Kaaron Warren – The Grief Hole

kaaronwarren-thegriefholeThere are many grief holes.

There’s the grief hole you fall into when a loved one dies.

There’s another grief hole in all of us; small or large, it determines how much we want to live.

And there are the places, the physical grief holes, which attract suicides to their centre.

Sol Evictus, a powerful, charismatic singer, sends a young artist into The Grief Hole to capture the faces of the teenagers dying there. When she inevitably dies herself, her cousin Theresa resolves to stop this man so many love.

Theresa sees ghosts; she knows how you’ll die by the spirits haunting you. If you’ll drown, she’ll see drowned people. Most often she sees battered women, because she works to find emergency housing for abused women.

She sees no ghosts around Sol Evictus but she doesn’t let that stop her. Her passion to help, to be a saint, drives her to find a way to destroy him.

Kaaron Warren’s writing is wonderful. I always enjoy her short fiction and the one novel of hers I read, Mistification, was absolutely amazing. Warren always manages to create complexly layered, strangely weird stories that are genuinely creepy, and utterly compelling. Her latest novel The Grief Hole, out from IGFW Publishing last week, is no different. It’s an intense story looking at grief in all forms, featuring a heroine who is at once sympathetic and somewhat off-putting.  Read More …

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Author Query – Alvaro Zinos-Amaro

alvarozinosamaro-travellerofworldsWhen Alvaro Zinos-Amaro approached me about possibly reviewing his book Traveller of Worlds: Conversations with Robert Silverberg, I had to say no due to my teeter-tottering to-be-read pile and the fact that I’m horribly behind on writing up reviews. However, Traveller of Worlds sounded interesting and I thought that there would be plenty of people who read my blog who would be interested in it, so I asked Alvaro if he’d be up for an interview. He was! And you can find the interview below.  Read More …

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Susan Spann – The Ninja’s Daughter [Blog Tour]

susanspann-theninjasdaughterAutumn, 1565: When an actor’s daughter is murdered on the banks of Kyoto’s Kamo River, master ninja Hiro Hattori and Portuguese Jesuit Father Mateo are the victim’s only hope for justice.

As political tensions rise in the wake of the shogun’s recent death, and rival warlords threaten war, the Kyoto police forbid an investigation of the killing, to keep the peace–but Hiro has a personal connection to the girl, and must avenge her. The secret investigation leads Hiro and Father Mateo deep into the exclusive world of Kyoto’s theater guilds, where they quickly learn that nothing, and no one, is as it seems. With only a mysterious golden coin to guide them, the investigators uncover a forbidden love affair, a missing mask, and a dangerous link to corruption within the Kyoto police department that leaves Hiro and Father Mateo running for their lives.

The Ninja’s Daughter is the fourth book in the Shinobi Mystery series and it is a reunion with the regular cast and some of my favourite background characters, such as Ana, Gato, Ginjiro, and Suke. I really enjoyed the previous two books I’ve read in this series, Blade of the Samurai and Flask of the Drunken Master, and I was looking forward to discover what would happen next for Hiro and his charge Father Mateo. What I found in The Ninja’s Daughter was both an interesting murder mystery and a great development of the overarching story.  Read More …

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Zen Cho – The Perilous Life of Jade Yeo & The Terracotta Bride

zencho-perilouslifeofjadeyeoFor writer Jade Yeo, the Roaring Twenties are coming in with more of a purr — until she pillories London’s best-known author in a scathing review. Sebastian Hardie is tall, dark and handsome, and more intrigued than annoyed. But if Jade succumbs to temptation, she risks losing her hard-won freedom — and her best chance for love. 

Zen Cho’s novella The Perilous Life of Jade Yeo isn’t actually an SFF story. In fact, it is a romance told through diary entries. And it is delightful! Set in 1920s London, our main character is a young  Malaysian woman who went to university in Britain and now is trying to make it as a writer. One of her gigs is writing reviews, so that immediately created a connection obviously, but Jade is wonderful in lots of ways. She’s funny, snarky, independent and prepared to defend her independence fiercely.  Read More …

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Author Query – Col Buchanan

colbuchanan-thehighwildI love the fact that there are more and more ways to support creators these days. And that writers are experimenting with ways to publish their work. Some are exclusively traditionally published, others self-publish, yet others become hybrid authors. Col Buchanan contacted me about his new venture, The High Wild, some or all of which he hopes to publish serially online, I was keen to ask him some questions. You can find his answers below and please do check out his new project!  Read More …

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A.F.E. Smith – Goldenfire

afesmith-goldenfireAyla Nightshade has ruled Darkhaven for three years. With the help of Tomas Caraway, her Captain of the Helm, she has overcome her father’s legacy to find new confidence in herself and her unusual shapeshifting abilities.

Yet three years ago, a discovery was made that could have profound consequences for the Nightshade line: a weapon exists that can harm even the powerful creatures they turn into. And now, that knowledge has fallen into the wrong hands.

An assassin is coming for Ayla, and will stop at nothing to see her dead.

Darkhaven, the first book in this series, was a surprise. Billed as a secondary-world fantasy with a murder mystery, I was all-in by the end of the synopsis and A.F.E. Smith delivered on the promise of the blurb and the cover of the book and I was completely smitten with the world and the characters. As such, Goldenfire had a lot to life up to. And it did, bringing back characters I love, introducing new ones and once again centring on a mystery, this time more on who will do it, than on whodunnit.  Read More …

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Author Query – Anna Mazzola

annamazzola-theunseeingYesterday I reviewed Anna Mazzola’s amazing debut novel The Unseeing. It’s a powerful story about one of the most notorious cases of early Victorian England. I absolutely adored the book and I was really pleased to be able to ask Anna some questions about it. I hope you enjoy Anna’s answers as much as I did and that you check out The Unseeing. If you’d like to hear an interview with Anna — including a bonus question from yours truly — check out her appearance on the Tea and Jeopardy podcast.

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Let’s start with the basics. Who is Anna Mazzola? 

I’m a debut author, a very small one. My first novel, The Unseeing, came out in July. I also write short stories, look after small children and act as a criminal justice solicitor to people of all sizes.  Read More …

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Anna Mazzola – The Unseeing

annamazzola-theunseeingIt is 1837 and the city streets teem with life, atmosphere and the stench of London. Sarah Gale, a seamstress and mother, has been sentenced to hang for her role in the murder of Hannah Brown on the eve of her wedding.

Edmund Fleetwood, an idealistic lawyer, is appointed to investigate Sarah’s petition for mercy and consider whether justice has been done. Struggling with his own demons, he is determined to seek out the truth, yet Sarah refuses to help him. Edmund knows she’s hiding something, but needs to discover just why she’s maintaining her silence. For how can it be that someone with a child would willingly go to their own death?

Criminal injustice is a hot topic these days—from Serial and the various podcasts it inspired, to Making a Murderer, to the stories we see in the news about wrongful convictions or inexplicably light sentencing. But it is certainly not a modern phenomenon and it is one such case that forms the bones for the story told in The Unseeing. Anna Mazzola’s powerful debut novel is set in the year that Queen Victoria ascended the throne and looks at the conviction of a woman for a crime she might not have committed in one of the most infamous cases of the early nineteenth century.  Read More …

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Review Amnesty: Reprise

reviewamnestyIt’s the return of the review amnesty. Once again I’m behind on reviewing books I’ve read and I really want to get through this backlog, so I won’t just keep staring at it mournfully and then freeze up trying to write the reviews. So I’ve decided to to write another batch of shorter reviews and I might do another one in the near future, just so I can start fresh after the summer.  Read More …

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Author Query – J.D.G. Perldeiner

jdgperldeiner-havenThe premise for J.D.G. Perldeiner’s Haven was fascinating: a post-apocalyptical story set in a medieval-like society. Unfortunately, due to my evermore threatening TBR-pile — one day it will topple and crush me — I couldn’t commit to reviewing the book, but I did want to highlight it, so I asked whether I could interview J.D.G. and he agreed, even after I made the mortifying mistake of mixing up his initials. (I’m so sorry about that, JD!) Enjoy the interview and do check out Haven if you can.  Read More …

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