Blog Tour: Ghost Virus – Graham Masterton

Today is my stop on the tour for Graham Masterton’s gory Ghost Virus. Thank you very much to Head of Zeus for having me; I hope you enjoy my review!

38195824A series of violent murders break out in the Tooting area of London, inexplicably linked by items of second-hand clothing. DC Pardoe and DS Patel are assigned to the case and, as the murders continue and get more and more gory, they start to wonder is something supernatural is behind the killing.

Ghost Virus was a LOT more gory than I was expecting. It’s the kind of book where crime/mystery and horror cross over – not for the faint hearted or easily grossed-out. But, at the same time, the graphic details weren’t unnecessary or merely there for shock factor; they were a part of the story, making them an unpleasant but effectual feature of the book.

To be honest, the premise sounds completely ridiculous: clothing becoming possessed by evil spirits and killing people. Not only that, but apparently the clothing is unstoppable (my first thought: grab a flame thrower). But, in fact, it’s great. I loved the writing. The detectives are classic (fictional) British cops, the kind we see all the time on telly and love. (There was a lot of cockney slang used throughout the book, though, which non-British readers mind find difficult to understand).

The relationship between Jerry and Jamila felt genuine and was fun to read about. They came across as believable partners with an attraction to each other, and none of it was forced. Thanks to the intense situation they find themselves in, neither of them act upon their feelings until a pretty realistic time, so the romance fitted into the story as a nice undercurrent and never eclipsed the plot.

Overall, Ghost Virus is gory, gross and a lot of fun. Definitely worth a go.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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The Space Between the Stars – Anne Corlett

30981910After a deadly virus has hit Earth and spread to the surrounding colonies, Jamie finds herself completely alone. A distorted message from Earth gives her hope that someone from her past might still be alive. Determined to get back to Earth and find out, she finds other survivors and embarks on a journey to get back home.

This is quite an unusual post-apocalyptic story. It’s about survivors travelling towards somewhere, although they’re not entirely sure where. Some of them are looking for somewhere to start over, one is looking for a loved one, others are just making the journey because they don’t have anything else to do. It explores themes of belief and religion, in an end-of-world setting.

The characters are quite mixed. We have a vet, a preacher, a scientist, a prostitute, an autistic boy, an engineer and a captain. Along the way, they meet desperate men, those in charge, period enactors, and a girl who would rather communicate online. Many different perspectives are explored, and it is very interesting.

However, the main character was extremely dislikeable and she made the book quite painful to read at times.

It is an interesting and thought-provoking book but could have benefitted from less focus on the main character’s personal relationships.

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Between the Blade and the Heart – Amanda Hocking

35425584.jpgMalin is a Valkyrie and, as such, it is her responsibility to slay immortals when their time is up. But when she discovers that her own mother failed in this responsibility, Malin and her friends undertake the task of restoring balance to the world.

The synopsis of this book made it sound like a Norse fantasy. Instead, it’s more of a YA fantasy with some Norse influences. This was okay, because I do enjoy YA fantasy fiction, but it was a little disappointing that it wasn’t what I expected.

To be perfectly honest, I found the majority of this book rather boring. It wasn’t until very near the end that the story picked up and I started to get into it. I did enjoy the humour in this book, and the unusual love triangle.

It’s a good read, but it took a little too long to get going.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Goodreads | Amazon

Starborn – Lucy Hounsom

34114570.jpgOn the day she comes of age, Kyndra accidentally destroys an ancient tradition and gets the blame for an unnatural storm that targets hers town. Two strangers with powers fuelled by the sun and moon rescue her and take her to the hidden citadel of Naris. Once there, Kyndra experiences disturbing visions, brutal tests, and meets both fanatics and rebels all trying to use her for their own cause.

I really expected to love this book, but actually, it didn’t have a lot of the things I look for in a YA fantasy. Yes, this means it avoided most of the usual tropes and clichés, and managed not to be just the same as every other YA fantasy story, but it also made it kind of boring. Honestly, not that much actually happened, and it’s not a short book.

I wasn’t a big fan of Kyndra, and not liking the lead character is always problematic. She wasn’t too annoying or sassy, instead she was just kinda bland. She was obsessed with getting back to her family even though she knew that, realistically, she couldn’t return to her village (they did try to kill her, after all) and that was pretty much her only drive. Also, there wasn’t even a hint of romance to the story, which I do like at least a little bit of.

I did like Bregenne and Nediah. I could have happily read an adult fantasy book about them. Same world, some of the same characters, but an adult target market and less of the irritating and argumentative teenager.

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The Black Notebook – Isabelle Snow

37420549.jpgSeven is the queen of giving advice and keeping secrets. Everyone at school comes to her with their secrets and, although she loves that people trust her, she struggles to remember who told her what. In order to keep track, Seven starts writing down all the secrets in a little black notebook. But things take a disastrous turn when the notebook falls into the hands of prankster, Colin Stillman. Seven does everything she can think of to get the notebook back, but Colin won’t give it up.

Genuine, sweet high-school romance stories are hard to find. For the most part, they’re cliched and irritating. The Black Notebook is one of the few that drew me in and made me wish I was a teenager again. I really enjoyed the relationship between Seven and Colin. It felt organic and realistic, completely believable and not at all forced. Although, it still has the usual will-they-won’t-they relationship build up, it actually makes sense to the plot and isn’t just plain annoying.

The only aspect of this book that I didn’t get was Seven’s obsession with getting the notebook back. Colin had a hold of the notebook for months and he never spilled a single secret. He actually comes across as very trustworthy and I didn’t understand why Seven was so determined to get in back, rather than realising that he wasn’t going to tell anyone anything.

Nicely written and very engaging, The Black Notebook is a sweet and enjoyable teen romance.

I received a copy of this book via Inkitt in exchange for an honest review.

Goodreads | Amazon

The Murderer’s Ape – Jakob Wegelius

30153285Sally Jones is a gorilla. Smart and resourceful, she lives with her friend, the Chief, working as an engineer on his cargo boat. But when the Chief is convicted of a murder he didn’t commit, and Sally Jones finds herself alone and on the run. In an adventure that crosses continents, Sally Jones meets new friends and powerful enemies and must use her many talents to find the one person who can clear the Chief’s name.

The Murderer’s Ape is a true delight. Brilliantly written, and with beautiful illustrations, I enjoyed every second of this book. The story is pretty long, but incredibly well told and very easy to follow with short chapters and quite a simple writing style. I’m not sure if the simplicity is due to the original writing or the translation, but it is really effective because it adds a layer of authenticity that the book is written from the point of view of a gorilla.

There are a lot of different locations and characters, all of whom were interesting to read about and bought something unique to the story. Overall, this book was a lot of fun and a pleasure to read.

Goodreads | Amazon

Everless – Sara Holland

36475035In a land where time is used as currency, the rich live for centuries while the poor bleed themselves dry. For Jules and her father, every day is a struggle. To stop her father from draining away the rest of his life, Jules takes a job at Everless, a grand estate owned by the rich and cruel Gerling family. Once there, Jules discovers secrets she never could have imagined and learns that friends and enemies are sometimes difficult to tell apart.

I liked the concept of time being used as currency and, although this is definitely not the first time I’ve come across that idea, this is probably the most effectively I’ve seen it executed. The characters and world-building are classic YA-fantasy perfection, complete with evil royalty, family secrets and a budding hate-to-love storyline.

Probably the only aspect of this book that I didn’t like was Jules’ absolute determination to go against everything her father ever told her, and her decision to do the one thing that he gave his life to ask her not to do. The poor man literally died telling her to stay away from the queen, so what does she do? Obviously she nabs herself the job as close to the queen as possible. Girl, come on.

The plot moves quite fast and immersion into the story is excellent. I’m looking forward to Book #2. All I want is a little bit more from Liam (my favourite character is, of course, the bad guy).

I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Goodreads | Amazon

I Was a Bitch – Emily Ruben

32585553.jpgAfter a serious accident, Lacey Jones wakes up from a two-month coma, only to discover that she’s lost her memory of the last two years. In that time, she has somehow become the stunning, sexy queen bee of high school, dating a super-hot footballer and best friends with the most popular girls in school. But if Derek is her boyfriend, who is Finn, the sweet, perfect guy who seems to know her better than anyone else and claims to love her? Lacey now has to figure out who she is and put her life back together, without revealing to anyone that she’s forgotten the past two years of her life.

Okay, so, this book was pretty enjoyable, but seriously flawed. Firstly, the entire premise is questionable. I don’t know how realistic it is for someone to lose such a random and specific time period from their memory, but it doesn’t feel very believable in this book. It was frustrating to read because Lacey creates every problem for herself by refusing to tell anyone (except her extremely unhelpful parents – more on that later) that she’s lost her memory.

Secondly, the writing is very rudimentary. It is basic, and very, very repetitive. This made it quite tiresome to read at times. It was also difficult to make any connection between post-coma Lacey and pre-coma Lacey. In the two years that she’s lost, Lacey seems to have developed an entirely different (and kind of awful) personality that has no bearing on the person she was and is again now.

Finally, as I mentioned earlier, Lacey’s parents are unbelievably useless. To begin with, Lacey doesn’t even really recognise them which makes no sense because in her head she has only forgotten two years and her parents have been there her entire life. Then it turns out they’ve split up and even live apart but they never at any point think it might be a good idea to mention this to their daughter, who they know doesn’t remember their split. As some of the only people who know Lacey has lost her memory and who love her and care for her, you’d think they might try to help fill in some of the gaps in her memory, even if they can’t help her with everything. Instead, they are barely around. They don’t even take her to physical therapy. Like, come on parents, your child nearly DIED, where are you?

Basically, this book has a lot of problems. However, I liked it. I Was a Bitch is very enjoyable, in a trashy, teen kind of way. And there is definitely a place for those kinds of books.

I received a copy of this book from Inkitt in exchange for an honest review.

Goodreads | Amazon

The Chalk Man – C.J. Tudor

31936826In 1986, Eddie and his friends spend their days riding their bikes, looking for any excitement they can find. They use chalk figures as a secret code to communicate with each other in a way nobody else can understand. What they don’t expect is for the chalk men to lead them to a dead body. Fast forward to 2016 and Eddie thinks he’s put the past behind him. But when the chalk figures make a reappearance, he realises that the only way to truly be free of the past is to figure out what really happened all those years ago.

It’s almost impossible to believe that this is C.J. Tudor’s first book. Her writing is so atmospheric and skilled, creating constant creepiness and suspense without overdoing anything. The entire story is captivating, told through two alternating timelines: 1986 and 2016. The plot progresses fairly slowly, but with a lot of small, shocking events (especially during the 2986 timeline) which keeps things interesting. Instead of being slow or dull, The Chalk Man has a sort of slow burn as the suspense and intrigue builds.

This is an excellent book, expertly written and perfect for thriller and mystery fans. Shocking, and shockingly good.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Goodreads | Amazon

The Perfect Girlfriend – Karen Hamilton

31113934.jpgJuliette loves Nate. They belong together, even if he doesn’t realise it yet. She’s been giving him space, just like he wanted, but she’s nearly ready to get things back on track. She even got a job at the same airline he works for. Juliette is the perfect girlfriend, and no one will stop her from getting what she wants.

I did enjoy this book. It’s always fun to read from the point of view of the ‘psycho’ but, despite clearly being a little bit crazy, Juliette isn’t really portrayed as ‘the baddie’. She has been wronged in the past and is only trying to get what she thinks she deserves. She was a surprisingly likeable and relatable character, and completely sinister.

Unfortunately, a lot of the book was kind of boring. There is a huge amount of build-up with very little bang. Overall, the plot developed too slowly and there were large sections filled with information that didn’t actually add much to the story.

The best thing about The Perfect Girlfriend was probably how real it felt. All of the characters and situations were entirely believable. Most people probably have a little bit of Juliette in there somewhere.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Goodreads | Amazon