Thursday, 31 March 2016

COVER REVEAL: Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor

This evening I am delighted to share the cover and the prologue of Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor.  The book will be published by Hodder & Stoughton in September.

The UK jacket is the blue with the upside down moth and the USA’s is the yellow and blue fluttering moths.

On the second sabbat of Twelfthmoon, in the city of Weep, a girl fell from the sky.
Her skin was blue, her blood was red.
She broke over an iron gate, crimping it on impact, and there she hung, impossibly arched, graceful as a temple dancer swooning on a lover’s arm. One slick finial anchored her in place. Its point, protruding from her sternum, glittered like a brooch. She fluttered briefly as her ghost shook loose, and then her hands relaxed, shedding fistfuls of freshly picked torch ginger buds.
Later, they would say these had been hummingbird hearts and not blossoms at all.
They would say she hadn’t shed blood but wept it. That she was lewd, tonguing her teeth at them, upside down and dying, that she vomited a serpent that turned to smoke when it hit the ground. They would say a flock of moths had come, frantic, and tried to lift her away.
That was true. Only that.
They hadn’t a prayer, though. The moths were no bigger than the startled mouths of children, and even dozens together could only pluck at the strands of her darkening hair until their wings sagged, sodden with her blood. They were purled away with the blossoms as a grit-choked gust came blasting down the street. The earth heaved underfoot. The sky spun on its axis. A queer brilliance lanced through billowing smoke, and the people of Weep had to squint against it. Blowing grit and hot light and the stink
of saltpeter. There had been an explosion. They might have died, all and easily, but only this girl had, shaken from some pocket of the sky.
Her feet were bare, her mouth stained damson. Her pockets were all full of plums. She was young and lovely and surprised and dead.
She was also blue.
Blue as opals, pale blue. Blue as cornflowers, or dragonfly wings, or a spring—not summer—sky.
Someone screamed. The scream drew others. The others screamed, too, not because a girl was dead, but because the girl was blue, and this meant something in the city of Weep. Even after the sky stopped reeling, and the earth settled, and the last fume spluttered from the blast site and dispersed, the screams went on, feeding themselves from voice to voice, a virus of the air.
The blue girl’s ghost gathered itself and perched, bereft, upon the spearpoint-tip of the projecting finial, just an inch above her own still chest. Gasping in shock, she tilted back her invisible head and gazed, mournfully, up.
The screams went on and on.
And across the city, atop a monolithic wedge of seamless, mirror-smooth metal, a statue stirred, as though awakened by the tumult, and slowly lifted its great horned head.

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

BLOG TOUR: The Song Collector by Natasha Solomons

I would like to thank the publishers for a copy of this book in return for an honest review.

After his beloved wife's death, the composer Harry Fox-Talbot is unable to write a single note, until one day he discovers his troublesome young grandson is a piano prodigy.

As the music returns, Fox is compelled to re-engage with life - and, ultimately, to confront an old and bitter rift.  One with its roots in 1946, when he gave up his dreams of a musical career to help save the family home from ruin; and when he fell for his brother's girlfriend, the celebrated wartime singer, Edie Rose.

This is the entrancing tale of a man whose passion for music, an elusive woman and the English landscapes of his youth are inextricably intertwined.  A man who finally finds joy in the wake of grief, and learns that it is never too late to seek forgiveness.

I must admit that prior to receiving this book from the publisher, I had no knowledge of Natasha Solomons or her work.  It is only very recently that I have delved into the world of historical fiction and as it is still quite new to me, I had no idea what to expect from this book.  I was absolutely blown away by this utterly beautiful tale.  The book begins after the second world war and takes us up to June 2007.  The story is told from the point of view of Harry Fox-Talbot.  When we meet this character first, he is a bitter old man who cares about no one but himself.  I think that the transitions we see of this character from bitter old man to the man he turns into at the end of the book is what gives this book it's sparkle.

I love the way that this book moves through time. The transitions between the time frames are effortless and I loved seeing the contrast between the man that Harry was in his early 20's and the man that he is now, in his 70's.  This story is so real and could have taken place anywhere in the world in reality.  Even though I adored the character of Harry, it was Edie who stole the show for me.

Music is something that everybody can relate to and I think that is because of this that The Song Collector shines as much as it does.  It is something that everyone can relate to and I believe that anyone that picks up this book will fall in love with this timeless beautiful story.   This novel is different to anything I have ever read in the past and I doubt that I will ever read anything like this again for a very long time.  It is utterly unputdownable and Natasha Solomons is one of the most beautifully talented storytellers that I have ever had the pleasure to come across.

The Song Collector is a must read and no one who picks up this book will regret it.

5 stars

Friday, 11 March 2016

Hunt for the Enemy by Rob Sinclair

I would like to thank the author for my copy of this book in return for an honest review.

The Blurb:
They've erased his past. Wiped out his very existence. But Carl Logan isn't finished yet. On the run in a harsh Russian winter, Logan - once an invaluable asset but now branded a traitor - has been framed for murder. His own firm, the secretive Joint Intelligence Agency, have labeled him a rogue operative after two decades of loyal service. The agency is hunting him down... and they're not the only ones. But there's much more at stake than just Logan's life. One by one, agents and informants from all sides, all allegiances, are dying. And Carl Logan is the only man who can put a stop to it, once and for all.

This is the last book in the Enemy series and even though I hadn't read any of the previous books in this series, I found myself immersed in the story from the very beginning.  Like with all series' it is best of you read all of the instalments but it was not necessary in order to enjoy this book.

As this book switched between time periods, it is a little bit confusing at first, I found I had to keep flicking back to see where that particular part of the story was set, but after the first ten percent, I got used to way the book was written and I found that I was able to understand what was happening more and more, as the book went on.

This is not my usual kind of book, but I have to admit that I really did like it.  It took me a while to get around to reading it, but once I started I wasn't able to put it down for a minute and I ended up reading it in just a few short hours.  

The character of Carl Logan was very well written and I loved that he was written in a way that made him feel like a real person.  As I have not read the first two books in the series YET, I don't know what way he was written in the previous two book, but I am dying to find out.  

Hunt for the Enemy has so many twists and turns that at times I had to take a few minutes to process what had happened in the book.  The suspence had me on the edge of my seat throughout.  This genre isn't one that I read much of, and I didn't know what to expect from the book.  I didn't expect to like it as much as I did.

I am very much looking forward to going back and reading the first two instalments.

4/5 stars


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