Lily has grown up believing she accidentally killed her mother when she was just four years old. Now at fourteen, she yearns for forgiveness and a mother’s love. Living on a peach farm in South Carolina with her harsh and unyielding father, she has only one friend: Rosaleen, a black servant.
When racial tension explodes one summer afternoon, and Rosaleen is arrested and beaten, Lily is compelled to act. Fugitives from justice, the pair follow a trail left by the woman who died ten years before. Finding sanctuary in the home of three beekeeping sisters, Lily starts a journey as much about her understanding of the world, as about the mystery surrounding her mother.
When The Secret Life of Bees was first published in 2002, the book grabbed my attention but I was still a penurious student, so I didn’t buy the book and I rather lost sight of it. So when I received a package with both The Secret Life of Bees and Sue Monk Kidd’s newest novel The Invention of Wings I was really stoked to get the chance to finally read it. This week I finally sat down with The Secret Life of Bees and it was an interesting read. Continue reading
Is the world doomed to an eternity of war and hardship?
Inside the Dome, Partridge has taken his father’s place as leader of the Pures who dwell there. His struggle has led him here, intent upon bringing down the Dome from the inside, with the help of a secret resistance force. But things are not simple from his new position of power and he finds himself tempted by his father’s words: perhaps if the world is to survive it needs the Dome – and Partridge – to rule it…
As Partridge’s resolve weakens, Pressia and Bradwell remain outside the Dome, continuing to piece together the clues left to them from the time before the Detonations. It is their hope that they will be able to heal the Wretches, and free them from their monstrous fusings and the Dome’s oppression once and for all. But everything depends, too, on Partridge. Separated by distance and history, can they still trust their friend and ally? Or is the world doomed to an eternity of war and hardship?
I loved Pure and Fuse, and I was beyond excited to get an ARC for the trilogy’s concluding volume Burn. It is a fitting conclusion to this bleak view of the future and human nature. If Pure and Fuse were bleak and bleaker, then Burn was bleakest and I found myself wondering how on earth Baggott was going to pull off a satisfactory ending, if not a happy one. But Burn provides a fitting conclusion to the tale started in Pure and while it may not be a Disney-style happy ending, it is an ending that leaves us with hope, hope for the characters we’ve become attached to and hope for a better world. Obviously as this is the last book in the series there will be spoilers for the previous books. If you haven’t read those and want to remain unspoilt: Beware, here be spoilers! Continue reading
There are some far-fetched rumours about the caverns beneath the Citadel…
Some say the mages left their most dangerous secrets hidden there; others, that great riches are hidden there; even that gods have been imprisoned in its darkest depths.
For Lord Frith, the caverns hold the key to his vengeance. Against all the odds, he has survived torture and lived to see his home and his family taken from him … and now someone is going to pay. For Wydrin of Crosshaven and her faithful companion, Sir Sebastian Carverson, a quest to the Citadel looks like just another job. There’s the promise of gold and adventure. Who knows, they might even have a decent tale or two once they’re done.
But sometimes there is truth in rumour.
Sometimes it pays to listen. Soon this reckless trio will be the last line of defence against a hungry, restless terror that wants to tear the world apart.
And they’re not even getting paid.
The Copper Promise was one of this spring’s books I was looking forward to reading a lot, as I’d heard very good things about the novella when it was previously published – most notably Graeme Flory’s review at his old blog – and it sounded like a really fun romp. So when the book was selected as the February title for the Hodderscape Review Project, I was stoked and got to reading with gusto. And I have to say, Graeme was completely right; this reworked and expanded version of that original novella was highly entertaining and reminiscent of classic sword and sorcery, but updated and lacking some of the more problematic elements of the classic sword and sorcery novels. Continue reading
There is magic on the urban streets. The Mythic are alive and creating chaos in a city near you. Fourteen fantastic fables by weavers of wonder: Adrian Tchaikovsky, Kate Griffin, Mike Resnick, Gaie Sebold, Christopher Golden, Alison Littlewood, Jaine Fenn, Jonathan Oliver, Graham Edwards, Anne Nicholls, Ian Whates, Joyce Chng, Zen Cho and James Brogden. Here are tales of magic and horror; ancient curses and modern charms; strange things in the Underground; murder and redemption; corporate cults and stalwart guardians; lost travellers and wandering gods; fortune tellers and urban wizards; dragons, fae and unspeakable beasts.
There is nothing I like more in my urban fantasy than a dose of magical London of the sort found in Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere, China Miéville’s Un Lun Dun, Ben Aaronovitch’s The Folly series, Tom Pollock’s The Skyscraper Throne series, and Rosie E. Best’s Skulk, to name but a few. So to be offered a chance to explore more of these magical metropolises (metropoli?) in The Alchemy Press Book of Urban Mythic wasn’t one I was about to refuse. And by no means are all of these stories set in London, and even more surprising most of my favourites from the anthology weren’t even set in London. Continue reading
When Daniel Routh, together with friends Jill and Greg, and little brother Mikey, discover a body washed up on the beach after a storm, it’s one of the most exciting things ever to happen on the island of Shorepoint. And, as the man in question slowly recovers, he befriends the inhabitants of this small fishing community one by one. Only Daniel suspects something might be wrong with the newcomer, who cannot remember who he is, nor how he came to be there. To start with, this John Dee (as they label him, short for Doe) brings prosperity and happiness with him, but it isn’t long before the tide begins to turn. Then John begins to worm his way into Daniel’s own family, trying to take the place of his late father, and the teenager knows something must be done. Little does Daniel realise that he’s now involved in one of the most ancient conflicts of all time; one that might decide the fate not only of Shorepoint, but of the entire world.
This is going to be a shorter than usual review for me since the book is a short one and there are a number of things that I can’t discuss without giving spoilers for the book’s big reveal. P.B. Kane, a pen name for Paul Kane, moves into the YA market for the first time with The Rainbow Man. And it’s an interesting story to make an entrance there, as it’s a slow-building story as mentioned in the introduction by Rachel Caine, in a way I haven’t seen it done very often in YA fiction. Continue reading
She’s the person you hire when you need something fixed—permanently. With a strict set of criteria, she evaluates every request and chooses only a few. No more than one job per country, per year. She will only step in if it’s clear that justice will not be served any other way. Her jobs are completed with skill and precision, and never result in inquiry or police investigation. The Fixer is invisible—and quite deadly. . . .
In the office of a clinical psychologist in Olympia, Washington, a beautiful young woman is in terrible emotional pain. She puts up walls, tells lies, and seems to speak in riddles, but the doctor is determined to help her heal, despite the fact that she claims to have hurt many people. As their sessions escalate, the psychologist feels compelled to reach out to the police . . . but it might be too late.
In Seattle, a detective gets a call from his son. A dedicated journalist, he wants his father’s expertise as he looks into a suspicious death. Together they follow the trail of leads toward a stone-cold hired killer—only to find that death has been closer than either could have imagined.
The Fixer is my first pure crime book read in 2014 and it was a good one to start the year with. T.E. Woods’ debut novel offers a smooth reading experience with sympathetic protagonists and a very mysterious antagonist. Woods wrong-footed me several times with some elegant plotting and effortless misdirection, which made reaching the end of the novel and the final resolution of the mystery even more rewarding. Continue reading
Only very special people are chosen by children’s author Laura White to join ‘The Society’, an elite group of writers in the small town of Rabbit Back.
Now a tenth member has been selected: Ella, literature teacher and possessor of beautifully curving lips.
But soon Ella discovers that the Society is not what it seems. What is its mysterious ritual, ‘The Game’? What explains the strange disappearance that occurs at Laura’s winter party, in a whirlwind of snow? Why are the words inside books starting to rearrange themselves? Was there once another tenth member, before her?
Slowly, disturbing secrets that had been buried come to light…
In this chilling, darkly funny novel, the uncanny brushes up against the everyday in the most beguiling and unexpected of ways.
The Rabbit Back Literature Society is something special. Originally published in 2006 it was translated from the Finnish by Lola M. Rogers. It’s hard to judge how successful the translation is as I’m unfamiliar with both Finnish and Finnish literature and I don’t know whether the translation has kept the rhythm and the beats of its original language. Unfamiliarity with the original language also makes it hard to judge some of the linguistic quirks of the novel as it’s unclear whether things that bugged me were due to authorial choice or whether this is just a normal Finnish practice. One of the things that I really had to get used to was the fact that our protagonist, Ella is often referred to by not just her first and last name, but even by her full name, Ella Amanda Milana. This just felt strange to me and shook me out of the narrative a number of times at first. Continue reading
After nearly being drained of her ability and betrayed by a man her father trusted, Becca Ingle was left with one clue — Ciaran Shea. He holds the key to the downfall of the power-mad Holder, Darragh, and can ensure the safety of both Holder and Human kind alike… but is he willing to help?
Becca, Alex, Jocelyn, and Cormac set out Adare Manor to meet with the Bhunaidh, an aristocratic group of pure blooded Holders of whom Ciaran is a rumored member. However, when Becca discovers that they might not be the only ones after the information Ciaran has, everyone begins to wonder if Bhunaidh might not be as uninvolved with Darragh as they claim.
A race to uncover Ciaran’s secrets begins, where the line between friend and foe is blurred, and everyone seems to have their own agenda. Becca will have to call on every ability at her disposal to uncover the truth, all the while knowing that sometimes the answer is more dangerous than the question.
Julianna Scott’s debut The Holders took me by surprise last year. The book had sounded like a fun, interesting read, but I was taken completely unaware by how much I loved the story. It featured a great protagonist with a very distinctive voice in Becca, an interesting concept in the Holders and their abilities, and the romance between Alex and Becca was delicious. So The Seers was a book that I was really looking forward to and it was definitely worth the anticipation. It was a fun continuance of the story and I got answers to some of the questions I was left with at the end of the previous book. Continue reading
Meet Stan Markowski or the Scranton PD’s Occult Crimes Unit.
“My name’s Markowski. I carry a badge. Also, a crucifix, some wooden stakes, a big vial of holy water, and a 9mm Beretta loaded with silver bullets.
“A new supernatural gang is intent on invading Scranton and it looks like I’m going to have to work with the current mob to prevent a demonic gang war.
“If there’s one thing I hate more than living with supernatural scumbags, it’s working with them! But you know that they say, better the devil you know…”
In 2012 I developed a taste for supernatural police procedurals, when I read Scott Sigler’s Nocturnal and Ben Aaronovitch’s Rivers of London and Justin Gustainis’ Evil Dark was the one that confirmed that these sorts of books were really my thing. After finishing Evil Dark I was really looking forward to reading the next instalment in the Haunted Scranton series and, after two years, this weekend I finally got to return to Scranton and Detective Sergeant Markowski and friends. Known Devil was a blast, with the same sense of humour that had me chuckling out loud when reading Evil Dark and another action packed adventure. Continue reading