Category Archives: Reviews

May Day (Seekers Book 1) by Josie Jaffrey – BBNYA Winner – The WriteReads Ultimate Blog Tour – Book Review

I received this book to read and review as part of the 2021 BBNYA competition and the BBNYA tours organised by the TWR Tour team. All opinions are my own, unbiased and honest.

BBNYA is a yearly competition where Book Bloggers from all over the world read and score books written by indie authors. If you are an author and wish to learn more about the BBNYA competition, you can visit the official website http://www.bbnya.com or twitter @bbnya_official.

The sign-ups are now open for BBNYA 2022 for authors and panelists. Click here to enter:

https://www.bbnya.com/how-to-enter/author-sign-up

https://www.bbnya.com/how-to-enter/panellist-sign-up

About the Book

If the murderer you’re tracking is a vampire, then you want a vampire detective. Just maybe not this one.

It’s not that Jack Valentine is bad at her job. The youngest member of Oxford’s Seekers has an impressive track record, but she also has an impressive grudge against the local baron, Killian Drake.

When a human turns up dead on May Morning, she’s determined to pin the murder on Drake. The problem is that none of the evidence points to him. Instead, it leads Jack into a web of conspiracy involving the most powerful people in the country, people to whom Jack has no access. But she knows someone who does.

To get to the truth, Jack will have to partner up with her worst enemy. As long as she can keep her cool, Drake will point her to the ringleaders, she’ll find the murderer and no one else will have to die.

Body bags on standby.

May Day is the first book in Josie Jaffrey’s Seekers series, an urban fantasy series set in Oxford, England.

About the Author

Josie is the author of multiple novels and short stories. Most of those are set in the Silverse, a pre- and post-apocalyptic world filled with vampires and zombies.

She is currently working on a range of fantasy and historical fiction projects (both adult and YA). Ultimately, she hopes to be a hybrid author, both traditionally- and self-published.

After finishing her degree in Literae Humaniores (Classics) at the University of Oxford, Josie wasn’t sure what to do with her life.

She slogged through a brief stint working for an investment bank in London during the 2008 credit crunch, then converted to law and qualified as a solicitor specialising in intellectual property. She worked at a law firm for five years before moving to a UK-based international publisher in 2016. Whilst she loved law, in the end she didn’t love it quite as much as writing, which she now does almost full time.

Josie lives in Oxford with her husband and two cats (Sparky and Gussie), who graciously permit human cohabitation in return for regular feeding and cuddles. The resulting cat fluff makes it difficult for Josie to wear black, which is largely why she gave up being a goth. Although the cats are definitely worth it, she still misses her old wardrobe.

What I Thought

This is the first Josie Jaffrey book I have read, and it won’t be my last. Oddly enough crime is one of the genres I gravitate toward the least which is odd because I do usually enjoy them when I read them, and this was no different.

To be fair add vampires into a book and you’ll probably have me reading a book about football! It’s also refreshing to see a good urban fantasy set in the U.K. – namely in Oxford.

The story starts with a pretty literal bang as a body plummets to the ground, and there is plenty of evidence to suggest he didn’t jump of his own accord and that Silvers ‘Jaffrey’s name for Vampires’ are involved.

The characters that inhabit the world were fully realised and spoke in the type of snarky, witty banter I enjoy. Just look at how Jack’s existing enemy and initial Prime Suspect and is first described to us:

“KILLIAN DRAKE IS an unmitigated bastard. He’s rich and powerful, which is a bad place for any man to start, but he’s also arrogant and elitist, which makes him a particularly wanky breed of wanker.”

This gives you both a sense of Killian’s character but also Jack’s. The writing was pacy and engaging and Jack slots nicely into the ‘detectives with unresolved pain driving them’ category.

The book reminded me of Sarah J Maas Crescent City crossed with the tv shows Moonlight and True Blood. I saw another reviewer mention Veronica Mars and that vibe fits too so if you like any of the above then do pick this series or this author up. Like I said at the beginning I will be looking to read the rest of this series – book 2 Judgement Day is already out too – and will peruse her back catalogue too.

Do check out some of the Goodreads reviews for content warnings – of which there are a few – as is common in both urban fantasy and crime.

I haven’t read the other books in the running for the prize but I can definitely see why this one won.

Check out the reviewers sharing what they thought about Book 2 on the tour too.

The KC Warlock Weekly: Accused by M.N. Jolley – Blog Tour Book Spotlight

Today I’m hosting a spotlight for one of the entrants in the BBNYA competition. I knew I wouldn’t have time to read this one yet but I love the sound of it and wanted to share – The KC Warlock Weekly: Accused throws an Autistic character into a world of magic, journalism and murder and it seems like he is being set up. What else could go wrong.

Goodreads Link

About the Book

My name is Levi. I’m a journalist, I’m autistic, I’m bad at magic, and I swear I didn’t kill her.

Research for the paper usually falls into a few basic patterns. Someone in the city says there’s a troll under Buck O’Neil Bridge, or they’ll call just so a friendly ear will listen to them complain about a pixie infestation.

That sort of content carries me through slow news weeks. It’s rare that I uncover a murder.

Being framed for murder, though? That’s a first.

With the Wizard’s Council hunting me for a crime I didn’t commit, I’ve got no choice but to solve the murder and clear my name. If I don’t unravel this case, nobody will, and I’ll go down for it so hard I might never see the light of day again

About the Author

M N Jolley is a creative professional born and raised in Kansas City, where he still lives. Working with a background in film and cinematography, he began writing seriously in 2016 and has recently completed “The Stone Warrior”, the first book in “The Sacrosanct Records”.

About BBNYA

BBNYA is a yearly competition where Book Bloggers from all over the world read and score books written by indie authors. If you are an author and wish to learn more about the BBNYA competition, you can visit the official website http://www.bbnya.com or twitter @bbnya_official.

The sign-ups will soon be open for the 2022 BBNYA competition, be it for authors to enter their books, or for bloggers wanting to be part of the new panel, so keep your eyes peeled!!

Do follow along with this tour to see what other bloggers thought about this book and the others that are up. @BBNYA_Official #BBNYA2021#TheWriteReads @The_WriteReads @WriteReadsTours #blogtour #BBNYA2021 #TheKCWarlockWeekly @MNJolleyWriting

The Kaiju Preservation Society by John Scalzi – Blog Tour Book Review

A picture of a plushie character of Disney’s Stitch (covered in dog hair) holding a blue Advanced Reading copy of the book The Kaiju Preservation Society by John Scalzi. The book cover has three red slashes - like claw marks- over a picture of a Godzilla like creature.

Jurassic Park was one of the first films I really properly remember seeing in the cinema. Probably because we sat on the front row. I also really enjoyed reading Redshirts, John Scalzi’s homage to Star Trek so when Black Crow PR reached out about receiving an ARC of his new release The Kaiju Preservation Society I bit their arm off! Thanks Jamie and Stephen and Tor for the gifted copy.

Book promo with - The most entertaining, accessible writer working in SF today - quote by Joe Hill.

About the Book

The Kaiju Preservation Society is a thrilling standalone adventure from bestselling author John Scalzi. With bucket loads of Scalzi traits – pacing, humour and tension – this is a light, uplifting escapist story in a Jurassic Park-like alternate world, perfect for fans of Adrian Tchaikovsky, Charles Stross, and epic monster movies.

In New York City, Jamie Gray is a driver for food delivery apps. That is, until Jamie makes a delivery to an old acquaintance, Tom, who works at what he calls ‘an animal rights organization’. Tom’s team needs a last-minute grunt to handle things on their next field visit. Jamie, eager to do anything, immediately signs on.

What Tom doesn’t tell Jamie is that the animals his team cares for are not here on Earth. Not our Earth, at least. In an alternate dimension, massive dinosaur- like creatures named Kaiju roam a warm and human-free world. They’re the universe’s largest and most dangerous animal and they’re in trouble. It’s not just the Kaiju Preservation Society whose found their way to the alternate world. Others have, too. And their carelessness could cause millions back on our Earth to die.

“Scalzi’s latest is a wildly inventive take on the kaiju theme”

―Booklist, starred review

“Equally lighthearted and grounded―and sure to delight.”

―Publishers Weekly, starred review

About the Author

John Scalzi is one of the most popular and acclaimed SF authors to emerge in the last decade. His debut, Old Man’s War, won him science fiction’s John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer. His New York Times bestsellers include The Last Colony, Fuzzy Nation, The End of All Things and Redshirts, which won 2013’s Hugo Award for Best Novel. Material from his widely read blog Whatever has also earned him two other Hugo Awards. He lives in Ohio with his wife and daughter. Follow him on Twitter @scalzi

What I Thought

In the author note at the end of the book I admired how open John was with us about the challenges he faced in writing in a pandemic – particularly as it sounds like he may have also being experiencing Long Covid at points.

He scrapped the idea he was working on and was supported in a deliverator delay (read the book – you’ll get the reference). And, KPS was the outcome of being allowed to put aside one project and being allowed to follow it with this soul cleanser. Something written for pure joy. A “pop song” amidst the “brooding symphonies” as he calls it.

I really enjoyed it. Fun, pacy, easy to read. Full of characters you want to root for and not see ripped limb to limb. COVID-19 does get a mention early on but then we get to go to a whole new world full of Godzilla type nuclear reactor ecosystems who are called things like Edward and Bella and who need help from the humans to ‘get it on’.

Despite the fun there is serious discussions to be had – if you want them. But you can also just simply read this for pure enjoyment – and isn’t that what we need right now. COVID-19 has been a terrible thing but the rays of light that have shone from the darkness are worth holding onto and this will be one of mine.

Book cover Promo pic with An escapist delight quote by The Times.

Main character Jamie has a serendipitous encounter that leads him on another adventure. Not one he thought he’d be on but one he is eminently suited to. Isn’t life funny that way?

Full of lots of pop, poop and Hamilton references it is very much a book for the now – although soon, the now will be history, and I think this will stand up for future sci-fi readers. It does also include a fair bit of science – so one for the biology, physics and chemistry nerds too – and there is power in being the one who lifts things – look at Luisa in Encanto and everyone who has kept society going through the pandemic.

And if that wasn’t all excellent enough then Wil Wheaton narrates the audiobook – so I’m going to get that for when I’m ready for a re-read.

Ps. He needs a part in the movie adaptation please.

Do check out the rest of the tour which you can follow along with on Twitter and Instagram and using #KaijuPreservationSociety. Opinions and geeking out are all mine.

Twitter

@scalzi @UKTor @BlackCrow_PR #KaijuPreservationSociety

Instagram

@Panmacmillan @jscalzi @BlackCrow_PR

Blog Tour poster with names and dates.
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