Blog Tour: Keeper by Johana Gustawsson Ellen’s Review

Hi everyone,

Today Ellen is taking part in the blog tour for Keeper by Johana Gustawsson and I’ll be sharing her review with you all!

About the author:

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Born in 1978 in Marseille and with a degree in political science, Johana
Gustawsson has worked as a journalist for the French press and television. She
married a Swede and now lives in London. She was the co-author of a
bestseller, On se retrouvera, published by Fayard Noir in France, whose
television adaptation drew over 7 million viewers in June 2015. Her debut,
Block 46, was an award-winning, international bestseller, with Keeper following
suit. She is working on the next book in the Roy & Castells series.

About the book:

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Whitechapel, 1888: London is bowed under Jack the Ripper’s reign of terror.
London 2015: actress Julianne Bell is abducted in a case similar to the terrible Tower Hamlets murders of some ten years earlier, and harking back to the Ripper killings of a century before.

Falkenberg, Sweden, 2015: a woman’s body is found mutilated in a forest, her wounds
identical to those of the Tower Hamlets victims. With the man arrested for the Tower Hamlets crimes already locked up, do the new killings mean he has a dangerous accomplice, or is a copy-cat serial killer on the loose?
Profiler Emily Roy and true-crime writer Alexis Castells again find themselves drawn into an intriguing case, with personal links that turn their world upside down…

Ellen’s review:

I loved Block 46 by Johanna Gustawsson so was delighted to be able to review the second book in the Emily Roy and Alexis Castells series. Johanna’s writing is outstanding and I was gripped from the first page. It is a crime thriller but the main characters are profiler Emily and true crime writer Alexis. I love this alternative way of looking at a murder case. Each have their unique angle on investigating the murders/abduction. I have to say Emily is my favourite of the two – she is blunt to the point of being rude but can then turn on exactly the right amount of charm to extract the information she requires from victims and their families.

Another of my favourite characters was Alienor Lindbergh who is a determined new addition to the Swedish police force. Alienor has Asperger Syndrome and this is portrayed fantastically. She say things as she sees them and even asks Emily if she is an “aspie” which tickled me. A great new member of the team and I hope we see a lot more from her in future books.

Keeper is not for the faint hearted but you can guess that from the blurb. Any tale that features the history of Jack the Ripper isn’t going to be a walk in the park…more a lurk down a dark alley with a bloody ending! Once again the author mixes historical facts with fiction over two timelines and it works like magic.

All the shiny stars for Keeper – félicitations Johana Gustawsson and Orenda Books!

Follow the blog tour:

Vicious Rumer by Joshua Winning~Interview and Ellen’s Review

Hi everyone,

Today I’m thrilled to be able to share a Q&A I did with Joshua Winning, author of the Vicious Rumer, AND Ellen’s brilliant review 😊

About the author:

Joshua Winning Sentinel Shoot 2014

Joshua Winning is an author and film journalist who writes for TOTAL FILM, SFX, GAY TIMES and RADIO TIMES. He has been on set with Kermit the Frog, devoured breakfast with zombies on The Walking Dead, and sat on the Iron Throne while visiting the Game Of Thrones set in Dublin. Jeff Goldblum once told him he looks a bit like Paul Bettany.

In 2014, SENTINEL – the first book in Joshua’s SENTINEL TRILOGY – was published by Peridot Press. The second book, RUINS, followed in 2015. Joshua’s short story DEAD AIR appeared in SPEAK MY LANGUAGE: AN ANTHOLOGY OF GAY FICTION and Joshua’s new novel, VICIOUS RUMER, will be published by Unbound in 2018. He also co-wrote ’80s teen horror CAMP CARNAGE.

About the book:

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Rumer Cross is cursed. Scraping by working for a dingy London detective agency, she lives in the shadow of her mother, a violent criminal dubbed the ‘Witch Assassin’ whose bloodthirsty rampage terrorised London for over a decade.

Raised by foster families who never understood her and terrified she could one day turn into her mother, Rumer has become detached and self-reliant. But when she’s targeted by a vicious mobster who believes she’s hiding an occult relic, she’s drawn into the very world she’s been fighting to avoid.

Hunted by assassins and haunted by her mother’s dark legacy, Rumer must also confront a terrible truth: that she’s cursed, because no matter what she does, everybody she’s ever grown close to has died screaming.

Ellen’s Review:

What a ride this book is; from the opening chapter to the last you are grabbed by your throat and dragged on an exhilarating (and often brutal) journey. Cursed at birth and abandoned by her ruthless mother who was known as the “Witch Assassin”, you could say that Rumer has had an unsettling start to life. Bouncing between foster homes and misunderstood by those around her she becomes a recluse, a shadow. Her skills at being unseen soon gets her employment within a London detective agency. Things take a turn for the strange when Rumer is kidnapped by a mobster who is convinced she holds the secret to the location of an ancient relic that grants immortality. Her life depends on finding The Crook Spear and evading the ghosts of her past that are nipping at her heels.

I loved Rumer – I’d definitely wouldn’t want to get on the wrong side of her though. She is ruthless and ready to do anything to get the truth but she also has a wicked sense of humour so you can’t but help warm to her. After the upheaval of her early years you can forgive her brittleness and reluctance to form friendships, after all, those she grows close to have an uncanny habit of dying violently!

A kick ass thriller with elements of horror and humour; this is not a book for the faint hearted due to the gore factor. Vicious Rumer would make an awesome film and the soundtrack was rattling around my mind throughout reading. Also, just to add that the the book’s cover is pop art perfection.

Highly recommend!

Author interview:

Can you tell us a little about yourself?

Of course! I’m blond, athletic and a good cook. Wait, sorry, that’s my dating answer. I’m a film journalist and author originally from a tiny Suffolk town called Bury St Edmunds. Now I live in London, spending roughly 60 per cent of my time at a computer, 20 per cent watching movies, 10 per cent on the yoga mat and 10 per cent in the pub.

How did you get into writing? Is it something you’ve always wanted to do?

Aside from a few years when I wanted to be an Olympic gymnast (I was 10 and I dreamed big) I’ve always wanted to tell stories. My bedroom was always full of books. CS Lewis, Robin Jarvis, Christopher Pike… I had an entire Point Horror library that, sadly, has been lost to time. But yes, I’ve always compulsively written and it quickly became my idea of a dream job.

Where do you get your inspiration from?

Inspiration is such a weird thing because so much of it is unconscious. Sometimes I’ll be writing a scene and I’ll realise it’s an exact replica of something from Friends. Or I discover I’ve been writing Drusilla from Buffy The Vampire Slayer. The easiest answer is that, when I’m writing, I draw from pop culture both consciously and unconsciously because I’m a kid of the ’80s, so I was raised by TV and Scholastic and that stuff’s lodged in my brain forever.

How would you describe your writing to anyone who hasn’t read your book?

Quirky, fast-paced, grounded. I’ve had a lot of people say my books play in their heads like they’re watching a movie, which is an excellent compliment that I’ll totally use to answer this question!

Do you think social media helps in regard to promotion and drumming up publicity for a new book?

Absolutely, but I don’t know if that translates into sales. Social media is great for connecting with readers, bloggers and fellow authors, and I’ve met so many awesome people on Twitter who have been enthusiastic and supportive when my energy levels have dried up. Social media can be a vacuum, too, but if you stick with it and try to only share things that add value to people’s lives (rather than just ‘BUY MY BOOK K?’), it can be a really useful tool.

What’s your most favourite thing about being an author?

I’m not gonna lie, it’s pretty cool when somebody tells me my book gave them nightmares. In all seriousness, though, being an author is great because I get to tell stories. I love figuring out characters and seeing the world from their POV. And when somebody likes what you’ve written (and leaves a review on Amazon, he adds not at all subtly), that’s the best feeling ever.

What’s your least favourite thing about being an author?

Getting a numb bum every 60 minutes!

Where do you see your writing career 5 years from now?

I try not to look that far ahead. Obviously, it would be amazing to write a bestseller, but I’d also be totally OK if I’m still doing what I’m doing now, which is writing, writing, writing, and hopefully getting better with time.

What’s next for you?

A holiday! To celebrate the release of Vicious Rumer, me and a buddy are off to Ibiza. We’re both in our 30s so we won’t be raving it up Inbetweeners-style (unless somebody buys us a tequila, in which case, game over). I’m looking forward to beach, cocktails and time to catch up on reading. My TBR has spiralled out of control again…

I often wonder are authors voracious readers. Do you read much, and if so, what kind of books do you enjoy?

I used to be voracious but I really have to force myself to make time for reading nowadays, which is a bit of a tragedy. I generally use my commute to work for reading, so it has to be a really good book. I love all sorts of genres, but I’ll always be a sucker for a good fantasy horror like A Monster Calls, or a really juicy thriller like Silence Of The Lambs.

Can you tell me your all time favourite book, or if you have to, your top 5?

Ah, the question every reader dreads! My absolute favourites are Song Of Achilles by Madeline Miller, The Whitby Witches by Robin Jarvis, Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier and On Writing by Stephen King. Oh cool, that was easier than I expected!

Has there been any books you’ve read that you wish you had written?

Only Ever Yours by Louise O’Neill is a masterpiece of science-fiction that says something really important about contemporary culture. It’s gripping, SHARP, and completely devastating.

When you’re not writing, how do you spend your time?

Netflix is my bestie; it’s always there when I need it, and it doesn’t judge me when all I want to do is rewatch Party Of Five. I’m also a fan of the squash court, and at any given time I’m usually beta reading for one of my writer buddies. Because I’m not enough of a nerd already, I’ve also just got into videogames – I’m totally hooked on Heavy Rain at the moment. Highly recommended.

Have you any hobbies that aren’t book-related?

It’s generally frowned upon to read while playing squash or doing yoga, so those are my two non-literary activities. Unless you count the pub.

What’s your favourite holiday destination?

New York, always and forever. I spent two weeks there a few years back, staying with a friend, and they were the most amazing two weeks. We went hiking in the Catskills and visited a ton of cool galleries (the Whitney is a must). I’d move to Brooklyn in a heartbeat if I could.

Favourite food?

Peanut butter. On anything. When I was a kid, I never understood why Americans were so obsessed by PB, but now I get it. And I’m obsessed, too. But I’d never have it with jam because gross.

Favourite drink?

Coffee. But only coffee that tastes like coffee, not those double-mocha-with-whipped-cream-and-a-twist-of-pineapple things.

Last but not least, why writing? Why not something else?

It’s all I can do! It’s a compulsion that I can’t curb. It’s therapy and creativity and escapism all in one. If I couldn’t write, I’d die. Simple (and only slightly overdramatic).

Blog Tour Guest Post: Our House by Louise Candlish

Hi everyone,

Today I am delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for Our House by Louise Candlish. I’ll be sharing a guest post with you all further down, but first, its time for the all-important bookish information!

About the author:

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Louise Candlish is the bestselling author of twelve novels, including THE SUDDEN DEPARTURE OF THE FRASERS (2015) and THE SWIMMING POOL (2016). Her new thriller OUR HOUSE is published in the UK in April 2018 by Simon & Schuster.

Though her stories are about people facing dark dilemmas, Louise tries to get through the day without too much drama of her own. She lives in South London with her husband and daughter and is very attached to her dog Maggie and cat Tilly.

Follow her on Twitter at @louise_candlish or find out more at louisecandlish.com or facebook.com/LouiseCandlishAuthor.

About the book:

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FOR BETTER, FOR WORSE.
When Fi Lawson arrives home to find strangers moving into her house, she is plunged into terror and confusion. She and her husband Bram have owned their home on Trinity Avenue for years and have no intention of selling. How can this other family possibly think the house is theirs? And why has Bram disappeared when she needs him most?

FOR RICHER, FOR POORER.
Bram has made a catastrophic mistake and now he is paying. Unable to see his wife, his children or his home, he has nothing left but to settle scores. As the nightmare takes grip, both Bram and Fi try to make sense of the events that led to a devastating crime. What has he hidden from her – and what has she hidden from him? And will either survive the chilling truth – that there are far worse things you can lose than your house?

TILL DEATH US DO PART.

Our House by Louise Candlish

Over to Louise…

 

Top 5 properties in literature

 

Thornfield Hall in Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

Thornfield Hall is, of course, one of the classic houses of English literature, part of an august group that can be considered characters in their own right. A roll call of great mansions have followed, many with hauntings of one variety or another, but at Thornfield the hidden secret in all the more shocking for taking real bodily form. Jane’s own bond with Thornfield is powerful – ‘I grieve to leave’, she tells us – and we’ve all felt that sense of deep loss when we’ve left a place where we’ve been content.

 

Dr Jekyll’s house, Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson

In most crime and thriller novels, the monster behind closed doors is metaphorical: a shameful secret, a sense of jeopardy, an atmosphere of evil. Not so in Dr Jekyll’s Victorian London house. Though it ‘wore a great air of wealth and comfort’, there is attached to it sordid and rundown quarters where Jekyll’s murderous alter ego resides. Over 130 years later, readers are well advised to be on guard when encountering a desirable-sounding residence in their fiction: a respectable-looking house does not necessarily contain respectable people.

 

Manderley in Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier

A quick Twitter straw poll before writing this confirmed Manderley to be the best-loved house in fiction (closely followed by Pemberley). A symmetrical edifice of grey stone, set in a natural paradise of woodland and coast, it is ‘secretive and silent’, the ultimate haunted house. It possesses the reader from the first line – the most famous of all first lines – and is all the more precious for being gone: ‘Manderley is no more’.

 

Malory Towers in the Malory Towers series by Enid Blyton

The first books I remember loving were the Enid Blyton boarding school series Malory Towers and St Clare’s. It’s Malory Towers that comes with a memorable sense of place: a great castle on a Cornish clifftop, its architecture likely inspired by Lulworth Castle in Dorset. And who can forget the swimming pool cut from the rocks, where poor friendless Gwendoline Mary almost drowns?

 

51 Pepys Road in Capital by John Lanchester

Adorned with all the status symbols of the noughties’ affluent classes, including a sleek German kitchen and a Damien Hirst Spot painting, the Younts’ Clapham house has already had £650,000 lavished on ‘work’. When we first go inside 51 Pepys Road, Arabella Yount is putting up shelves in the store cupboard ‘she liked to call her pantry’ (the rustic pretensions of the urban middle class!) while plotting to give her husband a nasty shock. He’s not the only one to get what’s coming to him in this superb satire.

 Many thanks to Louise Candlish for this great post, and to Jess Barratt for letting me take part 😊

 

Make sure to check out the blog tour:

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Skin Deep by Liz Nugent

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*Many thanks to Liz Nugent and Penguin for my review copy!

About the author:

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Before becoming a full-time writer, Liz Nugent worked in Irish film, theatre and television. In 2014 her first novel, Unravelling Oliver, was a Number One bestseller and won the Crime Fiction Prize in the 2014 Irish Book Awards. Her second novel, Lying in Wait, went straight to Number One in the Irish bestseller charts, remained there for nearly two months and won her a second IBA. She lives in Dublin with her husband.

About the book:

‘I could probably have been an actress.
It is not difficult to pretend to be somebody else.
Isn’t that what I’ve been doing for most of my life?’

Cordelia Russell has been living on the French Riviera for twenty-five years, passing herself off as an English socialite. But her luck, and the kindness of strangers, have run out.

The arrival of a visitor from her distant past shocks Cordelia. She reacts violently to the intrusion and flees her flat to spend a drunken night at a glittering party. As dawn breaks she stumbles home through the back streets. Even before she opens her door she can hear the flies buzzing. She did not expect the corpse inside to start decomposing quite so quickly . . .

Skin Deep by Liz Nugent

My thoughts:

I love a bookish baddie. You know the kind. Self-centered, narcissistic, just hateful in general. Well, yet again, Liz Nugent has created a truly terrible fictional human being in Cordelia Russell. Right from the beginning of Skin Deep I found myself disliking her as a character.

But. And there is definitely a but. When we are taken through Cordelia’s early life, the reader learns why she is the way she is. No excuse, I know, but it is a very insightful and eye-opening character development that left me wondering how many more layers Liz Nugent could possibly add to her character.

Skin Deep is a masterful exploration of character and circumstance. It is graphic, raw and unashamedly honest in its portrayal of the lengths to which someone will go to get what they need from others. Selfishness and greed are front and centre in this book, and as we learn more about Cordelia, it is difficult to not have some very real and often angry feelings towards her.

I had been eagerly awaiting this book, and it was most definitely worth the wait. A savage look at the depravity of the human condition, the lengths to which people will go for their own gain, it is a triumph.

Highly recommended!

Blog Tour: A Breath After Drowning by Alice Blanchard

Hi everyone,

Today I’m thrilled to be taking part in the blog tour for Alice Blanchard’s A Breath After Drowning and I’ll be sharing my review with you all further down the post!

About the author:

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Alice Blanchard won the Katherine Anne Porter Prize for Fiction for her book of short stories, “The Stuntman’s Daughter.” Her first novel, “Darkness Peering,” was a New York Times’ Notable Book and a Barnes & Noble Best Mystery. Her thriller, “The Breathtaker,” was an official selection of the NBC Today Book Club. Alice has received a PEN Award, a New Letters Literary Award, and a Centrum Artists-in-Residence Fellowship. Her books have been published in 16 countries. Her new psychological thriller, “A Breath After Drowning,” will be published by Titan Books in April 2018.

About the book:

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Sixteen years ago, Kate Wolfe’s young sister Savannah was brutally murdered. Forced to live with the guilt of how her own selfishness put Savannah in harm’s way, Kate was at least comforted by the knowledge that the man responsible was behind bars. But when she meets a retired detective who is certain that Kate’s sister was only one of many victims of a serial killer, Kate must face the possibility that Savannah’s murderer walks free.
Unearthing disturbing family secrets in her search for the truth, Kate becomes sure that she has discovered the depraved mind responsible for so much death. But as she hunts for a killer, a killer is hunting her…

Out now, you can get your copy by clicking HERE!

My thoughts:

A Breath After Drowning is one of those books that gets its hooks into you quite early on, but you don’t realize it until you try to put it down. I found myself thinking about the story and the characters when I wasn’t reading it, which is always a sign of a good book for me.

Character-driven for the first while, the author does a great job of getting the reader invested in Kate’s life and her work. We learn her routine, her issues arising from her sister’s death and how she deals with her job as a psychologist on a daily basis. This all builds a foundation for how dark the book gets.

This is a really gripping book, I loved how the author wove past and present events, and how it all played out between the pages. I won’t lie, I had some suspicions along the way, but this in no way detracted from my enjoyment of the book. Guessing something isn’t the same as seeing how creatively the author will bring you towards the ultimate denouement, and Alice Blanchard does this beautifully.

Engaging, clever and more than a little dark in places, A Breath After Drowning is a most excellent psychological thriller.

Highly recommended!

Check out the tour:

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March 2018 Book Haul

Better late than never, eh? 🙂

*For any of you who don’t know, this is where I list the books that have made Bibliophile Book Club their new home in the previous month. The books are usually bought books, ARC’s sent from publishers, Netgalley review books and just basically any books I get go on here.

I have been pretty restrained lately with my book-buying, and I’ve been using the Borrowbox app when possible too. Borrowing library books is great, especially if you’re unsure as to whether you will enjoy the book or not! Anyway, I digress. On to the list…

  1. The Truth and Lies of Ella Black by Emily Barr
  2. Presumed Innocent by Scott Turow
  3. Since We Fell by Dennis Lehane
  4. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
  5. Shadowblack by Sebastian de Cassell
  6. Buried Lies by Kristina Ohlsson
  7. Bring Me Flowers by D. K Hood
  8. Everless by Sara Holland
  9. The Perfect Girlfriend by Karen Hamilton
  10. Crow Moon by Anna McKerrow
  11. Exhibit Alexandra by Natasha Bell
  12. The Life We Bury by Allen Eskens
  13. Truthwitch by Susan Dennard
  14. The Last Policeman by Ben H. Winters
  15. Fault Lines by Doug Johnstone
  16. Only Wrong Once by Jennifer Ruff
  17. Noirville Anthology by Fahrenheit Press Authors
  18. Those Above by Daniel Polansky
  19. The Rabbit Hunter by Lars Kepler
  20. The Fear by C. L. Taylor
  21. Blackfish City by Sam J. Miller
  22. The Defiant Heir by Melissa Caruso
  23. Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
  24. The Queens of Innis Lear by Tessa Gratton
  25. The Darkness by Ragnar Jónasson
  26. Skin Deep by Liz Nugent
  27. Persons Unknown by Susie Steiner
  28. Into The Water by Paula Hawkins
  29. The Lost Letters of William Woolf by Helen Cullen
  30. The Last Time I Lied by Riley Sager
  31. Motherland by G. D. Abson

So, 31 books. Not too bad at all, considering my March 2017 book haul total was 78!!!

Have you read any of these? Would you? I know there are some on there I am dying to get to, but a reading slump has hit so it will be a while before I pick them up!

Until next time… 🙂

 

 

 

ph

Blog Blitz: The Rising Storm by Ceri A. Lowe Ellen’s Review

Hi everyone,

Today Ellen is reviewing The Rising Storm as part of the Bookouture Blog Blitz so I’ll be sharing her review with you all a little further down!

About the author:

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When Ceri isn’t writing, she’s a self-employed project management consultant specialising in financial services. She lives with her partner in Bristol, England and has various obsessions including all things Spanish, travelling and, of course, writing.

Author Social Media Links:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/cerialowe/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/cerilowepetrask

Website: http://www.cerialowe.com/

About the book:

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What if the end of the world was just the beginning?

15-year-old Alice Davenport was a loner and an outcast before the Storms swept away everything she knew. Saved from the ravaged remains of her city by the mysterious and all-powerful Paradigm Industries, her fierce independence and unique skills soon gain her recognition from the highest levels of command. But their plans to rebuild civilisation from scratch mean destroying all remnants of the past – no matter what, or who, gets left behind.

Alice must decide if she will fight for the old world, or the new…

15-year-old Carter Warren is woken from the Catacombs after years of cryonic sleep. He’s determined to do whatever it takes to climb the ranks to Controller General – until he realises the Industry’s control methods have become harsher than ever. The Barricades make sure nothing from the Deadlands can get in to the Community – and no one can get out. And a shocking discovery about his own family causes Carter to question everything he’s ever known…

As Alice becomes entangled in the Industry’s plan for the future, and Carter delves into the secrets of his past, they must make sacrifices which threaten to tear them apart. And both of them are forced to confront an impossible question…

Stay loyal to their loved ones from the old world? Or dare to build a new one?

Buy  Links:    

 Amazon UK: myBook.to/TRSSocial

iTunes: https://tinyurl.com/y77m5e9n

Ellen’s review:

Dystopian and YA are two of my favourite genres so I was excited to get suck in to the first book of this trilogy. I loved how the story was told over two timelines: Alice at the point of the world’s collapse and Carter in the future that has adapted to the new way of living and is oblivious to how the world was before the creation of the Paradigm society.

In all honesty I preferred Alice’s narrative; witnessing the devastating effects of the vicious storms that rip London apart and how ten year old Alice survived (and eventually thrived) horrific scenes to eventually lend a hand in the creation of a new society was gripping. Her policies are rightfully questioned by Carter years after the event but at the time she believed what she was doing was for the greater good. Go Alice! Also, as I’ve mentioned, I’m a huge fan of dystopia and more so in the destruction and survival of people in the immediate aftermath. I’m not sure what that tells you about me!!

Where Alice was building the future and safeguarding future generations, Carter has his eyes opened to the truth of his family and the harsh reality of mankind’s history being erased. He begins to question the politics of the Paradigm which is pretty awkward as he has been raised to be a leader of the people and the powers that be are not comfortable with him questioning their authority. I did enjoy seeing his beliefs change throughout the story.

The Rising Storm is a great start to the trilogy and I will definitely be reading the rest.

Follow the blitz:

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