Thursday, 14 April 2022

The Rabbit Factor by Antti Tuomainen - Blog Tour Review

 


Today on Life Of A Nerdish Mum I'm so happy to be back in the warm embrace of an Orenda Books and Random Things book tour! 

I am kicking off the tour for The Rabbit Factor by Antti Tuomainen with my review. 

The Rabbit Factor

An insurance mathematician’s carefully ordered life is turned on its head when he unexpectedly loses his job and inherits an adventure park … with a whole host of problems. A quirky, tense and warmly funny thriller from award-winning Finnish author Antti Tuomainen.

What makes life perfect? Insurance mathematician Henri Koskinen knows the answer because he calculates everything down to the very last decimal.

And then, for the first time, Henri is faced with the incalculable. After suddenly losing his job, Henri inherits an adventure park from his brother – its peculiar employees and troubling financial problems included. The worst of the financial issues appear to originate from big loans taken from criminal quarters … and some dangerous men are very keen to get their money back.

But what Henri really can’t compute is love. In the adventure park, Henri crosses paths with Laura, an artist with a chequered past, and a joie de vivre and erratic lifestyle that bewilders him. As the criminals go to extreme lengths to collect their debts and as Henri's relationship with Laura deepens, he finds himself faced with situations and emotions that simply cannot be pinned down on his spreadsheets…


My Review 

Going in to reading The Rabbit Factor I already knew that I would enjoy the writing style as I have read and enjoy Antti Tuomainen's writing before. It didn't disappoint and his clever sense of humour shone through this smoothly written book. 

As there is a mystery to the story, I won't be talking too much about the plot line. However I would be remiss if I didn't mention how incredibly well woven the tale was and the pacing of the writing matched what was happening during each chapter. It wasn't a heart pounding race to the end, and that really worked with developing the character of Henri and the background of the adventure park (not amusement park). 

Henri is truly wonderful and I found very likeable. The way he tries to deal with things so logically and that while it occasionally works, he shows so much growth throughout the book and develops a wider range of methods. He shows both through his dealing with out of the box situations and a romance that he's not what anyone, including himself, would expect. 

Overall an absolute pleasure to read and I'll definitely be continuing to read anything by Antti Tuomainen. I gave this book five stars. 

About The Author 


Finnish Antti Tuomainen was an award-winning copywriter when he made his
literary debut in 2007 as a suspense author Iin 2013, the Finnish press crowned
Tuomainen the ‘King of Helsinki Noir’ when Dark as My Heart was published.
With a piercing and evocative style, Tuomainen was one of the first to challenge
the Scandinavian crime genre formula, and his poignant, dark and hilarious The
Man Who Died became an international bestseller, shortlisting for the Petrona
and Last Laugh Awards. Palm Beach Finland was an immense success, with
Marcel Berlins (The Times) calling Tuomainen ‘the funniest writer in Europe’. His
latest thriller, Little Siberia, was shortlisted for the CWA International Dagger, the
Amazon Publishing/Capital Crime Awards and the CrimeFest Last Laugh Award,
and won the Petrona Award for Best Scandinavian Crime Novel of the Year.

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Saturday, 2 April 2022

A Very Alice Easter

 


Blackburn BID are hosting an Easter Wonderland Adventure and today kicked off the Easter and half term activities in the town centre.

The themed trails are always a huge hit with the kids and this Alice in Wonderland trail was most definitely one of the best ones we've been to. Because it was the first day, there were characters around who you could meet and intereact with. They also gave special words as clues to complete a phrase in the trail booklet. When this was completed, the kids both got an easter lolly for getting it right. 

We decided to visit all the characters first before going on the decorated egg hunt, the characters we met were...

Alice


We met Alice first and she was absolutely wonderful. She was in the Mall and was having a round of pin the smile on the Cheshire Cat with the kids. Thea put her smile on almost perfectly and Tristan made it look like it was wearing a hat. 

The Mad Hatter

We found the Mad Hatter down a rabbit hole in Mad Hatters Cupcakes and Tearooms. He was as mad as a box of frogs and had riddles for the kids to solve. Thea wasn't a big fan and left, but came back with the added bravery of a marshmellow lolly. Tristan thought he was brilliant and solved his riddle to get the word clue. 

The Queen of Hearts


My favourite character and costume! The Queen was outside of the cathedral and the kids managed to have a game of croquet with her without losing either of their heads! 

The King of Hearts


The King of Hearts was avoiding his wife and hiding out in Geek Retreat. He was busy playing memory games. I absolutely loved the giant cards and the kids were so happy finding pairs. 

The White Rabbit 



The White Rabbit was celebrating one of their many Un-Birthdays in the market. Thea decided she had a lot of Un-Birthdays too and both kids managed to solve the riddle for our last word clue. 

Once we'd met all the characters, we stopped for a bit of dinner and then went on the easter egg hunt. There are 9 eggs hidden around the town centre that have all been decorated by local schools. Each one has information about it and the answers to the questions in the trail booklet. Tristan's favourite thing to do is a treasure hunt/trail, so he was really happy using the map to figure out where all the eggs were. I got confused by the map and used the list of places instead! 


The egg hunt is on till the 16th of April and there's a chance to win £100 in vouchers if you fill in the trail booklet questions and hand back in at the Ask Me point in the Mall. There are also activites on daily which all look really fun, so I'm sure we'll be back another day to check them out.



Wednesday, 15 September 2021

The Lion And The Unicorn by Tom Ward - Blog Tour Review

 


Today on Life Of A Nerdish Mum I'm closing out the blog tour for The Lion And The Unicorn by Tom Ward. A big thank you to both the author and Anne Cater of Random Things Tours.

The Lion And The Unicorn

London, 2054. After a devastating global pandemic and a bloody revolution,
Britain’s new government imposes peace by stringently dictating the nation’s
cultural intake. In the quest to create better citizens, everything from the
television we watch to the clothes we wear is strictly policed. As part of the unit
tasked with upholding these so-called ‘Bad Taste Laws’, H. and his partner,
Bagby, have their work cut out.

When former reality TV star Caleb Jennings is found murdered, some suspect it
could be a simple vigilante slaying. But, as H. digs deeper into the killing,
Bagby’s association with old revolutionary figureheads is called into question.

With the help of Caleb’s estranged sister, the museum curator Kate Faron, H.
must navigate a Britain in which paranoia and suspicion of the unknown are
rife, all the while dealing with the mysterious tech behemoth Vangelis, new
revolutionary murmurings, and the legacy of Kate’s biologist parents.

Compelled by what he uncovers, H. begins to question his loyalty to the state at
a time when national stability couldn’t be more precarious.

My Review

I have read many dystopian works of fiction and many murder mysteries, but The Lion And The Unicorn is my first with both mixed together and it really, really works! I really felt the different politics and morality laws added a whole extra layer of intrigue. 

The main character H is neither a traditional grizzled detective or a teenaged saviour and so is very relatable and deals with issues in ways that anyone would. I found myself debating what I would do in his place and most of the time I'd do exactly what he did. I really enjoyed his thought process and the feelings that followed. 

As the story takes place following a pandemic and the following fall out, it was very close to home as everything is not really that much of a stretch to imagine with the direction certain real life politics are heading. In some ways this made the story even more immersive as I could picture how situations would come about and obviously I still have very strong feelings about living through a pandemic. 

Overall a really excellent book. I really enjoyed the writing style and the story was wonderfully planned out. There were enough twists that kept me wanting to know what happened next. I would love to read more from Tom Ward. 

I gave this book 5 stars. 

About The Author


Tom Ward is an author and features writer, writing for publications including

Wired, Esquire and National Geographic.

He has won the GQ Norman Mailer Award, the PPA New Consumer Magazine

Journalist of the Year Award, and has been shortlisted for The People's Book
Prize. He is also a graduate of the Faber Academy.

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Tuesday, 24 August 2021

Gorilla by Christine Hamm - Blog Tour Review


Today on Life Of A Nerdish Mum I am sharing my review of Gorilla by Christine Hamm. A big thank you to the author and Anne Cater of Random Things Tours.

Gorilla 

Poetry. Women's Studies. Winner of the 2019 Tenth Gate Prize. This surreal series of prose poems, harmonic and jarring, pops the reader into a world where the animal is a danger-suit we might all don, or is a force of chaos that breaks families, or America's unconscious hatred of women. Perhaps it is our world, perhaps more real than surreal. One of the most unusual investigations of gender and family, this collection disorders and disturbs, knowing that upending the status quo makes the best manners of all.

My Review

I'm so happy I "discovered" poetry a few years ago, it's so easy to check out different genres and types and finding your own favourite method is really fun to do. I love poems that tell a story and Gorilla definitely falls into this category, each poem itself tells a tale and there's also a running thread through the whole collection. 

Gorilla is on of the more challenging poetry collections I've read. The use of magical realism alongside anthropomorphism it at times meant I had to read the poem a second time to ensure I'd understood what I had read. This is not a bad thing! Poetry should be re read as you pick up something different each time you read. 

I was listening to a lot of Kate Bush while reading this, which I really felt enhanced the experience and feeling of being just on the edge of reality. 

The poems are written beautifully and I could definitely feel the emotion and I identified myself in more than one of them. 

Overall a really excellent collection and I'll be excited to read more poetry by the author. 

I gave this book 4 stars. 

About The Author


Christine E. Hamm, queer & disabled English Professor, social worker and student of ecopoetics, has a PhD in English, and lives in New Jersey.  She recently won the Tenth Gate prize from Word Works for her manuscript, Gorilla.  She has had work featured in North American Review, Nat Brut, Painted Bride Quarterly and many others. She has published six chapbooks, and several books -- including Saints & Cannibals, about which Cynthia Cruz said, "Joyfully acrobatic is her language and the wonderful jumps she makes. Hers is a voice we have been waiting for."

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Wednesday, 21 July 2021

Ruabon by Karl Drinkwater - Blog Tour Review

 


Today on Life Of A Nerdish Mum, I'm taking part in the blog tour for Ruabon by Karl Drinkwater. A big shout out to the author as always and thank you to Rachel of Rachel's Random Resources for having me along. 

Ruabon

Welcome to Tecant.

Nothing ever happens here.

Until today.

Ruabon Nadarl is just another low-ranking member of the scan crew, slaving away for the UFS which “liberated” his homeworld. To help pass the time during long shifts he builds secret personalities into the robots he controls. Despite his ingenuity, the UFS offers few opportunities for a better life.

Then Ruabon detects an intruder on the surface of a vital communications tower.

He could just report it and let the deadly UFS commandos take over, while Ruabon returns to obscurity.

Or he could break UFS laws and try to capture the intruder himself. For the UFS, only the outcome matters, not the method. If his custom-programmed drones can save the day, he’ll be a hero.

And if he fails, he’ll be dead.

My Review

Another absolute page turner in the Lost Solace series by Karl Drinkwater! I flew through this do quickly because I just couldn't put it down.

I will never not be amazed at how much character development and world building that Karl Drinkwater can bring to a story, I become completely invested in the character and Ruabon was no different. Ruabon has depth and complexity and it was so interesting seeing what he would do next. 

The tone throughout is both thrilling and intense as you watch the scenes unfold. 

You can tell in all his work, but particularly in the Lost Solace series, just how much time Karl Drinkwater spends researching things and making sure the science in his world works. It's technically written, but doesn't exclude people who aren't technically minded. 

A really wonderful addition to the series and another 5 stars from me. 

About The Author


Karl Drinkwater writes thrilling SF, suspenseful horror, and contemporary literary fiction. Whichever you pick you’ll find interesting and authentic characters, clever and compelling plots, and believable worlds.

Karl has lived in many places but now calls Scotland his home. He’s an ex-librarian with degrees in English, Classics, and Information Science. He also studied astrophysics for a year at university, surprising himself by winning a prize for “Outstanding Performance”. Karl is an active member of the British Science Fiction Association (BSFA), the Horror Writers Association (HWA), and the Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi).

When he isn’t writing he loves guitars, exercise, computer and board games, nature, and vegan cake. Not necessarily in that order.

Website https://karldrinkwater.uk

Twitter http://twitter.com/karldrinkwater

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/karlzdrinkwater

Instagram https://www.instagram.com/authorkdrinkwater/

Newsletter http://bit.ly/newsletterkd

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Friday, 16 July 2021

Clarissa by Karl Drinkwater - Blog Tour Review


Today on Life Of A Nerdish Mum, I'm extremely happy to be sharing my review of Clarissa by Karl Drinkwater. A big thank you to Rachel of Rachel's Random Resources and of course Karl Drinkwater for having me along. 

Clarissa

If you’re reading this: HELP! I’ve been kidnapped.

Me and my big sister stayed together after our parents died. We weren’t bothering anybody. But some mean government agents came anyway, and split us up.

Now I’m a prisoner on this space ship. The agents won’t even say where we’re going.

I hate them.

And things have started to get a bit weird. Nullspace is supposed to be empty, but when I look out of the skywindows I can see … something. Out there. And I think it wants to get in here. With us.

My name is Clarissa. I am ten years old.

And they will all be sorry when my big sister comes to rescue me.

My Review

I am always incredibly excited to read anything new by Karl Drinkwater (I really should share a photo of my Karl Drinkwater book shelf!) and that wasn't any different this time. I'm completely invested in anything Lost Solace too, it's definitely one of my favourite Sci Fi worlds. 

Never underestimate just how much world building and character development that Karl Drinkwater can fit in a novella. Even though Clarissa is just over 100 pages long, I was so absorbed and felt like I learned so much without it being an info dump. 

I really feel like Clarissa is a really believable ten year old girl, I definitely related the way she thought at times to how I was back then (I know that was a while ago). She's so strong and observant, but considering who her sister is I'm not surprised. She's easily become one of my favourite characters in this series. 

In Clarissa you can definitely tell that Karl Drinkwater writes horror and I think the combination of the genres is perfect. They really compliment each other. I love how he knows when to bring it in for maximum effect.

As always I thoroughly enjoyed the writing and I always want more. I gave this book 5 stars and will continue to recommend this series to everyone!! 

About The Author


Karl Drinkwater writes thrilling SF, suspenseful horror, and contemporary literary fiction. Whichever you pick you’ll find interesting and authentic characters, clever and compelling plots, and believable worlds.

Karl has lived in many places but now calls Scotland his home. He’s an ex-librarian with degrees in English, Classics, and Information Science. He also studied astrophysics for a year at university, surprising himself by winning a prize for “Outstanding Performance”. Karl is an active member of the British Science Fiction Association (BSFA), the Horror Writers Association (HWA), and the Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi).

When he isn’t writing he loves guitars, exercise, computer and board games, nature, and vegan cake. Not necessarily in that order.

Website https://karldrinkwater.uk
Twitter http://twitter.com/karldrinkwater
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/karlzdrinkwater
Instagram https://www.instagram.com/authorkdrinkwater/
Newsletter http://bit.ly/newsletterkd

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




Thursday, 24 June 2021

Preacher Boy by Gwyn GB - Blog Tour Review

 


Today Life Of A Nerdish Mum I'm taking part in the blog tour for Preacher Boy by Gwyn GB. A big thank you to the author, publisher and Anne Cater of Random Things Tours. 

Preacher Boy 

Dr Harrison Lane is everything you wouldn’t expect from a man with a psychology doctorate. For victims, he’s everything they need.

As Head of the Metropolitan Police’s Ritualistic Behavioural Crime Unit, Dr Harrison Lane knows his Voodoo from his Aum Shinrikyo and a Satanist from a Shaman.
Harrison had an unusual childhood, raised by a bohemian mother and one of the native American Shadow Wolves - the elite tracking squad that works with US Drug enforcers. After his mother’s murder, he dedicated his life to finding those who hide behind spiritualism and religion to do evil. 

Following the discovery of a missing boy’s body in what looks like a Satanic killing, Harrison is called in to help detectives. When a second boy is snatched, it becomes a race against time to save him, and sees Harrison come face-to-face with some dark secrets from his own childhood.

My Review 

Preacher Boy is the first in a new series by Gwyn GB and it's the first book I've read by the author, but it won't be the last. 

The story is fast paced from the start and pulls you right in. I found it hard to put down at times to do adulting when I wanted to know what would happen next. 

The writing is excellent and I really enjoyed Dr Harrison Lane, though I would have liked to get to know him a bit more. There are two more books due out, so I'm sure gaps will be filled in as the series progresses. It certainly makes me want to read the next book to get more information. 

Though kidnapping is a sensitive subject, especially one involving children, the author desks with it in as respectfully as possible. 

Overall a really good read and I look forward to the rest of the series. 

I gave this book 4 stars 

About The Author


Gwyn is an Amazon Top 20 bestselling author. She’s a former UK national TV newscaster and presenter, and journalist for national newspapers and magazines. Gwyn became a journalist because all she wanted to do was write and has finally realised her dream of being a full-time fiction author. Born in the UK, Gwyn now lives in the Channel Islands with her family, including a rescue dog and 17-year-old goldfish.

Gwyn launched her debut novel, Islands as Gwyn Garfield-Bennett in 2016, the romantic suspense book rose quickly into the Amazon top 20. Her first crime mystery series, featuring DI Falle, launched with Lonely Hearts in 2017.

You can find out more about Gwyn at www.gwyngb.com
Or on social media:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GwynGBwriter
Twitter: https://twitter.com/GwynGB
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/gwyngb/

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