Winter’s Orbit by Everina Maxwell- Book review

I really enjoyed Winter’s Orbit by Evernia Maxwell ,  science fiction, space opera with intrigue, mystery, romance and the impact domestic abuse can have.

Genre: science fiction/romance

Source: My own book

While the Iskat Empire has long dominated the system through treaties and political alliances, several planets, including Thea, have begun to chafe under Iskat’s rule. When tragedy befalls Imperial Prince Taam, his Thean widower, Jainan, is rushed into an arranged marriage with Taam’s cousin, the disreputable Kiem, in a bid to keep the rising hostilities between the two worlds under control.

But when it comes to light that Prince Taam’s death may not have been an accident, and that Jainan himself may be a suspect, the unlikely pair must overcome their misgivings and learn to trust one another as they navigate the perils of the Iskat court, try to solve a murder, and prevent an interplanetary war… all while dealing with their growing feelings for each other.

Review

I don’t generally read romance but occasionally I do like to read a genre book with a strong, romantic thread. I saw this book on another blogger’s Top Ten Tuesday and it fit the bill.

The romance isn’t too heavy and the main plotline is the mystery around Taam’s death the need to sign a treaty, so that Iskat isn’t thrown out of the resolution and what is going on with the Kingfisher project. I had to keep reading to find out more.

The world-building is good but familiar with good representation which is deftly woven into the story. Jainan and Kiem are the third points of view characters and it was easy to tell them apart without reading whose chapter it was. 

I liked Kiem voice, fun but thoughtful, a good counterpoint to the more serious and wounded Jainan. The romance between them is slow but realistic ( although the insta attraction is still there) and any steamy scenes are off-page.

The main difference between Winter’s orbit and the usual science-fiction or romance book is the description of the aftermath of domestic abuse. There are very few overt scenes in the book describing this but we know fairly soon that Jainan has been in an abusive relationship by his behaviour and his need not to upset anyone.

This seems to be a recurring theme with me at the moment but I seem to love the secondary characters more and I would have loved to spend more time with Kiem’s very efficient assistant Bel and the scatty but brilliant Professor Audel

Content warning

d Past descriptions of domestic abuse, cohesive control

Perfect for fans of 

Ancillary Justice ( but would have liked a little more romance) or anyone who likes science fiction romance.

Summary

Five stars-I enjoyed the mystery and the romance was just right- I will be keeping an eye out for more books by Everina Maxwell.

Top Ten Tuesday- Most recent additions to my book collection

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

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 I always ask Santa for a sackful of book vouchers every Christmas with a variable degree of success, but Santa was generous this Christmas. This meant I could go wild and  experiment by buying a few books that I have read about on book twitter that is a little out of my normal comfort reading zone. So, there is a YA, some sci-fi romance, a murder mystery, and a hardcore fantasy in my latest book haul. I look forward to reading all these books.

Continue reading “Top Ten Tuesday- Most recent additions to my book collection”

The Burning Chambers by Kate Mosse -Book review

I ordered this book from the library ahead of reading the second book in the series but as part of the beat the backlog challenge I found I had already downloaded The Burning Chamber by Kate Mosse ages ago and had completely forgotten to read it!

Genre: Historical Fiction

Series: The Burning Chambers

Source: My own

Challenge beat the backlog and historical fiction

Old secrets cast long shadows…

Review

The Burning Chambers is epic in its scope and story with many threads. It has a romance between two star crossed lovers- a Huguenot and a Catholic, religious war, an underlying mystery and some evil villains. The book is set against the background of the War of Religion in France 1562 where Huguenots are being persecuted by the Catholics and religious intolerance is more pronounced. Kate Mosse writing ramps up the tension of religious strife slowly through the pages until the inevitable riot. The world-building is vivid and descriptive.

There are several points of view of characters but Minou is my favourite. A young nineteen-year-old girl who finds herself in the centre of an old conspiracy and remains free from prejudice to help all people. Her budding romance with Piet, a Huguenot, is a little too insta love to start off with but then settles into a sweet and realistic romance.

Piet’s complicated relationship with his old friend Vidal and the disappearance of an ancient relic is another important plotline.

Vidal and Blanche are two people who will do anything to achieve their ambitions and I mean anything. I did enjoy reading Blanche’s point of view chapters, she is one of the most unbalanced villains I have read about.

Can I mention Madame Boussay? Her arc and development from abused wife to knife-wielding aunt was the more satisfying and I hope we see more of her in the next book.

The main plotline of the underlying secret Minou’s father has spent two decades hiding but has now come to light was not what I thought it was going to be and was a refreshing take on an old trope.

There are no cliff-hangers, and all plot lines are resolved

Content warning

Torture, Descriptions of child abuse, domestic abuse

Perfect for fans

Who enjoys historical fiction on an epic scale eg The Lymond Chronicles or House of Niccolo by Dorothy Dunnett

Summary

I loved this book and can’t believe I forgot to read this. I have jumped into The City of Tears the next book in the series.

The Last Policeman Trilogy by Ben Winters- Series review

It has been a while since I posted a series review. The Last Policeman Trilogy by Ben Winters is one that I still think about even though I read these books  ages ago.

Books in series (completed)

The Last Policeman

Countdown City

World of trouble

Review

Detective Hank Palace just wants to do his job- solve crime but he is hampered by the impeding destruction of earth by an asteroid hurtling to earth.

The books focus on Hank’s obsession to getting the job done particularly in the first book. The Last Policeman features a suicide that Hank is convinced is murder and the book follows a typical murder mystery until we find out why. The other two books focus on Hank trying to find his missing sister- his last case and an asteroid will not get in his way.

The book has an apocalyptic event in the background, rumbling ever closer to the destruction of earth. There are no last-ditch attempts to save earth or escape earth just the total acceptance that this is the end. While the books focus is on Hank’s investigation, there are vivid descriptions of a world on the brink of destruction and how society adapts to this. Hank meets various people – some trying to take advantage of the situation, others bunking down with their families and friends, those who keep going as normal and those who have turned feral.

While the books have dark themes there is sense of optimism particularly in how most people will try to help each other. I have thought back to these books as the pandemic unfolded and it does feel the author has captured how humanity reacts to terrible situations.

Hank is the person holding the stories and books together- a decent cop, a decent brother and friend but most of a decent human being.

There is no magical solution at the end but despite this the end of the series made sense and celebrates all that is good about humanity- I confess to shedding a few tears at the end.

Content warning

Violence,descriptions of suicide

Summary

This trilogy would appeal to anyone who loves a good murder mystery and to those who like a bit apocalyptic doom.

Proper Scoundrels by Allie Therin- Book Review

Read my review of Proper Scoundrels – a perfect blend of mystery and paranormal romance, part of the Magic in Manhattan series by Allie Therin.

Publication date 28 Dec 2021

Publishers: Harlequin Carina

Source ‘NetGalley

Sebastian de Leon is trying to atone for his actions while under the influence of blood magic. So it’s no wonder when  he jumps in to help protect the grumpy and cynical Lord Fine who  becomes the target of a magical serial killer. Unfortunately, Lord Fine remembers Sebastian from his time in Manhattan and is reluctant to trust him. Can they work together to find the magical killer and help each other learn to trust again?

Book review

I received a copy of this book from Harlequin Carina for an honest and unbiased opinion.

This book is a standalone book in The Magic In Manhattan series but can be read alone with reading the others(it made no difference to me following the story). The book is told from the points of view of the two main characters – Sebastian who is dealing with PTSD from his time being controlled by blood magic and Wesley, Lord Fine who is dealing with the aftermath of World War I.

Both Wesley and Sebastian are well written and the chemistry between them is real, unforced, and beautifully written. Wesley was perfectly placed to understand Sebastian’s difficulty in the aftermath of his ordeal and this helped convey the distress caused by PTSD. I liked the fact that Sebastian wasn’t cured instantly by just falling in love.

 I must confess, the grumpy Lord Fine was my favourite but Jade and Zhang, Sebastian’s magical friends were equally fascinating and left an impression despite not having a lot of page time.

The underlying mystery of a magical serial killer is intriguing, and the villain is creepy with an interesting backstory of his own.

The world-building and magical systems are well described with some unique types of magic. The book has lots of humour mostly provided by Wesley’s grumpy interactions with almost everyone he comes across.

My only criticism is the use of the word Fall instead of Autumn by the very English  Lord Fine which felt very out of place (unless I received the US version).

Content Warning

Descriptions of past self-harm

Perfect for Fans of 

Paranormal romance

This is the first Allie Therin book  I have read but I will be reading more.

Niccolo Rising by Dorothy Dunnett , Book one of the House of Niccolo– Book Review

I wasn’t sure if I wanted to reread the House of Niccolo series of books. Claes didn’t fascinate me much as Lymond but I have to admit I have completely changed my mind the second time around.

Genre :Historical Fiction

Source: I bought the ebook

We meet Claes ,in 15th Century Bruge,, an eighteen-year-old dyer’s apprentice and follow his transformation to Nicholas vander Poele a twenty-year-old merchant and how he touches the lives of the friends, lovers and enemies ( but not always in a positive sense) along the way.

Book Review

Like so many other readers, I fell in love with Dunnett’s Lymond Chronicles, so after I finished Checkmate, I needed to fill the void with another epic story full of twists and turns. I hoped Niccolo rising would fill the gap but while I did enjoy the House of Niccolo it just didn’t seem to hold the same hold as Lymond. But I decided to give this series another read.

Continue reading “Niccolo Rising by Dorothy Dunnett , Book one of the House of Niccolo– Book Review”

Meet the Blogger Book Tag -Book Talk

Here’s a shout out to Bibliomavens as the original creator of the tag

Thank you @Behindthe page1 for the tag.

Rules

  • Nominated bloggers can nominate ten other bloggers.
  • Use the same questions from the tag.
  • Tag the original creator (Bibliomavens) and the blogger who tagged you

Meet The Blogger Book Tag  

Questions

Who is your all-time favourite book character? 

Francis Lymond from The Lymond Chronicles by Dorothy Dunnett. Dunnett. I don’t think I am the only one fascinated by Lymond, and he remains one of the most discussed characters despite being created in the 1960s. Lymond is a man ahead of his times- a bisexual spy, sensual, frustrating, clever, funny- I could go one but read my review of the Lymond Chronicle for more.

  1. If you were stranded on a desert island, which book would you take with you? (Survival books do not count)

Good omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman. I would I need a very, funny book to get me through.

3. What’s your most unpopular book opinion?

I hate books written in the present tense- it makes my head hurt. I have had to read a few ARCs written in this tense but luckily the story was good enough to make me keep reading.

4. What’s your weirdest bookish habit?

I worry about running out of books to read, so I always have a pile standby even though I have a kindle and can have a book to read at the touch of a button.

5. What character would you bring to a family event as your fake partner?

Predictably, Lymond. He would no doubt start a war, fight or be the life and soul of the party.

6. What made you decide to start a book blog?

There were two reasons really.

I would love to write a book one day but have been struggling with this. My book blog has made me more disciplined with my writing to ensure I have a post published a few times a week. This has helped with my writing and I managed 15000 words in the NaNoWriMo challenge ( so much more than I have written in previous challenges). So in 2022, my aim is to get a full first draft typed up.

The second reason was to help with my stress. The pandemic has been hard . But focussing on my blog has helped me get out of my own head and has kept stress levels manageable. 

7. What about reading and books do you love the most?

I love disappearing and being part of a new world in each book that I read. I can immerse myself in a book so completely in a way I can never achieve with any other activity.

8. What is your field of study/desired profession/current profession?

I work in healthcare.

9. What are some book recommendations that became your favourites/obsessions?

I found the Bone Shard Emperor’s daughter on book Twitter and I love the world Andrea Stewart has created. It is going to be a long wait for the next book in the series

10. What is the book you shove down everyone’s throat?

 Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman. I recommended this book to my non-genre loving book group and they loved it. It’s a great introduction to the world of fantasy.

My ten tags

@NookishBookworm

@GlasgowBookworm

@UnedBookReview

@chaayekahani

@musesong

@SBachyas

@skbookwormfever

Even if you haven’t been tagged in this Meet the Blogger Book Tag, feel free to give it a go and post a link to your answers below!

Behind the Veil by E. J Dawson – Book review

I enjoyed this atmospheric, gothic ghost story with a strong romance at its core. Here is my review of Behind the Veil by E J Dawson.

@ejdawsonauthor @RRbookTours1  #RRbookto

Behind the Veil

Publication Date: October 1st, 2021

Genre: Gothic Noir/ Paranormal Suspense

Source : Initially R and R book tours but then borrowed from Kindle unlimited

Can she keep the secrets of her past to rescue a girl tormented by a ghost?

In 1920s Los Angeles, Letitia Hawking reads the veil between life and death. A scrying bowl allows her to experience the final moments of the deceased. She brings closure to grief-stricken war widows and mourning families.
For Letitia, it is a penance. She knows no such peace.

For Alasdair Driscoll, it may be the only way to save his niece, Finola, from her growing night terrors. But when Letitia sees a shadowy figure attached to the household, it rouses old fears of her unspeakable past in England.

When a man comes to her about his missing daughter, the third girl to go missing in as many months, Letitia can’t help him when she can’t see who’s taken them.

As a darkness haunts Letitia’s vision, she may not be given a choice in helping the determined Mr Driscoll, or stop herself falling in love with him. But to do so risks a part of herself she locked away, and to release it may cost Letitia her sanity and her heart.

Add to Goodreads

Review

I was particularly impressed with the clear, and inclusive content warning present in the index of the book- not many books highlight miscarriage or loss of children in books and I was glad this was highlighted, so I didn’t have the usual pit in my stomach when I came across this.

But despite the content warning, this was I book I really enjoyed and is full of optimism about life after grief, loss and trauma.

Letitia, the heroine of the book and the main point of view character is a reluctant medium but uses her gifts to help people say goodbye to their loved ones. She has a strict set of rules about the clients she takes one, so turns down the determined Mr Driscoll and his sister. But she relents when she finds out why they are desperate for her help despite the risks to her own life and sanity and helps Mr Driscoll’s niece with her own blossoming gifts. Letitia has to be one of the most interesting characters I have read recently.

The growing attraction and romance between Letitia and Mr Driscoll is slow and provides a counterpoint to the ghosts and some of the darkness of the story. I found myself rooting for Letitia- a survivor who keeps going and can see the good in everyone around her despite the horrors in her own life.

The romance isn’t the main focus of the story and the ghostly element, as well as the mystery of the missing girls, are interesting. I read the book in one sitting to find out who the kidnapper and the ghost was and how the story ended.

I was invited to read the book by RR tours for a free, unbiased opinion but I have also borrowed the book from Kindle unlimited for a reread and help support the author.

Content warning ( from the book)

Miscarriage, suicide, paedophilia, murder, rape and possession- however, there are no graphic descriptions.

Perfect for fans

Anyone who enjoys mild horror, or gothic romances.

Top Ten Tuesday- Best reads of 2021

Join me in this weeks Top Ten Tuesday- my best reads of 2021 and of course the Lymond Chronicles is on the list.

.Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

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Today’s Top Ten Tuesday seemed easy on the surface, but I found it really hard to narrow my choices down to ten but I couldn’t ( so there are now eleven books on the list). I started book blogging in July and for some reason, the books I read before my first post seem less vivid and clear. So, in no particular order at all, here are my top ten reads of 2021.

The Bone Shard Emperor Daughter ( review ) and The Bone Shard Emperor by Andrea Stewart.

I loved this epic fantasy influenced by the far east which has action, romance, intrigue and magic by the bucketful. The magic system of using shards of bone from people to create artificial life that can be controlled is original and creepy. The characters are memorable and include my favourite smuggler and accidental hero, Jovis The books also explore deeper themes of belonging, love and complicated relationships between terrible parents and the children who want to be better.

Continue reading “Top Ten Tuesday- Best reads of 2021”

Historical Fiction Challenge 2022

I am so excited to join the Historical Fiction Reading Challenge 2022 hosted by The adventures of the intrepid reader.
 I think I am going to aim for the level of Ancient History which is 25 books over the next 12 months and post about them.

 

Let the challenge begin!

#histficreadingchallenge

For more details click here

Books reviewed as part of the Challenge ( click on title for review)

The Burning Chamber by Kate Moss

Leviathan Falls by James S.A , Corey (Final book in the Expanse series) – Book Review

Read my review of Leviathan Falls by James S. A Corey, the final book of The Expanse. I  love the fact we see our heroes grow old but are still brave, adventurous, optimistic, stupid and sexy. And it is this realism that makes this one of the best series I have read.

Series The Expanse ( series review here)

Please note there will be spoilers for the previous books and this one.

History is soaked in blood. The future probably will be too. But for every atrocity, there are a thousand small kindnesses that no one noticed. A hundred people who spent their lives loving and caring for each other. A few moments of real grace.

 Holden

Continue reading “Leviathan Falls by James S.A , Corey (Final book in the Expanse series) – Book Review”

First Line Friday

First Lines Fridays is a weekly feature for book lovers hosted by Wandering Words. What if instead of judging a book by its cover, its author or its prestige, we judged it by its opening lines?

Pick a book off your shelf (it could be your current read or on your TBR) and open to the first page.

Copy the first few lines, but don’t give anything else about the book away just yet – you need to hook the reader first.

Finally… reveal the book!

First there was a man named Winston Duarte. And then there wasn’t.

The last moment had been banal.

Did you guess?

Continue reading “First Line Friday”

Top Ten Tuesday- Books on my Winter 2021 To read List

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

This week the theme is the Top Ten Books to read in winter. I’m not sure if I have read all the books on my autumn list but I managed to add more books to the list. But I’m hoping all my wishes for book vouchers for Christmas will come through and I can buy all these lovely books.

Leviathan Falls by James S.A Corey

The final book in the Expanse series (review here) is now on my bedside table, so I might end up finishing the book before this post is up! I can’t wait to see how the amazing science fiction series end. Will humanity survive a dictator and an all-destroying alien entity?

Continue reading “Top Ten Tuesday- Books on my Winter 2021 To read List”

A Marvellous Light by Freya Marske- Book Review

Read my review of A Marvellous Light by Freya Marske-a truly marvellous fantasy set in Edwardian England with a grumpy wizard, a confused civil servant, sentient ivy and a love story at its heart. I don’t think I will ever look a maze in the same way ever again!

Genre: Fantasy

Series The Last Binding

Publication date : 9th December

image from Goodreads

Sir Robin Blyth has been assigned to take over a small department in the civil service when his predecessor is missing but he has no idea what he is supposed to do. So, he isn’t too pleased to find out that he is in fact the parliamentary liaison to a secret magical society, reporting only to the Prime Minister, especially when he has just found out that magic exists.

Edwin Courcey, his counterpart, magician and descendent from an old, magical family is also none too pleased that he must work with a new liaison who has no idea about the existence of magic

Unfortunately, the men must work together to help cure Robin who has been cursed by attackers, find Robin’s predecessor and thwart a plot that threatens every magician in the British Isles.

I loved this book. This is the perfect read for these dark gloomy nights with a sweet love story at its heart.

The author manages to build an intricate world of hidden and ancient magic within the first few chapters but also effectively build a complex picture of Robin’s and Edwin’s personality, quirks and backstory. Robin and Edwin both have complicated relationships with their families which add another layer of complexity to the story.

The magical system is a uniquely based system of cradling- a complex mix of hand movements based on a pattern and a hierarchy of sorts where the strongest magicians are held in higher esteem. People from magical families without magic or weak magical skills are delegated to jobs, well in the civil service.

The book also captures the changing society in Edwardian times and the descriptions of the food, transport and customs paint a vivid picture of the period.

The story is told from both Edwin’s and Robin’s viewpoints and there is plenty of action and peril. There are some truly breathtaking scenes particularly the scene where Robin and Edwin are trapped in a maze with sentient plants. I don’t think I will ever enter another maze without making sure the plants do not have a mind of their own.

The book has a strong undertone of romance throughout and Robin and Edwin’s growing love for each really made the book for me. I’m not a big fan of romance and sex in fantasy but this was in balance with the rest of the story and was satisfying when we learn how lonely the two main characters are.

I found myself laughing a few times especially when Adelaide Morrison was on the scene- this woman deserves her own book.

The book doesn’t end on a cliffhanger and there is enough resolution of the main storyline but there are plot for the next book and  I would definitely read another book containing  Edwin’s and Robin’s battle against the dark side of magic.

I received a copy of the book for a free, unbiased and honest opinion

The Black Coast ( book one of The God-King Chronicles) by Mike Brooks- Book review.

The Black Coast by Mike Brooks has my favourite and familiar fantasy themes of lost heirs, new cultures, strong warrior women and dragons but the description around gender makes this one of the best books I have read this year. Read my review here.

Genre: Epic Fantasy

Series: Book one of The God King Chronicles.

Source of the book: Bought this one myself after reading a review on another book blog A cat, a cup of tea and a book.

The Knights of the Black Keep are surprised when the raiders they assume have come to pillage their land have actually come to seek refuge from a terrible, evil spirit destroying their land. Now the Tjakorshi and the Naridians must learn to live together and tolerate each other. But in Narida, the rumour that the Splinter King, the true heir, has been found but this could lead to another devastating splintering, the country may not survive.

Review

The blurb focuses on whether the new society of Tjakorshi and Naridian will survive, the book is so much more complex and epic. In fact, while I found myself invested in whether this fledgling society would survive, I was more interested the differences in how women’s roles were so different in each culture and how gender plays a role in how they were perceived.

Continue reading “The Black Coast ( book one of The God-King Chronicles) by Mike Brooks- Book review.”

Checkmate by Dorothy Dunnett- Book review

An epic finale to the epic Lymond Chronicles, I found Checkmate by Dorothy Dunnett to be the perfect end to this historical series.

Genre: Historical fiction

Series The Lymond Chronicles ( series review here)

There may be spoilers for previous books in this review.

“The more modest your expectations, the less often you will court disappointment.”
― Dorothy Dunnett, Checkmate

Lymond is stuck in France and stuck in a marriage he is desperate to escape, so he agrees to France’s terms to ensure his divorce from Phillipa is granted. He is promptly embroiled in politics, intrigue and actual war but that is easier to manage than then an increasingly complicated relationship between him and Phillipa. Will Lymond ever find out the truth about his parentage? Will he find happiness with the woman he loves? Will he ever be free from Margaret Lennox?

So this is the final book in the Lymond story and I have to say it is the perfect finale to possibly the best historical fiction ever written. The covers for the Lymond books on my Kindle are abstract and boring but some of the older editions have a more romantic theme which always seemed to be a little misplaced. But there is a strong undercurrent of romance and angst throughout Checkmate that would explain why I have sometimes seen these books referred to as historical romance.

Lymond loves Phillipa and Phillipa loves Lymond and they are legally married. But Lymond, supported by almost everyone in his world with one exception, is determined that Phillipa will marry someone more suitable like Austin Grey. Poor Phillipa, even when she realises Lymond loves her too, she still cannot have her man, because he will not stay married to her. This has to be the most original barrier to true love in a book.

Continue reading “Checkmate by Dorothy Dunnett- Book review”

November Wrap Up

This year I attempted the Nanowrimo challenge again, so this has affected my reading, but I think I have done well by writing 10,000 words and managed to read a few books.

Net Galley reviews

Proper Scoundrels by Allie Therin (publication date 28.12.21)

I enjoyed this perfect blend of urban fantasy and paranormal romance  set in 1925 featuring Sebastian and grumpy Lord Fine. Can they learn to trust each other and find a magical serial killer.

A Marvellous Light by Freya Maske ( Publication date December 21)

I love this truly marvellous fantasy set in Edwardian England featured a grumpy wizard, a confused civil servant and sentient ivy, I don’t think I will ever look a maze in the same way ever again!

Requested reviews

Demon of Yodok by Adria Carmicheal ( Review)

This book made me think about some of the regimes around the world. A teenager is sent to a re-education camp in this realistic depiction of a dystopian world in Demon Of Yodok by Adira Carmicheal. Available on Kindle Unlimited.

Books I have bought

The Black Coast by Mike Brooks

It took me a while to get through this epic fantasy featuring all your favourite fantasy stables including dragons with a interesting way of recognising gender through language.

Innate Magic by Shannon Fay    (review)                                 

This was a kindle first pick and was an easy and enjoyable read about Paul who has innate magic in a world where magic is commonplace and is sucked into an evil plan to perform forbidden magic. Paul was annoying as a character, but the secondary characters are vividly drawn and makes the book worth reading.

Joy in the morning by PG Wodehouse.

I needed something to make me laugh and PG Wodehouse never fails. Joy in the morning features Betram Wooster lurching from one crisis to another. Old fashioned and perhaps outdated but I definitely needed a light hearted read.

Rereads

Niccolo Rising by Dorothy Dunnet

 My first reread of the House of Niccolo series by Dorothy Dunnett. I enjoyed this book so more on the second reading and was I’m awe at how Dunnett has sown the seeds for the rest of the series in the first few chapters. Niccolo Rising follows the start of a young dyers apprentice journey to greatness.

Blog round up

First Line Fridays

Top Ten Tuesday – Memorable quotes

Book reviews

Forging a nightmare

The Second Shooter

Pretty Deadly

Another Beast’s Skin.

Book Blitz- Behind the Veil by E.J Dawson

I’m pleased to be part of the Book Blitz for the Gothic Noir, Behind the Veil by E. J Dawson and can’t wait to read the book. Read my blog for more details and an except.

Behind the Veil

Publication Date: October 1st, 2021

Genre: Gothic Noir/ Paranormal Suspense

Can she keep the secrets of her past to rescue a girl tormented by a ghost?

In 1920s Los Angeles, Letitia Hawking reads the veil between life and death. A scrying bowl allows her to experience the final moments of the deceased. She brings closure to grief-stricken war widows and mourning families.
For Letitia, it is a penance. She knows no such peace.

For Alasdair Driscoll, it may be the only way to save his niece, Finola, from her growing night terrors. But when Letitia sees a shadowy figure attached to the household, it rouses old fears of her unspeakable past in England.

When a man comes to her about his missing daughter, the third girl to go missing in as many months, Letitia can’t help him when she can’t see who’s taken them.

As a darkness haunts Letitia’s vision, she may not be given a choice in helping the determined Mr Driscoll, or stop herself falling in love with him. But to do so risks a part of herself she locked away, and to release it may cost Letitia her sanity and her heart.

Add to Goodreads

Excerpt

Finola lay in a room better suited to a princess.

A four-poster bed draped in gauze shrouded the figure within. A pale pink duvet covered the slight frame, illuminated by a rose glass lampshade held aloft by a fairy cast in bronze.

Pretty as it was, Letitia focused on the girl in the bed.

Finola’s breathing was labored, her eyes twitching beneath her lids and forehead clammy, with threads of auburn hair sticking to her skin.

Letitia studied her for several moments.

There was no darkness attached to the girl, though the room’s low light gave too many shadows for Letitia’s liking. Ever wary of self-protection, she took hesitant footsteps closer.

When she stood at the foot of the bed, and was sure there were no dark specters here, she took Finola’s measure.

Finola was drugged, but from the girl’s eyes flickering in uneasy sleep it wasn’t working. Even with the morphine, Letitia could tell what the others could not—Finola would still have the nightmares.

A nurse sat beside the bed, and Letitia looked to her, letting a sliver of the nurse’s personality in.

A warm autumn breeze regarded her, refreshing though it was weak. The nurse stared at Letitia but made no comment at Letitia’s scrutiny.

“What’s your name?” Letitia asked, coming around the bed to offer her hand.

“Nurse Hopkins.” Hopkins had curling brown hair and hard dark eyes. A firm hand gripped Letitia’s gloved one, and she maintained eye contact. There was a hardness within the nurse, and Letitia guessed she’d served in the war. Not on the front lines, but she was toughened by her experience.

“What can you tell me about Finola’s condition?” Letitia asked. Mr. Driscoll came up beside her, and Letitia held up a hand to silence him. He glared but nodded permission for Hopkins to speak when the nurse hesitated.

“She has terrible night episodes,” the nurse said, “like those of the soldiers coming back. When she’s awake she cries a lot, she…bathes often but won’t eat much.” The nurse’s glance dipped between Finola and Mrs. Quinn as though she would say more, but she pressed her lips together.

“What else?” Letitia’s gentle tone, and the retreat of Mr. Driscoll’s looming form, let loose the nurse’s tongue.

“I walk with her in the gardens,” she said. “She…doesn’t like people to touch her. Appears distracted and nervous, takes to fright, doesn’t like strange men—the gardeners and delivery men and such.”

It was succinct but what Letitia needed to hear. “Thank you, could you give me a moment?”

The nurse needed another nod from Mr. Driscoll before she took her leave.

“Well?” Mrs. Quinn asked, standing on the far side of the bed, touching her daughter’s forehead. The girl flinched, and Mrs. Quinn drew back her hand with a disappointed frown.

“Please don’t,” Letitia asked, and Mrs. Quinn’s glower turned to acute displeasure.

“She’s my daughter and she’s sick.” Mrs. Quinn’s voice held a razor’s edge that hadn’t been there before.

“She also can’t distinguish who is touching her when she’s dreaming,” Letitia said, and Mrs. Quinn covered her widening mouth, gaze darting between Letitia and Finola. She must come do this often, and what should have been the comforting gesture of a mother made the nightmares worse.

Now Available

AmazonBarnes and Noble | Book DepositoryIndiebound

About the Author

Beginning a writing journey with an epic 21 book series, Ejay started her author career in 2014 and has taken on the ups and downs of self-publishing with her fantasy series The Last Prophecy since 2016. At the start of 2019, she put the series on the backburner to write Behind the Veil in 25 days, and signed a publishing contract for the gothic noir novel to independent publisher Literary Wanderlust. Behind the Veil is set for release on the October 1st 2021. She resumed self-publishing a scifi series, Queen of Spades released across 2020 and 2021, as well as signing another contract with Literary Wanderlust for NA fantasy, Echo of the Evercry. Believing in more than one path to a career in publishing, Ejay pursues self-publishing alongside querying traditional publishers with multiple manuscripts.

Ejay writes scifi, fantasy, and horror, with a dash of the paranormal. Behind the Veil is her first book with Literary Wanderlust, a romantic suspense with a touch of darkness. She also has a fantasy NA with Literary, Echo of the Evercry, and two self published series.

EJ Dawson | Instagram | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

Demon of Yodok by Adria Carmicheal – Book review

A teenager is sent to a re-education camp in this realistic depiction of a dystopian world in Demon Of Yodok by Adira Carmicheal.Read my review

Genre: Dystopian, Young Adult

Series: Book one of the Juche series.

Available on Kindle Unlimited ( I borrowed the book from Kindle unlimited following a request from the author for an honest review).

Just when Areum, daughter of a privileged family in the totalitarian state of Choson, thought she was free from her personal prison, her world collapses around her as her family is taken away in the middle of the night to a hell-like camp in the mountains where people who have strayed from the righteous path are brutally re-educated through blood, sweat, tears and starvation.

There she has to fight for survival together with the family she hates and is forced to re-evaluate every aspect of her life until then: her deep resentment toward her twin sister; her view of her father in the face of mounting evidence that he is a traitor with the blood of millions of fellow countrymen on his hands; and even her love and affection for the Great General – the eternal savior and protector of Choson, whom she had always considered her true father.

From goodreads

I was intrigued by the author’s note on The Demon of Jodok’s Goodreads blurb. She wanted to write from the perspective of someone who has been brainwashed by a totalitarian regime and she has succeeded. The book, written from the point of view of the main character, I think captures what it might be like to completely believe a beloved Dictator which makes her incarceration in a re-education camp all the more heart-breaking.

I found it hard to warm to Areum at the start- she does seem selfish, unsympathetic and rigid especially when her overriding goal is to leave her family and become a gymnast no matter what. But then, I found her attitude made sense once I realised this was a young teenage girl whose life and dreams are slowly being destroyed despite being a loyal subject and having done nothing wrong.

The concepts of Juche in the Choson are explained early as is the particular rules in the world that Areum lives in. The writing is crisp and sharp which suits the story.

I really hope Areum escapes in the second book!

Content warning

Attempted rape. Violence,

Perfect for fans

Who love realistic dystopia

First Line Friday

First Lines Fridays is a weekly feature for book lovers hosted by Wandering Words. What if instead of judging a book by its cover, its author or its prestige, we judged it by its opening lines?

Pick a book off your shelf (it could be your current read or on your TBR) and open to the first page.

Copy the first few lines, but don’t give anything else about the book away just yet – you need to hook the reader first.

Finally… reveal the book!

After the thing was all over, when peril ceased to loom and happy endings had been distributed and heaping handfuls and we were driving home with our hats on the side of our heads, having shaken the dust of Steeple Bumpleigh from our tyres, I confessed to Jeeves that there had been moments during the recent proceedings Jane when Bertram Wooster, though no weakling, had come very near to despair.

Any Ideas? It is an easy one

Continue reading “First Line Friday”

Forging a Nightmare by Patricia A Jackson- Book review

I loved this fresh urban fantasy with an unique hero, a biblical theme and a fierce, tough and loyal nightmare. Read my review here..

Publication Date :23 November 2021.

I received a copy from Angry Robot in exchange for my honest, unedited feedback.

FBI Agent, Michael Childs is trying to catch a serial killer targeting people born with 12 fingers and toes. During his investigations, he meets Anaba, a marine killed in action but soon finds himself under attack by a group of angels intent on killing him too. He soon finds himself in a world he has only read about with angels, horsemen, and the Grigori. The Grigori want to kill all Nephilim which unfortunately includes Michael who has discovered his true nature. But luckily, he has Anaba by his side, who is not just a marine but a powerful Nightmare.

This amazing cover caught my eye when I was browsing through titles on NetGalley and I just had to read the book.

The book features a diverse cast of characters – the main characters were black, and a lot of the secondary characters were people of colour. I liked the fact that this was seen as ordinary with no long backstory as to why people of colour were in positions of power and authority which I have seen in so many books.

Michael isn’t your typical hero- he is an FBI agent with an academic background, who enjoys jousting and we first encounter him at a crime scene dressed as a medieval knight (or at least that is how imagined it). This would definitely be on my list of most dramatic entrances in a book. Michael not only finds himself fighting in a world he has only read about but also discovers he is a Nephilim too- half-angel and half-human. His reaction to his new reality is realistic and well described- I don’t think anyone would deal with this rationally. So it makes sense when he learns about his true nature, he does something silly!

While I found Michael interesting, Anaba is the character I was most drawn to one of the most complex female characters I have read in a while. Her story is truly tragic and as I read more about how she was ‘forged’ from her human soul, her all rage makes all the more sense. But despite this, she is still loyal to her cause and to Micheal even though he doesn’t always treat her with the respect she deserves at the start of the book. I would happily read any book with her as the lead.

The plot is fast-paced with lots of action and moments of peril. There are plenty of characters in this book and fascinating in their own right.

 If this is part of a series, I hope we see more of Lucifer, Loki, Wyrmwood, Raijin, and of course EJ.

The world-building is intricate and well-described bringing to life the underworld and Hell.

I did feel uncomfortable when Anaba is in horse form and sometimes made to do what her rider tells her to do given her fierce and independent nature.

Content warning

Descriptions of violence and torture

Perfect for fans of

The television shows Supernatural and Lucifer.

Summary

4 stars and half stars- I would recommend this to anyone who would like a different take on fantasy.

First Line Friday

First Lines Fridays is a weekly feature for book lovers hosted by Wandering Words. What if instead of judging a book by its cover, its author or its prestige, we judged it by its opening lines?

Pick a book off your shelf (it could be your current read or on your TBR) and open to the first page.

Copy the first few lines, but don’t give anything else about the book away just yet – you need to hook the reader first.

Finally… reveal the book!

The Sun Palace atop its mighty sandstone plateau was the jewel of the city Idramar. It blended beauty with fearsome defensive architecture, and had stood as the symbol of narrators unquestioned power since the God-King Nari rose from obscurity to conquer the lands between Catseye mountains and the ocean.

Any Ideas?

Continue reading “First Line Friday”

Spotlight on The Resurrectionist by A.R Meyering

Welcome to the book tour for The Resurrectionist by A.R. Meyering. This tale is sure to inspire chills!

The Resurrectionist “Inspired by the true story of the Burke and Hare murders”

Publication Date: July 3rd, 2020

Genre: Supernatural/ Horror/ Fantasy/ Based on Real Life Characters

Scotland, 1854

On a skinny, forgotten road in Edinburgh stood a shop without a name—a shop that could be found only if one had previously been led to its door. William, who was blind, rapped his knuckles on the door. The shop owner opens the door and says, “I recognize you. You’re the thief who slithered away while your partner swung by his neck.”

William begs the woman to break the curse that has been set on him that prevents him from dying. The curse, says the woman, cannot be broken, but it can be displaced. Is your death so precious to you that you would destroy one more innocent life to get it? The life of your own child?”

London 1895

In 19th century Scotland surgeon Edgar Price has only days to live. He has become host to a revenant that will corrode both his body and soul. Edgar’s fatal mistake has not only doomed him, but also released six more of these malignant wraiths onto the world. In his remaining time, he has vowed to stop the revenants from claiming other victims. His perilous travels lead him to the Witches’ Wood, a haven for a sisterhood of powerful enchantresses. There he meets Ainsley, who is also racing against the clock to save her life and will go to any lengths to spare the life of her lover Colleen from the grief of losing her. Despite their mutual dislike, Edgar and Ainsley find that the only way to traverse the twisted, otherworldly labyrinths that the revenants have created is to work together. Their mission becomes further complicated when Edgar begins to develop feelings for Fana, the guardian goddess of the Wood in spite of Ainsley’s forbidding warnings to stay far away from her.

Though THE RESURRECTIONIST is a work of fantasy, many of the settings and elements are based on fact. Horror and fantasy intermingle in this novel inspired by the true story of the Burke and Hare murders.

From 1828-29, Irish immigrants William Burke and William Hare were responsible for the murders of sixteen people in Edinburgh. Their methods generally involved luring a victim to Hare’s boardinghouse, where they plied them heavily with alcohol before suffocating them. They were motivated by greed, selling the corpses of their victims to a local surgeon, Robert Knox. Each victim was publicly dissected, and Dr. Knox is largely thought to have been complicit in the crimes.

During their ten-month killing spree, William Hare’s common-law wife, Margaret Laird, was pregnant with their child. Hare was pardoned for his crimes due to his confession and condemnation of his accomplice Burke, who was hanged and publicly dissected as punishment.

After being pardoned, Hare, Margaret, and their infant are thought to have escaped to Ireland. It also has been rumored that William Hare was thrown into a lime pit and subsequently suffered blindness before becoming a beggar. The victims in THE RESURRECTIONIST are also based on real life people.

Reminiscent of Tess Gerritsen’s The Bone Garden, THE RESURRECTIONIST explores a real-life horror story through a riveting supernatural thriller that is guaranteed to hook readers from the very first page.

Available on Amazon

About the Author

A.R. Meyering was a graduate student studying philosophy. She has worked as an English teacher in a small town in Kumamoto Prefecture, Japan. Her dark fantasy novel, Unreal City, won a Literary Classics International Book Award gold medal for YA horror and a Moonbeam Award bronze medal in YA horror. While doing her undergrad in English she studied abroad in Edinburgh, focusing on Scottish occult literature and folklore. 

Sadly, A.R. Meyering passed away in 2021.

A.R. Meyering

Twitter Tags: @PRBookPro @RRBookTours1 #RRBookTours #Books

IG Tags: @rrbooktours #rrbooktours #theresurrectionist #armeyering (Plus your usual)

Book Tour Organized By: 

R&R Book Tours

Innate Magic by Shannon Fay- Book review

Read my review of Innate Magic by Shannon Fay urban fantasy set in an alternate post-war London where magic is a commonplace activity.

Series: The Marrowbone Spells #1

Delightfully cheeky, unquestionably charming, and sometimes maddeningly naïve, cloth mage Paul Gallagher is desperately trying to make a name for himself in a reimagined post-war London. But in a world where magic is commonplace, sewing enchanted clothes is seen as little more than a frivolous distraction. Paul is hiding a secret, however: he possesses a powerful–and illegal–innate magic that could help him achieve his wildest dreams.

Unfortunately, Paul confides in the wrong person–his latest crush, Captain Hector Hollister–and is drawn into a sinister plot that risks reigniting the machinery of war. To make matters worse, the pretty American gossip reporter Paul just met reveals her personal quest to expose a government cover-up may be related to Hollister’s magical goals. When Hollister threatens the life of Paul’s dearest friend, he realizes that his poor judgement has put not only his family and friends in danger, but also the whole world.

The only way to set things right may be for Paul to undergo the dangerous ritual to become Court Magician–the most powerful magician in the country. But is becoming part of the institution the best way to enact change in a terribly unjust society? 

Goodreads blurb

Book review

Innate magic was my choice of Amazon first picks in November and I was hooked in by the blurb. It was an easy read and I finished this within one sitting.

 The book is written in the first person from Paul’s point of view and his voice is light, charming and funny but despite him ending in some perilous situations, I didn’t really care too much for him. I found the other characters more interesting and was more invested in their stories. Verity, the American journalist in a mission to find an evil Doctor and punish him for his wrongdoings was more nuanced and complicated as was Thomas Dawes, Paul’s adopted brother. Paul’s illegal innate magic was a bit of a let-down, I was expecting something dangerous and evil but not what it turned out to be. The magical system with cloth mages being able to create magic through clothes and bookbinders who create magic through books was well thought out and an interesting way to make magic more practical in its description.

Continue reading “Innate Magic by Shannon Fay- Book review”

The Second Shooter by Nick Mamatas – Book Review

I enjoyed this fast-paced, mind-bending science-fiction thriller by Nick Mamatas full of twists, action unique characters and conspiracy theories. Read my review of The Second Shooter here.

I received a free copy from rebellion for an honest and unbiased review

Publication date : November 2021

Publisher :rebellion

Book review

Sometimes you come across a book that is so different and unique, it can be hard to describe the story or genre and The Second Shooter is one of those books.

Mike Karras, is a freelance writer who has been commissioned by an obscure, left-wing publisher intriguing named Little Round Bomb Books. His investigation is focused on the conspiracy theory of the mysterious second shooter, that witnesses claim to have seen at mass shootings and assassinations. He is sceptical until he finds himself in the middle of a mass shooting, becomes the target of a right-wing radio host, and is followed by drones. He tries to uncover the truth with the help and sometimes hindrance of his editor, some pesky teenagers, and a family of conspiracy buffs, the Alazars.

Continue reading “The Second Shooter by Nick Mamatas – Book Review”

Pretty Deadly by Kelsey Josund -Book Tour and review

I am so pleased to be part of the blog tour for Pretty Deadly. Kelsey Josund spins Cinderella on its head in this dark fantasy.

Enter to win a signed copy ( link below)

Publication Date: 26th October 21

Genre: Dark Fantasy

Cinna would quite literally kill for the throne.

She’s spent years forced to serve her wealthy cousins rather than attend society events alongside them, waiting for the chance to prove herself and exact revenge. When a ball is announced at the castle, promising to bring many powerful people to town, she seizes the opportunity to strike.

She bets her best friend, a small-time thief and con-man, that she can land a greater score the night of the ball than he can. They embark on parallel heists. But as their plots unfold, things begin to unravel: by the end of the night, the castle’s on lock down, a duchess is dead, a mansion has burnt to the ground, and Cinna hasn’t stolen anything. Or has she stolen something more valuable than gold and jewels?

Review

Cinderella was one of the few fairytales I really disliked when I was growing up. I could never understand how someone as downtrodden and ill-treated could wish for a pretty dress and shiny shoes from an all-powerful fairy godmother.

But finally, here is a Cinderella I can get behind. 

Continue reading “Pretty Deadly by Kelsey Josund -Book Tour and review”

Another Beast’s Skin by Jessika Grewe Glover – Book Review

Here’s my review of the first book, Another Beast’s Skin in a new fantasy series by Jessika Grewe Glover featuring parallel realms, fae with ulterior motives and a quest to save our world and the fae.

I received this eARC form GenZ publishing for an unbiased and honest review.

Publication date: 2 November 2021

Genre: Fantasy

Neysa has retreated to a small village in the North-East of England to recover from a messy break-up and her Father’s death. She is drawn to the strange but friendly twins Silas and Corra and their not so friendly cousin Cade. Life settles into a new pattern however one day they let her into a secret. They are not human but Fae from Aosling, a parallel world living in this realm to protect and fix the veil between worlds. Neysa is vital to fixing the veil and learns she could be half-Fae, so, unfortunately, ends up being dragged into a quest to save the realms as well as the twisted world of Fae politics.

Book Review

The book is written from Nesysa point of view. Her confusion when she finds out about her Fae heritage and the new world, she has to deal with is realistic and believable. The book feels like a coming-of-age book even though Neysa is in her early thirties, but I guess it is never too late to grow into the person you were meant to be. It was refreshing to read a book where the heroine is in charge of her sexuality and not remorseful of decisions or actions made in haste.

Continue reading “Another Beast’s Skin by Jessika Grewe Glover – Book Review”

October wrap up

Books and e ARCs received for review

eArcs

Forging a Nightmare by Patricia A Jackson ( publication date 23 November 21)

I enjoyed this urban fantasy with featuring a diverse cast including a half-angel and half human FBI agent as well as a Nightmare, a damned marine. The biblical influences and the concept of Nightmares (a sort of creature formed from the souls of the damned) were new to me and I found this an original read.

Pretty Deadly by Kelsay Josund ( Publication date 26 October 21)

I enjoyed this Dark Fantasy starring a deadly Cinderella who doesn’t need a fairy godmother to help her get her man. This Cinderella will literally kill anyone standing in her way with her pretty, glass slippers and this is a version of Cinderella I prefer.

The Pickwick Murders by Heather Redmond ( publication date 26 October 21)- Read my review here

An enjoyable murder mystery featuring Kate Hogarth, Charles Dicken’s fiancé who must solve increasingly complex puzzles to prove his innocence. I struggled to figure out who the murderer was and I loved the author’s descriptions of Dickens’s London.

Obsidian by Sarah Haley ( publication date 22 January 2022)

Finally, a fantasy heroine who is refreshing pragmatic about her love life and won’t let it get in the way of her mission. The book has an interesting blood magic system and interesting heroine in Shade, Lady Witch, who must raise a magical veil to protect her people even though the price she must pay maybe her life.

Published books

Grace on the Horizon by Emma Lombard( review here)

The second book in The White Sails Series continues Grace and Seamus journey through life and on the high seas on an exploratory vessel. I enjoyed reading Grace’s struggles with being a wife and mother when her soul was made for adventure.

Books I have read that wasn’t given to me for review

Parting the Veil by Paulette Kennedy

A gothic romance with a slice of spooky ghostliness.

Eliza leaves New Orleans with her half-sister Lydia to settle in England in 1899 to claim her inheritance and to start a new life as an independent woman. She learns that she will only inherit her vast fortune if she marries within a few months and finds herself resented by the other women in her local circle who also seeking a husband. She meets Michael, her neighbour in Havenwood manor and marries him despite the many warnings she receives about him. She moves into Michael’s manor but can’t understand the change in her husband’s behaviour and who is the ghost that’s haunting her room.

The Foundling by Stacy Halls

I read this book for my reading group and found, this historical fiction a predictable read. A story of baby given up for adoption by a mother who can’t look after and her attempts to claim her back many years later from a wealthy family.

The Binding by Bridget Collins

An interesting premise and I hoped the fantasy elements would be more predominant, but this is more romance than fantasy. We follow Emmett  apprentice as a Binder, a person who is able to take people’s memories away an write them away in a book and his shock when he finds a book with his name on.

The Colorado Kid by Stephen King

This crime fiction wasn’t what I expected, especially the unresolved ending and the fact this was written by Stephen King. Who killed the Colorado Kid? Well, I still I don’t know!

The Midnight Man by Caroline Mitchell

I read this murder mystery quickly but while I enjoyed this it wasn’t one of my favourite reads.

The Goblin Emperor by Kathrine Addison

I enjoyed this fantasy of political intrigue despite the confusing names and occasional slow pace. Eighteen-year-old, Half Goblin outcast becomes emperor after his family dies and learns to navigate prejudice the dangerous world of the Imperial court.

Summon the Blood by RN Morris

The first book in the Silas Quinn books introduces my favourite detective as he solves a series of gruesome murders in the early 1900’s.

Rereads

The Ringed Castle by Dorothy Dunnett( Review here)

The book after Pawn In Frankincense was always going to have a lot to live up to but this is still an amazing read. Lymond escapes to Russia with Guzel after the tragic chess game in Pawn Of Frankincense. Lymond and Guzel want to influence the Tsar in dragging Russia into modern times. Unfortunately, no matter how much he tries, Lymond can’t escape the people he left behind in England and Scotland, both family and foe, and finds his life in danger in the depths of Russia.

Checkmate by Dorothy Dunnett

The epic finale to the Lymond Chronicles. Will Lymond ever find out the truth about his parentage? Will he find happiness with the woman he loves? Will he ever be free from Margaret Lennox?

The Magicians

What if Narnia was real and discovered by a Grown-up Harry Potter?

 Other Posts published

Top Ten Tuesday – Top Bookish Peeves

Ten Top Tuesday- Book vs TV

Black Drop by Leonara Nattrass

First Line Friday

Parting the Veil by Paulette Kennedy- Book Review

Read my Halloween review of Parting the Veil a spooky, gothic romance set in 1899 by Paulette Kennedy

#gothicromance #bookreview

Genre: Historical fiction

When Eliza Sullivan inherits an estate from a recently deceased aunt, she leaves behind a grievous and guilt-ridden past in New Orleans for rural England and a fresh start. Eliza arrives at her new home and finds herself falling for the mysterious lord of Havenwood, Malcolm Winfield. Despite the sinister rumours that surround him, Eliza is drawn to his melancholy charm and his crumbling, once-beautiful mansion. With enough love, she thinks, both man and manor could be repaired.

As Eliza delves deeper into Malcolm’s troubling history, the dark secrets she unearths gain a frightening power. Has she married a man or a monster? For Eliza, uncovering the truth will either save her or destroy her. 

I picked this from Amazon’s first picks and it seemed a good choice for Halloween- I love a spooky gothic romance and this book is definitely spooky, gothic with lots of romance.

Continue reading “Parting the Veil by Paulette Kennedy- Book Review”

The Pickwick Murders by Heather Redmond- Book Review

I enjoyed reading this historical crime fiction featuring Charles Dickens and his finance trying to prove his innocence in a gruesome murder in 1836.

Genre: Historical Fiction

Publication Date: 26/10/21

Series: Dickens of a Crime

Charles Dickens, an up and coming journalist and writer in 1836, receives an intriguing invitation to join the exclusive Lightning Club. But his initiation takes a sinister turn when he stumbles across a dead body and is accused of murder. Dickens finds himself in Newgate prison fighting for survival and dependent on his friends and loved ones to prove his innocence. Kate Hogarth, his fiancé, finds herself targeted by a mysterious letter writer who demands she solves increasingly twisted puzzles to keep Charles safe but she soon realised the cost of failure isn’t just Charles’s safety but also her family’s.

I received a review copy from NetGalley and Kensington Books in exchange for my honest, unedited feedback.

I watched a documentary on the amazing Catherine Dickens born Hogarth who was an incredibly talented writer, wife and mother. She found herself subject to a painful divorce when Dickens fell in love with someone else. So, I was interested to read this book which features a young Kate deeply in love trying to solve a murder.

I haven’t read the previous books in the series but it was easy to jump into the story without having read the older books in the series.

I found Kate a refreshing heroine and her descriptions of her taking on the role of an investigator with hesitance rang true. She is unable to investigate freely given the restrictions on women in the 19th Century for example not being able to follow a lead as her Father forbids her to do so as it could be too dangerous in the fog. I felt sorry for Dickens as he found himself trapped In Newgate prison, a place he had written about because of its appalling environment.

The mystery around the murder and the Lightening society was satisfyingly interesting and I could not guess who the eventual murderer was until the final reveal. The puzzles that poor Kate had to solve were appropriately literary and introduced women writers from that time that I am ashamed to say I haven’t heard of. 

The atmosphere is well described and the descriptions of the grubbiness of Newgate. The smells and sounds of the streets really bring 19th Century London to life especially when the author describes the food Kate frequently buys from the street vendors.

There are several secondary characters, both real and fictional. I loved reading about Julie Aga, an actress, who doesn’t let pregnancy or society get in the way of helping her friends.

Content warning

Possible sexual assault ( off-page)

Perfect for Fans

Historical crime featuring real-life people

Summary

I will definitely be adding the backlist of the Dicken of a Crime series to my reading list.

Top Ten Tuesday- Top Book vs TV

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is TTT-NEW.png

This week is a freebie!

I love books and TV shows based on books. If I find out my favourite book has been filmed for TV I have to watch it and vice versa much to the annoyance of the people watching TV with me. 

I always assume that I will love the book more but is that always the case?

So here is my top book vs TV show and let’s see whether books trump TV shows!

Game of Thrones by G.R.R Martin

This is a controversial one. I watched the TV show after my other half told me how great it was and of course I then had to read the book. I found myself reading book after book in this series, gasping with the audacious plot twists and shocks. I continued watching the TV show especially when I realised this might be the only end to the story. But somehow I didn’t feel the same thrill of the books despite how beautiful the show looked. My other half was bemused when Daenerys turned into an autocratic dictator but this was no real surprise if you had read the books- GRRM had planted the seeds early on. The ultimate clincher in the books have the terrifying Lady Stoneheart!

Verdict: The Books win even though the ending is still not in sight and not just because I love Lady Stoneheart.

Shadow and Bone/ Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Burdugo 

The TV show combines the characters in Shadow and Bone as well as The Crooked Kingdom and the result was surprisingly interesting. The TV show changed the normal and boring Alina to a more feisty half- Shu who is of course beautiful. I did prefer the ordinary Alina from the books. The irritating Mal from the books is transformed and with this Mal, I could understand why Alina was devoted to him. The characters from the Crooked Kingdom felt a little out of place and it felt their story was just about to start.

Verdict: A tie, I love the books and the TV show for different reasons

Read my review here

The Vampire Diaries by LJ Ross

This is a classic vampire story with a young, beautiful teenage girl and two handsome vampires who love her. The TV show is so dark with twists and shocks thrown in every episode. It doesn’t hurt that the fact that the actors who play Damien, Elena and Stefan were gorgeous and talented especially when playing the evil versions of themselves. The secondary characters like Bonnie and Caroline are much more developed and interesting. The books are a much tamer affair.

Verdict: TV show wins over the book in my view.

The Magicians by Lev Grossman

I didn’t warm to Quentin, a grown-up Harry Potter in Narnia when I read the first book but returned to the series after watching the TV show. The TV show shows Quentin’s depression and how he overcomes this to make him a more relatable character. The TV show’s diverse cast and writing bring alive the many characters in the books to create some unforgettable characters. The show has a strong sense of humour that is missing from the books.

Verdict: TV show wins though the books are well worth reading.

Read my review here

The Witcher by Andrzej Sapkowski

When I think of The Witcher, I think of the start of Covid. I enjoyed watching the first few episodes of the TV show. When it become evident that shops would be closed as part of the lockdown including bookshops, I panicked and took a risk- I bought all the books in The Witcher series without reading the first book from my local bookshop. I’m glad I did. The series is so well written with an overall story arc running through all the books and neatly resolved by the last book. Geralt of Rivia is a strong, interesting and grumpy character Yennefer’s story obsession with having a child makes more sense when you read the books and I loved her equally tetchy character in the books.

Verdict: It’s a tie- I can’t wait for the next season of The Witcher even though I have finished all the books.

The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher

Harry Dresden is my favourite urban wizard- funny, brave, maverick, sarcastic and I have loved reading his journey from single,carefreeish wizard to a major player in the Chicago magic scene. His friendship with Karrin the equally brave, single, detective is a highlight of the books. Unfortunately, the show managed to lose everything that made Dresden special and why did they change Karrin?

Verdict: Book wins without a doubt

read my review here

The Colorado Kid by Stephen Kid ( TV show Haven)

Haven is one of my favourite tv series. Haven is a small town in Maine beset by Supernatural troubles and needs FBI agent Audrey Parker who has the gift to ease these troubles. The underlying mystery to the show is the Colorado Kid and who killed him. I finally found a copy of the Colorado Kid and was surprised to see that there is absolutely nothing in common between the book and TV show except for the grumpy newspapermen and the dead Colorado kid. The book is an old-fashioned story of a dead man with no supernatural elements and the mystery is disappointing never solved.

Verdict: TV show beats the book

The Expanse by S.A Corey

I came to these books via the TV show and this is probably my favourite science fiction series. The books are an epic combination of space politics, intrigues, battles and aliens with a diverse range of characters including one of my favourites the foul-mouthed politician Avarsala. Understandably, so much of the books can’t be transferred across to the TV show.

Verdict: Books win by a tiny bit over the TV show- I can’t wait for the final instalment!

Read my review here

The One by John Mars

The book by John Mars is based on the premise that the concept of the soulmate or is based on biology and people can be tested to find ‘ The One. The author does a great job in describing the complete fallout on relationships when this is made public. The book also has one of the best twists I have read.

The TV show is still based on this premise but introduces a completed mystery and backstory that isn’t half as good as the underlying deceit in the book. The emotional fallout on ordinary couples is ignored and of course, the main characters matches are all photogenically gorgeous.

Verdict: Book wins over the TV show  

Well, I guess I prefer books over TV 

What are your favourite books vs TV?

The Colours of Death by Patricia Marques- Book review

Read my review of The Colours of Death by Patricia Marques a paranormal murder mystery set in an alternative Lisbon featuring a Detective with a special Gift.

Isabel Reis is Gifted and a Detective. In an alternative Lisbon, a minority (I use this term deliberately) of people are ‘Gifted’ either telepathic or telekinetic. In the past, Gifted people were tolerated and marginally accepted but after an incident when a rogue Gifted telepath lost control, they are feared and subject to increasing discrimination. In midst of all this tension, the head of the Institute is responsible for finding out who is gifted is murdered. Isabel has to find the Gifted person responsible for this very public murder even if this puts her in harm’s way.

This book worked well on a number of levels. The mystery around the very public death of Gil dos Santos, head of the controversial testing centre for the Gifted was interesting in itself. But add in an extra paranormal element and this becomes a complex and layered story of prejudice against anyone perceived as different.

Isabel is telepathic, she can read people’s emotions and thoughts and rifle through people’s memory which should make her great at her job, you would think. But as a Gifted Detective, she is limited to what she can do especially when the non- Gifted view her with suspicion and as unnatural. It doesn’t help her Gift is levelling up and has to hide this in case she is carted off to a government camp and never heard of again. She has to deal with all of this along with her complicated relationship with her family and her ex. Isabel is a realistic character and the author does great job describing her fears, angry and frustrations when she is treated as an outsider, I really felt for her when is cruelly rejected by the people she loves.

The book describes the discrimination of minorities really well and how the fear of anyone different can be used by powerful people for their own gain. The descriptions of Lisbon were vivid especially all the different food Isabel has to eat ( because of her gift). I now want to find an authentic Portuguese restaurant to try the cuisine,

My only criticism and it is a small one- the language in places felt a little clunky.

Content warning

Descriptions of child neglect

Perfect for Fans of

Gritty paranormal crime

Summary4 and a half stars- I enjoyed this murder mystery with a paranormal twist and hope we see more of this Gifted Detective.

The Magicians by Lev Grossman Book vs TV series review (Spoiler free)

What if Narnia was real and discovered by Magicians. Read my review of the fantasy series, The Magicians by Lev Grossman.

Genre: Fantasy

Books in series( complete)

Book 1: The Magicians

Book 2 : The Magician King

Book 3: The Magician’s Land

Book series review

I first read The Magicians almost a decade ago when I saw a tagline- Harry Potter goes to college- and had to read it. I finished the first book and while I didn’t dislike the book, I didn’t love it either and didn’t bother with the sequels until watched the TV show ( more on that later). I reread the first book before reading the sequels but while I enjoyed the first book a lot more as well as the sequels, don’t think this is a series I would read again.

Continue reading “The Magicians by Lev Grossman Book vs TV series review (Spoiler free)”

The Ringed Castle by Dorothy Dunnett- Book review

The fifth instalment in the Lymond Chronicles has a restrained Lymond trying to influence change in Russia, in The Ringed Castle, historical fiction by Dorothy Dunnett.

Genre: Historical Fiction

Series: The Lymond Chronicles ( Review my series review here)

Lymond escapes to Russia with Guzel after the tragic chess game in Pawn Of Frankincense. Lymond and Guzel want to influence the Tsar in dragging Russia into modern times. Unfortunately, no matter how much he tries, Lymond can’t escape the people he left behind in England and Scotland, both family and foe, and finds his life in danger in the depths of Russia.

 Book Review

“Not to every young girl is it given to enter the harem of the Sultan of Turkey and return to her homeland a virgin.”

I have to make a confession- this is not one of my favourite books. I’m not sure why- it has everything I have come to expect from Dorothy Dunnett. Perhaps, this would be true of any book that comes after Pawn in Frankincense. But when I read this again recently, I found there is so much to like yet it remains my least favourite book in the series.

Continue reading “The Ringed Castle by Dorothy Dunnett- Book review”

Grace on the Horizon by Emma Lombard- Book review

Grace’s journey continues in Grace on the horizon, book 2 of the White Sails series by as she navigates life as the wife of an explorer in the 19th century in this intricate historical fiction Emma Lombard.

from Amazon

I received a free copy of this ebook from the author in return for an unbiased and honest review.

Genre: Historical Fictions

Series: The White Sails Series

First Book: Discerning Grace ( review here)

Grace on the Horizon picks up three years after Discerning Grace. Grace and Seamus are settling into life as a married couple in London but there are problems. Grace finds herself excluded from high society and Seamus is struggling with this lack of progress in his Naval career as a result of the unfortunate events of the last book. So after a personal tragedy, they both jump at the chance of an expedition funded by the intriguing Hamilton. Hamilton convinces Seamus to take a priest on his ship to establish a mission elsewhere for a large sum of money but he hides the fact the priest is accused of murder from Grace.

Continue reading “Grace on the Horizon by Emma Lombard- Book review”

First Line Friday

First Lines Fridays is a weekly feature for book lovers hosted by Wandering Words. What if instead of judging a book by its cover, its author or its prestige, we judged it by its opening lines?

Pick a book off your shelf (it could be your current read or on your TBR) and open to the first page.

Copy the first few lines, but don’t give anything else about the book away just yet – you need to hook the reader first.

Finally… reveal the book!

“Not to every young girl is it given to enter the harem of the Sultan of Turkey and return to her homeland a virgin.”

Any Ideas?

It’s from Ringed Castle, Lymond Chronicles, Dorothy Dunnett

Fifth in the legendary Lymond ChroniclesThe Ringed Castle leaps from Mary Tudor’s England to the barbaric Russia of Ivan the Terrible. Francis Crawford of Lymond moves to Muscovy, where he becomes advisor and general to the half-mad tsar. Yet even as Lymond tries to civilize a court that is still frozen in the attitudes of the Middle Ages, forces in England conspire to enlist this infinitely useful man in their own schemes

 The blurb from Goodreads focusses on Lymond but The Ringed is as  much about Phillipa Somerville, the young girl alluded to the opening lines.

Did you guess the book?

Top Ten Tuesday- Top Bookish Peeves

image from that artsy reader

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

I love all kinds of books and stories. There are very few things in a book that annoy me so this Top Ten Tuesday challenge may prove difficult. I feel I should add a disclaimer- I would love to finish writing my book one day and apologise if any of my peeves end up in my unfinished book!

Ridiculous age gaps.

I’m not talking about an age gap of eight years in a couple or fifteen or even fifty. No, I’m talking about an age gap of about 100 years or more. Usually, it is some guy who has been turned into a vampire a few centuries ago or an immortal being about five hundred years old who falls in love with a young person. What do they have in common- especially if the younger person is their teens? I don’t care how young they look, someone who is that old will have a lot of baggage and experience and that is going to put a downer on any relationship.

Soulmates ( aka the one, fated mate, mate, etc)

There are so many great stories out there where there is so much drama, action, intrigue, and then suddenly the soulmate appears and a very forced romance ensures. Sometimes a soulmate gives a story an extra layer but more often than not it is an excuse to create a sense of strong connection without any of the work that really goes into building a relationship. Perfect when said soulmate is abducted, in peril, close to death to push our main character to act.

Books in the present tense.

I’m not sure why books written in the present tense annoy me but it just does. Some authors can do this really well and it works with the story like the Hunger Games. But most of the time it feels like the character is just narrating what they are doing or thinking instead of telling me their story.

Dead Child syndrome

I don’t mind crime thrillers where the main story is about a murdered child or the books that show how parents cope with the loss of a child. However I really dislike the books that kill a child or two to shock a reader or to make a character more sympathetic, to create dramatic tension,to justify a character acting a particular way or just to shock the reader.

Graphic descriptions of violence without a content warning 

I like any graphic violence off the page, my own imagination can fill in the blanks, but I know everyone is different and some would rather read this. A simple solution would be to indicate this on the cover, so I can be prepared to skip a few pages. But deep down, I must admit to wondering- Do we really need such vivid descriptions of violence?

Unpronounceable fantasy names

Usually seen in high fantasy including names without vowels, polysyllabic names with about ten syllables, names with apostrophes eg Kyqd’yf

Women in historical fiction acting out of keeping for the times

I like strong, independent women but unfortunately, this is a recent trend. So, when a woman in medieval times can fight off men with Karate moves or can overtly and confidently speak her mind in a room full of powerful men to influence politics and isn’t the queen- I need to have context. How is she able to do this and why hasn’t she been tried for witchcraft or locked in a convent? Dorothy Dunnet does this well. Her women are strong, powerful, physically capable but we know how and why they can do this.

Dystopian Fantasy where the women are still downtrodden

There are far too many dystopian books where women are still unequal, without rights, treated as breeding machines, have no voice, converted into robots, etc. In fact, whenever I think there aren’t any more ways a person can imagine a way to degrade or erode women’s rights any further, out pops a book with a new way.

Book series that don’t have an end to the main story

I love book series and become invested in the stories and the fate of the characters, so I find it incredibly frustrating when a series remains incomplete or when the series continues but with resolution to an important subplot or secondary character.

Random points of view (POV). 

I don’t mind a first-person POV or a third-person POV or many POVs in a book but I really dislike it when books suddenly add in one chapter from a random POV from another main character or secondary character and then we never see their POV again. I find this more frustrating when the random POV character’s voice is interesting and their story so much more fascinating.

Am I just nit-picking or are some of these peeves on your list too?

Black Drop by Leonora Nattrass – Book review

I couldn’t put this book down. A historical thriller set in 1794 featuring Laurence Jago, a reluctant spy addicted to  Black Drop, trying to survive in London on the edge of violence.

I received a free review copy from Serpent’s Tail/Viper/Profile in exchange for my honest, unedited feedback.

Publication Date: 14 October 21

Publisher Serpent’s Tail/Viper/Profile Books

Genre: Historical Fiction.

In 1794, Laurence Jago is an ambitious clerk at the Foreign Office but has a secret- well a few secrets- which could lead to him being tried for treason. He becomes a suspect when a highly sensitive letter is leaked to the press which could cause a major blow to the British Army’s war effort When Laurence discovers the body of another clerk, the blame is conveniently shifted but he knows the clerk is innocent. Can Jago find the true culprit without incriminating himself or falling into addiction?

I couldn’t put this book down and found myself hooked into reading late into the night with each new revelation and twist of which there are many!

We know from the start that this is the written confession of Laurence Jago, in 1794, who has succeeded in keeping his spying and his French ancestry a secret from the Foreign Office. The confession adds an extra layer of peril and tension to the story as Jago’s fate is difficult to predict through the course of the book.

Jago is a flawed character, impulsive and rushing headlong into danger, opens his mouth when he shouldn’t and is full of repressed emotions which he tries to ease with the help of Laudanum.  He is not the usual slick, sophisticated spy but is more human, sympathetic and all too realistic. His slow descent into addiction was realistically described.

The author seamlessly blends historical and fictional characters with their own agenda confounding poor Jago. Philpott and Theodore Jay provide humour and enhance this potentially dark story, I was fascinated by the author’s note at the end of the book about Lord Grenville and his networks of spies but also how some of the stranger events in the book were based on true events.

The writing clearly evocates the atmosphere of 1794 London and I could almost feel the grime and filth of the streets of London. The descriptions bring to life the differences between the offices of Downing Street and the seediness of the back streets of London and a rural, pre-industrial England. I haven’t read much fiction based in this time so the French revolution’s impact on England, the signing of a treaty between Britain and the new USA and the Anglo-French war felt fresh and new, Unfortunately, the xenophobia and prejudice sound all too familiar.1794, was a time when far too few people were allowed to vote and the political struggle to try and change this form another important strand in the book and neatly dovetails into the main plot.

Content warning

Hanging, references to suicide and addiction.

Perfect for fans

Who like spy thrillers or historical crime in a historical setting with plenty of twists and turns. This reminds me of some of the earlier books in the Shardlake Series by C.J Sansome.

Summary

Five stars- I loved this book and I would happily read more books by this author particularly if they are about Lord Grenville’s spies and his spy network.

Discerning Grace by Emma Lombard – Audio book review

I really enjoyed the audiobook, Discerning Grace the first book in the White Sails Series, by Emma Lombard featuring a feisty heroine navigating life on the sea as well the stifling patriarchy in 19th Century society. Think Outlander meets a clean version of Black Sails.

I received a free audiobook version from Emma Lombard for an honest, unbiased review, but bought Discerning Grace on the kindle to read at leisure at a later date as I enjoyed this so much.

Genre : Historical Fiction

Narrator : Siobhan Waring

Series: White Sails

Grace Baxter is frustrated with her expected role in English society and her parents lack of interest in her life. But one day, her parents arrange her betrothal to the loathsome Lord Silverton who promptly tries to take advantage of her. Grace runs away and joins the HMS Discerning headed towards the Tierra del Fuego disguised as a boy and quickly learns how to serve at sea. Unfortunately, her gender is discovered when unable to keep silent about a crewmate’s ill-treatment and is lined up for a beating. The crew and captain react with horror, so Lieutenant Seamus Fitzwilliam takes her under his protection. But despite his protection, Grace is still vulnerable and has to rely on her own wits and inner strength to survive.

Review

 I loved the TV show Black Sails particularly the strong, female characters on land and on the sea and felt the same vibes from Discerning Grace.

Grace is a woman ahead of her time. She is feisty, resourceful, funny and does not need a man to save her- she is more than capable of doing this herself, which I really liked. Grace isn’t perfect, she does make unwise decisions that have devasting consequences, but this makes a more rounded and likeable heroine. The same is true of Seamus, who has his own prejudices and beliefs but can work around them to be the man Grace most definitely deserves.

The romance between Grace and Seamus form the heart of this book but while it is lovely and sweet, it plays a small part in the overall story. This is definitely a story about Grace’s battles to survive in a society where she has no voice or rights and not to be ground down by the obstacles in her way.

 The author has done her research and it shows in the intricate details of life as the lower deck crew on an 18th-century ship and boy was life brutal! The story races along with several unexpected twists that added to my enjoyment.

Lord Silverton is a suitably evil man, slimly and dangerous and I did loathe him deeply. There are plenty of colourful secondary characters but I have to confess I have a soft spot for the pirate O’Reilly.

Audiobook review

This is the first audiobook I actually enjoyed having struggled with them in the past. Siobhan Waring is a talented narrator with an expressive voice that brings Grace’s ( and Seamus’s)voice to life. Her ability to present different characters is impressive and I could differentiate between all the characters by their tone and accents. The chapters are clearly delineated and the little sea ditties at the start and the end of the book are a lovely touch.

Content warning

Attempted sexual assault, domestic violence, corporal punishment.

Summary

Five stars- I enjoyed this audiobook and look forward to reading my bought kindle version before I continue Grace’s story in Book 2, Grace on the Horizon.

Beat the backlog challenge 2022

#beatthebacklog

I saw this hastag challenge created by @owlbesatreading and thought I would try and clear a few of the books that I had sitting around. But imagine my shock when I found I had 48 books on my kindle- some from 2015. So, I have joined the challenge to reduce this number and will share the reviews on my blog or this page.. But to keep myself to task here are the list of books I have sitting on my kindle to be reviewed.

So here we go

Read

Burning Chamber by Kate Moss ( review)

To be read from backlog

Dark Days Club by Alison Goodman

Interference by Ameilie Antoine

So not a Hero by S J Delos

Revelation Space by Alastair Reynolds

The rule of one by Ashley Sanders

The Killer Collective by Barry Eisler

Blood for Blood by Victoria Selman

The rescue by Steven Konkoly

The Tower of the Living and Dying by Anna SmithSpark

Trance by Adam Southward

The Girl at the window by Rowan Coleman

Quantum by Patricia Cornwell

The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

Someone like me by M R Carrey

Cunk on Everything by Philomena Cunk

The Likely Resolutions of Oliver Clack

Broken Angels by Richard Morgan

The Fifth season by N Jesmin

A little Hatred by Joe Abercrombie

The Fever King by Victoria Selman

Malice by John Gwynne

Jade City by Fonda Lee

Nophrek Gloss by Esra Hansen

Constance by Mathew Fitzsimmons

The Keeper of Happy Endings by Barbara Davis

Star Mother Charlie Holberg

Empire of the Sand by Tasha Suri

Drake by Peter McClean

The Poppy War by R L Kuang

The Dragon Republic by R l Kuang

The Unspoken name by A K Larkwood

The Unbroken by C L Clark

The Ship of Magic by Robin Hobb

Genome by Matt Ridley

The Raven Spell by Luanne Smith

Murder at Teal’s Pond by David Bushman

Choose me by Tess Gerristen

Obsidan Tower by Mellisa Carliso

Secret Stealers by Jane Helaman