The Heretics Daughter | Kathleen Kent

The Heretics Daughter by Kathleen Kent is a novel about the relationships between women set during the Witchcraft Trials of Salem.

Martha Carrier was hanged
on August 19th, 1692 in Salem, Massachusetts, unyielding in her refusal
to admit to being a witch, going to her death rather than joining the
ranks of men and women who confessed and were thereby spared execution.
Like her mother, young Sarah Carrier is bright and wilful, openly
challenging the small, brutal world in which they live. In this
startling novel, she narrates the story of her early life in Andover,
near Salem. Her father is a farmer, English in origin, quietly stoical
but with a secret history. Her mother is a herbalist, tough but loving,
and above all a good mother. Often at odds with each other, Sarah and
her mother have a close but also cold relationship, yet it is clear that
Martha understands her daughter like no other. When Martha is accused
of witchcraft, and the whisperings in the community escalate, she makes
her daughter promise not to stand up for her if the case is taken to
court. As Sarah and her brothers are hauled into the prison themselves,
the vicious cruelty of the trials is apparent, as the Carrier family,
along with other innocents, are starved and deprived of any decency,
battling their way through the hysteria with the sheer willpower their
mother has taught them.

I picked this up because it was on sale, and I’m glad I did.

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London Falling | Paul Cornell

London Falling by Paul Cornell is an interesting urban fantasy set in a recession-hot London.

Police officers Quill, Costain, Sefton, and Ross know the worst of London—or they think they do. While investigating a mobster’s mysterious death, they come into contact with a strange artifact and accidentally develop the Sight. Suddenly they can see the true evil haunting London’s streets.

Armed with police instincts and procedures, the four officers take on the otherworldly creatures secretly prowling London. Football lore and the tragic history of a Tudor queen become entwined in their pursuit of an age-old witch with a penchant for child sacrifice. But when London’s monsters become aware of their meddling, the officers must decide what they are willing to sacrifice to clean up their city.

I really enjoyed this once I got past the first 100 pages.

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‘Set | Luke Walker

Set Walker‘Set by Luke Walker Is a dark fantasy/horror with supernatural and apocalyptic elements.

Between Heaven and Hell, there is another world. To save her daughter’s soul, Emma Cooper will tear that world apart.

After the loss of her baby, Emma Cooper feels as if she’s just going through the motions of her life. That’s until an angel and demon knock at her door with news dwarfing life and death.

Emma’s daughter’s soul is trapped in a world of the dead, a world of permanent sunset. This is ‘Set and it’s to this world that Emma must travel after she is chosen by the celestial and infernal management. By working with Above and Below, she has a chance of helping her daughter and countless other souls move on from ‘Set.

In this world, recently deceased George Bryson has declared war on Heaven and Hell. But this fight with his maker has opened doors he cannot close. The forgotten remnants of Creation are coming to consume all worlds. If Emma can’t stop Bryson’s war, her daughter will be lost forever.

And so will everybody else.

Double special today: Not only was ‘Set provided to me free by Luke Walker, but Luke and I know each other from online. I do not intend this to bias my review, but it’s possible I will subconsciously treat this more kindly than a book from a stranger, so be aware.

Originally posted on In Case of Survival

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Scheduling update.

I have caught up on my backlog now, so we shall be going to twice a week! I started off doing three times a week, but that was too many and too stressful and it meant that when I had to take a break for illness I had no cushion of pre-written reviews. So twice a week from now on.

I’ve recently been on a bit of a request spree on NetGalley, too, so there’s plenty coming up. Some really interesting books that you might be interested in.

You may notice I’ve started including pictures in my reviews now, usually of the cover. This is to help you, the reader, even further. Is there anything else you;d like me to include or add? I’m always trying to make these reviews better and more accessible.

So, from next week, please check here on tuesdays and thursdays, 9am GMT, for new reviews.

Eulogy | DT Conklin

Eulogy ConklinEulogy by DT Conklin is a dark epic fantasy.

Evolved Publishing presents the Epic Fantasy, Eulogy: ‘They’ll stand amongst the corpses of the beloved.’ That’s what he said at the end, though I never considered myself one of the beloved, not at the beginning. I was simply a terrified woman then, but now… now I understand. Maybe I wish I didn’t. Void take me, this is so demon-damned hard. In the beginning, he loved me. Irony, it twists and twirls like a lover’s song, but this is hardly a lover’s tale. It’s one of blades and blood. I wish I could’ve seen it sooner, but that would’ve been too easy. I wouldn’t have learned to love him.

I’m… not sure.

Provided free by Evolved Press.

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The Tale of Raw Head and Bloody Bones | Jack Wolf

The Tale of Raw Head and Bloody Bones by Jack Wolf is a a literary historical.

Explosive, transgressive and wildly inventive, Jack Wolf’s novel THE TALE OF THE RAW HEAD AND BLOODY BONES (Penguin Original; March 26, 2013; 978-0-14-312382-8; $16.00; also available as an ebook) is arrestingly authentic. UK based author  Jack Wolf, who wrote the novel as a woman and has since transitioned to being a man, has fully embraced both the language and ideas of eighteenth-century England to create a beautiful and startling novel that contemplates questions of good and evil, faith and science,  that are still relevant today. Moreover, while it does not explicitly deal with issues of gender identity, Wolf’s experience of transitioning from female to male is reflected in the writing, in particular in its focus on identity and what it feels like to be uncomfortable in one’s own skin.

I can see why the way it’s written -using period spelling and capitalisation (though fortunately not the most extreme versions) could put an unaware or unexperienced person off. But I strongly advise you to try to get through it, like I advise people to try with Wuthering Heights (if you can get through that you can get through this. At least this isn’t in dialect).

Provided for free by Penguin Group through NetGalley.

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The Blind Assassin | Margaret Atwood

The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood is a story about love and regret told over a period of several years.

“Ten days after the war ended, my sister Laura drove a car off a bridge”

More than fifty years on, Iris Chase is remembering Laura’s mysterious death. And so begins an extraordinary and compelling story of two sisters and their secrets. Set against a panoramic backdrop of twentieth-century history, The Blind Assassin is an epic tale of memory, intrigue and betrayal…

I can see how a book like this could be divisive. I can see how Margaret Atwood as a writer could cause a wild variety of opinions. But I can’t help it – I love her, and her writing.

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Sepulchre | Kate Mosse

Sepulchre book cover.

Sepulchre book cover. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sepulchre by Kate Mosse is an, erm, mishmash. Historical, Romance, Tragedy, and Supernatural, with a healthy dollop of Music.

From the author of the New York Times— bestselling novel Labyrinth comes another haunting tale of secrets, murder, and the occult set in both nineteenth-century and twenty-first-century France.

In 1891, young Léonie Vernier and her brother Anatole arrive in the beautiful town of Rennes-les-Bains, in southwest France. They’ve come at the invitation of their widowed aunt, whose mountain estate, Domain de la Cade, is famous in the region. But it soon becomes clear that their aunt Isolde—and the Domain—are not what Léonie had imagined. The villagers claim that Isolde’s late husband died after summoning a demon from the old Visigoth sepulchre high on the mountainside. A book from the Domain’s cavernous library describes the strange tarot pack that mysteriously disappeared following the uncle’s death. But while Léonie delves deeper into the ancient mysteries of the Domain, a different evil stalks her family—one which may explain why Léonie and Anatole were invited to the sinister Domain in the first place.

More than a century later, Meredith Martin, an American graduate student, arrives in France to study the life of Claude Debussy, the nineteenth century French composer. In Rennes-les-Bains, Meredith checks into a grand old hotel—the Domain de la Cade. Something about the hotel feels eerily familiar, and strange dreams and visions begin to haunt Meredith’s waking hours. A chance encounter leads her to a pack of tarot cards painted by Léonie Vernier, which may hold the key to this twenty-first century American’s fate . . . just as they did to the fate of Léonie Vernier more than a century earlier

I picked up loads of books in my chairty shop run, so it’s probably going to be older books for a bit. Sepulchre is Kate Mosse’s second book and is loosely connected to her first, Labyrinth.

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Blood and Ice | Robert Masello

Cover of "Blood and Ice"

Cover of Blood and Ice

Blood And Ice by Robert Masello is a combination of romance and the supernatural with touches of horror.

When journalist Michael Wilde is commissioned to write a feature about a remote research station deep in the frozen beauty of Antarctica he is prepared for some extraordinary sights. But on a diving expedition in the polar sea he comes across something so extraordinary to be almost unbelievable – a man and woman chained together, deep in the ice. The doomed lovers are brought to the surface but as the ice begins to thaw the scientists discover the unusual contents of the bottles buried behind the pair, and realise they are all in terrible danger…

I picked this up on one of my semi-regular charity shop runs, intrigued by the cover and by the book description. I’ve developed a bit of a liking for supernatural stories set in polar regions – witness my love of Dark Matter.
But would this one do anything for me?

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Quick Apology

I came down with the most vicious flu I have ever experienced last week, which made me ill to the point I couldn’t read or review any books. I had a backlog, but I went through those.

Reviews will be happening again soon, but I need to get a few laid down as my backlog again first.