Book Review

Balancing Act – Rachel Churcher

Wishing a very happy publication day to Rachel Churcher and book six (!!!) set in her Battle Ground world, Balancing Act. I am delighted to be a part of the publication day festivities and to be sharing my review of Balancing Act with you all. Many thanks to Rachel for providing me with a copy of the book.

BLURB:

Corporal David Conrad has life figured out. His job gives him power, control, and access to Top Secret operations. His looks have tempted plenty of women into his bed, and he has no intention of committing to a relationship.

When Ketty Smith joins the Home Forces, Conrad sets his sights on the new girl – but pursuing Ketty will be more dangerous than he realises. Is Conrad about to meet his match? And will the temptations of his job distract him from his target?

Additional information:

The Battle Ground Series is set in a dystopian near-future UK, after Brexit and Scottish independence. Spoiler warning: Balancing Act is a tie-in novel in the series, revisiting the events of Darkest Hour, Fighting Back, and Victory Day. It is suitable for older teens and adult readers.

PURCHASE LINKS:

Universal Purchase Link

Balancing Act Cover + border

REVIEW:

When I heard that Rachel Churcher was writing a Battle Ground book telling the story of Corporal David Conrad, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it. He is not a character that I liked in the previous books, in fact he is an awful human, and his attitudes and behaviour are indefensible, but yet he is utterly compelling and it wasn’t long before I was as far under his spell as the women he uses.

The focus on Conrad and Ketty, and on Conrad’s behaviour gave this book an older feel than those based on Bex and her friends, and I would say it seemed more suitable for a new adult, rather than young adult audience, although older teens would love it.

It’s no secret that Ketty is my favourite character from the Battle Ground series and seeing her through Conrad’s eyes was absolutely fascinating. In Conrad’s eyes we see a different Ketty to how Bex sees her, different to how she sees herself, someone strong and in control, and I loved getting to see this view of her.

Even though I already knew what the future held for Conrad, I was so tense reading this book, desperate to see him brought to his knees. He is misogynistic, arrogant, careless with others’ feelings and it was a joy to see him brought down by his underestimation of multiple strong women.

On the surface, Balancing Act is a story about a hateful man, but underneath it all lies a story of amazing women fighting back, and this makes it a powerful read.

To promote the launch of Book Six, Battle Ground (Book One of the series) will be FREE to download on May 28th. The universal/worldwide Amazon link for ‘Battle Ground’ is http://getbook.at/BattleGroundBook1

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Rachel Churcher Author photoRachel Churcher was born between the last manned moon landing, and the first orbital Space Shuttle mission. She remembers watching the launch of STS-1, and falling in love with space flight, at the age of five. She fell in love with science fiction shortly after that, and in her teens she discovered dystopian fiction. In an effort to find out what she wanted to do with her life, she collected degrees and other qualifications in Geography, Science Fiction Studies, Architectural Technology, Childminding, and Writing for Radio.

She has worked as an editor on national and in-house magazines; as an IT trainer; and as a freelance writer and artist. She has renovated several properties, and has plenty of horror stories to tell about dangerous electrics and nightmare plumbers. She enjoys reading, travelling, stargazing, and eating good food with good friends – but nothing makes her as happy as writing fiction.

Her first published short story appeared in an anthology in 2014, and the Battle Ground series is her first long-form work. Rachel lives in East Anglia, in a house with a large library and a conservatory full of house plants. She would love to live on Mars, but only if she’s allowed to bring her books.

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Extracts

Maltese Steel – Stuart Field

I am joining the blog tour today for Maltese Steel by Stuart Field, and have the honour of sharing an extract from the book with you all. Many thanks to Stuart for allowing me to share this, and to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to be a part of the tour.

BLURB:

A woman is found dead on the island of Gozo. The cops say she fell from the Azure Window tourist spot, but her father thinks otherwise.

CIA Section Chief Foster needs help to prove it was murder, so he turns to the only person he knows can get the job done: John Steel.

The Hive, securely seated under the US Embassy on the island of Malta, is an operation that monitors all passage from North Africa and the Middle East into Europe and the US. A platform that requires the latest in technology and facial recognition.

In seven days, that software will be updated. In two days, all hell will break loose. And the clock is ticking for an attack on American soil.

Together with the beautiful Sammara Malk of Mossad, can Steel find out who killed Lucy – and stop whoever is behind the impending attack?

PURCHASE LINKS:

Amazon UK

Amazon US

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EXTRACT:

This extract is from the beginning of the book. John Steel realizes that his Mission in New York is over, and he must return to MI8 back in Britain.

John Steel had taken a cab back to his apartment. The ride was quiet and uneventful. The cabby had talked most of the way. Steel had not taken much notice and had replied with some friendly-sounding grunts. As the yellow Ford pulled up outside the address, Steel paid then climbed out onto the sidewalk. Steel watched the cab car’s taillights disappear into the mass of traffic that was moving slowly like some cumbersome beast. Steel entered the vast brick monstrosity built in the 30s – all redbrick and windows. Steel considered it had more class than the modern steel and glass buildings. It had character. Like the Cromwellian mansion he had lived in back home in England. Unfortunately, Steel was the son of an Earl since his parent’s murder years ago, which had passed to him and the family company. But Steel was not one for titles. He wasn’t a businessman. He was a soldier, an investigator, and now a cop. Steel was greeted by a doorman who tipped his cap to Steel and opened the door for him. Steel nodded a greeting and entered. He was home. Inside, the lobby was filled with a white marble floor and high arched ceilings. The reception desk was topped with black marble, and the front was polished oak. Steel walked over at the two men behind the desk, said his good mornings, and retrieved his keys. Steel had thought that taking his keys may be a bad idea if things went wrong. Luckily, his instinct had been correct, and he saved himself a hefty fine for losing them. He took the elevator up, using the time to think. Steel lived on the top floor, with a terrace view of the park and the city. As he opened the front door, the crisp conditioned air felt good against his skin. He closed his eyes for a moment and enjoyed the temperature change. He slipped off his jacket and hung it on the coat rack near the door. As he did so, his eyes scanned the open-plan loft, and he gave a comfortable smile. It was good to be home. The loft was spacious, with polished oak flooring and a mix of modern and antique furniture. The white-painted walls held various works of art but no family photographs. To the right, a staircase wound upwards to a mezzanine that was Steel’s bedroom. Behind the twisting staircase was the open-plan kitchen, which lay beneath the mezzanine. Next to the kitchen was a long corridor which contained a bathroom and several other rooms. Steel poured himself a large whisky from a drink’s cabinet in a corner near a large panoramic window, a virtual wall of glass. After the night he’d had – he needed it. Steel stood at the window and watched as a shifting orange-watercolor sky bathed everything in a dark umber. He looked down at the view of Central Park and the city. It was possibly the only time he was thankful for the family money. It gave him the freedom to do what he wanted without restrictions and also guaranteed the best rooms or seats on flights. But it was also a reminder for him. Steel had survived the attack on the family estate. His family had not. He was alone in the world. But his pain gave him purpose. Steel had gone to New York to find those responsible. An organization called SANTINI. But they had gone underground. Disappeared. But he knew he would see them again. It was just a matter of time. Steel thought about one of SANTINI’s agents – a man called Mr. Williams, who he had encountered on his first mission with the NYPD, not that the cops were aware it was a mission. Mr. Williams was – for Steel, the epitome of the term, the bad guy. He was as sadistic as they came but somehow had a sense of honor and charisma. Somehow, through their encounters against each other, they had formed strange mutual respect. Steel knew that Mr. Williams had nothing to do with his family’s murder, possibly, Williams only saving grace. Mr. Williams had also disappeared from the limelight. But Steel knew they would be back. Steel felt tired. Drained. He took a sip from the whisky and stared out across the horizon. He had been in one place too long, and it was starting to get to him. Steel sighed. He loved the city and working with the team. But it wasn’t him. This wasn’t his life. It was a mission that had gone on for too long. Steel walked towards the kitchen to switch on the coffee machine. The machine gave an electronic whir before it began processing the mix of coffee grinds and hot water. It would take ten minutes before the brew would be ready – time enough for him to shower and freshen up. It was five in the morning. Steel knew he had a couple of hours before he had to be back at the precinct. The truth was, Brant would be happy if he did not show, and as it was, Steel did not feel much like going in anyway. He had risked his neck again and not gotten so much as a thank you for it. Sure, Steel wasn’t a glory hound. He did not care if that asshole Addams got the credit for it. But, all he had gotten was shit for it. And that was beginning to wear thin.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Maltest Steel Author PhotoStuart Field is a veteran who now works in security after serving twenty-two years in the British Army. As well as working full time he writes in his spare time. Stuart was born and raised in the West Midlands in the UK. His love for travel has been an inspiration in some of his work with his John Steel thriller series. As well as future John Steel novels, Stuart is working on a new series and standalone novels.

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Extracts

Retribution – Christina O’Reilly

I am joining the blog tour for Retribution by Christina O’Reilly today. Many thanks to Christina for allowing me to share an extract from her book, and to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to be a part of the tour.

BLURB:

A young woman has been murdered on Ripton Beach.

DSS ‘Archie’ Baldrick and DC Ben Travers eventually identify the body as that of Lucy Martin, who has been renting a bach in the area. Her husband, Oliver, seems to know very little about his wife or her background.

What was Lucy hiding? Why has she no family or friends?

As the number of suspects mounts up, Archie begins to conclude that the real answer lies in Lucy’s dark and mysterious past, and that the murderer may be just a little too close for comfort …

PURCHASE LINKS:

Amazon UK

Amazon US

Retribution Cover_Image - Retribution

EXTRACT:

In this extract, the young woman’s cause of death has just been established as murder by drowning. Now the detectives are looking for any evidence from the crime scene at Ripton Beach.

‘There goes your rampant social life for the next few weeks – if not months,’ Archie remarked.

‘Not much loss there, boss.’ Travers squinted along the beach to where police officers swarmed like clusters of ants, each holding a plastic bag. ‘What exactly are we expecting them to find?’

Archie shrugged. ‘Anything that might belong to the dead woman, or her killer. Where are her shoes, for instance? Her bag? Her phone? Did she just wander down here without them?’ He looked back up towards the haphazard row of baches behind the dunes, noting at the same time that the placement of the body was such that none of the dwellings overlooked it. ‘And where did she walk here from?’

‘Someone could have brought her here by car,’ Travers suggested. ‘Killed her, dumped the body here and then left. There were no vehicles in the carpark early this morning.’

Archie loosened his collar and ran a hand around his sweaty neck. It was going to be another warm, muggy day. ‘Get PC Devlin to organise an incident room for us to use – his station is the size of a phone box. And we’ll need some local accommodation, at least for the next few days.’

‘Onto it, boss.’ Travers loped away across the sand to where Devlin was standing barefoot in the shallows with his uniform trousers tucked up around his knees. He bent down as Travers approached and then suddenly stood up again, waving a streaming object triumphantly in the air.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Retribution - Author photo 1Christina is a writer and professional proofreader living in the Waikato region of New Zealand. Four of her short stories have been published, one in a magazine and the others in anthologies produced by Page and Blackmore, Rangitawa Publishing and most recently in Fresh Ink: Voices from Aotearoa, produced by Cloud Ink Press.

As well as being a finalist in the 2020 Ngaio Marsh Awards, Christina’s first crime novel Into the Void was longlisted for the 2019 Michael Gifkins Memorial Prize for an unpublished novel.

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Book Review

Legal Crime – Samiksha Bhattacharjee

Today I am joining the blog tour for Legal Crime by the exciting young writer Samiksha Bhattacharjee. Many thanks to Samiksha for providing me with a copy of the book, and to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours for inviting me to be a part of the blog tour.

BLURB:

This exciting and captivating page-turner transports you into the fascinating story of sixteen-year-old aspiring singer Fiona Watson who runs away from her family, oblivious to the dangers outside her shielded comfort zone. As she journeys through her new world, leaving her past behind and determined to find a new identity, she uncovers surprising secrets buried deep within her long ago… How do her new friends link to her past? What secrets are they hiding behind their misleading smiles? How much of herself has she really left behind? And how will she cope when she realises that she has made a huge mistake… one that could ruin her forever?

PURCHASE LINKS:

Amazon UK

Legal Crime Front Cover

REVIEW:

As you will know by now, I am a big reader of YA fiction, and not much makes me happier than reading a promising debut in this genre. Legal Crimes is one such book. Telling the story of 16 year old runaway Fiona, Legal Crimes entwines multiple timelines as we follow her life as a runaway, and explore the events leading to her decision, along with the histories of the new friends she meets along the way.

Legal Crimes has moments of beautiful writing that hint at the talent this young author has. It covers a number of difficult themes from drug use to loss and grief, and Samiksha handles each of these thoughtfully and with a sense of maturity that really surprised me.

To publish a book at any age is an fantastic achievement, but to do so at just thirteen years old really is something to be proud of. There are times when the author’s age does show in the writing, but her innate talent is clear, and everything else will come with maturity and practice. I expect we will see great things from Samiksha Bhattacharjee in the future and I look forward to reading them.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Samiksha Author picSamiksha Bhattacharjee is a thirteen-year-old British author living with her parents and younger brother. She started writing ‘Legal Crime’ when she was seven, and hopes to inspire other children to start creative writing too. She also enjoys acting, singing, drawing and talking (a lot).

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Book Review

Sew On The Go – Mary Jane Baxter

It is my stop on the blog tour for Sew On The Go by Mary Jane Baxter. Many thanks to Mary Jane and Unbound for providing me with a copy of the book, and to Anne Cater at Random Things tours for inviting me to be a part of the blog tour.

BLURB:

  • Have you ever dreamed of quitting your job and setting off on the open road to pursue your creativity? In 2016, Mary Jane Baxter did exactly that.
  • Sew on the Go is an inspiring road trip and a practical guide to crafting wherever you find yourself, and is packed with easy, step-by-step instructions for craft.
  • From decorating your own budget conscious bolthole, to achievable projects including clothes and fashion accessories, beautiful gift ideas and child-friendly makes, this book is the ideal companion for those who dream of devoting more time to their craft.

In 2016, Mary Jane Baxter quit her job at the BBC, rented out her flat and headed for the hills. Her home for the next few months was an upcycled 1986 Bedford Bambi campervan with a top speed of 60mph. She raided skips for vintage wallpaper and scoured second-hand emporiums to source stylish vintage accessories, creating her own travelling craft studio, packed with everything necessary for crafting on the road. She then set off around Europe searching for inspiration, travelling from Belgium right down to the Cinque Terre in Italy, then around France and up to Scotland.

Armed with her trusty hand-cracked Singer, she spent the summer sewing on the go. Like creatives the world over, she decided to see where her travels would lead her and returned with a head full of new projects. Fortunately, there’s no need for you to give up your job, wave goodbye to your family and rent out your house in order to reignite your own creativity; Mary Jane has done all the hard work for you. Sew on the Go is her guide to carving out more creative space in your life.

PURCHASE LINKS:

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Sew On The Go Cover

REVIEW:

Taking off on a European craft adventure sounds wonderful and I must admit, Bambi’s unusual decorative style appealed to the quirkier side of me, although the bathroom situation puts me off more than a little – I am definitely more of a hotel kind of girl!

Although I would possibly only have a go at about 50% of the projects included in this book, there is something here for crafters of every level of experience, and working with many different techniques. The projects that did catch my eye though were wonderfully varied and the materials used for them would result in some deeply personal items.

I would have preferred a little more detail on the artists and crafters that Mary Jane encountered on her journey, and a little less about her wild swimming adventures, but this aspect is probably something that stronger swimmers than I am would enjoy greatly.

I loved reading about all the different places that Mary Jane visited on her adventure – the fairs and markets, visiting different artists and museums. Sew On The Go has left me with a long list of creative types whose work I want to investigate further and take inspiration from, and an even longer list of places to add to my travel bucket list.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Mary Jane Author pic

Mary Jane Baxter used to work as a BBC news correspondent and producer. In 2016, she set off on a crafting adventure across Europe in a mobile studio. She is the author of Chic on a Shoestring and The Modern Girl’s Guide to Hatmaking, and has presented on fashion and craft for the BBC, most notably bartering her sewing skills for board and lodging in a series of films for Newsnight. She lives in London and is available for interview, events, and to write pieces on commission.

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Book Review

The Court of Miracles – Kester Grant

Today I am reviewing the wonderful The Court of Miracles by Kester Grant. Many thanks to Kester, and to HarperCollins for my copy of the book, which I received via NetGalley.

BLURB:

A diverse fantasy reimagining of Les Misérables and The Jungle Book.

In the dark days following a failed French Revolution, in the violent jungle of an alternate 1828 Paris, young cat-burglar Eponine (Nina) Thenardier goes head to head with merciless royalty, and the lords of the city’s criminal underworld to save the life of her adopted sister Cosette (Ettie).

Her vow will take her from the city’s dark underbelly, through a dawning revolution, to the very heart of the glittering court of Louis XVII, where she must make an impossible choice between guild, blood, betrayal and war.

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REVIEW:

When I saw that this book was being compared to Six of Crows, Caraval and Les Miserables, I knew that I had to read it. That said, I wasn’t expecting a reimagining of Les Miserables, and was delighted to find that this is, essentially, what The Court of Miracles is. Although the book remains on my shelf judging me for my failure to read it I have seen the musical of Les Miserables so many times that it was easy for me to picture Nina Thenardier and her Paris. I have always loved Eponine, much preferring her to pampered Cosette (once they were older) and so this book appealed to me even more. I adored reading about characters that were at once familiar and strange when seen through fresh eyes, and I particularly loved Nina’s first meeting with drunk Grantaire and Enjrolas St Juste.

The Guilds put me in mind partly of the gangs of Ketterdam and partly of the guilds of Ankh-Morpork, and it was easy to see where the comparison to Leigh Bardugo’s Six of Crows duology had come from. If you are a fan of the Grishaverse, then I am sure you will love The Court of Miracles.

There is a sense of magic in the air throughout the book, without there actually being any in evidence. At the same time, Kester Grant creates an almost palpable feeling of threat or danger constantly hiding in the shadows or just around the corner. Nina’s Paris is a Paris hidden from view from so many, an invisible underclass of society, and Kester Grant brings this to life beautifully.

Seeing so many familiar faces reimagined and meeting new ones (to me at least) made me determined to finally read the original Les Miserables and get to know Victor Hugo’s characters properly.

Occasionally, I will read a book on my Kindle that is so wonderful that I have to treat myself to the hard copy too, and with it’s stunning cover, The Court of Miracles was just too lovely to resist and now has pride of place on the shelves I reserve for particularly special books.

Book Review

Curse of the Celts – Clara O’Connor

Today I am reviewing Curse of the Celts, book two in the Once and Future Queen series by Clara O’Connor. Many thanks to Clara and One More Chapter for providing me with a copy of the book, which I received via NetGalley.

BLURB:

You are accused of crimes against the Code. How do you plead?

After failing to escape the Roman metropolis of Londinium with Devyn, her lover, and Marcus, her betrothed, Cassandra wakes in inky darkness to find the ground giving way to sand beneath her feet.

All three of them have been carted back to the notorious arena at the heart of the city to stand trial by public vote. Cass knows they must escape at any cost: to warn the Celts of the mysterious blood curse ravaging their kin, to foil the schemes of the imperial council…

To find the fabled Lady of the Lake, the one who could save them all.

But even as the jaws of death close in around her, another threat looms in the shadows, a danger she never could have foreseen, a betrayal that could burn down her entire world.

Fans of The Hunger Games will revel in this sweeping dystopian adventure set in an alternate fantasy universe where the Roman Empire never fell. 

PURCHASE LINKS:

Amazon UK

Amazon US

 

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REVIEW:

As you might recall, I adored Secrets of the Starcrossed, book one in this series, and the cliffhanger ending left me screaming for book two. Curse of the Celts picks up exactly where Secrets of the Starcrossed finished, throwing you instantly back into the drama, as Cassandra, Devyn and Marcus prepare to meet their fate.

Curse of the Celts takes the reader away from the luxury of Londinium and into the wilder lands of Britannia, the intricate blending of British legend with fiction creating a rich alternate history. I love Arthurian and Celtic legend, so this really was a dream come true for me, if perhaps less so for our heroes.

For Marcus and Cassandra, leaving high tech Londinium for the wilds of Britannia with no technology to speak of would have felt alien enough without the fact that they were were entering the borderlands on Samhain. With their vanishing pools of blood and skeletal hands, I was glad to be reading about this dangerous territory in daylight .  Add to this the turmoil of betrayal and not knowing who to trust, and emotions in Curse of the Celts are running understandably high.

Once again I was swept away by the world that Clara O’Connor has created, and I absolutely devoured this book. The Once and Future Queen is fast becoming one of my favourite series, and I know I will be returning to reread it time and time again.

Clara O’Connor truly is the queen of the cliffhanger and once again the ending of this book has had me pacing the floors as I impatiently await book three – not long to go now and it can’t come soon enough for me.

Book Review

Raven Fire – Emma Miles

It’s a bittersweet day today as I join the blog tour for the final (sob!) book of the Fire-walker series by Emma Miles, Raven Fire. Many thanks to Emma for providing me with a copy of the book, and to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to be a part of the tour.

BLURB:

Is prophecy real; can Arridia and Joss defeat a god?

Evil never sleeps, and neither can the fire spirits who have guarded Kesta and her family so faithfully for more than fourteen years. United in a desire for peace, the four lands beneath the sky have enjoyed relative stability, but under the surface stirs unrest. Greed, ambition, disquiet, rebellion; and the ever-present threat of Geladan’s crazed god discovering she has been fooled.

Quiet Arridia is a Raven Scout, dedicated to the principles and hopes of her parents. When an opportunity presents itself to come home, she grasps it, longing to settle and find the love she has patiently waited for.

 Fun-loving Joss is drawn to the court of Elden with all its colour, noise, and intrigue; but has he taken on more than a young man can survive?

Raven Fire is the final part of the breath-taking Fire-Walker saga.

If you could, would you dare to change the world?

PURCHASE LINKS:

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Raven Fire Front Cover 2

REVIEW:

It’s no secret that I love Emma’s books, particularly the Fire-walker series, and with this being the final book in the series, I really wanted to read it slowly, savouring every word. However, once I started reading, I couldn’t stop, and ended up reading it in a single day – if you are familiar with the length of Emma’s books (this one sits at over 400 pages), you will realise what a feat this is! As much as I loved the previous books in the series, I think this one is the best of the bunch.

Picking up some years after the end of Raven Storm, the focus for a large part of this book moves away from Kesta and Jorrun towards the younger generation. Whilst I did initially miss Kesta and Jorrun, it was only a matter of pages before I was swept up in Arridia and Joss’s story and totally forgot to miss their parents. I absolutely adored getting to know these new characters, learning who to trust and who to be suspicious of and understanding the motivations behind each of their actions.

Raven Fire is a suitably dramatic conclusion to the Fire-walker series, featuring an epic battle scene which, for many of the characters, sees their storylines resolved (one way or another) absolutely beautifully. Emma Miles explores this battle to magnificent effect, with the point of view switching between characters to show one particular part of the battle from every possible angle so the reader doesn’t miss a single detail.

Azra has been a favourite character of mine from the very first book. I just love him, and his quirky personality adds a lighter mood to the book, easing the problems and tensions that his friends are dealing with.

Raven Fire is a book that evokes a whole range of emotions, from joy to heartbreak, laughter to tears.

Although I know Raven Fire marks the conclusion of Kesta and Jorrun’s story, it almost feels like they are handing the baton over ready for a second series in this world focused on the newer characters that we got to know this time around. I can hope anyway, can’t I?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Raven Fire Author 0332lr (1 of 1)I often get asked when I knew I was a writer; the answer is always. A writer is what I am, it’s in my soul. There have been times in my life when I couldn’t write, and times when my writing has been the only thing that kept me going. I think I always longed for something deeper from life, something more meaningful, and I found it in my imagination and in the music of words.

It was poetry which first caught my attention, and whilst my younger cousins called for ghost stories it was animals I first wrote of. I think I gravitated toward fantasy because of the freedom it gives, I could create my own worlds and decide my own rules. My Wind’s Children trilogy was born from an image that came to me whilst daydreaming, of a young man sitting alone below a bridge. I didn’t know who he was; it turns out neither did he, but we found out together.

I’m now working on my eleventh book and love writing more than ever, it’s an addiction, an obsession, but one I now share with my wonderful writing family. My beta readers, my editor, and you, my readers, having you with me on my journey means the world to me.

I write as much as I can around work, but I also try to squeeze in a ridiculous amount of hobbies! I’m a wildlife photographer and do a little archery. I paint, sculpt with clay, withies and driftwood, preferring to be outdoors if I can. I still have a love for the theatre, having started out in life studying backstage crafts, and a great love for language. I speak a little French, Romanian and Italian, ma non molto bene!

Thanks for reading this. If you read any of my books and love them, please come say hello and tell me, you’d be surprised at how much that means to an author.
Take care of yourself.
Em x

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Book Review

The Bone Code – Kathy Reichs

I am thrilled to be joining the blog tour for The Bone Code, book twenty in the Temperance Brennan series by Kathy Reichs. Many thanks to Kathy and Simon & Schuster for providing me with a copy of the book, and to Anne at Random Things Tours for inviting me to be a part of the tour.

BLURB:

A storm has hit South Carolina, dredging up crimes of the past.

En route to Isle of Palms, a barrier island off the South Carolina coast, forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan receives a call from the Charleston coroner. During the storm, a medical waste container has washed up on the beach. Inside are two decomposed bodies wrapped in plastic sheeting and bound with electrical wire. Chillingly, Tempe recognises many details as identical to those of an unsolved case she handled in Quebec fifteen years earlier. With a growing sense of foreboding, she flies to Montreal to gather evidence and convince her boss Pierre LaManche to reopen the cold case. She also seeks the advice – and comfort – of her long-time beau Andrew Ryan.

Meanwhile, a storm of a different type gathers force in South Caroline. The citizens of Charleston are struck by capnocytophaga, a bacterium that, at its worst, can eat human flesh. Thousands panic and test themselves for a rare genetic mutation that may have rendered them vulnerable.

Shockingly, Tempe eventually deduces not only that the victims in both grisly murder cases are related, but that the murders and the disease outbreak also have a common cause…

PURCHASE LINKS:

Amazon US

Amazon UK

The Bone Code Cover

REVIEW:

I used to love Kathy Reichs’s books, and I must have devoured the first ten or so Temperance Brennan books back to back. However, life and having too many books that I want to read mean that it has been a few years since I have read one. As such I was worried that, with this being the twentieth book in the series, I might struggle to pick up what had been going on for Tempe in the intervening years. I needn’t have worried though, as this book includes enough of recap that even the totally uninitiated would understand the inter-character relationships, without going back over so much old ground that her fans would find it boring.

In The Bone Code, we find Tempe once more splitting her time between South Carolina and Quebec, investigating mysterious deaths covering both years and miles. It is a carefully woven, intricate book as Tempe gently unpicks the evidence presented to her.

Although I largely read for pleasure, I do love a book that I can learn new things from. Kathy Reichs has a penchant for weaving real facts and historical figures into her fiction, and it wasn’t long before this book had me happily heading off to Google and saving websites to read up on once I have finished the book. Her books are also fairly heavy on scientific terminology, and I always leave them feeling a little cleverer than before I read them.

Although there is a lot of science and research in The Bone Code, it also includes its fair share of action, and had my heart racing on more than one occasion. The changing pace throughout the story creates a wonderfully balanced and intriguing book.

The Bone Code is fast-paced and complex, and reminded me just what a talented writer Kathy Reichs is – so much so that I am now planning to set aside some time to return to the beginning of the series and read it all over again.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Kathy Reichs Author pIcKathy Reichs’s first novel, Deja Dead, was a number one bestseller and won the 1997 Ellis Award for Best First Novel. The Bone Code is Kathy’s twentieth entry in her series featuring forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan. Kathy was also a producer of the hit Fox TV series, Bones, which is based on her work and her novels.

Dr. Reichs is one of very few forensic anthropologists certified by the American Board of Forensic Anthropology. She served on the Board of Directors and as Vice President of both the American Academy of Forensic Sciences and the American Board of Forensic Anthropology, and as a member of the National Police Services Advisory Council in Canada.

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Book Review

We Go On Forever – Sarah Govett

I am joining the blog tour for the beautiful dystopian fiction novel, We Go On Forever, by Sarah Govett today. Many thanks to Sarah and Marotte Books for providing me with a copy of the book, and to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours for inviting my to be a part of the tour.

BLURB:

A timely and heart-wrenching love story set in a dark dystopian world with echoes of Never Let Me Go and adult as well as teen appeal.

Arthur is dying. He must transition within the next four weeks or face permanent memory loss.

Alba is studying, preparing to impress the Mentors in an all-important interview. If she’s picked as the next Apprentice she will be reunited with her best friend and cross the Wilderness for the first time.

They meet and everything comes together. And everything falls apart.

PURCHASE LINKS:

Amazon UK

Waterstones

We Go On Forever

REVIEW:

You know how sometimes you read a book that is so mind-blowing that when you finish, it feels a bit disorientating to be back in the real world? We Go On Forever is one such book. Set in the near future, it presents a stark view of the future and one that feels all to possible given the current state of the world. In some ways, this is terrifying, but Sarah Govett’s beautiful writing counters this with vivid description and wonderful characters.

I devoured this book in a matter of hours, partly because it has short chapters which always seem to mean I read a book quickly, but mainly because I was utterly enthralled. Told in alternating chapters by Arthur and Alba, We Go On Forever is a story of two people living in the same world but seeing it through two extremely different lives. It is a book that makes you think about the disparity between different population groups, and our willingness to accept what we are told rather than questioning it. It is also a book that will make you feel just about every emotion there is.

I honestly struggle to put into words everything that this book made me feel, and even as I write this the morning after I finished reading it, I am still processing everything. It is just an exquisite masterpiece, and a book I don’t think I will ever forget.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Sarah Govett Author pic

Sarah Govett graduated with a First in Law from Oxford University. After qualifying as a solicitor, she set up her own tutoring agency, which specialises in working with teenagers. She began writing after the birth of her first daughter. Sarah is an in-demand speaker at schools and has the support of a network of school librarians, independent bookshops and numerous Waterstones stores.

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Don’t forget to visit the other blogs joining the tour for this brilliant book.

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