30 Days of Horror #15: Department Zero #HO17 #30daysofhorror

30daysofhorror

Join me for 30 Days of Horror in which we spotlight one horror book every day until we reach Halloween!

Welcome back to another horror highlight. Tonight I’ve chosen a book which was released at the beginning of 2017. I’ve only just discovered this book, and hope to read it soon. A protagonist who cleans up crime scenes for a living and discovers that everything H.P Lovecraft wrote is true? SOLD! It looks wonderfully batshit…

deptzero

Available in paperback & ebook, 32 pages

Published January 24th 2017 by Pyr

THE END OF THE UNIVERSE IS ONLY A HOP, SKIP, AND SLIGHT STUMBLE-THROUGH-A-WORMHOLE AWAY

Harry Priest just wants to make sure his ex-wife doesn’t take away his visitation rights, and his dead-end job cleaning up crime scenes for the past ten years isn’t doing him any favors.

But when Harry attends what he thinks is a routine death, he stumbles onto a secret multiverse of alternate realities all reachable through universe-hopping gates. Policing these worlds is Havelock Graves, the Interstitial Crime Department’s top agent for ten years running (according to him). When Harry accidentally messes with the ICD crime scene, Graves and his team are demoted as low as they can go: Department Zero.

They’re recruiting Harry too—not because he charmed them, but because he just might hold the key to saving the universe…and getting their old jobs back.

To do this, Graves and his team set out to solve the crime that lost them their jobs. A crime that involves a cult planning to hunt down and steal the fabled Spear of Destiny in order to free the Great Old One Cthulhu from his endless sleep in the Dreamlands. (Because that’s another thing Harry soon finds out. Everything H. P. Lovecraft wrote is true. Like, everything.)

The team will have to fight its way through realities filled with Martian technology and evade mad priests (Harry’s favorite kind) in a realm of floating landmasses where magic really exists.

And Harry has to do it all in time to say good night to his daughter.

Goodreads // Not My Review

bookdepo

Have you read it? What did you think?

Up Next on Horror October:

Book Review: The Silent Companions

30 Days of Horror #4: The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter #HO17 #30daysofhorror

30daysofhorror

Join me for 30 Days of Horror in which we spotlight one horror book for each day until we reach Halloween!

This one is a recent release that’s on my wishlist. It seems to be a modern mash-up of the horror classic Jekyll & Hyde, and Sherlock Holmes. Which could be great. Or really, really bad.

It’s probably not the most ‘horror’ of books either, but it sounds like it could be a good, fun retelling of a few of those classics. I do love the cover too!

thestrangecase

Available in all formats (including Audio), 416 pages

Published  August 10th 2017 by Saga Press

Based on some of literature’s horror and science fiction classics, this is the story of a remarkable group of women who come together to solve the mystery of a series of gruesome murders—and the bigger mystery of their own origins.

Mary Jekyll, alone and penniless following her parents’ death, is curious about the secrets of her father’s mysterious past. One clue in particular hints that Edward Hyde, her father’s former friend and a murderer, may be nearby, and there is a reward for information leading to his capture…a reward that would solve all of her immediate financial woes.

But her hunt leads her to Hyde’s daughter, Diana, a feral child left to be raised by nuns. With the assistance of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, Mary continues her search for the elusive Hyde, and soon befriends more women, all of whom have been created through terrifying experimentation: Beatrice Rappaccini, Catherine Moreau, and Justine Frankenstein.

When their investigations lead them to the discovery of a secret society of immoral and power-crazed scientists, the horrors of their past return. Now it is up to the monsters to finally triumph over the monstrous.

 

Goodreads // Not My Review //

bookdepo

Have you read it? What did you think?

Up Next on Horror October:

Mother! (film review)

Also don’t forget to vote for your favourite horror story prompt HERE. Voting ends Friday!

Book Promo: Redshift Rendezvous by John E. Stith #ReleaseDayParty

Welcome to another book promo/ author spotlight  on Lipsyy Lost & Found.

 

Today I’m celebrating the re-release day of Redshift Rendezvous by acclaimed Sci-Fi author John E. Stith.

Last week I spotlighted some of John’s classic sci-fi titles which have already been re-released & given a makeover. There will be nine in total, some being released in paperback for the first time in ten years. 

Today it’s the turn of Redshift Rendezvous…check it out below. 

Redshift Rendezvous

 

red

ReAnimus Press

244 pages

November 15, 2016

WARNING: Read This Guide Before Boarding the Redshift.

The environment aboard a hyperspace craft is quite safe as long as you are careful. The management reminds you that the speed of light on board this craft is ten meters per second (or about 30 million times slower than what you are used to). This means you will frequently encounter relativistic effects and optical illusions.

Aboard the hyperspace liner Redshift is a relativistic world of slow light and treachery.  The first sign of trouble is the apparent suicide of a passenger.  When the first officer discovers that she was murdered – he wants answers.  

Before long, a desperate group of hijackers use the hyperspace liner to plunder a fabled colony – and only one man stands in their way.

Amazon // Goodreads 

Q & A with John E. Stith

You’re re-releasing nine of your novels in just under a year! Can you share what inspired this decision?

Since originally published by Tor Books and Ace Books, most of these books were available in ebook form, but some haven’t been available in paper for more than a decade, so I felt it was time to correct that. ReAnimus Press specializes in bringing back SF that has been unavailable for a while (e.g. Jerry Sohl) and re-releasing works that have been in print all along (e.g. Ben Bova).

You write both sci-fi and mystery – do you have a preference for one over the other?

I love both. Some of my work even blends the two. Deep Quarry features a private eye. The protagonist in Death Tolls is an investigative reporter. Naught for Hire is a futuristic private eye tale, Reckoning Infinity is a space exploration and Manhattan Transfer  deals with a very unusual form of first contact– kidnapping.

Any special research you had to do for these various titles?

I almost always wind up picking projects that require more knowledge than I already have, partly because I enjoy constantly expanding my horizons. Memory Blank necessitated knowing more about Gerard O’Neil-inspired L5 orbital colonies and Death Tolls required media and reporting research. Redshift Rendezvous also required research into relativity because most of the novel takes place aboard a hyperspace craft where the speed of light is ten meters per second. That means relativistic effects like redshift happen when people run. Flipping a light switch causes a room to slowly fill with light.

What fascinates you most about writing?

That it seems almost universal. When I worked in software engineering, people would ask what I did for a living.  I’d run into some people already in the business, but many of the others had zero interest in the field. When I mention to strangers that I’m a writer, it seems like half the time I find they’ve written stories or want to write, and in many cases,  have sold their work already.

Do you have a favourite author?

Robert Heinlein is really high on my list for several reasons–fun characters, interesting ideas, thoughtful speculation, and pure storytelling power.

How has your education, profession or background helped you in your writing career?

My degree is in physics, and part of what drives my efforts to make my stories convincing, not with quite the nuts and bolts aspects of THE MARTIAN, but closer to the ENDER’S GAME portion of the spectrum.

Can you pinpoint your biggest influence?

My parents. They gave me values and a love of reading that eventually became a love of writing. And my brother, Richard, who is a fountain of love, support and good humour.

Have you received any awards for your work? Book related and not book related?

My work includes a Nebula Award finalist, a Seiun Award finalist, a La Tour Eiffel Science Fiction Book Prize finalist, a Hugo Award Honorable Mention, Colorado Authors’ League Top Hand Award winners, HOMer Award winners, and Science Fiction Book Club selections.

My work has also appeared on the New York Public Library Best Books for Young Adults list, Science Fiction Chronicle’s List of Year’s Best Novels, and the yearly Locus Recommended Reading Lists.

Any organizations you are involved in (in the literary world, or others that you are passionate about?)

I’m a past contracts committee chair for Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America. I’m a past regional VP of Mystery Writers of America. I’m also a member of International Thriller Writers, Colorado Author’s League, and Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers.

Any other new projects on the horizon after these re-releases?

I have a psychological thriller that should be out in 2017. A web series based on Naught for Hire  is in development with Ben Browder to star. Another producer hopes to film a pilot of Manhattan Transfer to use to sell the series. In parallel, a number of audiobooks and short stories are in the pipeline, as well. “Simon Sidekick” and “One Giant Step,” both short stories, should be available in ebook and audio form by July 1, 2016.

The fourth book to be re-released, Memory Blank, will be with us in December with a further three titles expected next year. Many thanks to John, and Sami @ Roger Charlie. 

Author Spotlight: John E. Stith #SciFi #BookPromo

Welcome to another book promo/ author spotlight  on Lipsyy Lost & Found.

 

Today I’m spotlighting a renowned author of Science Fiction who is currently re-releasing not one, but nine classic titles – some for the first time in ten years!

Sci-Fi fans who may have missed John E. Stith’s work the first time round are bound to love his unique take on the genre – well-researched, ‘hard’ science  fiction which sticks closely to the laws of science and have been praised by Science Fiction Chronicle for being ‘full of wondrous situations and and marvellous discoveries’. 

Three of his chosen novels, Deep Quarry, Manhattan Transfer and Reunion on Neverend (details below) have already been re-released so far this year, with one more, Redshift Rendevouz due exactly a week today (check back here next week for more info!).

The fourth book to be re-released, Memory Blank, will be with us in December with a further three titles expected next year.

Deep Quarry

deepquarryJuly 1st 2016
ReAnimus Press
160 pages

Ben Takent is a private eye on a hot, dusty world at the edge of the civilized galaxy. When he’s asked to find out who is stealing artifacts from a 10,000-year-old archaeological dig in the desert, he reluctantly takes the case.

Then, when it becomes clear that the artifacts are pointing to an ancient alien spacecraft, the stakes in the case go up—way up.

 

“Bright and breezy, flip and fast”   — Analog

Manhattan Transfer

August 1st 2016manhattant
ReAnimus Press
326 Pages

When aliens abduct New York City, carrying it into space inside a huge dome, the citizens trapped inside must find out why and what they can do to save themselves and dozens of other cities which aliens have stolen from other planets.

 A stunning tour-de-force of science fiction and storytelling with gripping action, believable characters and a plot that will keep you on the edge of your seat!

 

One of the better surprise endings to come down the cosmos in light-years.” — Chicago Tribune

Reunion on Neverend

reunionOctober 1st 2016
ReAnimus Press
320 pages

Lan has come home to a high-school reunion in the underground colony of Neverend, at the edge of humanity’s reach. An ancient secret waits there, one involving instantaneous access to far-flung planets.

Also in Neverend is his high-school sweetheart, Tessa, who is in the way of people who have stumbled onto this ancient technology and plan to use it for their own purposes.

Fortunately for her, Lan is no longer the boy he used to be. And fortunately for Lan, Tessa is no longer the girl she used to be.

“One part mystery, one part other worlds adventure… thoroughly entertaining joyride.”  —  Science Fiction Chronicle

Meet the Author

stith

Science fiction and mystery author John E. Stith writes across many worlds. His books have been translated to French, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese and Russian and are even available in braille for the sight-impaired.  His stories have been categorized as “Hard science fiction,” a label given to those stories thoroughly researched to play fair with the rules of science; something any die-hard SciFi fan can appreciate.

Stith holds a B.A. in physics from the University of Minnesota, has served as an Air Force Officer, where he worked at NORAD Cheyenne Mountain Complex. The passion for science runs in his family, as his father George worked at the White Sands Missile Range on such projects like the rocket sled.

He has appeared on a live nationwide PBS broadcast or Science-Fiction Science-Fact (SF2) and his work has also been sold to film and television. His novel Reckoning Infinity was chosen as one of Science Fiction Chronicle’s Best Science Fiction Novels,  Redshift Rendezvous was picked as a Nebula Award nominee and Manhattan Transfer received an honorable mention from the Hugo Awards and a nomination from the Seiun Award in Japan.

Stith is a member of Science-Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA), Mystery Writers of America (MWA), Writers Guild of America (WGA), International Thriller Writers, Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers (RMFW), Colorado Author’s League and Mensa.  He currently lives in Colorado Springs.

If you want to know more about John and his work, come back next week for a spotlight on the next re-release and a Q&A. 

Many thanks to the author/publisher and Sami @ Roger Charlie

Lazy Saturday Review: The Thousandth Floor by Katharine McGee #MiniReview

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I started doing ‘lazy Saturday reviews’ as a way of getting reviews done in just 30 mins, and they proved to be quite popular. They are quick and snappy, and concentrate less on the plot (or content) and writing and more on my overall feelings about said book. They generally end up being a bit of a rant. My fave!

thousandthflTitle: The Thousandth Floor
Author: Katharine McGee
Series: The Thousandth Floor #1
Format: Digital ARC, 448 pages
Publication Details:  August 30th 2016 by HarperCollinsChildren’sBooks
Genre(s): YA; Sci-Fi
Disclosure? Yep! I received a free copy in exchange for an HONEST review.

Goodreads 

bookdepo

New York City as you’ve never seen it before. A thousand-story tower stretching into the sky. A glittering vision of the future, where anything is possible—if you want it enough.

Welcome to Manhattan, 2118.

A hundred years in the future, New York is a city of innovation and dreams. But people never change: everyone here wants something…and everyone has something to lose.

Leda Cole’s flawless exterior belies a secret addiction—to a drug she never should have tried and a boy she never should have touched.

Eris Dodd-Radson’s beautiful, carefree life falls to pieces when a heartbreaking betrayal tears her family apart.

Rylin Myers’s job on one of the highest floors sweeps her into a world—and a romance—she never imagined…but will her new life cost Rylin her old one?

Watt Bakradi is a tech genius with a secret: he knows everything about everyone. But when he’s hired to spy by an upper-floor girl, he finds himself caught up in a complicated web of lies.

And living above everyone else on the thousandth floor is Avery Fuller, the girl genetically designed to be perfect. The girl who seems to have it all—yet is tormented by the one thing she can never have.

Debut author Katharine McGee has created a breathtakingly original series filled with high-tech luxury and futuristic glamour, where the impossible feels just within reach. But in this world, the higher you go, the farther there is to fall….

Review

This book left me undecided. On one hand I enjoyed it and couldn’t stop reading, but on the other it drove me mad and made me want to throw it out of the window.

I shouldn’t be surprised because I’m not a huge fan of multiple narration and boy was this multiple. Two different narrative voices I can deal with. Maybe even three. But six, really!? Ugh!

The main protagonist is Avery, and hers is the first voice we hear. I was hooked on Avery’s story which was both a blessing and a curse because when her chapter ended I had to go through three or four other character’s stories and they just didn’t grab me as much. That was successful in that it kept me reading but, unsuccessful because it dampened my enjoyment of reading it and I found myself skimming through most of the book. 

It’s not a bad novel, don’t get me wrong. The world McGee has built here is very impressive, and I loved the idea of this thousand floor tower being their whole world. There are some flashes of really great Sci-Fi ideologies here too, and similar to Scott Westerfeld’s Uglies series, it was a worrying vision of the future. 

unicorn rating 3

Fellside by M.R Carey #BookReview #Horror

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I started doing ‘lazy Saturday reviews’ as a way of getting reviews done in just 30 mins, and they proved to be quite popular. They are quick and snappy, and concentrate less on the plot (or content) and writing and more on my overall feelings about said book. They generally end up being a bit of a rant. My fave!

 

fellsideTitle: Fellside
Author: M.R Carey
Series: N/A
Format: Hardback, 496 pages
Publication Details: April 5th 2016 by Orbit
Genre(s): Horror (Supernatural); Mystery
Disclosure? Nope, I bought it!

Goodreads 

bookdepo

Fellside is a maximum security prison on the edge of the Yorkshire Moors. It’s not the kind of place you’d want to end up. But it’s where Jess Moulson could be spending the rest of her life.

It’s a place where even the walls whisper.

And one voice belongs to a little boy with a message for Jess.

Will she listen?

Review

Not only did I really enjoy The Girl With All the Gifts, but Mike Carey visited the prison I work in to help us celebrate World Book Night so I was hoping I would LOVE this book. Unfortunately, I can’t quite say that, but I definitely didn’t hate it!

Fellside started off great. Jess is a heroin addict who burnt down her flat, killing a little boy in the process and in turn is sent to Fellside prison. The prison – a scary enough prospect as it is – also appears to be haunted, and the little boy Alex is never far from Jess’ side. 

This was one of those books that I had no idea where it was going – which I love. It never felt like it was just about Jess’ time in prison, or about it being haunted, it was something different altogether. But as exciting as that was, I felt I was being constantly let down by the direction it took.

I loved the eerie parts of the story, such as Alex taking Jess through the other prisoner’s dreams; the dreamscape thing on the whole was a really interesting concept and described perfectly by Carey.

But then there was this whole prison drug dealing storyline with corrupt officers and scared doctors working with the prisoners for profit or sex and it just bored me. I don’t know if it’s because I work in a prison (and I’m sure to some extent these things do go on), but I didn’t find it interesting at all and didn’t think the story needed it. 

Also, Carey refers to prison officers as guards throughout which put me off slightly. I don’t know anywhere in the UK that uses that term. 

Overall, I think my main problem with this is that I didn’t like any of the characters. I did grow to like Jess more as it went on but it was too little too late.

I did enjoy the mystery though, and that’s what kept me reading. I needed to know who Alex was and whether Jess would get her appeal. 

I feel like Carey is turning into a new Stephen King for me. I enjoy his books a lot but something always lets them down, usually the ending. The same can be said here. I felt like the book should have ended much earlier than it did. No stone was left unturned, it just went on and on until everything was wrapped up a little too perfectly. I’m pretty sure I felt the same about TGWATG too. 

That said, I’m still really interested to see what he comes up with next, and it was lovely to meet him. I even got him to sign my copy. 🙂

unicorn rating 3

Fellside is available now in hardback, or paperback from the 25th August 2016

 

Only Ever Yours by Louise O’Neill #BookReview #YA #Dystopian

onlyeveryoursTitle: Only Ever Yours
Author: Louise O’Neill
Series: N/A
Format: paperback, 400 pages
Publication Details: July 3rd 2014 by Quercus
Genre(s): YA; Sci-Fi/Dystopian
Disclosure? Nope, I bought it.

Goodreads // Purchase

In a world in which baby girls are no longer born naturally, women are bred in schools, trained in the arts of pleasing men until they are ready for the outside world. At graduation, the most highly rated girls become “companions”, permitted to live with their husbands and breed sons until they are no longer useful.

For the girls left behind, the future – as a concubine or a teacher – is grim.Best friends Freida and Isabel are sure they’ll be chosen as companions – they are among the most highly rated girls in their year.

But as the intensity of final year takes hold, Isabel does the unthinkable and starts to put on weight. ..And then, into this sealed female environment, the boys arrive, eager to choose a bride. Freida must fight for her future – even if it means betraying the only friend, the only love, she has ever known. . .

Review

I’d heard so much about this book last year – nearly all of it good – so I was eager to make it a priority in 2016. But quite honestly, I’m not sure what I thought about it. 

Only Ever Yours is a novel that throws out A LOT of questions. I imagine that its aim is to make you question the world O’Neill has built and compare it to our own; to make you wonder if this horrifying vision of the future could ever come true… but for me, it was too unbelievable to get me asking these questions.

In O’Neill’s portrayal of the future, girls are bred rather than born, where they grow up in schools run by ‘chastities’ and are ‘trained’ how to be the perfect woman. They are all beautifully designed, they have a target weight they mustn’t lose sight of, and emotions or outbursts are seen as unattractive and are punishable.

Freida and her so-called friends are in their last year at school which means their whole manufactured lives have been building up to this moment. The Inheritants (the boys) have come to meet them and they will decide the girls’ futures. The three possible outcomes being companions, concubines, or chastities. Quite frankly, each option sounds pretty horrific to me, but of course, they know no different. Becoming a companion is what nearly all of the girls long for.

Argh! There’s too much I want to talk about with this book, but firtstly let me say that I didn’t enjoy it as much as I thought I would. Lots of testimonials say something along the lines of  ‘a horrific vision of a future that could easily come true’, and I think the reason I didn’t love the book is because I don’t believe that for a second.

I mean, I know I’m coming at this book from the perspective of someone who has grown-up in freedom with very little amount of prejudice and inequality – but for me, as a vision of the future it just wasn’t believable. I feel like we’re moving further away from what this book is portraying than towards it. Women are no longer supposed to be perfect, to serve men, to solely be the child bearers…are they? Hasn’t society already come a long way in making that future implausible?

And the same goes for the gay rights – or lack of- in this book. ‘Aberrants’ (gays) have been extinguished by pinpointing the ‘gay gene’ and destroying it somehow. Again, I’m fortunate to come from somewhere where gay rights have come a long, long way in a short space of time, and yeah there’s still further to go before equality is at 100%, but I can’t imagine a future where this would happen, a past perhaps – that I would believe.

I was also really disappointed at how slowly the book moved along. It took so long for it to get to the ceremony and not much was happening in the mean time! And when the book finally did start to wrap-up it was an anti-climax.

I was hoping and praying that at some point Freida and Isabel would either discover that there is an outside world in which life is not like this. That they had somehow been imprisoned and fooled into believing that they were bred not born and there is nothing else but there is. OR that they would start some sort of rebellion…but no. Rage.

Maybe that’s just the Hunger Games generation in me. Maybe I’m completely missing the point? IDK. I am glad I read it, and if this rant makes it sound like I hated it, I didn’t! I just thought it would be…more. Or perhaps I was just victim to the hype-monster again. Who knows! 

unicorn rating 3