It’s my turn on the #BlogTour for #KeepingaChristmasPromise by Jo Thomas – with thanks to @PenguinUKBooks @TransworldBooks @jo_thomas01 and #RandomThingsTours @RandomTTours

Published 13th October 2022

The Blurb

A Christmas to remember for a friend they’ll never forget

Four friends

Twenty-five years ago, Freya and her three best friends created a bucket list. The future seemed bright, full of hope and most importantly guaranteed . . .

One promise

Now they are travelling to Iceland in memory of the friend they’ve lost, determined to fulfil her dream of seeing the Northern Lights at Christmas.

A life-changing adventure

They didn’t count on an avalanche leaving them stranded! Handsome local, Pétur, comes to the rescue, showing them how the community survives the hard winter. With Christmas approaching, Freya and her friends throw themselves into the festivities, decorating and cooking for the villagers using delicious local ingredients.

But will the Northern Lights appear so they can honour their friend’s wish? And can Freya’s own dreams come true, this Christmas?

The Blog Tour

My thoughts

Firstly, the setting for ‘Keeping a Christmas Promise is so atmospheric and it was great to disappear into the pages and escape into remote Iceland. Nordic, culture, food, community, grief and friendship are at the heart of this delightful and emotional winter read. A setting that perfectly holds up the dramas of this thoroughly enjoyable Christmas themed book. Yes, I know… I mentioned the Christmas word in December 😉

There are some great hooks as a group of friends make an emotive trip to see the Northern Lights and honour their lost friend on her 40th birthday. This is another aspect of ‘Keeping a Christmas Promise’ I loved – the balance and a heartfelt depth that can sometimes be missing in these reads.

As you spend the bulk of this book in a cold, isolated setting – you might want to consider sitting by an open fire, if you can. I certainly lit my first fire of the year and poured a hot chocolate for a bit of a mood read. At the heart of this isolated community is a great host of minor characters that make up this Icelandic community and our male-interest Petur is at the heart of our community focus and builds in the customs, farming life and, well perspective.

I’d happily recommend this book, it’s emotional at times, but also draws our attention on the important things in life… about taking a breath and seizing opportunities, being brave, accepting, letting go and taking risks.

Listen to our hearts‘ resonates after you close the final page.

A slightly late #blogtour post for Marion Lane & the Deadly Rose by T.A. Willberg @orionbooks #CompulsiveReaders @Tr4cyF3nt0n with thanks.

Blurb

The second installment in the Marion Lane mysteries series.

The envelope was tied with three delicate silk ribbons: “One of the new recruits is not to be trusted…”

It’s 1959 and a new killer haunts the streets of London, having baffled Scotland Yard. The newspapers call him The Florist because of the rose he brands on his victims. The police have turned yet again to the Inquirers at Miss Brickett’s for assistance, and second year Marion Lane is assigned the case.

But she’s already dealing with a mystery of her own, having received an unsigned letter warning her that one of the three new recruits should not be trusted. She dismisses the letter at first, focusing on The Florist case, but her informer seems to be one step ahead, predicting what will happen before it does. But when a fellow second-year Inquirer is murdered, Marion takes matters into her own hands and must come face-to-face with her informer-who predicted the murder-to find out everything they know. Until then, no one at Miss Brickett’s is safe and everyone is a suspect.

With brilliant twists and endless suspense, all set within the dazzling walls and hidden passageways of Miss Brickett’s, Marion Lane and the Deadly Rose is a deliciously fun new historical mystery you won’t be able to put down.

My thoughts

This was my first outing with Marion Lane – I’m not sure how I missed the debut of the series, ‘Marion Lane and the Midnight Murder’, but I’ve definitely got it on my future reading list after the fantastic sleuthing adventure of ‘Marion Lane and the Deadly Rose’.

Firstly, a fantastic cover design lures you to the blurb, which promises the thrilling hunt for The Florist – a new killer at large in Lane’s 1959 historical/steampunk crime world. London is the setting and Lane is assigned the case via Miss Brickett’s Inquiry Agency.

I absolutely love the vibe of the setting, the drama – both plotting and relationships. It’s such a fun read, a mystery that keeps you guessing with a vibrant protagonist to really hook yourself to.

I’d certainly recommend this book for those readers looking for a zesty murder mystery. It’s layered, cosy and twisty – perfect escapism and jolly good fun! Oh, and a dash of romance to top it all off.

Out now 🙂

Please do buy from independents if you can xx

It’s fabulous to be a part of the #BlogTour for the brilliant #ThePartyHouse #ThePartyHouseBook by @Lin_Anderson @panmacmillan @RandomTTours with thanks x

I’ve been going through a bit of a reading slump recently – too many distractions thinking about my career changes; coming out of Covid and completely changing direction, ending a business established in the late 1990s; a divorce, securing a home, dealing with my daughter leaving home, caring for a relative with dementia with the daily impact on the family, and finally dealing with palliative care for my beautiful dog, the most loyal and loving of companions. I thought living alone would result in extra reading time but found that I just couldn’t focus on my books. Books have always been my therapy, escapism, my adventures, and discoveries. So, finding I was too distracted to focus was so frustrating. Time passed and I tried not to worry and do other things; I’d started to settle again, dipping in and out of my favourite books, and suddenly there’s a book that comes along and just drags you back in, fuelling that reading passion – ‘The Party House’ was that book for me.

Thank you to Lin Anderson for coming my way at the right time. Do please keep scrolling for some more book chat…

The Blurb

Devastated by a recent pandemic brought in by outsiders, the villagers of Blackrig in the Scottish Highlands are outraged when they find that the nearby estate plans to reopen its luxury ‘party house’ to tourists.

As animosity sparks amongst the locals, part of the property is damaged and, in the ensuing chaos, the body of a young girl is found in the wreck. Seventeen-year-old Ailsa Cummings went missing five years ago, never to be seen again – until now.

The excavation of Ailsa’s remains ignites old suspicions cast on the men of this small community, including Greg, the estate’s gamekeeper. At the beginning of a burgeoning relationship with a new lover, Joanne, Greg is loath to discuss old wounds. Frightened by Greg’s reaction to the missing girl’s discovery, Joanne begins to doubt how well she knows this new man in her life. Then again, he’s not the only one with secrets in their volatile relationship . . .



My Thoughts

Ian Rankin said, ‘The Party House is a real page-turner’ and I must completely agree. This was a one sitting read (albeit with a few snack breaks for stamina and energy) and I kept reading until the early hours and the final page. It was worth the lack of sleep.

Admittedly, I’d blocked out the plot and the guilty pretty much in my head quite early on, (over 35 years reading is a huge part of that) however, it didn’t matter at all; I enjoyed the journey so much. I loved Anderson’s choppy chapter structure and alternative point of views. This really drove the narrative pace and make the “oh, just one more chapter” a breeze – lol!

I’m always a fan of thriller reads set around unusual houses or wild locations and ‘The Party House’ is a great setting for the mysteries, the dramas, and relationships: both locals and outsiders. The setting is the Scottish Highlands – perfect for wilds, mountains, lakes and deep forests plus, there’s a kilt or two along the way!

There’s also a psychological spiral running through the central murder mystery and this relationship really hooked me in. With layers of grief, animosity, tempers, power, trust and relationships – both damaged and complex; I’d highly recommend ‘The Party House’ as a small community is unwrapped in the midst of a new relationship. Buried secrets are raised when a past mystery is shockingly revealed.

I’m off to buy more novels by Lin Anderson…

The Blog Tour

Lin Anderson

Lin Anderson is best known as the creator of the forensic scientist Rhona MacLeod series of crime thriller novels, and for her part in founding the annual ‘Bloody Scotland’ crime writing festival.

‘The Party House’, published on 4th August 2022.

There are 16 novels and one novella in Lin Anderson’s Forensic Scientist Rhona MacLeod Series – follow the below Amazon link for more purchasing information.

Please buy from Independents if you can XX

It’s great to be a part of the #BlogTour for #QuartertoMidnight by @KarenRoseBooks @Headlinepg with thanks to @RandomTTours

Only a secret witness could catch this killer…

A ‘Quarter to Midnight’ is the first book in a new series by Karen Rose and features the Burke Broussard Private Investigation Agency. Rose has many successful published novels: the Baltimore Novels, beginning with ‘You Belong to Me’; the Cincinnati novels, that open with ‘Closer than you Think’ and the Sacramento novels, starting with ‘Say You’re Sorry’. ‘Quarter to Midnight’ begins the New Orleans series. Many thanks for the tour invite, it’s great to be joining this tour today.

The Blurb

Rocky Hebert walks into his death at quarter to midnight one New Orleans night. His son Gabe cannot accept the official verdict of suicide and enlists the help of the Burke Broussard Private Investigation Agency to discover the real cause of death.
PI Molly Sutton knows what it’s like to lose a father in tragic circumstances and will go to any lengths to crack the investigation, as she tries to fight off her growing feelings for Gabe.
They soon realise Rocky was working on an investigation of his own; one that threatened to expose the deep corruption going all the way to the top of the police department. And that the key to the puzzle lies with a young witness to a murder that happened years earlier: Xavier Morrow.

Just what did Rocky know? And who might have shut him up?
As they get closer and closer to the truth, they realise that the killer is not going to stop at Rocky. And that Xavier is in very real danger. Someone will go to any lengths to protect what he witnessed that night coming out…

My Thoughts…

This is the first book in Karen Rose’s New Orleans series set from the Burke Broussard Private Investigation agency and focuses on one particular employee Molly Sutton, an investigator and past US Marine, so not someone to be underestimated. She is tasked to Gabe Hebert – pronounced “Ay-bear” in the New Orleans way and the suspicious death of his father. Firstly, this is a big book (not uncommon for Karen Rose novels), my review copy is 591 pages – but don’t let that dissuade you from picking it up – once you begin, you don’t really notice (a few drops in pace maybe could have been avoided by tightening up, just my opinion) and the pages do turn swiftly.

The prologue introduces us to our victim and we’re into the drama when the smell of ‘death’ alerts us that something significant is going on and Rocky Hebert (Gabe’s father) is in deep, deep trouble. Rocky has recently retired from the New Orleans police department, but his retirement is not going well, but he’s planning ahead in the event of the worst-case scenario.

The central story is about the corruption that lies with power and links to an old murder case, where a witness still needs silencing. Molly Sutton is soon hooked into the case and is trying to deal with the attraction she feels towards Gabe as they try and uncover what really happened to Rocky. This leads them into very dangerous territories where knowing who to trust is hard and dangerous.

I love the setting of the atmospheric city of New Orleans with its vibrancy, flavours and people, but there’s also the swampland that lurks and lures around the edges. At the heart of this story is how corruption bleeds into the city and lives of its people. How people will abuse power for control and riches, but this is balanced by those who are out for truth and justice. As with other Karen Rose reads this is a mystery, suspense romance read and the relationship between Molly and Gabe grows within the emotional drama of the investigation.

A recommended read from me for those who enjoy a modern romance mystery with depth.

The Blog Tour

The Author

Karen Rose


Karen Rose was introduced to suspense and horror at the tender age of eight when she accidentally read Poe’s The Pit and The Pendulum and was afraid to go to sleep for years. She now enjoys writing books that make other people afraid to go to sleep.
Karen lives in Florida with her family, their cat, Bella, and two dogs, Loki and Freya. When she’s not writing, she enjoys reading, and her new hobby – knitting.

Please buy from Independents in you can XX

Wow, look at this fabulous #ThePhantomoftheOpera #GraphicNovel from @ComicsTitan – it’s stunning!

I still remember the first time I saw the live stage show of The Phantom of the Opera in London as a teenager. Over thirty years later, it still fascinates and achingly pulls on the heartstrings. The tragically disfigured and mysterious phantom haunts the lair beneath the Paris Opera House and whose passionate obsession with Christine Daae leads to tragedy. The sheer scope and drama of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s orchestrations drawn from Gaston Leroux’s novel ‘Le Fantome de I’Opera’ haunt the pages of this amazing new graphic novel. It’s a stunning book that beautifully captures the essence of the story and the heart of the musical adaptation. I loved it, and found the illustrations absolutely do justice to the quality of the original. If you’d like a look inside to see for yourself, please do keep scrolling…

TITAN-COMICS.COM

From the original libretto of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s world-famous, multi-award-winning musical that has been playing continuously around the world for over 33 years comes this fully authorized graphic novel adaptation.

In 1881 the cast and crew of a new production, Hannibal, are terrorized by the Phantom of the Opera, a mysterious, hideously disfigured man who lives beneath the Paris Opera House. Hopelessly in love and obsessed with one of the chorus singers, the Phantom will stop at nothing to make her the star of the show, even if that means murder.

Relive every moment and every song of the classic stage musical – from the legendary chandelier crash, to Christine’s first visit to the Paris catacombs and the Phantom’s lair. Open your mind, let your fantasies unwind and let this book take you back to the wonders of The Phantom of the Opera.

A look inside…

Paris, 1905
Angel of Music
The Phantom of the Opera is here, inside my mind…
Then my world was shattered…
An example of the principle character art.

Please click on the below link and find out more:

https://titan-comics.com/c/1524-phantom-of-the-opera-collection/

Absolutely delighted to be a part of the #BlogTour for #ColdColdBones by @KathyReichs @simonschuster – with thanks to @RandomTTours #readers #newbook #TemperanceBrennan 

THE BLURB

Sometimes, revisiting the past is the only way to rescue the present . . .


Winter has come to North Carolina and, with it, a drop in crime. For a while, temporarily idle forensic anthropologist Tempe Brennan is content to dote on her daughter Katy, finally returned to civilian life from the army. But when mother and daughter meet at Tempe’s place one night for dinner, they find a box on the back porch. Inside: a very fresh human eyeball.

GPS coordinates etched into the eyeball lead to a Benedictine Monastery where an equally macabre discovery awaits. Soon after, Tempe examines a mummified corpse in a state park, and her anxiety deepens.

There seems to be no pattern to these random killings, except that each mimics in some way a killing that a younger Tempe witnessed, analysed, or barely escaped.


Who or what is targeting her, and why?


Helping Tempe discover the answers is Detective Erskine ‘Skinny’ Slidell, retired but still volunteering with the CMPD cold case unit – and still displaying his gallows humour. But as the two infiltrate a bizarre survivalist’s lair, even Skinny’s mood darkens.


And then Tempe’s daughter Katy disappears.


Electrifying, heart-stopping and compulsive, this is Tempe’s most personal and dangerous case yet …

Publishing 21st July, 2022

MY THOUGHTS

Temperance Brennan ‘Tempe’ is back in Kathy Reich’s latest crime thriller novel, ‘Cold, Cold Bones’.

I’ve been reading this series since the release of ‘Deja Dead’ back in 1997, so the anticipation was high for this latest outing with the Brennan, our forensic anthropologist, and the team.

This is an atmospheric read that immerses the reader, not only in the investigation, but into life in North Carolina during a frigid winter. Once again, Brennan is dragged up front and centre into the crime via a shocking discovery – actually on her doorstep this time. It’s, as usual, a gruesome discovery – a fresh human eyeball! But this eyeball houses a further mystery etched into it: the co-ordinates to a Benedictine Monastery and another shocking discovery.

Reich’s always plots meticulously, with creativity, and rather a lot of drama. There’re several crime threads that are worked into the overarching narrative, and it’s fun piecing all the layers together.

What you also always get with Reichs is Tempe’s family life and relationship dramas added to the mix and in her true style there is someone close to Brennan at risk in ‘Cold, Cold Bones’. Brennan’s daughter Katy is a part of the mystery and eventually dragged completely into danger! The race to find answers speeds up the pace into the final pages.

It’s great to see new characters and, of course, characters than have been with us throughout the series. One of my favourites is Ryan, now long-term boyfriend of Brennan. He’s a great ‘other-half’ both in terms of the investigation, but also in terms of their relationship and it’s development through the books.

As always, I do recommend this series for those who enjoy a good thriller and crime mystery read with drama!

BLOG TOUR

Kathy Reichs

About the Author

Kathy Reichs’s first novel Déjà Dead, published in 1997, won the Ellis Award for Best First
Novel and was an international bestseller. Kathy was also a producer of Fox Television’s
longest running scripted drama Bones, which is based on her work and her novels. Kathy
uses her own dramatic experiences as a forensic anthropologist to bring her mesmerizing
thrillers to life. One of very few forensic anthropologists certified by the American Board of
Forensic Anthropology, Kathy divides her time between Charlotte,
North Carolina, and Montreal, Québec.

Please buy from Independents if you can XX

Chatting about #TheSiege by @policecommander @orionbooks #BlogTour #CompulsiveReaders #newbook #readingcommunity #bookbloggers

Once again, many thanks for the tour invite @Tr4cyF3nt0n to join these amazing bloggers on #TheSiege tour. For more bookish chat, please keep scrolling…

Nine hostages. Ten hours. One chance to save them all.

The Blurb

Nine hostages. Ten hours. One chance to save them all.

Lee James Connor has found his purpose in life: to follow the teachings of far-right extremist leader, Nicholas Farmer. So when his idol is jailed, he comes up with the perfect plan: take a local immigrant support group hostage until Farmer is released.

Grace Wheatley is no stranger to loneliness having weathered the passing of her husband, whilst being left to raise her son alone. The local support group is her only source of comfort. Until the day Lee James Connor walks in and threatens the existence of everything she’s ever known. 

Superintendent Alex Lewis may be one of the most experienced hostage negotiators on the force, but there’s no such thing as a perfect record. Still haunted by his last case, can he connect with Connor – and save his nine hostages – before it’s too late?

My thoughts

‘The Siege’ by John Sutherland doesn’t take long to snare you. It’s a tense, driven novel of a volatile hostage situation with depth. By depth, I mean this is a story driven by its characters.

Three central players drive this stomach clenching drama as Lee, a young man gripped by grief, pulled into an online existence and detached from reality is radicalised. He sets himself on an extreme pathway, fuelled by discord into creating and controlling a hostage situation. It’s in this tense setting that he meets Grace and Alex.

Grace is a young widow, burdened by grief and loneliness; she is our warrior within and the events of the novel create a phoenix in her, to rise up against her situation and reach deep inside for that human connection in a situation of fear and threat.

Alex is burdened by a past failed hostage negotiation and has his own demons to battle whilst maneuvering the opportunity to connect and save those now under threat.

Sutherland writes an absorbing and adrenaline inducing read perfect for fans of tense thrillers. It’s dark at times, but it’s also emotional, thoughtful and moves along at a dynamic pace. I’d happily recommend ‘The Siege’.

The Author

John Sutherland

John Sutherland is a father of three who lives with his wife and children in south London. For more than twenty-five years he served as an officer in the Metropolitan Police, rising to the rank of Chief Superintendent before his retirement on medical grounds in 2018.

John is a sought-after public speaker and commentator on a broad range of issues, who regularly appears on TV and radio and writes for major newspapers.

His first book, BLUE, written and published while he was still serving in the Met, was a Sunday Times bestseller.

It tells the remarkable stories of his policing life and describes his long road to recovery following the serious nervous breakdown that ended his operational policing career.

As always, please buy from Independents if you can XX

#BlogTour for #SeeNoEvil by @DavyFennell – the highly anticipated follow up to THE ART OF DEATH. With thanks to @ZaffreBooks for the gifted copy and @Tr4cyF3nt0n for the tour invite. #newbook #readers #bookrec

For this killer, it’s death at first sight…

The Blurb

Two men are found dead in London’s Battersea Park. One of the bodies has been laid out like a crucifix – with his eyes removed and placed on his open palms.

Detective Inspector Grace Archer and her caustic DS, Harry Quinn, lead the investigation. But when more bodies turn up in a similar fashion, they find themselves in a race against time to find the sadistic killer.

The hunt leads them to Ladywell Playtower in Southeast London, the home to a religious commune lead by the enigmatic Aaron Cronin. Archer and Quinn suspect Cronin’s involvement but his alibis are watertight, and the truth seemingly buried. If Archer is to find the killer, she must first battle her way through religious fanatics, London gangsters – and her own demons . . .

My thoughts…

‘See No Evil’ is the second book by David Fennell featuring DI Grace Archer and DS Harry Quinn, the first being: ‘The Art of Death’. This can, absolutely, be read as a standalone, however it’s always an idea to start at the beginning of any series for character development plotting. But, it’s really not an issue as Fennell builds important relationship detail into the narrative and as the new plot develops we are drawn into the character portrayal from ‘The Art of Death’ as our principal characters deal with a new threat and perpetrator to hunt down.

I really enjoyed ‘See No Evil’ perhaps more than I did ‘The Art of Death’. In the first book I worked out too early where it was heading, but this time I was hooked into connecting all the pieces together until the end. From the start, Fennell’s character driven narrative hook immersed in fear and creepiness grabs the readers’ attention and introduces a brutal crime that builds as the story progresses. Again, this is not a book for the faint-hearted and there are dark, twisty moments that delve into fanatical mindsets and coercive behaviours.

If you’re a crime and thriller reader, I’d highly recommend both ‘The Art of Death’ and ‘See No Evil’ – a fast-paced, exhilarating crime thriller that explores darker themes and is satisfyingly good.

Please click on the below link to read about the first book in the series ‘The Art of Death’.

The Author

David Fennell

Born and raised in Belfast before leaving for London at the age of eighteen with £50 in one pocket and a dog-eared copy of Stephen King’s The Stand in the other. He jobbed as a chef, waiter and bartender for several years before starting a career in writing for the software industry. He has been working in CyberSecurity for fourteen years and is a fierce advocate for information privacy. David has played rugby for Brighton and has studied Creative Writing at the University of Sussex. He is married and he and his partner split their time between Central London and Brighton. To find out more, visit his website: www.davidfennell.co.uk. Follow him on Twitter: @davyfennell

‘See No Evil’ published 28th April 2022, Zaffre, Hardback, eBook and Audio, £14.99

Please buy from Independents if you can XX

#BookChat #MiniReviews ‘Deepwater King’ by Claire McKenna (Book 2 of the Deepwater Trilogy) and ‘Mimic’ by Daniel Cole @orionbooks @HarperVoyagerUK

The Blurb

Since losing her great love to the Queen of the Sainted Isles, Arden must fulfil an impossible promise before she can return home – she must complete the dangerous Rite that will return Jonah’s spirit to the abyssal Court of the Deepwater King.

This sets her off on a journey far out at sea to find believers of the old religion on the oil-slick and mysterious islands beyond the horizon. But such a responsibility will not come without sacrifice, for the Deepwater folk who worship the King require the most desperate payments the soul, and with one man Arden may have to pay the greatest price of all…

Astonishingly original, with world-building to rival the depths of the ocean, McKenna has drawn a rich tale of longing and courage – penning the perfect oceanic steampunk fantasy.

My thoughts

You’ll need to read the first book in the series, ‘Monstrous Heart’ before reading ‘Deepwater King’ as it begins shortly after the first book ends. I enjoyed ‘Monstrous Heart’ and the developing relationship between Arden and Jonah up to the dramatic and disturbing climax of the opening story in this, I believe, trilogy. This was a huge part of the enjoyment of the first book and sadly, for me, it was missing from ‘Deepwater King’, however saying that, there was plenty of dark drama and action to hook you into the narrative.

There’s great worldbuilding, like book one, and the setting is a huge part of the books enjoyment – I really enjoy Steampunk vibes and loved this element. There are some great characters, both principal and minor – I did feel Arden lost the drive in this book at times (middle book syndrome?) – I hope the Arden/Jonah relationship drama will build up again to the level of ‘Monstrous Heart’ in the final book of the series. The story does builds to a dramatic crescendo and well, that ending – I need the next book!

I do enjoy this series and look forward to its conclusion.

The Blurb

DS Benjamin Chambers and DC Adam Winter are hunting a twisted serial killer who recreates famous works of art using the bodies of his victims. But after Chambers almost loses his life, the case goes cold – the killer lying dormant, his collection unfinished.

Jordan Marshall has excelled within the Met Police, driven by a loss that defined her teenage years. She obtains new evidence, convincing both Chambers and Winter to revisit the case. However, this new investigation reawakens their killer, the team in desperate pursuit of a monster hell-bent on finishing what he started at any cost.

My thoughts

I loved the RAGDOLL series, each book was contrasting in style and I really engaged with this variation and creativity. Daniel Coles books are always fun to read, despite taking you into dark places, minds and events. The thrillers are carefully plotted with both dramatic and creative deaths and crimes – so be warned, this isn’t for the faint of heart. There’s a great and slightly unusual character driven team working on the central investigation: DS Ben Chambers, PC Adam Winters and the modern newbie DC Jordan Marshall.

The crime investigation initially begins in 1989 shifting to the reopening in 2006 and I enjoyed the changes of both the investigation, the development and changes of the 1989 investigators. A part of Cole’s books that add to their charm, even though it’s rather macabre at times, is the humour, which I’ve also really enjoyed in previous Cole books – so please expect a chuckle along the way, if dark humour works for you?

With the theme of art, specifically Rodin’s ‘The Thinker’ sculpture opening this crime mystery, Cole has created an intelligent cold case crime at the heart of this thriller. The reader follows the team as they hunt the perpetrator of the sick crimes that haunt them, to find closure on the case and to seek justice. A gruesome crime thriller based on recreating famous works of art in the most macabre way.

An intelligent, absorbing and addictive read.

SCORPICA by G.R. Macallister, THE LAST LEGACY by Adrienne Young and introducing THE SHADOW GLASS by Josh Winning. Published by @TitanBooks

Some great fantasy reads to check out from Titan Books – keep scrolling to find out more…

The Blurb

In an ancient matriarchal world of magic, gods and warriors, the last girl – unbeknownst to the five queendoms – has just been born. As time marches on, the scribes of Bastian find no answers in their history books. The farmers of Sestia sacrifice their crops to the gods. Paxim, the empire of trade and dealings, has nothing to barter but boys and more boys. Arcan magic has no spells to remedy the Drought of Girls. And finally, Scorpica, where every woman is a fighter, their commander, their queen, has no more warriors to train. The lines of these once-great empires soon to die.

After centuries of peace, the ensuing struggle for dominance – and heirs – will bring the five queendoms to the eve of all-out war.

But the mysterious curse is linked to one of the last-born children, an orphaned all-magic girl, who is unaware she has a claim to the Arcan throne…

My thoughts…

‘Scorpica’ is the opening novel in ‘The Five Queendoms’ series by G.K. Macallister, and as you’d expect from a series starter there’s a lot of world building and set up. It’s a complex fantasy world, where the matriarch’s rule; I’ve seen it referred to as the female ‘Game of Thrones’.

The world is ruled by Queendoms, each having their own perspective on males and their roles. The female roles are vast and although the narrative pace is detailed and leisurely it held my attention. For those, seeking a more adventurous and pacey fantasy read, this may not be for you. Although, saying that, it is the opening and requires a lot of establishment – hold on in there!

‘Scorpica’ is heavy in POVs so it does take focus to track characters and relationships in each Queendom. With themes of violence, gender, politics, magic and female relationships this is a detailed and thought provoking read.

A fantasy novel of conflict, power and a world in crisis.

The Blurb

When a letter from her uncle Henrick arrives on Bryn Roth’s eighteenth birthday, summoning her back to Bastian, Bryn is eager to prove herself and finally take her place in her long-lost family.

Henrik has plans for Bryn, but she must win everyone’s trust if she wants to hold any power in the delicate architecture of the family. It doesn’t take long for her to see that the Roths are entangled in shadows. Despite their growing influence in upscale Bastian, their hands are still in the kind of dirty business that got Bryn’s parents killed years ago. With a forbidden romance to contend with and dangerous work ahead, the cost of being accepted into the Roths may be more than Bryn can pay.

My thoughts…

Set in the world of FABLE, (Young’s duology ‘Fable’ and ‘Namesake’) a new, smart and sassy protagonist is rejoined with her lost and detached family, setting the tone of the adventure. But there’s trouble ahead, with scheming, untruths, cons and pawns.

An fantasy adventure with a lead pitched against a ruthless adversary with a dash of romance to complete the journey. A quick, easy read for some wonderful escapism.

The Blurb

Jack Corman is failing at life.

Jobless, jaded and on the “wrong” side of thirty, he’s facing the threat of eviction from his London flat while reeling from the sudden death of his father, one-time film director Bob Corman. Back in the eighties, Bob poured his heart and soul into the creation of his 1986 puppet fantasy The Shadow Glass, a film Jack loved as a child, idolising its fox-like hero Dune.

But The Shadow Glass flopped on release, deemed too scary for kids and too weird for adults, and Bob became a laughing stock, losing himself to booze and self-pity. Now, the film represents everything Jack hated about his father, and he lives with the fear that he’ll end up a failure just like him.

In the wake of Bob’s death, Jack returns to his decaying home, a place creaking with movie memorabilia and painful memories. Then, during a freak thunderstorm, the puppets in the attic start talking. Tipped into a desperate real-world quest to save London from the more nefarious of his father’s creations, Jack teams up with excitable fanboy Toby and spiky studio executive Amelia to navigate the labyrinth of his father’s legacy while conjuring the hero within––and igniting a Shadow Glass resurgence that could, finally, do his father proud.

A new arrival to the TITAN bookshelf and something very different to build my eclectic reading style – I look forward to checking this one out and some more book chat 🙂