Blog Tour: We Are The Dead by Mike Shackle

Hey everyone,

Today, I’m taking part in the blog tour for We Are The Dead by Mike Shackle, and I’ll be sharing my review with you all a little further down.

About the author:

Originally from London, Mike Shackle has called Hong Kong, Singapore, Beijing, New York and Dubai his home over the years before settling down with his family in Vancouver. In that time, he’s sold washing machines, cooked for royalty, designed a few logos, and made a lot of ads. Ideally, he’s happiest day dreaming over a cup of tea.

About the book:

The first book in The Last War series: a debut epic fantasy full of crunching revolutionary action, twisted magic, and hard choices in dark times.

The war is over. The enemy won.

Jia’s people learned the hard way that there are no second chances. The Egril, their ancient enemy, struck with magic so devastating that Jia’s armies were wiped out. Now terror reigns in the streets, and friend turns on friend just to live another day.

Somehow Tinnstra – a deserter, a failure, nothing but a coward – survived. She wants no more than to hide from the chaos.

But dragged into a desperate plot to retake Jia, surrounded by people willing to do anything to win the fight, this time Tinnstra will need to do more than hide.

If Jia is to get a second chance after all, this time she will need to be a hero.

Click the link below to order your copy:

We Are The Dead by Mike Shackle

My thoughts:

We Are The Dead was such a surprise for me. I began reading thinking it would be just like the usual fantasy books I’ve read of late, it turned out to be so much more.

Jia is a place ravaged by war, wiped out by a devastating magic. It is ruled by fear and death, where nobody is safe. Tinnstra, a deserter has survived, but at what cost? When she is pulled into a plot to reclaim Jia, it means going back to everything she had ran from.

What follows is an absolutely brutal, gripping and thoroughly brilliant story. I found myself completely captivated by the writing, engaged in the story and willing it forward in the hope of a good outcome.

I didn’t know what to expect when I started We Are The Dead, but I am sure that I loved it. The rich world-building, excellent characters and tense narrative made this a gripping read. I became fully immersed in this world, rooting for the Shulka, willing the characters on as the action heightened.

It is an utterly absorbing read. Dark, violent but with ultimately human issues at its heart. Family, survival and loyalty are all in play here, and I loved it from start to finish!

Highly, highly recommended!

Check out the blog tour:

Blog Tour: Sanctuary by V. V. James

Hi everyone,

Today, I’m delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for Sanctuary by V. V. James, and I’ll be sharing my review with you all just a little further down this post.

About the author:

V.V. James is the author (as Vic James) of the contemporary fantasy trilogy GILDED CAGE, TARNISHED CITY, and BRIGHT RUIN. GILDED CAGE is a 2018 World Book Night pick and a Radio 2 Book Club selection. V.V. worked as an investigative producer for Channel 4 News and now directs documentaries for BBC1 and BBC2.

About the book:

Sanctuary. It’s the perfect town. . . to hide a secret.

To Detective Maggie Knight, the death of Sanctuary’s star quarterback seems to be a tragic accident. Only, everyone knows his ex-girlfriend is the daughter of a witch – and she was there when he died.

Then the rumours start

Bereaved mother Abigail will stop at nothing until she has justice for her dead son. Her best friend Sarah will do everything in her power to protect her accused daughter. And both women share a secret that could shatter their lives.

It falls to Maggie to prevent her investigation – and Sanctuary itself – from spiralling out of control.

A gripping thriller for fans of Big Little Lies, A Discovery of Witches and The Familars.

Click the link below to order your copy:

Sanctuary by V. V. James

My thoughts:

I picked up Sanctuary to read the first few chapters just to see what it was like, and I didn’t look up again until I was 150 pages in! It’s safe to say I was hooked from the beginning.

When the star quarterback of the Sanctuary football team dies in what appears to be a tragic accident, Detective Maggie Knight is called into a seemingly open and shut case. What she discovers though, is that there is much more going on in Sanctuary than meets the eye.

Sanctuary has been likened to Big Little Lies, and I can totally see why. This small town is full of secrets and lies, and those involved will do whatever it takes to keep them hidden.

I loved Sanctuary. It reminded me a lot of Practical Magic, mixed with a really gripping murder mystery. I powered through this book, unable to put it down.

The characters were really interesting, I thought the premise was great and the witchcraft element added a whole other dimension to this story. It definitely elevated it to more than your average mystery thriller.

Sanctuary is compelling, dark and engaging. I thoroughly enjoyed it and would happily, and highly, recommend it!

Check out the tour:

Blog Tour: The Undoing of Arlo Knott by Heather Child Ellen’s Review

Hey guys,

Today, its Ellen’s turn to take part in the blog tour for The Undoing of Arlo Knott by Heather Child, and I’ll be sharing her review with you all a little further down.

About the author:

Heather Child

Heather Child’s experience in digital marketing has brought her into close contact with the automation and personalisation technologies that herald the ‘big data’ age. She lives in Bristol and Everything About You is her debut novel. Find her on twitter at @Heatherika1

About the book:

What if your life had an ‘undo’ button?

Arlo Knott discovers he can rewind time – just by a minute or two – enough to undo any mistake, say the right thing or impress his friends with his uncanny predictions…

But second chances aren’t all they’re cracked up to be. As wonderful as his new life is, a mistake in Arlo’s traumatic childhood still haunts him and the temptation to undo, undo and keep undoing is too much to resist.

The Undoing of Arlo Knott by Heather Child

Ellen’s Review:

Where to start with reviewing this mind bending, time twisting gem of a book!? I was immediately drawn to the beautiful cover, the twisted snake reminding me of the Ouroboros which is a symbol of eternity and renewal of life. Renewal is definitely the hot topic in Arlo; at a young age he discovers he can reverse time. Only by seconds at first but this gradually increases as the story progresses. Of course Arlo initially uses his secret talent to benefit himself, after discovering he cannot retain specifics (lottery numbers) as he “undoes” time he turns to easier ways of raising funds with scratch cards and casinos. Arlo does come across as quite a greedy, unlikeable person but given the skill to always be able to say the right thing, take back a hurtful word or action it is understandable that he appears aloof. He does redeem himself, after dabbling in the magic business, by focussing on a career where he can save people. It was difficult to read some parts where Arlo desperately tries multiple times to “correct” mistakes and it’s a miracle that he continues to try especially when fate is determined to have its way.

The Undoing of Arlo Knott definitely gives you a lot to think about; if you could rewind time would you? It’s a tricky one, I can see the benefits but I doubt I would be as brave (foolish) as Arlo, the temptation to push your luck knowing you have a rewind option might prove too much. With great power comes great responsibility and all that!  At the heart of the story is a loss Arlo suffered as a child and it is obvious that this steers a lot of his later life choices. His inability to take back a mistake in his childhood appears to be the push behind his decision making process on where to concentrate his power.

An intriguing and emotional read and one that I highly recommend!

Check out the tour:

Blog Tour: The Undoing of Arlo Knott by Heather Child

Hey everyone,

Today, I’m taking part in the blog tour for The Undoing of Arlo Knott by Heather Child, and I’ll be sharing my review with you all a little further down.

About the author:

Heather Child

Heather Child’s experience in digital marketing has brought her into close contact with the automation and personalisation technologies that herald the ‘big data’ age. She lives in Bristol and Everything About You is her debut novel. Find her on twitter at @Heatherika1

About the book:

What if your life had an ‘undo’ button?

Arlo Knott discovers he can rewind time – just by a minute or two – enough to undo any mistake, say the right thing or impress his friends with his uncanny predictions…

But second chances aren’t all they’re cracked up to be. As wonderful as his new life is, a mistake in Arlo’s traumatic childhood still haunts him and the temptation to undo, undo and keep undoing is too much to resist.

The Undoing of Arlo Knott by Heather Child

My thoughts:

The Undoing of Arlo Knott is a really unique read, I guess it’s speculative fiction if you had to try and definite it? Whatever it falls into, it’s definitely a different and clever read.

Arlo Knott discovers he has the ability to rewind and redo moments in his life. He can retain certain information, but not the likes of lottery numbers, that can bring him back to specific moments. These are usually recent, but he does try to go back further for various reasons.

It will make you question whether if you had the same ability, would you treat it the same way? Or would you keep going the way you’re going, mistakes and all? I liked the way the story was written, and I found myself really feeling for Arlo Knott at times.

This is a really hard one to review without saying too much. I really enjoyed The Undoing of Arlo Knott. It is unique, a little melancholy at times, but it’s got real heart. It’s almost like a cautionary tale on how to treat your mortality, but with more than life lessons to be learnt. A real gem of a book.

Check out the tour:

July 2019 Book Haul

Hi guys!

Its book haul time! This month is a bumper book haul because I was lucky enough to fly over to the crime festival at Harrogate, and ended up coming home with a lot of extra books!

*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.

So, here’s what I’ve added to my library since last month:

  1. Winter World by A. G. Riddle
  2. The Winter of the Witch by Katherine Arden
  3. Crown of Feathers by Nicki Pau Preto
  4. Once and Future by Cori McCarthy and Amy Capetta
  5. An Ember in the Ashes by Sabah Tahir
  6. The Last Astronaut by David Wellington
  7. The Bone Ships by R. J. Barker
  8. The Rage of Dragons by Evan Winter
  9. The Undoing of Arlo Knott by Heather Child
  10. The Perfect Roommate by Minka Kent
  11. Are We Nearly There Yet? by Lucy Vine
  12. The Wedding Date by Jennifer Joyce
  13. Wilde Like Me by Louise Pentland
  14. Strange The Dreamer by Laini Taylor
  15. Talking As Fast As I Can by Lauren Graham
  16. The Beast Within by Serena Valentino
  17. Marked For Death by Tony Kent
  18. Expectation by Anna Hope
  19. Of Sand and Malice by Bradley Beaulieu
  20. Blood Upon The Sand by Bradley Beaulieu
  21. A Veil of Spears by Bradley Beaulieu
  22. Beneath The Twisted Trees by Bradley Beaulieu
  23. Kingdom of Souls by Rena Barron
  24. Blood Song by Johanna Gustawsson
  25. Little Siberia by Antti Tuomainen
  26. Cage by Lilja Sigurdardottir
  27. In The Absence of Miracles by Michael J. Malone
  28. Oh My God What A Complete Aisling by Emer McLysaght and Sarah Breen
  29. More Than This by Patrick Ness
  30. All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven
  31. Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me by Mindy Kaling
  32. The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon
  33. The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary
  34. Magic For Liars by Sarah Gailey
  35. Three Days in Florence by Chrissie Manby
  36. Girls of Storm and Shadow by Natasha Ngan
  37. The Reunion by Guillaume Musso
  38. The Perfect Wife by J. P. Delaney
  39. Black Summer by M. W. Craven
  40. 18th Abduction by James Patterson
  41. Call Him Mine by Tim MacGabhann
  42. Knife by Jo Nesbo
  43. The Chalk Man by C. J. Tudor
  44. The Recovery of Rose Gold by Stephanie Wrobel
  45. The Man on the Street by Trevor Wood
  46. Take It Back by Kia Abdullah
  47. Hitler’s Secret by Rory Clements
  48. Elevator Pitch by Linwood Barclay
  49. The Wreckage by Robin Morgan-Bentley
  50. Forced Confessions by John Fairfax
  51. A Shadow on the Lens by Sam Hurcom
  52. The Burning Men by Will Shindler
  53. Precious You by Helen Monks Takhar
  54. Turn A Blind Eye by Vicky Newham
  55. Dead Inside by Noelle Holten
  56. Darkest Truth by Catherine Kirwan
  57. Violet by S. J. I. Holliday
  58. All The Rage by Cara Hunter
  59. She by HC Warner
  60. East of Hounslow by Khurrum Rahman
  61. The Tattoo Thief by Alison Belsham
  62. Never Look Book A. L. Gaylin
  63. Nothing Important Happened Today by Will Carver
  64. Ascent by Jed Mercurio
  65. Miracle Creek by Angie Kim
  66. Night by Night by Jack Jordan
  67. War of Mist by Helen Scheuerer
  68. Blood of an Exile by Brian Naslund
  69. The Beautiful by Renee Ahdieh
  70. Sanctuary by V. V. James
  71. Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman

So that’s all the books I bought or was lucky enough to receive over the course of the month! Have you read any of these? Would you?! Let me know in the comments!

Q&A with Tom Chatfield, author of This is Gomorrah

Hey guys,

Recently, I had the pleasure of having Tom Chatfield answer some of my burning questions, and I’ll be sharing that with you all today!

Who is Tom Chatfield?

Tom Chatfield

Dr Tom Chatfield (@TomChatfield) is a British writer, broadcaster and tech philosopher. His seven books exploring contemporary culture—most recently Live This Book! (Penguin) and Critical Thinking (SAGE Publishing), researched as a Visiting Associate at the Oxford Internet Institute—are published in over two dozen languages. His debut novel, This is Gomorrah (Hodder), the first in a series set in the world of the dark net, was published worldwide in July 2019 and was a Sunday Times thriller of the month.

Tom is interested in improving our understanding of digital technology, and its uses in policy, education and engagement. He is currently technology and media advisor at Agathos LLP; a Non Executive Director at the Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society and at the Copyright Licensing Agency; a faculty member at London’s School of Life; a Master’s Committee member at the Economics Research Council; guest faculty member at the Said Business School, Oxford; and a senior expert at the Global Governance Institute.

Past collaborators include Google, the BBC, Channel 4 Education, Mind Candy, Shift, Flamingo London, Six to Start, Preloaded, Firefish, Future Lab, Sense Worldwide, SAGE Publications, Sugru and Allianz. Tom took his doctorate and taught at St John’s College, Oxford, and continues to guest lecture at universities across the world.

As a speaker and broadcaster, Tom’s appearances include TED Global and the Cannes Lions Festival; authors@Google; the World Congress on Information Technology; Science Foo Camp; Intelligence Squared; the Houses of Parliament; Aspen Seminars for Leaders; the RSA, Royal Society and Royal Institution; and venues ranging from the Sydney Opera House to the Googleplex.

A launch columnist for the BBC’s worldwide technology site, BBC Future, Tom writes and commentate widely in the international media, as well as guest lecturing at universities in the UK and Europe. He is a regular on BBC radio and television, and broadcasts around the world.

He is represented for writing and broadcasting by Jim Gill at United Agents, and for speaking and appearances by Chartwell and VBQ Speakers.

When not working, he plays jazz piano and drinks too much coffee.

What you need to know about This Is Gomorrah:

This is Gomorrah: the dark web threatens one innocent man by [Chatfield, Tom]

What he knows could kill him. . .

‘Gripping, intelligent and stylish’ Sophie Hannah

At the darkest heart of the internet lies Gomorrah. 
An exclusive online market place where anything and everything is for sale: guns and porn, identities and elections, lives and deaths.

Azi Bello is nobody’s idea of a hero. 
From a shed in his mum’s back garden in East Croydon, he spins webs in the darknet to lure evil from the shadows. Until evil comes knocking at his door in the real world, taking everything he has, sending him on the run, risking his life, offering him redemption. But at a price he never expected to pay . . .

The gates of Gomorrah have been opened. All hell is about to break loose.

Click the link below to grab your copy:

This Is Gomorrah by Tom Chatfield

Here’s what Tom had to say with my questions…

Can you tell us a little about yourself?

I’m a geek in his late thirties who has written half a dozen non-fiction books about bits and pieces of digital culture—video games, online language, critical thinking and disinformation—and who has finally managed to turn some of those fascinations into what I hope is a darkly satirical thriller about the underbelly of global tech. 

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

I’ve wanted to write for a living pretty much since I learned how to write. I wrote poetry and short stories at school from the age of six or seven, I studied literature at university, then went on to do a masters and doctorate looking at contemporary literature and the world of ideas. I’ve always believed that writing matters: that finding ways to talk about what it means to be alive, to wrestle with the human condition through words, is one of the most wonderful things you can do. I worked in magazines after finishing my doctorate, having decided that academia wasn’t for me, then managed to become a full-time writer thanks to a lot of luck and a passion for pouring my obsessions into prose.

Where do you get your inspiration from?

The world, and other writers! Technology and its human contexts fascinate me, because I think technology is implicated in so much of what it means to be human, and so much of what makes humans unique amongst life on Earth: our development of mental technologies like art and mathematics and written words, that convert our inner lives into shared cultures able to outlive us; the machines with which we vastly amplify our power and impacts; the appalling and amazing ongoing consequences of all this. And of course our current ambitions to build machines that, in some sense at least, are able to think and recreate our own mental achievements. 

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

Jason Bourne meets Edward Snowden: a fast-paced fiction digging into the dark purposes technology is put to in the modern world while, I hope, telling a twisting tale that’s ultimately more interested in human consequences than shiny gadgets.

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

Absolutely, although it does so in enigmatic ways that it’s foolish to pretend you can control. It’s easy to go a little crazy and watch every flicker of interest or engagement online. I’m guilty of this, sometimes, but I’m trying hard not to descend into total digital solipsism.

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

Having readers! To be read, whether by a small or a large number of people, is just such a spectacular privilege.

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

The profound uncertainty around what, if anything, the world makes of your work – and trying to manage the emotional impacts of this. You can’t help caring. For me, at least, one of the biggest parts of the whole writing process is simply trying to control the emotional turmoil around whether what I’m doing is any good, deserves to be read, does something interesting, and so on.

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

The wonderful thing is that I really have no idea. Things will come up, or won’t, as a result of what I put out into the world – and the most exciting thing is to be able to respond to circumstances, to react and learn and improve, to keep on discovering and grasping fresh opportunities.

What’s next for you?

I’m already embarked on the sequel to This Is Gomorrah, and hope to have it largely finished by the end of the year. I also have a little textbook out in September, called Think Critically, and will probably write another short and accessible textbook next year diving more deeply into what it means to think well. There are also a couple of books of non-fiction I’d like to write, and some more fiction, but we’ll have to see about those…

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

I’m constantly reading, as I think most people have to in order to write – although I often prefer to read outside the genre I’m writing in at the time. Somehow, it makes it easier for me to hear my own voice. I love philosophical non-fiction and books of ideas: I’m reading a wonderful book about the history of calculus at the moment, Infinite Powers by Steveen Strogatz; a couple of Cormac McCarthys—Blood Meridian and No Country for Old Men—for the sheer brilliance and force of his prose; a few books of non-fiction directly related to the dark net; Aurora by Kim Stanley Robinson; and a selection of other short stories and works of philosophy. I really do love ideas-driven genre fiction, and those authors that bend and break the barriers between genres—and I tend to have the softest spot for thrillers that are witty as well as action-packed, like Mick Herron’s or Chris Brookmyre’s.

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

Pretty much impossible. But Bryan Magee’s book on the philosopher Karl Popper, simply called Popper, is one of my models for truly intelligent clarity and economy in non-fiction; Neal Stephenson has I think done some of modern fiction’s finest explanations of complex ideas and slices of history in books like Cryptonomicon and The Baroque Cycle; the poetry of WB Yeats, Patrick Kavanagh, WH Auden and Philip Larkin is on a shelf near my desk in always-easy reach; and what Tolstoy and Dickens and, before them, Austen did to the novel continues to knock my socks off every time I go back and re-read them.

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

Apart from the whole eating and sleeping thing, I spend most of my time with my children (aged three and five) playing or reading or picking up or dropping off or trying not to get utterly exasperated. Being a parent is utterly amazing, and exhausting, and the joy/challenge of working largely from home is just how much you’re able to be involved in their lives. I’m also a rather keen pianist, and have been known to share my exploits on social media. I find it therapeutic: the total focus on making music is a far better break than just sitting around.

Huge thanks to Tom for answering these questions, and make sure you check out This Is Gomorrah and add it to your TBR!

Recent Reads Rapid Reviews

Hi everyone,

I’m back with some more reviews today, and I’ve actually almost caught up, can you believe it?!

The Devouring Gray

The Devouring Gray

I really liked the sound of TDG and was looking forward to getting stuck into this one. It’s got witches and magic, a fairly prevalent theme in books this year as I’ve read a few witchy-type books in recent months. I enjoyed The Devouring Gray, it was a fairly quick read too. Recommended if you like YA-ish witchy kinda books!

Throne of Glass

Throne of Glass: 1

Throne of Glass had been on my kindle for months, if not years, and I was in dire need of some sort of fantasy book that would grab my attention. ToG definitely managed to do the job. I really like the characters, and it’s a decent start to a series for sure. Calaena Sardothien vies to become the King’s Champion while there are darker forces working against her in this one. I really enjoyed this book. It’s got just enough to keep you reading, while dropping enough hints so that you have to continue on with the series. I’m moving onto book four now, and my husband is on book six! Definitely recommended!

Dark Shores

Dark Shores

I’m a sucker for all things nautical, so when you add in fantasy I can’t really say no. Dark Shores had so much promise for me, and while it’s good, I didn’t love it like I had hoped I would when I started reading it. Interesting premise, good characters, but there wasn’t enough to hold my interest completely. That being said, I would still recommend it, because there are elements there that definitely work.

Extinction Trials: Rebel

The Extinction Trials: Rebel

I really liked this series of books. To be fair, I was gutted knowing that this was going to be the last one I would read. It really is a cross between The Hunger Games and Jurassic Park, just a really fun read. It’s bittersweet reading Rebel, but I absolutely loved the world building for this series. The characters are fantastic, and the premise is such a unique one that makes it really hard to tear yourself away. I’d definitely recommend this book, this whole series actually!