Blog Tour: Grist Mill Road – Christopher J. Yates

Another day, another blog tour! Today, I’m taking part in the tour for Grist Mill Road by Christopher J. Yates. Below, you can find my review and an extract from the book. Enjoy!


39506861Patrick watched as Matthew tied Hannah to a tree and shot out her eye with a BB gun. He watched, and did nothing. Years later, Patrick and Hannah are married, each keeping big secrets from the other about what really happened all those years ago, until Matthew reenters their lives with devastating consequences.

Like many crime thrillers, this story is told from two timelines: one in 1982 describing past events from Patrick’s perspective, and one in 2008 following Patrick and Hannah’s life together. The real problem with this book was the 2008 thread. The majority of it was filled with long and boring descriptions of food blogging and the history of a cement company. Yes, it is as boring as it sounds.

However, the 1982 thread was much more interesting, and things did eventually come together and picked up a lot. There isn’t very much that can be said about Grist Mill Road without taking away from the reading experience, so I will stop there.

In short, I did enjoy reading this book, but with more action and more emotion behind the story-telling, it could have been better.

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

Goodreads | Amazon


Extract:

PATCH

I remember the gunshots made a wet sort of sound, phssh phssh phssh, and each time he hit her she screamed. Do the math and the whole thing probably went on for as long as ten minutes. I just stood there and watched.

I don’t know when I realized I was counting. Eight, nine, ten. For a long time it seemed as if all sensation, everything but my eyesight, had been switched off. But once I realized I was keeping track of the shots—eighteen, nineteen, twenty— it felt like something I could cling to because my sense of balance had been switched off along with everything else.

I was standing on the nauseating brink of something I didn’t want to fall into, a world beyond comprehension. Twenty-six, twenty-seven, twenty-eight. This wasn’t real life, this was a show. And this show wasn’t for me, I wasn’t even allowed to stay up late enough to watch this sort of show. No, none of it made any sense, a silent movie with Russian subtitles.

And yet I watched.

What does it mean to watch? When a crime takes place in front you, what is watching? Is it a failure to act or is it simply keeping your eyes open?


Please do check out the rest of the tour!

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Blog Tour: The Psychology of Time Travel – Kate Mascarenhas

Today is my stop on the tour for a book that I’m really excited about: The Psychology of Time Travel by Kate Mascarenhas. I hope you enjoy my review, and do check out the other stops on the tour.

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40803091In 1967, four female scientists build the world’s first time travel machine. But, just when they’re presenting their invention on live TV, one of them has a mental breakdown. In order to prevent negative attention being drawn to the project, she is exiled from the team. Fifty years later, the exiled pioneer and her granddaughter receive a newspaper clipping from the future, reporting the murder of an unidentified woman. Is Granny bee the victim? Who would want to kill her? And can the murder be prevented?

The Psychology of Time Travel covers a lot of very real issues in  time travel that other books ignore. The psychological effects of time travel (through not being able to change events, seeing family and friends die, etc) were really interesting and it was great to see a book based around this.

Besides the interesting topic, the story is really good. Told from multiple perspectives in different time periods, there are a lot of different story threads that all connect to the main event. This was a little confusing and difficult to follow, but it was also very effective in reflecting the general difficulty of keeping track of events when you can travel through time. Because every thread linked together, the actual order of events didn’t really matter, which made the jumping from one person and time to another much easier to cope with.

This is a fantastic science-fiction novel, combining time travel with mystery, mental illness and characters filled with personality. I loved it.

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

Goodreads | Amazon

The Malinovsky Papers – H. Jones

38315822Over nineteen days in June 1978, Professor Nicholas Malinovsky interviewed a dying Russian emigre, Dimitri Kurshunov. The stories he told were unbelievable, about the Russian revolution, the House of Special Purpose in Ekaterinburg, and what really happened to the two youngest members of the Romanov family. Going through his interviews and research many years later, Hannah Jones is left with one question: Can any of this be true?

I really liked the interview style of storytelling in this book. With the addition of Malinovsky’s notes at the end of each chapter, the story felt truly authentic. The most engaging aspect of this book was definitely Kurshunov’s story about living in Ekaterinburg and knowing the Romanovs. However, I didn’t care much for the parts about Malinovsky and his own life. The deterioration of his relationship with his own family was not particularly enjoyable to read about. Without those parts, the book could have been a lot shorter and told much quicker.

On that note, this book was seriously long, man. The pacing was incredibly slow and, although the detail of the time was truly fascinating, I could have done with things being more to-the-point.

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

Goodreads | Amazon

Blog Tour: Star-Touched Stories – Roshani Chokshi

36396341.jpgStar-Touched Stories is three magical stories set in the world of The Star-Touched Queen and A Crown of Wishes. You don’t need to have read either book to enjoy this one, but it would help in order to understand some of the characters. Roshani Chokshi’s writing is pure magic. I don’t think I’ve ever read any books quite as magical as hers (and I read a lot of fantasy).

All three stories are special in their own way, but my favourite was the first one: Death and Night. The Lord of Death and the Goddess of Night meet by chance and, contrary to their natures, fall in love. As their romance blossoms, both begin to question if they could be made for more than they’ve believed. Death and Night are both completely brilliant characters, and the setting of this story is just the best (especially the Night Bazaar). I loved the romance between these two, and all of the supporting characters were great as well.

Poison and Gold was my least favourite of the three (although, that doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy it). In this one, Aasha is sent to train to become the kingdom’s new Spy Mistress. However, she has lost control over her power to kill and can’t understand why. That particular aspect of the story really got on my nerves, because it was SO OBVIOUS why she’d lost her control. She’s not a stupid character, so why dumb her down so much in this story? I also didn’t really like the romance between Aasha and the Spy Mistress (whose name I can’t even remember). It just came across as too forced and unnecessary.

Rose and Sword was a nice addition to the book. Vikram falls ill and is on the brink of death, so Guari travels to the land of the dead to retrieve his last breath and save his life. I was so happy to read more about Guari and Vikram (mainly Guari) that almost anything could have happened in this story and I would have enjoyed it. Just to make things even better, Kamala – the lovable demon horse – is back and as brilliant as ever. It was a lovely ending to Guari and Vikram’s story.

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

Goodreads | Amazon

The Tall Man – Phoebe Locke

35442765In 1990, three girls devote themselves to a sinister figure.
In the year 2000, a young mother disappears, leaving behind her husband and baby daughter.
In 2018, a teenage girl is charged with murder.

The Tall Man is filled to the brim with intrigue, with aspects of the mystery being referred to but never fully explained for the majority of the book. Although this does build suspense and interest, there was a bit too much. It was over 40% of the book before anything started to be explained and, by that point, I was more fed up than intrigued.

However, it is still a very good story. I really liked the way it was told: through the filming of a documentary about Amber Banner and what she did (which you don’t get to find out until a good three quarters of the way through).

This story was not as creepy as I would have liked. I am a bit of a horror-freak, so I was looking for something closer to a properly dark thriller instead of the suspense/murder-mystery that it is.

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

Goodreads | Amazon

Literary Book Gifts

Book lovers!

I have a very special treat for you today: Melissa, the artistic genius behind literarybookgifts.com, has very kindly agreed to offer a 20% discount through my blog.

http://www.literarybookgifts.com

Melissa puts together all the designs and products herself, and they are beautiful. Here are a few of my favourites:

So, if you’d like 20% off any of the stunning bookish items at Literary Book Gifts, simply add the promo code THESTORYCOLLECTOR20 at the checkout for 20% off!

THESTORYCOLLECTOR20

Blog Tour: Wrecker – Noel O’Reilly

Hello and welcome to the final stop of the blog tour for Wrecker by Noel O’Reilly. Don’t forget to go back and take a look at the other stops on this tour!

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35436024Shipwrecks are a part of life on the coast of Cornwall. In the remote village of Porthmorvoren, things are no different. Bounty and corpses wash up on the beaches regularly, and the locals take what they can. On one such day, Mary Blight helps herself to a fine pair of boots from the body of a dead noblewoman, not realising that she has set herself up as the prime suspect for biting off the woman’s earlobes to steal her earrings. As word spreads of the so-called ‘Porthmorvoren Cannibal’, Mary’s safety becomes less and less certain. The arrival of a handsome Methodist minister to the village only makes matters worse.

Wrecker is the perfect book for fans of Poldark. The story itself isn’t particularly exciting. It’s a detailed snapshot of a time in Mary’s life where some unfortunate things happen to her, but nothing overly dramatic. There is no big adventure, no gruesome murder to solve, no epic romance. Just some interesting stuff happening to a pretty unlucky woman.

The quality of the writing is what brings this story up. I didn’t like the characters very much – especially Mary – but I still found myself caring about her. To be honest, she deserved a lot of the bad things that happened to her, but I was rooting for her nonetheless. My main takeaway from this book was that I felt really, really sorry for Johnenry.

My favourite thing about Wrecker was that it is written using old Cornish dialect (which is much easier to understand if you have watched Poldark). The character voices were so realistic and so full of attitude that, even though I found the story a teeny bit boring, it was a pleasure to read.

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

Goodreads | Amazon

 

 

Balam, Spring – Travis M. Riddle

38322372.jpgIn the quiet town of Balam, people are dying. Following the loss of the town’s resident white mage, Aava – fresh from the mage academy – is sent to find the cause of the unknown illness and create a cure before the rest of the town becomes infected. When strange insectoid creatures start invading the town, seemingly attracted by the bodies of the illness’ victims, Aava seeks help from ex-mercenary Ryckert to get to the bottom of the mystery, before there is nobody left alive in Balam.

The story is a little bit slow. It’s a kind of cross between a cosy mystery story and a fantasy adventure. Overall, not that much actually happens, but it’s a good read nonetheless. The characters are likeable, and we get to know them quite well. There are a couple of lesbian/gay/bisexual characters, and these relationships are treated very casually and as not at all unusual in this world, which was nice to see.

My very favourite thing about Travis’ writing is that he invents his own new fantasy worlds and creatures. Balam, Spring is fully immersive and filled with fantasy beings, but not ‘common’ things like elves, dragons, and the other usual creatures. Instead, we meet Rocyans and Jeornish, and other original critters. Because of the immersive nature of the writing, the characters and settings are easy to picture, without ever being over-described or explained in excessive detail.

It’s a good, solid, fantasy/mystery about a small town filled with well-developed and lovable characters.

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

Goodreads | Amazon

The Illumination of Ursula Flight – Anna-Marie Crowhurst

39284560.jpgUrsula Flight was born on the night of a bad-luck comet. Educated by her father, she discovers a love of writing and develops a dream of becoming a famous playwright. However, she is expected to marry and live the way it is believed that a woman should. Trapped in a loveless marriage, Ursula decides to fight for her dreams. But freedom comes at a price.

The Illumination of Ursula Flight is a very inventive book, written in an unusual style. Sections of the story are told through Ursula’s play scripts, lists, letters and private diary entries. The reading experience is broken up with refreshing insertions which really helped to connect the reader with the character – I really loved it.

Ursula is a very relatable character. She’s a woman with her own thoughts and desires, in a time when she isn’t expected to have any. Her witty and ballsy personality is captured brilliantly, in a way that doesn’t follow the typical ‘feisty heroine’ tropes. A host of equally wonderful, amusing and sometimes repulsive characters make up Ursula’s fellow cast members.

I enjoyed the story. It covers a long period of time, with serious issues broached alongside the general humour of the story. It was really nice to follow Ursula’s progression from a dream-fuelled child to a gutsy and ambitious woman as she grew up.

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

Goodreads | Amazon

Home – Amanda Berriman

38457392Jesika is four and a half. She lives in a flat with her little brother, Toby, and her mum, who is struggling to make ends meet. Jesika struggles to understand everything that’s going on, and has to deal with a lot when her mum and Toby get ill. All she knows is that she loves her mummy and doesn’t want to live anywhere but with her.

Home is a very special book. It is written entirely from Jesika’s point of view, which is brilliantly done. Her thoughts and feelings are entirely realistic and it’s really easy to understand why she reacts to things the way she does. The writing really feels like it’s coming from the mouth of a 4-year-old. I loved the touch of misspelled words to enhance the experience of reading from a child’s perspective.

I loved Jesika’s personality. She is a sweet and brave little girl, and impossible not to love. At times, it was kind of frustrating to read because, being so young, Jesika doesn’t understand everything that’s happening and doesn’t tell the adults. She comes so close a few times and I was practically yelling out at the book when she forgot or got too scared. I can’t remember the last time I was so emotionally invested in a story.

Trigger warning: this is a very emotional story and one thread involves child sexual abuse, but it isn’t graphic or descriptive and, though upsetting, I didn’t find it too difficult to read.

Home is completely addictive and fantastically well written. Quite possibly the best book I’ve read this year.

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

Goodreads | Amazon