Posted in book review, fiction, gifted

Madam by Phoebe Wynne

Published by Quercus (Ebook Feb 2021)
(Hardback May 2021) – UK

Synopsis

For 150 years, high above rocky Scottish cliffs, Caldonbrae Hall has sat untouched, a beacon of excellence in an old ancestral castle. A boarding school for girls, it promises that the young women lucky enough to be admitted will emerge “resilient and ready to serve society.”

Into its illustrious midst steps Rose Christie: a 26-year-old Classics teacher, Caldonbrae’s new head of the department, and the first hire for the school in over a decade. At first, Rose is overwhelmed to be invited into this institution, whose prestige is unrivaled. But she quickly discovers that behind the school’s elitist veneer lies an impenetrable, starkly traditional culture that she struggles to reconcile with her modernist beliefs—not to mention her commitment to educating “girls for the future.”

It also doesn’t take long for Rose to suspect that there’s more to the secret circumstances surrounding the abrupt departure of her predecessor—a woman whose ghost lingers everywhere—than anyone is willing to let on. In her search for this mysterious former teacher, Rose instead uncovers the darkness that beats at the heart of Caldonbrae, forcing her to confront the true extent of the school’s nefarious purpose, and her own role in perpetuating it.

Posted in book review, book tour, fantasy

BOOK TOUR – The Library of the Dead by T.L Huchu

Published 4th Feb 2021 by Pan Macmillan

SYNOPSIS

When ghosts talk, she will listen . . .

Ropa dropped out of school to become a ghostalker – and she now speaks to Edinburgh’s dead, carrying messages to the living. A girl’s gotta earn a living, and it seems harmless enough. Until, that is, the dead whisper that someone’s bewitching children – leaving them husks, empty of joy and life. It’s on Ropa’s patch, so she feels honour bound to investigate. But what she learns will change her world.

She’ll dice with death (not part of her life plan . . .) as she calls on Zimbabwean magic and Scottish pragmatism to hunt down clues. For Edinburgh hides a wealth of secrets. And in the process, she discovers an occult library and some unexpected allies. Yet as shadows lengthen, will the hunter become the hunted?

Posted in book review, book tour, fantasy, fiction

Blood Metal Bone by Lindsay Cummings

Released by HQ in the UK on 7th January 2021

Synopsis

Her destiny was death. The shadows brought her back.

Wrongly accused of her brother’s murder, Sonara’s destiny was to die, sentenced to execution by her own mother. Punished and left for dead, the shadows have cursed her with a second life as a Shadowblood, cast out and hunted by society for her demon-like powers.

Now known as the Devil of the Deadlands, Sonara survives as a thief on the edge of society, fighting for survival on a quest to uncover what really happened to her brother and whether he is even dead at all…

Posted in book review, book tour, fiction

Book Tour! Beneath a Starless Sky by Tessa Harris

Published by HQ – December 9th 2020

Synopsis

A forbidden romance…
Munich 1930 Jewish ballet dancer Lilli Sternberg longs to escape the rising Nazi menace. But a whirl-wind romance with a promising young army officer, Captain Marco Zeiller, puts her Hollywood dreams on hold – until her heart is broken.

A dream shattered….
Making it to Hollywood, Lilli dances with the legendary Fred Astaire, who introduces her to high society and the heir to the British throne, Prince Edward. But when injury ends her film career, Edward and his American mistress, Wallis Simpson, both Nazi sympathisers, have other plans for Lilli.

A final chance to save her loved-ones and change the course of history…
As war looms and Marco Zeiller, now working for Goebbels, re-enters her life, Lilli’s loyalties are tested as one by one her family falls prey to Nazi terror. Against all odds, can Lilli save her family and foil Hitler’s plot to kidnap Edward?

Posted in book review, fantasy, fiction, gifted

Namesake by Adrienne Young

Published by Wednesday Books (St Martins) – April 2021

May contain spoilers for Fable!!

Synopsis

Trader. Fighter. Survivor.

With the Marigold ship free of her father, Fable and its crew were set to start over. That freedom is short-lived when she becomes a pawn in a notorious thug’s scheme. In order to get to her intended destination she must help him to secure a partnership with Holland, a powerful gem trader who is more than she seems.

As Fable descends deeper into a world of betrayal and deception, she learns that the secrets her mother took to her grave are now putting the people Fable cares about in danger. If Fable is going to save them then she must risk everything, including the boy she loves and the home she has finally found.

Posted in book review, fantasy, fiction, supernatural

Kingdom of the Wicked by Kerri Maniscalco

Published by Hodder (27th October 2020) – UK

Synopsis

Two sisters.

One brutal murder.

A quest for vengeance that will unleash Hell itself…

And an intoxicating romance.

Emilia and her twin sister Vittoria are streghe – witches who live secretly among humans, avoiding notice and persecution. One night, Vittoria misses dinner service at the family’s renowned Sicilian restaurant. Emilia soon finds the body of her beloved twin…desecrated beyond belief. Devastated, Emilia sets out to find her sister’s killer and to seek vengeance at any cost-even if it means using dark magic that’s been long forbidden.

Then Emilia meets Wrath, one of the Wicked-princes of Hell she has been warned against in tales since she was a child. Wrath claims to be on Emilia’s side, tasked by his master with solving the series of women’s murders on the island. But when it comes to the Wicked, nothing is as it seems…

Posted in book review, book tour, fiction, thriller

Book Tour – All Your Little Lies by Marianne Holmes

Published by Agora Books – October 2020

Agora Books kindly sent me a review copy of All Your Little Lies so that I could take part in the Book Tour!

Synopsis

Annie lives a quiet, contained, content life. She goes to work. She meets her friend. She’s kind of in a relationship. She’s happy. Not lonely at all.

If only more people could see how friendly she is — how eager to help and please. Then she could tick “Full Happy Life” off her list. But no one sees that side of Annie, and she can’t understand why.

That all changes the night Chloe Hills disappears. And Annie is the last person to see her.

This is her chance to prove to everybody that she’s worth something. That is, until she becomes a suspect.

Review

**My tour stop day was Sunday the 18th of October but I was having technical difficulties – I’m hoping this posts okay today!**

I really enjoyed this book! Marianne Holmes’ writing style is pretty to the point – no flowery descriptions here which means she has words to spare to really get into the mindset of Annie in All Your Little Lies – the journey was really fascinating for me as I could see Annie’s logical conclusions but also I found her very unreliable as a narrator – I was so conflicted!

Annie lives alone and doesn’t have a lot of friends – from the start I could see Annie was insecure and didn’t fit in too well, probably due to some anxiety from her past – this made me question everything she did and said. Also the title of the book – All Your Little Lies – I loved how this made me view Annie, she constantly told little fibs – like children do to make themselves look better and when she got involved with the policy after a child goes missing I could see her getting into soo much trouble!

Alongside the current story there is a backstory which gives you an insight into how Annie’s mind works and events from her past – this was a really good tool for Holmes to use and I’m glad it was included!

My only drawback was I found myself dropping out of concentration – Annie goes round in circles a lot which I just found didn’t hold my attention that well!

I’d recommend this one for fans of thrillers and psychological dramas – the writing style is easy to follow and the characters are realistic. Holmes uses dramatic events to bring Annie’s psyche out to be analysed although it did make me worry how much this happens in real life – so I’m going to be doing some research!

Thanks to Agora Books for the review copy – the book is out on kindle on 22nd October and is currently available to preorder for 99p here! The paperback is out on November 19th!

Posted in book review, fantasy, fiction, gifted

The Winter Duke by Claire Eliza Bartlett

Published by Titan Books October 2020 (UK)

Titan Books sent me an e-copy of this book in exchange for a review!

Synopsis

An enchanted tale of intrigue where a duke’s daughter is the only survivor of a magical curse.

When Ekata’s brother is finally named heir, there will be nothing to keep her at home in Kylma Above with her murderous family. Not her books or science experiments, not her family’s icy castle atop a frozen lake, not even the tantalizingly close Kylma Below, a mesmerizing underwater kingdom that provides her family with magic. But just as escape is within reach, her parents and twelve siblings fall under a strange sleeping sickness.

In the space of a single night, Ekata inherits the title of duke, her brother’s warrior bride, and ever-encroaching challengers from without—and within—her own ministry. Nothing has prepared Ekata for diplomacy, for war, for love…or for a crown she has never wanted. If Kylma Above is to survive, Ekata must seize her family’s power. And if Ekata is to survive, she must quickly decide how she will wield it.

Review

In all honesty, when I first started this YA book, the opening chapter completely overwhelmed me – so much happened and Bartlett introduces such a rich world that I completely thought I wouldnt be continuing with the book … but I pushed myself to not judge by an opening and trust that the author would fill me in on all the details – and she did.

I really enjoyed the characters in The Winter Duke, Ekata was a great protagonist who I did root for – her decisions were human – sometimes reckless and other times calculated which really built her as a solid character. I enjoyed her choosing of a wife although felt the relationship part of the marriage was timid and more hinted at than actions – understandable given their age (sixteen I believe). Bartlett also includes a non-binary character who is quite important to the plot at one point so it was great to see some solid diversity in that respect.

The world was fantastic – I loved the idea of an underwater community living below an ice palace. The relationship between the two worlds is one of agreement – an exchange for the magic that the underwater dwellers can grow – I just found this totally unique and it took me by surprise!

Goodreads has this down as ‘part Sleeping Beauty, part Anastasia’ but I’m not completely on board with that – I think The Winter Duke was much more original. Bartlett uses russian style names and she has a very in-depth political plot running throughout the novel which although I found a little confusing, it did make sense and I really appreciated the detail involved.

Also – that cover! The US cover is a little different – I much prefer the UK choice – it reminds me of fairytales and folklore which is perfect!

Goodreads Rating: 4 / 5 stars!