Blog Tour~New Suns: Original Speculative Fiction by People of Color edited by Nisi Shawl

Hi everyone,

Today Ellen is taking part in the blog tour for New Suns: Original Speculative Fiction by People of Color, a science fiction anthology edited by Nisi Shawl, and I’ll be sharing her review with you all a little further down.

About the book:

“There’s nothing new under the sun, but there are new suns,” proclaimed Octavia E. Butler.

New Suns: Original Speculative Fiction by People of Color showcases emerging and seasoned writers of many races telling stories filled with shocking delights, powerful visions of the familiar made strange. Between this book’s covers burn tales of science fiction, fantasy, horror, and their indefinable overlappings. These are authors aware of our many possible pasts and futures, authors freed of stereotypes and clichés, ready to dazzle you with their daring genius. 

Unexpected brilliance shines forth from every page.

Includes stories by Kathleen Alcala, Minsoo Kang, Anil Menon, Silvia Moreno-Garcia, Alex Jennings, Alberto Yanez, Steven Barnes, Jaymee Goh, Karin Lowachee, E. Lily Yu, Andrea Hairston, Tobias Buckell, Hiromi Goto, Rebecca Roanhorse, Indrapramit Das, Chinelo Onwualu and Darcie Little Badger.

Click the link below to order your copy:

New Suns: Original Speculative Fiction by People of Color by Nisi Shawl

Ellen’s Review:

New Suns is a collection of 17 speculative fiction stories by authors of colour and whilst they didn’t all hit the spot for me there is definitely a lot to enjoy about this anthology and what didn’t work for me might be gold to another reader. I have been enjoying a break from thrillers and embracing my old reading loves of science fiction/horror and dystopian fiction recently so New Suns came along just at the right time. Any anthology is going to be like a pick & mix and the following were my absolute favourites:

Galactic Tourist Industrial Complex by Tobias S Buckell – this really reminded me of Men In Black with the humour element. Earth has become the home of intergalactic tourism but one small misunderstanding (or an alien off their face on recreational drugs) could result in  our annihilation.

The Fire Print by Chinelo Onwualu – A story about desire, paternal love and dodgy dealings with a Djinn!

The Freedom of The Shifting Sea by Jaymee Goh – a nautical tale featuring a sensuous sea worm (not a sentence I ever imagined saying!). This was more of an erotic horror story but I enjoyed the underlying love story. Just skip over the terrifying mandibles; she’s not known as The Bobbit Worm for nothing!

Three Variations on a Theme of Imperial Attire – a new spin (pardon the pun) on The Emperor’s New Clothes which I really enjoyed.

One Easy Trick by Hiromi Goto – easily the weirdest story featuring a woman who loses her belly fat in the woods. Literally loses it, so cute! I wish mine would go for a hike in the woods.

Kelsey and the Burdened Breath by Darcie Little Badger – My absolute favourite; it’s about a kind of ghost sheep dog who rounds up lost/rogue  souls. I could read a whole series about the characters in this short story.

These were the stories that struck a chord with me, made me think or made me laugh, I did enjoy others but these are the standouts in my opinion. I will definitely check out the authors and their other works.

Check out the blog tour:

Blog Tour~A Body in the Lakes by Graham Smith ~Ellen’s Review

Hey guys,

Today, Ellen is taking part in the blog tour for A Body in the Lakes by Graham Smith and I’ll be sharing er review with you all a little further down this post.

About the author:


Graham Smith is the bestselling author of four explosive crime thrillers in the Jake Boulder series, Watching the Bodies, The Kindred Killers, Past Echoes and Die Cold. Watching the Bodies spent over two weeks at number one in the Amazon UK chart and Amazon CA charts. Graham is also the author of the popular DI Harry Evans series and has collections of short stories and novellas. His latest novel with Bookouture is set in Cumbria and the Lake District, featuring DC Beth Young.

He is the proud father of a young son. As a time-served joiner he has built bridges, houses, dug drains and slated roofs to make ends meet. Since 2000 he has been manager of a busy hotel and wedding venue near Gretna Green, Scotland.

An avid fan of crime fiction since being given one of Enid Blyton’s Famous Five books at the age of eight, he has also been a regular reviewer for the well-respected review site Crimesquad.com since 2010.

When not working, his time is spent reading, writing and playing games with his son. He enjoys socialising and spending time with friends and family.

About the book:

The woman’s limbs were so thin; the skin on her arms as translucent as tracing paper. Around her neck lay a faint string of purple bruises. In one so frail, darker, angrier marks might be expected but Beth knew the bruising would have stopped the moment her heart stopped beating.

When a walker finds the body of a woman by the shores of Lake Ullswater, the police are put on high alert. Felicia Evans was known to be a tough character, but who would have strangled her?

Detective Beth Young quickly spots the links to three cold cases. Three women strangled and discarded in the stunning, wild hills of the Lake District.

As Beth begins tracking down witnesses, the team receives an anonymous letter claiming the charming mayor of Carlisle is behind the murders. There’s pressure from the top to clear his name. But Beth is determined to find the truth no matter whose feathers she ruffles in the process.

Beth knows the clock is ticking. The killer is hunting again. And it’s down toher to find who’s responsible before another woman becomes his prey…

A gripping edge-of-your-seat thriller from bestselling author Graham Smith, perfect for fans of Joy Ellis, LJ Ross, and J.R. Ellis. 

Click the link below to order your copy:

A Body In The Lakes by Graham Smith

Ellen’s Review:

We’re back with DC Beth Young in this second book of a new series. After having the main characters “fleshed out” in the first book it was great to get stuck straight in with the FMIT (force major investigation team) in A Body In The Lakes. 

A woman’s body is found by the shores of Ullswater Lake and someone is trying to pin her death on a prominent member of the community. With a little nudge in the right direction Beth Young soon spots a link to three cold cases. The team is under immense pressure once this information becomes public and all eyes are on Beth.

I was gripped by this book and had no idea who the killer was, as usual the author led me down the garden path and I was left feeling guilty for who I initially suspected. This is how much I’m drawn into Mr Smith’s worlds!

I hope Beth Young and her team have a long future ahead of them and I look forward to the next in the series. 


Check out the blog tour:

(Not so) Recent Reads~Rapid Reviews

Hi everyone,

It would appear that this is the last scheduled one of these posts that I have, so YAY! I got there in the end. I’m still way behind on my reviews, but this is the last of the 2018 reviews that I have!

The Furies

The Furies was one of those books I had seen getting lots of early hype on social media so I was delighted to be able to nab a copy to read. It is a dark read for sure, with divisive characters and an interesting plot. I don’t want to say more about it because its the kind of book you need to judge for yourself when you read it. If you liked The Craft (movie) and The Secret History, then definitely add The Furies to your list.

The Book of Love: The emotional epic love story of 2018 by the Irish Times bestseller

The Book of Love is the first book I’ve read from Fionnula Kearney and I really liked it. It is emotive, sad, uplifting and honest. I found myself getting a bit teary a couple of times. It follows Erin and Dan’s relationship as they use a notebook to say all the things they can’t get the courage to say to eachother, but its so much more as well. I’m not sentimental, or romantic (my husband can attest to this!) but The Book of Love really got to me. I was in tears after I finished it. I think if you like David Nicholl’s One Day, you’ll enjoy this one.

Inside Vogue: My Diary Of Vogue's 100th Year

When I’m not reading books, I am reading magazines. I love them. So i was dying to read Alex Shulman’s book as it focused on Vogue’s centenary year. I’ve watched the documentary, but you don’t get a huge insight into Alexandra’s thoughts in it, but here you get to go a little deeper. I don’t pretend to be knowledgeable about fashion, but I do love books like this where you get to see the machinations as well as the finished product. It was definitely an interesting read.

Otherworld (Last Reality Book 1)

I was dying to read Otherworld once I found out it was THE Jason Segal (How I Met Your Mother etc) that co-wrote it. I like him as an actor, so I was looking forward to seeing what his book was like. I went into it thinking it would be a bit like Ready Player One, which I loved, but it didn’t come off like that at all. Its a decent dystopian YA book, no doubt about it, but it doesn’t stand up to the bigger ones out there. It has a good premise, but I found it hard to connect with the characters.

A Curse So Dark and Lonely

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH! How I loved this one. This book had been languishing on my kindle for a while so I picked it up a while ago to read and I ended up absolutely loving it. It is billed as a retelling of Beauty and the Beast and I AM HERE FOR THAT! It was such a great read. I loved the characters, the whole idea, the premise, everything! I love anything to do with BATB so this book was everything for me. I can’t wait to get myself a hardcover for my shelves because I plan on reading it again in 2019. Can’t recommend it highly enough!

The Extinction Trials: Exile

I read the first one of these last year and really enjoyed it so I was delighted to see this one on Borrowbox (library app). This is another YA dystopian book with dinosaurs! Its billed as The Hunger Games meets Jurassic Park and they’re not wrong. It is a fast-paced read, with a really great story. I enjoyed Exile and I’m looking forward to reading the third book as soon as I get a chance!

The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas

This is a short book but it definitely packs an emotional punch. Set during the war, beside a concentration camp, that will give you an idea of what its about. It is brutal and harrowing, but also at times it is gentle. It is a heartbreaker though, and definitely an emotional read.

Monsieur Linh and His Child

I got this from a book swap at a Rick O’Shea Book Club event but I never got around to it until last year. Monsieur Linh is fleeing his home country and his story is emotional and very sad. The narrative is almost child-like at times, but its a very good story. It definitely made me well up a little.

A Christmas Carol

Adding this in because its a classic, and I NEVER read them. It is a very quick read. The language, as you would expect from a period piece, is very eloquent at times. I knew what it was about, hard not to when its been around for so long. To be honest though, not my thing. I just can’t get to grips with the classic authors.

A Court of Frost and Starlight (A Court of Thorns and Roses)

ACOFAS is the fourth book in the series by Sarah J. Maas and I had been really eager to read it since I finished the third one. This one seems to be more of a filler than anything else though. I mean, its grand, but it has none of the stories that the first three had. It seems like more of a stop gap than anything else, but it was still nice to get back into their world. I would have rathered an actual full book, but this was fine for what it was!

Aaaaand I’m done! 🙂 Unless I get way behind again!!!

Blog Tour~New Suns: Original Speculative Fiction by People of Color edited by Nisi Shawl

Hi everyone,

Today I’m taking part in the blog tour for New Suns: Original Speculative Fiction by People of Color, a science fiction anthology edited by Nisi Shawl, and I’ll be sharing an extract with you all a little further down.

About the book:

“There’s nothing new under the sun, but there are new suns,” proclaimed Octavia E. Butler.

New Suns: Original Speculative Fiction by People of Color showcases emerging and seasoned writers of many races telling stories filled with shocking delights, powerful visions of the familiar made strange. Between this book’s covers burn tales of science fiction, fantasy, horror, and their indefinable overlappings. These are authors aware of our many possible pasts and futures, authors freed of stereotypes and clichés, ready to dazzle you with their daring genius. 

Unexpected brilliance shines forth from every page.

Includes stories by Kathleen Alcala, Minsoo Kang, Anil Menon, Silvia Moreno-Garcia, Alex Jennings, Alberto Yanez, Steven Barnes, Jaymee Goh, Karin Lowachee, E. Lily Yu, Andrea Hairston, Tobias Buckell, Hiromi Goto, Rebecca Roanhorse, Indrapramit Das, Chinelo Onwualu and Darcie Little Badger.

Click the link below to order your copy:

New Suns: Original Speculative Fiction by People of Color by Nisi Shawl

Extract:

THE GALACTIC TOURIST INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX Tobias S. Buckell

When GalactIcs arrIved at JFK they often reeked of ammonia, sulfur, and something else that Tavi could never quite put a finger on. He was used to it all after several years of shuttling them through the outer tanks and waiting for their gear to spit ozone and adapt to Earth’s air. He would load luggage, specialized environmental adaptation equipment, and crosscheck the being’s needs, itinerary, and sightseeing goals.

What he wasn’t expecting this time was for a four hundred pound, octopus-like creature to open the door of his cab a thousand feet over the new Brooklyn Bridge, filling the cab with an explosion of cold, screaming air, and lighting the dash up with alarms. He also definitely wasn’t expecting the alien to scream “Look at those spires!” through a speaker that translated for it. So, for a long moment after the alien jumped out of the cab, Tavi just kept flying straight ahead, frozen in shock at the controls. This couldn’t be happening. Not to him. Not in his broken down old cab he’d been barely keeping going, and with a re-up on the Manhattan license due soon.

*     *     *

To fly Into Manhattan you needed a permit. That was the first thing he panicked about, because he’d recently let it lapse for a bit. The New York Tourism Bureau hadn’t just fined him, but suspended him for three months. Tavi had limped along on some odd jobs; tank cleaning at the airport, scrubbing out the backs of the cabs when they came back after a run to the island, and other muck work. But no, all his licenses were up to date. And he knew that it was a horrible thing to worry about as he circled the water near the bridge; he should be worrying about his passenger. Maybe this alien was able to withstand long falls, Tavi thought. Maybe. But it wasn’t coming up.

He had a contact card somewhere in the dash screen’s memory. He tapped, calling the alien. “Please answer. Please.” But it did not pick up. What did he know about the alien? It looked like some octopus-type thing. What did that mean? They shouldn’t have even been walking around, so it had to have been wearing an exoskeleton of some kind. Could that have protected it? Tavi circled the water once more. He had to call this in. But then the police would start hassling him about past mistakes. Somehow this would be his fault. He would lose his permit to fly into Manhattan. And it was Manhattan that the aliens loved above all else.

This was the “real” American experience, even though most of it was heavily built up with zones for varying kinds of aliens. Methane breathers in the Garment District, the buildings capped with translucent covers and an alien atmosphere. Hydrogen types were all north of Central Park. He found the sheer number of shops fun to browse, but few of them sold anything of use to humans. In the beginning, a lot of researchers and scientists had rushed there to buy what the Galactics were selling, sure they could reverse engineer what they found. Turned out it was a lot of cheap alien stuff that purported to be made in Earth but wasn’t.

Last year some government agency purchased a “real” human sports car that could be shipped back to the home planet of your choice. It had an engine inside that seemed to be some kind of antigravity device that got everyone really excited. It exploded when they cracked the casing, taking out several city blocks. When confronted about it, the tall, furry, sauropod-like aliens that had several other models in their windows on Broadway shrugged and said it wasn’t made by them, they just shipped them to Earth to sell. But Galactics packed the city buying that shit when they weren’t slouching beside the lakes in Central Park.

If Tavi couldn’t get to Manhattan, he didn’t have a job. With a groan, Tavi tapped 9-1-1. There were going to be a lot of questions. He was going to be in it up to his neck. But if he took off, they’d have his transponder on file. Then he’d look guilty.

With a faint clenching in his stomach, Tavi prepared for his day to go wrong…

Check out the blog tour:

(Not so) Recent Reads~Rapid Reviews

Hi all,

I had to do a bit of a name change on these blog posts, because I am months out from reading these books!

Better late than never though, right?! 😊

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

If you know me, you’ll know that Azkaban is my absolute favorite Harry Potter book, so this re-read was pretty much a confirmation of this. It’s so strange coming at these books as an adult as I read them so long ago, but I find I’m enjoying them just as much, if not more than I did years ago. For me, Azkaban is the start of JKR introducing darkness into the series. In both character and writing style, and that’s why I like this one so much. Plus, SIRIUS! He is one of my favorite characters, so The Prisoner of Azkaban will always have a special place in my heart.

Last Ones Left Alive

I read Last Ones Left Alive pretty much in one day. It was so compelling that I just had to keep reading. It’s got a great plot and some seriously kick-ass female characters, I couldn’t put it down. It is dark, brutally raw and bleak at times, but it’s a really great read. If you liked The Road, you’ll love this!

Some Kind of Wonderful

My lovely friend Sara (of Not Another Book Blogger) gave me this as she knew I was in need of a lighthearted read! She’s the best 😊 I hadn’t read anything by Giovanna Fletcher but I really enjoyed Some Kind of Wonderful. Not least because it’s title reminds me of the movie of the same name from the 80’s! Lizzie was expecting her long-term boyfriend to propose on their dream holiday, but it turns out that he couldn’t do it. What follows is Lizzie’s journey to find out who she is, without a partner, without a relationship. It’s an honest, light read that kept me turning the pages.

For the Missing: The gripping Scandinavian crime thriller smash hit

I’m a huge fan of Scandinavian crime, and I had read one prior to this that I didn’t enjoy at all. So I went into For The Missing with a hint of trepidation, but thankfully it was unfounded. I got hooked into this one really quickly. It’s got the usual formula, but the story kept my interest and I ended up flying through it. Not as intricate as some Scandi crime novels, but definitely another great addition to the genre!

Longstone: A DCI Ryan Mystery (The DCI Ryan Mysteries Book 10)

Longstone is another gripping installment in the DCI Ryan series. I flew through this one, as with them all! Longstone concerns Ryan’s wife Anna as she’s called out to a Viking treasure discovery, but she’s not expecting to have to call Ryan with news of a murder. This is another twisty whodunnit with the usual characters from previous books and I really enjoyed it!

Until next time… ☺️

Blog Tour~If Only I Could Tell You by Hannah Beckerman~Ellen’s Review

Hi everyone,

Today Ellen is taking part in the blog tour for If Only I Could Tell You by Hannah Beckerman, and I’ll be sharing her review with you all a little further down.

About the author:

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Hannah Beckerman is an author and journalist.

Her new novel, If Only I Could Tell You, will be published by Orion Books in February 2019, with a third novel coming in 2020. 

She is a freelance features writer and book critic for The Observer, the FT Weekend Magazine and The Sunday Express, a regular book pundit on the Sara Cox Show on BBC Radio 2, and regularly chairs panels, discussions and interviews at literary festivals and publishing events throughout the UK.

She has chaired numerous book prizes including the Costa Book Awards.

You can chat to Hannah on Twitter: @hannahbeckerman

Instagram: @hannahbeckermanauthor

Facebook: @hannahbeckermanauthor

About the book:

Audrey’s family has fallen apart. Her two grown-up daughters, Jess and Lily, are estranged, and her two teenage granddaughters have never been allowed to meet. A secret that echoes back thirty years has splintered the family in two, but is also the one thing keeping them connected.

As tensions reach breaking point, the irrevocable choice that one of them made all those years ago is about to surface. After years of secrets and silence, how can one broken family find their way back to each other?

You can order your copy by clicking the link below:

If Only I Could Tell You by Hannah Beckerman

Ellen’s Review:

Before you start to read If Only I Could Tell You by Hannah Beckerman I have a few words of advice: get yourself a comfy spot, bulk buy some tissues and maybe a bar of chocolate! Comfort is essential for this heart-breaking read. This is a book you will have to finish once you’ve started, I made the mistake of starting to read on my lunch break and was then desperate for my work day to be over so I could continue.

If only I Could Tell You deal with many issues, estrangement being one of them. Sisters Jess and Lily have not spoken since they were young when Jess saw something she shouldn’t have. We are not told what she has seen and the details are slowly revealed throughout the story. There are a lot of surprises along the way and circumstances that I was not expecting. Their mother Audrey has been diagnosed with terminal cancer and is desperate to reconcile her daughters before she passes away. I have two teenage daughters myself and the thought of them falling out to the extent that Jess and Lily does truly upset me, on top of this they both have teenage daughters themselves who are forbidden to meet. I really felt for Audrey and how she had to walk a fine line to please both of her daughters.

There is far more to this book than I have mentioned but to say much more would be spoilery! If Only is definitely one of the best books that I have read this year and my tear ducts were truly cleansed by the end of it. All the stars for the beautiful book!

Check out the blog tour:

Blog Tour~After The Eclipse by Fran Dorricott

Hi guys,

Today I’m delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for After The Eclipse by Fran Dorricott, and I’ll be sharing my review with you a little further down.

About the author:

Fran Dorricott is a bookseller and author. She studied creative writing at the University of East Anglia, and she received a distinction for her MA in Creative Writing from City University London. Her day job in a bookshop is secretly just a way for her to fuel her ridiculous book-buying addiction. The opportunity to draw inspiration from the many wonderful and wacky customer requests is also a plus.

About the book:

A little girl is abducted during the darkness of a solar eclipse. Her older sister was supposed to be watching her. She is never seen again.

Sixteen years later and in desperate need of a fresh start, journalist Cassie Warren moves back to the small town of Bishop’s Green to live with her ailing grandmother. When a local girl goes missing just before the next big eclipse, Cassie suspects the disappearance is connected to her sister – that whoever took Olive is still out there. But she needs to find a way to prove it, and time is running out.

Click the link below to order your copy:

After The Eclipse by Fran Dorricott

My thoughts:

It’s been a while since I have read a psychological thriller so I was looking forward to reading After The Eclipse as it sounded like an interesting premise. Two girls go missing sixteen years apart, coinciding perfectly with a solar eclipse.

It follows Cassie, sister of the first missing girl, as she returns home to take care of her grandmother. When the second girl goes missing just before the eclipse, it leads Cassie to thinking it’s connected with her sisters disappearance all these years ago.

What follows is a dark and layered story that lovers of books like this will enjoy. It’s got plenty in the way of suspense and tension as the reader goes on the journey with Cassie to find out what happened to her sister, and what happened to the local girl who has disappeared this time.

I read After The Eclipse in a handful of sittings over the course of 24 hours. I was eager to see where the author would take the reader, and to see what was going to happen. The plot moves along nicely, the characters are intriguing and it’s another good addition to the psych thriller genre. I look forward to seeing where Fran Dorricott will go with her next book!

Many thanks to Titan Books for my copy in exchange for a blog tour review.

Check out the blog tour: