A Strange and Stubborn Endurance by Foz Meadows- Book review

Here is my review of A Strange and Stubborn Endurance by Foz Meadows – a queer, romantic fantasy

Velasin vin Aaro never planned to marry at all, let alone a girl from neighboring Tithena. When an ugly confrontation reveals his preference for men, Vel fears he’s ruined the diplomatic union before it can even begin. But while his family is ready to disown him, the Tithenai envoy has a different solution: for Vel to marry his former intended’s brother instead.
Caethari Aeduria always knew he might end up in a political marriage, but his sudden betrothal to a man from Ralia, where such relationships are forbidden, comes as a shock.
With an unknown faction willing to kill to end their new alliance, Vel and Cae have no choice but to trust each other. Survival is one thing, but love—as both will learn—is quite another.

Review

A Strange and Stubborn Endurance by Foz Meadows was one of my anticipated reads of 2022 as I enjoy books with intrigue, fantasy, magic and very occasionally a bit of romance and this book seemed to have it all. But I have to admit to feeling a little disappointed.

Continue reading “A Strange and Stubborn Endurance by Foz Meadows- Book review”

A Symphony of Echoes By Jodi Taylor – Book review

The chaotic romp through time continues with A Symphony Of Echoes, the second book in the St Mary Chronicles by Jodi Taylor.

In the second book in the Chronicles of St Mary’s series, Max and the team visit Victorian London in search of Jack the Ripper, witness the murder of Archbishop Thomas a Becket in Canterbury Cathedral, and discover that dodos make a grockling noise when eating cucumber sandwiches.
But they must also confront an enemy intent on destroying St Mary’s – an enemy willing, if necessary, to destroy History itself to do it.

Review

A Symphony of Echoes by Jodi Taylor continues Max’s story (click here for the review of One Damned Thing After another) and her time-travel adventures with St Mary’s along with the rest of her eccentric colleagues.

In the second book, Max heads to the future and has to face her nemesis(s), Isabella Barclay and Ronan again and ends up interim director but after she faces off with Jack the Ripper.

Max continues to be feisty, and funny (even when she has to lead) but vulnerable in this book particularly with her relationship with Leon Farell. I have to admit I wasn’t a big fan of Leon in this book and I did want to throw the book at the wall when reading about their relationship. I preferred Max’s more healthy relationships with her colleagues and friends which forms the heart of the book but her reaction to Leon’s boorish behaviour was hilariously unhinged.

As expected, there is plenty of tea, accidents and mishaps and of course a completely bonkers take on history- I loved the explanation of why Jack the Ripper disappeared from history. The team also head off to Tudor Scotland to stop Mary becoming the Queen of England and Scotland- a complicated scheme hatched by Ronan to save his love Anne.

 We do learn a little bit more about the past (or future) history of St Marys.

Content warning

References to rape, sexual assault, torture and violence (this is in a historical context and boy were they violent in the past!)

Perfect for Fans

Who loves Time travel books

Series: Book two in the St Marys Chronicles

Source: My Own

One Damned Thing after another by Jodi Taylor

I’m finally reading the St Mary Chronicles in order. Read my review of One Damned Thing after Another by Jodi Taylor which introduces the chaotic, tea drinking time travellers.

Meet the disaster-magnets of St Mary’s Institute of Historical Research as they ricochet around History. Their aim is to observe and document – to try and find the answers to many of History’s unanswered questions…and not to die in the process. But one wrong move and History will fight back – to the death. And, as they soon discover – it’s not just History they’re fighting.
Follow the catastrophe curve from 11th-century London to World War I, and from the Cretaceous Period to the destruction of the Great Library at Alexandria. For wherever Historians go, chaos is sure to follow in their wake.

Review

I love time-travel stories and the St Mary Chronicles is one of my favourites. I have dipped in and out of the series ,reading the books in random order ( which works fine for this series) but decided to finally read them in order.

Continue reading “One Damned Thing after another by Jodi Taylor”

Top ten Tuesday- Books on my Autumn (Fall) to read list.

It’s another Tuesday and another list. This week’s Top Ten Tuesday is books on my autumn(fall) to read list and of course I have added more to an ever-expanding 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.

Here we go in no particular order

Continue reading “Top ten Tuesday- Books on my Autumn (Fall) to read list.”

Wayward by Hannah Mathewson- Book review

I loved the second book set in Witherward- the city hidden below London. Here is my review of Wayward by Hannah Matheson YA fantasy.

The grandchildren of the High Sorcerer are nothing but trouble. Cassia is determined to be inducted into the Society of Young Gifted Sorcerers. But the harder she trains, the more unreliable her spells become. But when Cassia accidentally awakens an archaic power, the fate of the entire city falls into her hands.
Ollivan, her disgraced older brother, is scheming to seize the leadership of the society and revoke his banishment. But if he is to succeed, he must unravel a vengeful plot he set in motion the night he was exiled. The problem? His sister has triggered the spell.
The city is divided between six rulers of six warring, magical factions. Each wields unique powers. Each is uniquely dangerous. The tenuous peace between them all is barely maintained by fragile accords. Now Cassia’s only chance to save that peace and put an end to the destruction she’s unleashed is to join forces with her villainous estranged brother. 

Review

Source: My own

I love books set in parallel worlds and hidden cities, so I picked this up in a bookshop without realising this was set in the same world as Witherward ( review here)- a book I really didn’t enjoy as much as I thought I would. But I loved Wayward by Hannah Matheson.

Continue reading “Wayward by Hannah Mathewson- Book review”

Redspace Rising by Brian Trent – blog tour and book review

I’m pleased to be part of the Random Things Tours blogtour for Redspace Rising by Brian Trent. Here is my review of the futuristic military sci-fi.

Harris Alexander Pope is the man who ended the Partisan War on Mars. All he seeks now is solitude and a return to the life that was stolen from him. Yet when he learns that the worst war criminals are hiding in other bodies, he is forced into an interplanetary pursuit teaming up with other survivors eager for their own brand of vengeance ,Harris begins to suspect a darker truth: Maybe what he remembers about the war isn’t what happened at all.

Book review

I received a copy of this book for a free and unbiased opinion.

Redspace Rising by Brian Trent is set in a far future where Mars has been colonised and is now savaged by long wars. Unfortunately, The Partisans who promised freedom have become terrible oppressors and Harris has been their loyal and highly decorated soldier for years. But in the middle of yet another mission he is captured by the other side and finds out that he has, in fact, been a deep undercover agent for the last twenty years ( he is so deep undercover he has forgotten that he is an undercover agent with help of some interesting tech) and is activated- to finally end the war. Which he does- but this is just the start of Pope’s journey and story.

Read more

The story is told from Pops’s point of view and it is a realistic view of war, the consequences and the aftermath. While the book doesn’t glamorise war, it also doesn’t glamorise its effects on the people who have had to live through it. I didn’t warm to Pope but I sympathised with him, his struggles and his overwhelming desire just to spend some time with his brother.

There is a huge array of fascinating tech in this world and the politics of Mars are just as corrupt as you would expect it to be in a dystopia but this enhances the story. The battle scenes are vividly described and the plot is fast-paced with plenty of high-tech action.

I was gripped by all the twists and turns in the story, especially the end.

I did feel the book was perhaps a little long and would have appreciated a bit more downtime between all battles and action. While Pope is a nuanced and realistic character, the women in the book had less depth.

Perfect for fans

Altered Carbon by Richard Morgan

Content warning

Descriptions of torture,

Genre: Miltary Sci-fi

Source : with Thanks to Flame Tree Press

Top Ten Tuesday—books with geographical terms in the title

It’s another Tuesday and another list. This week’s Top Ten Tuesday is a hard one- books with geographical terms in the title.

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’s TTT theme is a hard one especially when geography wasn’t my favourite subject!

So here we go

Continue reading “Top Ten Tuesday—books with geographical terms in the title”

The Jane Seymour Conspiracy by Alexandra Walsh – Book review

The Jane Seymour Conspiracy, the fourth book in the Marquess House Saga by Alexandra Walsh has an unique take on the Tudor dynasty, here is my review of this brilliant historical fiction.

London, 1527
Jane Seymour arrives at court to take her place with Queen Katherine of Aragon. Discovering a court already beginning to divide into factions between Katherine and Jane’s second cousin, Anne Boleyn, Jane finds herself caught between the old world and the new.
When King Henry VIII finally succeeds in his pursuit of Anne, Jane witnesses the slow unravelling of his interest in the new queen as she, too, fails in her task to deliver a son. Having watched both Katherine and Anne fall from grace, Jane has no ambition for the throne, but when the king begins seeking her out, Jane realises the decision may be out of her hands…
Pembrokeshire, 2020
When a set of papers called The Pentagram Manuscript makes its way to Perdita and Piper at Marquess House, they find they have a new mystery to unravel. The manuscript is the tale of five women on a quest to find true love, written while Anne Boleyn was queen. As Perdita begins to unravel the text, she discovers a code that leads to a whole new outlook on Henry’s relationship with Jane Seymour but puts her loved ones in danger.

Review

I had to remind myself a few times when reading The Jane Seymour Conspiracy by Alexandra Walsh that this was fiction. I read it one sitting to find out what happens to Jane Seymour even though I know what actually happened to Jane Seymour!          

Continue reading “The Jane Seymour Conspiracy by Alexandra Walsh – Book review”

The Wild Court by E.G. Radcliff – Book review/Blog tour

I’m pleased to be part of the The Write Reads blog tour for the The Wild Court by E. G Radcliffe- a YA fantasy with faeries, magic, power, love and Aed, the former Hidden King.

Book Info

Genre: YA Fantasy

Length: 488 Pages

Published: 29th June 2021

What perils await on the other side of the veil?
In the seventh year of Áed’s reign, night descends on the autumn festival. But a time of revelry turns into one of fiery destruction—as fae pour across the veil and the Gut becomes a battlefield in an otherworldly war.
Determined to protect his kingdom and the people he loves, Áed finds himself catapulted into a realm as unfamiliar as it is dangerous, where magic is king and wild courts vie for supremacy.
While the faerie Queen’s missing consort holds the key to life and death, tenuous alliances raise questions about Áed’s connection to the mysterious Bone court. His survival hinges on cunning as much as illusion.
On a mission like no other, only one thing is certain: no one will survive unscathed.

Book review

The Wild Court by E. G Radcliff continues Áed’s, the half-faerie King, story and journey as a leader.

Continue reading The Wild Court by E.G. Radcliff – Book review/Blog tour

Lost in Time by A G Riddle – book review

I found another time travel book! Here is my review of Lost in Time by A G Riddle.

When his daughter is falsely accused of murder, a scientist must travel 200 million years into the past to save her. But there are secrets waiting there. And more than her life is at stake.

From the worldwide bestselling author of Departure and Winter World comes a standalone novel with a twist you’ll never see coming.

Control the Past.
Save the Future.

Review

Source: NetGalley,Head of Zeus and Ad Astra books

Publication date: 1st September 22

I love time-travel fiction, so I was so excited when I found Lost In Time. I haven’t read any of A G Riddle’s books before but after reading this book I will definitely be exploring his backlist.

I received a copy of this book for a free and unbiased opinion.

The book has an interesting use for time- travel technology- it is used to send criminals to the past to be eaten by dinosaurs although the official line seems to be for people to live in exile.

Sam finds himself accused of the murder of his lover as is his 19- year-old daughter Adeline but finds himself confessing to the crime to protect her. As a result, he is sent to the dinosaur age which is ironic as he was one of the scientists who developed the tech and made millions from this.

His daughter Adeline is determined to find the evidence that proves his innocence and bring him back home. But she needs the help of his fellow scientists and financial backer but why do all of them seem to be hiding secrets.

Adeline is a realistic and believable 19-year-old and the book is mainly from her point of view. The world-building is futuristic and believable. There is enough explanation of the science to understand time travel but not too much to be boring.

I can;treally say more about the story as that would heading into spoiler terrority.

I’m not sure if there is a sequel to the book as I thought there were plot strands that weren’t resolved which left me a little frustrated. I didn’t quite understand the plot but that could be just me being dense and this did not stop me from enjoying this mind-boggling story.

Perfect for fans of

St Mary Chronicles, Island of Time ( review here)

A Lady’s Guide to Death and Deception by Katharine Cowley- blog tour and book review

I’m so pleased to be part of the blog tour for The Lady’s  Guide to Death and Deception by Katherine Cowley featuring Mary Bennet as a deadly but respectable spy.

Series: The Secret Life of Mary Bennet

Genre: Historical Mystery, Historical Romance, Austenesque

Publisher: ‎Tule Publishing Group, LLC (September 6, 2022)

Length: (368) pages

BOOK DESCRIPTION

What is a spy willing to do when both her heart and her country are at risk?

Life changes once again for British spy Miss Mary Bennet when Napoleon Bonaparte escapes from the Isle of Elba. Mary quickly departs England for Brussels, the city where the Allied forces prepare for war against the French. But shortly after her arrival, one of the Duke of Wellington best officers is murdered, an event which threatens to break the delicate alliance between the Allies. Investigating the murder forces Mary into precarious levels of espionage, role-playing, and deception with her new partner, Mr. Withrow-the nephew and heir of her prominent sponsor, and the spy with whom she often at odds. Together, they court danger and discovery as they play dual roles gathering intelligence for the British. But soon Mary realizes that her growing feelings towards Mr. Withrow put her heart in as much danger as her life. And then there’s another murder.

Mary will need to unmask the murderer before more people are killed, but can she do so and remain hidden in the background?

Book review

I was intrigued by the blurb for the Lady’s Guide to Death and Deception by Katharine Cowley- the idea of the prim and pious Mary Bennett from Pride and Prejudice as an undercover spy during the Napoleonic wars seemed far-fetched. But I have to say the author has pulled this off and keeps Mary true to her character.

Continue reading “A Lady’s Guide to Death and Deception by Katharine Cowley- blog tour and book review”

The Silver Queendom By Don Koboldt- Book review

Here is my review of The Silver Queendom by Don Koboldt- my favourite kind of fantasy with lots of magic, action and a clever heist.


They may be bad at running an inn, but they’re the best team of con artists in the Old Queendom. When a prospective client approaches Darin with a high-paying job, he knows he should refuse. But the job is boosting a shipment of priceless imperial dream wine, the most coveted and expensive drink in the world. And, thanks to a stretch of bad luck, he’s in deep to The Dame, who oversees criminal enterprises in this part of the Queendom.
If they fail, they’re as good as dead, but if they succeed… well, it’s enough money to get square with the Dame and make all of their dreams come true. Plus, it’s an option for Darin to stick it to the empress, who he has good reason to despise. Then again, there’s a very good reason no one has ever stolen imperial dream wine.

Review

I love a good heist story especially when it’s a heist story with magic and The Silver Queendom by Don Koboldt doesn’t disappoint.  This was an easy, quick and fun read.

I received a copy of this book for a free and unbiased opinion

The book is told from the points of view of the four main people carrying out the con- Darin, the charismatic leader, a reluctant magic wielder and a magnet for trouble. Evie, the noblewoman fallen from grace, Tom, the friendly muscle and Kat, the newest recruit.

Darin and his gang pull off con after con but they always seem to end up in more trouble after each one and they hope this heist will be final.

The heists are suitably twisty and clever. The plot is fast-paced with plenty of swordfights and crossbow action. There is just a hint of romance between Darin and Evie ( which was perfect) and the magic was subtle enough to enhance the story but not overpower it. The world-building was easy to understand as is the politics. The characters were a little predictable, but I loved all of them with their little quicks.

I’m not sure if this is part of a series but I really hope we read more about Darin and the Rooster Inn gang.

Perfect for fans of

The Six crows or Hustle or Knave of Secrets ( review here)

Content warning

Reference to domestic violence, child labour

Genre: Fantasy      Source: Angry Robot and Netgalley  Publication: 23 August 2022

Tune in Tomorrow by Randee Dawn- Book review

Here is my review of Turn in Tomorrow by Randee Dawn- The Curious, Calamitous Cockamamie Story of Starr Weatherby and the greatest Mythic Reality Show ever. I think the title says it all.

Publication date: 16th of August 2022

Genre: Sci-fi/humour

Source: With thanks from the publisher Rebellion

She’s just a small town girl, with big mythic dreams.
Starr Weatherby came to New York to become… well, a star. But after ten years and no luck, she’s offered a big role – on a show no one has ever heard of. And there’s a reason for that. It’s a ‘reality’ show beyond the Veil, human drama, performed for the entertainment of the Fae.
But as Starr shifts from astounded newcomer to rising fan favorite, she learns about the show’s dark underbelly – and mysterious disappearance of her predecessor. She’ll do whatever it takes to keep her dream job – though she might just bring down the show in the process.

Review

I can safely say that Tune in Tomorrow by Randee Dawn is unlike any other book I’ve read- a strange concoction of sci-fi, fantasy, expose of behind the scenes of a reality TV show, humour and romance. But despite this, it was a fun and easy read.

I received a copy of this book for a free and unbiased opinion.

Starr Weatherby( or Sam) is the easy-to-like main point of view character and you could sympathise with her conflicting wonder and bewilderment of suddenly being part of a reality TV show for mythical beings ( which is actually scripted). But Starr has to learn about this new world all the while trying to deal with the homicidal lead actress, Fiona.

The world-building was unique and it is safe to say there isn’t a fantasy world quite like this- a television studio filled with mythical creatures with horns and tails and brownies as well as an unseen audience.

I found some parts of the book really funny and it was a quick enjoyable read. There is a hint of romance between Starr and her leading man ( or men) as well as a hint of an unsolved mystery- what happened to Amelia the actress who vanished before Starr started.

I thought Fiona felt a little two-dimensional as a villain and a bit boring considering how vivid the other characters are. The book was sometimes a little confusing and I found it hard to figure out what was going on.

Perfect for fans of

The closest book I could compare this to would The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy

Tinderbox by W A Simpson- blog tour and book review

I’m so pleased to be part of the Random Things Tours for Tinderbox by W A Simpson- epic fantasy with an inspired reference to fairy tale.

Isbet returns home to find the witch who raised her murdered and her prized possession, the Tinderbox stolen. She discovers a common man has used it to seize the throne. The same who conquered Prince Bram’s kingdom. Isbet’s goals are vengeance and reclaim the Box. For Bram, it is to free his homeland. When they are summoned to an underground kingdom, they must set aside their personal desires as they learn dark fey are bringing an ancient source of magic back to life. If they cannot halt the rise of the old magic, it will tear apart the Riven Isles.

Review

 Tinderbox by W A Simpson is the epic fantasy for you if you enjoy reading about conflicted witches, captured Princes, underground realms and a villain corrupted by magic.

Continue reading “Tinderbox by W A Simpson- blog tour and book review”

Nexus Point by K. Pimpinella – Blog Tour/Book review

I’m so pleased to be part of the Escapist Tours Blog Tour of Nexus Point by K Pimpinella- a fast- paced time-travel science-fiction thriller I couldn’t put down. Click link below to be in with a chance of winning a copy of the book (open internationally)

Winner of a 2021 Canada Book Award
Quarter Finalists in SPSFC
Editor’s Pick, BookLife/Publisher’s Weekly

The year is 2198. Earth has unified under one government, Utopia. War has ravaged the planet, forcing many citizens to immigrate to space stations and colonies. As human life expands into space, the Nexus Point and its abandoned station are discovered along with their time-travel capabilities. Time travel becomes the new luxury vacation, but some citizens go rogue and as history starts to change, the Time Rangers are born; a specialized unit tasked with chasing down the Time Runners. Following family tradition, Kai Sawyer, joins the Rangers. His first mission as a commander; travel to1634 France and defeat a Time Runner trying to jump start the progression of medicine. As Sawyer struggles to save his team and the future of Utopia; he learns of a more sinister plot that might include his father, the Rear Admiral of the Time Rangers. Should the Runners succeed, they will rewrite the future of all mankind.

Review

I enjoyed Nexus Point by K Pimpinella-a fast-paced time-travelling thriller.

I received a copy of this book for a free and unbiased opinion.

This sci-fi thriller ticks all the boxes for me- great story, interesting characters,  intriguing world-building, science and history as well as plenty of action.

Kai Sawyer is a spawn- the genetically created and enhanced son of a respected Solider of the Time Ranges. The Time Rangers are the official body hunting down rogue time-travellers and keeping history right.

I admit to not warming up to Kai until the end of the book but this could be partly due to his genetic make-up and his harsh upbringing at the hands of his father but he comes into his own at the end Lately, I seem to find the secondary characters in books more interesting and this is no different in Time Nexus.  While Kai’s father seemed to be a two-dimensional bad father on the surface, there does seem to be more lurking under the surface. Hawk- Kai’s best friend, Perry- the specialist and Santiago the resentful second in command are interesting in their own right and I would have loved to read more chapters with them in.

There is plenty of action in various periods, and the world-building in both the present and past is well described.

I liked the idea of time travel initially being used for a corporate profit before being policed by the time rangers and hopefully this will be expnaded on in book two.

This is the first book in the Time Rangers series and I would definitely read book two after that epilogue.

Content warning

References to child abuse, drug use,torture

Perfect for fans of

Time travel fiction

GIVEAWAY ( CLOSING DATE 17/8/22)

CLICK HERE TO ENTER A FREE COPY OF THE BOOK ( OPEN INTERNATIONALLY)

Author Site: www.kpimpinella.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/k_pimpinella
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/k.pimpinella/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TimeRangersBookSeries
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/21135489.K_Pimpinella

About the Author

Author Bio & Information:

Long Bio:

An author and lover of all things science fiction, K.Pimpinella grew up with the greats like Star Wars, Star Trek and the original Battlestar Galactica, and still enjoys them today. The theme of teamwork  which dominated Stargate, the camaraderie of the character dynamics of the video game Mass Effect, and the time-travel ideals of the TV show Timeless, were the foundations of her world-building and characters of the Time Ranger series, of which, Nexus Point is the first novel.

She now lives in Uxbridge, ON. In her spare time she enjoys ice hockey, snowboarding, western horseback riding and spending time with her husband and two dogs, Dallas and Tonka.

This Wild, Wild Country by Inga Vesper- Blog Tour and Book review

I’m so pleased to be part of the Random Things Blog Tour for the Wild,Wild Country by Inga Vesper- historical fiction featuring unsolved murders in two fascinating periods- the Gold Rush and the hippie movement.,

Genre: Historical Fiction

Publication date: 4th August 2022

Source: with thanks form Manilla Press and Random Things Tour

Perfect for Fans: Historical fiction featuring interesting woman and complex family dynamic, historical  murder mysteries .


1933. Cornelia Stover is headstrong and business-minded – not the kind of woman the men of Boldville, New Mexico, expect her to be. Then she stumbles upon a secret hidden out in the hills . .
1970. Decades later, Joanna Riley, a former cop, packs up her car in the middle of the night and drives west, fleeing an abusive marriage and a life she can no longer bear. Eventually, she runs out of gas and finds herself in Boldville, a sleepy desert town in the foothills of the Gila Mountains.
Joanna was looking for somewhere to retreat, to hide, but something is off about this place. In a commune on the outskirts a young man has been found dead and Joanna knows a cover up when she sees it. Soon, she and Glitter, a young, disaffected hippie, find themselves caught up in a dark mystery that goes to the very heart of Boldville, where for too long people have kept their eyes shut and turned their heads away. A mystery that leads them all the way back to the unexplained disappearance of Glitter’s grandmother Cornelia forty years before . . .

Review

 I don’t think I have read many books set during the hippie movement, so I was so pleased to be invited to the blog tour The Wild, Wild Country by Inga Vesper. This book has it all strong ,interesting women, a decade old mystery ,murder and corruption

Continue reading “This Wild, Wild Country by Inga Vesper- Blog Tour and Book review”

Death at the Manor by Katharine Schellman- book review

I enjoyed this Regency mystery featuring a locked room murder, ghosts, and touch of gothic romance. My review of Death of Romance by Katharine Schellman.

Genre: Historical crime

Series: Lily Adler Mystery #3

Publication Date :9th of August 2022

Source: NetGalley and Crooked Lane Publishers

Lily Adler is looking forward to spending some time with her Aunt Eliza with her friends Lady and Lord Carroway ( Ofelia and Ned)  but instead, she is embroiled in a strange murder that appears to be committed by a ghost at the nearby Belleford manor. Can Lily solve the murder with her friends while dealing with her feelings for Mr Spencer?

I received a copy of this book for a free and unbiased opinion

Review

This is the third book in the Lily Adler Mystery series, but I was able to get into the story and the characters without having read the previous two books. The book is told from a few points of view which makes the story a lot more compelling.

 I loved the diverse range of characters in the book that naturally blended into the story and the expected prejudices are present but overall I loved how the characters in the book were able to accept Ofelia’s mixed-race descent. If anything, Ofelia’s difference from the other people in the village is her noble status.

Continue reading “Death at the Manor by Katharine Schellman- book review”

Into the Broken Lands by Tanya Huff- Book review

Here is my review of Into the Broken Lands by Tanya Huff – a road trip mixed with an epic fantasy quest

Shattered by mage wars, the Broken Lands will test the bonds of family and friendship, strength and sanity. To save their people, the Heirs of Marsan have no choice but to enter, trusting their lives and the lives of everyone they Protect, to someone who shouldn’t exist, who can’t be controlled, and who will challenge everything they believe about themselves. 

Review

Into Broken Lands by Tanya Huff wasn’t all that I was hoping it would- I loved her urban fantasies but it was still an enjoyable read.

I received I copy of this book for a free and unbiased opinion

The book is your classic fantasy quest involving a group of different and unique people, taking a perilous journey to reclaim a substance to keep a flame burning in a city far away. There has been a devasting mage war which has devasted the lands and Ryan, the heir by default after the death of his three older Brothers has to travel to the Broken Lands with a mage-made sentient being to bring back the flame and indirectly prove his right to rule.

The book is told from several points of view over two time periods which works well particularly to show how Nonlee the mage-made weapon become a real woman. Ryan was realistic as the reluctant heir who develops confidence in himself and I loved the hard-as-nails, take no prisoners Captain Yansav.

The story was slow to start with and I did struggle with the first third but I’m glad I stuck with it.  This book may look like a bog-standard fantasy quest, there is a deeper story of accepting who you are warts and all, especially when people expect you to be something you had no interest in ever being.

The world-building is detailed with some great descriptions but this is a book without much humour ( something I enjoyed in her previous books).

Perfect for fans of

Epic fantasy.

Source: Thank you Net Galley and DAW books

Date of publication :2 August 2022

Advocatus by A R Turner -blog tour and book review

I’m so pleased to be part of the Write Reads Tour for Adovactus by A R Turner- fantasy with humour.

Advocatus tells the tale of Felix, a junior lawyer with one last case before he can strike out on his own.
His client? A terrifying magical warlord accused of, amongst other horrifying crimes, two counts of Attempted Genocide (and six counts of Theft). His plea? Innocent, of course! All in a day’s work for Felix.
Psychic frogs, downtrodden goblins, time-travelling wizards, and a whole host of other magical defendants become his caseload as Felix begins trying to make a name for himself as a successful lawyer in a world rife with sorcery.
The biggest case of his life: defending humanity in front of Habeus, the God of Justice himself. Lose, and it’s all over. Not just for him, but for the whole of mankind.

Review

I received a copy of this book for a free and unbiased review

 I was intrigued by the blurb for Advocatus by A R Turner and I have to say it was different from my usual read.

It took a while for me to get into the story but it was a funny and humorous book with an unusual concept- a lawyer fighting for the future of humanity while dealing with the bureaucracy of court, unreliable witnesses and temperamental judges.

Continue reading “Advocatus by A R Turner -blog tour and book review”

Codename Madeline by Barnaby Jameson- blog tour and book review

I’m so pleased to be part of the blog tour for this historical fiction featuring World War two spy Noor Inayat Khan in Codename Madeline by Barnaby Jameson.

Inspired by the incredible true story of Noor Inayat Khan, a British resistance agent who served behind enemy lines in France in WWII as part of the Special Operations Executive (SOE), CODENAME: MADELEINE is the most unexpected spy story ever told. The daughter of a Sufi mystic and writer of children’s stories, Noor Inayat Khan was a harpist before she joined SOE and embarked on one of the most dangerous operations of WWII.  Arriving in Occupied Paris in 1943, she swapped her harp for a revolver, a cyanide pill and a clandestine Morse transmitter. Teeming with tigers, zeppelins, elephants, U-boats, angels, assassins, chessmen, cyanide, beetles, butterflies and Rumi, CODENAME: MADELEINE revolves between Paris, London, Prague, India and Latin America. A kaleidoscope of love, war, music, betrayal, poetry and resistance, CODENAME: MADELEINE is the richly detailed, atmospheric and meticulously researched debut from leading counter-terrorism QC, Barnaby Jameson.

Review

I received a copy of this book for a free and an honest review.

I confess, the first time I heard of Noor Inayat Khan was on an episode of Dr Who a few years ago and added her to a list of people I needed to read about. So, I was glad when the opportunity to review Codename Madeline by Barnaby Jameson came along.

The author has extensively researched the history behind Codename Madeline and his writing brings this to life. The prose is intricate with little details that highlight the daily life during the war and touches of poetry and philosophical quotes. The story picks up pace when Noor signs up to fight in World War two and I enjoyed the descriptions of her training.

Even though I knew what Noor’s overall fate was, I still felt the tension in the chapters describing Noor’s time in Paris trying to evade the Gestapo.

The chapters from the point of views of Admiral Canaris, the German General, Morel a French Solider and Marks, a code maker and breaker add additional depth to Noor’s story.

Content Warning

Descriptions of torture

About the Author

Barnaby Jameson is a QC with expertise in counter-terrorism involving Neo-Nazi terrorist groups and Islamic State. He has been involved in some of the most notorious terrorist cases of the century including plots to overthrow governments, plots to assassinate MPs and terrorist bombings in the UK and overseas.  His work has brought him into contact with clandestine agencies around the globe. CODENAME: MADELEINE is Barnaby’s first book in The Resistance series.

Bonny and Read by Julie Walker- Book review

I couldn’t resist this historical fiction about the loves and lives of Anne Bonny and Mary Read, the fierce, female pirates in 1720. My review of Bonny and Read by Julie Walker.

Genre: Historical Fiction

Publication date: 2nd August 2022

Source: with thanks to Publisher Hodder books and NetGalley

Plantation owner’s daughter, runaway wife, pirate – Anne Bonny has forged her own story in a man’s world. But when she is involved in the capture of a British merchant ship, she is amazed to find another woman amongst the crew, with a history as unconventional as her own. Dressed as a boy from childhood, Mary Read has been a soldier, a sailor, a widow – but never a woman in charge of her own destiny.
As their exhilarating, tumultuous exploits find fame, the ballad of Bonny and Read is sung from shore to shore – but when you swim against the tide of history, freedom is a dangerous thing.

Review

I can’t resist a book, film or TV show about pirates and when I saw this title on NetGalley- I knew I had to read this and I wasn’t disappointed.

I received a copy of this book for a free and unbiased review

This book is told from the points of view of Anne and Mary in the third person. Their voices are strong and interesting. I loved how the author portrayed them as women who turned to piracy because they are women ahead of their time. These women choose a life on the sea to be free from society’s expectations of them rather than being victims or forced into a life on the sea.

Anne runs away from a husband she married in haste by joining Jack Ratham and his crew on his pirate ship. Mary, who dresses as a man has served as a man in the army and later joins the Navy as a widow dressed as a man. She gleefully joins Anne and Jack when her ship is boarded and finds out one of the pirates is quite clearly a pirate. 

I particularly liked the relationship between Anne and Mary grows into a strong friendship with no resentment or jealousy. The book doesn’t shy away from Bonny’s violence and her lack of empathy for the people around her or Read’s reaction to this.

The story does slow a bit towards the middle but picks up towards the end( the fate of most of the pirates shouldn’t come as a surprise. I noticed a lack of historical notes in the book but thankfully google came to the rescue.

Perfect for fans of

I would recommend this book to anyone who loves historical fiction with strong women or anyone who loves reading about pirates. Black Sails, the TV show.

Content warning

Stillbirth

Top Ten Tuesday-Books from my past seasonal TBR I still haven’t read yet

It’s another Tuesday and another Top Ten. This week it’s an easy books from my past seasonal TBR that I still haven’t read yet.

#TopTenTuesday

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 have to say, it was a little disappointing to see how many books I haven’t read  from my past seasonal TBR but I’m going to focus on the positives- I did read a few! Here are the top five.

The Dying Squad by Adam Simcox

I’m still keen on this book- a policeman investigating his own murder after his death

Violet made of Thorns by Gina Chen

I still love this cover

Her Majesty’s secret Cover by Juno Dawson

Hopefully I will read this over the summer

Inda by Sherwood Smith

This one is from my Autumn 2021 list!

The Memory Theatre by Karin Tidbeck

I completely forgot about this one about parallel worlds

Taken by Benedict Jacka

I’ve put this urban fantasy series on hold (accidentally).

Thank you for reading

Please leave a link to your TTT, so I can have a look at your TTT

Mai Tais for the Lost by Mia V Ross- Book review

I enjoyed this sci-fi novella set under the sea in a city that only the rich can afford with a murder only Marrow Nightingale can solve.Here is my review of Mai Tais for the Lost by Mia V Ross

Marrow Nightingale is a professional pain in the ass. As Electric Blue Moon’s only licensed private investigator, she’s the one who snoops the closets of the elite who think the laws don’t apply to them. But when the son of a wealthy family turns up dead, it’s Marrow’s closet that everyone is suddenly interested in. That dead playboy in the foyer? It’s her adoptive sibling, Rocket Nightingale.
Now, Marrow’s dodging gossip columnists who smell blood in the water, renegade corporate IP with minds of their own, and badge-wearing bone-breakers who would love nothing more than to ship her back to the surface. Which is still on fire.If Marrow can’t catch the killer, this case is going to sink the Nightingale Electric Detective Agency.

Review

I couldn’t resist this book when I saw this title and despite being a novella, Mai Tais for the Lost by Mia V Ross packs a lot of action, tech, mystery and partying.

Continue reading “Mai Tais for the Lost by Mia V Ross- Book review”

Silk Fire by Zabe Ellor- Book review

I was so happy to be approved by NetGalley for this science-fiction fantasy set in a Matriarchal world with political intrigue,twists and dragons. Here is my review of Silk Fire by Zabe Ellor.

Genre: Science fiction Fantasy

Publication date July 2022

Source :Netgalley

Koreshiza Brightstar is a courtesan on a planet-based matriarchal city where magic and technology work together. He thirsts for revenge against the aristocratic father who betrayed him as a child. But a chance encounter with a dying god leaves him with powers that could change the world, he realises he will need to trust others to pursue his vengeance and keep his secret safe.

I received a copy of the book for a free and unbiased review.

Review

This book has one of the most memorable opening sentences from a character I have ever read!

The world-building in this book is ambitious in its scope and truly amazing- the blend of magic and technology blends together perfectly. In this world, Hovercrafts and Dragons share the sky. The underlying premise is that of essence, something ethereal that only a few people possess which is greatly desired, a commodity to take and hoard is unusual. I love reading   Matriarchal worlds in fantasy as opposed to the usual patriarchy, but this society isn’t perfect and is a good reflection of what sexism and misogyny looks like from the other side.

Koreshiza or Kore is a courtesan, a man who uses his body and brightness (from his essence) to build influence. Now he wants to use this influence to take down the father who betrayed and abandoned him and his mother. The book is written in the first-person from Kore point of view and it took a while for me to get used to the tangential nature of his narration but then this does fit his fragmented and broken personality. He trusts no one and for years has kept his true self hidden but while trying to influence the succession he finds himself falling for a man and a woman who loves him despite his flaws.

The plot is fast and moves quickly with plenty of twists and revelations. The political intrigue is as riveting as the action scenes.

This is definitely a book for adults who are not squeamish about ‘scenes of sexual nature ‘ as there are many sexual encounters in the book. I admit to skimming through most of them as I just wanted to get back to the story and action (except for the scene in the first part of the book which forms a key part of the book).

Content warning

Physical violence in sexual encounters with dubious consent, sexual abuse,(off-page), domestic violence, threats of sexual violence.

Perfect for fans

I think anyone who likes Kusheil’s Dart would enjoy this

Beat the Backlog June

I joined the beat the backlog challenge created by owlbesatreading to deal with my unread kindle books neglected for years. But instead of posting individual reviews, here is my end of month summary. Unfortunately, I only managed two and ended up buying three.

Empire of Sand by Tasha Suri

Why did I get the book: 

I bought this after I enjoyed reading the second book of the Ambha series,Realm of Ash

How long has this been on my Kindle? : 2019

Review

Read my full review here

A one line summary

Indian and Mughal inspired epic fantasy romance

Do I kick myself for not reading this sooner?

Yes, I enjoyed this despite the romance!

The Obsidian Tower by Melissa Caruso

Why did I get the book:  an Amazon 99p deal and I love fantasy

How long has this been on my Kindle? : Not that long compared to some- 2019

Review

A typical fantasy featuring a young woman with a deadly power battling a deadly enemy with deadly allies and political shenanigans. There is some great world-building and I loved that women and men rule equally without any drama

Do I kick myself for not reading this sooner?

No. I don’t think I will be reading the rest of the books in this series .

Top Ten Tuesday- Books on my summer TBR list

It’s another Tuesday and another Top Ten Tuesday. This time it’s Top Ten Books on  my summer TBR 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.

It’s another TBR list, my favourite TTT. So in no particular order here are the Top Ten Book I want to read this summer.

Continue reading “Top Ten Tuesday- Books on my summer TBR list”

Empire of Sand by Tasha Suri – book review

That’s another book off my #beatmybacklog challenge. I really enjoyed this Mughal inspired fantasy.Here is my review of Empire of Sand by Tasha Suri, the first book of Ambha.

A nobleman’s daughter with magic in her blood. An empire built on the dreams of enslaved gods. Empire of Sand is Tasha Suri’s captivating, Mughal India-inspired debut fantasy.
The Amrithi are outcasts; nomads descended of desert spirits, they are coveted and persecuted throughout the Empire for the power in their blood. Mehr is the illegitimate daughter of an imperial governor and an exiled Amrithi mother she can barely remember, but whose face and magic she has inherited.
When Mehr’s power comes to the attention of the Emperor’s most feared mystics, she must use every ounce of will, subtlety, and power she possesses to resist their cruel agenda
Should she fail, the gods themselves may awaken seeking vengeance…

Review

Empire of Sand by Tasha Suri has been sitting on my kindle for about 2 years now. I bought this after I enjoyed reading the second book of the Ambha series,Realm of Ash.

 Mehr  is the point of view character who struggles with her mixed heritage – a complicated blend of Ambhan ( conservative and traditional) amd Amrithi ( magical and free) . She has managed to blend in polite Ambhan society until she finds she has the ability to use dreamfire and attracts the attention of the Maha and his devoted mystics.

I loved the Indian and Mughal inspired world with vivid descriptions of the noble houses, the separation of men and women, the mystics and the dances Mehr and her husband are forced to do ( based on a classical Indian dance Bharatanatyam ). The conflict between the Emperor’s persecution and discrimination against the Amrithi and his need for the Amrithi’s magic to keep his people safe was fascinating.

I enjoyed Mehr battle with the Mystics and the ways she tried to rebel against the Maha. It was realistic as Mehr has to use her intelligence and not her magic to do this.

I’m not a big fan of romance, so the passionate romance between Mehr and her arranged marriage husband felt a like it had to be there as part of the genre. But that could be just me.

Perfect for fans of

The Jasmine Throne, or any who enjoys fantasy in non-European worlds

The Burning God by RF Kuang – book review

I’ve finished the Burning Gods by KF Kuang, the military, historical fantasy set and I have to admit I’m not sure how I feel. Here is my review

Review

I read the first two books in the Poppy wars trilogy as part of the beat the backlog challenge and then bought the balls to the backlog book, The Burning God by RF Kuang to find out how it all ends.

Read more

At the end of the Dragon Republic, Rin is betrayed ( yet again) – this time by Nezha her enemy turned friend and now enemy again. She has had a hand amputated but she can still call fire through her anchor Kitay. Rin realises the only way to defeat the North is to lead the South who have also suffered at the hands of the North, the Muganese and Hesperians. In fact, the villages in the south have been left to suffer at the hands of the Muganese by the dragon republic. So Rin joins forces with the warlords of the South.

But this is Rin and as soon as she wins a battle she is betrayed again and left with no fire or Kitay, so joins forces with another group of people and is disappointed again and so joins another group and so on.

And this is where my problem lies. This book remains beautifully detailed in its description of military warfare, shamanism, the suffering caused by war on normal people, the magic etc. But Rin just doesn’t seem to grow on me as a character. She remains angry, impulsive, and distrusting of her close friends but is so easily betrayed by so many people.

The book remains dark in its theme and sometimes goes on a little about some of the more gruesome aspects ( I’m so tired of hearing how Daji sent an enemy dumpings made out of the meat of their son- why?) and I really hope this is not something that happens a lot in real wars. I did google the inspiration for this series ( and I would recommend this) and the book does reflect a turbulent period in China’s history. Reading how the history that inspired the book made the story a little easier to understand and accept.

I wasn’t sure about the ending but after reading the historical context it made a lot more sense and be prepared- it is heartbreaking in so many ways.

Perfect for Fans of

Grimdark fantasy like Game of Thrones or anyone who would like to read epic fantasy in a non-European setting.

Content Warning

Rape, drug addiction, physical abuse, sexual assault, forced medical experimentation, racism , cannibalism 

Genre: Fantasy

Series: Book Three in The Poppy wars

Source: My own

Continue reading “The Burning God by RF Kuang – book review”

Through the Water Darkly by Victoria L Short – Book tour and blog tour

I’m so pleased to be part of the @RandonTTours #blogtour for Through the Water Darkly by Victoria L Short- a time-slip romance fantasy..

Caroline Curtis is an avid horticulturalist, who is injured during the restoration of a local country estate. She wakes in a familiar body, but a different time, and with mixed memories of her twenty-first century life and those of a seventeenth century lady, which causes difficult conflicts not only in herself but the people around her.The first English civil war is over, and the king deposed. The Prince of Wales is fleeing the country, and, as Caroline fights to change the future of the man with whom she has fallen in love, she begins to realise that time is not a straight line.

Review

I enjoy a good time-slip novel and when you throw some romance, action, peril and history and Through The Water Darkly by Victoria Short has become one of my favourite reads of the year.

I received a copy of this book for a free and unbiased opinion

Caroline is the first-person narrator and the woman who finds herself thrown into the body of Lady Carolina with all her memories in the turbulent times of the English Civil War. Caroline has to deal with the realities of life in the 17th Century, politics, court intrigue and the lack of women’s rights. Caroline is a realistic heroine, a woman struggling to survive in a different time and the conflict between her missing the advantages of modern life and her appreciation of the unspoilt beauty of life in the past forms was the best part of the story.

She meets Nicholas, a Royalist, who she has to marry but to who she feels connected to body and soul. But both Nicholas and Caroline are pawns in someone’s overall plan to separate their souls through time.

I enjoyed the little details about the food, clothes and life in the 17th century ( my favourite is the use of linen to line copper baths).

I would have liked to have learned more about the powers that seem to be controlling time and have the power to throw Caroline through time. But hopefully, we will learn more in the next book( which I can’t wait to read).

Perfect for fans of

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon and Saxon’s Bane by Geoffrey Gudgion.

Content warning

References to sexual assault and domestic violence

About Victoria L Short
I’m a mother to two teenagers and since moving from London the Suffolk five years ago I found I
had some spare time, so I started to write. I wrote a little novella Our story coming home, which
being my first I tend to cringe lol. Then in 2018 I re-produce my late grandfather WW2 log book,
A Stoker Logs, HMS Whelp, The Forgotten British Pacific Fleet. my grandfather served as a
stoker on HMS Whelp, alongside Prince Phillip as the ships second in command. My latest novel
is an 80k romance time-slip called Through the water, Darkly which I super proud of. In-between
writing and running a household I work in the film industry doing hair, makeup and wardrobe.

The Hourglass Throne by K D Edwards – Book review

I’m still wrecked by that ending in The Hourglass Throne by K D Edwards- the third book in the Urban Fantasy series The Tarot Sequence. Here is my review

A powerful barrier appears around New Atlantis’s famed rejuvenation centre. But who could have created such formidable magic . . . what do they want from the immortality clinic . . . and what remains of the dozens trapped inside?
Though Rune and Brand are tasked with investigating the mysterious barrier, Rune is also busy settling into his new life at court. Claiming his father’s throne has thrown him into the precarious world of political deception, and he must secure relationships with allies in time to keep his  found family safe. His relationship with his lover, Addam, raises additional political complications they must navigate. But he and Brand  discover that the power behind the barrier holds more insidious, far-reaching threat to his family, to his people, and to the world.
Rune finds himself inexorably drawn back to the fall of his father’s court and his own torture at the hands of masked conspirators, the secrets that he has long guarded will be dragged into the light—changing the Sun Throne, and New Atlantis, forever.

Review

This review contains spoilers for the Last Sun and The Hanged Man, There are also spoilers for The Hourglass Throne but these will appear below the heading ‘spoilers’.

The Hourglass Throne is the perfect end to the first trilogy in the nine-book urban fantasy series, The Tarot Sequence series review here, by K D Edwards and there are enough threads to continue Rune’s story.

Continue reading “The Hourglass Throne by K D Edwards – Book review”

Son of Shadow by John Lenahan – Book review and Blog tour

I’m so pleased be part of the Write Reads Tours for Son of Shadow by John Lehanan- I enjoyed this YA fantasy set in the world of Shadowmagic.

A world of faeries, leprechauns and dragons – and magic fuelled by the blood of trees. A mystery portal to the Real World. And a pair of curious young adventurers who know they shouldn’t step through it…
Meet Fergal the Second, nicknamed ‘two’. Or ‘Doe’, in his own language. He can do magic. But, for the moment, he’s forgotten where he’s from. Or what’s happened to his blind friend Ruby. He’s actually from Tir na Nog, the enchanted world of Shadowmagic, where a new generation of the royal House of Duir are cheeking their parents, preparing for adulthood and itching to see the Real World for themselves – whatever the peril. 

Review

I really enjoyed this Young Adult Fantasy -Son of Shadow by John Lenahan is one of my favourite reads this year. The added bonus ( for me anyway) is the fact this was written by the man who was the voice of the Toaster in Red Dwarf ( which deserves its own review).

I received a copy of this book for a free and unbiased opinion

 I didn’t realise this book follows on from The Shadowmagic Trilogy when I started reading this, but this made no difference to my enjoyment. This book can be read without having read any of the previous books ( but I will be adding this to my ever-expanding list of books.

I enjoy books with portals and parallel worlds, and Doe’s reactions to our world and his interactions with people in this world was hilarious. The world-building in Tir na Nog was just as interesting with its sentient trees, were dragons, politics and magic.

The book is told in the first person from Doe’s point of view and his voice had the right amout of humour and snark.

The story has a quest and a rescue at its heart but is made complicated by the fact Doe the rescuer has lost his memory. There is plenty of action and magic for the most ardent of fans. The women and girls in this story are just as strong and magical as the men ( and much scarier). I would have liked to have read more about the villains in the book ( and the ultimate baddie) but hopefully, this will be covered in the next books.

The main story is resolved but the next book is perfectly set up at the end and I can’t wait to read the second part of this trilogy.

Content warning

Abduction

Perfect for Fans

Anyone who loves clean, action-driven fantasy.

About the author

John Lenahan is a popular TV magician who toured with Jack Dee, Lenny Henry and Victoria Wood. He starred on a prime time BBC1 TV show, had his own BBC2 series, and was the voice of the toaster in ‘Red Dwarf’.

Top Ten Tuesday- Titles with units of time in it ( something related to time)

 It’s another Tuesday and another Top Ten Tuesday. This time it’s Top Ten Books with units of time in the title

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 is a little more complicated – title with units of time in the title( or something related tom time. So in no particular order.

Continue reading “Top Ten Tuesday- Titles with units of time in it ( something related to time)”

The Stardust Thief by Chelsea Abdula – Book review

I loved this middle eastern inspired fantasy with a plenty of intrigue, magic and lovely little stories scattered through the book- read my review of The Stardust Thief by Chelsea Abdulla

Genre: Fantasy

Source: NetGalley, Little Brown UK

Series: Book One of the Sandsea trilogy

Loulie al-Nazari is the Midnight Merchant: a criminal who, with the help of her jinn bodyguard, hunts and sells illegal magic. When she saves the life of a cowardly prince, she draws the attention of his powerful father, the sultan, who blackmails her into finding an ancient lamp that has the power to revive the barren land—at the cost of sacrificing all jinn.

With no choice but to obey or be executed, Loulie journeys with the sultan’s oldest son to find the artifact. Aided by her bodyguard, who has secrets of his own, they must survive ghoul attacks, outwit a vengeful jinn queen, and confront a malicious killer from Loulie’s past. And, in a world where story is reality and illusion is truth, Loulie will discover that everything—her enemy, her magic, even her own past—is not what it seems, and she must decide who she will become in this new reality.

REVIEW

I really enjoyed this middle-eastern, one thousand and one nights inspired fantasy with its beautiful world-building, conflicted characters, magical jinn’s and lovely, little stories scattered through the book.

The story is told from the points of view of Loulie, a merchant dealing with magical relics, Aisha, a battle-weary member of the King’s thieves, and Prince Mazlen, the naïve prince who loves stories. While they have to work together on a quest to find a magical lamp for the Sultan, their motives for undertaking the quest are contradictory (and selfish) which of course leads to lots of fun and peril.

The magical system while not unique is beautifully described for example a description of a tree bearing glass fruit that crunch in your mouth but dissolve into sweetness- something I would love to try. The world-building is fresh with the sinking sands of Sandsea being my favourite

Loulie, Matzen and Aisha are well-rounded and realistic characters and I couldn’t help feeling sorry for them with every setback and peril they encountered. The relationship between Qadir and Louie was one of the highlights of the book- sweet and supportive.

I enjoyed the blurring between black and white- there is a lot of grey in this book. Are the Jinn truly evil or are Humans just as bad? Even the villains are sympathetically drawn ( but still evil!).

I can’t wait to read the next book in the series and discover more about the world of Sandsea.

Perfect for fans

Who enjoy fantasy set in a middle-eastern setting.

The Emergent by Nadia Arifi- book review and blog tour

I’m so pleased to be part of the Random Things Tour blog tour for The Emergent by Nadia Arifi-science fiction thriller set in a future that doesn’t seem to distant.

Amira Valdez’s adventures continue in the sequel to The Sentient,as she finds herself in unprecedented danger. The ruthless new leader of the fundamentalist Trinity Compound seeks to understand his strange neurological connection with Amira and unleash an army on an unstable, North America. The first human clone has been born, but thanks to the mysterious scientist Tony Barlow, it may unlock the secret to human immortality– or disaster. Together, Amira and Barlow form an uneasy  alliance in pursuit of scientific breakthroughs and protection from shared enemies. But new discoveries uncover dark secrets that Barlow wants to keep hidden.

REVIEW

The Emergent by Nadia Arifi is a sequel but you don’t need to read The Sentient to enjoy or understand this fast-paced science fiction set in a slightly dystopian US of the future. In fact, I haven’t read the first book but I had no problems following the story or understanding the characters from the start.

The world-building is interesting and easy to understand after a few chapters- this book covers a lot of ground with cloning, what happens to consciousness after death, space travel, religion, evil scientists and my favourite- a visual memory reading machine.

The story is told in the third person point of view from Amira- an ambitious scientist and former runaway from one of the compounds ( a walled religious community where women’s rights have been completely trampled). I found it hard to like Amira at the start as she seemed a bit too ambitious and blind to what was happening but I did want her to succeed. Amira, I felt was written well- a real woman with flaws and strengths. The secondary characters were equally diverse and the evil scientists were more nuanced than usual with their motives being more grey than black and white.

The plot races along but explores issues around consent to experimentation, women’s rights, abuses of science and religion which seem to be relevant in today’s strange climate.

I will be reading the next book to find out what happens to Amira after that ending!

Perfect for fans 

I would recommend the book to anyone who enjoys thought-provoking science-fiction with a cracking story.

Content warning

Forced pregnancy, forced experimentation

Top Ten Tuesday-  My top ten Comfort reads

It’s another Tuesday and another Top Ten Tuesday. This time it’s my favourite comfort reads

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 have my stack of books I keep on hand when I need a little comfort. So here are my Top comfort reads.

Continue reading “Top Ten Tuesday-  My top ten Comfort reads”

Beat the Backlog May

I joined the beat the backlog challenge created by owlbesatreading to deal with my unread kindle books neglected for years. But instead of posting individual reviews, here is my end of month summary

The Poppy Wars by RF Kuang

Why did I get the book:  an Amazon 99p deal and I love fantasy

How long has this been on my Kindle? : Not that long compared to some- 2019

Review

Here is my full review

A one line summary.

Chinese inspired dark historical, military fantasy with plenty of magic,action,intrigue and angst featuring a heroine that while hard to love , I did admire.

Do I kick myself for not reading this sooner?

Yes- I couldn’t put this book down and loved the world-building

Dragon Republic by RF Kuang

Why did I get the book:  I liked some of the authors tweets and this book  was on a daily deal . I had the first book sitting on my kindle so I though why not

How long has this been on my Kindle? : 2020

Review

Read my full review here

A one line summary

This Chinese inspired historical fantasy continues Rin’s story with plenty of action,drama,politics magic with added dragons.

Do I kick myself for not reading this sooner?

Yes, despite I slow middle I couldn’t put this down and ended up buying the next book as soon as I finished this book.

Drake by Peter McLean

Why did I get the book: This was an Amazon Prime pick and it looked like light and fun read.

How long has this been on my Kindle? : 2020

Review

This was DNF. I couldn’t read anymore when the main character accidentally killed a child which is a bit of at turn off for me

Do I kick myself for not reading this sooner?

No. I might give this another try but not anytime soon

The Dark Days Club by Alison Goodman

Why did I get the book: I saw a review in a magazine and thought it sounded good

How long has this been on my Kindle? : 2018

Review

This was a fun and light-hearted read that made me think of Buffy if she was constricted by Regency standards. It was a predictable read but it was fun ,once the supernatural parts kicked in.

Do I kick myself for not reading this sooner?

Yes- five years to read a book, that is far too long

The Dragon Republic by R F Kuang – book review

I’m attacking that backlog. Here is my review of the Dragon Republic by R F Kuang, the second book in the Poppy wars now featuring dragons.

REVIEW

The Dragon Republic by RF Kuang has been on my kindle a while after buying this impulsively when this was on offer, so it was great to just jump into the sequel after finishing the Poppy Wars.

Continue reading “The Dragon Republic by R F Kuang – book review”