Our Hideous Progeny by C.E. McGill @DoubledayUK #NetGalley #gothic #fantasy #historicalfantasy #publicationday #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today of Our Hideous Progeny by C.E. McGill. This is a wonderful book that is set in the 1850s, a tale of mystery with a fantasy gothic theme to it. I would like to wish the author a Happy Publication Day today 🙂

My huge thanks to Doubleday UK for granting my request to read this title via NetGalley.

I have to mention something about this cover, it is dark but it fits in so well with so many elements of the story.

Mary is the great-niece of Victor Frankenstein. She knows her great uncle disappeared in mysterious circumstances in the Arctic but she doesn’t know why or how…

The 1850s is a time of discovery and London is ablaze with the latest scientific theories and debates, especially when a spectacular new exhibition of dinosaur sculptures opens at the Crystal Palace. Mary, with a sharp mind and a sharper tongue, is keen to make her name in this world of science, alongside her geologist husband Henry, but without wealth and connections, their options are limited.

But when Mary discovers some old family papers that allude to the shocking truth behind her great-uncle’s past, she thinks she may have found the key to securing their future… Their quest takes them to the wilds of Scotland, to Henry’s intriguing but reclusive sister Maisie, and to a deadly chase with a rival who is out to steal their secret…

MY REVIEW

I have read Frankenstein several times over the years, which is a book have enjoyed. When I saw this title on NetGalley it was the title that caught my eye, and then I read the synopsis. Rather than retelling the story, the author has decided to go on a slightly different path.

Mary had no idea who her grandfather was until she finally discovered a briefcase with some papers in it. It turns out that she is the niece of a certain Viktor Frankenstein, of course, we know the name from the Mary Shelly story, but in this story, he is someone who notes may just help Mary and her husband, James, make their mark in history.

Wanting to be recognised and acknowledged in scientific fields, Mary and Henry Sutherland are on the edge. They are not deemed important enough or, if I am being honest, rich enough to warrant being taken seriously. They have caused a few ructions and this has not helped their cause. They decide to travel to Scotland where they can continue their experiments based on her great uncle’s notes, they need solitude and secrecy and this isolated house is one that can offer that. It is Henry’s childhood home where his sister still lives.

This is a gothic horror novel as such, although not so much horror, then I didn’t think Frankenstein was either. But, it does exude that gothic vibe and also being set in the 1850s fit in well with the society at the time, with The Great Exhibition at Crystal Palace Gardens, Charles Darwin published On the Origin of Species and advances in electricity and research and discovery were happening at a fast rate. It is a great era to set a novel that mixes science, history and experimentation.

The characters of Mary and Henry are well done and the author does show the disparities between the different sexes in terms of academia. Women are and do attend scientific discussions, but they are merely seen as socials where they can gather with their male counterparts. Don’t forget this is a time when women are seen to support their husbands by attending functions with them, but do not have the brainpower or the stamina to understand such topics completely. We do now, of course, know differently, but the author does a great job of showing how difficult it is to be seen.

Having a husband and wife team does help to alleviate this, but the underlying problem is always there. With this new experiment they attempt to undertake, they each have their own tasks, and their own strengths and only by working together do they stand a chance of succeeding. The inclusion of a sister adds to the appeal and for me she was a great character to add. She is prone to ailments, but she also has a very good part to play in her own right.

This is a really enjoyable read, it does show perspectives of the society of the time and makes it a very good historical fiction story, it does have mystery and a wonderful gothic feel to it. I would not say it is very fast-paced, but it suits the era. I really enjoyed this one, it is full of descriptions if you are a fan of novels that do have a more classical fiction feel to them then this is one I would definitely recommend.

Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be amazing 🙂 xx

The Other Guest by Heidi Perks #NetGalley @centurybooksuk #mystery #thriller #murder #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for The Other Guest by Heidi Perks. I do enjoy this author’s books and I have read several of them. I would also like to wish the author a Happy Publication Day 🙂

My huge thanks to Century Books UK for accepting my request to review this title via NetGalley.

She thinks she knows the truth. But what if she’s wrong?

Laila and her husband arrive for a week’s holiday in Greece in desperate need of a reset.

As Laila sits by the pool she finds herself inexplicably drawn to the other family staying in their resort.

Em has no idea who Laila is, or that she has been watching her and her teenage sons and husband so intently.

Five days later their worlds will be blown apart by a horrifying event.

Laila thinks she knows the truth of what happened. But in telling Em what she’s seen, she stands to lose everything she holds dear.

And what if she’s got it wrong?

MY REVIEW

I do enjoy this author’s books and this one, The Other Guest has plenty of twists and turns to keep the reader on their toes.

Laila and her husband are having a getaway on a Greek island it is a chance for them to reconnect and try to get their marriage back on track. Things have been tough for them after several rounds of failed IVF, and Laila is distraught when she realises that there may be no more rounds to come.

At this luxury resort, they meet various couples and families, some they had seen on the journey to the hotel and they will inevitably bump into them at various points of their stay. What none of them expect is the death of one of the guests.

An inspector comes to ask and make inquiries about all those at the hotel, the author keeps her cast to a minimum. She does this by sticking to those that Laila has met or seen, this makes it easy to keep track of who is who.

While Laila has been dealing with her own inner turmoil she is aware of other things going on, she loves people-watching and while her husband thinks she can get obsessed, she has her own thoughts about things.

This is a great read and one that I found myself easily falling into and getting on with. There are plenty of twists and some red herrings and then there are some other much deeper and darker things that emerge.

While this is an engrossing book and one that I enjoyed, I did feel that the ending was dragged out a little too much, while there were still things that needed answering I just thought it could have been done sooner. It didn’t ruin the story for me but did take the edge off it a little.

An enjoyable read and one for fans of contemporary fiction and holiday crime and mystery readers. It is one I would happily recommend.

Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be amazing 🙂 xx

The Orphanage Girls Reunited by Mary Wood @Authormary @RandomTTours @panmacmillan #historicalfiction #hisotricalromance #publicationday #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for The Orphanage Girls Reunited by Mary Wood. This is part of a series and it is a fabulous one at that. I would also like to wish Mary a very Happy Publication Day 🙂

My huge thanks to Anne at Random Things Tours for arranging my PB copy of this book and my spot on the Blog Tour. This is published by Pan MacMillan.

“The Orphanage Girls reunite in the second installment of a moving saga series about an orphanage in London’s East End, from the bestselling author of The Jam Factory Girls, Mary Wood.

Ellen
  Abandoned by her father for the second time, left scarred from the orphanage, Ellen finally finds happiness and hope – reunited with her long-lost gran. But it cannot compensate for being torn apart from her beloved friends Ruth and Amy. When a devastating encounter leaves Ellen broken and desperate, she is forced to fight her past demons.

  Ruth 
  Ruth has found peace, building a new life as an actress surrounded by new friends. But still, she longs to be with Ellen and Amy after everything they endured together in the orphanage. Amy was shipped to Canada with hundreds of other orphans, what hope have they of finding her?


  One wish comes true when Ruth’s acting career leads her to Ellen. No sooner has the dust settled, war is on the horizon. Friendship locked them into each other’s her hearts forever. 

  Will they find Amy? Can The Orphanage Girls ever unite?

MY REVIEW

This is such a wonderful book and as always, the author has created a heartbreaking story for her main characters.

Ruth and Ellen had been at the orphanage, been through some awful times and then they are split up. Ruth stayed in London with her friend and started to make hats. Ellen got taken away by her father and left with her grandmother. Their lives are very different and they have not seen each other for quite a while.

It is a shock when Ellen sees Ruth in a newspaper, Ruth works in a theatre and is quite successful. She still makes her hats and is part of the Red Cross. Ellen who is younger has had a private tutor and after an awful event needs help.

The author has created a heartbreaking story for Ellen, it is one that is making her struggle with her emotions and it is having a drastic effect on her mental health. This is the turn of the 1900s and it while there have been advances in medicine, there is still a large stigma. The route the author took for Ellen was a great one and it saw a different aspect of how mental health conditions would be treated.

When the girls eventually do meet up they become closer again, but the threat of WWI is looming and the girls want to do their part in helping.

This is such a wonderful story and although it is full of tragedy and heartbreak for both of them. there is also a huge amount of love, support and respect between these girls. They have been through a lot together and they are now going to have to deal with more as the war begins to impact their personal lives.

The author does a wonderful job of creating a storyline that weaves through the lives of the girls and those they meet. People from their past are even that far from their thoughts. This at times makes creates a wobble in their emotions, but it shows them how far they have come, what they can achieve and how they are going to deal with the future.

This is one for fans of women being strong in the face of adversity, of women helping their country and also each other. A story of compassion, loyalty and bravery. It is part of a series, but it would work well as a stand-alone book, but in all honesty, the previous book gives so much about the characters that you will be missing out. This is a story I would definitely recommend.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Born the thirteenth child of fifteen to a middle-class mother and an East End barrow boy, Mary
Wood’s childhood was a mixture of love and poverty. Throughout her life Mary has held various
posts in office roles, working in the probation services, and brought up her four children and
numerous grandchildren, step-grandchildren and great-grandchildren. An avid reader, she first
put pen to paper in 1989 while nursing her mother through her last months, but didn’t become
successful until she began self-publishing her novels in 2011.


Her novels include All I Have to Give, An Unbreakable Bond, In Their Mother’s Footsteps and the
Breckton novels.

Check out the other stops on the Blog Tour…

Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be amazing 🙂 xx

Alias Emma by Ava Glass #NetGalley @penguinrandom #PublicationDay #crime #spythriller #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for Alias Emma by Ava Glass. This is a fabulous spy-thriller story and I have discovered it is the first in a planned series. Today is Publication Day for this book.

Emma Makepeace is about to spend the longest night in her life.

She’s on her first operation with a shadowy organisation known only as ‘The Agency’, assigned to track down and save an innocent man wanted by the Russian government

All Emma has to do is bring him in to MI6 before sunrise, and before an assassination team gets to him first.

But the Russians have hacked the city’s CCTV cameras. There are spies all over London searching for the two of them. And her target, Michael Primalov, doesn’t want to be rescued.

As London sleeps, a battle is taking place on its streets as Emma fights to keep Michael alive.

But what sort of reception await them if and when they get to MI6?

KILLING EVE meets JAMES BOND in the first novel of the ALIAS EMMA series: a thrilling, cinematic page-turner starring the most likeable and resourceful of heroines. 

MY REVIEW

I do love a good spy thriller story and especially one that involves different government agencies. I think most of us have a mistrust of these agencies and so it always makes sense that they are involved in some plot, conspiracy or cover-up.

Emma Makepeace, a spy for the British government has not long been in this job. She is not a rookie, she already has experience as she served as an intelligence officer in the forces. She also has an interesting family background.

As the synopsis suggests, she has been tasked with finding and convincing an innocent man that his life is at risk. It is her job to get him to a safe place. What should be a basic job, suddenly becomes a flight through and under the streets of London. Trying to evade capture and being seen, is very difficult when London has cameras everywhere.

This is a fast-paced read, a quick intro to Emma and that’s it, straight into the action. The story does have a little back and forth as far as timelines and people go, not much but it does give some valuable additional information. There is not a huge cast of characters in this story, some don’t even have a name. This makes sense given the genre of the story.

As I mentioned conspiracy goes hand in hand with spies and governments, so this story ticked a lot of boxes for me. There are several things on the go and it was interesting to see how the author would play this one out. I really enjoyed the route she took and it felt right. This is a story that is full of mystery as well as crime set mainly in London.

This is a cracking read and I am hoping this is the start of a series. The author has left the opportunity to make this an option.

This is one for those who like a fast-paced, spy thriller that has that edge-of-the-seat frenetic energy to it, It is one I would definitely recommend.

Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be amazing 🙂 xx

The Island by Adrian McKinty #NetGalley #PublicationDay #thriller #action @orionbooks #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for The Island by Adrian McKinty. This is one of those books that crosses many genres so I do think it will appeal to a great many readers.

My huge thanks to Orion Books who accepted my request to read and review this book via NetGalley.

IT WAS JUST SUPPOSED TO BE A FAMILY VACATION.

A TERRIBLE ACCIDENT CHANGED EVERYTHING.

YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT YOU’RE CAPABLE OF UNTIL THEY COME FOR YOUR FAMILY.

After moving from a small country town to Seattle, Heather Baxter marries Tom, a widowed doctor with a young son and teenage daughter. A working vacation overseas seems like the perfect way to bring the new family together, but once they’re deep in the Australian outback, the jet-lagged and exhausted kids are so over their new mom.

When they discover remote Dutch Island, off-limits to outside visitors, the family talks their way onto the ferry, taking a chance on an adventure far from the reach of iPhones and Instagram.

But as soon as they set foot on the island, which is run by a tightly knit clan of locals, everything feels wrong. Then a shocking accident propels the Baxters from an unsettling situation into an absolute nightmare.

When Heather and the kids are separated from Tom, they are forced to escape alone, seconds ahead of their pursuers.

Now it’s up to Heather to save herself and the kids, even though they don’t trust her, the harsh bushland is filled with danger, and the locals want her dead.

Heather has been underestimated her entire life, but she knows that only she can bring her family home again and become the mother the children desperately need, even if it means doing the unthinkable to keep them all alive.

SOON TO BE A HULU ORIGINAL SERIES 

MY REVIEW

It was the cover of this book that caught my eye, I am not going to point out exactly what it was. This is one for those of you who like an intense thriller story and it is one I really enjoyed.

Tom Baxter, his wife Heather and his two children from a previous marriage are hoping to spend some time together. Tom is a Doctor and is in Australia as a keynote speaker. Having the rest of the family join him means they can get some time together as a family.

This family is disjointed, Tom is a busy man and while he does spend time with his children it isn’t enough. Heather isn’t really accepted by the children and there are reasons for that. The children are not a barrel of laughs either, but again there are reasons.

To stop any squabbling Tom and Heather take the children out for a drive in the hope that they will see some of the country’s animals. Taking a trip to an island should be a chance for the children to get photos and also get some good tales, a chance for some family bonding maybe! They didn’t bargain for what they encountered on the island though.

This is a fabulous read and one that I really found myself drawn into. The setting of the Australian Outback is brilliant and having an island makes this an even better scene.

The characters are a mixed bag, they whine, they argue, they try their best and then they have their world turned upside down, and for some of them, this isn’t the first time that they will have to deal with some tough stuff.

I really like the way the author has used the character’s personalities, traits and nuances. This is a great way of keeping the reader on the hoof and I was never quite sure who was really what they appeared. They all have something to hide and some do it better than others, but eventually, things do become clear.

The story is one that I enjoyed, the basic bones of it are about a family that is getting through life but not really doing together. It is a snapshot of an American family that has found themselves in a situation that they never would have imagined themselves in. This is one of those stories that you can imagine a film being made of, and I am not sure that I would actually want to watch it (I don’t do creepy, horror style movies) but I have to say the book was brilliantly done.

From a slower start and getting to know the characters this book gradually built up the pace, it became more intense and it was one of those that had me frantically flipping pages. I thought this was brilliant and it is one I would definitely recommend. 

Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be amazing 🙂 xx

Kiss of Death by Adam Croft @adamcroft #policeprocedural #RutlandCrimeSeries #PublicationDay #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review for the latest book in the Rutland Crime Series – Kiss of Death by Adam Croft. This is the 4th book and today is the Publication Day for this title.

My thanks to Joanne Croft for getting in touch to see if I would like to read and review this book. I have read several of Adam’s books and have always enjoyed them.

Book four in a stunning new crime series from 2m+ international bestseller Adam Croft.

An elderly woman collapses and dies during a Sunday morning church service in Oakham. But things aren’t quite as innocent as they seem.

Within hours, there’s a second unexplained death in Rutland. Then a third. But the victims appear to be completely unconnected.

With the body count rising by the day, DI Caroline Hills and DS Dexter Antoine need to uncover the link before more innocent people die.

Only one thing is certain: a killer walks the streets of Rutland. But no one knows who the next victim will be, when they will be killed — or why.

Purchase Link – Amazon UK

MY REVIEW

I have read a few of this author’s books and I really do like the Rutland Crime Series. Kiss of Death is the 4th book, yes you could read it as a stand-alone but this one has more details about DI Caroline Hills family life. It had been strained from her days working in the Met, so the change to a quieter rural area was supposed to ease the workload and give her more quality time. It’s a shame crime doesn’t stop when your local DI is on holiday with her husband and children!

Caroline isn’t the only one that’s in the small squad, she has her DS Dexter Antoine who is perfectly capable. However he isn’t happy when he is looking into sudden death, there is one thing that doesn’t sit right. When another sudden death occurs then things start to intensify. Trying to help Dex while on holiday isn’t the best idea. Neither is Caroline returning to work and leaving her family behind. The dilemma about what to do for the best is one that made this a more personal story. While I do like her as a character, she is very work centred, it’s all about the job. Things need to change.

The case is very random, and this is a good thing by the way. First one death and then a second but both are completely different as far as the victims go. So no links, and therefore some limitations as to how to progress. It is when a third death occurs that things start to link, but even then the links are tenuous.

For a short story, 226pages, the author once again adds loads of details. There are the victims, the procedures, the personal stories, the links and all the other juicy bits that make for a very fast-paced read. If you haven’t read any of these authors’ books then you really should pick one up. He does specialise in quick-paced, short crime thrillers and mystery reads. I should also add there is quite a lot to choose from.

As far as this series is concerned, I think this is the best one. I do like the more personal side of Caroline, and the way she has to battle to get the support she deserves. I liked this one a lot and I would definitely recommend it.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Adam Croft is one of the world’s biggest-selling authors of crime fiction and gripping psychological thrillers.

His books are known for their quick pace, thrilling plots and believable characters, and have sold in more than 120 countries around the world.

His books have topped the Amazon storewide chart seven times, and in February 2017 Amazon’s overall Author Rankings placed Adam as the most widely read author in the world, with J.K. Rowling in second place.

In March 2018, Adam was conferred as an Honorary Doctor of Arts, the highest academic qualification in the UK, by the University of Bedfordshire in recognition of his achievements.

Adam presents the regular crime fiction podcast PARTNERS IN CRIME with fellow bestselling crime writer Robert Daws.

Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be amazing 🙂 xx

Echo by Thomas Olde Heuvelt @HodderBooks #NetGalley #suspense #horror #psychological #PublicationDay #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for Echo by Thomas Olde Heuvelt. This is a slow burner but gradually increases in speed. Mesmerising, dangerous and tense. I enjoyed it so much I ordered a copy of his previous book, Hex 🙂

My thanks to Hodder & Stoughton for the e-copy that I requested via NetGalley. I love the cover of this book. That mountain… 🥶😨

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It’s One Thing to Lose Your Life
It’s Another to Lose Your Soul

When climber Nick Grevers is brought down from the mountains after a terrible accident he has lost his looks, his hopes and his climbing companion. His account of what happened on the forbidden peak of the Maudit is garbled, almost hallucinogenic. Soon it becomes apparent more than his shattered body has returned: those that treat his disfigured face begin experiencing extraordinary and disturbing psychic events that suggest that Nick has unleashed some ancient and primal menace on his ill-fated expedition.

Nick’s partner Sam Avery has a terrible choice to make. He fell in love with Nick’s youth, vitality and beauty. Now these are gone and all that is left is a haunted mummy-worse, a glimpse beneath the bandages can literally send a person insane.

Sam must decide: either to flee to America, or to take Nick on a journey back to the mountains, the very source of the curse, the little Alpine Village of Grimnetz, its soul-possesed Birds of Death and it legends of human sacrifice and, ultimately, its haunted mountain, the Maudit. 

MY REVIEW

When I read the synopsis for this book ages ago I thought it sounded great. When I started to read it though I didn’t feel it until about a quarter of the way through. Then I think I started to grasp the characters, the basics of the storyline, and the style. By the end of the book, I was so glad I had persevered as it became more and more addictive.

Nick is the adventurous one, he likes the mountains. His other half Sam, not so much, he prefers shopping and the little luxuries. Together they make a great couple. Nick and friend Augustine take on the challenging Maudit Peak in the Mont Blanc region of Switzerland. It was once known as the “cursed mountain” as I discovered after an internet search. This makes the story so appropriate as it gives the sinister vibe that makes up a large part of the story. Nick and Augustine went up Maudit, only Nick returned. He was not the same, he suffered severe facial injuries and he came back with something else. Is it survivors guilt or worse?

Guilt is something that Sam knows all about. He has a secret that he has lived with since he was a young boy. Something he has never told anyone.

The story of Nick’s recovery and the feelings he has after coming back from the mountains are something that he feels haunts him. Sam is aware of this change, but it is darker than he could ever imagine. A series of events leave catastrophic and fatal consequences for those around Nick. It is only when Nick, joined by Sam return to the Maudit, that things become more real, some answers are found and the real horror of the mountain comes to light.

From the slower and for me slightly confusing start, this book then turned into something very addictive. The beginning flitted around a little too much and at times left me feeling a bit confused. As I mentioned earlier, I did persevere and for that, I was definitely rewarded with a story that suddenly started to make sense. Some of the things mentioned at the very beginning started to fit into place, some not until near the end.

The story of the relationship between Nick and what happened on the mountain is so atmospheric, it is haunting and gives some nice horror vibes. It does also have a really good psychological edge to it. Another relationship is that between Nick and Sam, this is one that is sort of like the heart of the story, their love for each other comes through so well amidst the chaos and misery that overshadows them from the mountain.

There is a nice local, village presence to this story, one that is easy to imagine from films, you know the ones where the pub suddenly goes quiet when a stranger walks in. Or where the villagers don’t speak to you, or if they do it is only in menacingly doom and gloom tones. Talking of films, I could see this as being a good idea for a film. I will say that I am not a fan of horror films, so it is a good job it’s in a book format!

This was a really good read, it has a threatening menace that gave a feel of foreboding and danger. It did have the chills for a horror or suspense novel and there is a smidgen of superstition from the local village. An unexpected but satisfying ending and a story that I would happily recommend.

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Many thanks for reading my post,a like or share would be amazing 🙂

Midnight In Everwood by M.A Kuzniar @HQstories #fantasy #MidnightInEverwood #PublicationDay #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for a gorgeous story, Midnight In Everwwod by M.A Kuzniar. Also, I would like to wish the author a very Happy Publication Day for such a wonderful book.

I virtually attended an online event and saw an interview with this author. I immediately knew that this was a book I wanted to read and so immediately popped it on my wishlist. The amazing folks at HQ Stories sent me a surprise copy through the post!

A spell-binding retelling of The Nutcracker, filled with enchanted toys, decadent balls, fierce feminine friendships and a forbidden romance. For fans of The ToymakersCaraval and The Bear and the Nightingale.

There’s nothing Marietta Stelle loves more than ballet, but after Christmas, her dreams will be over as she is obligated to take her place in Edwardian society. While she is chafing against such suffocating traditions, a mysterious man purchases the neighbouring townhouse. Dr Drosselmeier is a charming but calculating figure who wins over the rest of the Stelle family with his enchanting toys and wondrous mechanisms.

When Drosselmeier constructs an elaborate set for Marietta’s final ballet performance, she discovers it carries a magic all of its own. On the stroke of midnight on Christmas Eve, she is transported to a snowy forest, where she encounters danger at every turn: ice giants, shadow goblins and the shrieking mist all lurk amidst the firs and frozen waterfalls and ice cliffs. After being rescued by the butterscotch-eyed captain of the king’s guard, she is escorted to the frozen sugar palace. At once, Marietta is enchanted by this glittering world of glamorous gowns, gingerbread houses, miniature reindeer and the most delicious confectionary.

But all is not as it seems and Marietta is soon trapped in the sumptuous palace by the sadistic King Gelum, who claims her as his own. She is confined to a gilded prison with his other pets; Dellara, whose words are as sharp as her teeth, and Pirlipata, a princess from another land. Marietta must forge an alliance with the two women to carve a way free from this sugar-coated but treacherous world and back home to follow her dreams. Yet in a hedonistic world brimming with rebellion and a forbidden romance that risks everything, such a path will never be easy.

PURCHASE LINK – Amazon UK

MY REVIEW

This is a retelling of the Nutcracker story, I am always a little dubious when it comes to retellings. The story of the Nutcracker always reminds me of Christmas, especially Christmas Eve, it is a fantasy, magical fairy tale that I adore. So, did Midnight in Everwood live up to my expectations? It most definitely did!

Straight from the outset, this book felt right, Marietta is a young girl who lives a life of privilege. Her parents have allowed her to attend ballet classes, but it has been known that this will not be something that they will support her in. She is, after all, a young woman with responsibilities, who needs to marry into the right position that will allow her parents to live in the upper echelons of society.

There is a newcomer to the neighbourhood, a mysterious and enigmatic man, an inventor of toys and mechanical creations of wonder. Mr Drosselmeier is enchanted by Marietta and he wants her to become his wife. Through one of his creations, she is transported into another world, where she is trapped.

I absolutely adored everything about this story, it has a gorgeous magical feel to it with wonderful descriptions that gradually built a vivid image in my mind as I read the story. Everwood is all glittery, sugary sweet with magic. All this glamour and glitz is a front, there are whispers, rumours and hints that all is not as it should be within this wonderland. The King is tyrannical, overbearing and greedy.

The story of the Nutcracker is one I love, there are hints of the original story and I could see the inspiration in this version. If you have not read the Nutcracker, well, it really doesn’t matter as this is a retelling of the story.

The author uses Marietta so well in this version, a strong upright young woman who has dreams of a future. She does not want to be wed to someone who will dictate to her or see her as a possession. She does not want to become a pawn for her parents to rise up through the ranks of society.

This is a wonderfully magical story. It is an adult fairy tale, a fantasy and I loved it. It was everything I hoped it would be, and dare I say a bit more as well. I would very definitely recommend this one.

Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be amazing 🙂 xx

Never Saw Me Coming by Vera Kurian @NetGalley @vintagebooks #PublicationDay #mystery #thriller #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for Never Saw Me coming by Vera Kurian. I received an invite to read this book and the synopsis definitely intrigued me. My review is my own and unbiased.

Meet Chloe Sevre. She’s a freshman honor student, a leggings-wearing hot girl next door, who also happens to be a psychopath. Her hobbies include yogalates, frat parties, and plotting to kill Will Bachman, a childhood friend who grievously wronged her.

Chloe is one of seven students at her DC-based college who are part of an unusual clinical study for psychopaths—students like herself who lack empathy and can’t comprehend emotions like fear or guilt. The study, led by a renowned psychologist, requires them to wear smart watches that track their moods and movements.

When one of the students in the study is found murdered in the psychology building, a dangerous game of cat and mouse begins, and Chloe goes from hunter to prey. As she races to identify the killer and put her own plan into action, she’ll be forced to decide if she can trust any of her fellow psychopaths—and everybody knows you should never trust a psychopath.

Never Saw Me Coming is a compulsive, voice-driven thriller by an exciting new voice in fiction, that will keep you pinned to the page and rooting for a would-be killer.

Publication Day is today so you can order HERE

MY REVIEW…

I really liked the premise for Never Saw Me Coming. Set in an American University, there is a small group f students who have been hand-picked to take part in a clinical study. They are supposed to be unknown to each other. What makes these students different to the others is that they are psychopaths.

The author builds up a good background for each of the main characters, they are introduced one by one and as such this makes it easy to remember them. Chloe is the main focus, as the synopsis tells you, there was a murder, she wants answers and she also wants to carry out her own personal plan.

I like how the author delved into the various different aspects that make up the mind of a psychopath. As someone who enjoys crime reads this was one that definitely caught my eye. The story does feel that it has some research and this does come across in the story as character traits are explored and as their stories emerge.

The author has blended crime and mystery as well as a psychological thriller style. It is not heavy reading and there are some good twists. I like how the synopsis suggests that the hunter becomes the prey and this added an extra edge. As Chloe has her own agenda she not only has to be careful of her own actions, but she’s also balancing study, and trying to keep ahead of her own stalker/ hunter.

This story has a nice edge to it. Part of me wants to say this is a YA thriller due to the college-age students but is also a good one for adults as well. There are times when I felt like this was more mystery than thriller, but there is definitely a darkness to it.

I did enjoy this and I actually enjoyed the student life aspect of the story as well as the obvious mystery side. It is one that would suit readers of various genres, but maybe not so much the hardcore psychological thriller ones. I would happily recommend this one.

Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be amazing 🙂 xx

The Red Planet: A Natural History of Mars by Simon Morden @alisonmenziespr @eandtbooks #nonfic #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for The Red Planet: A Natural History of Mars by Simon Morden. This is a non-fiction and is quite accessible and readable for the non-science minded among us 😉

My huge thanks to Alison at Eliot & Thompson Books for my advanced copy.

Before I get into my review I thought it would be a good idea to share a few facts.

Mars is the 4th planet from the sun, with Earth being the 3rd.

The diameter of Mars is approx. 4,222, Earths is approx. 7,926

Olympus Mons is one of the tallest volcanos found. It is 13.6miles high, Mount Everest is 5.5miles.

Earths largest volcano is Mauna Kea in Hawaii, it is 6.33miles high, although most of it is below sea level.

I did find this image of Mountains in the Solar System.

https://www.bing.com/images/

What makes Olympus Mons even more impressive is when you see a comparison between the size of Mars next to Earth…

See the source image
https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Mars,_Earth_size_comparison.jpg

And something that hadn’t even occurred to me until I was reading the book was that we have earthquakes, Mars, well it has marsquakes!

Now to the book…

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The history of Mars is drawn not just on its surface, but also down into its broken bedrock and up into its frigid air. Most of all, it stretches back into deep time, where the trackways of the past have been obliterated by later events, and there is no discernible trace of where they started from or how they travelled, only where they ended up.

As NASA lays it plans for a return to the moon and, from there, a manned mission to Mars, there has never been a better time to acquaint ourselves with the dramatic history and astonishing present of the red planet. Planetary geologist, geophysicist and acclaimed SF author Dr Simon Morden takes us on a vivid guided tour of Mars.

From its formation four and half billion years ago, through an era of cataclysmic meteor strikes and the millions of years during which a vast ocean spanned its entire upper hemisphere, to the long, frozen ages that saw its atmosphere steadily thinning and leaking away into space, Morden presents a tantalising vision of the next planet we will visit.

With a storyteller’s flair, piecing together the latest research and data from the Mars probes, the most up-to-date theories of planetary geology, and informed speculation as to whether there has been life on Mars, The Red Planet is as close as we can get to an eye-witness account of this incredible place. 

Purchase from Amazon UK or other independent Bookshops from Sept 2nd 2021

MY REVIEW…

What I know about the planet Mars, isn’t much and so I was quite interested when I got the chance to read an advanced copy of The Red Planet.

I do have an interest in life, the universe and planets. Natural history is something that belongs far beyond our planet. I have no science background so what I understand has to be, well, basic. When I saw this book I did a bit of a double-take when I read about the author. He is a sci-fi author who also happens to have degrees in geography and planetary geophysics, so it’s safe to say he knows what he’s on about.

I liked the way this book is laid out, a brief intro from the author and then a trip to the planet Mars. From then the author goes into how Mars was formed, what changes it went through and is still going through. The climate, geography, geology, atmosphere.

For a planet smaller than Earth, this red blob in the night sky seems to have been through it all. A planet that has had impacts leaving massive craters, with a dry dusty atmosphere, frozen areas and one of the largest volcanoes known, it makes earth’s largest volcano in Hawaii more like a peak in comparison.

Throughout this book I was aware that this was on the whole quite understandable, at least while I was reading it, it was. I understood enough to grasp what the author was explaining and for me that is a good thing. There were the odd bits that I just couldn’t grasp but part of me was expecting that as I went into this book. Unless you have more of a science background I think this is quite an approachable book. But even the scientists who have studied this planet for decades still cannot agree on some things. There are various theories surrounding how Mars came to be, what forces sculpted the planet we see, and where, how and when there was water.

If you have an interest in planets, and nature beyond our planet then this is a book that will really appeal to you. I found it fascinating and I really enjoyed reading it. I also found myself internet hopping as I read this book, looking up various items, viewing images and also looking at the most recent news. It is a book that I would happily recommend.

About the Author…

Dr. Simon Morden, B.Sc. (Hons., Sheffield) Ph.D (Newcastle) is a bona fide rocket scientist, having degrees in geology and planetary geophysics. Unfortunately, that sort of thing doesn’t exactly prepare a person for the big wide world of work: he’s been a school caretaker, admin assistant, and PA to a financial advisor. He’s now employed as a part-time teaching assistant at a Gateshead primary school, which he combines with his duties as a house-husband, attempting to keep a crumbling pile of Edwardian masonry upright, wrangling his two children and providing warm places to sleep for the family cats.

His not-so-secret identity as journeyman writer started when he sold the short story Bell, Book and Candle to an anthology, and a chaotic mix of science fiction, fantasy and horror followed. Heart came out to critical acclaim, and Another War was shortlisted for a World Fantasy Award, but with The Lost Art, things suddenly got serious. Contracts. Agents. Deadlines. Responsibility. Scary stuff. The Lost Art was subsequently a finalist for the Catalyst Award for best teen fiction.

As well as a writer, he’s been the editor of the British Science Fiction Association’s writers’ magazine Focus, a judge for the Arthur C Clarke awards, and is a regular speaker at the Greenbelt Arts Festival on matters of faith and fiction. In 2009, he was in the winning team for the Rolls Royce Science Prize.

Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be amazing 🙂 xx