 

Unborn – Rachel McLean

Goodreads – Unborn

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

Three women find themselves on the wrong side of the law. Kate, carrying the child of a sexual predator. Grace, whose baby will be born with a fatal deformity. And Cindee: abused, abandoned and pregnant.

Their punishment will fit their crime.

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

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

 

I hope my reasons for signing up to this blog tour are unusual. I imagine they will be. When I read the synopsis, I knew I had to read the book and share my thoughts on it as 1) I enjoy dystopian novels and legal thrillers and 2) I think I’ll have a unique perspective on the book.

Unborn is a dystopian novel that tackles the idea of a society that denies women the right to terminate a pregnancy. Abortion has been legal in the UK for over 50 years and around 45 in the US. What if I told you that where I live, abortion was made legal last year. The Isle of Man Abortion Reform Law only came into effect in May 2019 – prior to that, it was illegal. Yeah.

I’m sure you’ve already gathered I am going to have some things to say about that. You’ll have to wait for my review post for more.

 

City of Stairs – Robert Jackson Bennett

Goodreads – City of Stairs

The city of Bulikov once wielded the powers of the gods to conquer the world, enslaving and brutalizing millions — until its divine protectors were killed. Now, Bulikov’s history has been censored and erased, its citizens subjugated. But the surreal landscape of the city itself, forever altered by the thousands of miracles its guardians once worked upon it, stands as a haunting reminder of its former supremacy.

Into this broken city steps Shara Thivani. Officially, the unassuming young woman is just another junior diplomat sent by Bulikov’s oppressors. Unofficially, she is one of her country’s most accomplished spies, dispatched — along with her terrifying “secretary”, Sigrud — to solve a murder.

But as Shara pursues the killer, she starts to suspect that the beings who ruled this terrible place may not be as dead as they seem, and that Bulikov’s cruel reign may not yet be over.

A tale of vast conspiracies, dead gods, and buried histories, City of Stairs is at once a gripping spy novel and a stunningly original work of fantasy.

 

City of Stairs will (I hope) be the second book I read that will contribute to my Beat The Backlist challenge. I am trying to fit in at least two books a month that will go towards this challenge. Since I am trying to read 25 this year and I DNF’d one last month, I am going to have to squeeze a couple more in at some point though.

I really like the sound of City of Stairs – elements of it remind me a little of Brandon Sanderson’s Elantris. I like to go back to fantasy novels after reading some different things. It’s by far my favourite genre. I couldn’t read it all the time like I used to; it gets boring. I do like to go back to it regularly though. I added City of Stairs to the TBR in January 2015. Five years is too long to take to get around to a book…

 

Good Omens – Terry Pratchett & Neil Gaiman

Goodreads – Good Omens

‘Armageddon only happens once, you know. They don’t let you go around again until you get it right.’

People have been predicting the end of the world almost from its very beginning, so it’s only natural to be sceptical when a new date is set for Judgement Day. But what if, for once, the predictions are right, and the apocalypse really is due to arrive next Saturday, just after tea?

You could spend the time left drowning your sorrows, giving away all your possessions in preparation for the rapture, or laughing it off as (hopefully) just another hoax. Or you could just try to do something about it.

It’s a predicament that Aziraphale, a somewhat fussy angel, and Crowley, a fast-living demon now finds themselves in. They’ve been living amongst Earth’s mortals since The Beginning and, truth be told, have grown rather fond of the lifestyle and, in all honesty, are not actually looking forward to the coming Apocalypse.

And then there’s the small matter that someone appears to have misplaced the Antichrist…

 

I haven’t read a book by Terry Pratchett for months now! I love his humour and I have heard a lot of good things about this book! I’m going to be totally honest; I’m reading it because Terry Pratchett had a hand in it. I haven’t had the best experience with Neil Gaiman’s books in the past, but we’ll see how this combination works. I’m sure I’ll have plenty to say about it once I have read it! Do you think I should tag the authors in my review when it goes live?

A bit of a salty joke I know, but no author should be too big to think that getting tagged in reviews is beneath them. All publicity (especially free publicity) is good, right? For those that haven’t heard about it, there have been arguments on Twitter lately about the appropriateness of tagging authors in book reviews. One of these authors doesn’t want to be tagged in reviews. They obviously think they’re too good for it. The other is dead, so no prizes for guessing who I’m talking about!

That’s the list set for the month! I would love to get the chance to squeeze in another book if I can since I have set myself such a lofty reading challenge target. The beauty of it is that if I do get this far, I can pick up anything I want based on my mood! I do tend to be quite regimented in my book choice, but I do enjoy picking up something on a whim from time to time.

What books are you reading during February?

 

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