Tell Me An Ending by Jo Harkin- Blog tour/Book review.

I’m so pleased to be part of the Random Things  Tours blog tour for Tell Me An Ending by Jo Harkin- a thought provoking speculative fiction exploring memory.

Genre: Speculative fiction

Publication Date: 12th May 2022

Source : With Thanks to Hutchinson Heinemann and Random Things Tours

Across the world, thousands of people are shocked to receive an email telling them that they once chose to have a traumatic memory removed. Now they are being given the chance to get that memory back. For Mei, William, Oscar and Finn there is a piece missing, but they’re not sure what. And each of them must decide if the truth is worth the pain, or better left unknown. For Noor, who works at the memory clinic Nepenthe, the process of reinstating their patients’ memories begins to shake the moral foundations of her world. As she delves deeper into the programme, she will have to risk everything to uncover the true human cost of this miraculous technology.

Review

I was expecting, Tell Me a Story, to be a hardcore science-fiction novel about tech. But Jo Harkin has created a speculative fiction exploring on memory and its impact on our personality, lives, and relationships.

I received a copy of this book for a free and unbiased review.

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Elizabeth OF York -Alison Weir- Blog tour/Book review

I’m so pleased to be part of the Random Things Tours for Elizabeth of York by Alison Weir , historical fiction set in the War of the Roses following the life of Elizabeth, The Last White Rose.

Genre: Historical Fiction

Series: Tudor Rose Trilogy

Source: Received with thanks from Headline publishers and Random Things Tours

An English Princess, born into a war between two families. Eldest daughter of the royal House of York, Elizabeth dreams of a crown to call her own. But when her beloved father, King Edward, dies suddenly, her destiny is rewritten. Her family’s enemies close in. Two young princes are murdered in the Tower. Then her uncle seizes power – and vows to make Elizabeth his queen. But another claimant seeks the throne, the upstart son of the rival royal House of Lancaster. Marriage to this Henry Tudor would unite the white rose of York and the red of Lancaster – and change everything. A great new age awaits. Now Elizabeth must choose her allies – and husband – wisely, and fight for her right to rule.

Review

I always enjoy readings books set during The War of the Roses, an English civil war between the House of York and The House of Lancaster and have read so many. So, I was pleased to be part of the tour for Elizabeth of York: The Last White Rose, one of the key but rarely heard who influenced the course of history.

Would that I had been born a boy,’ Elizabeth sighed. ‘Although, if I had, I would likely be dead!

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The Knave of Secrets by Alex Livingston- Book review/Blog tour

I’m so pleased to be part of the blog tour for The Knave of secrets by Alex Livingston, fantasy with magic ,intrigue and card games.

Genre: Fantasy

Source: Received with thanks from Rebellion Publishing and The Write Reads tours

When failed magician turned cardsharp Valen Quinol is given the chance to play in the Forbearance Game—the invitation-only tournament where players gamble with secrets—he can’t resist. Or refuse, for that matter, according to the petty gangster sponsoring his seat at the table. Valen beats the man he was sent to play, and wins the most valuable secret ever staked in the history of the tournament.
Now Valen and his motley crew are being hunted by thieves, gangsters, spies and wizards, all with their own reasons for wanting what’s in that envelope. It’s a game of nations where Valen doesn’t know all the rules or who all the players are, and can’t see all the moves. But he does know if the secret falls into the wrong hands, it could plunge the whole world into war

Review

This was one of those books I couldn’t put down. The Knave of Secrets by Alex Livingston had it all- political intrigue, magic, twisty card games, action and a great cast of dodgy characters. If I could describe this book it would Hustle set in the world of Games of Thrones.

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The Carnival of Ash by Tom Beckerlegge- book tour and review

I’m so pleased to be part of the Write Reads tours for The Carnival of Ash by Tom Beckerlegge- a literary fantasy full of intrigue, drama, and evil poets.

Genre: Alternate History, Literary fantasy

Source: Rebellion Publishers for a free and unbiased review.

Cadenza is the City of Words, a city run by poets, its skyline dominated by the steepled towers of its libraries, its heart beating to the stamp and thrum of the printing presses in the Printing Quarter.
Carlo Mazzoni, a young wordsmith arrives at the city gates intent on making his name as the bells ring out with the news of the death of the city’s poet-leader. Instead, he finds himself embroiled with the intrigues of a city in turmoil, the looming prospect of war with their rival Venice ever-present. A war that threatens not only to destroy Cadenza but remove it from history altogether

Review

I have to confess I was expecting a proper fantasy but once I got my head round the fact this was more literary alternative historical fiction I found myself immersed in this weird world.

 Anyone who loves reading, books or poetry will love the world created by Tom Beckerlegge. Cadenza is a city where its leaders are chosen for their skills as a poet and duels are fought with poetry with a unique societal structure based on your literary skill. But if you thought a society based on words would be kinder and fairer, then you are mistaken.

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The Murder of Mr Wickham by Claudia Gray- Blog tour/book review

I’m pleased to be part of the blog tour for The Murder of Mr Wickham by Claudia Gray- a murder mystery featuring your favourite Austen characters.

Genre : Historical Crime Fiction

Source : Austen Prose PR and Vintage Anchor

The happily married Mr. Knightley and Emma are throwing a party at their country estate, bringing together distant relatives and new acquaintances—characters beloved by Jane Austen fans. Definitely not invited is Mr. Wickham, whose latest financial scheme has netted him an even broader array of enemies. As tempers flare and secrets are revealed, it’s clear that everyone would be happier if Mr. Wickham got his comeuppance. Yet they’re all shocked when Wickham turns up murdered—except, of course, for the killer hidden in their midst.
Nearly everyone at the house party is a suspect, so it falls to the party’s two youngest guests to solve the mystery: Juliet Tilney, the smart and resourceful daughter of Catherine and Henry, eager for adventure beyond Northanger Abbey; and Jonathan Darcy, the Darcys’ eldest son, whose adherence to propriety makes his father seem almost relaxed.

Review

If you have ever wondered what an Agatha Christie mystery in the Regency period would look like then this is the book for you. 

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Land of the dead by Steven Hopstaken and Melissa Prusi- Blog Tour and Book review

I’m so pleased to be part of the blog tour for the Land of the Dead by Steven Hopstaken and Melissa Prusi. I loved this fantasy where Oscar Wilde and Bram Stoker join forces.

Genre: Urban Historical Fantasy,

Series: Book 3 of the Stoker’s Wilde series

Source: Received with thanks from Flame tree press and Netgalley

Bram Stoker and Oscar Wilde have returned to their lives in London after their adventures in the American West. Bram is managing a theatre and Oscar is rising to fame and planning his upcoming wedding when they are once again called upon to battle supernatural evil.
 Victor Mueller needs Bram’s unusual blood for his mad quest to bring his dead wife back to life, and he’ll resort to kidnapping to get it. Meanwhile, a young medium named Lorna Bow runs fake séances in London under the thumb of an abusive uncle. When her mother Endora returns, Lorna learns the truth: they come from a long line of witches, and soon Endora has awakened Lorna’s dormant powers.
When the scientist and the witches combine forces, all Hell breaks loose. Long-dead souls find themselves back in the land of the living, and some of them have scores to settle with our heroes.
Bram and Oscar must team up with Cora Chase to protect all they hold dear. Only a mission into the Land of the Dead can stop Mueller and Endora from bringing back more souls.In an adventure that spans continents – and even other worlds – they confront old enemies and unknown dangers. Teaming up with old friends Teddy Roosevelt and Richard Burton and new allies like Arthur Conan Doyle and Nicola Tesla, they too must harness both science and magic to protect our world from intruders from the Land of the Dead. 

Review

I received a copy of this book for a free and unbiased opinion.

How could I resist a book where Oscar Wilde and Bram Stoker join forces to defeat the forces of evil?

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Judgement Day by Josie Jeffrey –  BBNYA 2021 blog tour and Book review

I’m so pleased to be part of the BBBNYA 2021 blogtour for Judgement Day by Josie Jaffrey- an urban fantasy set in Oxford.

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Series: Book 2 The Seekers,

               Book 1 May Day ( review here)

Source: I received this book to read and review as part of the BBNYA 2021 tours ( see below for more details ) organised by the TWR Tour team. All opinions are my own, unbiased and honest.

Jack Valentine finally has her shit together. She has a great job, great friends (well, one at least) and a girlfriend whom she loves, even if she can’t work up the courage to tell her that yet. Unfortunately, she also has an archnemesis who’s about to punish her crimes in the worst possible way: by making her spend time with him.
Which she could cope with, maybe, if she didn’t have problems at work as well. When the body of a human judge is found in a locked library, there’s no denying that she was murdered by one of the Silver – by a vampire – and the evidence points worryingly close to home. If that wasn’t bad enough, some of Jack’s least favourite people are opening a new blood bar in Oxford with questionable motives. For Jack and her team, it’s becoming increasingly hard to separate allies from enemies.
With conspiracies on every side, the simmering tensions in Silver society are about to come to a head. As usual, Jack intends to be right in the middle of it. She does like it when things get messy.

Review

May Day (review here), the first book in this series helped me rediscover my love of vampires, so I was so excited to be part of the tour for Judgement Day, the second book in Josie Jaffrey’s The Seekers series.

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Shadow Flicker by Greg Bastianelli- blog tour and book review

I will never look at a wind farm the same way again after reading this thriller with sci-fi edge by Greg Bastianelli. I’m so pleased to be part of the blog tour for Shadow Flicker.

Genre: Mystery/thriller/sci-fiction

Source: Random Tours/Publishers

Investigator Oscar Basaran travels to Kidney Island off the coast of Maine to document the negative effects of shadow flicker from wind turbines on residents living near the windmills, but is unprepared for what he encounters from the islanders.

Melody Larson’s elderly father nearly chokes to death after stuffing dandelion heads into his mouth. The Granberrys’ pregnant cow repeatedly runs headlong into a fence post. Tatum Gallagher mourns her young son who vanished more than a year ago, presumed swept out to sea by a wave while fishing on the rocky shore, but several people claim to see him appear only in the glimmer of the shadow flicker.

When Oscar meets former island school science teacher Norris Squires, fired for teaching his students about the harmful effects of shadow flicker, he learns a theory regarding Aerosource that sounds too preposterous to believe.

While it seems the shadow flicker effect has driven some of the island’s animals crazy, is it possible it’s caused an even worse mental breakdown among the human inhabitants? Or is something more nefarious at work on the island?

As Oscar’s investigation deepens, he discovers the turbines create an unexpected phenomena kept secret by a select group of people on Kidney Island who have made a scientific breakthrough and attempt to harness its dark power.

Review

In horror fiction, there is always something creepy about small, isolated communities and if that small community is on an island off the main coast, we can safely double the creep factor.

Kidney island with its looming wind turbines, mad cows, disappearing children and suspicious locals lives up to this expectation. Oscar Basaran is the outsider ( and not just geographically) tasked with documenting the effects of the wind turbines on the island folk.

Oscar is a sympathetic character and his unease is realistically described by the author and yet you can understand why he chooses to stay when his back story is revealed.

The secondary characters are an eclectic mix of normal trying to cope in an awful environment to the outright strange and unwelcoming but the wind turbines themselves are just as much as a character as the islanders- looming and humming in the background and ever-present.

The tension slowly builds up through the book’s explosive climax which I won’t go into as this would completely spoil the story. But I have to say I was not expecting that explanation on why the shadow flicker was causing so much harm.

I really enjoyed this book and would definitely recommend this to anyone who loves their mystery with a touch of science-fiction.

Content warning

Depictions of grief over a lost child, references to homophobia and sexual abuse

Perfect for fans

Horror and fiction set on creepy islands

About the author

Gregory Bastianelli is the author of the novels Snowball,Loonies and Jokers Club. Horrornews.net described him as the ‘messiah of macabre.’ His stories have appeared in the magazines Black Ink Horror, Sinister Tales and Beyond Centauri; the anthologies Night Terrors II, Cover of Darkness and Encounters;and the online magazines Absent Willow Review and Down in the Cellar. His novella The Lair of the Mole People appeared in the pulp anthology Men & Women of
Mystery Vol. II.
Gregory graduated from the University of New Hampshire where he studied writing. He worked for nearly two decades atasmall daily newspaper where the highlights of his career were interviewing shock rocker Alice Cooperand
B-movie icon Bruce Campbell. He became enchanted with the stories of Ray Bradburyas ayoung child,and
his love of horror grew with the likes of Richard Matheson, Robert Bloch, Stephen King and Ramsey Campbell.
He lives in Dover, New Hampshire. He enjoys kayaking, hiking and cycling in the summerand snowshoeing and racquetball in the winter. Along with spending time with family, he enjoys traveling, especially to Italy where he
has visited his ancestral home and relatives residing there and hiked the Path of the Gods on the Amalfi Coastand to the top of Mt. Vesuvius. He is a member of the Horror Writers Association and the New England Horror Writers. You can find out more about his work at gregorybastianelli.com.

Merchants of Knowledge and Magic by Ericka McCorkle- Spotlight

It’s my turn on the #blogtour for with @Escapist_Tours.Today I’m sharing the spotlight on The Merchants of Knowledge and Magic by Erica McCorkle. Enter the giveaway for a chance to win a free copy of the book

My secret would plunge the world into chaos.” “How much is it worth?”

Calinthe is an asexual dragonfly-person who was sent on a mission to find two missing men. She learns one of the men is from a species thought to be extinct, who had the misfortune of being captured in a matriarchal society where all non-women are enslaved. Though she maintains a disguise with help from her companion’s illusions, Calinthe is actually intersex. If her secret were to be discovered by the matriarchy, she would be enslaved as well.

Merchants of Knowledge and Magic is a standalone epic rainbow fantasy novel featuring aroace friendships, a religion that forbids money, clever use of magic, and a fantastical world inhabited by nonhumans. It is the first book in the Merchants of the Pentagonal Dominion trilogy, three standalones which take place concurrently in the same world, but which can be read in any order.

Book Links:

Amazon
Goodreads

GIVEWAY

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The Book of Perilous Dishes by Doina Rusti – Blog Tour and Book review

I’m so pleased to be part of the blog tour for The Book of Perilous Dishes by Doina Rusti historical fiction set in Bucharest featuring a book of magical recipes.

Genre: Historical Fiction/Literature In translation

Source: Random Things Tours

Translator: from Romanian by James Christian Brown

Bucharest, 1798. A slave-cook lives in Bucharest, sought after by everyone. His sublime cooking satisfies even the sophisticated tastes of the Prince, who lays claim to him, whisking him away to the Palace. However, no one knows that the cook has in his possession a witch’s recipe book, the Book of Perilous Dishes. His food can bring about damaging sincerity, forgetfulness, the gift of prediction, or hysterical laughter. And the rightful owner of this book is fourteen-year-old Pâtca, an adolescent initiated in the occult arts. Pâtca comes to Bucharest, to her uncle, Cuviosu Zaval, to recover this book, but she finds him dead, murdered, and the Book of Perilous Dishes has disappeared without a trace. All that Zaval has left her is a strange map…

The Book of Perilous Dishes follows the story of Pâtca, who uses her powers to avenge the death of her uncle and retrieve a magical recipe book left in his keeping which has been stolen by Silica the cook. Travelling from Romania to France and on to Germany to do so, Pâtca’s family’s true past and powers are revealed, as is her connection to Silica the cook…

Review

Recipe

Take a plucky fourteen-year-old orphan add a generous dose of world-building and atmosphere, mix in a coveted recipe book with a touch of peril and let the magical story unfold.

I don’t normally read literary fiction but after reading the Book of Perilous Dishes, I think I may be reading a lot more. The author ( and translator) builds a wonderful picture of Bucharest in 1798 with lush descriptions of the people, places and food.

The book manages to pack a lot in its 255 pages and describes life in 1798 Bucharest including witch hunts, slavery, murder mystery and the political turmoil of the time.

The fantasy elements are light but beautifully woven into the story. I was tickled by the idea of recipes that can cause interesting effects such as hysterical laughter, forgetfulness, prediction and my favourite damaging sincerity. The recipes in the book are beautifully described and well-researched by the author

Patca is the main point of view character, and we follow her story over two time periods, one in 1798 and then thirty years later. Patca relationships with the people she meets are touching and her story drives the book leading to an ending that is deeply satisfying and heart-warming and left an impression long after I finished the book.

Don’t forget to read the translator’s note at the start of the book which is fascinating in its own right!

I received a copy of this book for a free and unbiased opinion.

Doina Rusti is among the most important contemporary Romanian writers and is widely appreciated for the epic force, originality, and erudition of her novels. Award winning and translated into many languages, she has written ten novels, including The Phantom in the Mill (2008), The Phanariot Manuscript (2015), and The Book of Perilous Dishes (2017). Doina lives in Bucharest and is a university professor and screenwriter.