I loved The Tyranny of Faith by Richard Swan, Empire of the Wolf, book 2, . Here is my review of this epic fantasy.
A Justice’s work is never done. The Battle of Galen’s Vale is over, but the war for the Empire’s future has just begun. Concerned by rumours that the Magistratum’s authority is waning, Sir Konrad Vonvalt returns to Sova to find the capital city gripped by intrigue and whispers of rebellion. In the Senate, patricians speak openly against the Emperor, while fanatics preach holy vengeance on the streets. Yet facing down these threats to the throne will have to wait, for the Emperor’s grandson has been kidnapped – and Vonvalt is charged with rescuing the missing prince. His quest will lead Vonvalt – and his allies Helena, Bressinger and Sir Radomir – to the Empire’s southern frontier, where they will once again face the puritanical fury of Bartholomew Claver and his templar knights . . . and a dark power far more terrifying than they could have imagined.
The Tyranny of Faith by Richard Swan, the follow-up to The Justice of King ( review here) by Richard Swan was everything I hoped it would be and Empire of the wolf is shaping up to be one of my favourite fantasy series.
I received a copy of this book for a free and unbiased opinion.
The book continues to tell the story of Justice Vonvalt through the eyes of his apprentice Helena including his slow descent into the morally grey and the consequences of his single-minded pursuit of Claver, the villain of the first book.
This isn’t a book you can just jump into without having read the first book.
Vonvalt continues to be just a complex as his was in the first book and I love how the author doesn’t sugar coat his flaws but despite this we can still understand why he does what he does.
Helena grows into her own both emotionally and in her own magically abilities- the complicated relationship between Vonvalt and her becomes more complicated in this book but without overwhelming the story and without too much angst (although I would have preferred no angst at all) The friendship between Dubine, Sir Randomir and Helena faces several challenges with a heart-breaking conclusion.
The plot and story races along with action-filled scenes, magic, complicated politics, and betrayals- sometimes I found it hard to keep track of what was happening.
I cant wait to see how Vonvalt’s character continues to develop- will he completely turn to the dark side and can Helena stop him?
This book proves that dark, epic fantasy can be great without women being subjected to graphic violence
I’m so pleased to be part of the blog tour for Song of Silver, Flame like Night by Amelie Wen Zhao- YA fantasy
Once, Lan had a different name. Now, she goes by the one the Elantian colonizers gave her when they invaded her kingdom, killed her mother, and outlawed her people’s magic. She spends her nights as a songgirl in Haak’gong, a city transformed by the conquerors, and spends her days scavenging for remnants of the past. For anything that might help her understand the strange mark burned into her arm by her mother.No one can see the mysterious mark, an untranslatable Hin character, except Lan. Until the night a boy appears at the teahouse. Zen is a practitioner – one of the fabled magicians of the Last Kingdom, whose abilities were rumoured to be drawn from the demons they communed with. Magic believed to be long lost. Magic to be hidden from the Elantians at all costs. Both Lan and Zen have secrets buried deep within. Fate has connected them, but their destiny remains unwritten. Both hold the power to liberate their land. And destroy the world.
One of the things I love about blog tours is coming across books that would never hit my radar like Song of Silver Flame like Night by Amelie Wen Zhao and I loved this YA Fantasy filled with magic, loss and anger.
I received a copy of this book for a free and unbiased opinion.
Power was a double-edged sword- but not to have it that was to have no weapon at all.
While this is a book about magic with all the usual themes you would expect in a YA book such as complicated romances, identity and angst, this book has so much more. It is a book that captures the feeling of being powerless and what anyone would do to protect themselves and the people they love.
The book describes the horrors of colonisation and the slow erosion of local culture either deliberately or accidentally as a result.
Lan and Zen are the two third-person narrators- Lan is searching for the truth about her mother and the seal she left on her arm as she died and Zen, one of the last disciples of Hin magic and his own dark, secret.
I loved the world-building, the descriptions of the tea houses, the towns and the terrains Zen and Lan travel through are beautifully described and vivid, The magic used by the Hin magicians isn’t unique but the use of seals to hide and perform magic felt fresh and different.
The Elantians (the invaders) did feel a little one-dimensional but the Winter Magician felt truly evil and threatening.
The story races along and despite the sometimes dark themes, there is a humour and some sensual touches. The main plot of Lan’s identity does have a resolution ( to some degree) but the overriding arc of the story continues in the next book which I can’t wait to read
This is the first book that I have read by the author but I will be adding her backlist to my TBR list.
Threats of sexual violence
Perfect for fans of
DAUGHTER OF THE MOON GODDESS by Sue Lynn Tan, THE FINAL STRIFE by Saara El-Arifi, and IRON WIDOW by Xiran Jay Zhao. The Shadow and Bone Trilogy by Leigh Burdago
Here is my review of Weyward by Emilia Hart historical fantasy featuring three women from three generations and their fight to escape trapped their lives.
‘I had nature in my heart, she said. Like she did, and her mother before her. There was something about us – the Weyward women – that bonded us more tightly with the natural world. We can feel it, she said, the same way we feel rage, sorrow or joy.’ In 2019, Kate flees an abusive relationship in London for Crows Beck, a remote Cumbrian village. Her destination is Weyward Cottage, inherited from her great Aunt Violet, an eccentric entomologist. As Kate struggles with the trauma of her past, she uncovers a secret about the women in her family. A secret dating back to 1619, when her ancestor Altha Weyward was put on trial for witchcraft…
Weyward by Emilia Hart is an ambitious story about three different women at three different times but all three need to escape their trapped lives.
I received a copy of the book for a free and unbiased opinion
The story of three women suffering from surprisingly similar problems is at times harrowing. Kate in 2019 is trapped in an abusive relationship and has escaped to a cottage she has inherited from her Great Aunt. Violet in 1942 whose father controls her life to an extreme degree and Altha who as a clever independent woman in 1619 is accused of witchcraft.
I’m pleased to be part of the blog tour for She Had It Coming by Carys Jones- a twisty mystery.
‘Someone needs to bring her down a peg or two… When Pippa’s best friend goes missing on a school run, no one thinks twice. Heather is pretty, popular and more than a little wild. Most people think she ran away for the attention… Others say girls like her always get what’s coming to them. Pippa’s mother, Abbie, has never liked Heather. Or her mother Michelle, a successful doctor who thinks she’s too good for the school mums’ group. But when Heather turns up dead, everything changes. Because Pippa was the last person to see her alive… and now Abbie’s own house of cards is about to come tumbling down.
I really enjoyed this twisty murder mystery- She Had It Coming by Carys Jones was an intriguing book with two interesting narrators.
I’m pleased to be part of the Random Things Tours Blog Tour for Moon Yoga by Lisa Hood- yoga practice that can fit into your busy life.
Yoga is both a physical practice and a spiritual one. Expert yoga instructor Lisa Hood provides insightful guidance on how to shape a spiritual practice that channels the moon’s energy to stimulate vitality, creativity, productivity and relaxation. Whether you work through a whole flow, focus on one pose, or just work through a breathing exercise, aligning your body and your mind in a moment of spiritual connection with the moon can help you centre yourself, even if just for a few moments in the middle of a busy day. – Learn about how each phase of the moon brings a different energy into your life. – Move with the moon with yoga positions and flows that draw on the energy of each of the nine lunar phases. – Adjust your practice seasonally with practices for each of the full moons of the year, such as the Wolf Moon, Flower Moon and Corn Moon. – Find rituals to carry you through the cycles of the moon. With uplifting mantras and rituals to provide grounding, strengthened intuition and mindfulness beyond your physical practice, Moon Yoga gives you all the tools you need to move in sync with the moon.
I try to be regular in my Yoga practice but I have to admit I struggle with this, so I look forward to incorporating Lisa’s Hood Moon Yoga into my daily life (or at least try to!).
I’m pleased to be part of the Racheal’s Random Resources Blog Tour for Death at Crookham Hall by Michelle Slater.
A fatal jump. A missing suffragette. An inexplicable murder.
London, 1920. When she catches news of a big story, reporter Iris Woodmore rushes to the House of Commons. But it’s a place that holds painful memories. In 1914, her mother died there when she fell into the River Thames during a daring suffragette protest. But in the shadow of Big Ben, a waterman tells Iris her mother didn’t fall – she jumped.
Iris discovers that the suffragette with her mother that fateful day has been missing for years, disappearing just after the protest. Desperate to know the truth behind the fatal jump, Iris’s investigation leads her to Crookham Hall, an ancestral home where secrets and lies lead to murder…
Death at Crookham Hall by Michelle Slater is a murder mystery set just after World War I, just after women won the right to vote (some women anyway) and were just beginning to step into a world outside of marriage and babies.
Here is my review for City of Last Chances, epic fantasy by Adrian Tchaikovsky
There has always been a darkness to Ilmar, but never more so than now. The city chafes under the heavy hand of the Palleseen occupation, the choke-hold of its criminal underworld, the boot of its factory owners, the weight of its wretched poor and the burden of its ancient curse. What will be the spark that lights the conflagration? Despite the city’s refugees, wanderers, murderers, madmen, fanatics and thieves, the catalyst, as always, will be the Anchorwood – that dark grove of trees, that primeval remnant, that portal, when the moon is full, to strange and distant shores. Ilmar, some say, is the worst place in the world and the gateway to a thousand worse places. Ilmar, City of Long Shadows. City of Bad Decisions. City of Last Chances.
I’ve enjoyed Adrian Tchaikovsky’s science fiction books so I was keen to see how his fantasy compared to this and was happy my request was approved by NetGalley for the arc of City Of Last Chances.
I received a copy of this book for a free and unbiased opinion.
This is a hard review to write. I didn’t really love the book as much as I thought I would ( although I didn’t dislike the book as much as I thought I would after I finished it either).
I’m so pleased to be part of the Random Things Blog tour for Deadly Inheritance by Jane McParkes- a murder mystery set in Cornwall.
When Olivia Wells returns to Creekside, Cornwall, intent on fulfilling her bequest of cultivating a co-working community of eco and creative entrepreneurs in a renovated railway building, she soon finds opposition, sabotage and the murdered body of her friend.She has to put her trust in an unlikely ally to help her investigate exactly who is threatening the success of her ventures, her liberty and ultimately, her life.
A Deadly Inheritance by Jane McParkes is a cosy murder mystery set in a little village in Cornwall- a village on the verge of major change. A village that has to deal with very modern issues and challenges.
I really enjoyed Death Comes to Marlowe by Robert Thorogood- cosy crime at its best
I couldn’t put Death Comes to Marlowe , the second instalment of Marlowe Murder club, by Robert Thorogood ,down until I found out who the murderer was- much to the annoyance of the people around me.
I received a copy of this book for a free and unbiased opinion
Judith, the seven-eight-year-old crossword setter, and naked wild water swimmer is the amateur detective who finds herself with a puzzle of a death when she is invited to the pre-wedding party of Sir. Peter Bailey. But the only problem is while Judith is convinced this is murder, there isn’t any evidence to suggest the death wasn’t anything other than an accident. So of course, Judith sets out to solve the mystery with the help of Suzie, a dog walker and burgeoning radio celebrity and Becks the vicar’s wife hiding her own little secret.
This is modern cosy crime at it its best- interesting with bizarre suspects, plenty of motives and red herrings, a locked room murder, a helpful cop and of course Judith.
Judith is not Miss Marple, she is a vibrant, determined older person battling her own demons but is someone happy with her choices and her life. The subplot involving the messages in the cryptic crosswords was fascinating in itself and made me want to dip my toes in trying a few out.
The plot races along with one little revelation after another and as expected there was plenty of humour and no gore. The book also somehow manages to touch upon serious issues such as privilege and misogyny but not in a heavy-handed way.
My only tiny gripe is Becks- her unique skill is her knowledge of the ‘middle classes but for some reason, I thought that some of the things she was talking about were far beyond the means of the average middle-class household (this is of course my own subjective view which could be very wrong!).
But that is a tiny gripe and I can’t wait for the next instalment and really hope this is turned into a tv show (like Death in Paradise by the same author).
Perfect for Fans
A good murder mystery such as The Thursday Murder Club or a more modern take on Agatha Christie
Publication date : 5th of January 2023 by HarperCollins
I’m pleased to be part of the Random Things Tours Blog Tour for The Simple Truth by James Buckler- a fast-paced thriller set in London.
A young woman is dead.
A very wealthy client needs a favour. You newly qualified as a lawyer and this could be your big break, so you jump at the chance.
The case is about to be closed.
All you have to do is talk to a family, ask them to sign some papers. How difficult could it be? Their daughter was found dead at a beauty spot on the outskirts of London in what you told was a tragic suicide.
Only you can uncover what really happened.
But the truth is never that simple. And this case could cost you your life…
I enjoyed The Simple Truth by James Buckler- a fast-paced murder thriller set in the not-so-glossy legal world and the criminal underbelly of London.
I received a copy of this book for a free and unbiased opinion.
Lewis is an ambitious yet idealistic lawyer from a working-class background trying to succeed in a posh and privileged world where he is an outsider, He jumps at the chance to prove himself in what should be a simple signing of an NDA but finds his values and loyalties are challenged. Lewis’s journey from a man trying to be a typical city lawyer to a man who is comfortable being who he is was a heart-warming journey in what could have been a cynical book on the power of wealth.
The book is contemptuous and relevant to the times we live with its background of environmental issues, corruption and politics.
The underlying murder- the mystery is complex with plenty of suspects and motives – I didn’t guess who the murderer was right till the end when several threads converge quite neatly.
The Simple Truth was engaging, easy and quick (for me) read– I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys tightly-paced thrillers and mysteries.
Drug Misuse, References to Suicide, grief at the loss of an adult child, references to parental abandonment.
About the Author
James Buckler lives in London. He has worked in film and TV for many years, most notably for MTV and BBC Films. His first thriller, Last Stop Tokyo, published to critical acclaim. The Simple Truth is his second novel.
I loved the Children of Chaos by Trudie Skies- the second book in the fantasy series, The Cruel Gods.
Chaos stalks the steam-powered city of Chime and threatens the existence of the gods and their domains. Kayl swore to protect Chime’s mortals from their gods’ cruel whims, but when she agrees to represent the mortals of a god long thought dead, Kayl is thrust into a political role that goes against everything she’s ever stood for. As the newly appointed ambassador to the god of time, Quen’s goal is clear – protect Chime and the domains by any means necessary. But as the gods make their demands, Quen is caught between his loyalties and his conscience. To ensure a future for all mortals, Kayl and Quen must unite the gods against the threat of chaos and decide what they’re willing to sacrifice for Chime – before the gods choose for them.
I read The Thirteenth Hour( review here) by Trudie Skies as part of a blog tour when I started blogging and loved it, so I had my preorder all set up for the next book The Children of Chaos and it was worth the wait.
How did I miss The Stranger Times by C.K McDonnell here is my review of this hilarious, action-packed urban fantasy filled with memorable characters and set in Manchester.
The Stranger Times is dedicated to the weird and the wonderful (but mostly the weird), it is the go-to publication for the unexplained and inexplicable. At least that’s their pitch. The reality is less auspicious. Their editor is a drunken, foul-tempered, and foul-mouthed husk of a man who thinks little of the publication he edits. His staff are a ragtag group of misfits. And as for the assistant editor… well, that job is a revolving door–and it has just revolved to reveal Hannah Willis, who’s got problems of her own. When tragedy strikes in Hannah’s first week on the job, The Stranger Times is forced to do some serious investigating. What they discover leads to a shocking realisation: some of the stories they’d previously dismissed as nonsense are in fact terrifyingly real. Soon they come face-to-face with darker forces than they could ever have imagined
One of the amazing joys of being a book blogger is discovering new books that I never would have normally come across. The Stranger Things by C K Mc Donnell was one of those books and I devoured it book in one sitting.
I received a free copy of this book for a free and unbiased opinion.
This urban fantasy has everything a cast of memorable characters -I’m not sure if I admire or despise the outspoken, drunk, intelligent Bancroft the trigger-happy editor of The Stranger Times. Grace, Reggie, and Ox form the rest of the team at The Stranger Times newspaper ( funny extracts included in the book) and are all quirky and fascinating characters that bring this urban fantasy to life.
Hannah is the new assistant editor escaping her former life as a socialite and is thrown into a new world of UFOs, aliens and monsters and has a bit of fright when she learns ( along with the rest of the team ) that one of these things is real.
The underlying plot of good vs evil, secret societies and magic are well written and the book has a fresh take on this by basing this in a Northern City in England- Manchester and its people form part of the cast in its own way. The plot and underlying mystery kept me reading right till the end. Some vivid and original descriptions made an impression.
But the main strength of the book is the humour which is truly British ( and Northern) and there were several times when I couldn’t stop laughing.
I have to confess I jumped straight into the sequel The Charming Man as soon as I finished.
Perfect for Fans
The Dresden Files (review here), The Tarot Card Sequence, ( review here) Swashbucklers (review here),Terry Prachett
Here is my review of Where it rains in Colour by Denise Crittendon-an Afro-futuristic science-fiction
Lileala has just been named the Rare Indigo – beauty among beauties – and is about to embrace her stardom, until something threatens to change her whole lifestyle and turn the planet of Swazembi upside down.Colonized by the descendants of Earth’s West African Dogon Tribe, the planet of Swazembi is a blazing, color-rich utopia and famous vacation center of the galaxy. No one is used to serious trouble in this idyllic, peace-loving world, least of all the Rare Indigo. But Lileala’s perfect, pampered lifestyle is about to be shattered. The unthinkable happens and her glorious midnight skin becomes infected with a mysterious disease. Where her skin should glisten like diamonds mixed with coal, instead it scabs and scars. On top of that, she starts to hear voices in her head, and everything around her becomes confusing and frightening.Lileala’s destiny, however, goes far beyond her beauty. While searching for a cure, she stumbles upon something much more valuable. A new power awakens inside her, and she realizes her whole life, and the galaxy with it, is about to change…
Where it rains in Colour by Denise Crittendon is the perfect title for this book- I felt like I was hit was explosion of colour as I was reading.
I received a copy of this book for a free and unbiased opinion.
The world-building in the book is unlike anything I have read before- so vivid and rich, bursting with colour and originality Swazembi is a modern, high-tech future society but with a difference, it is bright, vivid, happy utopia where colour plays an important role. The people in Swazembi have skin that can shimmer and shine future leader Lileala has been chosen as the Rare Indigo because of her outstanding radiance. The technology in the book is truly unique and magical, people get swept up in gusts of wind to travel to destinations which I think should be viable mode of transport in the future.
While I liked Lileala arc from a girl spoilt and pampered for her beauty that’s places values outer looks to a person concerned for other people and an ambassador for peace, I really didn’t warm to her as character.
I struggled with the pace of the book and just couldn’t follow the story at places which was disappointing as I wanted to like it so much. I wish I had been aware of the glossary at the end of the book which may have helped a little ( I which all ebooks would put the glossary in the front of the book!). I’m still not sure what the overall plot of the book was after finishing this
Even though this book wasn’t for me, I imagine many other readers will love the descriptive prose and the world-building.
It is going to be a challenge narrowing down my list to just ten but here we go.
The Sinister Booksellers of Bath by Garth Nix
I read the intriguingly titled The Left Handed Booksellers of London ages ago and I imagine The Sinister Booksellers of Bath which is set in the same world will be just as good- urban fantasy with booksellers.
Gin Palace by Tracy Whitwell
This looks a fun, urban fantasy featuring an accidental medium and set in Newcastle, my favourite ‘toon’ ( city).
The Spice Road by Maya Ibrahim
This YA fantasy set in middle-eastern inspired world and featuring magic and spice looks like colourful and epic read.
The Launch Party by Lauren Forry
I love locked room mysteries and all it its permutations, so a murder mystery set on a isolated hotel on the moon is something I have to read.
Love will Tear Us Apart by C K McDonnell
I’ve been working my way through The Stranger Times books and I cant wait to read the next book in this urban fantasy series set in a madcap newspaper in Manchester with eccentric staff- a newspaper dedicated to documented the weird and unusual as the while dealing with ghosts,possession and nutty health farms.
The Discord of Gods by Jenn Lyons
The sheer size of he book has put me off reading this but I am going to finish the last book in the epic fantasy series, The Chorus of Dragons.
Song of Silver ,Flame Like Night by Ameile Wen Zhao
I fell in love with this cover and blurb , I think it will be a colourful epic fantasy
One for My Enemy- Olivie Blake
I can’t resist another retelling of Romeo and Julliet- this time featuring warring witching families.
Atlas Six by Olivie Blake
I have heard such good things about this book, that sounds like a cross between Harry Potter and the Hunger Games.
The Blue Bar by Damyanti Biwas
I was so excited when this this mystery set in the underworld of Mumbai was one of the Kindle Prime Picks.
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I’m so pleased to be a part of the Random Things Tours blog tour for The Witch and The Tsar a historical fantasy by Olesya Salinikova Gilmore- an imaginative retelling of Baba Yaga’s story.
As a half-goddess possessing magic, Yaga is used to living on her own, her prior entanglements with mortals having led to heartbreak. She mostly keeps to her hut in the woods, where those in need of healing seek her out, even as they spread rumors about her supposed cruelty and wicked spells. But when her old friend Anastasia—now the wife of the tsar and suffering from a mysterious illness—arrives in her forest desperate for her protection, Yaga realizes the fate of all of Russia is tied to Anastasia’s.Yaga must step out of the shadows to protect the land she loves.As she travels to Moscow, Yaga witnesses a sixteenth century Russia on the brink of chaos. Tsar Ivan— soon to become Ivan the Terrible—grows more volatile and tyrannical by the day, and Yaga believes the tsaritsa is being poisoned by an unknown enemy. But what Yaga cannot know is that Ivan is being manipulated by powers far older and more fearsome than anyone can imagine.
The Witch and The Tsar by Olesya Salinikova Gilmore- is a beautifully written retelling of Baba Yaga’s story turning her into a feminist heroine.
I’ve come across Baba Yaga and her mobile house as the evil witch in several fantasy books and TV shows, so it was refreshing to read a different on her story.
Yaga is the first-person narrator aware of her own immortality as a half-goddess yet also aware of her vulnerability as a half human and has a great love for Russia. It is this love for Russia and her love for Anastasia, the Tsarina that forces her to move from the safety of the forest into a battle to save the people of Russia from the Tsar or Ivan the terrible.
Yaga is the woman of place not just because of her magic but because she is a woman happy to be alone when marriage was the only way for a woman, a worshipper of the old gods instead of being a Christian and she does pay the price by being alone for a long time. I thought this was a realistic way of portraying a different version of her and possibly a nicer way of humanising a woman who is usually depicted as an evil and immoral witch.
The world-building and descriptions of Russia during this dark and cold time was detailed and beautifully written. The old gods and myths of Russia and interwoven in the main historical plot and plays a major part in the story rather than just being an add on. I haven’t read a lot of historical fiction based in Russia and after reading this I certainly will be reading more
There is plenty of action, brutal violence and unpleasantness as would be expected in a book about Ivan the Terrible but there is plenty of magic and romance- I loved the relationship between Vasily and Yaga.
The author has a detailed Glossary at the end ( which I wish I had picked up on earlier) which helped me keep track of the characters- sometimes the almost familiar names did make it hard to keep track of the characters ( this is in keeping with names of the period) as well as the old gods and their powers. And don’t forget to read the authors note at the end which was just as fascinating and puts the book in context.
References to deaths of children, threats of sexual violence
Olesya Salnikova Gilmore was born in Moscow, Russia, raised in the United States, and graduated from Pepperdine University with a BA in English / political science, and from Northwestern University School of Law with a JD.She practiced litigation at a large law firm for several years before pursuing her dream of becoming an author. She is happiest writing historical fiction and fantasy inspired by Eastern European folklore. She lives in a wooded lakeside suburb of Chicago with her husband and daughter. The Witch and the Tsar is her debut novel.
I’m pleased to be part of the Random Things Tours blog tour for Dashboard Elvis by David F Ross. Here is my review
Renowned photo-journalist Jude Montgomery arrives in Glasgow in 2014, in the wake of the failed Scottish independence referendum, and it’s clear that she’s searching for someone.Is it Anna Mason, who will go on to lead the country as First Minister? Jamie Hewitt, guitarist from eighties one-hit wonders The Hyptones? Or is it Rabbit – Jude’s estranged foster sister, now a world-famous artist?Three apparently unconnected people, who share a devastating secret, whose lives were forever changed by one traumatic night in Phoenix, forty years earlier…Taking us back to a school shooting in her Texas hometown, and a 1980s road trip across the American West – to San Francisco and on to New York – Jude’s search ends in Glasgow, and a final, shocking event that only one person can fully explain…
Dashboard Elvis is Dead by David F Ross is just as intriguing as the title!
I received a copy of the book for a free and unbiased opinion
Dashboard Elvis spans decades from the 1980s to the 2000s following the life of Jude Montgomery. Jude is the main character, and her perspective is the one that dominates the story with a brief perspective from Jamie Hewitt a guitarist whose one song burnt brightly and then the band crashed. But Jude remains an enigmatic character whose behaviour seems strange and forms strong attachments with very little basis. But like a complicated onion, each chapter slowly reveals a little more about Jude and why she is the way she is until the final reveal at the end that makes sense of the whole story and how these characters and events are all connected. And like peeling an onion you may feel a little tearful.
The book features some historical events as seen through Jude’s eye and the impact of this on her life including 9/11 and the Scottish referendum. The description of 9/11 was harrowing and had an emotional resonance I wasn’t quite expecting.
I did struggle with a few initial chapters from Jaime’s view with its very authentic language but I’m glad I stuck with the book.
This is a book about loss and grief, but thriving in any way you can- even though Jude can be a difficult character to understand, I couldn’t help but root for her as she overcame obstacles and struggled to form meaningful relationships – she was one of those characters that left me thinking about her long after I finished the book
About the Author
David F. Ross was born in Glasgow in 1964 and has lived in Kilmarnock for over 30 years. He is a graduate of the Mackintosh School of Architecture at Glasgow School of Art, an architect by day, and a hilarious social-media commentator, author and enabler by night. His debut novel The Last Days of Disco was shortlisted for the Authors Club Best First Novel Award, and optioned for the stage by the Scottish National Theatre. All five of his novels have achieved notable critical acclaim and There’s Only One Danny Garvey, published in 2021 by Orenda Books, was shortlisted for the prestigious Saltire Society Prize for Scottish Fiction Book of the Year. David lives in Ayrshire.
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Here is my review of Her Majesty’s Royal Coven by Juno Dawson an urban fantasy
Her Majesty’s Royal Coven by Juno Dawson has been on my to-read list for a long time and I was so excited to finally bought the book. But I didn’t enjoy the book as much as I thought I would, which was surprising.
HMSC has a cast of four childhood friends- Helena, the tough head of the Coven, Niamh, the powerful witch who has left the coven to become a vet in Hebben Bridge, Elle, a healer who has hidden her power from her husband and family and Leonie, the witch who has left the government coven to form her own inclusive and diverse coven.
The once-tight friends are thrown together when a prophecy about The Sullied Child seems to come true and then thrown apart when confronted when their own fears.
The best part of the book besides the premise was the diversity in the characters- there is a range of people of all races, ages and genders and they all fit organically into the story and are the story.
The book had all the things that appeal to me-magic, strong and diverse women, unapologetically morally grey women and plenty of action ending with an almost cinematic finale. So why did I feel disappointed after finishing the book?
I didn’t like Helen and felt perhaps her hatred was to push the plot and create conflict – her inability to contain her prejudices and her reaction to this seemed a little extreme (although I am aware there are woman like in real life, so maybe not so OTT).The men in the book are mostly window-dressing without any depth, and some of the plot outcomes were a little predictable, especially the whole prophecy of an evil child who will destroy the world.
There is a humdinger of a cliffhanger which was truly breathtaking but again left me disappointed and not to keen to pick up the sequel.
I think this book will appeal to a lot of urban fantasy fans. I will probably read the sequel, but I don’t think I will be quite so excited.
I’m pleased to share an excerpt from Under a Veiled Moon by Karen Odden- historical mystery set in old London
September 1878. One night, as the pleasure boat the Princess Alice makes her daily trip up the Thames, she collides with the Bywell Castle, a huge iron-hulled collier. The Princess Alice shears apart, throwing all 600 passengers into the river; only 130 survive. It is the worst maritime disaster London has ever seen, and early clues point to sabotage by the Irish Republican Brotherhood, who believe violence is the path to restoring Irish Home Rule. For Scotland Yard Inspector Michael Corravan, born in Ireland and adopted by the Irish Doyle family, the case presents a challenge. Accused by the Home Office of willfully disregarding the obvious conclusion and berated by his Irish friends for bowing to prejudice, Corravan doggedly pursues the truth, knowing that if the Princess Alice disaster is pinned on the IRB, hopes for Home Rule could be dashed forever. Corrovan’s dilemma is compounded by Colin, the youngest Doyle, who has joined James McCabe’s Irish gang. As violence in Whitechapel rises, Corravan strikes a deal with McCabe to get Colin out of harm’s way. But unbeknownst to Corravan, Colin bears longstanding resentments against his adopted brother and scorns his help. As the newspapers link the IRB to further accidents, London threatens to devolve into terror and chaos. With the help of his young colleague, the loyal Mr. Stiles, and his friend Belinda Gale, Corravan uncovers the harrowing truth—one that will shake his faith in his countrymen, the law, and himself.
Here’s an excerpt from the book to tempt you!
Having finished writing my daily report, I left Wapping, walking past the London Docks to Sloane Street, where the Goose and Gander stood at the corner of Hackford. The sight of it brought back the afternoons Pat Doyle and I would come here, our spirits buoyed by the shillings in our pockets from working on the docks. We steered clear of most public houses—like the English Pearl, a few doors down, or the Drum and Thistle—but we two Irish stevedores found a welcome here, in this low-ceilinged room with a pair of rusted swords and a Celtic Cross over the mantle. Joining in on the bawdy choruses after a few pints made Pat and me feel like men—Irish men—and, for a while, as if we belonged. I’m not proud to admit it, but I liked it when someone who wasn’t Irish was scowled out of the place. Life was hard on the docks. The dockmaster, named Smithson, always hired Pat and me as a pair because he knew that together we could accomplish four times what any other single man could. It didn’t keep Smithson from treating us the worst, though. If there was a swan-necked cart with a wheel that wasn’t working properly, that would be ours for the day. If we took time to fix the wheel, our wages would be docked.
Sometimes we didn’t get a cart at all and had to haul the goods on our backs. If a bag of tea burst because it was roughly handled or at the bottom of a heavy pile, we’d be blamed. Pat and I kept to ourselves, mostly, though after a time we banded with a few older Irishmen who were hired regularly. We did our work, held our heads down, stayed out of people’s way. Still, most days Smithson would shout at us for being feckin’ Irish eejits, which worried me because Pat was quick to throw down whatever bag he was toting in order to free up his fists, and I’d have to remind him that we needed the money more than we wanted Smithson to pay for his spite. I hated it too. But we had no choice but to stay and take it.
It was the docks that taught me what being Irish meant because growing up in my partof the Chapel, Irish was all I knew. Like hundreds of others during the famine years, my parents sailed from Dublin to Liverpool, making portions of that city along the Mersey River more Irish than English. My father was a silversmith, and a skilled one, but there wasn’t enough work for all the silversmiths who had landed in Liverpool, so he and my mum came down to the Irish part of Whitechapel. With anti-Irish feeling running high, shops elsewhere in London wouldn’t hire a man with black hair and blue eyes named Corravan, with an accent straight out of County Armagh. My mum never told me so, but my father did what many Irishmen had to do—plied their trade sideways. He became a counterfeiter, making two-bit coins in a cellar somewhere, with fumes that clung to him when he came through our door at night. He died when I was three years old, too young to remember him well, but old enough that the odor of suet and oil and the bitter tang of cyanide had rooted itself in my brain. During one of my earliest cases in Lambeth, I walked into a house and recognized the smell straightaway, like I knew the smell of tea or hops or onions. That’s when I realized how my father had put bread on our table.
The rancor against the Irish grates at me sometimes. Not to say we don’t deserve some of it. Four years ago, two Irishmen in Lambeth threw firebombs into one of Barnardo’s English orphanages, to protest that Parliament had just prohibited the Irish from setting up orphanages for our own. The next morning, the corpses of twenty-six children were laid out on the street and on the front page of every newspaper in London. For weeks after, shame hacked at my insides. I could barely meet anyone’s eye. But we Irish don’t all deserve to be tarred with the same brush, and it’s hard to bear the ugly opinions printed in the papers. Nowadays, I stop reading if I catch a hint of hatred in the first lines, but there was a time when I would read the articles and letters from “concerned citizens” and “true Englishmen” because I wanted to know the worst that could be said of us. That was before I realized that words could be infinitely malicious.
There was no worst; there was only more. I still remember the conclusion of one letter because it seemed so preposterous: “The Irish are the dregs in the barrel, the lowest of the low. They kill their fathers, rape their sisters, and eat their children, stuffing their maws with blood and potatoes indifferently, like wild beasts.” Well, that wasn’t true of any of the Irish I knew. Indeed, as I laid my hand on the doorknob of the Goose and Gander, I was reasonably certain that inside I’d find Irish folks sitting, eating normal food, and playing cards. I pushed open the wooden door, greeted the barmaid, and asked if O’Hagan had been in.
She shook her head. “Not yet. He usually comes around eight.”
I’m pleased to be part of Austenprose booktour for Death on a Winter Stroll by Francine Mathews- murder mystery set in Nantucket post pandemic
Nantucket Police Chief Meredith Folger is acutely conscious of the stress COVID-19 has placed on the community she loves. Although the island has proved a refuge for many during the pandemic, the cost to Nantucket has been high. Merry hopes that the Christmas Stroll, one of Nantucket’s favorite traditions, in which Main Street is transformed into a winter wonderland, will lift the island’s spirits. But the arrival of a large-scale TV production, and the Secretary of State and her family, complicates matters significantly. The TV shoot is plagued with problems from within, as a shady, power-hungry producer clashes with strong-willed actors. Across Nantucket, the Secretary’s troubled stepson keeps shaking off his security detail to visit a dilapidated house near conservation land, where an intriguing recluse guards secrets of her own. With all parties overly conscious of spending too much time in the public eye and secrets swirling around both camps, it is difficult to parse what behaviour is suspicious or not—until the bodies turn up. Now, it’s up to Merry and Detective Howie Seitz to find a connection between two seemingly unconnected murders and catch the killer. But when everyone has a motive, and half of the suspects are politicians and actors, how can Merry and Howie tell fact from fiction?
I enjoyed Death on a Winter Stroll by Francine Mathews- my first murder mystery in a post-pandemic Nantucket where Covid-19’s presence is still felt.
I received a copy of this book for a free and unbiased opinion
This is a book in a series featuring no-nonsense detective Merry Folger but I found not having read the other books in the series made no difference in my enjoyment of the book or understanding of Merry and her colleagues’ characters.
A range of murder suspects descend on Nantucket for the Christmas stroll including powerful politicians, controlling fathers, Hollywood producers happy to abuse their power, rich tech people, actors, and their young grown-up children. Merry has to navigate carefully to find out who the murderer is while dealing with her own grief. I liked Merry- sensible and patient and her sidekick Howie and their need to balance investigating the murder and not to upset powerful was interesting with bonus points for having a tortured backstory.
The author makes Nantucket a character in its own right with her beautiful description of the environment, the joy of the Christmas Stroll but also the inequalities between the rich visitors and the not well-off permanent residents of the area.
The plot paces along with plenty of motives and revelations. I initially found myself disliking many of the characters, but the author’s writing shows them as deeply flawed but human. Despite the deaths and some of the dark themes, the book ends with hope for a few of the characters.
But it is the description of the new and strange world we find ourselves in post covid that particularly caught my interest and it was refreshing to read a book that didn’t dwell on this but didn’t ignore it either.
References to alcohol and drug addiction, suicide, sexual assault
Perfect for fans who
Like non-gory murder mysteries with an edge.
About The Author
Francine Mathews was born in Binghamton, New York, the last of six girls. She attended Princeton and Stanford Universities, where she studied history, before going on to work as an intelligence analyst at the CIA. She wrote her first book in 1992 and left the Agency a year later. Since then, she has written thirty books, including six previous novels in the Merry Folger series (Death in the Off-Season, Death in Rough Water, Death in a Mood Indigo, Death in a Cold Hard Light, Death on Nantucket, and Death on Tuckernuck) as well as the nationally bestselling Being a Jane Austen mystery series, which she writes under the pen name Stephanie Barron. She lives and works in Denver, Colorado.
The Dragonfly Sea by Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor features an unforgettable heroine set in the first part of this century set in the Island of Pate,Kenya and China at the turn of this century. Here is my review of this historicalish fiction.
On the island of Pate, off the coast of Kenya, lives solitary, stubborn Ayaana and her mother, Munira. When a sailor named Muhidin, also an outsider, enters their lives, Ayaana finds something she has never had before: a father. But as Ayaana grows into adulthood, forces of nature and history begin to reshape her life and the island itself–from a taciturn visitor with a murky past to a sanctuary-seeking religious extremist, from dragonflies to a tsunami, from black-clad kidnappers to cultural emissaries from China. Ayaana ends up embarking on a dramatic ship’s journey to the Far East, where she will discover friends and enemies; be seduced by the charming but unreliable scion of a powerful Turkish business family; reclaim her devotion to the sea; and come to find her own tenuous place amid a landscape of beauty and violence and surprising joy. Told with a glorious lyricism and an unerring sense of compassion, The Dragonfly Sea is a transcendent story of adventure, fraught choices, and of the inexorable need for shelter in a dangerous world.
The Dragonfly Sea by Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor features an unforgettable heroine set on the Island of Pate, Kenya and China at the turn of this century and is vaguely based on a true-life event that was absolutely fascinating- a young girl from Kenya was offered a place to study in China after DNA analysis showed she was of Chinese ancestry. This isn’t that girl’s story, but Ayaana’s story is just as fascinating.
I’m so pleased to be part of the Randon Thing Tours blog tour for Dragonfly Summer by J H Moncrief- a twisty, psychological mystery.
No small town’s secrets can stay buried for long. Moncrieff digs into the treachery of memory and the power of female friendships. Dragonfly Summer is a gripping thriller that asks: What happens when the past comes back to haunt you? Jo Carter never thought she’d return to Clear Springs, Minnesota. But when the former journalist receives a cryptic note about the disappearance of her friend Sam twenty years before, she’s compelled to find out what really happened. During her investigation, she learns another high school friend has died in a mysterious accident. Nothing is as it seems, and Jo must probe Clear Springs’ darkest corners and her own painful and unreliable memories to discover the truth – and save herself from the killer who could still be on the hunt. Deliciously twisty and suspenseful from the first minute to the last, Dragonfly Summer proves that no small town’s secrets can stay buried for good.
I really enjoyed this twisty psychological mystery and I’m so pleased that Dragon Summer B H Moncrieff is the first thriller I’m reviewing on my newly expanded blog.
I’m so pleased to be part of the Racheal Random Resources blog tour for Chaos at Carnegie Hall by Kelly Olive. Historical cosy crime perfectly described as Agatha Christie meets Downton Abbey but with added humour
Notorious spy, Fredrick Fredricks, has invited Fiona to Carnegie Hall to hear a famous soprano. It’s an opportunity the War Office can’t turn down. Fiona and Clifford are soon on their way, but not before Fiona is saddled with chaperon duties for Captain Hall’s niece. Is Fiona a spy or a glorified babysitter?From the minute Fiona meets the soprano aboard the RMS Adriatic it’s treble on the high C’s. Fiona sees something—or someone—thrown overboard, and then she overhears a chemist plotting in German with one of her own countrymen!And the trouble doesn’t stop when they disembark. Soon Fiona is doing time with a group of suffragettes and investigating America’s most impressive inventor Thomas Edison.When her number one suspect turns up dead at the opera and Fredrick Fredricks is caught red-handed, it looks like it’s finally curtains for the notorious spy.But all the evidence points to his innocence. Will Fiona change her tune and clear her nemesis’ name? Or will she do her duty? And just what is she going to do with the pesky Kitty Lane? Not to mention swoon-worthy Archie Somersby . If Fiona’s going to come out on top, she’s going to have to make the most difficult decision of her life: the choice between her head and her heart
There are times when you just need a nice, light-hearted book with just enough of an edge to keep you hooked and Chaos at Carnegie Hall by Kelly Oliver fulfilled this perfectly.
I’m so pleased to be part of Random Things Tours Blog tour for The Vicious Circle by Katherine St John. Here is my review of this twisty thriller that will appeal to fans of Lianne Moriarty.
On a river deep in the Mexican jungle stands the colossal villa Xanadu, a wellness center that’s home an ardent spiritual group devoted to self-help guru Paul Bentzen and his enigmatic wife Kali. But when Paul mysteriously dies, his entire estate—including Xanadu—is left not to Kali, but to his estranged niece Sveta. Shocked and confused, Sveta travels from New York City to Mexico to pay her respects. At first, Xanadu seems like a secluded paradise with its tumbling gardens, beautiful people, and transcendent vibe. But soon the mystical façade wears thin, revealing a group of brainwashed members drunk on promises of an impossible utopia, guided by a disturbing belief system and a charismatic, dangerously capable leader. As the sinister forces surrounding Sveta become apparent, she realizes, too late, she can’t escape. Frantic and terrified, she discovers her only chance of survival is to put her confidence in the very person she trusts the least.
A perfect paradise? Or a perfect nightmare?
This is the perfect tagline for The Vicious Circle by Katherine St John-a twisty thriller set in a wellness centre in the middle of nowhere.
I received a copy for a free and unbiased opinion
Sveta is the first person narrator- a former model who is desperately trying to change herself so her Fiance’s rich family will finally accept her. Things come to a head when her future mother-in-law interferes with her wedding plans but then she finds out from her former teenage lover Lucas that she has inherited her Uncle’s ( Shiva/Paul) entire estate which
ironically makes her much richer than her fiance’s family. But she has to go to Xanadu to deal with her Uncle’s ‘wife’ Kali who has inherited nothing but of course claims she has a right to the estate.
The author has created a suitably creepy place in Xanadu
with the apparently happy people who live. The tension seeps off the pages with each new rule or mantra the people of Xanadu come up with and I just wanted to tell Sveta to run.
Kali was an intriguing character and I was never quite sure whether she was good or bad right up to the last third.
The plot races along with plenty of action,mystery and enough red herrings to make Sveta doubt everyone which ramps up the tension even more.
I enjoyed the book but I don’t think I will be booking a weekend in a remote wellness centre anytime soon!
References to underage sex, drug use,eating disorders
Perfect for Fans of
For fans of Lucy Foley and Liane Moriarty.
About the Author
Katherine St. John is a native of Mississippi, graduate of the University of Southern California, and author of The Lion’s Den and The Siren. When she’s not writing, she can be found hiking or on the beach with a good book.Katherine lives in Atlanta, Georgia, with her husband and two children.
I’m so pleased to be part of the blog tour for The Wildest Hunger by Laura Laakso- featuring a fearless heroine who happens to have a chronic health problem. – a rarity in urban fantasy
The oldest and gravest of the Wild Folk laws dictates that human flesh must not be consumed. When half-eaten bodies start turning up between Old London and the North, Yannia Wilde knows the killer can only be one of her kind. Her investigation is even more complicated when her betrothed, Dearon, insists on joining forces with her and Karrion. While Yannia tries to balance tracking down the killer with the tension between her and Dearon, and Karrion, another case in Old London draws her attention. A West Mage Council member, whom she exposed as a Leech only days before, has gone missing, and his girlfriend is found murdered in his flat. Is the Leech, a master of deception, capable of murder, or has someone framed him? Caught in the web of Old London’s political intrigue, Yannia must learn to play the game and to choose her allegiances with care. But to catch a predator of her kind, she must also embrace her wildness and set aside everything that makes her human.
I loved the first few books in the Wilde Investigations series, so I jumped at the chance at reviewing The Wildest Hunger, the fourth book in the series. Yannia the lead character suffers chronic pain making her unique in the world of super fit people who populate urban Fantasy.
I loved this sci-fi fantasy featuring a group of tired Gen Xers trying to fit in saving the world around the school run!
When Cisco Collins returns to his home town thirty years after saving it from being swallowed by a hell mouth opened by an ancient pirate ghost, he realises that being a childhood hero isn’t like it was in the movies.Especially when nobody remembers the heroic bits – even the friends who once fought alongside him. Struggling with single parenting , Cisco isn’t really in the Christmas spirit . A fact that’s made worse by the tendrils of the pirate’s powers creeping back into our world and people beginning to die in bizarre ways. With the help of a talking fox, an enchanted forest, a long-lost friend haunting his dreams, and some 80s video game consoles turned into weapons, Cisco must now convince his friends to once again help him save the day. Yet they quickly discover that being a ghostbusting hero is so much easier when you don’t have schools runs, parent evenings, and nativity plays to attend. And even in the middle of a supernatural battle, you always need to bring snacks and wipes
Source: My own
If you ever wanted to read a book about a group of tired middle-aged parents trying to prevent an apocalypse with flair, humour and wet-wipes then Swashbucklers by Dan Hanks is the book for you.
I enjoyed this science fiction featuring two very different people packed with action, intrigue and romance. Here is my review of Ocean’s Echo by Everina Maxwell
Rich socialite, and walking disaster Tennalhin Halkana can read minds. Tennal, like all neuromodified “readers,” is a security threat on his own. But when controlled, readers are a rare asset. Not only can they read minds, but they can navigate chaotic space, the maelstroms surrounding the gateway to the wider universe. Conscripted into the military under dubious circumstances, Tennal is placed into the care of Lieutenant Surit Yeni, a duty-bound soldier, and the son of a notorious traitor. Tennal can read minds, Surit can influence them. Like all other neuromodified “architects,” he can impose his will onto others, and he’s under orders to control Tennal by merging their minds. Surit accepted a promotion-track request out of desperation, but he refuses to go through with his illegal orders to sync and control an unconsenting Tennal. So they lie: They fake a sync bond and plan Tennal’s escape. Their best chance arrives with a salvage-retrieval mission into chaotic space. And among the rubble is a treasure both terrible and unimaginably powerful. Tennal and Surit can no longer abandon their unit or their world. The only way to avoid life under full military control is to complete the very sync they’ve been faking. Can two unwilling weapons of war bring about peace?
I loved Winter’s Orbit ( review here ) by Everina Maxwell, so I was so pleased to have my request to review Ocean’s Echo approved on Net Galley.I have to say I enjoyed Ocean’s Echo more than Winter’s Orbit-this had more science-fiction and action with just the right amount of romance for me.
This was my first year reading books for BBYNA and So I’m pleased to be sharing the spotlight for this book.
This year, the Book Bloggers’ Novel of the Year Award (BBNYA) is celebrating the 50 books that made it into Round Two with a mini spotlight blitz tour for each title. BBNYA is a yearly competition where book bloggers from all over the world read and score books written by indie authors, ending with 15 finalists and one overall winner. If you want some more information about BBNYA, check out the BBNYA Website https://www.bbnya.com/ or take a peek over on Twitter @BBNYA_Official. BBNYA is brought to you in association with the @Foliosociety (if you love beautiful books, you NEED to check out their website!) and the book blogger support group @The_WriteReads.
Publisher: Cosmic Tea Press Length: 342 pages Genre: Science Fiction, Mystery Age Category: Upper Young Adult, Adult Date Published: 16 March 2021
Life under the Dome of New Seattle is grim unless you’re one of the Tenners, the city’s ten most popular residents. When a deadly accident puts Scottie under close scrutiny, she must use her brain chip to help prove her innocence — or be exiled to the frozen wasteland outside the city gates. “Neve Maslakovic’s story is a standout… Scottie’s journey reaches into the reader’s heart” – D. Donovan, Senior Reviewer, Midwest Book Review
Neve Maslakovic writes mysteries set in speculative worlds. In her books, no place is safe from the criminal element—including an academic time-travel lab, a parallel universe, and a Seattle of the future. Neve’s life journey has taken her from Belgrade, Serbia to a PhD at Stanford University’s STAR Lab to her dream job as a writer. She lives with her husband, son, and highly energetic goldendoodle in the Twin Cities, and is currently hard at work on a new series.
A fun topic this week , so in no particular order here are the top ten unlikable characters I can’t help but love
Daniel Hawthorne from The Word of Murder by Anthony Horowitz
Hawthorne is the ex-detective working with Horowitz to produce a series of books but somehow Horowitz ends up right in the middle of solving murders rather than writing about them. Hawthorne starts off in the first book as abrasive, tight git but he slowly evolves into a man with his own tight moral code, loyal, dedicated father and a man with an elusive past but still somehow remains a tight, abrasive git!
Harriet from The Change by Karen Miller
There aren’t many middle-aged, anti-heroines in fiction today, so I loved Harriet from The Change, an ex-copy writer who embraces her inner rage to become something society is terrified of- a woman who really doesn’t care or confirm. I should disapprove of her casual love life, murders, and awful revenge but I can’t but help but admire her,
Lymond from the Lymond Chronicles by Dorothy Dunnett
Can I ever write a list with mentioning Lymond? Francis in the first book of the Lymond Chronicles, The Game of Kings, is a brash, annoying ,dangerous ,drunk traitor as well as being a terrible brother and son and this doesn’t change much in the later books. But you can’t help but love his intelligence, loyalty, wit and his love for Scotland (and his mother).
Queen Mab from the Dresden Files
I have read all the books in the Dresden files (about 20 I think) and Queen Mab pops in and out helping Dresden in his times of need and then extracting a deadly price-A terrifying surrogate mother figure of sorts but someone I can’t help but like.
Margot Cleary from The Power by Naomi Alderson
Margot is a mother of two girls in a world where young girls and women have developed the power to shock people, but she is also a politician. So, you can see why she wants to create a world where women can use their power freely. She does takes this a bit too far ( ok much too far) by almost destroying society, but she was still my favourite character in the book especially when she learns to tap into her own power.
Rebecca from Rebecca by Daphne Du Marier
Rebecca is the mysterious and dangerous woman who is the complete opposite of the conventional narrator, but she casts a strong presence in the book. Another woman who did as she pleased regardless of the cost- someone who I should despise but deep down actually like.
Damien Salvatore from The Vampire Diaries (tv and book)
So, this one might because of Ian Somerhalder’s portrayal of a Vampire who falls in love with a mortal, but Damien is a conflicted vampire and brother who can’t stop being bad even when he is trying to be good.
Thank you for reading my list
Please leave a link to your TTT,so I can read your list
This was my first year as a BBNYA panellist and I really enjoyed it. I’m so pleased to present a spotlight for one of the books
This year, the Book Bloggers Novel of the Year Award (BBNYA) is celebrating the 55 books that made it into Round Two with a mini spotlight blitz tour for each title. BBNYA is a yearly competition where book bloggers from all over the world read and score books written by indie authors, ending with 15 finalists and one overall winner.If you want some more information about BBNYA, check out the BBNYA Website or take a peek over on Twitter @BBNYA_Official. BBNYA is brought to you in association with the @Foliosociety (if you love beautiful books, you NEED to check out their website!) and the book blogger support group @The_WriteReads.
Length: 406 Pages
Genre: LGBTQ+, Urban Fantasy, Romance
Age Category: Adult
Date Published: 9 September 2018
When the gods come calling, you don’t get to say no.
Patrick Collins is three years into a career as a special agent for the Supernatural Operations Agency when the gods come calling to collect a soul debt he owes them. An immortal has gone missing in New York City and bodies are showing up in the wake of demon-led ritual killings that Patrick recognizes all too easily from his nightmares.
Unable to walk away, Patrick finds himself once again facing off against mercenary magic users belonging to the Dominion Sect. Standing his ground alone has never been a winning option in Patrick’s experience, but it’s been years since he’s had a partner he could trust.
Looking for allies in all the wrong places, Patrick discovers the Dominion Sect’s next target is the same werewolf the Fates themselves have thrown into his path. Patrick has been inexplicably attracted to the man from their first meeting, but desire has no place in war. That doesn’t stop Patrick from wanting what he shouldn’t have. Jonothon de Vere is gorgeous, dangerous, and nothing but trouble—to the case, to the fight against every hell, and ultimately, to Patrick’s heart and soul.
In the end, all debts must be paid, and Patrick can only do what he does best—cheat death.
Hailey Turner is a big city girl who likes to spoil her cats rotten. She writes science fiction and fantasy with lots of action, epic plots, and romantic relationships that satisfy the heart. Hailey lives in sunny California when she isn’t adding stamps to her passport.
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Sunwise by Helen Wiseman picks up Jane’s and John’s story from where it left of in Widdershins.
When Jane’s lover, Tom, returns from the navy to find her unhappily married to his betrayer, Jane is caught in an impossible situation. Still reeling from the loss of her mother at the hands of the witch-finder John Sharpe, Jane has no choice but to continue her dangerous work as a healer while keeping her young daughter safe. But, as Tom searches for a way for him and Jane to be together, the witch-finder is still at large. Filled with vengeance, John will stop at nothing in his quest to rid England of the scourge of witchcraft. Inspired by true events, Sunwise tells the story of one woman’s struggle for survival in a hostile and superstitious world.
Sunwise by Helen Wiseman picks up Jane’s and John’s story from where it left of in Widdershins (review here).
I really enjoyed Widdershins by Helen Steadman-a gripping historical fiction set in 1650 inspired by the Newcastle Witch trials.
Did all women have something of the witch about them?’ Jane Chandler is an apprentice healer. From childhood, she and her mother have used herbs to cure the sick. But Jane will soon learn that her sheltered life in a small village is not safe from the troubles of the wider world. From his father’s beatings to his uncle’s raging sermons, John Sharpe is beset by bad fortune. Fighting through personal tragedy, he finds his purpose: to become a witch-finder and save innocents from the scourge of witchcraft. Inspired by true events, Widdershins tells the story of the women who were persecuted and the men who condemned them.
I’ve lived in the North-East of England for almost two decades now and I had very little knowledge of the terrible Newcastle Witch trials, so when I saw the blurb for Widdershins by Helen Steadman, I knew I had to read this book.
Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction! – Here is my review of The Premonitions Bureau by Sam Knight
What if you could share your vision, and stop that train? Could these forebodings help the world to prevent disasters? In 1966, John Barker, a dynamic psychiatrist working in an outdated British mental hospital, established the Premonitions Bureau to investigate these questions. He would find a network of hundreds of correspondents, from bank clerks to ballet teachers. Among them were two unnervingly gifted “percipients”. Together, the pair predicted plane crashes, assassinations and international incidents, with uncanny accuracy. And then, they informed Barker of their most disturbing premonition: that he was about to die. The Premonitions Bureau is an enthralling true story, of madness and wonder, science and the supernatural – a journey to the most powerful and unsettling reaches of the human mind.
I must make a confession; I was in a bit of rush when I picked this book off the shelf at my local waterstones. I took one look at the title and assumed with a title like the Premonitions Bureau, this book by Sam Knight would be firmly in the science- fiction genre. But this book is a strange true story!