#Blogtour #Review: The Grateful Boys by Françoise DuMaurier @fayerogerspr @authoright @FranDuMaurier #TheGratefulBoys

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Today I have the pleasure of hosting a stop on the blog tour for Françoise DuMaurier’s thrilling own voices YA novel, The Grateful Boys. If you’re a fan of fun twists on the vampires genre, feel like getting in the mood for halloween, or maybe you like to seek out multi-perspective and diverse reads, then this one is definitely for you!

FdM v1.2.jpgTitle: 
The Grateful Boys

Author: Françoise DuMaurier

Publisher: Clink Street Publishing

Publication Date: 1st October 2019

Genre: YA Fantasy, YA Fiction

Themes: Family, Vampires, Romance

Features: N/A


When seventeen-year-old Hailey’s multi-racial, single parent family migrate to the tiny rural town of Corpus, Georgia (population 700), she would rather have moved anywhere but there.

That is, until she spots him. Mysterious definitely, perhaps even supernatural. Where Hailey is awe-struck by the young man of her dreams, her little brother, Mason, sees a soulless creature of the night, a half-man who may be responsible for a series of grisly murders across the southern gothic town.

Antwan Zeddman, the town’s first African-American Sheriff, must enforce a curfew in Corpus to ensure the safety of the townsfolk. He must contend with sightings of hellish winged beasts and investigate the slaying of an innocent young couple traveling through town. There is a growing sense of racial unrest. Hailey will find herself caught between her family, the residents of Corpus, and the vampire she’s falling in love with.

The Grateful Boys is an otherworldly Young Adult novel which explores the challenges of growing up mixed raced in the southern states of America, and the troubles of a young woman coming of age in a town full of danger and temptation.

My Review

I’m always on the hunt for own voices and diverse reads, so when the opportunity came around to join the tour for The Grateful Boys I simply couldn’t pass it up. And one of the main reasons that I enjoy own voices reads so much is that they challenge the reader to take on a perspective so vastly different than their own – and putting myself in the mindset of two teens in a racially divided southern town certainly did the trick. It took a few chapters to get into the dialects and perspectives perspective presented by Mason, Hailey, and Antwan but once I did it was impossible to keep the pages from turning.

I loved how Mason’s gung-ho approach to discovering and destroying the vampires in  Corpus balances out the romantic elements of Hailey’s involvement with Percy. And the dual perspective means that there is something relatable for everyone one who picks it up. I did, however, feel like some of the relations ships were a little on the simplistic side. But keeping in mind that this is a YA read and the age of these characters the naivety its which their infatuations are approached is entirely believable. And this is not to undermine the fact that some serious issues such as consent, rape culture, and bullying are all tackled in tasteful and poignant ways.

And can I just say how fun it was to read about a group of boys confident in their geek culture and independent interests in a town that is sole dedicated to football? I mean, if I’d had the chance to be part of a horror movie and video game club in middle and high school you can bet your butt that I would have been there. Plus, it provides the perfect opportunity to LOAD this book with pop culture and cult classic references. I think the only thing it was missing was a Buffy-style Giles (I mean, this librarian isn’t biased…).

I really enjoyed the parts where we got to see from the perspectives of Percy and Gregorious, and was left wishing for more passages from their POV as they really added tons of intrigue and tension to the plot. Antwan too, added a nice rounding-out to the experience in taking on the brunt of the racial divide in the town without it falling on to Hailey and Mason. It was nice to see the difficulties of being an elected official so explicitly detailed in a book aimed at teens, as the popular vote and public perception is something we spend so much time telling kids that it doesn’t matter.

Altogether The Grateful Boys is a fun twist on paranormal YA and a smashing start to a series with tons of interesting avenues to explore. Whether you’re looking for a little vampire romance, or on the hunt to chase the evil out of town, DuMaurier has it in abundance. Just in time for halloween it’s time to get all Lost Boys and tackle vampires anew.

About the Author

FullSizeRender.jpgFrançoise DuMaurier is a Special Education Case Worker who works out of a small town in rural Georgia which inspired the Southern Gothic setting of The Grateful Boys. To get to work, DuMaurier passes through miles and miles of farms, as far as the eye can see. Before entering education, DuMaurier attended the Ernest G. Welch School of Art and Design where he studied visual art and creative writing. Having worked with an array of students along with his own experiences, DuMaurier is uniquely suited to provide a wry voice that encapsulates #ownvoices fiction.

Many thanks to Faye Rogers at Authoright for inviting me to join in this tour and for providing a copy in exchange for an honest review.

#BlogTour #Review: The Man at the Door by Desmond P. Ryan @BakerPromo @RealDesmondRyan

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Today I am delighted to be taking part in another blog tour for Canadian crime fiction writer Desmond P. Ryan. His third novel The Man at the Door brings back detective Mike O’Shea, his delightful mother, and the motley crew down at the precinct as they take on yet another complicated case and I must say, I loved this book even more than 10-33 Assist PC and Death Before Coffee.

MATD cover.jpgTitle:  The Man at the Door

Author: Desmond P. Ryan

Publisher: Copper Press Publishing

Publication Date: 

Genre: Fiction, Crime Fiction, Police Procedural

Themes: Friendship, Relationships, Crime

Features: N/A

My Rating: 4.5/ 5


Man At The Door, the third in Desmond P. Ryan’s Mike O’Shea Crime Fiction Series, Detective Mike O’Shea solves a homicide, juggles an increasingly complex personal life, and continues to hunt for the cop-killer who has remained at large for the past thirteen years.

It all begins at 6:10 a.m. on a Friday morning when Glen Brebeuf calls demanding answers. He had reported his former lover, Elizabeth MacDonald, missing the previous day and Detective Mike O’Shea finds himself cleaning up the mess some rookie had made of the initial call.

Within hours, Mike takes over the investigation and is on the doorstep of the missing elderly woman’s home, determining that Elizabeth MacDonald—Sibby Mac to her friends—is not missing.

Sibby Mac has been murdered.

Along with Detective Ron Roberts and Detective Sergeant Amanda Black, Mike kicks the investigation into high gear. Very quickly, the ex-lover and a high-profile political figure become prime suspects, but, without a body, would there be enough evidence to charge either of them?

A day spent sifting through rancid garbage at one of the city dumps comes up empty for Mike and Ron, but a foul-smelling steamer trunk reported in another jurisdiction provides the eureka moment they need to proceed.

Meanwhile, Mike is doing double-duty, still investigating what he believes to be a link between the accused he has up in court now and his old partner’s killer.

And then there is his mother. Sensing that her son needs her, Mary-Margaret O’Shea has moved into Mike’s home—and his personal and professional life—pending further notice.

As the pieces of the Sibby Mac investigation start to fall into place, Mike follows up on a hunch and decides to take a detour on his way to work one morning. Using every trick in the book, he ends up saving a life, nearly ending another, and almost getting himself killed in the process.

Whether as a stand-alone or as your next step in the Mike O’Shea Crime Fiction SeriesMan At TheDoor will keep you reading far too late into the night following Detective Mike O’Shea through the twists and turns of a homicide investigation. Once you’re done, take a breath and get reading for Blind Spot, coming out in early 2020!

My Review

The Mike O’Shea books are fast becoming one of my go-to crime series when I’m in the mood for a police procedural. There’s drama, a wide cast of strong characters, and some genuinely interesting cases. And, they just so happen to have a Canadian twist that’s too rarely seen in crime fiction – and I’m a sucker for Canadian fiction!

Mike, is by far, my favourite emotionally damaged and yet amazingly functional detective. He’s got some serious PTSD trailing him after Sal’s shooting, a touch of permanent brain damage after taking a beating from a lead pipe, some serious trust and relationship issues after his wife walked out, a sweet little romance budding with a crackerjack lawyer, and momma that’s in full helicopter mode to help Mike through his troubled times. Through it all he still manages to be an ace detective, tracking down leads that no one else sees or believes in (in this case a touch more forgetful than normal) and is well worth his reputation on the force. I love the dynamic between Mike and Ron, but more than anything I love how Ron manages to retain his humanity and sensitivity despite the horrible things that he has witnessed and investigated.

The personal narratives in this third book though, were truly a step above! Mary-Margaret stole the show, Amanda Black stole the show, Ron stole the show – there was show stealing on every freaking page. Which, of course, keeps the pages turning and makes the logical part of my brain that tells me to go to sleep because I have work in the morning stop functioning. Hello 3:30 AM. But also, where the heck is book four? I need to know what happens with Amanda’s family! She is such a strong, badass, boss lady that it’s difficult to read her in a scenario that she isn’t 100% in control of.

What’s beautifully done though, is the interweaving of elements from all of the previous books into the current narrative – like death before coffee, Sal’s investigation, the Robby scenario, and the guest appearance from old team members – as they all work together to create a sense of unity an continuity. But the best part is that you can read the individual volumes independently from one another without ever getting lost because they are standalone episodes in Mike’s life.

My only, and I mean only, complaint is that I would have liked to see some of the ongoing cases wrapped up, just for a selfish and personal sense of closure. I mean, we have two whopper cases on the go (one being investigated, one on trial), and a third that is about to consume Mike and Amanda’s lives. Again, where is book four?! But I get it, cases get dragged out in the courts more often than not, personalities get in the way, the media is a circus, and people ca be judgemental jerks. Sure, it would be nice to have a straightforward case and a win but the complexities of juggling court, investigations, personal lives, and recovering from workplace injuries makes for a much more grounded reality.

This little bite of crime is worth every minute of the read. Ryan’s experience on the force shines through in abundance, infusing his stories with both reality and depth. The Man at the Door is snappy, infused with humour, and just plain good. Read crime lovers, you won’t be disappointed.

About The Author

thumbnail_img_1467For almost thirty years, Desmond P. Ryan began every day of his working life with either a victim waiting in a hospital emergency room, or a call to a street corner or a blood-soaked room where someone had been left for dead. Murder, assaults on a level that defied humanity, sexual violations intended to demean, shame, and haunt the individuals who were no more than objects to the offenders: all in a day’s work.

It was exhilarating, exhausting, and often heartbreaking.

As a Detective with the Toronto Police Service, Desmond P. Ryan wrote thousands of reports detailing the people, places, and events that led up to the moment he came along. He investigated the crimes and wrote synopses for guilty pleas detailing the circumstances that brought the accused individuals before the Courts. He also wrote a number of files to have individuals deemed either Not Criminally Responsible due to mental incapacity, or Dangerous Offenders to be held in custody indefinitely.

Now, as a retired investigator with three decades of research opportunities under his belt, Desmond P. Ryan writes crime fiction.

Real Detective. Real Crime. Fiction.

Many thanks to Shell Baker at Baker’s Blog Tours and Promos for inviting me to join in this tour and for providing a copy in exchange for an honest review.

#Blogtour #Review: The Winter of the Witch by Katherine Arden #YAFiction #YAFantasy #TheWinterOfTheWitch @arden_katherine

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Today I have the honour of hosting a spot on the blog tour for the paperback release of The Winter of the Witch by Katherine Arden. This spellbinding conclusion to a magical trilogy will leave you wanting more – more of the bear, more of the winter king, more of the chyerti, and definitely more of Vasya and her impetuous nerve. Beautifully written and richly imaginative I strongly recommend you read The Bear and the Nightingale, The Girl in the Tower, and The Winter of the Witch in quick succession, because they’re a little like Pringles – you can’t have just one.

Winter of the Witch CoverTitle: 
The Winter of the Witch

Author: Katherine Arden

Publisher: Ebury Publishing

Publication Date: Paperback – October 3, 2019

Genre: YA Fantasy, YA Fiction

Themes: Family, Revenge, Folklore, Love of Country

Features: Glossary

My Rating: 5/ 5


One girl can make a difference…

Moscow is in flames, leaving its people searching for answers – and someone to blame. Vasilisa, a girl with extraordinary gifts, must flee for her life, pursued by those who blame their misfortune on her magic.

Then a vengeful demon returns, stronger than ever. Determined to engulf the world in chaos, he finds allies among men and spirits. Mankind and magical creatures alike find their fates resting on Vasya’s shoulders.

But she may not be able to save them all.

My Review

I have a confession, I tried to jump into The Winter of the Witch without having read the first two instalments in the series and immediately regretted that choice. The good news is that I was able to secure The Bear and the Nightingale and The Girl in the Tower from my local library, power through them, and then return to The Winter of the Witch with a much healthier appreciation for Russian naming (and nicknaming) conventions as well as the intricacies of the many story-arcs being wrapped up.  I mean, the whole series is absolutely masterful, but this ending is epic!

In the wake of events that nearly set the whole of Moscow on fire the Grand Prince’s enemies see the turmoil as an opportunity to wage war while the empire is weakened. And to make things worse, Father Konstantin, a priest with the power to turn minds with his words sets the city against Vasya calling for her to burned alive. She manages to escape into the world of Midnight and finds herself juggling the survival of two worlds on her shoulders. Oh, and I can’t forget to mention that age-old demon is once again loose in the world and is terrorizing Moscow, Vasya, and magical world of Midnight simultaneously.

And oh my word, is it ever magical. I mean it’s treacherous and deadly and all together beautiful, but magical. I adored our mushroom cheyrti Ded Grib, the beautiful horses that can take flight, and and the hearth spirits that protect homes and countries alike. But more than anything I loved Pohzar, the firebird, with her haughty sass and irascible temper. Every time she stomped, kicked, bit or refused to carry a rider I was sent into fits of giggles at memories of my own ill-tempered (yet magnetically loveable) mare. Like seriously, all I could think of was mare-stare, except that this mare is on fire – double the danger, double the fun!

But enough about the horses, lets focus on the big guns – Medved, Morozko, and Vasya. Medved is the kind of villain that only gets better with age. He gets deeper, bolder, and more relatable as the book progresses, and is the kind of character that you can easily love to hate. I was completely transfixed by his manipulations, his subtle games, and the hatred that he holds for his brother. He was deliciously deviant, cruel in all the rights ways, but never outright repugnant.

His twin on the other hand is a calm, quiet force that I would have loved to see more of. I was floored by the sacrifices that he made and the faith that he had in Vasya. It’s beautiful how his power and presence waxes and wanes with the seasons, and even more beautiful how he pushes the limits of his power to stay by Vasya’s side in her greatest time of need. He offers gentles reminders of the things that matter most – Solovey, family, and Vasya’s humanity when she’s at risk of slipping under the addictive spell of her own magic.

And I loved that Vasya wasn’t your typically beautiful heroine, that instead she was real. It placed the focus on her intellect, power, competence, and sometimes ridiculously impulsive decisions. Her journey of self discovery was wondrous, especially as she discovered more of her family and the source of her abilities, and as she learned to control the fire within. And through it all she remains brave (stubborn?) and determined, and she never once allowed herself to become undone even when romance and desire came into the picture. And whoa man, is that ever a romance! It’s tense, electric, and achingly desperate. I mean, when the first snows of winter fall I won’t be looking for a demon king to whisk me off at midnight…

The book, this series, so beautifully written that it’s almost impossible to put into words how incredible it is. It’s imaginative, poetic, and simultaneously rooted in tradition and folklore without cheapening it. It’s feminist, it’s ballsy, and it’s tender. But more than anything, it’s one of my favourite reads of the year. If you like rich story telling, deep characters and touch of magic then I can’t recommend The Winter of the Witch and the Winter Night trilogy enough.

About the Author

Katherine Arden Author Pic .jpgBorn in Austin, Texas, Katherine Arden spent her junior year of high school in Rennes, France.

Following her acceptance to Middlebury College in Vermont, she deferred enrolment for a year in order to live and study in Moscow. At Middlebury, she specialized in French and Russian literature.

After receiving her BA, she moved to Maui, Hawaii, working every kind of odd job imaginable, from grant writing and making crêpes to serving as a personal tour guide. After a year on the island, she moved to Briançon, France, and spent nine months teaching. She then returned to Maui, stayed for nearly a year, then left again to wander. Currently she lives in Vermont, but really, you never know.

She is the author of The Bear and the Nightingale and The Girl in the Tower. These novels make up the first two parts of The Winternight Trilogy.

Twitter: @arden_katherine

Website: www.katherinearden.com 

Publisher: @EburyPublishing

Many thanks to Anne Carter at Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part in this tour. I received a copy of this text in exchange for an honest review.

#BlogTour #Review: Empire’s Daughter by Marian L. Thorpe #Giveaway @rararesources @Marian_Thorpe

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Today I’m delighted to be hosting a stop on the blog tour for Empire’s Daughter by Marian L. Thorpe. If you like a touch of bucking convention with your fantasy adventures, Empire’s Daughter delivers a healthy of dose of deep questioning alongside the excitement. Get ready to dive into a world divided in more ways than one and get swept away in the process.

Oh, and don’t forget to enter the giveaway!

Empires Daughter ebook cover.jpgTitle:
Empire’s Daughter

Author: Marion L. Thorpe

Publication Date: July 30th 2016

Publisher: Arboretum Press

Genre: Fantasy, Adventure

Themes: Societal Norms, Self Discovery, Romance, War

Extras: N/A

My Rating: 4/ 5


For twenty generations, the men and women of The Empire have lived separately, the women farming and fishing, the men fighting wars. But in the spring of Lena’s seventeenth year, an officer rides into her village with an unprecedented request. The Empire is threatened by invasion, and to defend it successfully, women will need to fight.

When the village votes in favour, Lena and her partner Maya are torn apart. Maya chooses exile rather than battle, Lena chooses to fight. As Lena learns the skills of warfare and leadership, she discovers that choices have consequences that cannot be foreseen, and that her role in her country’s future is greater than she could have dreamed.

Purchase Link


My Review

Okay, I will start this review off with a touch of fair warning: Empire’s Daughter sounds like it’s going to be a kick ass adventure with some military training, a touch of warfare, and some serious drama (and it is!) but it’s also a deep look into societal norms and the powers of both conviction and expectation. It’s intense, deeply character driven, and an exceptional foundation on which to build a trilogy.

I loved how extreme the division was between men’s and women’s work in the world of the empire, with the women running the villages and the men off soldiering and visits between the two only taking place twice  year for procreative purposes. I loved too, the idea of the council with three leaders to prevent dictatorships and all women of age casting their votes for every major decision. I appreciated the respect that women had for another and the systems through which their opinions could be expressed and disputes mediated. Early on I had this thought that this was, perhaps, as unrealistic utopia (serious, 80 women living together with no cat-fighting?) and then bam! if you don’t comply with a decision of the council you’re exiled.

In that it became clear that while the partition and the councils are good systems, that they are also flawed systems ad in dire need of change. Even then though, people are prone to resisting change and as a result we’re stuck with an empire torn between the past and the future, tradition and change, conquest and survival. Thankfully though, there is no better went of change than war and the empire has plenty of that on it’s horizon.

I enjoyed a great many of the characters in this book, but some stood out above the rest – quiet and contemplative Tice, the young and overconfident Freya, boisterous and embellishing Turno, sweet and patient Dern, and of course, he ever capable and conflicted Lena. But don’t get too attached to your favourite characters as they are prone to betrayal, death, and ridiculously selfish choices. Take heart though, the deaths are not gratuitous and even the decisions that I hated the most were founded in solid process. It holds true to the reality of war in that not everyone will survive and that some deaths will be neither glorious nor in battle, and that both war and tough decisions leave indelible that might not be visible to the naked eye.

I dare say though, I wanted more action! With all of the time that was spent building the world of Tirvan and the empire, establishing the divisions between the men and women under the rules of the partition, and training for the invasion I really expected for the battle to be epic. I know now that it was just a teaser to get us ready for the real threat introduced in the final pages, but if this baby were to be read as a stand alone the balance might feel a little off. Regardless, I am excited to see how Lena will use her adventurous heart, inquisitive mind and assassins training in the trials to come.

And as a special shout out to how the teaching of history was address in Empire’s Daughter. Thorpe highlights the disparity between reality and official narratives, and how altered/ omitted/ and forgotten facts can shape societies in (un)intended ways. Of all the issues tackled in this book, this one struck the closest to home to my librarian heart. I don’t know how many times I encourage my freshmen to learn histories and challenge capital H ‘History’, and I genuinely felt that I could use Empire’s Daughter as a teaching tool. So good. So real. So relevant – question everything.

Would I recommend his book? Absolutely! I love a book that makes you think as well as entertains and Thorpe delivers on both in abundance. Enter the giveaway book nerds, you won’t be disappointed when you win.

Giveaway: Win all 3 paperbacks of the Empire’s Legacy trilogy (Open INT)

Empires Giveaway Prize

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

Enter at: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/33c69494286/?

About The Author

Empires author photoWriter of historical fantasy and urban fantasy for adults. The Empire’s Legacy series explores gender expectations, the conflicts between personal belief and societal norms, and how, within a society where sexuality is fluid, personal definitions of love and loyalty change with growth and experience.

The world of Empire’s Legacy was inspired by my interest in the history of Britain in the years when it was a province of the Roman Empire called Britannia, and then in the aftermath of the fall of the Roman Empire. In another life, I would have been a landscape archaeologist, and landscape is an important metaphor in the Empire’s Legacy trilogy and in all my writing, fiction and non-fiction.

I live in Canada for most of the year, England for the rest, have one cat, a husband, and when I’m not writing or editing, I’m birding.

 Social Media Links –

Website is marianlthorpe.com

Twitter @Marian Thorpe 

Facebook author page:  https://www.facebook.com/marianlthorpe

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

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