The Little Shop of Found Things by Paula Brackston

Flora and Xanthe have pooled their resources to buy an old antique shop in Marlborough, in the south of England. Flora suffers with chronic pain from her arthritis and has to walk with sticks to get around, Xanthe is very aware of her suffering and wishes to ease her through it. Despite having just arrived and moved their boxes into the small space above the shop, Flora still wants to go to the next ‘sale’ at a nearby old hall and persuades Xanthe that this is just what they need.

While at the sale, Xanthe is drawn to an object in one of the glass cases used to display valuable items and is given the funds that Flora has kept safe for new purchases, in order to buy the item. Flora knows that when Xanthe wants an item, she just has to have it, so does not make a fuss about the amount that gets spent on the item.

It is when Xanthe gets the item home that the fun and games start! Particularly as there is a very interested party in the guise of a ghost, that wishes Xanthe to engage with the item and save their child from terrible circumstances. And Xanthe is thrust into the seventeenth century, where she has to learn new ways very quickly in order to survive and save both herself and the innocent girl. If she fails, her own mother Flora, is under threat of vengeance.

The descriptions of the transport between times is exceptionally good, giving a feel for the trauma experienced by Xanthe as she passed the centuries. And the shock on transition the first time, the realisation of the reality of the experience, evidenced by the changes in her clothing, is so well described.

I am sure that there will be a follow up to this book, if it is as well written as this one, it should be a fine piece of work as well. I look forward to reading it.

“Flora maintained that when her daughter was listening to a piece, she was visibly changed.”

I received an e-ARC of this novel through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. NetGalley does not allow for paid reviews.

4/5 Stars (What this means…five-stars-applied-carefully)

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The Little Shop of Found Things

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A new series about a young woman whose connection to antiques takes her on a magical adventure.
New York Times bestselling author of The Witch’s Daughter Paula Brackston returns to her trademark blend of magic and romance to launch a new series guaranteed to enchant her audience even more.
Xanthe and her mother Flora leave London behind for a fresh start, taking over an antique shop in the historic town of Marlborough. Xanthe has always had an affinity with some of the antiques she finds. When she touches them, she can sense something of the past they come from and the stories they hold. So when she has an intense connection to a beautiful silver chatelaine she has to know more.
It’s while she’s examining the chatelaine that she’s transported back to the seventeenth century. And shortly after, she’s confronted by a ghost who reveals that this is where the antique has its origins. The ghost tasks Xanthe with putting right the injustice in its story to save an innocent girl’s life, or else it’ll cost her Flora’s.
While Xanthe fights to save her amid the turbulent days of 1605, she meets architect Samuel Appleby. He may be the person who can help her succeed. He may also be the reason she can’t bring herself to leave.
With its rich historical detail, strong mother-daughter relationship, and picturesque English village, The Little Shop of Found Things is poised to be a strong start to this new series.

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Immortals’ Requiem by Vincent Bobbe

Cam (full name Camhlaidh Ó Gríobhtha) spends his time trying to get drunk, he’s not very good at it though because he’s an elf! And unfortunately he is NOT immortal which really ‘p’s’ him off. While Cam is spending his time in the bars and grubby alcohol dens, others are watching him. Mark Jones is one of them, with the intent of annihilating him once he has tracked Cam to others of his kind. Cú Roí is building his arming one life at a time in vast numbers. Cú Roí intends to destroy the worlds as everyone knows them and make one of his own in their place, with him as master of all.

I like that this merges fairy tales with the modern world, and that the harshness of reality is embedded into the telling. There is no running away in this story!

I took a long time reading this story, and as a result at times I lost track of who was who. For those who do the same, there is a Glossary of Characters at the back of the book. Alternatively don’t dawdle on the reading.

I enjoyed reading this story, but because of life getting in the way, I didn’t get to read it in a coherent whole which did spoil it somewhat for me (which is not the fault of the author), so it makes scoring it difficult. I kind of want to give it 3.5, but as it has to be one or the other, I will plump for a 4.

“They think I am the god of death. They beg you for deliverance. ‘There is none to be had here,’ the tattooed man said. ‘Get out of my head!’ ‘As you wish,’ the giant replied in the True Tongue.”

I received an e-ARC of this novel from the author in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not paid for this review.

4/5 Stars (What this means…five-stars-applied-carefully)

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Immortals’ Requiem: An Epic Grimdark Fantasy

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There are beings that live a shadow’s breadth from our reality…
They are the dreams and nightmares of humanity, the ancient seeds of fairy-tale and superstition. These are the Immortals, creatures of magic that should live forever… and they are fading.

When a horror two thousand years dead returns to contemporary England, creatures long thought lost to myth and legend collide in a scramble for survival that could tumble civilisation back into the dark ages of blood and death.

Immortals’ Requiem is a Tolkienesque grimdark fantasy based in both a modern day city and vast supernatural worlds. If you like the idea of a drunken elf with a shotgun, an ancient warrior with a chainsaw and a whole host of violent supernatural beings you’ll love this gritty Amazon Number 1 Bestseller.

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KILLER T by Robert Muchamore

A story that spans several years, as humanity declines, and follows the lives of Harry Smirnov and Charlie Croker. Harry’s mum was a journo who died when he was young, so his Aunt Kirsten Channing brought him up, moving to USA to start a new life of luxury. Charlie is from a dysfunctional family, her sister, Fawn, is someone who thinks only of herself, their brother, Ed, is dependent on Charlie to care for him, having been born with a disability (for which Charlie’s sister, Fawn, gets an allowance to care for him). You see Fawn didn’t care for him, Charlie did.
Circumstances make life difficult for both Harry and Charlie and they drift apart, and the world experiences a deterioration in life quality. Both do the best they can to get by, while those with money or scary modifications rip the world apart

Spanning a number of years, with the world deteriorating all the time, this story was almost predictive about the world to come. I really hope not, it makes for a scary future.

I received an e-ARC of this novel through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. NetGalley does not allow for paid reviews.

4/5 Stars (What this means…five-stars-applied-carefully)

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KILLER T: A near-future dystopian thriller from the bestselling author of CHERUB

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Our world is about to change in ways we can barely imagine. KILLER T is a novel about growing up in that world.

Harry and Charlie are teenagers whose lives are shaped by a society that’s shifting around them. He is a lonely Brit in his first term at a Las Vegas high school. She is an unlikely friend, who gets accused of mixing a batch of explosives that blew up a football player.

The two of them are drawn together at a time when gene editing technology is starting to explode. With a lab in the garage anyone can beat cancer, enhance their brain to pass exams, or tweak a few genes for that year-round tan and perfect beach body. But in the wrong hands, cheap gene editing is the most deadly weapon in history. Killer T is a synthetic virus with a ninety per-cent mortality rate, and the terrorists who created it want a billion dollars before they’ll release a vaccine.

Terrifying. Romantic. Huge in scope. A story for our times.

Robert’s books have sold over 12.5 million copies worldwide and have been translated into 24 languages

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Foundryside by Robert Jackson Bennett

A thief with uncanny abilities, a military captain, a thaumaturge, and a group of disenfranchised makers.

The story’s main character is Sancia, who has skills that make her very valuable to others and therefore she needs to hide them for her own safety. A small group of people do know she has skills, but don’t know the full extent of them. But then neither does Sancia really.

Gregor Dandolo is known as the revenant of Dantua, a captain of an army that was massacred following a seige. He has high level links to one of the houses, yet he becomes involved with Sancia.

Sancia’s ‘friends’, the makers of items with skills, make the things that perform ‘magical’ actions. They imbue things with ‘effects’ that can be applied when Sancia needs them. The effects are not necessary quite what was intended though! And Sancia can find herself with problems when they don’t quite do what she expects.

And then Sancia gets involved with others which means that she must work with those ‘friends’ and also others who she thought were her enemies to outwit some who would enslave the world to evil.

What a really engaging and original story, it is written in such a way that the story isn’t guessable and it keeps you engaged right to the end. And there is sadness in the end, but I won’t spoil it by going into details.

“Sancia pulled off her left glove, pressed her bare palm to the dark stones, shut her eyes, and used her talent. The wall spoke to her.”

I received an e-ARC of this novel through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. NetGalley does not allow for paid reviews.

4/5 Stars (What this means…five-stars-applied-carefully)

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Foundryside (The Founders)

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The exciting beginning of a promising new epic fantasy series. Prepare for ancient mysteries, innovative magic, and heart-pounding heists’ Brandon Sanderson, New York Times bestselling author of Oathbringer

She thought it was just another job. But her discovery could bring the city to its knees . . .

The city of Tevanne runs on scrivings, industrialised magical inscriptions that make inanimate objects sentient; they power everything, from walls to wheels to weapons. Scrivings have brought enormous progress and enormous wealth – but only to the four merchant Houses who control them. Everyone else is a servant or slave, or they eke a precarious living in the hellhole called the Commons.

There’s not much in the way of work for an escaped slave like Sancia Grado, but she has an unnatural talent that makes her one of the best thieves in the city. When she’s offered a lucrative job to steal an ancient artefact from a heavily guarded warehouse, Sancia agrees, dreaming of leaving the Commons – but instead, she finds herself the target of a murderous conspiracy. Someone powerful in Tevanne wants the artefact, and Sancia dead – and whoever it is already wields power beyond imagining.

Sancia will need every ally, and every ounce of wits at her disposal, if she is to survive – because if her enemy gets the artefact and unlocks its secrets, thousands will die, and, even worse, it will allow ancient evils back into the world and turn their city into a devastated battleground.

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The Psychology of Time Travel by Kate Mascarenhas

What a strange and engaging story. Time is so different when you know what is going to happen in the future. Time travellers meet up with their future selves and share knowledge. An organisation controls the law regarding time travel and time travellers, normal law doesn’t encapsulate those who exist across different time lines. This gives the opportunity for those who travel across timelines to conduct business outside normal legal boundaries. And the odd chance to deal with old adversaries. But who is the person who has been dealt with and who was it that dealt the telling stroke?
Odette wants to find out. She found the body and she wants to find out who did it. But how can she? And Ruby wants to ensure that her Grandmother Bee knows that she loves her and lives a lovely long life. But has Bee just been sent a message signalling her death? Ruby needs to know and intends to find out.
I enjoyed reading this story based across multi time lines and characters. There was nothing that I found off putting and it was fun to read. I don’t know if there is any way that a sequel could be produced, but if there was I would be very interested to read it.

““What melodrama! I think it’s a memento mori.” “A what?” “Dear me Ruby. Fancy a woman of your education not knowing that. A memento mori is a symbol, to remind you life is transient. We all need a spur to action now and then.””

I received an e-ARC of this novel through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. NetGalley does not allow for paid reviews.

4/5 Stars (What this means…five-stars-applied-carefully)

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The Psychology of Time Travel

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A time-travel murder mystery from a brilliantly original new voice. Perfect for readers of Naomi Alderman’s The Power and Emily St John Mandel’s Station Eleven.
1967: Four female scientists invent a time-travel machine. They are on the cusp of fame: the pioneers who opened the world to new possibilities. But then one of them suffers a breakdown and puts the whole project in peril…
2017: Ruby knows her beloved Granny Bee was a pioneer, but they never talk about the past. Though time travel is now big business, Bee has never been part of it. Then they receive a message from the future – a newspaper clipping reporting the mysterious death of an elderly lady…
2018: When Odette discovered the body she went into shock. Blood everywhere, bullet wounds, flesh. But when the inquest fails to answer any of her questions, Odette is frustrated. Who is this dead woman that haunts her dreams? And why is everyone determined to cover up her murder?

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Believe Me by JP Delaney

This book made me anti-social! I wanted to know what was happening in that place where the story was, so I ignored the real world and dived in, leaving behind all those who would engage me in conversation. This means that I also read it very quickly and finished it within a day of starting. There seems no point in telling you what the book is about, it is in the description and to expand on that would be to spoil the whole suspense of the tale for you when you read it yourself.
It is extremely well written in a first person format. Claire is reciting her words and thoughts for the reader, giving an insight into the world of an actress employed by the NYPD. There are also stage/script notes to provide clear direction for the reader, they do not intrude!
It is possible to guess what is going to happen, but again, the guess is wrong anyway. I thought I had an idea of what was going to happen at the end, I was kind of right, but not really! It is a good twister of an ending.
I liked Delaney’s writing style, but then I picked this book to read because I had previously read “The Girl Before” and really enjoyed that also. I am happy to recommend this book, it will most likely appeal to people who like crime, thrillers, crime thrillers and readers who like a bit of a twist to feature all through a story.

“If he’s the killer, he’ll be drawn to her vulnerability, the way a shark’s drawn to the scent of blood.”

I received an e-ARC of this novel through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. NetGalley does not allow for paid reviews.

4/5 Stars (What this means…five-stars-applied-carefully)

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Believe Me

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The sensational new psychological thriller from the internationally bestselling author of The Girl Before
Trust me. Love me. Just don’t believe me…
Claire Wright likes to play other people.
A British drama student, in New York without a green card, Claire takes the only job she can get: working for a firm of divorce lawyers, posing as an easy pick-up in hotel bars to entrap straying husbands.
When one of her targets becomes the subject of a murder investigation, the police ask Claire to use her acting skills to help lure their suspect into a confession. But right from the start, she has doubts about the part she’s being asked to play. Is Patrick Fogler really a killer . . . Or the only decent husband she’s ever met? And is there more to this set-up than she’s being told?
And that’s when Claire realises she’s playing the deadliest role of her life . . .

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A Murder of Crows by Ian Skewis

I wouldn’t say that this is an appealing book, more an engaging one. The story centres on a group of people who hail from Hobbs Brae originally, some still remain, some are returners. And someone is killing them.
Jack Russell is the DCI who needs to solve the case before anyone else comes to harm. His colleague Colin Clements needs to learn to be less impatient for dead man’s shoes!
Jerome regrets the way he brought up his son Scott, and misses his deceased wife, as he struggles to run his farm.
Alice is struggling with fugues and forgetfulness brought on by her dementia. She doesn’t know that her son Alistair has gone missing, presumed dead.
Matthew White has his own secrets and is determined to come out on top, being a successful business man, he has no intention of failing.
And others in the village have their own agendas, good, bad and indifferent.
I enjoyed this book, but I don’t feel like it is finished, maybe the next book needs to be read straight after, to give that satisfied reader feeling!

“‘Have you had a good holiday?’ she asked him. ‘The best,’ he replied. ‘I don’t want it to end.’ ‘Nothing ever ends, not really,’ she explained. ‘Everything is a prelude, a prologue, to something else.’”

I received an e-ARC of this novel through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. NetGalley does not allow for paid reviews.

3/5 Stars (What this means…five-stars-applied-carefully)

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A Murder of Crows

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The most violent thunderstorm in living memory occurs above a sleepy village on the West Coast of Scotland.

A young couple take shelter in the woods, never to be seen again…

DCI Jack Russell is brought in to investigate. Nearing retirement, he agrees to undertake one last case, which he believes can be solved as a matter of routine.

But what Jack discovers in the forest leads him to the conclusion that he is following in the footsteps of a psychopath who is just getting started. Jack is flung headlong into a race against time to prevent the evolution of a serial killer…

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The Denounced by SJ Sherwood

Ned Hunter is to be hanged, he is Denounced and therefore cannot be allowed to live. But things go awry and he finds himself bundled up and moved to a different location where he undergoes training as a leader of 5 others. It is a harsh environment and survival is not guaranteed, as they learn on the first night when one of the other pods is punished for trying to escape.

Determined not to suffer the same fate as the other pod, Ned needs to form his own bonded pod that can win their place at the top of the leader board in order to survive. And then what? No-one knows, but those who are training them. And what is their goal?

Ned needs his wits about him and cannot afford to relax for a moment. Everyone has it in for him.

A fast paced story, full of twists and tricks. Compulsive reading due to its different approach. I enjoyed it as a book aimed at Young Adults.

“I’m wondering if being dead may have been my better option. I’ve no idea where I am and what is going to be expected of me, but if I understand this correctly, I’m now responsible for five other people.”

I received an e-ARC of this novel in exchange for a fair and honest review.

3/5 Stars (What this means…five-stars-applied-carefully)

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The Denounced: Book 1 A Grey Sun

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A convicted Denounced. Sentenced to Death. In a future divided into Secular and Non-Secular Quadrants, a crime punishable by death is to cross Quadrants and become a Denounced. When sixteen-year-old Ned is wrongly convicted and kidnapped to a secret location, he meets ninety Denounced, and a terrifying truth begins to unfold — one that will change the world forever. Forced to lead a Pod of five, Ned begins to realise thousands of lives could depend upon him. A survivor by nature, he now has to face his past, confront his destiny, and fight a System that has never lost.

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End State (The Stefan Mendoza Trilogy Book 3) by P R Adams

Stefan is ‘retired’, at least he likes to think so, but readers all know that that is never the case in stories!
Stefan is recruited for a job, but wants to use his own team, to do that he needs to locate and recruit them. Not an easy job, he hasn’t been in touch for a while and doesn’t know where any of them are! And he doesn’t really know what his new employers actually want him to do.
After tracking his team, Stefan needs to persuade them to come on board with him. The money stakes are enormous and this should be their final hurrah before each of them retires. Can Stefan persuade his new employers to stump up the huge pay-out for the team?
PR Adams writes a really good story. This is the final one in the three part cyberpunk series. You definitely want to read all three, starting with ‘Into Twilight (The Stefan Mendoza Trilogy Book 1)‘, then through ‘Gone Dark (The Stefan Mendoza Trilogy Book 2)‘ and then this book ‘End State (The Stefan Mendoza Trilogy Book 3)‘.

““Twelve million, and a quarter million per egghead after Marshall. And I want fifty thousand now. This mess has cost me a lot more than it should have.””

I received an e-ARC of this novel in exchange for a fair and honest review.

4/5 Stars (What this means…five-stars-applied-carefully)

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End State (The Stefan Mendoza Trilogy Book 3)

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In espionage, there are only two types of agents: active and dead.

Stefan Mendoza tried to walk away from the business, but the Agency wouldn’t let him. The Metacorporate Initiative has changed the world, and his bitter enemy has thrown in with one of the biggest of the new corporate powers. The race to rebuild the recently destroyed AI has put a premium on elite software architects.

If Mendoza can wrangle the most coveted architect team, he’ll make enough to disappear forever. But can he allow someone to recreate the AI that wants him dead?

Pick up End State (The Stefan Mendoza Trilogy Book 3) to see the thrilling conclusion to this cyberpunk trilogy!

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Bone Realm by D N Erikson

Ruby has inherited her father’s business and her first customer turns out to be the one person that her father said that she must not do business with. She offers her services anyway and as a consequence her life is set on a path of death, magic and immortality. What will she end up with?
This is a short novella to introduce Ruby before she appears in Lightning Blade and it isn’t required reading, but it is really good to read this if you want to know all the details of who, how and why about Ruby. I certainly recommend it, if you can lay your hands on it.
The author actually suggests the following order for reading the Ruby Callaway books, in the frontispiece:
• Bone Realm
• Lightning Blade (Book 1)
• “Silver Tempest” Shadow Flare (Book 2)
• “Kentucky Clear” Blood River (Book 3)
• Going Home

I received an e-ARC of this novel in exchange for a fair and honest review.

3/5 Stars (What this means…five-stars-applied-carefully)
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Kindle Paperwhite E-reader, 6″ High-Resolution Display (300 ppi) with Built-in Light, Wi-Fi (Black) – Includes Special Offers

Official description:
When a gravely wounded half-demon stumbles into Ruby Callaway’s print shop seeking medical assistance for a werewolf bite, Ruby quickly finds herself assuming an unfamiliar mantle: werewolf huntress. But killing a 1,300 year-old alpha werewolf as the full moon approaches might be the least of her problems… Bone Realm is a standalone prequel novella to the upcoming Ruby Callaway urban fantasy series.

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