Through the Water Darkly by Victoria L Short – Book tour and blog tour

I’m so pleased to be part of the @RandonTTours #blogtour for Through the Water Darkly by Victoria L Short- a time-slip romance fantasy..

Caroline Curtis is an avid horticulturalist, who is injured during the restoration of a local country estate. She wakes in a familiar body, but a different time, and with mixed memories of her twenty-first century life and those of a seventeenth century lady, which causes difficult conflicts not only in herself but the people around her.The first English civil war is over, and the king deposed. The Prince of Wales is fleeing the country, and, as Caroline fights to change the future of the man with whom she has fallen in love, she begins to realise that time is not a straight line.

Review

I enjoy a good time-slip novel and when you throw some romance, action, peril and history and Through The Water Darkly by Victoria Short has become one of my favourite reads of the year.

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

Caroline is the first-person narrator and the woman who finds herself thrown into the body of Lady Carolina with all her memories in the turbulent times of the English Civil War. Caroline has to deal with the realities of life in the 17th Century, politics, court intrigue and the lack of women’s rights. Caroline is a realistic heroine, a woman struggling to survive in a different time and the conflict between her missing the advantages of modern life and her appreciation of the unspoilt beauty of life in the past forms was the best part of the story.

She meets Nicholas, a Royalist, who she has to marry but to who she feels connected to body and soul. But both Nicholas and Caroline are pawns in someone’s overall plan to separate their souls through time.

I enjoyed the little details about the food, clothes and life in the 17th century ( my favourite is the use of linen to line copper baths).

I would have liked to have learned more about the powers that seem to be controlling time and have the power to throw Caroline through time. But hopefully, we will learn more in the next book( which I can’t wait to read).

Perfect for fans of

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon and Saxon’s Bane by Geoffrey Gudgion.

Content warning

References to sexual assault and domestic violence

About Victoria L Short
I’m a mother to two teenagers and since moving from London the Suffolk five years ago I found I
had some spare time, so I started to write. I wrote a little novella Our story coming home, which
being my first I tend to cringe lol. Then in 2018 I re-produce my late grandfather WW2 log book,
A Stoker Logs, HMS Whelp, The Forgotten British Pacific Fleet. my grandfather served as a
stoker on HMS Whelp, alongside Prince Phillip as the ships second in command. My latest novel
is an 80k romance time-slip called Through the water, Darkly which I super proud of. In-between
writing and running a household I work in the film industry doing hair, makeup and wardrobe.

The Emergent by Nadia Arifi- book review and blog tour

I’m so pleased to be part of the Random Things Tour blog tour for The Emergent by Nadia Arifi-science fiction thriller set in a future that doesn’t seem to distant.

Amira Valdez’s adventures continue in the sequel to The Sentient,as she finds herself in unprecedented danger. The ruthless new leader of the fundamentalist Trinity Compound seeks to understand his strange neurological connection with Amira and unleash an army on an unstable, North America. The first human clone has been born, but thanks to the mysterious scientist Tony Barlow, it may unlock the secret to human immortality– or disaster. Together, Amira and Barlow form an uneasy  alliance in pursuit of scientific breakthroughs and protection from shared enemies. But new discoveries uncover dark secrets that Barlow wants to keep hidden.

REVIEW

The Emergent by Nadia Arifi is a sequel but you don’t need to read The Sentient to enjoy or understand this fast-paced science fiction set in a slightly dystopian US of the future. In fact, I haven’t read the first book but I had no problems following the story or understanding the characters from the start.

The world-building is interesting and easy to understand after a few chapters- this book covers a lot of ground with cloning, what happens to consciousness after death, space travel, religion, evil scientists and my favourite- a visual memory reading machine.

The story is told in the third person point of view from Amira- an ambitious scientist and former runaway from one of the compounds ( a walled religious community where women’s rights have been completely trampled). I found it hard to like Amira at the start as she seemed a bit too ambitious and blind to what was happening but I did want her to succeed. Amira, I felt was written well- a real woman with flaws and strengths. The secondary characters were equally diverse and the evil scientists were more nuanced than usual with their motives being more grey than black and white.

The plot races along but explores issues around consent to experimentation, women’s rights, abuses of science and religion which seem to be relevant in today’s strange climate.

I will be reading the next book to find out what happens to Amira after that ending!

Perfect for fans 

I would recommend the book to anyone who enjoys thought-provoking science-fiction with a cracking story.

Content warning

Forced pregnancy, forced experimentation

Mercury Rising by R.W.W Greene -Book review/Blog Tour

I’m so pleased to be part of the blog tour for Mercury Rising by R.W.W Greene. I enjoyed this character focussed science-fiction with an intriguing alternate history where Earth is more technologically advanced and facing an alien threat.

Genre: Science Fiction/alternate history

Source; NetGalley

In an alternate history, earth’s space technology is much more advanced with the Oppenheimer Atomic Engine. Aliens from Venus destroyed cities in the USA and the USSR but Eagle seven and their Russian equivalent manage to stop them from invading Earth. Eighteen years later in 1975, Brooklyn ends up serving in Earth Orbital Forces (EOF) to avoid going to prison and despite his best efforts ends up in spaceships and space battles with a whole load of strange people.

Review

Can I just say how much I loved the opening chapter? The first chapter could be a short story in itself -from the initial tense standoff between the aliens and Earth to the epic space battles to Jet’s (an astronaut) final sacrifice to save Earth.

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

This is a book of many, distinct parts that all fit together at the end to form a complete story. Some parts may seem a little out of place (and I must admit I wasn’t sure why these chapters were there) but these small details made sense by the end of the book.The author creates an interesting world both on Earth where Nixon has been re-elected following an alien attack on Cleveland and in space where there are space colonies with hotels and spaceships manned by a gay crew.

Continue reading “Mercury Rising by R.W.W Greene -Book review/Blog Tour”

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.

Continue reading “Tell Me An Ending by Jo Harkin- Blog tour/Book review.”

Seven Devils by Elizabeth May and Laura Lam- book review

Here is my review of Seven Devils by Elizabeth May and Laura May fast paced space-opera dominated by a motley crew of women trying to bring down an empire in a star wars kind of way.

Genre: Science Fiction/space opera

Series: Seven Devils book 1

Source: My own

Eris has been assigned a new mission: to infiltrate a spaceship ferrying deadly cargo and return the intelligence gathered to the Resistance. But her partner for the mission,  Cloelia, bears an old grudge against Eris, making an already difficult infiltration even more complicated.
When they find the ship, they discover more than they bargained for: three fugitives with firsthand knowledge of the corrupt empire’s inner workings.
Together, these women possess the knowledge and capabilities to bring the empire to its knees. But the clock is ticking: the new heir to the empire plans to disrupt a peace summit with the only remaining alien empire, ensuring the empire’s continued expansion. If they can find a way to stop him, they will save the galaxy. If they can’t, millions may die.

Review

Seven Devils by May and Lam has been on my TBR list for a while now- I loved the idea of a female-only crew taking down an evil empire in a star wars kind of way and the book was a fun, entertaining read.

Continue reading “Seven Devils by Elizabeth May and Laura Lam- book review”

Island of Time by Davis Burn- Book Review

I was hooked by this time-bending, urban fantasy. Here is my review of Island of Time by Davis Burn

Jackson Burnett along with his new colleague Krys works in the Geneva branch of Interpol tasked with policing magic which is a bit of a dud job as magic has been illegal in Switzerland for years. So, it is a bit of a shock to be paired up with Luca Tami, a blind talent, in solving the murder of a family and then finding that the crime has been magically written out of existence.

Now Jackson has to work with Luca, a man he does not trust to solve a crime that no longer exists, with magic that is illegal and try to survive.

Review

I received a copy of the book for a free and unbiased opinion

The story is told from Jackson’s point of view in the third person, and he was a character I could root for brave, loyal, honest and sensible. I could empathise with him when he encounters each new and weird twist. You can understand how he inspires friendship and loyalty in the people around him.

The story is fast paced with plenty of action and magic. I loved the world-building. The story is set in our world where magic is real and commonplace. The ‘talents’ and ‘adepts’ are people who can use magic and are trained in Institutes around the world. Except for Switzerland where magic has been banned for centuries.

 The magical system isn’t particularly original but when embedded within a police procedural and heist story it takes a more interesting turn compared to other urban fantasies.

The secondary characters are well-drawn and interesting, especially Simeon, the Swiss Detective who helps out when he can.

 I would have like to know more about Bouchon and the Peerless’s motivations- the antagonists in the story as it is a little unclear and I do like my villains being a little more fleshed out.

I found the ending particularly heart-warming, and it did leave me with a bit of a smile.

Content warning

Description of sexual assault-off page

Summary

I’m not sure if this is the first book in the series but I hope there are more books featuring Jackson and his friends.

A Catalogue of Catastrophe by Jodie Taylor- Blog Tour/Book review

I loved this fun romp through time in A catalogue of Catastrophe by Jodie Taylor.

Genre: Science-fiction, time travel

Series: Chronicles of St Mary ( Book 13)

Source:  Thank you for my copy NetGalley and publishers Headline for a free and unbiased opinion

Publication Date: April 2022

When all is lost. When everything is ending. When there’s no hope. When you can’t win. That’s when you attack.
Punching well above their weight, Max and Markham set out to bring down a sinister organisation whose roots might be firmly embedded in the future but whose focus is the past.
Max’s focus is staying alive long enough to reunite with Leon and Matthew – alternately helped and hindered by St Mary’s. Who aren’t always the blessing they like to think they are.
And that’s not all. Are the effects of constantly leaping around the timeline beginning to make themselves felt? Is Max going mad? Or are the ghosts of the past finally catching up with her

Review

I seem to be in a bit of a time-travel phase at the moment but who doesn’t enjoy a bit of time-travel bedlam and there is a lot of fun-filled chaos in A Catalogue of Catastrophe.

This is the 13th book in the Chronicles of StMary but what I particularly enjoy about this series is that you can jump in randomly at any book and quickly pick up on what is happening. I haven’t read all the books in this series but have read a couple of books out of synch.

Continue reading “A Catalogue of Catastrophe by Jodie Taylor- Blog Tour/Book review”

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.

Master of The Ravels by Nicole Galland- Book review

The March of the sequels hosted by Sue’s Musing continues with The Master of The Ravels by Nicole Galland featuring official and rogue time travel agencies, good and bad witches and a whole lot of Shakespeare.

image of Master of the Ravels

Genre: Time Travel,science fiction

Series: Sequel to the Rise and Fall of DODO

Source: My own

This sequel picks up where the original left off, as Tristan Lyons, Mel Stokes, and their fellow outcasts from the Department of Diachronic Operations (D.O.D.O.) fight to stop the powerful witch Gráinne from using time travel to reverse the evolution of all modern technology. 

Chief amongst Gráinne’s plots: to encrypt cataclysmic spells into Shakespeare’s “cursed” play, Macbeth. When her fellow rogue agents fall victim to Gráinne’s schemes, Melisande Stokes is forced to send Tristan’s sister Robin back in time to 1606.While Robin poses as an apprentice in Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, Mel travels to the ancient Roman Empire and, with the help of double-agent Chira in Renaissance Florence, untangles the knotted threads of history while the diabolical Gráinne jumps from timeline to timeline, always staying frustratingly one stop ahead—or is it behind?

Review

I loved The Rise and Fall of DODO and was so excited to come across the sequel in my local bookshop. The book continues to be told via a mix of memos. journal entries, letters etc that continue to work well. It doesn’t matter if you haven’t read the first book, there is a handy summary at the start, in fact not reading the book first might not be such a bad thing but more on that later.

Continue reading “Master of The Ravels by Nicole Galland- Book review”

A Desolation called Peace by Arkady Martine – Book review

I’m catching up with my sequels as part of the March of Sequels hosted by Sue’s Musing and the sequel to A Memory called Empire was on my list.Here  is my review of A Desolation called Peace by Arkady Martine.

Genre: Science Fiction

Series: Texicalaan Duology

Source: My own

An alien armada lurks on the edges of Teixcalaanli space. No one can communicate with it, no one can destroy it, and Fleet Captain Nine Hibiscus is running out of options.

In a desperate attempt at diplomacy with the mysterious invaders, the fleet captain has sent for a diplomatic envoy. Now Mahit Dzmare and Three Seagrass—still reeling from the recent upheaval in the Empire—face the impossible task of trying to communicate with a hostile entity.

Whether they succeed or fail could change the fate of Teixcalaan forever. Review

Review

It has been a while since I read A Memory called Empire, so I have to admit – it took a while to get back into the complicated world created by Arkady Martine.

The book gets off to a slow start picking up not long after the events in the first book but not just in The City. This time the story and action take place in space on the station world of Lsel and on the spaceship tasked with stopping the alien invasion.

Continue reading “A Desolation called Peace by Arkady Martine – Book review”