Blog Tour: The Ship of Shadows by Maria Kuzniar

Good day to you all fellow readers and welcome to another fabulous blog tour by The Write Reads. Today on the blog is my stop on the blog tour for The Ship of Shadows by Maria Kuzniar!

Aleja whiles away her days in her family’s dusty tavern in Seville, dreaming of distant lands and believing in the kind of magic that she’s only ever read about in books. After all, she’s always being told that girls can’t be explorers.

But her life is changed forever when adventure comes for her in the form of a fabled vessel called the Ship of Shadows. Crewed by a band of ruthless women, with cabin walls dripping with secrets, the ship has sailed right out of a legend. And it wants Aleja.

Once on board its shadowy deck, she begins to realize that the sea holds more secrets than she ever could have imagined. The crew are desperately seeking something, and their path will take them through treacherous waters and force them to confront nightmare creatures and pitch-dark magic. It will take all of Aleja’s strength and courage to gain the trust of her fellow pirates – and discover what they are risking everything to find

‘When something is immortalised in stories, it gives it an air of enchantment, I find.’

Well this was fun! I really enjoyed this wonderful little adventure fantasy. It is an enchanting beginning to a series with a quick story with an even sharper main character surrounded by fierce lady Pirates. Hard not to have me on board. I don’t review middle grade books much on the blog, if ever and I really want to change that. Reviewing this for this blog tour was not only the perfect opportunity to change that while also being blessed to read Kuzniar’s spellbinding debut.

Let’s kick off with the world building. This book is utterly enchanting and I couldn’t get enough of the sheer experience of reading it. The atmosphere is there from the get go from the short lived moments we spend in Sevilla with Aleja running along the rooftops to the storms that wrack the ship while she is at sea with the whole crew on board. This is perfect for younger and older readers alike for that reason alone. I read this on a rainy day and it was such a feel good experience.

Aleja is everything I wish I could have had in books when I was younger. I often say this about Tamora Pierce and Diana Wynne Jones but these are the stories that help you feel good if you are the odd one out. These are the stories young girls need. Aleja doesn’t sacrifice anything of herself for the sake of fitting in, pleasing her family or even in Captain Quint’s presence when she is aboard the Ship of Shadows. She knows her value and at such a young age, will fight for both what’s right as well as what she needs.

The entire cast of characters really pleased me. I mean I was onboard the second I heard it was a band of girl Pirates running the ship. Some of my favourites being Frances and Malika. Frances and Aleja have the most wonderful, heart melting friendship. I love this kind of friendly support and how they really look out for each other. There is something clever done with Frances that I won’t spoil but if it’s true, I would like it to be hopefully more explicitly explored in the coming books. She also always has cake so, best friend material there. Malika being a scary weapon lady with one hand, scars and a blood-thirst to make the man who did those things to her pay while having a soft girlfriend back in Morocco is everything I love. Gay scary ladies with knives. Love it.

The story runs at a pace that you would expect for an epic sea journey on board a magical ship with kick ass pirates. And if you don’t get that, I mean it moves hella fast with no stopping for breath. It’s like working on the ship itself, there is always something to do and someone to help regardless of your role in the crew. I will say the last section of the book went a little bit faster and I do want to spend more time with that villain in the future. This is still the first book though and it is super impressive what is achieved here

A wonderful protagonist with adventure in her soul, a magical ship and a band of lady pirates who work together fabulously and danger is always near. What else could you want? Thank you to both Penguin Random House and The Write Reads for having me on this tour and sending me a digital copy of this book in exchange for review. The Ship of Shadows is out now!

★★★★/5

Maria Kuzniar spent six years living in Spain, teaching English and travelling the world, which inspired her debut novel The Ship of Shadows. Now she lives in Nottingham with her husband, where she reads and writes as much as she can and bookstagrams at @cosyreads. She is always planning her next adventure.

Blog Tour: The Angel of Evil (The Great Devil War IV)by Kenneth B. Andersen

Good evening everyone. Welcome to my stop today on The Write Reads blg tour for The Angel of Evil by Kenneth B. Andersen!

Nothing will ever be the same. Satina is gone, kidnapped by the enemy. Disobeying Lucifer, Philip heads out to find her, journeying into the deep darkness of Outer Reach. But nothing can prepare Philip for the horror that awaits—or the demons he will face.

Meanwhile, Lucifer’s kingdom is threatened as the Great Devil War draws closer. All Hell is about to break loose.

The Angel of Evil is volume 4 of The Great Devil War series

‘But he had. And did he regret it?
No. He was no longer an angel and he’d sworn never to be weak again.’

Anyone who follows my posts on a regular basis will know how I’ve been following along with this series. Especially how the last book tore out my heart and totally blew up my expectations. Needless to say, the mood for this was set before reading the first page and things are getting real.

Things kick off directly from the get go. It picks up directly after the explosive ending of the previous story and how the characters are dealing with that. The world building isn’t something I’ll be discussing much here since we are now four books in and the world is very well developed, especially after the third book expanding to other hellscapes and other parts of these planes of existence. This book kind of links them all together in anticipation of this unavoidable war. Either way, it’s good to be back.

The main focus of this book is a mix of conflict and the trauma it leaves in it’s wake. As well as the consequences of our own conflict and how we deal with that. But this is Philip’s story so we are watching him deal with these struggles. Philip has a very different character arc in this book compared to the others. His inner struggles are more present than ever since at this stage, he does want to stay in Hell and it’s clear how he feels for Satina by now. But this war he has internally between his potential devil self and his “human” self is really put on display here and I really liked that. The humor of the first two books is definitely toned down to make room for this and I appreciated that.

Philip at the end of the day is a human and no amount of dies, summoning pills and accidental deaths are going to make him the devil he wants to be. He has to be Philip and that’s how he will triumph in the end. There are some very emotional moments between him and the other characters. Mostly Lucifer and Ravine but I do feel that he and Satina are more central to the plot with him having these decisions to make.

Satina takes a bit of a step back in the story which I wasn’t thrilled about (sorry, I love a demon lady) but something that was touched upon a good but is her recovery after being abducted by Aziel. There is a very good discussion that not all damage is done physically even when you are a non human being but it was good to see that as a main point of discussion. Spells could do as much damage as whips. However, it didn’t get brought up again much and that would have been amazing but I still loved seeing this on the page.

The story never fails to deliver on anything. The tension, the big reveals and the way it all wraps up at the end is as great as the last few have been. I will not deny after the last one, I was dreading the last few pages and I will have trust issues with the next book as a result but this felt like a perfect delivery of everything we have been teased about in the series so far. I really enjoyed it and was totally satisfied with how this all wrapped up. However book five is out now, so noone is safe.

Thank you as always to Dave from The Write Reads for having me on the tour and to the author for a copy of the book in exchange for review. The Angel of Evil is out now!

★★★★.5/5

Blog Tour: Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Hello fellow readers! Today on the blog, is my review for the blog tour of Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia!

After receiving a frantic letter from her newly-wed cousin begging for someone to save her from a mysterious doom, Noemí Taboada heads to High Place, a distant house in the Mexican countryside. She’s not sure what she will find—her cousin’s husband, a handsome Englishman, is a stranger, and Noemí knows little about the region.

Noemí is also an unlikely rescuer: She’s a glamorous debutante, and her chic gowns and perfect red lipstick are more suited for cocktail parties than amateur sleuthing. But she’s also tough and smart, with an indomitable will, and she is not afraid: Not of her cousin’s new husband, who is both menacing and alluring; not of his father, the ancient patriarch who seems to be fascinated by Noemí; and not even of the house itself, which begins to invade Noemi’s dreams with visions of blood and doom.

Her only ally in this inhospitable abode is the family’s youngest son. Shy and gentle, he seems to want to help Noemí, but might also be hiding dark knowledge of his family’s past. For there are many secrets behind the walls of High Place. The family’s once colossal wealth and faded mining empire kept them from prying eyes, but as Noemí digs deeper she unearths stories of violence and madness.

And Noemí, mesmerized by the terrifying yet seductive world of High Place, may soon find it impossible to ever leave this enigmatic house behind.

I pray I’ll see you again. You must come for me, Noemí. You have to save me.

******Trigger warnings for the following: Racism, rape, body horror, cannibalism, incest, eugenics, white supremacy, death of a parent and siblings and miscarriage.

I have never read the author before and this was honestly such a good introduction to her work. This is an intense creepy story that never fails to make your skin crawl or wonder what is going in with this damn house. The constant claustrophobia and anger felt by both the protagonist and the reader certainly stay with you off the page.

Its hard not to feel that you are locked in the crumbling mansion that is High Place. Long gone is the grandeur of Manderley and all that is left is the rotting, moldy remnants of an English family home. I am a big fan of house as character tropes and while I never felt the house was it’s own character, I definitely felt the sense that it wouldn’t let me go. From the silver laden cabinets to the enforced silence of dinner times it’s clear this house is insanely corrupt. The author went straight to the point, not once taking the attention away from High House or it’s dreary residents. For what we see of even the local town, you never spend long enough there to escape the house and that made this all the more creepy.

While investigating this weird family and this even weirder house, it’s hard not to connect with the characters or even have an emotional reaction to them. I loved Noemí right from the start. She never backs down and refuses to settle for anything less. While she can be both capricious and shallow it only strives to enforce her wonderful character more. She is pure steel with a strong sense of family, she never fails to try and challenge anyone who either offends her or stands in her way. She is the first to call out the patriarch, Howard, on his clear racism and discussion of eugenics.

Upon meeting Virgil and his family, the whole story gets even creepier I think. Is there anything creepier than racism, old English attitudes and the ideas of a superior race? I truly didn’t think this would have such relevant themes to the current climate but Virgil and his Usher style folks are a bignred flag from the get go. Except Francis. He must be kept safe at all costs.

Now I will say this isn’t going to be a nail biting read with moment after moment of shocking horror. What this truly is a gothic tale taken right out of the classics and is set in 1950s Mexico with a very unsettling story. There are some genuinely disgusting moments in this story and it didn’t help that one of the more fungal aspects of the house, is something I have a bit of an aversion to already so my reaction was a lot more visceral. There are some moments of body horror too which I was not expecting when the plot took a certain turn but it definitely added to the building tension and worked in the authors favour.

If you are a fan of creepy stories or gothic narratives or even want a story that is a welcome and refreshing take on both of these, then this is definitely for you. I read this in a day which is testament to how hard it is to put down as well.

Thank you to both Netgalley and Jo Fletcher Books for providing me a copy of this book in exchange for a review. Thank you also for having me on this blog tour!

Mexican Gothic is published today the 30th of June!

Blog Tour: We Ride the Storm by Devin Madson

Hello fellow readers, today is my stop on the Orbit Books blog tour for We Ride the Storm by Devin Madson!

In the midst of a burgeoning war, a warrior, an assassin, and a princess chase their own ambitions no matter the cost in Devin Madson’s visceral, emotionally charged debut.

War built the Kisian Empire. War will tear it down.

Seventeen years after rebels stormed the streets, factions divide Kisia. Only the firm hand of the god-emperor holds the empire together. But when a shocking betrayal destroys a tense alliance with neighboring Chiltae, all that has been won comes crashing down.

In Kisia, Princess Miko Ts’ai is a prisoner in her own castle. She dreams of claiming her empire, but the path to power could rip it, and her family, asunder. In Chiltae, assassin Cassandra Marius is plagued by the voices of the dead. Desperate, she accepts a contract that promises to reward her with a cure if she helps an empire fall. And on the border between nations, Captain Rah e’Torin and his warriors are exiles forced to fight in a foreign war or die.

As an empire dies, three warriors will rise. They will have to ride the storm or drown in its blood.

‘There are no Gods. Only men. But if you can give people hope…You can become something close to divine.’

I don’t think anyone will be surprised to hear that I thought this is honestly an amazing book with a great start to a new series. This book has a lot of my buzz words, but the second I heard there was a princess tearing stuff down from the inside and an assassin who could hear the voices of the dead that was me on board.

Set in the Eastern inspired world of Kisia, straight away from the get go the world building was solid. I don’t think I struggled once to understand the various locations of the 3 main characters as we moved across this war torn land. From the varying customs that were stark comparisons between the Levanti and Kisians or the different lives led by Cassandra as both a sex worker and assassin Princess Miko having to pretend her archery skills were half what they were, the world is so clear it was hard to step away. To be fair, I read this in 2 sittings but I still had no problem stepping back into the world when needed.

World building aside, the characters are the true standouts here. We get the 3 varying points of view here that all transition very smoothly between each other and there are obviously going to be favourites. Cassandra was honestly my favourite. What’s not to love about a sex working assassin with a very murky past, has necromantic powers and has the voice of something in their head? Cassandra is a bit unlike the other characters where she doesn’t really care about the looming war and she’s just looking to be paid. Which is fair enough to be honest. She does have this interesting arc with the voice of the creature she talks with in her head and I’m really curious to see where that goes.

Princess Miko has such a great development form start to finish that has left me so satisfied, I’m afraid I won’t be able to get this into words. This novel by the way opens with one of the best lines I have read in a long time, and comes directly from Miko;

They tried to kill me four times before I could walk.

I honestly think I don’t see enough power hungry princesses in fantasy. Here Madson has managed to make Miko as a character so sympathetic and so totally believable that her goals are very hard not find yourself agreeing with at times. She is above all intelligent, growing up in her brothers shadow while also being that same shadow. She has had to watch every single move she ha made, every word spoken for fear that there will be no support for her should her brother be heir. She is also totally able to adapt and use whatever she is given to an advantage. Hard to forget as well is her relationship with her mother, the Empress, and how she uses that too to gain what she needs but learn that to rule an empire your parents might not be the best role models to look up to.

Hard to mention Miko without mentioning her mother. Empress Hana is seen by both Cassandra and Miko’s POV but both totally differently. I don’t mean like one sees “mother” and one sees Empress. They both see her as the Empress Hana of Kisia but one is a cold, shrewd tactician and the other is a Cersei type ruler who will have you dead before you can blink. That worked super well and for a character who spends very little time actually in the story I was highly impressed with her.

The characters and the world blend seamlessly with the constantly racing plot that had me totally absorbed the entire time. There was no room to breathe or stop (second sitting needed so that I could sleep) and wonder on a death or a big event since something else was always coming and it flows so well with a conclusion that is very satisfying. That being said, I need book 2 immediately and want to start reading it yesterday. Jokes aside, I do find it hard to find first books in fantasy series that are so well executed so for that alone, the book is highly enjoyable.

We Ride the Storm comes out the 25th of June.

Thank you to both Nazia and Orbit Books for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for a review. This is up there with The Wolf of Oren Yaro by totally resetting my expectations for upcoming fantasy novels. The fact this began as an self published book too makes me sad I didn’t find it prior to this but I would highly recommend this for any fantasy fans looking for something new. happy reading guys!

Devin Madson is an Aurealis Award-winning fantasy author from Australia. After some sucky teenage years, she gave up reality and is now a dual-wielding rogue who works through every tiny side-quest and always ends up too overpowered for the final boss. Anything but zen, Devin subsists on tea and chocolate and so much fried zucchini she ought to have turned into one by now. Her fantasy novels come in all shades of grey and are populated with characters of questionable morals and a liking for witty banter.

Blog Tour: Switchboard by Andrew Post

Hello fellow readers! My apologies for my silence! Today is my stop on the Random Things Tour’s blog tour for Switchboard by Andrew Post!

It’s only as haunted as you are.

After two raids turn up zero evidence, narcotics detective Dwayne Spare infiltrates a crumbling apartment building where a suspected manufacturer of krokodil is hiding—but finds something much worse. The chemist Gerald Metzger isn’t after money; he’s lulling his most ‘dedicated’ customers into catatonia, to make contact with an eldritch being. 

When Dwayne’s cover is blown, he becomes Metzger’s new test subject, an involuntary pilgrim into a world where “it’s all just in your head” is far from a reassuring statement.

I don’t think I have the words for this one. This is another perfect example of a shorter books being just as capable of carrying a long and winding plot that is liable to sneak up on you and bite your face off to sacrifice to the ancient elder gods.

Everything about this story is claustrophobic and uncomfortable. The appearances are truly deceiving here as I went into this for a creepy noir style story with supernatural elements while Detective Spare runs after Metzger in an endless cat and mouse game. I was so wrong and am delighted I was.

With a limited cast of characters and a very remote location and a looming entity that is really left in the shadows, Post drags us through an unsettling unknown that would leave you paranoid after reading a few pages. I kid you not, this book followed me into my own dreams and had me waking up when I went to finish it wondering where one ended and another began.

The book also has some wonderful moments of body horror scattered through out this strange plot that just add to the desolation and the sheer feeling that everything is just stuck in a loop. The way the story wraps up is a little bit left of centre for where I thought it was going but honestly the longer I sit with this book I know that there was only one outcome for Spare and the others. And it was done well.

Thank you to Anne for having me on the tour and JournalStone for a copy of the book in exchange for review! You can get this book now and I would highly recommend it for fans of Odd Thomas and House of Leaves!

Andrew Post was born in Erie, Pennsylvania (imagine Eraserhead but in color). While he was
honing his craft as a writer (those early stories were awful) he worked in a gift shop in one of the scuzziest hotels in the Midwest, he cleaned rental cars (also gross), he was a butcher (despite
being a vegetarian), and in 2013 his first novel, the cyberpunk thriller, Knuckleduster, was published. No one really seemed to care much but he kept at it and has since published a handful of other works to varying degrees of resulting public interest with a few seeing translations and one almost became a movie (that lit agent has since been fired).
Andrew lives in a sleepy river town in Minnesota where he may or may not be planning aquatic
“accidents” to befall the many other authors who live in the area and he has been mistaken for Rob Zombie on no less than ten separate occasions.

Blog Tour: Goldilocks by Laura Lam

Hello dear readers and welcome back to my last blog tour this week! I’ve had some really good books to review recently ans this is no exception. Today is my stop on the Random Things Tours blog tour for Goldilocks by Laura Lam!

The Earth is in environmental collapse. The future of humanity hangs in the balance. But a team of women are preparing to save it. Even if they’ll need to steal a spaceship to do it.

Despite increasing restrictions on the freedoms of women on Earth, Valerie Black is spearheading the first all-female mission to a planet in the Goldilocks Zone, where conditions are just right for human habitation.

The team is humanity’s last hope for survival, and Valerie has gathered the best women for the mission: an ace pilot who is one of the only astronauts ever to have gone to Mars; a brilliant engineer tasked with keeping the ship fully operational; and an experienced doctor to keep the crew alive. And then there’s Naomi Lovelace, Valerie’s surrogate daughter and the ship’s botanist, who has been waiting her whole life for an opportunity to step out of Valerie’s shadow and make a difference.

The problem is that they’re not the authorized crew, even if Valerie was the one to fully plan the voyage. When their mission is stolen from them, they steal the ship bound for the new planet.

But when things start going wrong on board, Naomi begins to suspect that someone is concealing a terrible secret — and realizes time for life on Earth may be running out faster than they feared . . .

The women were stealing a planet. They were stealing a future.

I’ve been reading science fiction for as long as I can remember and I really love space. Like I REALLY love space. I have no interest in the science but I would sooner go to space than into the ocean. Imagine my disgust when I learned historically, women were good enough to test for space but not good enough to go there. It’s clear Laura Lam discovered the same and she gave us Goldilocks.

This is definitely a stand out in a line of the resurgence in the space exploration genre of scifi stories but this is the first one that I have been deeply moved by. There is no denying the strength of these women and what they are trying to achieve here. It’s one thing to take back jobs and protest for equality, but these bad ass people literally stole a space mission.

I truly enjoyed the characters but their relationships and how they work together were truly the standout here. I think my favourite was Valerie and Naomi with their surrogate mother/daughter dynamic. I love a good found family story and this one I thought was probably the most accurate and interesting I had ever seen. There is even an early on instance where both of them had a fight and they are trying to recoup after a year of the fall out from it.

Can I just comment as well on the excellent writing and how well Laura Lam tells this wonderful story of discovery, pain and the very possible changes that could happen with a government started to restrict women further and further. I also loved the cheeky nod to the best known dystopic story about women losing their rights.

Thank you to Anne for having me on the tour and Wildfire for a copy for this amazing book in exchange for a review. Goldilocks is available now!

★★★★★/5

Laura Lam is the author of several science fiction books, including Radio 2 Book
Club selection False Hearts. Her short fiction and essays have appeared in
anthologies such as Nasty Women, Solaris Rising 3, Cranky Ladies of History,
Scotland in Space, and more. Originally from California, she now lives in Scotland with her husband, and teaches Creative Writing at Edinburgh Napier University.

Blog Tour: Harrow Lake by Kat Ellis

Hello fellow readers and welcome to another wonderful blog tour! Today this is my stop on the Write Reads blog tour for Harrow Lake by Kat Ellis!

Welcome to Harrow Lake. Someone’s expecting you . . .
Lola Nox is the daughter of a celebrated horror filmmaker – she thinks nothing can scare her. But when her father is brutally attacked in their New York apartment, she’s swiftly packed off to live with a grandmother she’s never met in Harrow Lake, the eerie town where her father’s most iconic horror movie was shot. The locals are weirdly obsessed with the film that put their town on the map – and there are strange disappearances, which the police seem determined to explain away. And there’s someone – or something – stalking her every move. The more Lola discovers about the town, the more terrifying it becomes. Because Lola’s got secrets of her own. And if she can’t find a way out of Harrow Lake, they might just be the death of her.

‘Look, these stories- small town legends about monsters or demons or evil spirits- they’re all just an excuse for people to avoid seeing the real monsters all around them. It’s a way to shatter the proverbial mirror.’

You have to love a small spooky, town story with some locals who never truly pulled themselves out of the last century. Especially when there is a creepy story of a monster that will ruin the lives of the residents should they step out of line. But what if, after all that, the real monsters are people? And what if they turn out to be our parents?

This isn’t any spoiler territory, I can assure you. This book very quickly reminded me how our parents are themselves to us first and people second. That is one of the hardest things to write about especially from the eyes of a child and Kat Ellis manages it so well here while also managing to maintain some unsettling plot details and a strange town atmosphere.

When we meet Lola, I’m not going to lie that I found her irritating. In the first few pages it is very easy to find her annoying and slightly spoiled. As the story unfolds, her background is expanded to the point of feeling pity for this girl and her constantly shifting loyalties to both Nolan and Lorelei. There is a deep conflict in her that I found very interesting with a sense of resilience that is hard to not admire straight away.

Some moments within the plot are genuinely hard to grasp and figure out but the creep factor is never far away. As the tension rises in the story and Lola becomes more paranoid it is hard to tell what might be the nasty reality of Harrow Lake or what might possibly be a monster lurking around the corner. I would love to see concept art for Mister Jitters as well.

Overall, a definite must read for horror fans while being an impressive take on the horror movie legacy and what damage it can leave behind.

Thank you to Dave at the Write Reads for having me on this tour and to Penguin Random House and NetGalley for an advanced digital copy of Harrow Lake in exchange for a review!

Harrow Lake is published on the 9th of June!

Blog Tour: The Wise Friend by Ramsey Campbell

Welcome back everyone! Told you it was a week of blog tours! Welcome to my stop on the Random Things Tours blog tour for The Wise Friend by Ramsey Campbell!

Patrick Torrington’s aunt Thelma was a successful artist whose late work turned towards the occult. While staying with her in his teens he found evidence that she used to visit magical sites. As an adult he discovers her journal of her explorations,and his teenage son Roy becomes fascinated too. His experiences at the sites scare Patrick away from them, but Roy carries on the search, together with his new girlfriend. Can Patrick convince his son that his increasingly terrible suspicions are real, or will what they’ve helped to rouse take a new hold on the world?

Did you ever see something out of the corner of your eye, go to look at it and suddenly it was gone? Ever get it in the dark while reading in the dark and suddenly something moves and it’s gone again when you look? This book is that, but for a whole book.

Nothing is more unsettling than a feeling that a place, a person or even a patch of forest is not what it looks like on the surface. Ramsey Campbell has captured this right down to the chilling shivers you get when something occasionally will stop you in your tracks.

Something I really enjoyed both in this book and the last book I read by the author is how important family is to this story. Yes there is some weird supernatural stuff happening her because our main character, Patrick, is chasing his aunts sites of occult power that inspired her more surreal paintings, but never once do we not see the terror set against a family interaction. Whether Patrick himself is thinking about memories of his aunt Thelma and how she was nurtured his interest in books and learning or it’s Patrick calling his son again to check what he is doing and is he doing it alone. I think horror can miss the important messages about families sometimes, especially in movies, but I have yet to see it here.

I also have to appreciate the references to Leonora Carrington, an artist I loved when I was an art college student myself. While I do love to read horror/mystery stories about painters or artists of any kind, this was a nice visual reference to imagine Thelma’s art so that was a massive bonus.

Thank you as always to Anne for having me on the tour, and to Flame Tree Press! And thank you to both for a copy of this book in exchange for a review!

The Wise Friend is available now!

The Oxford Companion to English Literature describes Ramsey Campbell as “Britain’s most respected living horror writer”. He has been given more awards than any other writer in the field, including the Grand Master Award of the World Horror Convention, the Lifetime Achievement Award of the Horror Writers Association,the Living Legend Award of the International Horror Guild and the World Fantasy Lifetime Achievement Award.

Blog Tour: The Wrongful Death (The Great Devil War III) by Kenneth B. Andersen

Hello fellow readers and yes, I did accept all my blog tours for one single week it seems! My organisational skills aside, today on the blog I am on the tour for The Wrongful Death, the third book in the Great Devil War series!

An unfortunate chain of events makes Philip responsible for the untimely death of the school bully Sam—the Devil’s original choice for an heir. Philip must return to Hell to find Sam and bring him back to life, so that fate can be restored. But trouble is stirring in Lucifer’s kingdom and not even Philip can imagine the strange and dark journey that awaits him. A journey that will take him through ancient underworlds and all the way to Paradise.

Well this one really took me by surprise. This is a series I have really enjoyed since the first book and this being the third, I was worried that I was going to have to expect the same plot beats but kind of hoped if it was, it would be in the way that this book was parodying itself. Holy shit I was so wrong.

WE GET TO GO TO ANOTHER UNDERWORLD. I’m sorry, did I say that out loud? Yes. I was thrilled. I am not even mentioning where or why or how but this is something my little heart jumped for. I am a long time fan of chthonic Gods, Goddesses, underworlds, necromancy (GIDEON!!!) and just anything like that, my gothy soul calls for it. This was such a great surprise and I hope we get to visit more.

The characters as always are a dream. I’m delighted Sam finally had his moment. I always found his and Philip’s relationship both fascinating and very real. Yes Sam is a bully who is utterly horrible to other kids but it’s like Philip brought out an element of warmth in him somehow. It is comedic as well at times how well they work too and how they balance each other out. Also can I please have dinner with Satina’s parents? They are so wonderful.

Now, the main event. Out of all these books I have read so far in this series, I did not expect this one to go how it did. Like I mentioned at the beginning, I expected something similar where each book might be a Groundhog Day/Spinal Tap and their drummer style set up where the same thing happens but that is part of the enjoyment. BUT NO. NO. I’m not saying how or where but this story and how it all wrapped up has me so pumped to read book four.

This series is definitely taking a wonderful turn that I think is necessary but also right up my alley so if you wish to know which book is the best in the series is so far? It’s definitely this one. Thank you so much to Dave at the Write Reads and Kenneth Andersen for having me on these tours and an ecopy of this book for review!

The Wrongful Death is out now!

About the author:

Kenneth B. Andersen (1976) is an award-winning Danish writer. He has published more than forty books for children and young adults, including both fantasy, horror, and science fiction. His books have been translated into more than 15 languages and his hit-series about the superhero Antboy has been turned into three movies. A musical adaptation of The Devil’s Apprentice, the first book in The Great Devil War series, opened in the fall 2018 and film rights for the series have been optioned. Kenneth lives in Copenhagen with his wife, two boys, a dog named Milo, and spiders in the basement

Blog Tour: The Girl and the Stars by Mark Lawrence

Hello everyone and welcome to the first day of the Random Things Tours Blog tour for The Girl and the Stars by Mark Lawrence!

East of the Black Rock, out on the ice, lies a hole down which broken children are thrown.
On the vastness of the ice there is no room for individuals. Noone survives alone. To resist the cold, to endure the months of night when even the air itself begins to freeze, requires a special breed. Variation is dangerous, difference is fatal. And Yaz is different. Torn from her family, from the boy she thought she would spend her life with, Yaz has to carve a new path for herself in a world whose existence she never suspected. A world full of danger. Beneath the ice, Yaz will learn that Abeth is older and stranger than she had ever imagined. She will learn that her weaknesses are another kind of strength. And she will learn to challenge the cruel arithmetic of survival that has always governed her people.
Only when it’s darkest can you see the stars.

During these very strange times it is difficult to get totally lost in a book, especially one with as grim and bleak a setting as Abeth. Nothing can take away from Lawrence’s writing being utterly captivating, even a global pandemic. This is my first Mark Lawrence book and I can’t deny how utterly impressive this book is. This book is set in a previous world of his, namely the Book of the Ancestor trilogy, but I haven’t read it (I own it, shut up) and I still had no problem getting into the book.

What we have here is a remarkable first book in a new series that sets up a brutal world with a true survivor leading the story, Yaz. The world building here is truly incredible and it is so dense that you won’t be able to tear yourself away from the bleak reality of the ice, both above and below. I really enjoyed learning about underneath the ice, especially why these children are thrown into the hole in the first place. Reasons vary from unnatural speed to working the ice like clay but then Yaz has a power that allows her work with the ‘stars’ under the ice. The stars sounds SO interesting, being these objects that are a cross between rock and kind of reactor cores.

I really thought Yaz was an excellent female lead with a very well rounded arc and some very genuine personality traits. She is powerful, caring and very flawed. While Yaz’s mission of rescuing her brother is a very clear indication of how far she is willing to go to save her family, it also is just as much of a mission of her learning that the reality of the world she has come from is very wrong. She comes to realise how flawed the society of Abeth is and she is very angry for how children are just thrown away. She also has moments of very human emotions and a bit of a selfish streak almost but she is a breath of fresh air.

I will say the plot is a little slower in places for a longer fantasy book but it is clear that Mark Lawrence is dedicated to creating this bitter, cruel world and building it for the books to come as well which is where a lot of fantasy can crumble. Here that won’t happen since we are led to a finale that is sudden as it is expected. I loved this book, I can’t deny it and can’t wait to finally read more of the authors work.

Thank you for Anne as always for having me on the tour and to Harper Voyager for the very pretty proof of this book in exchange for review! The Girl and the Stars is out the 30th of April!

★★★★★/5

Mark Lawrence was born in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, but moved to the UK at the age of one. He went back to the US after taking a PhD in mathematics at Imperial College to work on a variety of research projects including the ‘Star Wars’ missile defence programme. Returning to the UK,
he has worked mainly on image processing and decision/reasoning theory. His first trilogy, The Broken Empire, has been universally acclaimed as a ground-breaking work of fantasy, and both The Liar’s Key and The Wheel of Osheim have won the Gemmell Legend award for best fantasy novel. Mark is married, with four children, and lives in Bristol.