#BlogTour #Review: David Mogo: God Hunter by Suyi Davies Okungbowa @IAmSuyiDavies @Tr4cyF3nt0n

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Today I have the pleasure of participating in the blog tour for David Mogo: Goodhunter by Suyi Davies Okungbowa. I have to admit that I was a little apprehensive coming into this one as God Punk is not a genre that I have ever explored in the past. But I’m delighted to say that the world building and own voice narration quickly won me over. If you have any interest in YA urban fantasy or even fantasy set away from the common western conventions then this one definitely worth a read.


mogoTitle: David Mogo: Godhunter

Author:  Suyi Davies Okungbowa

Publisher: Abbadon

Publication Date: July 9, 2019

Genre: Urban Fantasy, YA Fantasy, Nigerian God Punk

Themes: Family, Loyalty, Mythology

Features: N/A


Synopsis

Since the Orisha War that rained thousands of deities down on the streets of Lagos, David Mogo, demigod, scours Eko’s dank underbelly for a living wage as a freelance Godhunter. Despite pulling his biggest feat yet by capturing a high god for a renowned Eko wizard, David knows his job’s bad luck. He’s proved right when the wizard conjures a legion of Taboos—feral godling-child hybrids—to seize Lagos for himself. To fix his mistake and keep Lagos standing, David teams up with his foster wizard, the high god’s twin sister and a speech-impaired Muslim teenage girl to defeat the wizard.


My Review

This isn’t an easy read full of familiar places, soft language, and common tropes. But rather, it’s diverse, challenging, and wholly fantastic. The dialect takes some time to adjust to, especially as a North American reader, but if you give it some time and put some effort into paying attention it quickly becomes second nature. The premise is unique, with a set of gods that have been cats out of their own world and since taken over Lagos, along with a whole hoard of godlings and taboos. The desolation and reorganization of society gave a very different feel to the standard post-apocalyptic narrative and injected a healthy dose of culture.

That’s not to say that there isn’t any magic, because it’s present in wild abundance. The wizards and gods are both exceptionally well written with unique and distinctive qualities. I appreciated the differences between the two types of abilities with the magic of the wizards being tied to real and tangible things while the power of the gods were entirely intangible and otherworldly. All of the gods powers and personalities were deeply varied, creating landscape that is both exciting and difficult to navigate.

There are some uncomfortable moments, especially when it comes to Fati and the implied acts against her. But as uncomfortable as these moments were, I am glad that they were included as this is not the kind of books that skates around the darker side of life – especially when the societal structure favours a few with power and the masses subservient and impoverished. Now add in an ambivalent government that only cares about the upper echelons and would prefer to live in denial of reality and you have a pretty wicked storm.

I didn’t mind that the whole of the work is actually three novellas packaged together as a single unit. Each instalment had a clearly defined arc, villain, and objective and played extremely well off of the previous sections. They helped to clearly delineate the evolution of David’s development as both a character and powerful demigod. Plus, they facilitated some pretty serious jumps in time without injecting any tedious and extraneous text for plot advancement. My only really complaint is that the dispersal of the world building information throughout at times took on the feeling of massive info dumps. And while this may work better in a. novella setting where you need to pack a whole lot of information in a tiny space, but with the novel format I felt that there was more latitude to spread the spread the information out for a smoother presentation. But, and this is a big but, I am aware that my storytelling preferences are defined by the traditions that I have been brought up in and aware that this criticism might be based entirely on personal preferences and cultural constructs.

David himself is a complex and interesting character. He lives between two worlds in more ways than one – half god and half human he constantly walks a fine line between humanity and hypocrisy in his god hunting. He is also further divided between mainstream culture and the world of wizardry having been raised by Papa Udi, and again by the sleeping and waking worlds as he shifts between planes. These divisions are further emphasized by David’s constant code switching between the normalized western speech that he uses for business and the local dialect that he uses in the comfort of home. Don’t get me wrong, we all do this to some degree, utilizing different speech patterns at home than we do at work, it’s just much more evident in David and Papa Udi’s speech.

Finally, I enjoyed the variety present in the supporting characters. I loved Papa Udi’s unwavering support and complicated past, the complexity if the High Gods personalities and powers, and the depravity of the villains throughout. I would have loved to see some of these supporting characters developed a little more, but that’s just because they were so interesting! If Okungbowa were to put out a collection of short stories or novellas focusing on everyone else I’d be chomping at the bit to read it.

All together I really enjoyed David Mogo: Godhunter. It was a welcome introduction into the world of god punk and Nigerian urban fantasy as well as being a fabulous own voices read.It’s complex, imaginative, and full of action. If you want tottery something that’s both fantastical and far from the typical westernized conventions, this book is sure to please. Give the code switching and dialogue a chance to settle in and Okungbowa will take you on a fantastical ride.


About The Author

Suyi Davies Okungbowa is a Nigerian writer of science fiction, contemporary and dark fantasy, and crime fiction. His work has appeared in Lightspeed, Fireside, Podcastle, The Dark, Mothership Zeta,

Omenana, Ozy, Brick Moon Fiction; amongst other magazines and anthologies. He is an MFA candidate in Creative Writing at the University of Arizona, and has worked in editorial at Podcastle and Sonora Review. He lives online on Facebook, tweets at @IAmSuyiDavies, and blogs at suyidavies.com. His urban fantasy novel about gods in Lagos is forthcoming in 2019.


Many thanks to Tracy Fenton at Compulsive Readers for inviting me to join this tour and providing a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

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#BlogTour #Review: The Dead Wife by Sue Fortin @suefortin1 @rararesources #CrimeFiction

The Dead Wife

I’ve been in a bit of a reading slump these past few weeks, so I was dreading diving into this book out of fear that I wouldn’t enjoy it as much as I hoped to. But, I’m delighted to say that within the first few chapters my apprehension quickly melted away and I was completely wrapped up in Stephanie and Sophie’s quest to discover what happened to the late Elizabeth Sinclair. The Dead Wife is quick paced, full of all the right drama – M. K. Hill grabs you from the first page and doesn’t let go until the very end.


TDW Jacket 2Title:  The Dead Wife

Author: Sue Fortin

Publisher: HarperCollins

Publication Date: July 12, 2019

Genre: Crime Thriller, Psychological Thriller

Themes: Murder, Journalism, Romance, Family Dynamics

Features: N/A


My Rating: 4.5/ 5


Synopsis

SINCLAIR WIFE DEAD!  HUSBAND CLEARED!

Police have ruled out suspicious circumstances in the investigation into the death of Elizabeth Sinclair, wife of charismatic entrepreneur Harry Sinclair, found drowned in the lake of the family’s holiday park.

It’s been two years since the Sinclair case closed but when reporter Steph Durham receives a tipoff that could give her the scoop of the year, she’s drawn deeper and deeper into the secretive Sinclair family.

Elizabeth’s death wasn’t a tragic accident. And the truth will come at a deadly price…

 Purchase Link – https://amzn.to/2Vk9Z84


My Review

I adored this book because somehow it manages to be light and airy while simultaneous injecting a healthy dose of dark and twisty and never once feeling out of place. The two threads play beautifully off one another balancing paranoia with humour, sadness with hope, and intrigue with romance  which creates a really enjoyable and exciting reading experience. We have a young travel journalist sent to investigate the grand re-opening of an infamous resort where two years prior the wife of one of the owners passed away under mysterious circumstances, a desperate mother determined to find the truth out about the death of her daughter, and the son of a business empire that wants nothing more than to escape the oppressive clutches of his family. I’d say that’s a pretty good recipe for an exciting read – even before suspicious and dangerous events stark dogging our heroine’s tracks!

It’s helpful that Stephanie is a journalist rather than a police office as she can break protocol with far fewer consequences and a lot less red tape than if she were a police office investigating Elizabeth’s death. And it really helps that Steph is a cute, unassuming little firecracker because who in the Sinclair family would talk to a cop with all of those skeletons in their many, many closets? Of course, the police aren’t entirely out not the picture with Steph’s mom having been the DCI on the case. Lynch’s official line and cryptic warnings creates a fair bit of tension and moves the plot along nicely, especially when it feels like Steph’s investigation is grinding to a halt.

I enjoyed Stephanie’s tenacity and spunk, how she sought to make the most of every situation that she encountered – from doing her best promotional work for the Conmere Resort, to taking on Sonia’s case to find the truth about her daughter’s death, and finally in accepting Harry’s offer for extra work when she so desperately needed the funds to stay solvent. I’m sure Stephanie’s need to balance the desire to pursue her photography full time with keeping one’s head above water is one that many will be able to relate to. That, or the steamy whirl-wind romance with an heir to the Sinclair estate and the man that she is supposed to be investigating. Hello forbidden fruit!

Harry struck me as a bit of a modern day Mr. Darcy. He’s introspective, emotional, and unbelievably wealthy. He blows hot and cold on so many fronts oscillating between friendly and standoffish, caring and cold, kind and accusatory, as well as empathetic and detached. Not to mention that he takes after a girl with an inquisitive heart wanting for means, against his better judgement to boot, and simply can’t resist the temptation.

Now, lets be real here, the romance in The Dead Wife takes off in true fairy tale style. We are talking a damsel in financial distress completely loosing it for a broody, handsome and wealthy prince in just under three weeks – just wow! Now lets keep in mind that Stephanie has a good bit of baggage from her divorce and Harry’s packing a few cargo containers worth of his own after the death of his wife… If having to watch Frozen on loop with the god-kids has taught me anything, it’s that Steph needs to have a conversation with Elsa, Anna, and the reality stick. Also, I loved it.

I appreciated too, that Elizabeth wasn’t a perfect victim to be held up on a pedestal. Not that her actions ever warranted her demise, but she quickly became a character that was easy to both love and hate. Her boredom, ambition, manipulations, and scheming was so easy to get wrapped up in – and I can only imagine the rage inspired in the Sinclair family when they discovered the depths of her interference. I appreciated how both Harry and Sonia acknowledged and understood Elizabeth’s flaws, and never tried to glorify her after death. Sonia’s dedication to finding the truth was honest, heartfelt, and really pulled at the heartstrings.

While it was pretty clear that one of the Sinclair’s was responsible for Elizabeth’s death, I certainly wasn’t expecting the culprit in the end. Any one of the four could have been responsible, with each having plenty of motive, so it quickly became a matter of sussing out not only who had more motive but also the personality to act upon their dark desires. We have fierce mama Pru, secretive and controlling Dominic, volatile and emotional Owen, and the cuckolded then widowed Harry. Hill just keeps feeding out those misleading clues that eventually all come together in the end, but first leads you in about 200 circles. So good!

All together this is a gripping and engaging read. There’s never a moment where you’re wanting for action and all of the characters are developed and unique. The interplay between intrigue and emotion will have you constantly guessing what comes next. If you like a good psychological thriller with a little love in the mix, The Dead Wife is an absolute must read!


About The Author

Sue Fortin is an award-winning USA Today and an Amazon best-selling author, an international bestseller and has reached #1 in the Amazon UK Kindle chart. Sue writes mystery, suspense and romance, sometimes combining all three.

Sue was born in Hertfordshire but had a nomadic childhood, moving often with her family, before eventually settling in West Sussex where she now lives with her husband, children and grandchidren.

Social Media Links – Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/suefortinauthor/?ref=bookmarks

Twitter : www.twitter.com/suefortin1

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

Website www.suefortin.com


Many thanks to Rachel Gilbey at Rachel’s Random Resources and Sue Fortin for inviting me to join in this tour and for providing a copy in exchange for an honest review.

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#Review: The Lost Shrine by Nicola Ford @nic_ford @AllisonandBusby

Today I’m delighted to be sharing my review for Nicola Ford’s second novel, The Lost Shrine. Packed full of interesting characters, a riveting plot, and a firm foundation in fact I was absolutely enthralled by the end of the first chapter. If you you enjoy a healthy dose of archaeology mixed in with your crime thrillers, then don’t be afraid to pick this baby up!


42439301._SY475_Title: The Lost Shrine

Author: Nicola Ford

Publisher: Allison & Busby

Publication Date: May 23, 2019

Genre: Mystery, Crime Fiction, Thriller

Themes: Archaeological Dig, Murder Mystery, Grief, Friendship

Features: N/A


My Rating: 5/ 5


Synopsis

Clare Hills, archaeologist and sometime sleuth, is struggling to finance her recently established university research institute along with her long-time friend, Dr David Barbrook. When Professor Margaret Bockford finds the Hart Unit commercial work with a housing developer on a site in the Cotswolds, the pair are hardly in a position to refuse. There is just one slight catch: the previous site director, Beth Kinsella, was found hanged in a copse on-site, surrounded by mutilated wildlife.

Despite initial misgivings, Clare leads a team to continue work on the dig, but with rumours about Beth’s mental state and her claims that the site was historically significant refusing to be laid to rest, and lingering disquiet between local residents and the developers, progress is impeded at every turn. When one of the workers finds something unsettling, Clare suspects there may be more to Beth’s claims than first thought. But can she uncover the truth before it is hidden for ever?


My Review

Mrs. Hills sure knows how to land herself in the think of it, doesn’t she? Not only is her personal life an absolute wreck, the Hart Unit is on the rocks, and she somehow continually manages to drop herself into complicated murder investigations. And yet, she miraculously keeps it all together. I have to give some props here to one of new favourite hot messes, if I could channel some of her grit into my own life!

Of course, Clare’s not in this mess alone as she is once again joined by David, Jo, and Margaret as they continue the work of the Hart Unit. I loved that while the characters grew from The Hidden Bones, that The Lost Shrine can be enjoyed as a standalone novel. Sure, there are a few references to past events but the dig site in the Cotswolds and the events surrounding Beth Kinsella’s death are in no way tied to previous arcs. It kept everything fresh and new, while keeping the characters rooted in a deeper sense of history and relationships.

It was fun to learn that while Jo is a foremost expert when it comes to interpreting bones that she can’t handle the sight of blood, that Margaret isn’t above shaking off her academic shrouding to do a little sleuthing, and that Clare still has the natural instincts she walked away from years ago. It was a little unfair for David to leave Clare in charge of a site with so much publicity and so little training or support. But therein lies the drama! Add in a big bully of a developer, some well intentioned locals with some half-baked plans, and a potential serial killer that may or may not be obsessed with Iron Age rituals and you’ve got a winning combination.

And whomever said that academia was boring has clearly never experienced institutional politics. It was interesting to trace the perceptions of Dr. Kinsella through the police, her colleagues, and family. How personal choices were presented in a way that fit a biased narrative, how direct superiors can work to snow you under, and how personal relationships have a way of bleeding into the professional world. I ended up as engrossed with the secondary plot lines as I did the murder and the dig. It was cathartic to read and relate to someone else’s bureaucratic bullshit and be able to close the book when I wanted to walk away.

Ford’s writing is vivid and engaging, rooted in a real world love for archaeology (clearly written by someone who has spent some time picking in the trenches) yet easily accessible to all. Processes and artefacts are presented in plain and understandable language, the complexities of site robbers and the antiquities black market are subtly explored, and  It’s adored that while their work is exciting and clearly rewarding that Ford offers a realist look at the harsh reality of being a working archaeologist – precarious work, limited pay, crazy site owners, working in all weather and conditions, and the opportunity to be part of something incredibly special.

I can’t wait to see what Clare and the gang will get into next, and I especially want to know what’s going to happen with the estate of the late Mr. Hills – because with any spoilers that has the possibility to be seriously juicy! The Lost Shrine is sure to please lovers of historical archaeology and crime thrillers alike, don’t pass this over my friends, it’s the perfect summer read!


Many thanks to Lesley Crooks at Allison & Busby for providing a copy in exchange for an honest review.