‘Aurora’ by David Koepp is sure to make quite an impact this year. Set in the present day, it is the story of a family and their struggles to survive the aftermath of a solar storm – a CME (Coronal Mass Ejection). The event causes electrical power to go out across the world, and no-one knows how long it will last. Aubrey and her stepson have to find a way to work together to get through a complete change in their lives and those of their neighbours. They soon discover just how much we rely on electricity for every aspect of our lives. Going back to a pre-electrical era is scary. Aubrey’s billionaire brother foresaw such an event and has plans in place to ride out the storm. But life doesn’t always work out the way you plan. How will society cope with being thrown back into what seems like the Stone Age?
I must admit to loving disaster movies, so this book was right up my street. In fact the book is going to be made into a movie. I was not surprised to hear this, as it is perfect for such an adaptation. David Koepp is a well-known screenwriter, and it shows in the structure of the novel. It is wonderfully descriptive, with short, punchy scenes that captured my imagination.
The story is told from various characters’ point of view and lets us see how all levels of society deal with such a cataclysmic event. It’s about finding strength in adversity. Some thrive, and some become an even worse version of themselves. It’s about learning and taking responsibility.
I loved it.
I was given this ARC to review.
What’s a Muse to do when her much-anticipated peaceful break is under threat? Calliope Ardalides is the eldest of the nine Muses, and is responsible for arbitrating arguments between the gods and answering for their failures to the humans who complain. Her haven of serenity is a small Scottish village, where the Temple of the Muses is situated. But when an American businesswoman lodges plans for an adventure park right next door, Calliope’s hopes of relaxation and calm are shattered. Despite a powerful attraction neither women appear ready to yield. Can they each get what they want? And will they be able to resist the pull of something more?
I’ve been looking forward to this, the first in a new series set in the Afterlife Inc world. The first trilogy was excellent and my favourite series of the past five years. This time we are with the Muses, and they are just as compelling. Calliope is a talented musician and singer, but has been so caught up in the other aspects of her job, that her artistic side has taken a back seat. Being in Scotland lets her enjoy music again, but the threat to her peace from Jordan James and her plans is worrying. Although she’s used to seeing an issue from both sides at work, it’s more difficult in this case. She’s a kind, thoughtful and sensitive soul and I really liked her.
Jordan wasn’t the big, bad wolf, even though she wanted to build next to the Temple. I could see her point of view, and it would certainly help the local community. But she had to see the whole picture, and Calliope was the person to help her do that. Their attraction was intense and powerful, but it was also healing for both of them.
Brey Willows describes the Scottish countryside perfectly and makes me feel as if I’m there. She sees past the surface and allows the reader a peek of that too. I love the marrying of old and new, the mythology and the present. The story shows wonderful imagination, and I never tire of reading what she has come up with . She knows her characters inside out and allows the reader to become part of their lives.
‘Song of Serenity’ is a stunning story. I highly recommend it.
I was given this Arc for review.
‘The Fiend in the Fog’ is a wonderfully atmospheric story set in Victorian England. When a noxious fog envelops certain parts of the city there’s talk of demons. Abby and Gideon’s clinic begins to see patients affected by the mysterious goings-on. Meg and her brother Nat live privileged lives, but are drawn into the mystery, thought their own particular interests. What is going on in a nondescript building in the East End? What are they studying there – and will it have implications for the group of individuals, brought together by the fog and what lies beneath it?
The story was compelling from the very start, with a fascinating mystery and interesting characters. I loved the historical setting of 1885 London. The wonderfully descriptive writing pulled me right into the heart of the story, and I could just imagine the dirty buildings and awful stench of the city at that time. I won’t give anything away about what exactly they were looking into, or why they were all involved, but it was brilliantly done. I would love to see more from this group of characters, as their stories could lead off into so many directions.
I was given this ARC for review.
I found it so difficult to narrow down my list of favourite books this year. And even more difficult put them in order of preference. I loved them all. So, this is my top twelve, and in alphabetical order. I highly recommend all of these books and will certainly be re-reading them again in 2020.
Alone by E.J. Noyes
Blood of the Pack by Jenny Frame
Borage by Gill McKnight
Breathe by Cari Hunter
Coming Home by K.J.
Floodtide by Heather Rose Jones
Galileo by Ann McMan
Legacy by Charlotte Greene
Spinning Tales by Brey Willows
Steel City Confidential by Anne Hagan
The Sovereign of Psiere by K Aten
Uncharted by Robyn Nyx
Aspen Wolfe lives in a world very like our own, but with shapeshifters in it. She has no idea she is one of them, a Shroud, and a very special one at that. When the government orders the extermination of the shroud population, Aspen finds herself on the run and discovers a community that needs her as much as she needs them. Dr Tora Madigan runs a sanctuary for shrouds in hiding and her operation is forced into top gear as her people face annihilation. There is a spark between them, but they need to concentrate on saving their people first.
This was a very impressive novel. It was a skilfully crafted story and one does not have to look too far to see parallels in today’s America. The shroud characters were believable and well thought out. We find out about them as Aspen does. We see that they are just like everyone else and deserve the same rights and respect. Their fight for survival was thrilling. I loved it. I can certainly see room for more of this particular story if Ms Larkin would be so kind as to make it into a series. Highly recommended.
I was given this ARC for review.