#BlogTour #Review : Material Remains by Richard Bray. @RWHBray @Unbounders #MaterialRemains #RandomThingsTours

Today I’m thrilled to be on the Material Remains blog tour. Many thanks to Anne Cater and Unbound for sending me a copy of the book to review.

Material Remains Blog Tour Poster

Blurb: On a hungover Friday morning, archeology student Mike McEwan’s life of tea, pints, late mornings and the occasional essay comes to an abrupt halt. Consumed with guilt, grief and confusion, Mike haunts the ruins of St Andrews, rebuilding them in his mind and obsessing about the loss of someone he barely knew, unsure of his place in her life, or her death.

The discovery of an ancient plague burial site drags Mike back into contact with those around him. But life has changed, both for himself and others, and the burial ground holds more than the bones of those long dead. As university life continues around him, Mike peels back the layers of earth and its dark history, trying desperately to connect the victims of the past to the tumult of his present.

Material Remains Cover

My Review: I loved this book. That may seem an odd this to say given it’s not the cheeriest of reads but I genuinely enjoyed it. Mike is the main focus and the story shows how he is impacted by a sudden tragedy and how he deals with the aftermath of this. Everyone will go through a loss in their lives but how do you deal with the loss of someone you barely knew. This is what Mike has to figure out.

He has to deal with this impact and work out how he moves on from something that has affected him badly but equally something that he feels he has no right to be so affected by. The writing is brilliant, it shows perfectly the turmoil that comes with the situation that Mike is in and how he deals with it. The portrayal of the student life is also spot on, the mixture of essays, pub visits and general student life is perfectly portrayed.

This book blew me away with the writing and the story itself. The characters leap off the page and come to life with the minimum of description. I got immersed in the story and just flew through the pages. This is definitely an author to watch out for in the future!

About the author:

Richard Bray Author Picture

Richard W. H. Bray is a writer and winemaker. His first book, Salt and Old Vines, won Best French Wine Book at the 2015 Gourmand Awards. He lives in London.



Well it’s January again, my hoped for white Christmas never happened, in fact I have yet to see any snow (bar that on the hills in the distance) this winter so far which is a bit disappointing.  As I mentioned in my end of year round up post I am only doing a few blog tours this month and one in February and have no plans to do any more until at least June.  This is because I have a placement between February and June as part of my university course and between that being full time plus the fact that I’m working weekends, I simply won’t commit to a blog tour because it would be unfair on the tour host, publisher and author if I did.  (Having said that I may bend this rule IF there is a book out by an author I already know and love.) So, this is how my next few weeks are looking at the moment:

6th – Lying in Wait by Liz Nugent.

10th – Brake Failure by Alison Brodie.

15th –  Deep Down Dead by Steph Broadribb.

17th – Rupture by Ragnar Jonasson.

24th – Burned and Broken by Mark Hardie.

30th – Echoes in Death by J.D. Robb.

6th Feb – Meet Me at Willoughby Close by Kate Hewitt.

These are all reviews and on top of that I’m also going to be reviewing a couple of Christmas novellas that I read over the holiday but otherwise that’s me for January.  What I’m hoping to do in February onwards in work through the books I have received from publishers and authors, some of which I’ve had for longer than I’d like to admit, and those I have on Netgalley so maybe I can bring my tbr down a bit.  How much reading I’ll have time for I’m not sure but hopefully I can manage at least one or two.

So, with all lined up that I’d better get on with reading, although I do have an essay due soon so I should maybe do that first though those books are looking quite appealling, hmmmm…………..




Blog Tour Review for Lost in Static by Christina Philippou

I’m thrilled to be taking part in the blog tour for Lost in Static by the lovely Christina Philippou. There was a certain sense of overlap when I was reading this as it follows first year university students and I was in my first weeks of university myself but thankfully it didn’t feel like busman’s holiday.


Blurb:   Sometimes growing up is seeing someone else’s side of the story.

Four stories. One truth. Whom do you believe?

Callum has a family secret. Yasmine wants to know it. Juliette thinks nobody knows hers. All Ruby wants is to reinvent herself.

They are brought together by circumstance, torn apart by misunderstanding. As new relationships are forged and confidences are broken, each person’s version of events is coloured by their background, beliefs and prejudices. And so the ingredients are in place for a year shaped by lust, betrayal, and violence…

Lost in Static is the gripping debut from author Christina Philippou. Whom will you trust?


Lost in Static is available from, amongst others, Amazon UK, Amazon US, and direct from the publisher, Urbane Publications.


My Rating: 5/5

Review: As I’ve said above I read this book while starting my own university course which proved to be interesting timing. As a psychology graduate I’ve always had an interest in the way people think and view their world and this book gives us an insight to exactly that. The story starts immediately after a dramatic event has occurred near the end of the first year at university but doesn’t tell us what that event was. The story then goes back to the first day of people arriving in halls of residence for freshers week and then continues through the three university terms. We follow the thoughts, plans and emotions of the four main characters and get introduced to other relevant characters as they affect the lives of the main ones, namely Ruby, Callum, Juliette and Yasmine.  As the story unfolds we see how different events affect everyone differently and how they all have varying perspectives on what has happened or what someone else has said. Through the course of the three terms we see the characters change and develop and how the slightest misunderstanding can have serious consequences.

It was fascinating to see what the characters said and how it affected the others and what happened in response to that. The four main characters all had their own voices and were quite distinct from each other which is not an easy thing to achieve and is even more impressive when you realise this is a debut novel.

The story switched between each character at various points but because their names were at the start of their section there was no confusion as to who it was.  It was very interesting to see the story develop and although some parts of it were repeated so that we could see the different responses to the same comment or event the repition was never boring or tedious and actually brought more depth and understanding to the story and the characters.

Anything else I say will either repeat what I’ve already said or give away too much of the story so I will finish with this. This is an incredibly well-crafted story which is gripping and enthralling, when I read this I was sucked into it and the time just disappeared. If you are looking for a story that will make you think then this is definitely worth checking out. This is an exceptional story from a debut author and I would highly recommend it.

Many thanks to the author for letting me have a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.


Author Bio:

Christina Philippou’s writing career has been a varied one, from populating the short-story notebook that lived under her desk at school to penning reports on corruption and terrorist finance. When not reading or writing, she can be found engaging in sport or undertaking some form of nature appreciation. Christina has three passports to go with her three children, but is not a spy. Lost in Static is her first novel.

Christina is also the founder of the contemporary fiction author initiative, Britfic.

You can connect with Christina on TwitterFacebookInstagram and Google+.