Blog Tour ~ Review ~ Hemlock Jones And The Angel Of Death by Justin Carroll.

Hemlock Jones Cover

Ten doors down from the home of a world famous ‘consulting detective’ lives twelve-year-old Hemlock Jones, and her recently arrived housemate and unwitting companion, Edward Whitlow. Hired to ‘demystify’ the mystery of a man’s murder by a terrifying angelic spectre, Hemlock and Edward’s investigations will lead them all over Victorian London, uncovering bizarre and deadly foes, figures from Hemlock’s hidden past, and a plot to take over the city… Hemlock Jones & The Angel of Death is the first of the Hemlock Jones Chronicles, a series of detective adventures for children and adults, set in Victorian London.

Review

Firstly many thanks to the author Justin Carroll and blog tour organiser Anne Cater for the ARC of Hemlock Jones & The Angel of Death in return for an honest review.
There is so much to love about this YA thriller/fantasy mix, it is fun to read, has great characters and best of all, is likely to be only the start of a series of books based around Hemlock Jones and her sidekick Edward Whitlow.
When reading as a child, I wanted to lose myself in a dam good adventure and that is exactly what this book is. The greatest complement I can pay it is that it reminded me of long days curled up with a paperback as a child. I was completely absorbed in the story and characters, cut off from the world around me and it was fabulous.
In a time when social media has such a hold on the time of younger readers, a book needs something special to get them reading. Hemlock Jones has two fabulous characters and a cover that reminds me of the steam punk books written for adults and closely related to the graphic novels that have such a wide following. This is what I think gives it that little hook that will attract many readers, it is neither pure thriller, but also adventure and with elements of fantasy.
The characters are wonderful , especially Hemlock Jones who is an intelligent and feisty heroine . It’s great to have a strong young female lead who with her flamboyant and eccentric dress sense, says to young readers, especially girls, it’s okay to be different, that you don’t have to conform to traditional norms of behaviour. Then we have Edward who is more your traditional young boy, determined to pursue his education and make his parents proud. The typical roles of a lead character being male and the sidekick female are reversed here and as far as I am concerned earns it massive brownie points. I want my niece and god children to read novels that don’t pidgeon hole them into excepted gender roles, and Hemlock Jones and The Angel of Death gives them the chance to imagine themselves as the leader.
It is a fabulous read. Full of adventure and danger. Perfect reading for young readers.

Hemlock Jones and The Angel of Death can be purchased from Amazon

About the author

Justin Carroll

Ever since he stopped wanting to be a dinosaur, Justin Carroll wanted to be a writer. He graduated with a degree in English Literature and Language from King’s College, London in 2004 and now, in between writing and moonlighting in marketing for a multinational financial services company, he fritters away his time on all manner of geeky things. Shortlisted for several international short story competitions, Justin was a finalist in the 2010 British Fantasy Awards.

Justin Carroll can be followed on his Website and Twitter.

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Blog Tour ~ Review ~ Killed – A Henning Juul Novel by Thomas Enger #NordicNoir

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Crime reporter Henning Juul thought his life was over when his young son was murdered. But that was only the beginning…

Determined to find his son’s killer, Henning doggedly follows an increasingly dangerous trail, where dark hands from the past emerge to threaten everything. His ex-wife Nora is pregnant with another man’s child, his sister Trine is implicated in the fire that killed his son and, with everyone he thought he could trust seemingly hiding something, Henning has nothing to lose … except his own life.

Packed with tension and unexpected twists, Killed is the long-awaited finale of one of the darkest, most chilling and emotive series you may ever read. Someone will be killed. But who?

Review

Firstly I would like to thank the author Thomas Enger, publisher Orenda Books and blog tour organiser Anne Cater for the ARC copy of Killed in return for an honest review.
Killed is a superb, clever thriller, which is set to become a classic and a fitting end to a splendid series.
Henning the major personality who connects them, is like a fine wine who has matured into a full blooded, brooding character, who life now centres around seeking revenge on those responsible for his son’s death. He is a classic ‘hero’ who I found myself praying would survive the horror his life has descended into. Enger kept me on tender hooks throughout, desperate to know Henning’s fate, but at the same time scared to, in case it wasn’t what I had come to want for this character.
In fact this amazing story kept me in a constant state of nervous anticipation from its staggering opening, to its final nerve-racking page. It was impossible to put it down, so compelling were the events that took place and the complex layers of story and characterisation. Dark and hard hitting, it never descends into clichéd violence though, but remains at all times intelligent and tightly controlled.
As a reader, I was so caught up in the twisted storyline that I forgot to breathe on times! I kept turning the pages, because I needed to know who would be the final victim.
Enger made this reading journey and exciting one, having delivered a killer plot that is nuanced and a masterpiece in thriller writing. For fans of the wonderful Henning and those around him, this is a must read.

Killed can be purchased from Amazon and Waterstones.

About the author 

Granite Noir Fest 2017

VGranite Noir fest 2017. Thomas Enger.

Thomas Enger (b. 1973) is a former journalist. He made his debut with the crime novel Burned (Skinndød) in 2009, which became an international sensation before publication. Burned is the first in a series of 5 books about the journalist Henning Juul, which delves into the depths of Oslo’s underbelly, skewering the corridors of dirty politics and nailing the fast-moving world of 24-hour news. Rights to the series have been sold to 26 countries to date. In 2013 Enger published his first book for young adults, a dark fantasy thriller called THE EVIL LEGACY, for which he won the U-prize (best book Young Adult). Enger also composes music, and he lives in Oslo.

Thomas Enger can be followed on Twitter

Killed Blog Tour Poster

Review ~ Golden Hill by Francis Spufford

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New York, a small town on the tip of Manhattan Island, 1746. One rainy evening, a charming and handsome young stranger fresh off the boat from England pitches up to a counting house on Golden Hill Street, with a suspicious yet compelling proposition — he has an order for a thousand pounds in his pocket that he wishes to cash. But can he be trusted? This is New York in its infancy, a place where a young man with a fast tongue can invent himself afresh, fall in love, and find a world of trouble . . .

Review

Set in pre-revolutionary New York City,  Golden Hill by Francis Spufford is the story of the young, charming and mysterious Mr Smith. Who arrives at a counting house with a money order for one thousand pounds and a strange determination to keep those around him suspicious of his intent. All around him New York merchants face a decision over whether to trust, arrest or kill him.

Spufford’s remarkable first novel, has at its heart a twisting plot and a puzzle waiting to be solved. The language is fitting to the period he sets his novel in and takes some getting used to.  It took me a while to adjust to the speed the book reads at, but its well worth the effort.

The drama is lightened by a deft touch of humour and the tale flows along beautifully. He invokes a New York far from the busy metropolis we are used to and you can feel the atmosphere of the early colonial city, it’s bath houses, dark claustrophobic streets and pre-revolutionary politics. You can almost feel the cold of a New York winter as it seeps into Mr Smith’s bones.

It’s a novel of great skill, with a range of characters that at times make you laugh, cry and whom you desperately want to find happiness. Not all the wishes are met or granted.  Your heart my even break a little, but ultimately, I was left feeling satisfied and content that I’d been delivered a rich and fulfilling read.

You can see the roots of the American idea that on its shores a young man could reinvent himself, find success and leave the past behind. Not everyone succeeds in navigating the treacherous waters of New York colonial society and we have to deal the way the settlers exploited their slaves to achieve success.

Ultimately through the richness of the language used, the mystery at its very heart, the reader is given a thoroughly entertaining read. The hero is not perfect, but you will find yourself rooting for him.  It’s a book of extraordinary depth. It can be read as a mystery to be solved or a commentary on the pre-revolutionary American society.

Author biography

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Francis Spufford was born in 1964. He is the author of five highly-praised books of non-fiction, most frequently described by reviewers as either ‘bizarre’ or ‘brilliant’, and usually as both. Unapologetic, has been translated into three languages; the one before, Red Plenty, into nine. He has been longlisted or shortlisted for prizes in science writing, historical writing, political writing, theological writing, and writing ‘evoking the spirit of place’. In 2007 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. He teaches writing at Goldsmiths College, University of London, and lives near Cambridge. His latest book is his first novel, Golden Hill.

Published by Faber and Faber.

Golden Hill can be bought from Amazon and Waterstones

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Blog Tour ~ Review ~ The Spaces In Between by Collin Van Reenan.

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There is Truth and there are Lies; there is Fiction and there is Fact; there is Life and there is Death.

And then there are The Spaces in Between.

Paris, 1968. Nicholas finds himself broke, without papers and on the verge of being deported back to England. Seeking to stay in France, Nicholas takes a three-month contract as an English tutor to the 17-year-old Imperial Highness Natalya. It is the perfect solution; free room and board, his wages saved, and a place to hide from police raids. All that is asked of Nicholas is too obey the lifestyle of the Victorian household and not to leave the house’s grounds. It should have solved all his problems…

The Spaces In Between details the experience of Nicholas as he finds himself an unwitting prisoner within an aristocratic household, apparently frozen in time, surrounded by macabre and eccentric personalities who seem determined to drag him to the point of insanity. Much deeper runs a question every reader is left to ponder – if this tale is fact and not fiction, then what motivation could have driven his tormenters?

Review

I would like to thank Red Door Publishing and the author Collin Van Reenan for the ARC of The Spaces In Between in return for an honest review.

I loved this exciting historical thriller and found it virtually impossible to put down.

It is a complex and sophisticated story about the tricks our minds can play on us when manipulated by forces intent on harming us. It has a dark heart and a complex atmosphere that seeps of the page into the readers mind.

The characters are layered with elements of good and bad and no one is whom they initially seem to be. I often had to reevaluate my opinions of them all and was overjoyed at how the writer managed to bring them to life in a way that was surprising and unexpected.

The combination of the historical/thriller elements gives it an added layer of interest. I found myself absorbed into the period the characters are immersed in and become as isolated within the walls of the house as Nicholas.

If you are looking for a riveting read, this would be a good choice. It’s complex and fast flowing, rewarding and addictive.

The Spaces Between can be purchased from Amazon.

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Blog Tour ~ Content ~ Ashael Rising by Shona Kinsella.

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Ashael is a hunter-gatherer woman, apprenticed to Bhearra, the healer and spiritual leader of their tribe. The Zanthar are invaders from another world who extend their own lives by stealing the life-force of everything around them. They were last seen on KalaDene 200 years ago. They have returned, looking for The Vessel, a being prophesied to hold the life-force of the land. Iwan is a slave to the Zanthar, descendant of those taken as slaves the last time the Zanthar visited this world. He is sent out as a spy, while his mother is held hostage to ensure his compliance. When Ashael meets Iwan in the forest, neither realise that she is the one the Zanthar are looking for. The fate of KalaDene and all of its people rests on her shoulders.

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I would like to welcome the author of Ashael  Rising Shona Kinsella to my blog today. She is talking about the book that shaped her as a writer and her book.

My thanks to her for taking the time to write a fascinating post and blog tour organiser Rachel Gilbey for organising the tour.

A Book that Shaped Me

I was around sixteen years old. It was the weekend, I had nothing to do and I was bored in the way that only a teenager can be.
‘Go and read a book,’ my dad said. Code for ‘stop slumping about and getting in the way,’ I imagine.
‘I’ve read all of my books. I’ve got two out from the library and I’ve finished those too.’
‘Hmmm,’ Dad said.
He came back a few minutes later and handed me a book thick enough to keep me going for days. Magician by Raymond E Feist.
Magician is the story of Pug, an orphan boy who is chosen by the local magician as his apprentice – perhaps out of pity as much as skill – and his struggles to connect with magic, despite performing some impressive feats when under pressure. Pug’s learning becomes overshadowed by a war that starts when Midkemia is invaded by the Tsurani, warriors who have managed to cross between worlds. This is ‘epic’ fantasy in every definition of the word. The war spans years and we watch Pug and his friend Tomas become men who shape the world.
Within moments of reading the first page, I was lost. Pug was immediately captivating to me as a character and I followed him across worlds and eventually across many books as he learns how to unlock and use the magic inside of himself. I raced through the book, staying up late to read, ignoring any other activities that I could get out of.
I’m glad to say that, unlike other books that I read in my teens, Magician has managed to stand the test of time for me. I’ve read it several more times since that day and I still enjoy it every bit as much. I love the world building and the magic, the characters, the language, the plot.
When I think about the kind of writer I want to be, I often think of Raymond E Feist.
There are some obvious parallels between Magician and Ashael Rising. For one thing, they both feature invaders from another world although the Zanthar are far less sympathetic than the Tsurani. Both books also feature an apprentice magic user, though the magic of the Folk is much more subtle than Kulgan’s magic. There are also certain likenesses in our writing styles. Much of the adult content occurs off the page, we both use fairly clean language, we both focus on friendships over romantic relationships.
The stories are different in many ways but I like to think that readers of Raymond E Feist would enjoy my work also. Some readers will be relieved to hear that Ashael Rising is considerably shorter than Magician. Still, Ashael’s adventures are not yet over.

You can purchase Ashael Rising from Amazon.

You can also be in with a chance of winning a copy of the book by following this link.

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About the author.

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 Shona Kinsella is the author of Ashael Rising, (Unbound, 2017) the first in her series, The Vessel of KalaDene. She is also one of the editors of the British Fantasy Society’s fiction publication, Horizons. When she is not writing or wrangling her three children, she can usually be found with her nose in a book.

Shona can be followed on her webpageFacebook and Twitter.

Blog Tour ~ Review ~ Blue Night by Simone Bucholez. Translated by Rachel Ward.

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Description After convicting a superior for corruption and shooting off a gangster’s crown jewels, the career of Hamburg’s most hard-bitten state prosecutor, Chastity Riley, has taken a nose dive: she has been transferred to the tedium of witness protection to prevent her making any more trouble. However, when she is assigned to the case of an anonymous man lying under police guard in hospital – almost every bone in his body broken, a finger cut off, and refusing to speak in anything other than riddles – Chastity’s instinct for the big, exciting case kicks in. Using all her powers of persuasion, she soon gains her charge’s confidence, and finds herself on the trail to Leipzig, a new ally, and a whole heap of lethal synthetic drugs.

Review

I would like to thank the writer Simon Bucholz, publisher Orenda Books and blog tour organiser for the ARC of Blue Night in return for an honest review.

When I first started Blue Night I wasn’t convinced it was a book I was going to enjoy! By the end I was enthralled, addicted and had found a new favourite author.

The story and writing slowly seep into your soul, to the extent that I found it almost impossible to put it down! If my boss hadn’t insisted I actually do some work I would not have done so.

I needed to know what happened and seemed to be in a  constant state of anxiety about the fate of my favourite characters. It’s the sign of a great thriller, that you are carried along by what feels like an unstopple force and Blue Night had that affect on me.

It’s a first class piece of story telling, with believable characters and based in a gritty reality.  It takes the reader into the violent world of drug dealing and trafficking, but keeps strong characterisation at it’s heart, which to me as a reader is vital.

The novel is full of dark themes, but is at all times thrilling and unnerving.

Blue Night can be purchased from Amazon and Waterstones.

Author Bio.

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Simone Buchholz was born in Hanau in 1972. At university, she studied Philosophy and Literature, worked as a waitress and a columnist, and trained to be a journalist at the prestigious Henri-Nannen-School in Hamburg. In 2016, Simone Buchholz was awarded the Crime Cologne Award as well as the second Place of the German Crime Fiction Prize for Blue Night, which was number one on the KrimiZEIT Best of Crime List for months. She lives in Sankt Pauli, in the heart of Hamburg, with her husband and son.

Publisher Orenda Books.

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Blog Tour ~ Review~ The Camera Lies by A B Morgan.

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Konrad Neale is a television presenter. His waning career has been given a new lease of life since he took on a series of hard-hitting documentaries that investigate miscarriages of justice.
Matthew Hawley has been convicted of the brutal murder of his wealthy attractive wife Helena. However, he has no memory of the events and insists he is not responsible for willingly killing her.
When Konrad interviews Matthew in prison, he explores the details of the murder and the possible motives behind it. But all is not as it seems.
Did Matthew murder his wife?
Soon the search is on to identify who else might be involved in the murder of Helena and Konrad is about to learn that sometimes the camera lies.
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Review

Firstly I would like to thank the author AB Morgan, publisher Bloodhound Books and blog tour organiser for the ARC copy of The Camera Lies in return for an honest review.
Having been lucky to read and review the author’s second novel Divine Poison, I was delighted to be able to take part in the blog tour for this her third novel.
I really enjoyed Divine Poison which was a solid and tense psychological thriller and The Camera Lies is even better, showing AB Morgan is not resting on her laurels, but is fine tuning her writing skills. She has delivered an assured tale about secrets, lies and revenge that kept me reading desperate to know the fate of Konrad and those closest to him. It’s exciting and full of twists and turns that keep you guessing as to who the real villain is at the heart of the novel. Cleverly she managed to wrong foot me on a number of occasion and I was still doing so at the end of the novel.
The characterisation is superb. Konrad the victim is not perfect, but this makes him all the more interesting. He has a steely determination that drives him to try and discover if Matthew Hawley really murdered his wife and yet he has secrets of his own. I don’t want the leading character in a thriller to be perfect, layers on layers give them depth AB Morgan gave me this and made me a very happy reader.
If you’re looking for a highly enjoyable thriller then I would recommend this clever and edgy third offering from AB Morgan.

You can buy The Camera Lies from Amazon.
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About AB Morgan
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Alison Morgan started writing a couple of years ago to address that niggling question: could she write a book? The answer was a simple yes. She’s had to retire from the NHS a little earlier than planned, but has discovered a new passion. Writing. Her debut novel, A Justifiable Madness, was published by Bloodhound Books in September 2017 attracting great reviews for its refreshing premise and dark humour. With two further novels being published at the beginning of 2018, it seems Alison has a promising future as an author. Divine Poison is the second novel to feature Monica Morris, a mental health nurse, as the main protagonist in this crime mystery, but there are no plans for a series. Alison’s third suspense novel, The Camera Lies, steps away from the field of nursing and into the world of real crime documentary films.

Alison lives with her husband Andy and their dog Sadie, in a small village north of Bedford. She’s not the type to let life get in the way of adventure and so, always up for the next challenge, she decided to have a proper midlife crisis and learn to ride a motorbike. In August she passed, first time. Her husband was impressed until she swung her leg over his prized Triumph and roared off with a big grin on her face. ‘Research for the next book,’ she cried. The fourth book is under construction and does indeed feature motorbikes.

AB Morgan can be followed on her Website, Facebook and Twitter.

B L O G B L I T Z

Blog Tour ~ Review ~ The Mirror of Pharos by J S Landor #YA Fiction.

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Jack Tideswell’s parents died in a diving accident while exploring the underwater ruins of the ancient Pharos lighthouse. So Jack wants nothing to do with adventure. Until that is, a seagull delivers a strange disc, addressed to him in his own handwriting.

In the blink of an eye, all kinds of magic are let loose, sending Jack on a dangerous journey. Can he learn to navigate time before it’s too late to save the one person who can help him unravel the secrets of the disc?

Whether he likes it or not, there’s no more hiding away. And no looking back. Especially when Alpha is watching. A wolf who sees all there is to see …

‘A wonderful mix of magic and reality that reminds me of the early books in the Harry Potter series.’ The Bookbag

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Review

Firstly I would like to thank the author J S Landor, publisher Matador and blog tour organiser Anne Cater for the ARC of The Mirror of Pharos in return for an honest review.
I think the greatest complement I can pay this book, is that it reminded me of long days curled up with a paperback as a child. Completely absorbed in an adventure and cut off from the world around me. The Mirror of Pharos took me back to that time and I loved every second of it.
Full of adventure and magic, it’s a book I would without hesitation recommend to all ages. As the Harry Potter series has come to be read and loved by adults and children alike, so I believe The Mirror of Pharos will also. It captures the essence of what an excellent YA book should be about, great characterisation and a strong flowing storyline. Young readers need a hook that draws them into a story and distracts them from other demands on their time just like adults, but with them it is computer games or social media. So stories need to have that extra something special and The Mirror of Pharos has that, it has magic and wonder.
In young Jack Tideswell , the story has a hero the reader will find easy to fall in love with. He is brave and yet vulnerable, attributes so many youthful readers of all ages will find easy to identify with. He is not then only wonderful character, there is his Nan with whom he lives after the death of his parents. She is eccentric and loving and they form a different type of family set up, which so many children will recognise and it will help them feel a part of the story. I myself come from a family/friendship group where the children have been mainly influenced by strong female roles models and I would be proud to introduce them to this magical story as they grow into what I hope are lifelong readers.
If you’re reading this in paperback form, there also is a delightful surprise at the corner of the page as you read, showing that the author and publisher care deeply about the importance of imagery in books for younger readers! It is extra touches such as this, that show how much they care about the reader and the story being told.
Magical and full of adventure,  The Mirror of Pharos is a splendid reading experience and I will cherish it for many years to come.

 

You can purchase The Mirror of Pharos from Amazon

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About J S Landor 

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I grew up in Luton, an industrial town famous for making hats. Dad was an engineer, Mum was Mum, and my little brother, Steve, was a big pest – and my best friend. Life was fairly ordinary. Until, one day, adventure called. We packed up our belongings in a crate and sailed on an ocean liner to Canada.

The crossing took a whole week, an epic voyage for a five-year-old. That amount of rolling sea is not easily forgotten! Nor the seagulls. Nor the slot machine that unexpectedly unloaded such a heap of coins I mistakenly thought I was rich. No surprise that years later the ship (or a fictional version of her) sailed right into one of my stories: The Mirror of Pharos.

As an eight-year old returning to primary school in Luton I was the odd one out. When my funny accent caused some teasing I felt sad and missed my old home in Toronto. But some great new friends soon came to the rescue. And by then I was a bookworm so half my buddies were characters in stories anyway!

After school I studied literature at university and edited a magazine called Magus (look out for that word in the story). Later I became a journalist, a farmer and eventually a publishing editor. But all the while another adventure was beckoning. Someone had whispered a secret to me on a school field trip when I was just seven. Looking back it shaped my destiny. It’s the reason I became a storyteller.

The author can be followed on her Website and Twitter.

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