Welcome to my April book haul post. I have been furiously reading this month to catch up and I think I am almost there. I have received a lot of fantasy and science-fiction this month and I am loving it. Gollancz have been extremely generous to me with plenty of enticing reads that lead me to believe that 2018 might be the year for SFF. Also thank you to Orenda Books for including me on the Keeper and The Ice Swimmer blog tours and Quercus for a spot on the All Rivers Run Free tour! This is a fairly extensive list of books but I have managed to read quite of few of them this month and got my reviews out on time. Cheers for popping in to see what books have come across my blog last month. If you have read any of these books already then please let me know in the comments!
Released 05/07/18 via Gollancz
Empire of Silence is a biiiiig novel. I am ready to immerse myself within its pages very soon. I believe this series is going to be massive and it is good to get a chance to join in on the first floor for once. An interplanetary gladiator story that ends in a war…? Yes please!
It was not his war.
On the wrong planet, at the right time, for the best reasons, Hadrian Marlowe started down a path that could only end in fire. The galaxy remembers him as a hero: the man who burned every last alien Cielcin from the sky. They remember him as a monster: the devil who destroyed a sun, casually annihilating four billion human lives–even the Emperor himself–against Imperial orders.
But Hadrian was not a hero. He was not a monster. He was not even a soldier.
Fleeing his father and a future as a torturer, Hadrian finds himself stranded on a strange, backwater world. Forced to fight as a gladiator and navigate the intrigues of a foreign planetary court, he will find himself fighting a war he did not start, for an Empire he does not love, against an enemy he will never understand.
Released 019/04/18 via Quercus
I did a Q&A with Natasha Carthew this month and All Rivers Run Free sounds truly amazing. I have wanted to read it for a while now but I am on a bit of a SFF train at the moment. As soon as I am ready for a dramatic and powerful novel experience, I have All Rivers Run Free ready to go.
A woman on the edge of the sea finds a girl on the edge of life.
Brittle but not yet broken, Ia Pendilly ekes out a fierce life in a caravan on the coast of Cornwall. In years of living with Bran – her embattled, battering cousin and common law husband – she’s never yet had her own baby. So when she discovers the waif washed up on the shore, Ia takes the risk and rescues her. And the girl, in turn, will rescue something in Ia – bringing back a memory she’s lost, giving her the strength to escape, and leading her on a journey downriver.
It will take her into the fringes of a society she’s shunned, collapsed around its own isolation. It will take her through a valley ravaged by floods, into a world not too far from reckoning. It will take her in search of her sister, and the dark remembrance of their parting. It will take her, break her, remake her, in the shapes of freedom.
Released 22/03/18 via Gollancz
I enjoyed the last book in the series. Bradly Beaulieu is a SFF talent and his characters are brilliant. A Veil Of Spears sounds unbelievably intense but I am ready for anything with this series.
The Night of Endless Swords nearly saw the destruction of Sharakhai, and since then the Kings have come down hard on the rebelloious Moonless Host. Hundreds have been murdered or given to the Confessor King for questioning. Hundreds more have fled. Including Çeda, who has discovered that Onur, the King of Sloth, has returned to the desert to raise an army and challenge the remaining kings.
The Moonless Host – who have taken to calling themselves the Thirteen Tribe – will be trapped between Onur’s growing influence and the considerable might of the kings who, with Sharakhai firmly back under their rule, are turning their attention to the desert once more.
Çeda knows that the asirim are the key. If she can lift their curse and free them from their bondage, then they can save Thirteenth Tribe from the the squabbling kings . . . and perhaps the kings themselves are no longer as unified as they once were. As they vie against each other for control of the city, could Çeda make an ally of one of them? And which one, when any of them could betray her as easily as they would their fellow kings.
Whatever the solution, the end is coming: as Çeda focuses on freeing the asirim and weaken the kings’ hold on Sharakhai, the kings’ forces, the scheming queen of Qaimir, Hamzakiir the ruthless blood mage, and the thirteenth tribe all prepare for a grand clash that may decide the fate of all who sail the desert.
Released 03/05/18 via Faber & Faber
I thoroughly enjoyed The Happy Brain. Dean Burnett was informative, relatable and hilarious at times. I learned so much about Neuroscience that I was surprised I didn’t already know. This is a must-read popular science book for 2018. Happiness is fleeting yet potent and it was interesting to see what it takes to make our brains happy.
Do you want to be happy?
If so – read on. This book has all the answers.*
In The Happy Brain, neuroscientist Dean Burnett delves deep into the inner workings of our minds to explore some fundamental questions about happiness. For starters: what does it actually mean to be happy? Where does it come from? And is there a secret to making it last forever?
In his research into these questions – and many more besides – Burnett unravels our complex internal lives to reveal the often surprising truth behind what makes us tick. From whether happiness really begins at home (spoiler alert: yes – sort of) to what love, sex, friendship, wealth, laughter and success actually do to our brains, this book offers a uniquely entertaining insight into what it means to be human.
* Not really. Sorry. But it does have some very interesting questions, and at least the occasional answer.
Released 10/04/18 via Gollancz
One Way is a seriously cool SF novel. I was already a huge fan of Simon Morden but One Way took his work to another level. Prisoners go to Mars to establish Mars Base One, the first attempt at a colony on another planet. The mission seems doomed from the start but when team members begin dying, the rest of the crew start to think they weren’t meant to survive. Perfectly balanced between SF and thriller, One Way will satisfy a lot of readers.
A murder mystery set on the frozen red wastes of Mars.
No way home
WE STAND AT THE DAWN OF A NEW ERA
Frank Kittridge is serving life for murdering his son’s drug dealer. So when he’s offered a deal by Xenosystems Operations – the company that runs the prison – he takes it, even though it means swapping one life sentence for another.
THERE HAS NEVER BEEN A BETTER TIME TO BE ALIVE
He’s been selected to help build the first permanent base on Mars. Unfortunately, his crewmates are just as guilty of their crimes as he is – and he’ll have to learn to trust them if they’re to succeed.
THE FUTURE OF SPACE TRAVEL IS IN SAFE HANDS
As the convicts set to work on the frozen wastes of Mars, the accidents multiply. Until Frank begins to suspect they might not be accidents at all . . .
XENOSYSTEMS OPERATIONS: MAKING DREAMS A REALITY
There’s a murderer amongst them, and everyone’s a suspect.
Released 19/04/18 via Gollancz
From Darkest Skies was a fantastic read and I can’t believe I haven’t gotten round to read this follow-up. I need to get too it very soon as I want to know what happened to Liss and how Sam Peters is going to develop his very memorable setting and his crew of brilliant characters. I will hopefully find out this month!
Inspector Keon has finally got over the death of his wife Alysha in a terrorist attack five years ago. The illegal AI copy of her – Liss – that he created to help him mourn has vanished, presumed destroyed. His life is back on track. But a deadly shooting in a police-guarded room in a high-security hospital threatens to ruin everything. Who got past the defences? Why did they kill the seemingly unimportant military officer who had been in a coma for weeks? And why did the scanners pick up the deceased man the next day on the other side of the planet, seemingly alive and well?
As Keon digs into the mysteries he begins to realise that the death was connected to a mysterious object, potentially alien, discovered buried in ice under the north pole. Someone has worked out what is hidden there, and what its discovery will mean for mankind. Someone who is willing to kill.
And another player has entered the game. Someone who seems to know more about Keon than is possible.
Someone who might be using Liss’s information against him.
Or who might be Alysha, back from the dead.
Released 17/04/18 via Orbit
Blackfish City is next on my TBR! Orbit are one of the leading publishers of SF talent and I am confident that Sam Miller’s work is going to be off the hook. This sounds SFish but maybe there is some elements of fantasy…? I don’t have long until I finally discover the truth. Exciting stuff!
After the climate wars, a floating city was constructed in the Arctic Circle. Once a remarkable feat of mechanical and social engineering it is now rife with corruption and the population simmers with unrest.
Into this turmoil comes a strange new visitor – a woman accompanied by an orca and a chained polar bear. She disappears into the crowds looking for someone she lost thirty years ago, followed by whispers of a vanished people who could bond with animals. Her arrival draws together four people and sparks a chain of events that will change Blackfish City forever.
Released 30/04/18 via Orenda Books
I did a really good Q&A with Kjell last month and I hope I can get to The Ice Swimmer soon. I really need to read the first novel before I go into this because I love to know everyone’s back story and the details behind their interactions. I will have to sit down and have a Scandinavian thriller binge very soon.
When a dead man is lifted from the freezing waters of Oslo Harbour just before Christmas, Detective Lena Stigersand’s stressful life suddenly becomes even more complicated. Not only is she dealing with a cancer scare, a stalker and and an untrustworthy boyfriend, but it seems both a politician and Norway’s security services might be involved in the murder. With her trusted colleagues, Gunnarstranda and Frølich, at her side, Lena digs deep into the case and finds that it not only goes to the heart of the Norwegian establishment, but it might be rather to close to her personal life for comfort. Dark, complex and nail-bitingly tense, The Ice Swimmer is the latest and most unforgettable instalment in the critically acclaimed Oslo Detective series, by the godfather of Nordic Noir.
Released 05/04/18 via Constable (Little, Brown)
Book three in the Jem Flockhart series. If you haven’t read Beloved Poison or Dark Asylum yet then you are banned from reading until you pick both up and read them back to back. The Blood seems like it will follow E S Thomson’s trend of creating compelling and dark historical fiction that encompasses so many characters in many different ways. Can’t wait to get to it soon.
I knew the smell of death well enough. But here the sweetness of decay was tainted with something else, something new and different. It was a curious, moist smell; a smell that spoke of the ooze and slap of water, of gurgling wet spaces and the sticky, yielding mud of low-tide…
Summoned to the riverside by the desperate, scribbled note of an old friend, Jem Flockhart and Will Quartermain find themselves on board the seamen’s floating hospital, an old hulk known only as The Blood, where prejudice, ambition and murder seethe beneath a veneer of medical respectability.
On shore, a young woman, a known prostitute, is found drowned in a derelict boatyard. A man leaps to his death into the Thames, driven mad by poison and fear. The events are linked – but how? Courting danger in the opium dens and brothels of the waterfront, certain that the Blood lies at the heart of the puzzle, Jem and Will embark on a quest to uncover the truth. In a hunt that takes them from the dissecting tables of a private anatomy school to the squalor of the dock-side mortuary, they find themselves involved in a dark and terrible mystery.
Released 05/04/18 via Two Roads (Hodder)
Two Steps Forward sounds a little out of my reading zone but I am prepared for anything. I will most certainly give it a shot but I wouldn’t be surprised if I don’t get on with it. I hope I am wrong!
Zoe, a sometime artist, is from California. Martin, an engineer, is from Yorkshire. Both have ended up in picturesque Cluny, in central France. Both are struggling to come to terms with their recent past – for Zoe, the death of her husband; for Martin, a messy divorce.
Looking to make a new start, each sets out alone to walk two thousand kilometres from Cluny to Santiago de Compostela, in northwestern Spain, in the footsteps of pilgrims who have walked the Camino (the Way) for centuries. The Camino changes you, it’s said. It’s a chance to find a new version of yourself, and a new beginning. But can these two very different people find themselves? Will they find each other?
In this smart, funny and romantic journey, Martin’s and Zoe’s stories are told in alternating chapters by husband-and-wife team Graeme Simsion and Anne Buist. Two Steps Forward is a novel about renewal – physical, psychological and spiritual. It’s about the challenge of walking a long distance and of working out where you are going. And it’s about what you decide to keep, what you choose to leave behind and what you rediscover along the way.
Released 03/05/18 via Little, Brown
The Good Soon seems really cool and dark. Korea’s Stephen King is a big bit of praise. I am hoping it is true. I can see this being simple yet shocking or unsettling. I haven’t read a seriously dark novel in ages so maybe it is time!
When Yu-jin wakes up covered in blood, and finds the body of his mother downstairs, he decides to hide the evidence and pursue the killer himself.
Then young women start disappearing in his South Korean town. Who is he hunting? And why does the answer take him back to his brother and father who lost their lives many years ago.
The Good Son is inspired by a true story.
Released 26/04/18 via Orbit (Little, Brown)
Now starting this today. I am enjoying these Black Mirror comparison novels but I am hoping Every Thing About You surpasses the comparison and holds strong on it’s own. I want people to be coming future novels to this in the coming years.
Think twice before you share your life online.
Freya has a new virtual assistant. It knows what she likes, knows what she wants and knows whose voice she most needs to hear: her missing sister’s.
It adopts her sister’s personality, recreating her through a life lived online. But this virtual version of her sister knows things it shouldn’t be possible to know. It’s almost as if the missing girl is still out there somewhere, feeding fresh updates into the cloud. But that’s impossible. Isn’t it?
With twists and turns you’ll never see coming, Everything About You is a thrilling debut showing a chilling vision of a future that’s just around the corner. You’ll never look at your privacy settings in the same way again . . .
The world of Everything About You is closer than you think:
* Right now, the average child features in over 1,500 online photographs by the age of five
* By 2025, you will interact with connected devices nearly 5,000 times per day
* Today there are already companies who will collect your data so that your relatives can interact with your ‘digital doppelganger’ after you die.
Released 28/04/18 via Orenda Books
People kept praising Johana Gustawsson and Block 46 but I didn’t listen. That would appear to have been a mistake as Keeper was fantastic and now I have to go back and read Block 46 to make up for lost time. Keeper is a must-read!
Whitechapel, 1888: London is bowed under Jack the Ripper’s reign of terror.
London 2015: actress Julianne Bell is abducted in a case similar to the terrible Tower Hamlets murders of some ten years earlier, and harking back to the Ripper killings of a century before.
Falkenberg, Sweden, 2015: a woman’s body is found mutilated in a forest, her wounds identical to those of the Tower Hamlets victims. With the man arrested for the Tower Hamlets crimes already locked up, do the new killings mean he has a dangerous accomplice, or is a copy-cat serial killer on the loose?
Profiler Emily Roy and true-crime writer Alexis Castells again find themselves drawn into an intriguing case, with personal links that turn their world upside down. Following the highly acclaimed
Block 46 and guaranteed to disturb and enthral, Keeper is a breathless thriller from the new queen of French Noir.
What a list! Thanks for stopping by to check out what has arrived on the shores of Always Trust In Books this month and how I got on with some of them. It has been a slow reading month for me due to a minor slump and busy work times. I will try and catch-up with all these amazing reads next month as fast as I can. May is looking just as jam-packed with treats so keep an eye out for another book haul very soon. I really enjoy sharing all these reads with you so please let me know if there are any that you have already read or that you are now planning to read. Cheers for reading and come back soon!