Of Charms,Ghosts and Grievances by Aliette De Bodard- Book review

Here is my review of Charms, Ghosts and Grievances , an epic fantasy Aliette De Boddard set in the world of the Dominion of the Fallen.

It was supposed to be a holiday, with nothing more challenging than babysitting, navigating familial politics and arguing about the proper way to brew tea.
But when dragon prince Thuan and his ruthless husband Asmodeus find a corpse in a ruined shrine and a hungry ghost who is the only witness to the crime, their holiday goes from restful to high-pressure. Someone is trying to silence the ghost and everyone involved. Asmodeus wants revenge for the murder; Thuan would like everyone, including Asmodeus, to stay alive.
Chased by bloodthirsty paper charms and struggling to protect their family, Thuan and Asmodeus are going to need all the allies they can—and, as the cracks in their relationship widen, they’ll have to face the scariest challenge of all: how to bring together their two vastly different ideas of their future…A heartwarming standalone book set in a world of dark intrigue.

Review

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

This novella was an enjoyable read with an intriguing ghost story, charming leads and quirky side characters. The plot races along with a satisfying end.

Continue reading “Of Charms,Ghosts and Grievances by Aliette De Bodard- Book review”

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.

A Botanist’s Guide to Parties and Poisons by Kate Khavari- Book review

I enjoyed this murder mystery featuring a mystery solving botanist in the swinging twenties. Here is my review of A Botanists Guide to Parties and Poisons by Kate Khavari

Genre: Historical fiction/ historical crime

Series: Saffron Everleigh Mysteries

Publication Date :June 2022

Source: Thank you  NetGalley and Crooked Lane Books

London, 1923. Newly minted research assistant Saffron Everleigh attends a dinner party for the University College of London. While she expects to engage in conversations about the university’s large expedition to the Amazon,  one of the professors’ wives to drop to the floor, poisoned by an unknown toxin.
Dr. Maxwell, Saffron’s mentor, is the main suspect, having had an explosive argument with Dr. Henry a few days prior. As evidence mounts against Dr. Maxwell and the expedition’s departure draws nearer, Saffron realizes if she wants her mentor’s name cleared, she’ll have to do it herself.
Joined by Alexander Ashton, a fellow researcher, Saffron uses her knowledge of botany as she explores steamy greenhouses, dark gardens, and deadly poisons. Will she be able to uncover the truth or will her investigation land her on the murderer’s list?

Review

I was pleased to be approved for a copy of this murder mystery for a free, unbiased and honest opinion. 

 Saffron aspires to run her own study but this isn’t likely to happen in 1920s London, no matter how hard she tries. So when her only champion and mentor is accused of attempted murder she has no choice but to solve the crime with her knowledge of plants.

Continue reading “A Botanist’s Guide to Parties and Poisons by Kate Khavari- Book review”

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’.

Miss Morton and the English House Party Murder by Catherine Lloyd- Book Review

I enjoyed this mystery set in Regency England featuring a huge cast of suspects, strange murders and the house party from Hell. Here’s my review of Miss Morton and the English House Party Murder by Catherine Lloyd.

Genre: Historical Crime

Source: Kensington books and Net Galley

Publication Date: 31st May 2022

The options for the penniless daughter of a deceased earl are few indeed in Regency England. So, Lady Caroline takes a post as a lady’s companion to the wealthy widow Frogerton.
Just as Caroline is getting accustomed to her new position, her aunt invites her and her employer to a house party in the countryside to celebrate her youngest daughter’s birthday.
But all is not well at the Greenwood estate after a series of troubling harassments of the staff, an elderly family member is found stabbed by a knitting needle.
As Caroline and Mrs. Frogerton attempt to solve the  crime, they discover the culprit  leaving bizarre clues as to who will be next in the nursery. But they must make haste, for this heartless killer is engaged in anything but child’s play…

Review

I enjoyed Miss Morton and the English House Party Murder by Catherine Taylor, a not quite so cosy murder mystery set in the traditional setting of Greenwood, an English manor house. But while the book may look like a traditional cosy mystery there are dark, modern themes running through the book that might surprise anyone looking for a typical cosy crime.

Continue reading “Miss Morton and the English House Party Murder by Catherine Lloyd- Book Review”

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)”

Dead in the Water by Mark Ellis – Book review/Blog Tour

I’m so pleased to be part of the Midas #blogtour for Dead in the Water by Mark Ellis historical crime set in 1942 London.

The Second World War rages on but Britain now faces the Nazi threat with America at its side. In a bombed-out London swarming with gangsters and spies, DCI Frank Merlin continues his battle against rampant wartime crime. A mangled body is found in the Thames just as some items of priceless art go mysteriously missing. What sinister connection links the two? Merlin and his team follow a twisting trail of secrets as they investigate a baffling and deadly puzzle.

Review

I love reading historical fiction but I don’t really read a lot of crime fiction set in World war 2 but after reading  Dead in the  Water by Mark Ellis, I think I will read more( luckily Dead in the Water is part of a series featuring  DCI Frank Merlin).

Continue reading “Dead in the Water by Mark Ellis – Book review/Blog Tour”

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”

Top Ten Tuesday-  Quotes from the Lymond Chronicles by Dorothy Dunnett

It’s another Tuesday and another Top Ten Tuesday. This time it’s memorable quotes around a particular theme, so how could I resist quotes from the Lymond Chronicles by Dorothy Dunnett.

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.

When I thought of this TTT I could only imagine Dorothy Dunnett  and her amazing ability as an author in the historical fiction series The Lymond Chronicles ( series review here) so here we go.

“I despised men who accepted their fate. I shaped mine twenty times and had it broken twenty times in my hands.”   

Game of Kings

“Habits are the ruin of ambition, of initiative, of imagination

Game of Kings

“The coast’s a jungle of Moors, Turks, Jews, renegades from all over Europe, sitting in palaces built from the sale of Christian slaves. There are twenty thousand men, women and children in the bagnios of Algiers alone. I am not going to make it twenty thousand and one because your mother didn’t allow you to keep rabbits, or whatever is at the root of your unshakable fixation.”

“I had weasels instead,” said Philippa shortly.

“Good God,” said Lymond, looking at her. “That explains a lot.”
Pawn in Frankincense

“I have learned,’ said Lymond, ‘that kindness without love is no kindness.”

Pawn in Frankincense

“I never expect anything,’ said Marthe. ‘It provides a level, low-pitched existence with no disappointments.

Pawn in Frankincense

“He has to perfection, M. le Comte, the art of living his private life with as much public attention as possible.”

Pawn in Frankincense

“I would give you my soul in a blackberry pie; and a knife to cut it with. Disorderly knights”

Pawn in Frankincense

“A Scott, having got his bride pregnant, was apt to file her as completed business for eight months at a time.”

Disorderly Knights

“Though whether the mass murder of strangers for one’s principles ranks higher in virtue than attacking one’s neighbours for the hell of it is a point I’m glad I don’t have to settle.

Disorderly Knights

“My son took many years to learn the simple truth. You cannot love any one person adequately until you have made friends with the rest of the human race also. Adult love demands qualities which cannot be learned living in a vacuum of resentment.” 

Checkmate

“Intolerance drunk is bad enough, but intolerance sober is quite insupportable.”

Checkmate

“It is not enough,’ Robert Reid said, ‘to offer justice. The laws of men, the laws of God himself are not enough unless you know the heart, the tongue, the brain, the gut of your people.” Checkmate

Checkmate

Thank you for visiting

Please leave a link to your TTT, so I can check our your favourite covers

Equinox by David Townsend- Blog Tour and Book Review

I’m so pleased to be part of the blog tour for the dark fantasy crossed mystery   Equinox by David Townsend.

Genre: Fantasy

Source: Publishers Head of Zeus for a free and unbiased opinion

Everyone is not as they seem in this fantasy novel, replete with war, witchcraft and secrets.

Christophor Morden lives by night. His day-brother, Alexsander, knows only the sun. They are two souls in a single body, in a world where identities change with the rising and setting of the sun. Night-brother or day-sister, one never sees the light, the other knows nothing of the night.Early one evening, Christophor is roused by a call to the city prison. A prisoner has torn his eyes out and cannot say why. Yet worse: in the sockets that once held his eyes, teeth are growing. The police suspect the supernatural, so Christophor, a member of the king’s special inspectorate, is charged with finding the witch responsible.Night-by-night, Christophor’s investigation leads him ever further from home, toward a backwards village on the far edge of the kingdom. But the closer he gets to the truth, the more his day-brother’s actions frustrate him. Who is Alexsander protecting? What does he not want Christophor to discover?

And all the while, an ancient and apocalyptic ritual creeps closer to completion

Review

I was so excited to be part of this blog tour for Equinox by David Towsey- especially when I saw the cover.

I was given a free copy of the book for a free and unbiased opinion.

Continue reading “Equinox by David Townsend- Blog Tour and Book Review”

The Poppy Wars by R F Kuang- Book review

Time to #beatthebacklog and this time it’s the epic fantasy The Poppy Wars by R F Kuang. Here is my review

When Rin aced the Empire-wide test to find the most talented youth to learn at the Academies—it was a shock to everyone: But surprises aren’t always good.
Because being a dark-skinned peasant girl from the south .Rin discovers she possesses a lethal, unearthly power—an aptitude for the nearly-mythical art of shamanism.
For while the Nikara Empire is at peace, the Federation of Mugen still lurks across a narrow sea. The Federation occupied Nikan for decades after the First Poppy War, and only barely lost the continent in the Second and a Third Poppy War is just a spark away. Rin’s shamanic powers may be the only way to save her people. But as she finds out more about the god that has chosen her, the vengeful Phoenix, she fears that winning the war may cost her humanity and that it may already be too late. 

Review

The Poppy Wars by R. F Kuang has been on my kindle for a while now and I have to admit the size of the book was a little daunting. But it was finally time to tackle this through the beat the backlog challenge.

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Tell Me An Ending by Jo Harkin- Blog tour/Book review.

I’m so pleased to be part of the Random Things  Tours blog tour for Tell Me An Ending by Jo Harkin- a thought provoking speculative fiction exploring memory.

Genre: Speculative fiction

Publication Date: 12th May 2022

Source : With Thanks to Hutchinson Heinemann and Random Things Tours

Across the world, thousands of people are shocked to receive an email telling them that they once chose to have a traumatic memory removed. Now they are being given the chance to get that memory back. For Mei, William, Oscar and Finn there is a piece missing, but they’re not sure what. And each of them must decide if the truth is worth the pain, or better left unknown. For Noor, who works at the memory clinic Nepenthe, the process of reinstating their patients’ memories begins to shake the moral foundations of her world. As she delves deeper into the programme, she will have to risk everything to uncover the true human cost of this miraculous technology.

Review

I was expecting, Tell Me a Story, to be a hardcore science-fiction novel about tech. But Jo Harkin has created a speculative fiction exploring on memory and its impact on our personality, lives, and relationships.

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

Continue reading “Tell Me An Ending by Jo Harkin- Blog tour/Book review.”

The Vanished Days by Susanna Kearsley- Book Blog/Book Review

I’m so pleased to be part of the Random Things Tours blog tour for The Vanished Days by Susanna Kearsley- historical fiction set during the Jacobite revolution with a love story at its heart.

Genre: Historical Fiction

Series:  Slains (but can be read as a standalone )

Publication Date: 28th April 2022

Autumn, 1707. Old enemies from the Highlands to the Borders are finding common ground as they join to protest the new Union with England, the French are preparing to launch an invasion to carry the young exiled Jacobite king back to Scotland to reclaim his throne, and in Edinburgh the streets are filled with discontent and danger. Queen Anne’s commissioners, seeking to calm the situation, have begun settling the losses and wages owed to those Scots who took part in the disastrous Darien expedition eight years earlier. When Lily, the young widow of a Darien sailor, comes forward to collect her husband’s wages, her claim is challenged, and one of the men who’s assigned to examine her has only days to decide if she’s honest, or if his own feelings are making him blind to the truth, and if he’s being used as a pawn in an even more treacherous game.

Review

I have to make a confession- this is the first Sussana Kearsley I have read and after reading The Vanished Days it won’t be the last. I couldn’t put this book down and found myself immersed in dangerous Scotland in the late 17th and early 18th centuries.

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Elizabeth OF York -Alison Weir- Blog tour/Book review

I’m so pleased to be part of the Random Things Tours for Elizabeth of York by Alison Weir , historical fiction set in the War of the Roses following the life of Elizabeth, The Last White Rose.

Genre: Historical Fiction

Series: Tudor Rose Trilogy

Source: Received with thanks from Headline publishers and Random Things Tours

An English Princess, born into a war between two families. Eldest daughter of the royal House of York, Elizabeth dreams of a crown to call her own. But when her beloved father, King Edward, dies suddenly, her destiny is rewritten. Her family’s enemies close in. Two young princes are murdered in the Tower. Then her uncle seizes power – and vows to make Elizabeth his queen. But another claimant seeks the throne, the upstart son of the rival royal House of Lancaster. Marriage to this Henry Tudor would unite the white rose of York and the red of Lancaster – and change everything. A great new age awaits. Now Elizabeth must choose her allies – and husband – wisely, and fight for her right to rule.

Review

I always enjoy readings books set during The War of the Roses, an English civil war between the House of York and The House of Lancaster and have read so many. So, I was pleased to be part of the tour for Elizabeth of York: The Last White Rose, one of the key but rarely heard who influenced the course of history.

Would that I had been born a boy,’ Elizabeth sighed. ‘Although, if I had, I would likely be dead!

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Seven Devils by Elizabeth May and Laura Lam- book review

Here is my review of Seven Devils by Elizabeth May and Laura May fast paced space-opera dominated by a motley crew of women trying to bring down an empire in a star wars kind of way.

Genre: Science Fiction/space opera

Series: Seven Devils book 1

Source: My own

Eris has been assigned a new mission: to infiltrate a spaceship ferrying deadly cargo and return the intelligence gathered to the Resistance. But her partner for the mission,  Cloelia, bears an old grudge against Eris, making an already difficult infiltration even more complicated.
When they find the ship, they discover more than they bargained for: three fugitives with firsthand knowledge of the corrupt empire’s inner workings.
Together, these women possess the knowledge and capabilities to bring the empire to its knees. But the clock is ticking: the new heir to the empire plans to disrupt a peace summit with the only remaining alien empire, ensuring the empire’s continued expansion. If they can find a way to stop him, they will save the galaxy. If they can’t, millions may die.

Review

Seven Devils by May and Lam has been on my TBR list for a while now- I loved the idea of a female-only crew taking down an evil empire in a star wars kind of way and the book was a fun, entertaining read.

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Amongst Our Weapons by Ben Aaronovitch- Book review

Here is my review of Amongst Our Weapons by Ben Aaronvitch ,the next instalment in the Rivers of London- interesting urban fantasy with humour,action, and magic.

Genre : Urban Fantasy

Series: Rivers Of London

Source; My own

The London Silver Vaults – for well over a century, the largest collection of silver for sale in the world. It has more locks than the Bank of England and more cameras than a celebrity punch-up.
Not somewhere you can murder someone and vanish without a trace – only that’s what happened.
The disappearing act, the reports of a blinding flash of light and memory loss amongst the witnesses all make this a case for Detective Constable Peter Grant and the Special Assessment Unit.
Alongside their boss DCI Thomas Nightingale, the SAU find themselves embroiled in a mystery that encompasses London’s tangled history, foreign lands and, most terrifying of all, the North!
And Peter must solve this case soon because back home his partner Beverley is expecting twins any day now. But what he doesn’t know is that he’s about to encounter something – and somebody – that nobody ever expects.

From Amazon

Review

Peter Grant and the Special Assessment Unit are back and Peter has a new trainee to train, a wife expecting twins while dealing with an avenging angel of sorts.

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Top Ten Tuesday- Bookish characters

It’s another Tuesday and another Top Ten Tuesday. This time it’s my favourite literary bookish characters and authors from the past who turn up in a completely different role in fiction today.

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 it’s my favourite bookish Characters, so I’ve chosen my favourites characters from books from the past who have turned up in recent books. So in no particular order. Click on title for review

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Under Fortunate Stars by Ren Hutchings- Book review

I loved this space opera with a touch of time travel with strong Firefly vibes. Here is my review of Under Fortunate Stars by Ren Hutchings.

Genre: science- fiction/space opera

Publication date: 12 May 2022

Source: Thank you Jess Gofton at Rebellion Publishing

Blurb

Fleeing the final days of the generations-long war with the alien Felen, smuggler Jereth Keeven’s freighter the Jonah breaks down in a strange rift in deep space, with little chance of rescue—until they encounter the research vessel Gallion, which claims to be from 152 years in the future.
The Gallion‘s chief engineer Uma Ozakka has always been fascinated with the past, especially the tale of the Fortunate Five, who ended the war with the Felen. When the Gallion rescues a run-down junk freighter, Ozakka is shocked to recognize the Five’s legendary ship—and the Five’s famed leader, Eldric Leesongronski, among the crew.
But nothing else about Leesongronski and his crewmates seems to match up with the historical record. With their ships running out of power in the rift, more than the lives of both crews may be at stake.

Review

I just had to read this book after I saw the cover- I haven’t seen many space-opera book covers in pastel and light colours and this cover is just pretty. Yes,I judged a book by its cover.

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The Knave of Secrets by Alex Livingston- Book review/Blog tour

I’m so pleased to be part of the blog tour for The Knave of secrets by Alex Livingston, fantasy with magic ,intrigue and card games.

Genre: Fantasy

Source: Received with thanks from Rebellion Publishing and The Write Reads tours

When failed magician turned cardsharp Valen Quinol is given the chance to play in the Forbearance Game—the invitation-only tournament where players gamble with secrets—he can’t resist. Or refuse, for that matter, according to the petty gangster sponsoring his seat at the table. Valen beats the man he was sent to play, and wins the most valuable secret ever staked in the history of the tournament.
Now Valen and his motley crew are being hunted by thieves, gangsters, spies and wizards, all with their own reasons for wanting what’s in that envelope. It’s a game of nations where Valen doesn’t know all the rules or who all the players are, and can’t see all the moves. But he does know if the secret falls into the wrong hands, it could plunge the whole world into war

Review

This was one of those books I couldn’t put down. The Knave of Secrets by Alex Livingston had it all- political intrigue, magic, twisty card games, action and a great cast of dodgy characters. If I could describe this book it would Hustle set in the world of Games of Thrones.

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The Carnival of Ash by Tom Beckerlegge- book tour and review

I’m so pleased to be part of the Write Reads tours for The Carnival of Ash by Tom Beckerlegge- a literary fantasy full of intrigue, drama, and evil poets.

Genre: Alternate History, Literary fantasy

Source: Rebellion Publishers for a free and unbiased review.

Cadenza is the City of Words, a city run by poets, its skyline dominated by the steepled towers of its libraries, its heart beating to the stamp and thrum of the printing presses in the Printing Quarter.
Carlo Mazzoni, a young wordsmith arrives at the city gates intent on making his name as the bells ring out with the news of the death of the city’s poet-leader. Instead, he finds himself embroiled with the intrigues of a city in turmoil, the looming prospect of war with their rival Venice ever-present. A war that threatens not only to destroy Cadenza but remove it from history altogether

Review

I have to confess I was expecting a proper fantasy but once I got my head round the fact this was more literary alternative historical fiction I found myself immersed in this weird world.

 Anyone who loves reading, books or poetry will love the world created by Tom Beckerlegge. Cadenza is a city where its leaders are chosen for their skills as a poet and duels are fought with poetry with a unique societal structure based on your literary skill. But if you thought a society based on words would be kinder and fairer, then you are mistaken.

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The Murder of Mr Wickham by Claudia Gray- Blog tour/book review

I’m pleased to be part of the blog tour for The Murder of Mr Wickham by Claudia Gray- a murder mystery featuring your favourite Austen characters.

Genre : Historical Crime Fiction

Source : Austen Prose PR and Vintage Anchor

The happily married Mr. Knightley and Emma are throwing a party at their country estate, bringing together distant relatives and new acquaintances—characters beloved by Jane Austen fans. Definitely not invited is Mr. Wickham, whose latest financial scheme has netted him an even broader array of enemies. As tempers flare and secrets are revealed, it’s clear that everyone would be happier if Mr. Wickham got his comeuppance. Yet they’re all shocked when Wickham turns up murdered—except, of course, for the killer hidden in their midst.
Nearly everyone at the house party is a suspect, so it falls to the party’s two youngest guests to solve the mystery: Juliet Tilney, the smart and resourceful daughter of Catherine and Henry, eager for adventure beyond Northanger Abbey; and Jonathan Darcy, the Darcys’ eldest son, whose adherence to propriety makes his father seem almost relaxed.

Review

If you have ever wondered what an Agatha Christie mystery in the Regency period would look like then this is the book for you. 

Continue reading “The Murder of Mr Wickham by Claudia Gray- Blog tour/book review”

Land of the dead by Steven Hopstaken and Melissa Prusi- Blog Tour and Book review

I’m so pleased to be part of the blog tour for the Land of the Dead by Steven Hopstaken and Melissa Prusi. I loved this fantasy where Oscar Wilde and Bram Stoker join forces.

Genre: Urban Historical Fantasy,

Series: Book 3 of the Stoker’s Wilde series

Source: Received with thanks from Flame tree press and Netgalley

Bram Stoker and Oscar Wilde have returned to their lives in London after their adventures in the American West. Bram is managing a theatre and Oscar is rising to fame and planning his upcoming wedding when they are once again called upon to battle supernatural evil.
 Victor Mueller needs Bram’s unusual blood for his mad quest to bring his dead wife back to life, and he’ll resort to kidnapping to get it. Meanwhile, a young medium named Lorna Bow runs fake séances in London under the thumb of an abusive uncle. When her mother Endora returns, Lorna learns the truth: they come from a long line of witches, and soon Endora has awakened Lorna’s dormant powers.
When the scientist and the witches combine forces, all Hell breaks loose. Long-dead souls find themselves back in the land of the living, and some of them have scores to settle with our heroes.
Bram and Oscar must team up with Cora Chase to protect all they hold dear. Only a mission into the Land of the Dead can stop Mueller and Endora from bringing back more souls.In an adventure that spans continents – and even other worlds – they confront old enemies and unknown dangers. Teaming up with old friends Teddy Roosevelt and Richard Burton and new allies like Arthur Conan Doyle and Nicola Tesla, they too must harness both science and magic to protect our world from intruders from the Land of the Dead. 

Review

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

How could I resist a book where Oscar Wilde and Bram Stoker join forces to defeat the forces of evil?

Continue reading “Land of the dead by Steven Hopstaken and Melissa Prusi- Blog Tour and Book review”

Top Ten Tuesday- Books with images of outer space on the cover

It’s another Tuesday and another Top Ten Tuesday. I never thought I had a type of cover that I liked but when I had a look at my kindle most of the covers had pictures of spaceships,   moons and swords. Here my top ten covers with covers featuring space stuff.

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 my top ten covers with covers featuring space stuff ( including space helmets) in no particular order.

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Belle Nash and the Bath Souffle by William Keeling- book review

Here is my review of historical fiction Belle Nash and the Bath Souffle by William Keeling- an intriguing and humorous slice of social fiction in 1830s Bath.

Genre: Historical Fiction

Series: The Gay street Chronicles

Source: Received with thanks from the publisher

When Gaia Champion’s souffle fails to rise in 1830s Bath, it sets off a chain of events that overthrows the settled order. Centred on the personality of local councillor and bachelor extraordinaire Bellerophon ‘Belle’ Nash, this first volume of The Gay Street Chronicles engages with social issues that were emerging in the early days of Queen Victoria’s reign and still require our close attention today. A recurring cast of whimsical characters brings a gentle humour to the writing and to the strong feminist activism of Bath’s first Lady Magistrate.

Book Review

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

This is a book about a souffle, that failed to rise. But this particular souffle that didn’t make it to the dinner Gaia Champion’s dinner party leads to ravelling of corruption from the lowest to the highest level of the judiciary, the fight for women’s rights and highlights the injustices faced by the Bachelors of Bath in the 1830s

This historical fiction is full of unforgettable and delightfully quirky characters from the confirmed bachelor Belle Nash to the Mrs Mulligatawny the cook, which makes this book stand out. Belle Nash and Gaia make a great pair of crusading heroes battling each injustice.

Despite the humour, this book tackles social issues that have relevance today including corruption, attitudes to women and people who don’t fit the heterosexual norm. I found myself worrying about the fate of some of the characters when they were arrested and thrown into jail for the most trivial of reasons without an expectation of a fair trial. 

I was expecting a cosy murder or mystery, but I enjoyed reading about a period of history not usually written about in historical fiction. I particularly enjoyed the sometimes laugh out of loud humour as well learning about society in 1830s Bath.

I look forward to reading more of Belle Nash and Gaia Champion’s crusades in the future.

Perfect for Fans of

I haven’t read anything like this but it would appeal to anyone who enjoys historical fiction that isn’t about Royalty or angsty romance.

Top Ten Tuesday- Bookish Merchandise I would like to own

It’s Tuesday, so it’s time for another Ten Top Tuesday and this week it’s Top Ten Book Merchandise I would like to own.

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.

An interesting one this week and I have to say it was nice to think about non-book objects. Here are the top ten book mech I would like to own. The photos have been taken from the sellers webpage on Etsy UK. Click on the item for sellers webpage.

That book dress!

I have seen this on twitter and I have to have one

from Etsy

Wuthering heights scented candles

Would this candle smell like the Yorkshire moors or angry passion ?

from etsy

Book Duvet

I love this duvet cover

from Etsy

Gorgeous book mark

You can never have enough bookmarks

Book lovers water bottle
 
No matter how many water bottle I buy, I never can find one when I need one!
From Etsy

Kindle case covers

I love this kindle cover and I hope someone will get this for me on my birthday!

from etsy

Thank you for visiting my page

Leave a link to your TTT , so I can see your wishlist.

March Wrap up

It’s been a difficult month, so my book choices have erred on the light and easy.It’s great to be able to escape in a book and forget about work.

Click on title for details.

Challenges

Beat the Backlog

click here to see how I did on my beat the backlog challenge- spoiler alert- I have not much of a dent in my huge backlog!

Historical Fiction Challenge

I’m keeping on top of challenge and have to say I am enjoying this.

The York King by Amy License

Edward the Fourth’s story continues in this book that could almost be fantasy except it’s all true.

The Book of Perilous Dishes by Donni Rusti

A magical recipe book and a girl quests to retrieve it- I loved the heart warming end and world I haven’t come across before

The Spring of the Ram by Dorothy Dunnett

Nicholaes story continues when he tries to save 13 year stepdaughet

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The Splendid City by Karen Hueller -Book review

Here is my review of this urban fantasy which has a huge dose of satire and a talking cat. Thank you #NetGalley and angry robot for my copy of The Splendid  City by Karen Hueller.

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Source: NetGalley and Angry Robot

In the state of Liberty, water is rationed at alarming prices, free speech is hardly without a cost, and Texas has just declared itself its own country. In this society, paranoia is well-suited because eyes and ears are all around, and they are judging. Always judging. This terrifying (and yet somehow vaguely familiar) terrain is explored via Eleanor – a young woman eagerly learning about the gifts of her magic through the support of her coven.
But being a white witch is not as easy as they portray it in the books, and she’s already been placed under ‘house arrest’ with a letch named Stan, a co-worker who wronged her in the past and now exists in the form of a cat. A talking cat who loves craft beers, picket lines, and duping and ‘shooting’ people.
Eleanor has no time for Stan and his shenanigans, because she finds herself helping another coven locate a missing witch which she thinks is mysteriously linked to the shortage of water in Liberty.

Review

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

This book was not what I expected but in a fun and interesting way.

I thought this would be straightforward urban fantasy featuring an underlying mystery that would be solved by the end of the book by the protagonist. But this book was so much more. My own perhaps inaccurate description would be a blend of urban fantasy, satire with feminist slant but with a dose of surreal humour.

Continue reading “The Splendid City by Karen Hueller -Book review”