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

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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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In Other Words: Eight Stories, Eight Unheard Voices - Blog Tour Review

 


Today on Life Of A Nerdish Mum, I'm sharing my review of a very special book - In Other Words. A big thank you to the authors, publisher and Anne Cater of Random Things Tours. 

In Other Words 

A shift in the nature of light reveals an eighth colour in the visible spectrum. A boy befriends the last tree in the natural world. A single mother finds help at the darkest point of her life. A young man finds himself trapped in a university overrun by crows.

These stories and more form In Other Words, an anthology as diverse as the writers themselves. Some cover trauma, societal issues and stigma; others offer fragments of hope and light. Some reach back in time while others transport us to another dimension altogether. There is heartbreak, wit, humour, poignancy and above all a mastery of the imagination.

What these transcendent stories share is that they were created by autistic writers, people often dismissed as unimaginative or incapable of creativity a myth that has persisted for generations. This collection hopes to shatter those stereotypes, those misconceptions and misunderstandings, and the perception that one must be neurotypical to be afforded a voice in the arts.

My Review

What a wonderful and perfect anthology of short stories! Not one story was less than another and each was extremely enjoyable in a different way. 

I laughed, cried and wondered throughout and feel I went through a whole gamut of emotions in between. I've been trying to decide if I had a favourite story, but genuinely I think it'd be unfair to make me choose and as it's my review I decided to say they're all my favourite, just for different reasons. 

The level of writing skill in each story is amazing and some beautiful prose is used. What Mainspring Arts have done to be able for this work to be shared is commendable as we might have missed out on some amazing new authors. 

I absolutely loved reading In Other Words and I will be getting myself a hard copy to keep in my collection. 

100% 5 stars for this anthology. 

About Mainspring Arts

Mainspring Arts, a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to making the arts
inclusive, diverse, and accessible to all, was founded in 2015 by Katya Balen and
Miranda Prag. They were frustrated by the lack of diversity in the arts, where
neurotypical and non-disabled actors or writers frequently assume the roles or
voices of neurodivergent people, or those with disabilities. Katya and Miranda
believe those people should be able to tell their own stories, and Mainspring
Arts exists to help them do it. @mainspring_arts

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Tuesday, 22 June 2021

Finding Freedom In The Lost Kitchen by Erin French -Blog Tour Review

 


Today on Life Of A Nerdish Mum I'm proud to be part of the blog tour for Finding Freedom In The Lost Kitchen by Erin French. A big thank you to the author, publisher and Anne Cater of Random Things Tours. 

Finding Freedom In The Lost Kitchen

Erin French grew up barefoot on a 25-acre farm in Maine, fell in love with food as a teenager working the line at her dad's diner and found her calling as a professional chef at her tiny restaurant The Lost Kitchen, tucked into a 19th century mill--now a world-renowned dining destination.

In Finding Freedom in the Lost Kitchen, Erin tells her story of multiple rock-bottoms, from medical student to pregnant teen, of survival as a jobless single mother, of pills that promised release but delivered addiction, of a man who seemed to offer salvation but ripped away her very sense of self. And of her son who became her guiding light as she slowly rebuilt her personal and culinary life around the solace she found in food--as a source of comfort, a sense of place, as a way of creating community and making something of herself, despite seemingly impossible odds.

Set against the backdrop of rural Maine and its lushly intense, bountiful seasons, Erin French's rollercoaster memoir reveals struggles that have taken every ounce of her strength to overcome, and the passion and courage behind the fairytale success of The Lost Kitchen

My Review

What an inspiring and emotional read. Finding Freedom In The Lost Kitchen, allows you to follow Erin French on her journey from developing her love of food and cooking to the darkest times of Erin's life, to finding herself again. 

The writing is beautiful and flows so naturally, you don't realise how much you've read as it's been so easy to read. If Erin ever decided to become an author of fiction I'm sure she'd be amazing. The way she described experiences and places, really made me feel like I was there and participating. I was really involved in her life. 

There are bits throughout which are hard reading due to the subject matter. Reading about addiction and what it can do to you, especially when you're so involved with the person and are rooting for them so much. Knowing the outcome definitely helped getting through those parts. I feel privileged that Erin decided to share her life with us. 

An absolutely amazing read and one that will stay with me. 

5 stars. 

About The Author


Erin French is the owner and chef of The Lost Kitchen, a 40-seat restaurant in
Freedom, Maine, that was recently named one of the World’s Greatest Places by TIME
Magazine. Booking is by postcard ballot on the first day of spring with over 20,000
postcards received last season. Erin French has written for The New York Times,
Martha Stewart Living and The Wall Street Journal. Her first book, The Lost Kitchen
Cookbook, was nominated for a James Beard Foundation Award and named one of the
best 2017 cookbooks by The Washington Post and Vogue. Erin French will host The
Lost Kitchen TV show on Joanna and Chip Gaines’ new television network, the
Magnolia Network, launching in March 2021.

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