Friday, 28 April 2017

Getting To Know... Chaos At Dawn


Today I'm excited to bring my second musical Getting To Know... post with up and coming band Chaos At Dawn, their debut album, Embers, is released today!! I talk to Andrew Barlow (vocals) and Michael Walsh (guitar). 

So to get us started off, could you introduce yourselves and tell me what your part in the band is?

MW -  Hey, My name is Michael, and I play triangle.

AB - I'm Andrew, and I definitely do not play triangle.

MW - There's only room for one triangle player. And it is I. Nobody steps on my turf.

Today you've released your debut album, can you tell me anything about the inspiration behind the tracks and how you decided on your sound? 

MW - Nope!

AB - Someone's not cooperating. Ok! Sound! I think a lot of it comes from bands that we were listening to at that time. We both have similar and also different tastes, and I like to think we bring a bit of all of that to the writing process.

MW - Yeah, obviously every band draws inspiration from the bands that they've grown up listening to, and we've both been in a LOT of bands, and all played for a very long time. You sort of learn as you go on. Learn what sounds good, and what basically sounds like dog s**t in a tin.

How did you all become interested in music and how did you come together as a band?

MW - I wasn't interested in music, I wanted to be a race car driver!

AB - Really??

MW - Noooooooo. Not really. Music for me, growing up, the first time seeing Slash play guitar on MTV back in the early 1990's. That just really made me want to pick up a guitar and play. Slash and Guns N Roses were probably my first inspiration along with the first time I saw Metallica.

AB - For me, I've listened to all sorts of different music especially being a teenager. Some really embarrassing s**t as a youngster too. But I think Dookie by Green Day was one of the first rock albums I had. Listening to them kind of opened the door for everything else that followed. I remember once getting a copy of Korn's Follow the Leader on cassette from a friend at school and being hooked straight away. As a moody teenager that album was just perfect! Getting together as a band, me, Mick and Luis met around 5 years ago when we were in a cover's band together. When our drummer left, we just decided to carry on writing. I just don't think the rest of us were ready to just give up on it all and knew that we had the ability to write some original music.

Growing up who were your favourite bands or musicians?

MW - Guns n Roses, Metallica, and pretty much the whole grunge movement from the 90's, Soundgarden, Alice in Chains, Nirvana. Then again when the whole nu metal movement came in in the early 2000's, I loved all of those major nu metal bands.

AB - My dad got me into Elvis and Chuck Berry as a kid, and also Johnny Cash. So I kinda grew up listening to that, but then I'd say I really got into rock when I was in my teens, and loved listening to bands like Placebo, Metallica, Korn. Even Creed and then later Alter Bridge.

MW - Just realised I'm old as f**k! 

When you're all not performing, recording, writing etc, what would we find you doing?

MW - At the minute, recovering from extensive back surgery.

AB - And he's not even kidding! He's usually on a lot of meds when we're writing which makes the process more fun. For me, working, reading, family time.

MW - Yeah family time is important. I like to spend time walking my two dogs with my better half.


What would be your absolute dream stage to perform on be?

MW - Gotta be Donington all the way.

AB - Got to agree with Mick there. Download would be amazing. Or something overseas like Red Rocks, or something cool like Shiprocked.

Other than the obvious, singing and playing instruments, do you have any other hidden talents?

MW - Other than music, I spend a lot of time working on bikes.

AB - I'm good with numbers?

MW - So to your answer your question, no we have no other talents

If you could be any superhero, who would you be and why?

MW - Deadpool! That guy has a rocking body, and he probably gets more p***y than a whiskers advert.

AB - Batman!!  Bale..... not Clooney.

MW - And definitely not the one from the last movie! Jesus Christ that movie was a bag of d***s.

Are any of you gamers, whether it be console, pc, table top or maybe mobile phone? If you are, what's your favourite game?

AB - Only every now and again, difficult to find time at the minute. I do like a good game on FIFA or a shoot em up like Gears of War.

MW - Is p**n a game?
  
As well as loving music, I am a huge reader. Do you get any time in your busy schedules to read and can you give me any book recommendations?

AB - Oh god, I read too much. Favourite books are A Prayer For Owen Meany by John Irving, and the His Dark Materials trilogy by Phillip Pullman.

MW - (In the voice of Mike Myers) I..... never..... Learned.... To ........ Reeeeead.
  
Now that your album has come out what can we expect from you next? Will there be a tour, music videos etc?

AB - After the last few years, I feel like I need a few weeks to wind down, as we've wrote, recorded, mixed, produced and mastered the EP by ourselves, on our own terms which has been incredibly time consuming but in a good way. But we've already started writing again. Our single will be out shortly, and the EP is due at the end of this month. (at the time of answering these questions) Excited but nervous all at once. I definitely see us doing some gigs in the very near future though.

MW - I think we are just looking to keep momentum going, grow musically, and try a few different things. As far as touring goes, we will have to see what comes around once the EP has been released and once I've fully recovered.

Thank you so much to both Michael and Andrew for answering my questions in the busy run up to their release of the debut album! 

To check out Chaos At Dawn and their music

Facebook - Chaos At Dawn
Twitter - @chaosatdawn
Instagram - chaosatdawnmusic
Youtube - Chaos At Dawn





Thursday, 27 April 2017

The Girl On The Bus by N.M. Brown - Blog Tour Review


Today on Life Of A Nerdish Mum I am so incredibly pleased to be kicking off the blog tour for The Girl On The Bus by N.M. Brown. 

The Girl On The Bus

A retired detective and a young woman are about to face their worst fears. 
Vicki Reiner is emotionally isolated and craves the fleeting happiness she experienced in the years prior to her college graduation. In an attempt to recapture this, she invites her former friend and room-mate, Laurie,  for a break at her deserted beach-side home. However, despite booking an online bus ticket, her friend never shows up and seems to have vanished. 
Unable to accept the bizarre circumstances of the disappearance, Vicki approaches the police who dismiss her concerns before enlisting the reluctant help of Leighton Jones – a newly retired detective who is haunted by the death of his teenage daughter. Despite trying to remain detached from the case, Leighton is drawn to Vicki and her search for justice. 
The unlikely pair face numerous obstacles but using a combination of methods he and Vicki track the killers who are working across the dusty freeways of North America. 
Soon Vicki and Leighton find themselves nervously waiting at a remote bus stop expecting the arrival of the bus. 
Will they ever discover what happened to Laurie? 
And can they both escape with their lives? 

My Review

The Girl On The Bus is easily one of the most tense books I have read in a while. I felt like my heart was in my throat the entire time I was reading as events unfolded and I wondered just how two people so unlike each other would be able to stop the killings. 

Vicki and Leighton are two very dissimilar people who come together following the disappearance of Vicki's friend. Though different in background and age, they are both slightly broken and they find in each other something that draws them together and want to help the other, The characters are incredibly complex and you grow to care for both of them as they go on the journey to solve Laurie's disappearance. 

The story is terrifying and it is quite easily imaginable to happen in the real world. I will genuinely will be double thinking and checking any travel arrangements I make in the future. I also felt it was a very unique idea and one I haven't come across in a book before so it felt really fresh and exciting. 

How the book is written too is extremely clever, though it's from multiple POVs (point of views) and slightly different time lines, you always know who, what and where you are with which is incredibly hard to do. 

I really don't want to spoil this for anyone, so everyone just needs to go out and read it so that I can then talk about this with other people! 

I gave this book 5 stars and would have given more if I could. 

About The Author


Norman M. Brown is an author living and working in Scotland. He attended secondary school in Stirling where he spent more time in the library or in the nearby park with a paperback, than he did in classes… Ironically, having graduated from Stirling University with a degree in English, he soon ended up back on the classroom again – where he has shared his love of fiction for two decades. 
Having experimented with poetry, scripts and short stories over the years, he finally decided to write sit down and write the type of fiction he would like to read. The result was his crime thriller -The Girl on the Bus. As result, Norman was delighted to be signed to Bloodhound Books at the start of this year. The Girl in the Bus, is his first published novel. He is currently writing a second novel based on its protagonist - detective Leighton Jones.  

To Connect With The N.M. Brown

Twitter - @normthewriter

Don't Forget To Check Out The Rest Of The Tour


Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Watching You by J.A. Schneider - Blog Tour Review


My second blog tour for today is for Watching You by J.A. Schneider, the third instalment in the Detective Kerri Blasco series. 

Watching You 

A serial killer texts his victims first. A detective vows revenge. He comes after her. 

In the chill of an October night, Detective Kerri Blasco is called to a bizarre murder scene. Leda Winfield, a young volunteer for the homeless, has been shot. Her cell phone displays the frightening text, WATCHING YOU, and into her back, hideously pushed with a hat pin, is a note with the same awful message. Leda's socialite family and friends insist that no one would have wanted to harm her, but Detective Kerri isn't convinced. 

Until another random young woman is killed in exactly the same way. Kerri and her team profile a monstrous killer who enjoys terrifying his victims before stalking and killing them. But how does he get their phone numbers? 

Kerri soon finds that the killer is after her, too, and that the key to finding him may just be in the homeless shelter. When the body count rises, she vows to stop the madman - even if it means battling her own personal trauma, risking her job, her love relationship with her boss Alex Brand, and her life.

My Review

Wow, well what can I say. Another brilliant book by J.A. Schneider. I thoroughly loved the last outing of Kerri Blasco and I loved this one too. 

Watching You is extremely modern and fast paced with short chapters and something always happening. The technology and things that are going on in the world around the main story are all incredibly up to date. 

Things that happen in Watching You are the kind of thing that terrifies me today, how easily someone can find out everything about you, just from the internet. Where you live, your phone number, nothing is safe any more. This is all used incredibly well throughout and shows just how even the people who think they are safe are just as vulnerable. 

Kerri Blasco isn't your typical main female character who is all singing, all dancing and all ass kicking, she has her own issues and is incredibly emotional. But she's no shrinking violet and can easily look after herself, it's just nice to see a character that is more balanced and having traits from both ends of the spectrum. 

I flew through reading this and kept wanting to read "just one more page" because I needed to know who was doing the killings and why! Even though we meet the killer right from the get go, J.A. Schneider kept me guessing right to the end as to who the culprit was. There were so many red herrings and evidence that would fit for a lot of people, which I feel is very realistic, that I couldn't guess who it was. 

Overall an excellent book and I'm already looking forward to the next book in the series! 


To Connect With J.A Schneider

Goodreads - J.A. Schneider
Twitter - @JoyceSchneider
Facebook - Joyce Schneider

About The Author


I was lucky enough to interview J.A. Schneider during the blog tour for her last Kerri Blasco blog tour so if you'd like to get to know her better, check that out here

Wheaton College, Norton MA (French Lit Major, unofficial minor in Spanish to annoy the French Dept & squeezed in Russian)
Sorbonne
Exchange student in Soviet Union (where I got arrested for spreading anti-Soviet propaganda - ha! Wound up in a Soviet hospital cuz I fell down a ravine during a hike in the Caucasus Mts near Sochi. It wasn't bad. Docs in Sochi were nice...)

Former Staffer at Newsweek Magazine

In 2016 published 1st psychological thriller FEAR DREAMS (a sensitive woman fearing insanity) & 2nd psychological thriller, HER LAST BREATH (Mari Gill wakes to horror in a strange apartment next to a murdered man, and can't remember the night before) 

Wife, mom, love reading & writing - especially thrillers & medical thrillers. (Doctors-&-Cops!) Decades of being married to a physician who loves explaining medical concepts and reliving his experiences means that there’ll be medical angles even in “regular” thrillers I write. I live with my bunch in s. Connecticut, USA. 

Don't Forget To Check Out The Rest Of The Tour







Faithless by Kjell Ola Dahl - Blog Tour Review


My first blog tour for today is for the wonderful Faithless by Kjell Ola Dahl. I'm really going to have to stop reading Orenda books as they keep adding whole series of books that I want to read to my TBR because I want to read everything each author has written! 

Faithless

When the body of a woman turns up in a dumpster, scalded and wrapped in plastic, Inspector Frank Frølich is shocked to discover that he knows her—and their recent meetings may hold the clue to her murder. As he begins to look deeper into the tragic events surrounding her death, Frølich’s colleague Gunnarstranda finds another body, and things take a more sinister turn. With a cold case involving the murder of a young girl in northern Norway casting a shadow, and an unsettling number of coincidences clouding the plot, Frølich is forced to look into his own past to find the answers—and the killer—before he strikes again. Dark, brooding and utterly chilling, atmospheric page-turner marks the return of an internationally renowned and award-winning series, from one of the fathers of Nordic Noir.

My Review

You can immediately tell why Kjell Ola Dahl is one of the forerunners in the Nordic Noir genre, the writing is beautiful and the storytelling is incredibly well thought out that it's just a pleasure to read. 

Faithless is straight to the point and is very traditional in it's investigation style of the crime, it shows that it takes time to discover and research and solve crimes and that not all murders are solved by a sudden aha moment with some new technology. It's very refreshing to see this as a throw back to how crime novels used to be and I thoroughly enjoyed the slower pace and methodical nature of the book. I also really enjoyed Inspector Frank Frølich, his dedication and experience shine through and feel really authentic. I feel like he is believable as not just a character but as a real person and can imagine him working away in a police station solving crimes. 

The location stands out as its described perfectly and it feels like an extra supporting character who helps the story along, It's both beautiful and haunting and makes me want to visit right now. 

Faithless is the seventh book in the series and having not read the other six, I was still able to jump right in and treat this as a stand alone. As I said in my intro though, it now means I have six other books I need to go find and read because of how much I enjoyed Faithless. 

Faithless is chilling and compulsive reading and a great gateway to reading Nordic noir. Easily read in one sitting as the atmosphere consumes you and the story's twists and turns take you on a thrilling ride to the ending which is absolutely stunning. 

Overall an excellent novel and one I will be recommending from here on out. 

About The Author


One of the fathers of the Nordic Noir genre, Kjell Ola Dahl was born in 1958 in Gjøvik. He made his debut in 1993, and has since published eleven novels, the most prominent of which is a series of police procedurals cum psychological thrillers featuring investigators Gunnarstranda and Frølich. In 2000 he won the Riverton Prize for The Last Fix and he won both the prestigious Brage and Riverton Prizes for The Courier in 2015. His work has been published in 14 countries, and he lives in Oslo.

Don't Forget To Follow The Rest Of The Tour


Sunday, 23 April 2017

Moby Dick by Herman Melville - Review


I'm writing my reviews for my buddy reads all completely out of order so this one is actually from this year and we finished it not very long ago (7th of April to be exact)! It was my turn to choose and I thought we hadn't done a long read in a while so why not get a "biggie" read now and so I chose Moby Dick by Herman Melville. It was not quite as long as I expected and I am eternally grateful that it wasn't. I did also get us The Turn Of The Screw to read in between as a break when we needed it (which I'll review soon) and it was a good job I did.

Moby Dick 

'Call me Ishmael.' 

So begins Herman Melville's masterpiece, one of the greatest works of imagination in literary history. As Ishmael is drawn into Captain Ahab's obsessive quest to slay the white whale Moby-Dick, he finds himself engaged in a metaphysical struggle between good and evil. More than just a novel of adventure, more than an paean to whaling lore and legend, Moby-Dick is a haunting social commentary, populated by some of the most enduring characters in literature; the crew of the Pequod, from stern, Quaker First Mate Starbuck, to the tattooed Polynesian harpooner Queequeg, are a vision of the world in microcosm, the pinnacle of Melville's lifelong meditation on America. Written with wonderfully redemptive humour, Moby-Dick is a profound, poetic inquiry into character, faith, and the nature of perception.


My Review

When I started Moby Dick, I was wondering why people said they struggled so much with it, I was really enjoying it and the pages were flying by...how wrong was I! This book tricks you into thinking that it will be good. The first 100 pages are really good, Ishmael is witty and engaging and his relationship with Quequeg was wonderfully endearing.

There was a lot more religion than I expected, but it was of a time where religion was pretty much the most important thing around.Though it isn't always dealt with as reverently as you'd expect, Ishmael mentions orchard thieves which took me a minute to realise he meant Adam and Eve and then I full on laughed out loud.

From the minute Ishmael and Quequeg step on the Pequod the whole book starts going down hill. I was thoroughly looking forward to meeting the infamous Captain Ahab and I expected him to be such a badass...but no sadly I was wrong. He was basically non present for most of the journey and when he was present he was not a particularly strong or stand out character.

I wanted a fast paced revenge story of one man and a whale, but what I got was an encyclopedic look into whaling in the 19th century. Don't get me wrong, the details were fascinating, but if I'd wanted to learn that kind of information I wouldn't have  read a novel, I would have done some research. When the story was being told, the writing was wonderful, but I just didn't like the dry facts throughout.

The ending to me really disappointed too, it felt rushed and half a$$ed. I won't spoil it in case there are people who haven't read it who still want to. It wasn't spoiled for me so I won't spoil it for other people. I will say however is was very unsatisfying.

It was a hard slog but I'm glad we did it, it's another one off our wish lists.

I gave this book 2 stars.

About The Author 


Herman Melville was an American novelist, short story writer, essayist, and poet. His first two books gained much attention, though they were not bestsellers, and his popularity declined precipitously only a few years later. By the time of his death he had been almost completely forgotten, but his longest novel, Moby-Dick — largely considered a failure during his lifetime, and most responsible for Melville's fall from favour with the reading public — was rediscovered in the 20th century as one of the chief literary masterpieces of both American and world literature.

Saturday, 15 April 2017

Game Point by Malcolm Hollingdrake - Blog Tour Review


Today I am really pleased to be a part of the blog tour for Game Point, by Malcolm Hollingdrake, the fourth book in the DCI Cyril Bennett series. 

Game Point

DCI Bennett faces the most harrowing case of his career. A psychopath, who escaped capture, is hell bent on revenge and executes a series of events that will not only impact on Bennett physically, but will have emotional and professional consequences.

A body is found with its fingers amputated, then an investigative journalist, embroiled in the pornography and drugs scene, is murdered.

Bennett’s team is faced with some baffling evidence. Hatpins and bicycle spokes become pivotal to the inquiry but the police struggle to connect the evidence.

It is only when a Detective Sergeant from the team is kidnapped that Bennett realises that he is the true target. 

Can Bennett solve the case before it’s too late? How many people will he lose in the process?

My Review

First of all can I give some love to this absolutely stunning cover! It's eye-catching and having read the book completely spot on. 

Game Point is extremely fast paced and filled with twists that DCI Cyril Bennett has to navigate. A lot of the darker side of life is covered in this book and is dealt with incredibly well. Do be prepared though for some more gruesome aspects as the bodies pile up. The story is very well told and the writing is excellent. All of these points add up to making Game Point a book you can easily read in one sitting! 

I think the strongest thing that comes across in this book is just how good a person Cyril is both personally and in the work place, he's just trying his best to do the best he can. Also just how much people can achieve when they work together. The crimes committed and the kidnapping of a team mate could have been make or break for the team and yet they all came together and worked hard. You can feel the emotion from them all and the anger, fear and determination they all have to solve the case as soon as they can. I felt myself holding my breath at points waiting to see what happened. 

Though Game Point is book 4 in a series, it can be read as a stand alone like I have. The character development and story are strong enough to completely capture you. There are references to previous cases though, so beware if you plan on reading the rest of the series (like I'm now going to), then do that first, then come straight back and read this. 

Overall an excellent book and another author I will be adding to my must read list! 

I gave this book 4 stars


About The Author


You could say that the writing was clearly written on the wall for anyone born in a library that they might aspire to be an author but to get to that point Malcolm Hollingdrake has travelled a circuitous route.

Malcolm worked in education for many years, even teaching for a period in Cairo before he started writing, a challenge he had longed to tackle for more years than he cares to remember. 

Malcolm has written a number of successful short stories and has four books now available. Presently he is concentrating on a series of crime novels set in Harrogate, North Yorkshire. 

Born in Bradford and spending three years in Ripon, Malcolm has never lost his love for his home county, a passion that is reflected in the settings for all three novels.

Malcolm has enjoyed many hobbies including collecting works by Northern artists; the art auctions offer a degree of excitement when both buying and certainly when selling. It’s a hobby he has bestowed on DCI Cyril Bennett, the main character in his latest novel.

To Connect With Malcolm Hollingdrake

Twitter - @MHollingdrake
Publisher - Bloodhound Books

Don't Forget To Check Out The Rest Of The Tour


Friday, 7 April 2017

Getting To Know... John Lov - Ascendia


Today is the day! I am so happy to kick off a new part of my Getting To Know... feature with John Lov of the absolutely freaking amazing band Ascendia! 

So to get us started off, could you introduce yourself and tell me what your part in the band is?

My name is John and I am the lead guitar player and one of the song writers for the band Ascendia

Your sound is very distinctive (and awesome), have you always known how you wanted to sound or has it come about more organically?

We appreciate the compliment! I think life as a musician starts by absorbing all the musical influences you possibly can and learning as much as you can. The music we write is the product of 3 guys with unique musical influences and experiences combining them in the most cohesive way possible. I think through this process we have managed to develop our own unique sound that we are very proud of!

Growing up who were your favourite bands or musicians?

I started off listening to classic rock/metal which includes bands like Black Sabbath, Rainbow, Scorpions, Whitesnake, Rush, Boston and Europe. After years of listening to these bands I got introduced to a band called Nightwish and everything changed! Once I got a taste for new modern metal there was no looking back.

When you're all not performing, recording, writing etc, what would we find you doing?

We all are either working or in school! I work for a finance company, Nick is an electrician and Billy is studying finance at York University.

What would be your absolute dream stage to perform on be?

I think we would all love to be able to play the stage at Wacken festival in Germany. It is an epic festival with some epic bands!

Other than the obvious, singing and playing instruments, do you have any other hidden talents?

I like to take naps. I’m pretty good at that!

Your music videos are extremely well polished and make an impact, do you have a lot of say in the concept and what you'd like the finished video to look like?

The first thing we do is break down the lyrics and the meaning of the song. At this point we start brainstorming ideas and ways to convey the message and overall vibe of the song. We then present these ideas to the music video director and discuss how these ideas will look on camera. He then gets his input and we create a plan of execution.

If you could be any superhero, who would you be and why?

I would probably pick Batman just to ride that crazy motorcycle he has haha!

Are any of you gamers, whether it be console, pc, table top or heck even mobile phone? If you are, what's your favourite game?

Billy Lov is into gaming quite a bit! He’s got PS4 and I catch him playing Call of Duty all the time.

As well as loving music, I am a huge reader. Do you get any time in your busy schedules to read and can you give me any book recommendations?

Being a past business student I would recommend the “Big Short.” It is a really interesting book that explores the 2008 US mortgage housing crisis. Yea, I’m boring.

I know the new album is in the works which is incredibly exciting for fans, can you tell me anything about it and what we can look forward to from Ascendia in the future?

The new album has been taking a while, but for a very good reason. A lot of things have changed in our musical interests and tastes and we needed time to be able to put these ideas together in a cohesive manner. You will get everything you love about Ascendia in there. What I can tell you is that it is going to be a very lean, polished, melodic, emotional and heavy album.  We are working hard on the recipe and we think all our fans will be happy

THANK YOU so much to John Lov for taking the time to answer my questions, especially with how busy he is with the new album and up coming tour!

To connect with Ascendia

Facebook - Ascendia
Twitter - @Ascendiamusic
Instagram - ascendiamusic
Snapchat - ascendiamusic
Youtube - Ascendia


To purchase a copy of The Lion And The Jester 

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