Archive for review

Author Query Redux – Carrie Patel

carriepatel-theburiedlifeLast year I reviewed Carrie Patel’s debut novel The Buried Life, which I really enjoyed. I also interviewed her in the run up to the book’s publication. And then life threw a spanner in the works. Angry Robot Books was put up for sale and most of the remaining 2014 titles that were still to be published were pushed back until 2015. This March sees the Angry Robot Reboot and Carrie’s debut is finally available to everyone. From March 3 everyone will be able to purchase this wonderful book. To celebrate this fact, I’ve asked Carrie back for another Author Query to talk about the past year and more. Enjoy and please check out The Buried Life next week!

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Kellerman Reread: Silent Partner

jonathankellerman-silentpartnerAt a party for a controversial Los Angeles sex therapist. Alex encounters a face from his own past—Sharon Ransom, an exquisite, alluring lover who left him abruptly more than a decade earlier. Sharon now hints that she desperately needs help, but Alex evades her. The next day she is dead, an apparent suicide.

Driven by guilt and sadness, Alex plunges into the maze of Sharon’s life—a journey that will take him through the pleasure palaces of California’s ultra-rich, into the dark closets of a family’s disturbing past, and finally into the alleyways of the mind, where childhood terrors still hold sway.

Welcome back to the fourth instalment of my Kellerman Reread. Alex Delaware returns after his last adventure in Over The Edge and life couldn’t be more different. He’s working more and his life is troubled. While Milo and Rick have reconciled, Alex and Robin are working through some big issues and consequently she’s once again largely gone from the narrative in a practical sense. Her absence and the question of whether it’ll be permanent looms over Alex and the narrative, especially due to Alex’s having to deal with this relationship from the past and the way he was with Sharon then and how he is with Robin now.  Continue reading »

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Sue Tingey – Marked

suetingey-markedWith no family and very few friends, Lucky’s psychic ability has always made her an outcast. The only person she can rely on is Kayla, the ghost girl who has been with her since she was born.

But Kayla is not all that she appears.

And when Lucky is visited by a demonic assassin with a message for her friend, she finds herself dragged into the Underlands – and the political fight for the daemon king’s throne.

Lucky, trapped in the daemon world, is determined to find her way home… until she finds herself caught between the charms of the Guardian Jamie, the charismatic Daemon of Death Jinx – and the lure of finding out who she really is.

I love hidden worlds parallel to our own, as witnessed by my love for Emma Newman’s The Split Worlds and Lou Morgan’s Blood and Feathers books. So when I read the synopsis for Sue Tingey’s debut Marked when Jo Fletcher Books announced their acquisition of the story, my interest was immediately piqued. I was very lucky to have the chance to get an extra early look at Marked and I’m really glad for the chance, because Marked is a wonderful story.  Continue reading »

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Author Query – Adrian Tchaikovsky

adriantchaikovsky-gunsofthedawnOne author that I’ve heard loads and loads of great things about is Adrian Tchaikovsky. This first series was the massive Shadows of the Apt series, which was comprised of ten books and which was peopled by insect-kinden, people who took on various insect characteristics. Being a wuss when it comes to anything with more than four legs and since the series was already on book four by the time I heard about it, I never got into it. I did however read some of Tchaikovsky’s work as he had a short story in Two Hundred and Twenty One Baker Streets, last year’s speculative Sherlock Holmes anthology from Solaris. I really enjoyed his story The Final Conjuration and it made me curious to read more of his work. Enter Guns of the Dawn. A standalone book unconnected to his previous series and set in a regency-esque secondary world. I was sold and I have the book waiting on my to be read pile to be consumed soon. In the meantime, I present you with the following Author Query.  Continue reading »

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Rebecca Burns – The Settling Earth

rebeccaburns-thesettlingearthMarriage transplants Sarah thousands of miles from home; a failed love affair forces Phoebe to make drastic choices in a new environment; a sudden, shocking discovery brings Mrs Ellis to reconsider her life as an emigrant — The Settling Earth is a collection of ten, interlinked stories, focusing on the British settler experience in colonial New Zealand, and the settlers’ attempts to make sense of life in a strange new land.

Sacrifices, conflict, a growing love for the landscape, a recognition of the succour offered by New Zealand to Maori and settler communities — these are themes explored in the book. The final story in the collection, written by Shelly Davies of the Ngātiwai tribe, adds a Maori perspective to the experience of British settlement in their land.

I don’t know that much about New Zealand, other than it’s where the Lord of the Rings was filmed, there was a huge earthquake a few years ago and it’s where the kiwi bird is from. Oh and they have a lot of sheep. So when the author approached me about reviewing her collection of historical short stories set there, I was interested at once. Additionally, while I’ve been reading more SFF short fiction, I’d never yet read any historical short fiction, so I was interested to see whether short fiction in that vein would work for me.  Continue reading »

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David Churchill – The Leopards of Normandy: Devil

davidchurchill-devilThe fate of England hangs in the balance of a fight between brothers

The noble families of Europe are tearing themselves apart in their lust for power and wealth.

Emma, Queen of England, is in agony over the succession to her husband Canute’s throne … while the sons of her brother, the Duke of Normandy, battle in the wake of his death.

Robert, the younger son, has been cheated of Normandy’s mightiest castle and sets out to take it by force. He emerges from a bloody siege victorious and in love with a beautiful — and pregnant — peasant girl.

Robert’s child will be mocked as William the bastard. But we have another name for him

… Conqueror.

The first instalment in the Leopards of Normandy trilogy paints a world seething with rivalry and intrigue, where assassins are never short of work.

The Leopards of Normandy: Devil was one of my most anticipated reads for the first half of the year. William the Conqueror is a fascinating figure in English history. The effects of his taking over England on the English language was huge and one of the more interesting topics we studied in linguistics class—linguistics not being my favourite topic at uni. And while this era of European history is quite interesting due to its eventful nature, it is also one I don’t know that well. Enter Devil and the chance to learn more about both William and this period of history. Devil was very much what I expected it to be, with some surprises and some elements that really bugged me. Despite these, I really enjoyed the story as much as I’d hoped to.  Continue reading »

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Rebecca Whitney – The Liar’s Chair

rebeccawhitney-theliarschairRachel Teller and her husband David appear happy, prosperous and fulfilled. The big house, the successful business… They have everything.

However, control, not love, fuels their relationship and David has no idea his wife indulges in drunken indiscretions. When Rachel kills a man in a hit and run, the meticulously maintained veneer over their life begins to crack.

Destroying all evidence of the accident, David insists they continue as normal. Rachel though is racked with guilt and as her behaviour becomes increasingly self-destructive she not only inflames David’s darker side, but also uncovers her own long-suppressed memories of shame. Can Rachel confront her past and atone for her terrible crime? Not if her husband has anything to do with it…

A startling, dark and audacious novel set in and around the Brighton streets, The Liar’s Chair will keep readers on the edge of their seats until the final page has been turned. A stunning psychological portrait of a woman in a toxic marriage, Rebecca Whitney’s debut will show that sometimes the darkest shadow holds the truth you have been hiding from…

The question “what if?” is one of the most powerful questions one can ask. It can spur exploration, invention, and new discoveries. But if “what if” is a stand-in for “if only” then it can become one of the most destructive questions a person can ask themselves, as it is often laced with guilt and regret. And in Rachel Teller’s case it seems as if her “if only” causes her entire life to unravel, but Rebecca Whitney’s debut The Liar’s Chair shows that even if you live in a house made mostly from glass, what goes on inside can be largely hidden and that Rachel’s life hangs together from “if only”s.  Continue reading »

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Author Query – Silvia Moreno-Garcia

silviamorenogarcia-signaltonoiseToday sees the publication of Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s hotly anticipated Signal to Noise. I’ve been looking forward to this one immensely, even including it in my anticipated reads for the first half of the year. Set in Mexico City, partly in 1988 and partly in 2009, the story mixes music and magic, creating a tale of love and identity. I’ll be reading and reviewing the book in the coming week, but for now I present you with an Author Query with Silvia Morena-Garcia. Enjoy and don’t forget to check out Signal to Noise!

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Nick Pengelley – Ryder: American Treasure [Blog Tour]

nickpengelley-ryderamericantreasureDuring of the War of 1812, British troops ransacked the White House and made off with valuables that were never returned. Two centuries later, a British curator finds a vital clue to the long-vanished loot. Within hours, the curator is assassinated—and Ayesha Ryder, a Palestinian-born antiquities expert, is expertly framed for his murder.
 
Who could be behind such a conspiracy? And why do they want Ryder out of the way? To find out, she picks up a trail leading from a mysterious nineteenth-century letter to the upcoming presidential election. As Ryder dodges killers in the shadow of hidden alliances, sexual blackmail, and international power plays, she finds that all roads lead to the Middle East, where a fragile peace agreement threatens to unravel . . . and another mystery begs to be discovered.
 
Ryder’s rarefied academic career and her violent past are about to collide. And her only hope of survival is to confront a powerful secret agent who has been waiting for one thing: the chance to kill Ayesha Ryder with his own two hands.

Last October I reviewed the first Ayesha Ryder novel, appropriately called Ryder. I really enjoyed this Dan Brown-esque tale with a strong political flavour. So I was really pleased to be able to review the second book as well. Ryder: American Treasure is set six months after the first book and is very much a tale in the same vein as the first, a thrilling treasure hunt, following clues left behind by some of the great figures of history. Yet there were also some very big differences to the first novel.  Continue reading »

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Kellerman Reread: Over the Edge

jonathankellerman-overtheedgeThe case against Jamey Cadmus seems open and shut. Found clutching a bloody knife at the scene of a horrifying double murder, he’s a prime suspect in a series of killings that have rocked Los Angeles. Even his lawyer won’t do more than plead diminished responsibility. No one – not the police, not the family, not the lawyers – wants Alex Delaware lifting up stones. But under those stones lies something unspeakable…

The third book in the Alex Delaware series is called Over The Edge and was originally published in 1987. While I enjoyed the story overall, I had a hard time getting into this one. This was partly due to the setup of the book and the slow start to the narrative, and partly due to the fact that in this book Kellerman’s descriptive writing kind of got out of hand. Yet once the book got going and I was sucked into the mystery of figuring out what had happened to Jamey, It became another exciting Delaware adventure.  Continue reading »

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