Month: March 2019

The Cold is in Her Bones

Author: Peternelle van Arsdale
Published: January 22, 2019
288 Pages

Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 4 stars

Book Description:

One girl must uncover secrets of the past to save her friend from a terrible curse in this dark and mesmerizing story of love, revenge, and redemption inspired by the myth of Medusa.

Milla knows two things to be true: Demons are real, and fear will keep her safe.

Milla’s whole world is her family’s farm. She is never allowed to travel to the village and her only friend is her beloved older brother, Niklas. When a bright-eyed girl named Iris comes to stay, Milla hopes her loneliness might finally be coming to an end. But Iris has a secret she’s forbidden to share: The village is cursed by a demon who possesses girls at random, and the townspeople live in terror of who it will come for next.

Now, it seems, the demon has come for Iris. When Iris is captured and imprisoned with other possessed girls, Milla leaves home to rescue her and break the curse forever. Her only company on the journey is a terrible new secret of her own: Milla is changing, too, and may soon be a demon herself.

The Cold Is in Her Bones is a novel about the dark, reverberating power of pain, the yearning to be seen and understood, and the fragile optimism of love.

Kim’s Review:

This cover drew me to it like the sirens drew sailors to their shores!! I fell in love as soon as I saw it!! It’s AMAZING!!!! The cover is so perfect for the story! There is an “institution” of a sort in this book, but on the more fantastical side . . . Hey I’ll take it.

Apparently, this story is based on Medusa. I honestly had no idea until I went to Goodreads to mark it as “read”. I just got caught up in the story so easily and I spent the entire book dying to know what happens next. The curse on the town and its people was interesting and all I wanted was to learn more. I do have to make one thing very clear: I HATE snakes. I go completely rigid anytime I see a snake. If one comes into the room, my first instinct is to panic and run as fast as I can. Somehow, Arsdale made snakes sound friendly and cute. That alone guarantees a good review! I know I keep saying that I can’t write too much in my reviews because I don’t want to give too much away, and this is another of those times!

I will give my one criticism: I really don’t like this lesson of you don’t have to follow the rules if you don’t like them. I get that authors are trying to write characters who empower girls and help them to stand up for themselves and all that. Ok, fine, great. But what I don’t like is telling anyone that rules shouldn’t apply if you disagree with them. Real life doesn’t work like that, kiddies! Most times, rules are there for a reason. We may not like them, but sometimes we gotta do stuff we don’t like! Other than that, I really liked this book and I absolutely recommend it. Thankfully, it’s very clean and completely appropriate for teens.

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

First Line Friday #104

Today’s First Line Friday has a catchy first line and makes you wonder what is going to happen in this book:

The first annoying thing is when I ask Dad what he thinks happened to Mom, he always says, ‘What’s most important is for you to understand it’s not your fault.’

Bernadette Fox has vanished.

When her daughter Bee claims a family trip to Antarctica as a reward for perfect grades, Bernadette, a fiercely intelligent shut-in, throws herself into preparations for the trip. But worn down by years of trying to live the Seattle life she never wanted, Ms. Fox is on the brink of a meltdown. And after a school fundraiser goes disastrously awry at her hands, she disappears, leaving her family to pick up the pieces–which is exactly what Bee does, weaving together an elaborate web of emails, invoices, and school memos that reveals a secret past Bernadette has been hiding for decades. Where’d You Go Bernadette is an ingenious and unabashedly entertaining novel about a family coming to terms with who they are and the power of a daughter’s love for her mother.

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK


Blog Tour: Psychotopia by R.N. Morris

Today I help end the blog tour for Psychotopia by R.N. Morris. He will be sharing his thoughts on stepping out of your comfort zone as he did with Psychotopia. There is also an international giveaway going on, so be sure to check that out!!

Book Description:

A game for the times we live – and die – in. Enter Psychotopia, a dark new dystopian novel from the author of the acclaimed Silas Quinn mysteries.

PSYCHOTOPIA, LEVEL ONE. Create your own boutique psychopath, then deceive, manipulate and be ruthless, spreading mayhem and destruction to reach the next levels.

It’s the computer game for our times. After all, the amount of crazy in the world is increasing. Senseless violence on the streets is becoming the norm. Can Dr Arbus’s ground-breaking device identify and neutralize psychopaths before it’s too late? In this increasingly dysfunctional world, surely Callum standing by Aimee after her devastating encounter with Charlie is proof that real love and goodness can still win in a world that’s increasingly rotten . . . Or can it?

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

Step outside your comfort zone….

Before I wrote PSYCHOTOPIA, most of my novels were in the historical crime genre: four books set in nineteenth century St Petersburg and three (now five) set in London on the eve of the First World War. So writing a dystopian novel set in the near future was definitely a step outside my comfort zone.

I actually wrote the book a couple of years ago. The 2016 presidential campaign was in full swing in America and in Britain we had the whole Brexit thing happening. It felt like a crazy time to be alive. Conventional politics was being turned on its head. We had an orange reality TV star running for president who openly admitted sexually assaulting women. (Spoiler alert, he won.) Over here, blatant lies were being writ large on the side of buses.

Forget writing a dystopia, we were living in one.

So why did I do it?

Let me first say, I didn’t set out to write a dystopian novel. I thought I might write a crime novel with a psychopath as its central character and narrator. Something like Jim Thompson’s The Killer Inside Me, but set in a rundown 1960s British seaside resort. (I still might write that one, so hands off, other writers!)

That idea got me into researching psychopaths. It’s an area I’ve always been interested in. Naturally, I’m a crime writer. I’d seen a BBC documentary about psychopathy, which had intrigued me not least because one of the psychiatrists researching the field had realised, in the course of his work, that he was a psychopath himself! (There’s a novel in that, surely? Again, hands off!)

I’d heard about Jon Ronson’s book The Psychopath Test. I thought that was probably a good place to start. From that I discovered the work of Robert D. Hare, who developed the Hare Psychopathy Checklist – the Psychopath test that gave Ronson his title.

What happens when…?

As I carried on my research, I came across the theory that the proportion of psychopaths in the population is increasing. Could that mean we’re evolving into a more psychopathic species? A scary thought. And an interesting idea for a book, I thought. Much more interesting than my original one. (And definitely hands off this one, because I’ve already written it!)

So I set about imagining a society which is on the verge of reaching that tipping point.

What happens when the number of psychopaths is close to the number of non-psychopaths? Will politicians have to start formulating their policies to appeal to psychopaths? Will psychopaths end up being in charge?

Welcome to a very bleak place – my imagination.

My original idea, of a story told from the point of view of a psychopath, was still in there (though it ended up being a bit more complex and ambiguous than that). But by setting it in a society where psychopaths are becoming more dominant, I think it became a stronger and, yes, more disturbing idea.

Why would I want to write something disturbing, I hear you ask!

Well, as a writer I think it’s important to push myself. And also to push my imagination – as far as it can go. There should be no boundaries. I admit that the exercise has taken me to a very bleak place, one that some readers may find uncomfortable. If not “stomach-churning” (to quote one reviewer).

That is down to the logic of the idea, I’m afraid. And, as a writer, once you’ve had an idea, you can’t unthink it. You have to follow it through to its conclusion.

Even if that is a very bleak and cold place, a long way away from your comfort zone.

About the Author:

R. N. Morris is the author of ten novels. The latest is PSYCHOTOPIA, published 31 October, 2018.

A Gentle Axe, was published by Faber and Faber in 2007. Set in St Petersburg in the nineteenth century, it features Porfiry Petrovich, the investigating magistrate from Dostoevsky’s great novel, Crime and Punishment. The book was published in many countries, including Russia. He followed that up with A Vengeful Longing, which was shortlisted for the Duncan Lawrie Dagger Award (as the CWA Gold Dagger was briefly known). A Razor Wrapped in Silk came next, followed by The Cleansing Flames, which was nominated for the Ellis Peters Historical Novel Dagger.
The Silas Quinn series of novels, set in London in 1914, began with Summon Up The Blood, followed by The Mannequin House, The Dark Palace and The Red Hand of Fury. The next novel in the series, The White Feather Killer, will be published in April 2019.

Taking Comfort is a standalone contemporary novel, written as Roger Morris.

He also wrote the libretto to the opera When The Flame Dies, composed by Ed Hughes.

Contact R.N:
Twitter: @rnmorris


**International Giveaway**

Win 1 Signed Hardback Copy of Pyschotopia

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box above.  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.