Skyward by Brandon Sanderson

This book really grabbed me. Books can take a long time to read because you just cannot get into them, or, like this one, go so quick that you wonder why the story was so short (even when it wasn’t).

Spensa lives underground with the rest of the humans safe from Krell attacks. Her father is a pilot defending the humans against Krell incursion, until he dies during the Alta battle. To Spensa her father is a hero, but the official story is that he was a coward, deserter, and she is his daughter, therefore she too is a coward, not to be trusted.

Spensa lives her life more as an outcast, catching rats for her mother to sell at her food stall. Travelling through the caverns where no one else goes. Her only friend is Rodge who she tests on his responses for the test to get into flight school, who has the callsign: Rigmarole. They will both get into flight school together surely.

The thing that disappointed me the most was when Doomslug stopped appearing in the story! Other than that, what a great adventure.

“Is it all lies, then?” I asked. “The talk of equality and of only skill mattering? Of finding your right place and serving there?” “It’s complicated,”

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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Skyward: The Brand New Series

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Spensa’s world has been under attack for hundreds of years. An alien race called the Krell leads onslaught after onslaught from the sky in a never-ending campaign to destroy humankind. Humanity’s only defense is to take to their ships and fight the enemy in the skies. Pilots have become the heroes of what’s left of the human race.

Spensa has always dreamed of being one of them; of soaring above Earth and proving her bravery. But her fate is intertwined with her father’s – a pilot who was killed years ago when he abruptly deserted his team, placing Spensa’s chances of attending flight school somewhere between slim and none.

No one will let Spensa forget what her father did, but she is still determined to fly. And the Krell just made that a possibility. They’ve doubled their fleet, making Spensa’s world twice as dangerous . . . but their desperation to survive might just take her skyward . . .

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Bone Lines by Stephanie Bretherton

This is definitely a book of two parts, one set in the present day and one set very firmly in pre-historical times. The link between the two is a set of bones, those of the historical character, being examined by the modern character.

Dr Eloise Kluft has managed to acquire the right to conduct research on the bones and DNA of the remains. There is ongoing competition for access to the bones and also opposition for all the work that is being done on genes in general. I kept getting the impression that something was going to happen, but as I don’t want to put any spoiler into my review, I won’t give any more information on that.

There were areas where the modern character droned on a bit, I got used to it after a while and did manage to read my way through it all. My favourite bits were where the historical character is front and centre, thinking through her options and ensuring the survival of herself and her child. She is not afraid to take life by the scruff of the neck and wring it out, if it means that they will eat, be safe, move on.

Overall, I enjoyed reading this book and I would like to see how the story of Eloise continues, more so on the exploration of the environment that the bones were discovered in, than her personal life though.

“the charred purse containing a life-giving growth, the powder from a magical fungus that forms on certain trees in the shape of a stag’s foot. It takes so long to light but, by the grace of some unknowable spirit, it will hold its smouldering over the course of a day.”

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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Bone Lines

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A young woman walks alone through a barren landscape in a time before history, a time of cataclysmic natural change. She is cold, hungry and with child but not without hope or resources. A skilful hunter, she draws on her intuitive understanding of how to stay alive… and knows that she must survive.

In the present day, geneticist Dr Eloise Kluft wrestles with an ancient conundrum as she unravels the secrets of a momentous archaeological find. She is working at the forefront of contemporary science but is caught in the lonely time-lock of her own emotional past.

Bone Lines is the story of two women separated by millennia yet bound by the web of life. This intriguing tale of love and survival, of courage and the quest for wisdom also explores the nature of our species and asks what lies at the heart of being human.

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The Katharina Code by Jørn Lier Horst

Chief Inspector William Wisting keeps revisiting an unsolved 24 year old disappearance. His daughter is a journalist on maternity leave who has him babysit her daughter while he is revisiting the old files. He is distracted, you can guess that something happens! Then someone from Kripos decides to reopen the cold case and Wisting is drafted in, undercover.

I was moved along swiftly through this tale. Quite quickly I became concerned that Wisting’s daughter Line would become a victim, and this stayed with me through the book. Jørn Lier Horst crafts his story well, his work is worthy of being set to celluloid, I’m sure that many people will enjoy watching it (I’m a book person myself).

Those who liked The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo will most likely enjoy this too.
I liked that this story didn’t give the plot away in the middle of the book and kept many more surprises until right at the end.

“‘Parking in contravention of sign 372,’ he read out. ‘What is sign 372?’ ‘No parking.’”

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 Katharina Code: You loved Wallander, now meet Wisting. (The Cold Case Quartet)

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You loved Wallander, now meet Wisting . . .
___________

Twenty-four years ago Katharina Haugen went missing.

All she left behind was her husband Martin and a mysterious string of numbers scribbled on a piece of paper.

Every year on October 9th Chief Inspector William Wisting takes out the files to the case he was never able to solve. Stares at the code he was never able to crack. And visits the husband he was never able to help.

But now Martin Haugen is missing too.

As Wisting prepares to investigate another missing person’s case he’s visited by a detective from Oslo. Adrian Stiller is convinced Martin’s involved in another disappearance of a young woman and asks Wisting to close the net around Martin.

But is Wisting playing cat and mouse with a dangerous killer or a grief-stricken husband who cannot lay the past to rest?

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In a House of Lies by Ian Rankin

Rebus has retired and Siobhan Clarke is his main link to the force now. Siobhan is working on the case of a missing Private Investigator who reappears in the woods that were searched at the time of the original case with nothing to be found. Only he has reappeared in the boot of an old VW with his ankles hand-cuffed together. Furthermore there is an investigation by the Anti Corruption Unit into previous activity by many people involved on old cases. This looks like spilling over into the re-launched case with many of those involved at risk of being brought to book for less than perfect conduct. Siobhan feels threatened by incidents going on around her and turns to Rebus for his help, as someone now outside the force.

I liked the intrigue in this book and it was interesting how the twists and turns of the tale were spun out into the novel. However, I drifted off in the middle of the story and found it a bit less interesting and had to make myself keep reading to see how it ended. It did pick up again and regain its verve and vigour in the latter part. I could picture the images conjured by the text (apart from that bit in the middle), so watched it in my minds eye, it was written well enough to enable me to do so.

I’m sure that there are many fans of Ian Rankin’s who are going to love this book and many others who enjoy a crime thriller will do so as well.

‘I blame modern technology, you know.’ ‘For what?’ ‘The short memories your generation have. You’ve forgotten how to store information.’

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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In a House of Lies: The Brand New Rebus Thriller – the No.1 Bestseller (Inspector Rebus 22)

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The iconic Ian Rankin returns with a new Detective John Rebus novel – this year’s essential must-read bestseller.

* * * * *

IN A HOUSE OF LIES…

Everyone has something to hide
A missing private investigator is found, locked in a car hidden deep in the woods. Worse still – both for his family and the police – is that his body was in an area that had already been searched.

Everyone has secrets
Detective Inspector Siobhan Clarke is part of a new inquiry, combing through the mistakes of the original case. There were always suspicions over how the investigation was handled and now – after a decade without answers – it’s time for the truth.

Nobody is innocent
Every officer involved must be questioned, and it seems everyone on the case has something to hide, and everything to lose. But there is one man who knows where the trail may lead – and that it could be the end of him: John Rebus.

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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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Official description:
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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