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 …

Alex Bell – The Haunting

alexbell-thehauntingSome curses grow stronger with time…

People say that all Cornish inns are haunted, but the Waterwitch’s history is particularly chilling. Built from the salvaged timber of a cursed ship, the guest house’s dark secrets go further back than anyone can remember.

Emma is permanently confined to a wheelchair after an accident at the Waterwitch which took place when she was ten. Seven years later, she decides to return to the place where the awful event occurred. But the ancient inn still has its ghosts, and one particular spirit is more vengeful than ever…

A chilling new title in the Red Eye horror series from the author of Frozen Charlotte.

Last year Stripes Publishing launched a new series called Red Eye. The books published in this series were all YA horror novels and while I loved some of them more than others, overall the series had a successful launch year in my opinion. One of my favourites in the series last year was Alex Bell’s Frozen Charlotte, so I was quite excited to get stuck into her latest offering, The Haunting. Set in Cornwall and featuring a purportedly haunted inn, Bell captured my attention with the setting alone, but it was further piqued by the fact that one of its main characters is in a wheelchair, as I’ve been wanting to read more books featuring disabled characters as part of my more diverse reading diet.  Read More …

Author Query – Lou Morgan

redeyeIn the run up to Halloween, Stripes Publishing is celebrating the conclusion of their first year of the Red Eye series with a blog tour. I’ve read and enjoyed all of the Red Eye books this year and I was really stoked to get the chance to interview the wonderful Lou Morgan. I adored Lou’s first series Blood and Feathers from Solaris and her Red Eye title Sleepless was my favourite of the run. And in addition to being a fabulous writer, she’s also just a really good egg, so it is always great to have her visit A Fantastical Librarian. If you haven’t checked out Sleepless or the other Red Eye titles I highly recommend you do so. In the meantime, enjoy this interview!  Read More …

Author Query Redux – Christopher Fowler

christopherfowler-thesandmenLast year I reviewed Christopher Fowler’s Bryant & May and The Burning Man, which I enjoyed hugely. I loved the quirkiness of his Peculiar Crime Unit and I have a weak spot for police procedurals anyway. But his other books, speculative fiction with a wide horror streak running through them have consistently caught my eyes over the past few years, though I’ve never had the guts to read them—I guess my teaching myself to (dare to) horror is still a work in progress. His latest novel, The Sand Men, sounds fascinating and I’m pleased to be able to welcome Christopher back to A Fantastical Librarian for another Author Query and his answers to some questions about The Sand Men.

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Welcome back to A Fantastical Librarian! Tell us about The Sand Men, your latest release from Solaris. What inspired this near-future thriller?

Partly my love for JG Ballard’s ideas. We used to correspond and I’ve read everything he wrote. I felt that if he had lived longer he would have been fascinated by the Middle East’s determination to hurtle into the future.  Read More …

Author Query – Tom Becker

tombecker-darkroomThis morning I posted my review for Tom Becker’s latest novel Dark Room. While I had a big problem with one element of the book, overall I had a great time reading this creepy murder mystery. I was really pleased to be able to ask Tom some questions about the book, its setting and its take on social media. I hope you enjoy Tom’s answer as much as I did.

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Let’s start with the basics. Who is Tom Becker?

Tom Becker is the pen name of Tom Beckerlegge, who is the same person except with a slightly sillier surname. I grew up in a Lancashire market town and now live in London, which makes me sound more like Dick Whittington than I actually am. I used to be young but now there is grey in my hair and I don’t recognize the songs I hear on the radio. I’ve been writing children’s books since 2007 – Dark Room is my first YA book, but hopefully not my last.  Read More …

Tom Becker – Dark Room

tombecker-darkroomWhen Darla and her feckless dad, Hopper, move to Saffron Hills, Darla hopes it’ll be a new start for the both of them. But she stands no chance of fitting in with the image-obsessed in-crowd at her new school. Then one of her classmates is brutally killed when taking a photo of herself. A murder Darla herself predicted in a bloody vision. When more teens die in a similar fashion it appears that a serial killer is on the loose – the ‘Selfie Slayer’. Darla alone is convinced that the murderer might not be flesh and blood…  

Stripes Publishing took on YA horror this year with their new series Red Eye, which has resulted in four very entertaining books so far this year. Tom Becker’s Dark Room is the fifth, and last for this year, and it adds to the series with a great murder mystery, which I enjoyed very much, though I did have a big problem with its villain. As a warning, I won’t be able to discuss what made the antagonist so problematic for me without giving away their identity. So I will warn you now there will be a massive spoiler and before I head into my discussion of the murderer, I will give another spoiler warning. So if you don’t want to know, you’ll know when to stop reading.  Read More …

Anticipated Books (Summer-Autumn) 2015: YA October-December

2015Welcome to the next post in my Anticipated Books series for the second half of 2015. YA books have become a steady part of my reading diet. Some of my favourite authors are writing for this age group and there are just so many great titles out there. Consequently, I’ve had to spread my YA picks over three posts. This is the last one. For some of these I already have an (e)ARC or review copy, so they’ll definitely be read and reviewed. And for the rest, I’ll have to see whether I get the chance to get my hands on them!  Read More …

Anticipated Books (Summer-Autumn) 2015: YA September

2015Welcome to the next post in my Anticipated Books series for the second half of 2015. YA books have become a steady part of my reading diet. Some of my favourite authors are writing for this age group and there are just so many great titles out there. Consequently, I’ve had to spread my YA picks over three posts. September is such a huge month, it got an entire post to itself! For some of these I already have an (e)ARC or review copy, so they’ll definitely be read and reviewed. And for the rest, I’ll have to see whether I get the chance to get my hands on them!  Read More …

Anticipated Books (Summer-Autumn) 2015: YA July-August

2015Welcome to the next post in my Anticipated Books series for the second half of 2015. YA books have become a permanent part of my reading diet. Some of my favourite authors are writing for this age group and there are just so many great titles out there. Consequently, I’ve had to spread my YA picks over three posts. This is the first one. For some of these I already have an (e)ARC or review copy, so they’ll definitely be read and reviewed. And for the rest, I’ll have to see whether I get the chance to get my hands on them!  Read More …

Anticipated Books (Summer-Autumn) 2015: Middle Grade

2015Welcome to the next post in my Anticipated Books series for the second half of 2015. Today it’s time to look at books for a younger set of readers: middle grade books. I’ve mixed the different genres together for this one, so there should be something for everyone. For some of these I already have an (e)ARC or review copy, so they’ll definitely be read and reviewed. And for the rest, I’ll have to see whether I get the chance to get my hands on them!  Read More …