Thriller Thursday

Bringing you Thriller Thursday again, and this one was meant to go up in October, you know, before the move threw everything up in the air and laughed at my plans.

So.

Let me present to you one of my newly faved thriller series that I’ve had the joy to start this year.

The Reprobation Series

 

Catherine Fearns is an amazing author and she has put so much research and creativity in these books that there’s no way I couldn’t love this series. So, prepare to hear me fangirl screech…you know as usual when I love a book.

I mean it’s got murder mysteries, demonic occult, supernatural, metal bands, and more!

ARE YOU NOT INTRIGUED?!

The reason I’ve waited on posting about these books on my blog is simply because I was waiting to read the third book, and now that I’ve finished it, it’s time!

We’ll start with book one!

Reprobation

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GoodReads:

Are you one of the elect?

Dr. Helen Hope is a lecturer in eschatology – the study of death, judgement, and the destiny of humankind. She is also a Calvinist nun, her life devoted to atoning for a secret crime.

When a body is found crucified on a Liverpool beach, she forms an unlikely alliance with suspect Mikko Kristensen, lead guitarist in death metal band Total Depravity. Together, they go on the trail of a rogue geneticist who they believe holds the key – not just to the murder, but to something much darker.

Also on the trail is cynical Scouse detective Darren Swift. In his first murder case, he must confront his own lack of faith as a series of horrific crimes drag the city of two cathedrals to the gates of hell.

Science meets religious belief in this gripping murder mystery.

 

My Review

 

I hadn’t heard of this book before and how much I regret not reading this sooner! I loved so much about this. Firstly, we have a Calvinist Nun and the lead singer of a Norwegian Metal band solving crimes together, it’s like the metalhead version of Father Brown haha, and in the best ways.

We have a few characters at play and the way Fearns hints at the supernatural and otherworldly is perfect, she combines Christian mythology/theology with a police procedural to give you a spectacular murder mystery and the set up for a great set of books. Not to mention she keeps the length of the novel perfect, not overwhelming you or bogging it down unnecessarily so the pacing is just right. All too often a great thriller can be diminished by carrying on too long but Fearns doesn’t make this mistake.

What I really enjoy is Fearns giving us a new twist to murders/murder mysteries, she keeps it fresh which for someone like me who reads a copious amount of thrillers, well, it’s so nice!

Fearns provided me a copy of her awesome novel in exchange for my honest review.

 

Onto Book 2…

Consuming Fire

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GoodReads:
What Has Been Seen Cannot Be Unseen.

Liverpool is in the grip of an intense heatwave, and strange things are happening.

A woman dies in an apparent case of Spontaneous Human Combustion; a truck explodes on the dock road; the charred corpses of pets litter the city; forest fires ravage the pinewoods…and there are birds everywhere, silent flocks drawing in ominously.

Detective Inspector Darren Swift thinks there are connections, and his investigation delves into the worlds of football, nightclubs and organised crime. But is he imagining things?

Dr. Helen Hope doesn’t think so. And she believes the key lies in a mysterious seventeenth-century occult book which has gone missing from Liverpool Library.

In the blistering sequel to Reprobation, DI Swift is forced to confront some inconvenient ghosts from his past, as a terrifying shadow lies over his city’s reality….

 

My Review

Another knockout novel by Catherine Fearns! In this one, we continue with this thread of the unknown and supernatural that was introduced so wonderfully in book one and Fearns expands on it while keeping true to this also being a mystery as well. There’s once more a lot of theological ideas and they’re all put in a way for the readers to understand but it’s clear that Fearns has done her research.

This time the focus was more on Darren and even his partner Matt rather than Dr. Helen Hope. I do admit to missing Helen and Mikko interacting but I was also so happy to get to know more of Darren and the rest of his ‘squad.’

The ending for this was such an epic ending that I cannot wait for the next book, I am left waiting on pins and needles.

What I really enjoy is Fearns giving us a new twist to murders/murder mysteries, she keeps it fresh which for someone like me who reads a copious amount of thrillers, well, it’s so nice!

Can’t wait to read the next one!

Fearns provided me with a copy of this in exchange for an honest review which I am very happy to give. 

 

Finally, Book 3!

Sound (The Reprobation Series Book 3)

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GoodReads:
Can you hear it?

A professor of psychoacoustics is found dead in his office. It appears to be a heart attack, until a second acoustician dies a few days later in similar circumstances.

Meanwhile, there’s an outbreak of mysterious illnesses on a council estate, and outbursts of unexplained violence in a city centre nightclub. Not to mention strange noises coming from the tunnels underneath Liverpool. Can it really be a coincidence that death metal band Total Depravity are back in the city, waging their own form of sonic warfare?

Detective Inspector Darren Swift is convinced there are connections. Still grieving his fiancé’s death and sworn to revenge, he is thrown back into action on the trail of a murderer with a terrifying and undetectable weapon.

But this case cannot be solved using conventional detective work, and D.I. Swift will need to put the rulebook aside and seek the occult expertise of Dr. Helen Hope and her unlikely sidekick, guitarist Mikko Kristensen.

 

My Review

You may have noticed that the other two reviews were already on GoodReads but not this one, it’s being written here first. Wooo, celebrate.

This continues much where we left off with Darren. He’s been on leave after the crushing ending to ‘Consuming Fire’ and the events that seem too weird to be true continue to happen.

However this has nothing more to do with fire and everything to do with sound.

There’s a new case, two murders both staff, lecturers/experts in acoustics, one in psychoacoustics and also has synesthesia.

[I will say it was so interesting to have a character with synesthesia, it’s something we talked about a bit in Uni as part of the music program but I only knew of one person who had it, so that already caught my interest.]

The excitement I had in knowing Mikko was back was like a kid on Christmas, he is my favorite but also I love the chemistry between Mikko and Helen. This also means the band was back too, and it’s great.

The tension building from the last two books is palpable, it was coming off the page and making me sit hunched over in earnest as I read.

There’s another metal band, though, different sub-genre than our lovable gang, and they were such a cool part of the book, their concert definitely left me with some atmospheric chills.

There was a twist that I DID NOT see coming and I was SHOOK by it haha, like I can’t believe it happened, it was intricately weaved in from book one and I still had no inkling it was going to happen.

Forest was in this again and as horrible as he was, I was happy and satisfied with his ending but I’ll keep the spoilers to myself. This also has left a lot of questions though at the end of this book, wondering what will happen to my favorite trio next. Helen and Mikko especially, as I will go down with that ship.

Darren seems to be engaging in something that could prove to be a crazy awesome thread to continue on.

Another success by Fearns, and possibly my favorite of the three! Thank you to Fearns for providing me a copy of the book, and in exchange I’ve given my honest review.

 

 

 

 

Ed Bookfest Day 1

Hey guys!

So I’ve been busy the past couple of days. Saying that I’ll be catching up on blog hopping today with my blessed day off from running to Edinburgh for the Book Festival…which…has been amazing!

**That featured image belongs to EdBookFest definitely not meeeeee, please no one sue, I am poor*

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I saw Joanne Harris, and she signed my copies of Chocolat and The Gospel of Loki and she was just the sweetest person ever, I felt so star shocked meeting her and then Alexander McCall Smith.

Harris mostly discussed her newest novel The Strawberry Thief her writing process and how it feels to come a bit full circle with the world of Chocolat  and how her works aren’t different genres but rather more like same ideas from a different perspective. < I loved that so much I wrote it down.

Rosette is also such a different child than Anuk in these books and I loved the reading Joanne Harris did of her chapter. A girl considered different but she has a voice and Harris does her justice in bringing that voice to light.

She also discussed so much else about evil and more on Rosette that I’m going to leave for another blog post. Suffice to say I am an even bigger fan now after hearing her speak.

It was a bit of a crammed day because right after her book signing I have to turn tail toward the tent I had just left before it to Smith’s event. He was hilarious and just like this spark of life that I aim to be now let alone like five years from now lol.

He discusses his writing process, and it was so interesting to hear the differences described between him and Harris, both wonderful writers, two completely different processes [I mean that’st o be expected but it really hit home after hearing both in one day].

Smith is a man who loves what he writes, he finds the humor in it and doesn’t mind having a laugh at what he’s writing, but he also provides such warmth to most of his stories as well.

Meeting him, I only own Dream Angus [Thank you Canongate!] and the rest are more library reads for me when it comes to his works. And let me tell you, this man is a genuine sweetheart. He shook every single person’s hand, he sat to the side of the table so people could take better pictures with him and he stopped to chat with everyone, he didn’t care how long the line was, everyone was given his time.

I also had a fangirl moment and gave him a thumbs up instead of saying bye as I got flustered. I’ll probably never live that down.

Today I went, just to take my daughter to look around while the hubs was in a talk, we get to do a bit of coloring and of course, I broke down and bought her a book, and even got one for the hubby.

Anyway, I’ll be talking more about what both authors spoke about in different posts.

I leave you with my parting gift which I’ve also put on Instagram and Twitter because I find it pretty funny

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Descended Author Interview: Amanda L. Almaraz

Hey guys!

I know, late post, but, it’s Sunday.  It is my day to be lazy so deal with it [please].

If you remember, I read and reviewed my bestie’s book she’s published, Descended, and I really want to help boost this book, it means a lot to me because it means a lot to her and really, I promise, like pinkie promise to you all that I loved this book. [I mean, I bought two versions, kindle and paperback, does this not express my love?!]

You can find the review and synopsis for it here.

Here we go! INTERVIEW TIME MUAHAHAHA

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Q&A

What’s your writing process like?

It starts with loudly proclaiming I have an idea. And depending on how serious I am about the idea is whether or not I’ll share it with anyone. The more serious I am about the project, the more I turn into a quiet broody hen and kinda hide the whole idea, letting it incubate, talking to myself when I’m sitting on it. And then I do my best to act as the character… this is where the broody hen analogy stops, by the way.

So before bed, on the drive to my horses, or work, or even walking through the house, I run what-if scenarios as the protagonist. Somewhere in all this, I’ve started writing. But by this point, the character should already have their own voice and the story should write itself. If it gets stuck, it’s usually because I’m fighting the characters on something I want to see versus something they are more likely to do… this is also how Sox hijacked Descended and decided against a love interest. 

I’d ask where you got the inspiration but I think I already know part of the answer, so if you want to add to it or tell everyone, go for it.

So the inspiration came from an RPG based in the world of BBC’s Merlin. My original character was the assassin King of the Black Spire (more on this character in Book 2…) I wanted a way to use this character in an Arthurian setting without being like so many other stories (and falling into the beautiful trap of shadow fiction), so I developed modern-day Sox as my storyteller and let her take it from there. And she did. I think she really made it her own. [PSST IT WAS OUR RP NOT THAT I’M BRAGGING]

How many books do you plan for Descended?

Descended is weird… the way Sox tells it feels more like I’m watching a movie with a soundtrack instead if reading/writing a book. Which makes the series weird as well. The first arc is set up to have 4 books. The second arc to complete the series has 2… I think. I’ve been toying with the idea of a sequel series in the future when Sox and I are both older, but it depends on her and if I’m already on other projects by then. She might just need a rest when all of the first series is done. I know I will. I’ve been Hamiltoning this series like crazy. (“Why do you write like you’re running out of time?” Uh… because I might be?)

What made you decide to publish via Amazon? And how are you finding it?

I didn’t want to spend the time querying publishers and waiting for responses. Time is precious. My dad says often says that for someone so busy, I’m the laziest person he knows. Descended was a story that wanted to get out. Sox neither wanted nor needed an “official” method of publishing. My name is out there with her story. It’s not meant to make money, it’s meant to grow attention. It’s got its own barcode and ISBN though, so she’s official enough for me (insert smiley face here!)

As for how I’m finding Amazon? I don’t know yet. I’m still learning it and there are a lot more marketing capabilities that I can take advantage of, but I’m taking my time and getting a feel for it while working on the rest of the series… the whole book cover thing was absolutely maddening though. But that was mostly human error… me error. I’m bad at communication with my poor artist. 

What’s one author you really look up to/draw inspiration from. [If not an author, what person in general]

I don’t read a lot. I know, blasphemy! But my favorite author is Kristen Britain. I am in love with her Green Rider series and was very upset with myself that I couldn’t read Firebrand until I was done writing Descended. I’m always afraid of my ideas leeching from my favorite books so I remove temptation and read less when writing. 

Most of my inspiration though tends to come from people I know in my own life. For example Sox’s speech comes from the trash-talking kids that I was a substitute teacher for in 2018. They were all so much trouble, but they were really the coolest kids I’ve ever met… scared the hell out of me and are now part of my list of official reasons to not have children of my own, but they were really something.


How is Sox different from other characters you’ve written?

Sox is the first character I’ve written who I let stay in first person. She’s also modern. Her story starts in 2018 and the current problems do affect her. Ie. body image, anxiety. Every other thing I’ve written is in a separate fantasy world removed from our own. Sox is very much just a normal kid. And I think that’s what makes her special. She’s also the first character that I’ve allowed to swear in dialogue and narrative and she’s getting more creative with her insults throughout the series.


Which character do you enjoy writing for most in
Descended?

I can’t choose. I love writing Sox’s narrative, but I also love writing her interactions with young Gawain. The music game is my favorite quirky thing because he is that weird guy. And the way he and Sox click over music and have an entire separate conversation just makes me happy. They put a code into their dialogue that has opened me up to so many different music artists and songs. (By the way, always open to more music suggestions!) Gawain has a playlist on Spotify of all the songs named in the series…

But the main group: Sox, Gawain, Henry, Eddel. Henry is great because I like seeing his vulnerabilities. And Eddel because I love writing her strengths. Oh and Murphy… because Murphy. 


Okay, let’s say you’re in the world your book is set in, what would you do for a day?

Cry. That’s a lot of pressure. I don’t wanna be an heir! I’d probably try to steal a horse and run away. 

Let’s be honest though. I’m a history nerd. My first day in Merlin’s Sanctuary I would’ve probably investigated the ruins of Camelot and gotten put in time out… you know… after dramatically stress crying.

 

Where to Buy

Amazon US | B&N Nook Book | Amazon UK

 

Future Giveaway

Hey guys, I’ll also be doing a giveaway of the ebook of this in September! Keep an eye on my twitter to find out more!

 

The Homeless Heart-Throb Tour

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Blurb:
Alternately hilarious, shocking and sad, Crystal Jeans’ latest novel is set in Cardiff. But perhaps not the Cardiff the urban planners and WAG mavens would use in their shiny advertising campaigns. 
Each chapter is narrated by different characters linked by the street on which most of them live and the appearance in them all (to greater or lesser extent) of the title character the alcoholic vagrant who for one of the neighbours is an unusual subject of desire. Set in various homes, streets and parks, and a nearby care home for the demented elderly the story lines are darkly humorous and occasionally rude and crude – up front portrayals of people on the frontline of urban poverty, disenfranchisement, drug culture and unappreciated but essential work lives. Lit up with authentic characters and appealing voices, and the full gamut of human relationships platonic, romantic and sexual this is an unputdownable journey into the underside of contemporary Wales.

Book Information:
Publication Date: August First
Available for Sale: UK and Ireland
Format: Mass market paperback -fiction-
ISBN: 978-1-912905-01-0
Price: £8.99 

From Wales Book of the Year award winning and Bridport Prize and Polari Prize shortlisted author

Will appeal to those who love the novels and stories of Niall Griffiths and Rachel Tresize

 

My Review

I would have to say this is the epitome of quirky novels and it was nice to read something I may not have normally just checked out from the library. The synopsis intrigued me and really who isn’t curious when a book’s title is The Homeless Heart-Throb? Though there is a homeless man near the stories of the neighbors of this Welsh street, it’s really more about how all the neighbors are all connected by their proximity, it’s all quite intricate. Jeans is unapologetic in showing the gritty and honest side of people, it’s not always nice, but it is truthful and that is more important in a novel like this. There’s quite a lot of quirky vulgarity and a few chuckles thrown in along with just how crappy life can be at times and I appreciated that ‘ugliness’ [though really it was anything but ugly in her writing style].

An interesting and, again, quirky read.

A different sort of read for the different sort of reader 😉

Thanks to Anne Cater and Honno Pub for a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Content Warning: Sexual cavorting lol , vulgarity, alcohol abuse, death

 

About the Author

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Crystal Jeans was born and brought up in Cardiff. She lived in Bristol before doing first a Creative Writing BA then an MPhil at the University of Glamorgan. She works in a care home, which inspired a collection of poetry about dementia (Mulfran Press). She has been shortlisted for the Bridport Prize (2010), had poetry published by Seren Press, and two short stories published by New Welsh Review.

Author Website @crystaljeans1

 

The Rest of the Tour Schedule

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I Will Find You Review


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GoodReads Blurb:
I Will Find You, a tale of mystery and intrigue which starts in wartime Fenland near Ely and then moves halfway across the globe to Australia. John Taylor’s story is colourful, poignant and moving as it charts the journey of young Robbie Spalding and his path from a Dr. Barnardos Home in Cambridge to a new life on the other side of the world. Robbie becomes Nick Thorne and this account of his arrival into adulthood is more than a little tragic and filled with unexpected twists and turns.

Touching, funny, sad and filled with drama, I will find you is an authentic and pacey read, gripping and compelling, and will certainly keep the readers’ attention until the last page is turned. Expect to shed a tear for the casualties of war.
First off I would like to thank the Author, John M. Taylor for sending me a copy of his book to read and review, this was done so with the intent that I would give an honest review in exchange. And that’s what you all will find here, my honest review!

I will say I was intrigued from the description of the book alone and historical fiction especially one based on true stories. Taylor did seven years of research for this and the child migrant stories deeply resonated, the horrible truths of history are at the heart of this novel.

Some may not know but Aboriginal children were once taken by Australia’s white and western government, this was done so that they could be better integrated into Western society including the healthcare and education systems which were considered a cut above what was offered from the homes of the children. Of course doing this destroyed families and a cultural system that had been in place long before Western civilization touched Australia.

[And no matter what we do now I’m afraid it will always be a ‘too little, too late’ scenario…truly heartbreaking.]

This is spoken about in this novel but another issue was that of migrant children who were taken from their homes in say England as the boy in this novel and sent to Australia to be adopted. I would go into it more, gladly but the author does a brilliant job himself and I’m not going to spoil it for you all.

Taylor really sets you up for a story that takes you on quite an emotional ride. It’s a story that shoes not only what people did to the natives of Australia but to their own children and how one boy’s journey to figure out his history leads him through the lives of others. As said before, Taylor really did his research for this novel and not just with the darker parts of history but he made sure to do justice when writing about Aboriginal villages and ways of life and he never presumes to know more than he does about the culture or to write about things that are too culturally sensitive which is a great relief in this day and age.

The story is really well paced and extremely well written, I mean I barely wanted to put this book down the whole time. I needed to read more about Australia or Robert or find out what was going to happen in the Outback. I would strongly recommend this to anyone who enjoys historical fiction or even just looking for a book to really tug on the heartstrings.

If you have ever read The Thorn Birds this book spans the same sort of saga/epic story the only difference being this is the story and saga of one boy versus a family though he is not alone, and his journey will bring the story of others as he travels. Robert is on one quest, and that is to find his Mother.

While chatting with the Author and thanking him again, John sent me this great magazine article in relation to his research and his book and I’m sharing it below because I just think it’s such a good read and might sway those on the fence about the book.

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This was certainly a five star read for me.

Harry Potter Book Night & The Week Ahead

So, I’m dead tired, I’m actually leaning back in the recliner and my head is dangling off the side of it as I type this. Does it sound uncomfortable? Well, it is.

Today at our library was Harry Potter Book Night, and the event was so much fun for my daughter! They had a man come in to explain some creatures, and she got to pet the cutest and largest snake I’ve ever seen in my life, and I was so proud of her as she is usually the type to shy away from anything not fluffy [she was even excited to see the tarantula!]. She also got make a winged key and a dragon egg and spent probably two hours doing everything so it was a nice Sunday for us. I wish her school would have done something for it as well but I’m super happy that our library did and I basically screamed ‘take my money’ at them when they announced they were.

I’m chugging along with bookstagram, the blog, and still….still progressing through the ARCs.

I’ve got two ARCs for this week plus The Priory of The Orange Tree extract I got from NetGalley, and then that’s it I’m taking a week break so I can go through my monthly Agatha Christie and reading the follow-up book to The Axeman’s Jazz; Dead Man’s Blues.

There’ll be at least one review post this week, and I’ll do a list of my top Dystopia picks tomorrow. Speaking of Dystopia novels, anyone have a favorite in that genre?

That’s it, there’s my post, I’m going to go to bed now, lol toodles everyone!

#YARC 2019

[***That Featured Image is not mine, holy cow I can’t do anything with graphics, credit goes to the hosts, all of whom I’ve linked below***]

I honestly don’t even know what I’m doing with my life anymore but after preordering Descendant of the Crane and then wanting to read Not Your Sidekick…I, I just realized I might as well at this point. Besides, it’s not like there’s any downside to joining such an amazing challenge!

Year of the Asian Reading Challenge is hosted by these lovely people:

What’s my current progress? 1! I finally got my first read done and it was so amazing and beautiful and wonderful. -Sob-

Current Badge:
Green and blue award badge with a brown Phillipines Tarsier in the center, and with one gold star above the award.

My Goal: 10!

I know that’s the lowest badge that little adorable Philippine Tarsier, but I’ve got so many reading goals that I don’t want to set myself up for failure.

What books am I hoping to read? (this=read)
The Night Tiger (I LOVED LOVED LOVED The Ghost Bride)
Descendant of the Crane
Not Your Sidekick
Not Your Villain
Not Your Backup
Brothers (I started this book a long time ago, but lost my place so, redo!)
Mao’s Last Dancer (I’ve had it for ages, it’s time)
Ignite the Stars
Jade City
Jade War
Want
-Spin the Dawn
-We Hunt the Flame
-Miracle Creek
-Enlightenment
-Shadow of the Fox
-Soul of the Sword
-The Girl Who Became A Goddess
-The Chosen
-Thirteen Months of Sunrise
-In Truth, Madness
-A Spark of White Fire
– A House of Rage and Sorrow
-Legend
-Prodigy

Total: 14

I will be keeping track of what I want to read and what I’ve read via a GoodReads shelf, but this will not be limited to this challenge, so I’ll not link it but if you have me on GoodReads feel free to check out the shelf!

Toodles!

UPDATE: I reached my goal of 10 but I will keep going as I did not get to most of the books on my premade list, so, I’ll keep on trucking!