About the Book
Mia might look like a Millenial but she was born yesterday. Emerging from a coma with a head wound and amnesia, she can’t remember her name until the Siri assistant on her iPhone provides it. Based on her cool hairstyle (undercut with glamorous waves), dress (Prada), and signature lipstick (Chanel), Mia senses she’s wealthy – but the only way to know is to retrace her steps. Using Instagram and Uber, she arrives at the pink duplex she calls home in her posts, but Max – an off duty postdoc supplementing his income with a housesitting gig – tells her the house belongs to a French billionaire. Mia can’t argue; there’s no evidence that she’s ever been there before.
As she works backward through her Instagram and across Los Angeles, she discovers a trail of disasters that led to the night of her accident – which might not have been an accident after all. Without ID, family or friends, Mia enlists Max to help her right the wrongs of her recent past. But can she do that if she doesn’t understand the truth behind her own lies?
About the Author
Sam Tschida (pronounced “cheetah”) is from the wilds of Minnesota, where she lives with a motley crew of kids, dogs, and one handsome man. She is cofounder of Manufixed, an editorial consulting company and a writing workshop that serves the Twin Cities. In her spare time she spends 20 minutes a day with her favourite YouTube exercise guru and watches Netflix.
What I Thought
Siri, Who am I? by Sam Tschida is a modern mash up of mystery and romance with a dash of social commentary, and it was a lot of fun. Protagonist Mia wakes from a coma with amnesia and has to piece together her life from her cracked mobile phone. She remembers modern pop culture references but not who she is, not unusual in trauma. She soon discovers that the glossy filtered snaps from her Instagram may not display the truth and by the end she has a choice to make: between making her photos her reality, accepting the truth, or wiping the social media slate clear and starting again. Which will she choose?
It’s interesting reading other reviews and in particular the ones that stand out as not liking Mia therefore not enjoying the book. This idea that female characters have to be likeable to make a story enjoyable grates me and I enjoyed Mia’s personality rehabilitation. Is she perfect at any point during the story? No. Are any of us? Again. No. But does she develop over the course of the story. Yes.
One of the film references the character makes is to the Goldie Hawn/Kurt Russell classic Overboard (I love this film) and I think that is an excellent comparison. This is #Overboard for Millennials. This has been optioned for film by a major Hollywood studio see my dream casting below.
If you’ve read the book, what do you think of my casting? Who would be ok your dream cast?
Thank you to Stephen and Quirk for the gifted copy for the purposes of an honest review and do check out all the posts on #bookstagram using the #siriwhoami
The Broken Raven is the second book in the Shadow Skye trilogy, which started with The Good Hawk (a Carnegie medal nominee). I haven’t had a chance to review book one yet so I am going to review the series so far. Please be advised this blog post contains some spoilers for book one.
The Good Hawk Synopsis
Agatha patrols the sea wall with pride, despite those in her clan who question her right to be there, because of the condition she was born with.
Jamie is a reluctant Angler, full of self-doubt and afraid of the sea.
When disaster strikes, the pair must embark on a terrifying journey to a land where forgotten magic and dark secrets lurk in every shadow…
The Broken Raven Synopsis
Agatha and Jamie have rescued their clan and returned home to Skye as heroes. But when Agatha uncovers a threat to their people, she unwittingly releases a terrible power that could kill every living thing on the island. Jamie must race to Scotia to hunt an ancient blood magic, which may be their only chance of survival.
Meanwhile, Sigrid, a Norwegian girl with an unusual gift, journeys to the court of Ingland where a dangerous alliance is forming – one that will soon turn its vengeful eyes to Skye, Sigrid will have to risk everything if she and the people of Skye are to survive the gathering shadows…
About the Author
Joseph Elliott is a writer and actor, well-known for his work in children’s television including CBeebies series “Swashbuckle”. His commitment to serving children with special education needs was instilled at a young age: his mother is a teacher trained in special needs education, and his parents provided respite foster care for children with additional needs. He has worked at a recreational centre for children with learning disabilities and as a teaching assistant at Westminster Special Schhols. The heroine of his debut series, the Shadow Skye trilogy, was inspired by the many incredible children he has worked with, especially those with Down’s syndrome. The Good Hawk has been nominated for the Carnegie Medal, on the IBBY 2022 outstanding books for children and young people with disabilities list and is long listed for the Highland Book Prize.
What I Thought
These books are set in a mythical version of Scotland with Vikingesque threats from “Norway” as well as the threat of Plague from “England” – uh hello 2020!! Oh and shadow creatures (which reminded me a little of the Grisha series).
The Good Hawk and the Broken Raven of the titles are not actually referring to animals although animals do play an important role in the series – and if you don’t want a pet vole or to ride on a a Highland Cow after reading these books I just don’t know who you are!
Agatha and Jamie live on Skye, in an almost commune like setting. Roles are allocated for each person when they reach a certain age, and many things are regulated. You do not cry, you do not marry, you don’t know who your parents are, you know your place. But despite this it doesn’t seem an unfriendly place – if you fit with the status quo that is.
Agatha presents similarly to those who have Down’s syndrome though of course that terminology is never used. I love that we get her voice front and centre in the story. She is the Hawk of the story title, a Hawk is a look out, an important role in protecting the clan, until she isn’t anymore. Agatha also has another thing she is good at, but one that she is urged to keep secret. But that will become very important to their survival.
Jamie has the weight of the world on his shoulders and it tells. An anxious sort he has been allocated two roles that are not right for him but he bears them as he has been taught to. He is drawn to things he shouldn’t be – the wrong job, the wrong person… The bird that represents him is a Heron.
Sigrid, our Raven, joins them as a point of view character in book two and boy does her voice just leap from the page. She has such a fun dialect. She also has a superb memory – am I jealous – yes!
I think it’s worth mentioning that The Good Hawk does also introduce another point of view character. Initially this character is a mystery and it was a little jarring but it does pay off so stick with it – just store your questions up and they do get answered.
And one of my favourite characters isn’t a POV character so I won’t name them but I wonder if you can guess who it is.
In book one Agatha and Jamie work very much together but book two sees all three point of view characters take on their own journey. Although it was good to see them each take the spotlight I hope book three pulls them all back together again – I also hope we don’t have to wait too long for it to come out.
Despite the youth of the characters the plot is quite grisly in places and I think Joseph Elliott has taken a leaf out of George R R Martin’s book. Expect the unexpected. There is very real and present danger creating a tense atmosphere.
This series is fresh and it shows what originality diversity can bring. We have disability, mental health and LGBTQ+ representation and I love how the different clans and people see and deal with these things in a variety of ways. Glimpses of how things could be if difference was respected.
The characters are definitely the driving force in this series but the plot does make you whip through at pace, I definitely felt my heart pounding a few times wanting to know what happened next. I definitely recommend this series and I also look forward to hearing more form this author in future.
Finally can we give a shout out to Levente Szabo and Violet Tobacco for the stunning cover illustrations.
Do check out the rest of the stops on the tour. Thanks to Rebecca at Walker for the gifted copy of The Broken Raven and to Book Box Club for introducing me to book one. Book three is already on my TBR and I’m guessing that maybe we get a Heron in the title!
Have I got not one, but two, treats in store for you today. Reviews of the prequel novella and book one of the Blood Web Chronicles: a scintillating new paranormal series. Currently available on kindle with paperback and audio versions on the way.
About the Author(s)
Caedis Knight is the pen name of established fantasy authors Jacqueline Silvester and N J Simmonds. In 2019 they teamed up to write their first paranormal romance series BLOOD WEB CHRONICLES and never looked back. The first book in the series was released 15 Oct 2020.
About the Blood Web Chronicles
Dive into a fantasy world hidden among our own – a dark world full of vampires, witches, werewolves, fae, shifters, ghosts and mermaids. Co-authored by two established fantasy authors, Jacqueline Silvester and N J Simmonds, the Blood Web Chronicles series is perfect for fans of Crescent City, True Blood and Veronica Mars.
Saskia de la Cruz is a Verity Witch – her only magic being that she can tell the truth from a lie. As an investigative reporter for The Blood Web Chronicle, the biggest news outlet on the paranormal dark Blood Web, Saskia spends her days cracking twisted para cases hoping that someday, some case, will bring her closer to finding her missing sister. Each book centers on a different European city, and a different paranormal crime, and are supported by a prequel novella set in LA and a Christmas special in Lapland.
With vibrant characters, page-turning suspense and steamy romance, this new series has been dubbed by early readers as “a fun crime-solving sexual adventure across Europe.” The series is classified as 18+ due to adult content. Book 1 in the series, ‘Vampires in Moscow’ (along with the prequel novella ‘Sirens of Los Angeles’) is available from 15th October 2020.
About Sirens of Los Angeles
Find out how Saskia de la Cruz became a reporter for paranormal newspaper The Blood Web Chronicle in this delicious prequel novella.
Saskia is a Verity Witch – her only magic being that she can tell the truth from a lie.
When she sets off for the glitzy shores of Malibu to spend spring break with her sister Mikayla, her one goal is to forget her university worries and issues with outdated witch hierarchies, and drown them in surfer six-packs and tequila cocktails.
But when local influencers and male models start washing up ashore, drained of their youth, Saskia knows something wicked dwells in the deep. Which is perfectly fine because she plans on staying the hell away from the water! That is until her powerful, siren-obsessed sister disappears, and the search leads Saskia deeper than she ever thought possible.
Accompanied by beautiful but suspicious surfers Eden and Zee, Saskia will have to travel for her answers to the home of Hollywood’s vainest residents – the ocean floor.
With vibrant characters, page-turning suspense and steamy romance, this new series has been described by internationally renown author, Anna Day, as “Addictive, sexy and wickedly funny.”
About Vampires of Moscow
Saskia de la Cruz is a Verity Witch – her only magic being that she can tell the truth from a lie.
As an investigative reporter for The Blood Web Chronicle, the biggest news outlet on the paranormal dark Blood Web, Saskia spends her days cracking twisted para cases hoping that someday, some case, will bring her closer to finding her missing sister.
In snowy Moscow drained corpses of illegal workers have begun to turn up, with hundreds more reported missing. When Saskia is sent on assignment to investigate an oligarch Vampire crime ring that might be behind the deaths, she plans to get in out of the city’s frozen grasp quickly…preferably with her neck intact.
But beautiful ballet dancer Konstantin Volkov and his wildcard brother Lukka complicate things. The vampire brothers have their own reasons for solving the string of murders, reasons that conflict with Saskia’s mission. Soon, Saskia finds herself enmeshed in the city’s glittering web of crime, passion, and violence, where truths and lies are one and the same.
With vibrant characters, page-turning suspense and steamy romance, this new series has been dubbed by early readers as “a fun crime-solving sexual adventure across Europe.”
What I Thought
Sirens of Los Angeles
This prequel novella starts with a bang. It’s steamy and sassy but also really explores the relationship between Saskia and her mysterious sister Mikayla. Sometimes novellas feel a bit like extra padding but this is a complete story in its own right and I’d highly recommend reading it before you get stuck in with the vampires.
The story was funny, hella sexy and very pacy. It shows that paranormals are not to be messed with but despite being a ‘lowly’ Verity witch it turns out being able to tell truth from lies and speak multiple languages is actually pretty useful.
Saskia is a modern woman and I love her air of confidence despite her inner turmoil at being ‘not as good’ as her sister. She is confident in her sexuality and sexual prowess but just a word of warning if you blush easily maybe don’t read this in public. She’s also super smart and resourceful so even when things look trike there’s no way out Saskia comes up with a plan. It may not be a good one but it’s much better than being passive.
We are left with a huge unanswered question that is set to be the driver of the whole series. The Blood Web Chronicles only gets introduced at the end but leaves the reader desperate for more, of both the mystery and Saskia’s need job, so it’s very lucky that book one is ready and waiting to bite.
Vampires of Moscow
This book starts some time after Sirens and Saskia is already deep into the Blood Web and causing mayhem. Looks like she has had a number of ‘final warnings’ and this assignment in Moscow is not one she can refuse.
This woman is not afraid to put herself in harm’s way to get her story and it’s great being in her head as we get immersed into the city.
Once again this is a fast paced read and we waste little time in meeting the vampire brothers. Thankfully. I have struggled with reading this year but these stories I whipped through. Not going to lie some of my first fictional crushes were vampires so I am super here for this.
Love the pop culture references littered throughout which makes the story feel modern but with some added nostalgia, I particularly liked the Paul Rudd mention.
Brothers Lukka and Konstantin strike that great mix of evil brooding bad boys with a secret side and they soon take advantage of Saskia’s skills!
But is it a case of bad boy(s) turn good or simply bad boy(s) that you should keep well away from your mother. Considering who Saskia’s mother is though that question is a little misleading. Needless to say that she is unlikely to approve of Saskia’s connections.
A story with grit, in a murky paranormal underworld, and plucky determination from Saskia. I love that the backdrop for each will take us to a different locale and that she has that key driver for moving forward. Mikayla is there in the background. The research and theming makes us feel like we are investigating alongside Saskia and I wouldn’t say no to a future Blood Web Chronicles themed road trip post pandemic. Rachel, Elizabeth – are you in?
If you love crime, complex families, urban fantasy and paranormal romance then this series is the perfect combo and I can’t wait to see who, or what we meet next. Will they meet Santa at Lapland, is he is a fae?
Treat yourself to you some bloody vampires and seductive Sirens. This series is the authors’ gift to us for us having to do 2020.
I am part of the Verity Knights street team for the series and I did receive gifted copies of the books in exchange for an honest review but I’d already pre-ordered them and wish I could do a series link pre-order. Check out the rest of the stops on the blog tour to see what everyone else thought.