Archive for review

Author Query – Naomi Foyle

naomifoyle-rooksongIn a fortnight Jo Fletcher Books is publishing Rook Song the second book in the Gaia Chronicles. Having had a complicated reaction to her debut Seoul Survivors, I got along far better with the first book in her current series called Astra. I enjoyed this world teetering between utopia and dystopia and Astra was a marvellous protagonist. I’m very much looking forward to Rook Song, which promises to be an exciting read after the conclusion of Astra. Today I get to bring you an interview with Naomi, in which I get to ask her about Astra, Rook Song, the potential pit falls of Gaia Play and what is next on her docket. I hope you enjoy this Author Query and don’t forget to check out Rook Song out on Thursday 5 February.  Continue reading »

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Eve Karlin – City of Liars and Thieves [Blog Tour]

evekarlin-cityofliarsandthievesOn the bustling docks of the Hudson River, Catherine Ring waits with her husband and children for the ship carrying her cousin, Elma Sands. Their Greenwich Street boardinghouse becomes a haven for Elma, who has at last escaped the stifling confines of her small hometown and the shameful circumstances of her birth. But in the summer of 1799, Manhattan remains a teeming cesspool of stagnant swamps and polluted rivers. The city is desperate for clean water as fires wreak devastation and the death toll from yellow fever surges.

Political tensions are rising, too. It’s an election year, and Alexander Hamilton is hungry for power. So is his rival, Aaron Burr, who has announced the formation of the Manhattan Water Company. But their private struggle becomes very public when the body of Elma Sands is found at the bottom of a city well built by Burr’s company.

Resolved to see justice done, Catherine becomes both witness and avenger. She soon finds, however, that the shocking truth behind this trial has nothing to do with guilt or innocence.

City of Liars and Thieves, Eve Karlin’s debut, is a historical novel based on the first recorded murder trial in New York. Just for this fact alone it would have been fascinating, but it is also a snap shot of the run up to one of the most hotly contended Presidential elections in US history, which makes it even more interesting. To be fair, I didn’t know much about either Hamilton or Burr, but I did know about the continual issue with water supply in Manhattan and I was interested to see how they tied into this.  Continue reading »

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Kellerman Reread: Blood Test

jonathankellerman-bloodtestLittle Woody Swope was gravely ill. Treatment was possible, if painful. But his parents, members of a bizarre sect called the Touchers, threatened to take him out of hospital.

Then Woody was gone. So were the Swopes, leaving their motel suite heavily bloodstained.

Enter Alex Delaware, child psychologist, young, burned out and semi-retire. he and his LA cop friend Milo find a heap of suspects – an aging ex-hippy doctor; a back-country police chief; a male stripper; even Nona, Woody’s sister, a flame-haired Lolita with hate in her eyes and larceny in her soul.

But the truth was more bizarre than even Alex could have imagined… 

Blood Test is the second Alex Delaware book. It’s a far slimmer book than When the Bough Breaks, but the writing is more assured and the story certainly packs a punch. Set about a year after the events in the first book, Alex has recuperated from the broken jaw he sustained and has slowly started to get over the nightmares that haunted him in the aftermath of the events of When the Bough Breaks. He’s also been doing some consulting on the side, even though he’s officially still retired. And it is one of these consulting gigs that gets him involved in the main case of the book.  Continue reading »

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David Duchovny – Holy Cow

davidduchovny-holycowElsie Bovary is a cow and a pretty happy one at that. Until one night, Elsie sneaks out of the pasture and finds herself drawn to the farmhouse. Through the window, she sees the farmer’s family gathered around a bright Box God – and what the Box God reveals about something called an ‘industrial meat farm’ shakes Elsie’s understanding of her world to its core.

The only solution? To escape to a better, safer world. And so a motley crew is formed: Elsie; Shalom, a grumpy pig who’s recently converted to Judaism; and Tom, a suave turkey who can’t fly, but can work an iPhone with his beak. Toting stolen passports and slapdash human disguises, they head for the airport …

Elsie is a wise-cracking, slyly witty narrator; Tom dispenses psychiatric advice in a fake German accent; and Shalom ends up unexpectedly uniting Israelis and Palestinians. David Duchovny’s charismatic creatures point the way toward a mutual understanding and acceptance the world desperately needs.

The author of Holy Cow doesn’t really need an introduction, does he? Especially for all my fellow geeks who grew up on X-Files (Mulder <3’s Scully 4EVA!). But I was rather surprised when I was handed the proof copy for Holy Cow with the comment that David Duchovny had written it. I didn’t even knew he wrote! It turns out that Holy Cow is his debut novel and it is a solid debut. It is also very much a book that either works for you or it doesn’t. It approaches some serious real world issues through a humorous lens and its success will depend on whether you can appreciate Duchovny’s – by way of Elsie’s voice – sense of humour and the stances he takes on the issues he addresses.  Continue reading »

By Published Posted in fantasy, mainstream, review | 2 Comments

Red Eye Double Bill: Frozen Charlotte and Sleepless [Blog Tour]

redeyeThis month saw the launch of Red Eye, Stripes publishing’s new YA horror line. With Red Eye, Stripes is aiming to give horror a frighteningly contemporary makeover mixing pop culture, violence and technology and reaching a new generation of teen horror readers. The first two books in this line-up are Alex Bell’s Frozen Charlotte and Lou Morgan’s Sleepless. I was very excited for both of these stories, so I’m quite pleased that today as part of the inaugural Red Eye blog tour, I get to bring you a double-bill: reviews for both of these novels. Don’t forget to catch up with the blog tour tomorrow over at Studio ReadsContinue reading »

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Freeing Hostage: even series are hybrid these days

manijabrownsmith-strangerLast year I read and reviewed the wonderful Stranger by Rachel Manija Brown and Sherwood Smith. Now this is a book with history. In September of 2011 Brown and Smith opened up about their experiences trying to get an agent to represent them to sell the book that became Stranger. One agent expressed interest in taking the book on, provided they would either turn their gay main character straight or lose his point of view and any reference to his sexual orientation. This sparked a lot of discussion and gave rise to #YesGayYA. Stranger was eventually picked up by Viking in 2012 and was finally released last November. After the groundswell of support in 2011, I would have expected far more of a splash on publication, yet when it finally arrived, it did so relatively silently.  Continue reading »

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Jennifer Brozek – Apocalypse Girl Dreaming

jenniferbrozek-apocalypsegirldreammingPeek into the mind and dreams of award winning editor and author Jennifer Brozek. Travel from the weird west to the hidden worlds of Kendrick all the way to the far reaches of space. This collection contains twenty previously published short stories and includes the brand new Kember Empire story “Found on the Body of a Solider.” Enjoy your journey and don’t forget your survival gear. Apocalypse Girl is waiting.

Includes a foreword by science fiction author Jody Lynn Nye.

When I was contacted about reviewing Jennifer Brozek’s new short story collection Apocalypse Girl Dreaming, there were two things that sprung to mind: I remembered hearing her on the SF Signal podcast and really enjoying the episodes and I remembered reading her Valdemar story in Under the Vale and liking her angle of looking at those who are rejected for Collegium instead of the ones who are Chosen. So I was pleased to get the opportunity to read more by Brozek and discover what else she had written. It turns out Brozek is a versatile writer as at home in fantasy as she is in military SF or the Weird West and everything in-between.  Continue reading »

By Published Posted in fantasy, horror, review, science fiction | 1 Comment

Thomas Sweterlitsch – Tomorrow and Tomorrow

thomassweterlitsch-tomorrowandtomorrowIt is ten years since the attack that reduced Pittsburgh to ashes. Today all that remains is the Archive: an interactive digital record of the city and its people.

John Dominic Blaxton is a survivor, one of the ‘lucky ones’ who escaped the blast. Crippled by the loss of his wife and unborn daughter, he spends his days immersed in the Archive with the ghosts of yesterday.

It is there he finds the digital record of a body: a woman, lying face down, half buried in mud. Who is she … and why is someone hacking into the system and deleting the record of her seemingly unremarkable life? This question will drag Dominic from the darkest corners of the past into a deadly and very present nightmare.

When I started Tomorrow and Tomorrow, I was a bit unsure as to what to expect. Was it a murder mystery? An SF novel? A dystopia? It turned out the book is all three. Thomas Sweterlitsch delivers an immersive and thrilling tale of a man whose barely patched-together existence comes crumbling down around him when he discovers a murder in the City Archive that its perpetrators would rather stay buried with the city it happened in. The narrative is fascinating, though at times a little hard to follow. But staying on its tracks paid off beautifully in the end.  Continue reading »

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In the news: Cover for Joshua Winning’s Ruins

joshuawinningOne review copy that has been languishing on my digital to read shelf for way too long is Joshua Winning’s Sentinel. One of the reasons I was drawn to accept a review copy of Sentinel was its cover. I love the style of it. And add in the promise of underground societies, evil forces, and a teen trying to figure it all out and I was sold.   Continue reading »

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Kellerman Reread: When the Bough Breaks

kellerman-jonathan-br-when-the-bough-breaks-6830-pSeven-year-old Melody Quinn is the only witness of a horrific double murder but she can’t or won’t talk about what she saw. Child psychologist Alex Delaware is brought in to try and get through to her and to the truth of what happened that night. But it soon becomes clear that Melody isn’t just traumatised by the murders.

Alex is only too aware that LA is a city which spawns ugliness. But is he prepared for the seemingly bottomless pit of perversion and violence that he’s about to uncover?

The first time I read Jonathan Kellerman’s When the Bough Breaks I was probably around fifteen and the last time somewhere around twenty-five. In between I’d reread the series – up to the point it was published at time of reread – several times, but from then till now it has been about a decade. So all in all the timing of this reread seems to be serendipitous to say the least, as I’m now thirty-five. As it’s a reread I’ll be focusing on the experience of rereading the book in addition to the usual review elements such as plot and characters.  Continue reading »

By Published Posted in crime, mystery, thriller | Leave a comment
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