Monthly Archives: May 2019

The Lost Shrine by Nicola Ford – Book Review

I reviewed the first book by Nicola – The Hidden Bones – last year and now the series has its own name. “Hills and Barbrook” after the two main archeology characters.

The Lost Shrine can be read as a stand alone although there are mentions to some of the events in book one, and an unfinished thread to move us forward. Clare, David and Jo, and others are back and already they feel familiar. There’s also some new characters including a local druid who makes things – interesting.

Clare is let loose leading her own dig in the Cotswolds, one their unit needs the money from to stay afloat. They’ve been hired by a commercial property developer to disprove the theory of the previous site lead. At least that’s what he’s hoping. The ethics of such a job is explored really well, especially when the neighbourhood is against the development too.

The police are back too. Sally, David’s other half is back in Salisbury heading up a murder investigation, the ladies in this series definitely have their work cut out for them. And is Mark Stone in the Cotswolds a help, a hindrance, or something more? Was the previous site lead’s death really a macabre suicide?

As with the previous book the tension grows throughout from a Time Team style dig (loved the drone operator’s nickname) to English country crime thriller. Hills and Barbrook have settled in with book two and I’m with them for the journey.

I was gifted a copy by the publisher for the purposes of this honest review.

The Lost Shrine is our now and ebook readers are in luck because the book is available for a mere 99p this week. Go dig it up.

Snakeskins by Tim Major – Blog Tour Book Review

Synopsis

Caitlin Hext’s first shedding ceremony is imminent, but she’s far from prepared to produce a Snakeskin clone. When her skin fails to turn to dust as expected, she must decide whether she wishes the newcomer alive or dead.

Worse still, it transpires that the Hext family may be of central importance to the survival of Charmers, a group of people with the inexplicable power to produce duplicates every seven years and, in the process, rejuvenate. In parallel with reporter Gerry Chafik and government aide Russell Handler, Caitlin must prevent the Great British Posperity Party from establishing a corrupt new world order.

About the Author

Tim Major has authored You Don’t Belong Here, Blighters and Carus & Mitch, The YA novel Machineries of Mercy, the short story collection And the House Lights Dom, and a non-fiction book about the silent crime film, Les Vampires. His shorts have appeared in Interzone, Not One of Us and numerous anthologies including Best of British SF 2017. He is co-editor of the British Fantasy Society’s journal, BFS Horizons.

What I Thought

This book has such an intriguing premise. A proportion of the population have been “given” special abilities as Charmers. Every seven years they shed like snakes and rejuvenate their original bodies meaning they live longer than ordinary humans. Usually the skin lasts only a short time before disintegrating into ash. But Caitlin’s skin stays, is clearly displaying human emotion and is taken away by the government…

The very government who have cut the U.K. off from Europe, call themselves The Great British Prosperity Party and appear to be Charmer led. Russell works for one of the ministers and gradually starts to uncover the truth.

Gerry is a journalist who is also working to tell the real story and Caitlin is just trying to come to terms with what being a Charmer means and why much of society is against them. Suspicion and lack of understanding, thinking all Charmers are the same!

A biting social commentary, a mysterious thriller and engaging characters to root for. Tim Major has created something pretty unique. I don’t think we’ll ever look at politics the same way after the last few years and this book contributes to that unease.

Thank you to Lydia at Titan for gifting me a copy of this book for the purposes of an honest review.

Snakeskins is out now.

Reader, I Married Me! By Sophie Tanner – Blog Tour Book Review

Synopsis

Based on Sophie Tanner’s true story comes a fresh twist on the traditional love story.

Chloe Usher has just broken up with the love of her life. All her friends urge her to find another man before she disappears down the slippery slope to spinsterhood. After a particularly messy date and several gins, she decides that she doesn’t need an ‘other half’ to complete her and announces that she is going to marry herself. The news goes viral and, in the sober light of day, Chloe finds herself thrust firmly into the public eye to the embarrassment of her friends and family. Planning her wedding solo takes Chloe on a bumpy journey of self-discovery, as she realises why wish away your life waiting for ‘the one’ when YOU are, in fact, the one?

About the Author

Sophie Tanner writes fiction as well as working as a digital PR and content consultant. She lives in sunny Brighton with her bumptious Labrador, Ella, a more romp away from the beach. She loved spending time outdoors in nature and is also a bit of a culture vulture; lapping up the buzzing arts scene. Eternally studious, Sophie enjoys meeting people and having new experiences; she’ll try anything… at least once. Instagram: @thesologamist, website: http://www.imarriedme.co.uk

This novel has a strong personal story, as it was inspired by the author’s own sologamist wedding in 2015! For Sophie, realising that she didn’t need a soul mate in order to be truly happy was her biggest life lesson. She learnt that treating herself with self-compassion and realising that she was enough, just as she was, has made her infinitely happier!

What I Thought

This was a really fun read with an important and empowering message. Whilst I am not likely to commit to marrying myself in a big ceremony (the cost!!) I am definitely on board with the principles behind it – self-compassion and self-love.

The characters felt real and were well observed. I loved the Brighton setting. I also enjoy being a step ahead of the main character and did guess a few things before she worked them out. Just a word of warning always check out abbreviations on online dating sites!!!

As you can expect poor Chloe doesn’t get 100% support behind her venture and the online trolls are matched by some real life ones too. Media attention and a film crew bring additional complications.

As well as the fun there is some serious stuff too and the communication between Chloe and one blog reader was very emotive.

The character Muriel, the older lady Chloe befriends as part of a work’s community charitable engagement was one of my favourites.

This is written in first person and it’s very engaging. Chloe comes across as likeable and very sane in a world where single women are still seen as spinsters and crazy cat ladies.

This is a book fans of Holly Bourne’s Spinster Club series can move on to enjoy. I highly recommend it. It’s a feel good feminist read, with great social commentary on a number of issues.

Thanks to Alex from Orion for my gifted copy for the purposes of an honest review. Published by Trapeze today – 16/5/19.

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