A Spear of Summer Grass | Deanna Raybourne

A Spear of Summer Grass by Deanna Raybourne is a mainstream/romance set in 1920’s africa.

Paris, 1923 

The daughter of a scandalous mother, Delilah Drummond is already notorious, even amongst Paris society. But her latest scandal is big enough to make even her oft-married mother blanch. Delilah is exiled to Kenya and her favorite stepfather’s savannah manor house until gossip subsides. 

Fairlight is the crumbling, sun-bleached skeleton of a faded African dream, a world where dissolute expats are bolstered by gin and jazz records, cigarettes and safaris. As mistress of this wasted estate, Delilah falls into the decadent pleasures of society.  

Against the frivolity of her peers, Ryder White stands in sharp contrast. As foreign to Delilah as Africa, Ryder becomes her guide to the complex beauty of this unknown world. Giraffes, buffalo, lions and elephants roam the shores of Lake Wanyama amid swirls of red dust. Here, life is lush and teeming-yet fleeting and often cheap.  

Amidst the wonders-and dangers-of Africa, Delilah awakes to a land out of all proportion: extremes of heat, darkness, beauty and joy that cut to her very heart. Only when this sacred place is profaned by bloodshed does Delilah discover what is truly worth fighting for-and what she can no longer live without.

This can be a difficult novel.

Continue reading

The City | Stella Gemmell

The City by Stella Gemmell is a big huge chunk of a fantasy book.

The City is ancient and vast, built up over the millennia, layer upon layer. Once a thriving metropolis, it has sprawled beyond its walls, inciting and waging constant wars with neighbouring tribes and kingdoms – creating a barren wasteland of what was once green and productive.

At the heart of the City lives the emperor. Few have ever seen him, but those who have recall a man in his prime, though he should be very old. Some speculate that he is no longer human, others wonder if indeed he truly ever was. And a small number have come to the desperate conclusion that the only way to stop the City’s incessant war and the constant bloodshed is to end the emperor’s unnaturally long life.

From the maze-like sewers and catacombs below the City, where the poor struggle to stay alive in the dark, to the blood-soaked fields of battle where few heroes manage to survive the never-ending siege, these rebels pin their hopes on one man: Shuskara. Once the emperor’s foremost general, he was betrayed long ago and is believed to be dead. But, under different aliases, he has survived, forsaking his City and hiding from the man to whom he once vowed his allegiance. Now, the time has come for Shuskara to emerge from the shadows and lead a final bid to free the City from those who have brought it and its people to their knees for so long…

Inspired world-building, complex and wholly believable characters, thrilling battle scenes and glorious storytelling come together in this epic novel. Exciting, dark and affecting,The City is a stunning achievement that places its author at the very front rank of fantasy fiction.

Look at that description. Look at it. I should have loved this book.

Continue reading

Shifting Selves | Mia Marshall

Shifting Selves by Mia Marshall is book 2 of the Elements series.

Aidan Brook’s world was shattered when the actions of a brutal murderer revealed long-buried secrets about her past. A powerful elemental, Aidan discovered she possesses the wrong kind of magic. It’s a secret that could cost her sanity—or even her life.

What she needs is some peace and quiet. What she gets is a phone call from a division of the FBI so secret it doesn’t even have a name, asking for her help with a series of shifter disappearances.

Before Aidan can settle into a new routine of pancakes and evenings by the fire, the case develops claws. She quickly finds herself caught between uptight bears, deadly mountain lions, overprotective parents, and unhappy federal agents. Throw in a stalled romance with an enigmatic shifter and the slow dissolution of her chosen family, and it’s hard to say which will drive her mad first: her magic, or her chaotic life.

These are not great literature, but I’m still a fan of the series.

Continue reading

Echoes in the Graveyard | S.J. Calhoun

 

graveyard

graveyard (Photo credit: ravensong75)

Echoes in the Graveyard by S.J. Calhoun is… weird.

Echoes in the Graveyard is a suspenseful tale of death and rebirth in a small New England college town during homecoming.

My review copy was provided for free through Netgalley

Just so you know, this is short. 98 pages on my ereader. Which is fine, if you just want a quickish read.

Secondly that description isn’t really… descriptive. The description on Calhoun’s own webpage is better, in that it gives me more details, but also spoils most of the events of the book whilst not giving me any idea of what its about (I am not an expert on book descriptions, but I would still advise a rewrite of the one on the website). I am going into this book… refreshingly unprepared. Is it an urban fantasy with werewolves? A horror novel? Literary fiction? I just don’t know! Shall we find out?

Continue reading

Murder in Mumbai | K. D. Calamur

Murder in Mumbai by K. D. Calamur and look I just have strong opinions about books sometimes ok.

From NPR editor Krishnadev Calamur comes an engrossing murder mystery set in the heart of the new India.

Mumbai, India: a city of beauty and squalor, old and new, wealth and poverty, honest work and deep corruption… and inevitable target of scandal and condemnation if Inspector Vijay Gaikwad doesn’t solve the murder of American businesswoman Liz Barton, and quickly. Just as invested is newspaper reporter Jay Ganesh, looking for the one big story to repair his once-prestigious reputation. Both men soon discover, however, that the case is as difficult to navigate as Mumbai’s infamous traffic. From her cheating husband to the billionaire industrialist with whom she was “close”; from her jealous colleague to the environmentalist protesting her company, Barton was not short on potential enemies… and nor are they short on lies. But the pressure is on for Gaikwad, the family man trying to do right on an often unscrupulous force, to place the blame on someone, anyone, and Jay is determined to be the first with the scoop—no matter how deadly.

I tried. I swear I tried. But in the end… no.

A confession: I LOVE murder mysteries. Give me a dead person and a person investigating it and I’ll eat it up. I even like the Mistress of The Dead stuff and that’s hardly high literature. But. I just… couldn’t enjoy this on any level. This is not going to be a pleasant review to read. If you had anything to do with this book, I’d advise you do something else. Maybe go look at fluffy kittens.

My review copy provided for free by Penguin Group (USA) (who are never going to let me review a book again) through Netgalley.

Continue reading