Posted in book review, fiction

Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir

Published by Del Rey – May 2021

Synopsis

Ryland Grace is the sole survivor on a desperate, last-chance mission–and if he fails, humanity and the earth itself will perish.

Except that right now, he doesn’t know that. He can’t even remember his own name, let alone the nature of his assignment or how to complete it.

All he knows is that he’s been asleep for a very, very long time. And he’s just been awakened to find himself millions of miles from home, with nothing but two corpses for company.

His crewmates dead, his memories fuzzily returning, he realizes that an impossible task now confronts him. Alone on this tiny ship that’s been cobbled together by every government and space agency on the planet and hurled into the depths of space, it’s up to him to conquer an extinction-level threat to our species.

And thanks to an unexpected ally, he just might have a chance.

Posted in book review, book tour, fiction, gifted

Book Tour! Subject Twenty One by A.E. Warren

Published by Del Rey – 1st July 2021

Synopsis

What if our future lies 40,000 years in our past?

 Elise’s world is forever changed when she is given the opportunity of a lifetime – to work at the Museum of Evolution and be a Companion to the Neanderthal, Subject Twenty-One.

As a Sapien, a member of the lowest order of humans, she and others like her are held responsible for the damages inflicted on the world by previous generations. This job may be Elise’s only chance to escape a stagnating life in an ostracised and impoverished community.

But it doesn’t take long for Elise to realise that, away from the familiarity and safety of her home, her own secrets are much harder to conceal. 

And the longer she stays the more she comes to realise that little separates her from the exhibits . . . and a cage of her own.

Review

Subject Twenty One is the first book in A.E Warren’s series Tomorrow’s Ancestors. Tagged as ‘Jurassic Park meets Sapiens’ I was quick to sign up to this Book Blog Tour and get my hands on a copy to read and review. Subject Twenty One was gifted to me by the publisher Del Rey and is set to be released on 1st July … along with book two The Hidden Base which I will be reading and reviewing as soon as it plonks through my letter box!

A.E Warren self published these books previously (under different titles) and I’m so glad they got picked up! Reading Subject Twenty One was easy, the story gripped me completely right from the beginning and it kept my attention all the way through. I loved how much research had been undertaken in writing this book but how this didn’t make it ever feel overwhelming or complicated. Warren has created a fascinating class system with various quirks and categories, all while weaving a heartfelt narrative.

For me, the connections between the characters was key. Elise is hired to be a companion to Twenty One, a Neanderthal who has been brought to life in order to be an exhibit in a museum as well as be part of an experimental program. She leaves her family to do this job and in turn discovers more about the other classes and the events in history which brought about their current situation. In the museum, Elise encounters a Potior, the highest class of being but also other Sapiens, like herself. By the end of the book, Elise has brought together an interesting group who work really well together and I was fully invested in them all.

As a setting, the museum was amazing, I could imagine it very clearly – I’d very much like to visit it! It definitely gave off Jurassic Park vibes but there is nothing wrong with that at all, I loved it! The genetic engineering aspect was one that I personally felt could have been explored in more depth but I also think that doing so would have strained the main storylines progression.

Overall, I enjoyed Subject Twenty One a lot and will be reading book two ASAP. It is YA and offers a thought provoking look at humanity and the future as well as the past. I will say that this book includes details of a Pandemic which some of you may not want to read about just yet but I found the detail was sparing and not gratuitous, only really mentioning it in passing. Warren writes a unique and intriguing narrative in a believable dystopia.

Goodreads Rating 4 / 5 Stars

Posted in book review, book tour, fiction

Book Tour – The Witch’s Heart by Genevieve Gornichec

Synopsis

When a banished witch falls in love with the legendary trickster Loki, she risks the wrath of the gods in this moving, subversive debut novel that reimagines Norse mythology.

Angrboda’s story begins where most witches’ tales end: with a burning. A punishment from Odin for refusing to provide him with knowledge of the future, the fire leaves Angrboda injured and powerless, and she flees into the farthest reaches of a remote forest. There she is found by a man who reveals himself to be Loki, and her initial distrust of him transforms into a deep and abiding love.

Their union produces three unusual children, each with a secret destiny, who Angrboda is keen to raise at the edge of the world, safely hidden from Odin’s all-seeing eye. But as Angrboda slowly recovers her prophetic powers, she learns that her blissful life—and possibly all of existence—is in danger.

With help from the fierce huntress Skadi, with whom she shares a growing bond, Angrboda must choose whether she’ll accept the fate that she’s foreseen for her beloved family…or rise to remake their future. From the most ancient of tales this novel forges a story of love, loss, and hope for the modern age.

Review

Thank you to Titan Books for having me on this tour and providing an early e-copy of the book!

The cover and synopsis for The Witch’s Heart really piqued my interest, I’m a big fan of Norse Mythology and absolutely adore reading about Loki, the trickster (I blame Stargate for this). Gornichec has woven an impressive tale as a debut, using well known characters like Odin, Thor and Loki – bringing them back to their roots away from the Marvel universe.

And a far cry from the Marvel universe this is! Unfortunately, I did struggle to get along with the narrative. It is broken into three parts (no chapters) which I found to be quite frustrating although it did add to the air of this being an ancient tale. It read like someone was talking to me which I wasn’t expecting – again, it did fit with the tale itself however did give me the feeling I was being told rather than shown which led to me skim reading a bulk of the book.

I enjoyed the take on Angrboda as her character isn’t one often seen so it was interesting to read about her. As always when dealing with myths, there has to be a suspension of belief and this story is particularly intense which made me want to get to the end. I did root for Boda through the book and I was invested in her relationship with Skadi who was definitely my favourite character of the bunch – she was brutally honest and I appreciated that.

This is my own personal experience and I know readers who will absolutely love this book so please give it a read especially if you enjoy Norse Gods and Mythology.

The Witch’s Heart is out now and really is an impressive debut, its characters are definitely the stand out part for me on this one.

Posted in Uncategorized

Winter’s Orbit by Everina Maxwell

Published by Orbit (TOR in the US) – February 2021

Synopsis

While the Iskat Empire has long dominated the system through treaties and political alliances, several planets, including Thea, have begun to chafe under Iskat’s rule. When tragedy befalls Imperial Prince Taam, his Thean widower, Jainan, is rushed into an arranged marriage with Taam’s cousin, the disreputable Kiem, in a bid to keep the rising hostilities between the two worlds under control.

But when it comes to light that Prince Taam’s death may not have been an accident, and that Jainan himself may be a suspect, the unlikely pair must overcome their misgivings and learn to trust one another as they navigate the perils of the Iskat court, try to solve a murder, and prevent an interplanetary war… all while dealing with their growing feelings for each other.

Review

Thank you to Orbit Books and Netgalley for the review e-copy!

This was a journey for me to read! In a good way! I really enjoyed it but I would be lying if I didn’t say it took me a while to get through and that is in no way a negative reflection on the book. Winter’s Orbit is ultimately a science-fiction YA novel but actually it is so much more. Maxwell has woven such a detailed plot, I found myself blown away when I first picked this book up – there is very much a political backstory within Winter’s Orbit. And with that backstory comes a whole heap of backstabbing, mystery, loyalties and connections. I’m not quite sure how Maxwell kept this book to it’s 432 pages as there is so much to take in. Every character has thorough thoughts, feelings and agendas – nothing is skipped out on.

So, when I first picked up this book back in February, I had just come out of a reading frenzy of fantasy which meant when I started to read Winter’s Orbit I just couldn’t get my head in the right place at all so I wasn’t following the story. I paused my read and took on some lighter bits before returning to Winter’s Orbit in early April. I was ready and eager and honestly, I sped through the final 300 pages at light speed. I did not want to put this book down!

I loved the relationships between the characters – Jainan and Kiem very much have my heart and I want to see more of them. Maxwell’s fluid use of genders and sexality in this book is frankly, refreshing and needed. I will be shoving Winter’s Orbit under several people’s noses I can assure you. The way we saw a vulnerability to Jainan (and Kiem) broke my heart so much, their awkward interactions in the beginning were so real for me I couldn’t help but become invested.

The setting for this book is notably, in another set of worlds where space travel is a usual and common thing which really gave Maxwell free reign in her use of character design, world building and storytelling. There are so many elements to touch upon. I feel like I need to re-read it already to get my head around my words. I did feel like I needed a road map at the beginning! I would love to have more books in this universe, so that I can see all of the wonderful nations included in the narrative. I really do think this book has everything, even a royal family.

I’ve rated this at 4.5 and would easily push that to a 5 on a re-read I think!

Goodreads Rating – 4 / 5 stars

Posted in Author Q&A, book review, book tour, fiction

Book Tour and Q&A – The Asylum by Karen Coles

Published by Welbeck – April 2021

Synopsis

1906: Being a woman is dangerous, being different is deadly.

Maud Lovell has been at Angelton Lunatic Asylum for five years. She is not sure how she came to be there and knows nothing beyond its four walls. She is hysterical, distressed, untrustworthy. Badly unstable and prone to violence. Or so she has been told.

When a new doctor arrives, keen to experiment with the revolutionary practice of medical hypnosis, Maud’s lack of history makes her the perfect case study. But as Doctor Dimmond delves deeper into the past, it becomes clear that confinement and high doses are there to keep her silent.

When Maud finally remembers what has been done to her, and by whom, her mind turns to her past and to revenge.

Posted in book review, book tour

Book Tour! Sistersong by Lucy Holland

Published April 2021 by Pan Macmillan

Thank you so much to Pan Macmillan and Black Crow PR for my gifted finished copy, it’s a stunning book – dressed in warrior blue with gold foiling. I’m excited to receive my Goldsboro edition in a few weeks time!

Synopsis

535 AD. In the ancient kingdom of Dumnonia, King Cador’s children inherit a fragmented land abandoned by the Romans.

Riva, scarred in a terrible fire, fears she will never heal.

Keyne battles to be seen as the king’s son, when born a daughter.

And Sinne, the spoiled youngest girl, yearns for romance.

All three fear a life of confinement within the walls of the hold – a last bastion of strength against the invading Saxons. But change comes on the day ash falls from the sky, bringing Myrddhin, meddler and magician, and Tristan, a warrior whose secrets will tear the siblings apart. Riva, Keyne and Sinne must take fate into their own hands, or risk being tangled in a story they could never have imagined; one of treachery, love and ultimately, murder. It’s a story that will shape the destiny of Britain.

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, 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.