February Wrap up

I had a busy February but had some time off work ,so I managed to read quite a few books, built a Lego Land Rover,badly crocheted a toy and finally managed a parkrun without stopping!

Here is my month in books

Challenge Updates.

Beat the Backlog Feb Update

I read three books from my backlog but then couldn’t walk past a sale sign in a bookshop and ended up with three more!


Nophek Gloss by Essa Hansen (review here)

This was a fast paced, adult science-fiction, space opera with many dark themes with an underlying revenge story. A page turner.

The Unspoken Name A. K Larkwood (review here)

This fantasy had advanced tech, diverse worlds, ancient Gods, an intriguing heroine and the best enemy to not quite friend trope

Historical Fiction Reading Challenge

I have read three historical fiction books, so I’m still on track to completing the challenge

.Jane and the Year without summer by Stephanie Baron ( review)

I can’t believe I haven’t come across The Being Jane Austen Mystery series by Stephanie Barron before I took part in the Jane and the Year without Summer blog tour, where Jane Austen solves a murder at the Spas.


The Son of York by Amy License (review here)

I loved reading about the War of the Roses from the perspective of Edward the Fourth and couldn’t put this down even though I knew exactly what was going to happen- it was historical fiction after all.

Red Monarch by Bella Ellis (review here)

The Bronte sisters make a formidable team as they try to find a friend’s husband and end up taking down a Kingpin of the underworld

ARC reviews

I was lucky to be part of a a few amazing blog tours and accepted for ARCS on NetGalley

The Christie Affair by Nia De Gramont(review)

I was so pleased to be part of the blog tour for this ambitious fictional account of Agatha Christie’s disappearance with added murder mystery and social commentary.

The Thirteenth Hour by Trudie Skies (review)

This action-packed fantasy was a whole lot of fun to read- a complex and intricate fantasy especially as unlike a lot of other fantasies ( I’m looking you grimdark) the darkness stays firmly off-page.

The Beyond by Ken Brosky(review)

I don’t read a lot of horror, but I was intrigued by the blurb and I wasn’t disappointed-this book is more than your just bog-standard horror with thrills and scares (but don’t worry there are plenty of thrills and scares in The Beyond). There is a science-fiction edge to this book that I loved

The Clockwork Magpies by Emma Whitehall (review)

I loved this heart-warming fantasy debut with lots of feisty women, a strong theme of friendship and a clever heist.

36th Street by T Napper (review)

I found this sci-fi thriller set in Vietnam thought-provoking with its themes of identity, memory and the how changing the narratives of the past can change the present.


James the Third by Maggie Ballinger( review)

Have you ever wondered whether Britain would be any different if we had a King on the throne instead of Queen Elizabeth? This book explores and alternate Britain where King Edward and his wife have a surprise baby boy, James, in their late forties changing the line of succession.

Age of Ash by Daniel Abraham( review)

I was really excited to read this book partly because the author is one half of James S. A Corey who created the complex world of The Expanse and I wasn’t disappointed. This epic fantasy explores the impact of grief.

The Leviathan by Rosie Andrews ( review here)

Beautifully written literary historical fiction set in the time of witchfinders.


Here are some books I’ve read but have not reviewed on my blog

A Line To Kill by Anthony Horowitz

I enjoy reading books where authors or literary characters turn detective but A Line To Kill author writes himself into the story as the ex- Detective Hawthorne’s side kick takes this to the next level, This book features the author interacting with his agent and publishers (and they talk about book bloggers) but then flying to a book festival in Alderney where they have to solve a murder of a typically hideous murder victim.

The Pineys: Book 1, My Cousin, the Piney byTony DiGerolamo

This was a fast-paced, action packed horror with interesting characters and plenty of humour

Windsor Knot by S.J Bennet

This was a book club choice. Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth the second turns detective to solve a murder in this slightly, unrealistic, love letter to the Queen.

Series review

I read this completed trilogy years ago and it still remains one of my favourite particularly because of Mahala- a city built vertically.

The Rojan Dizon Trilogy By Francis Knight ( review here)

Books I didn’t finish( but have put aside for another time)

Unfortunately, there are two books I have had to put aside as I couldn’t get into them

Selin Ascends by Josiah Bancroft

I was looking forward to this one but I just couldn’t get into this, the writing and world building was really intricate but there was a certain lack of strong women that has put me off for the book.

Trance by Adam Southward

This was one from my backlog list but I didn’t like the main character, he felt a little smug and entitled but this could me just me.

How was your reading this February?

Beat the Backlog February update

I joined the beat the backlog challenge created by @owlbesatreading to drive down the books sitting on my kindle unread and neglected for years. But instead of posting individual reviews, here my end of month summary

Nophek Gloss by Essa Hassan

How Long has this been on my Kindle?


Why did I get this book?

I bought this book when it was on a Kindle deal as the blurb looked interesting and I was in a space-opera phase and started it as soon as it downloaded but was put off when the main character was a child ( a completely wrong assumption!)


Full review here

But here is a one-line summary

This is an adult science-fiction, space-opera with many dark themes and lots of action.

Do I kick myself for not reading this sooner?

Yes, this was definitely a book I should have read a lot earlier instead of letting it sit on my kindle unread.

The Unspoken Name by A K Larkwood

How Long has this been on my Kindle?


Why did I get this book?

I bought this book when it was on a Kindle deal , the cover just looked amazing


Full review here

But here is a one-line summary

This fantasy has advanced tech, diverse worlds, ancient Gods, an intriguing heroine and the best enemy to not quite friend trope

Do I kick myself for not reading this sooner?

I really enjoyed this book and yes I should have read this earlier instead of letting it linger on my kindle

Trance by Adam Southward

How Long has this been on my Kindle?

A long time!

Why did I get this book?

It was on a an Amazon Prime deal and I liked the blub , it sounded like a crime thriller with a light sci-fi touch.


I didn’t finish the book and have parked this for another time- I just couldn’t like the main character and unfortunately he reminded me of people I have to sometimes deal with at work.

But here is a one-line summary

A Forensic psychologist has been asked to talk to a serial killer who appears to have the ability to control people

Do I kick myself for not reading this sooner?

No, I might come back to this book in the future as I would like to know how the story ends.

James the Third by Maggie Ballinger- Blog Tour and Book review

Have you ever wondered whether Britain would be any different if we had a King on the throne instead of Queen Elizabeth? Read my review of James the Third, historical fiction by Maggie Ballinger

Genre:: Historical fiction/Alternate History

Source : Random Things Tour

In 1936, the Duke of York unexpectedly became King George VI, and his ten-year-old daughter, Princess
Elizabeth, became heir presumptive. However, she was never heir apparent, because a male sibling would
automatically assume her place in the line of succession. So what would have happened upon the late arrival of a baby brother for the grown-up Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret?
James the Third tells that boy’s story. How does his reign unfold? He is clever, resourceful and unconventional− but can he alter the course of history, given the limited role of a constitutional monarch? Does he find true
love, or must he accept second best? And, with the births of his heirs, what does the House of Windsor look like now?


Have you ever wondered whether Britain would be any different if we had a King on the throne instead of Queen Elizabeth?
This book explores an alternate Britain where King George and his wife have a surprise baby boy, James, in their late forties changing the line of succession and the impact the has on the Royal family.

Continue reading “James the Third by Maggie Ballinger- Blog Tour and Book review”

Dead of False Creek by Sarah M. Stephen – Book Review

I loved Dead of False Creek, by Sarah M. Stephen, a historical murder mystery with a twist. Can Riley in 2017 and Jack in 1897 work together to solve a murder?

I received this eARC from NetGalley and the author for an honest review.

Genre: Historical Crime Fiction, Time-Slip/travel

Series: Journey Through Time Series

Publication date: 1st October 21

In 1897, Jack Winston, a new Detective, in Vancouver is stuck solving the disappearance of a young man from a prominent family. He keeps a journal with his thoughts about his work. In 2017, Riley, an archivist, is fascinated with his journal when she discovers it in a box of files. They soon realise the pair can communicate via the journal through time. Can Riley help Jack solve this crime?


This book combines my two favourite genres, historical fiction and time travel/slip, and I wasn’t disappointed. I couldn’t put the book down and finished this off in one sitting.

Continue reading “Dead of False Creek by Sarah M. Stephen – Book Review”

Top Ten Tuesday- Dynamic duos

This week’s TTT theme is the intriguing Dynamic Duos and I had  fun with this one.

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.

My top ten Dynamic duos ( or trios) in no particular order.

Horowitz and Hawthorn (The first book in the series The Word is Murder) by Anthony Horowitz

Anthony Horowitz is the author of the famous Alex Rider series but also solves crime with a mysterious and deeply annoying ex-policeman, Hawthorne. Horowitz’s books in this series are funny ( Horowitz isn’t afraid to portray himself as the inexperienced amateur sleuth, with a cast of nice suspects, an in intriguing murder but the main attraction for me is the tetchy relationship between Hawthorne and Horowitz.

Aziraphale and Crowley ( Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman)

Aziraphale and Crowley have been enemies for millennia working for God and the Devil respectively, so of course, they become friends of a sort, enjoying a comfortable existence on earth. But then a child is born who will bring about the end of days who is placed under the careful guidance of Aziraphale and Crowley and they have managed to lose him.

Aziraphale and Crowley are like an old, married couple but amazingly incompetent despite their God-given gifts.

Arthur Dent and Ford Prefect ( Hitchhikers guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams)

Dent is the hapless human who somehow manages to hitch on a spaceship and escape the destruction of earth. He is joined by Ford, an alien journalist and they bumble their way through four books to solve the mystery of life.

The Bronte Sisters ( Red Monarch by Bella Ellis) My review here

A dynamic trio of Anne, Charlotte and Emily race to London to help their friend find her husband and end up embroiled in London’s seedy underworld. The sisters’ personalities compliment each other and they form an effective crime-fighting team.

Robin Blyth and Edwin Courcey ( A Marvellous Light by Freya Maske) My review here

Blyth is this civil servant reluctantly dragged into the world of magic and Courcey is his equally liaison to this world. They have to overcome their differences to solve the mystery of what happened to Robin’s predecessors and boy do they overcome their differences 

Michael Childs and Anaba ( Forging a Nightmare by Patricia Jackson) My review here

 Childs is an FBI agent who finds out he is a Nephilim and Anaba is the dead marine whose soul has been forged through hell to create a Nightmare, a powerful being dedicated to protecting Childs. Together they will save the world ( and argue while doing so,)

Hercule Poirot and Hastings by Agatha Christie

I don’t think I need to say more but what would Poirot have been without Hastings there to be his sounding board and to make him more likeable. The Poirot books without Hastings just wasn’t quite the same to me.

Csorwe and Tal (The Unspoken Name by A K Larkwood) My review here

Csorwe and Tal hate and dislike each other right from the start but they have to work together to help the man they are loyal to. But they get the job done.

Jack Winston and Riley ( The Dead of False Creek by Sarah M Stephen) review

I enjoyed this strange pairing between A Detective in the past and an archivist in present times who solve a murder by communicating through a special journal despite being in different times.

Rune Saint John and Brand ( The Last Sun) by K D Edwards my review here

The friendship and affection between the last scion of a powerful family and his bodyguard formed the heart of this urban fantasy set in a city called New Atlantis 

Alex Delaware and Milo Sturgis ( The Alex Delaware series of books by Jonathan Kellerman)

I’ve been reading this series for at least 20 years if not more and I still love the dynamic between Psychologist Delaware and detective Sturgis and their ability to solve the most complicated crime.

Thank you for stopping by

Please leave a link to your TTT so I visit your site.

Age of Ash by Daniel Abraham-Book Review

Here is my review of Age of Ash -an epic fast-paced fantasy by Daniel Abraham – a book I couldn’t put down.

Source :NetGalley

Series : The Kithamar Trilogy

Publication date 17th of February

Kithamar is a center of trade and wealth, an ancient city with a long, bloody history where countless thousands live and their stories unfold.

This is Alys’s.

When her brother is murdered, a petty thief from the slums of Longhill sets out to discover who killed him and why.  But the more she discovers about him, the more she learns about herself, and the truths she finds are more dangerous than knives. 

Swept up in an intrigue as deep as the roots of Kithamar, where the secrets of the lowest born can sometimes topple thrones, the story Alys chooses will have the power to change everything.


I received a free copy for a free, unbiased, and honest opinion

I was really excited to read this book partly because the author is one half of James S. A Corey who created the complex world of The Expanse and I wasn’t disappointed.

The author’s writing is lyrical and lush and bring to life the seediness, the culture the bustle of the slum like Longhill. The story is a little slow to start off with, but I liked that as it gave me time to enjoy the world of Kithamar which plays an important role literally in the overall story.

The story is told from several points of view, the main ones being Alys a common thief and Sammish her friend who is secretly in love with her. The fact that they are girls is no way an impediment to the paths they choose once Alys brother is killed unexpectedly- a fact I found refreshing compared to a lot of other fantasies set in similar worlds. Alys becomes a violent enforcer for Andomaka, a mysterious royal and Sammish finds herself helping a mother looking for a lost son. The two plots collide in spectacular way at the end of the book.

This book focusses on how grief can affect a person. All Alys actions are driven by her overwhelming grief for her brother and her difficulty in coping with this.

There are no cliffhangers at the end of the book but the story for the next book is neatly set up.

Content warning

Murder of a child, missing child, grief for a sibling and son

Perfect for fans of

The City We Became


I enjoyed the book despite the slow start and can’t wait for the next book in the series.

Rojan Dizon Trilogy by Francis Knight – Series review

This fantasy trilogy has one of the most original settings I have read. Here is my review of The Rojan Dizon trilogy by Francis Knight.

Genre: Fantasy

Series: Completed

Books in series

Book 1 : Fade to Black

Book 2:  Before the Fall

Book 3 : Last to Rise

Mahala is a vertical city with a complex past with a unique source of power Previously mages ran the city but were overthrown and now pain-magic is banned.  Rojan Dixon has to hide his magic but when he asked by his brother to find a missing child , he may have to come out into the open and in the process expose the truth about Mahala

Another fantasy series I read years ago and absolutely loved.

The world- building in these books was one of the most original at the time I read this, Mahala is city built vertically with poorer people on the lower levels and the powerful on the top levels closer to the sun and light. The reason for its strange construction and the unique source of fuel that powers the city is revealed in the later books of the trilogy. But this strange construction affects the societal hierarchy and the injustice and discrimination some people have to face.

Dixon, the antihero of this trilogy, is an initially unlikeable hero but over the course of the three books his character development and arc is believable particularly with a heart-breaking finish to the trilogy.

The magical system isn’t particularly unique but the way this is demonised and exploited in the books was interesting and different.

I had initially read the second book, Before the Fall, first but this made no difference to my enjoyment of the book or trilogy. Each book has its unique own plot and storyline but interlink perfectly with each other to complete the overall story arc.

There is plenty of action, magic, and romance to satisfy most fantasy fans.

Perfect for fans of

Fans of urban fantasy featuring anti- heroes and strangely built cities.

The Christie Affair by Nina de Gramont- Blog tour

I’m so excited to be part of the blog tour for The Christie Affair by Nina de Gramont- an ambitious fictional account of Agatha Christie’s disappearance with added murder mystery and social commentary. Read my review here

Source: Publisher and Amber Choudhary at MIdspar

Genre: Historical fiction

The greatest mystery wasn’t Agatha Christie’s disappearance in those eleven infamous days, it’s what she discovered.

London, 1925: In a world of townhomes and tennis matches, socialites and shooting parties, Miss Nan O’Dea became Archie Christie’s mistress, luring him away from his devoted and well-known wife, Agatha Christie.

The question is, why? Why destroy another woman’s marriage, why hatch a plot years in the making, and why murder? How was Nan O’Dea so intricately tied to those eleven mysterious days that Agatha Christie went missing? 


I was so excited to receive a review copy of The Christie Affair and the book exceeded all my expectations. This isn’t just a fictional account of what could have happened when Agatha Christie disappeared for 11 days but so much more. This is book that highlights the devasting impact when a marriage breaks down due to adultery and the horrific abuses unmarried mothers faced in the not-so-distant past. But despite these dark themes, the book was an enjoyable read and the writing beautiful.

Continue reading “The Christie Affair by Nina de Gramont- Blog tour”

A Fatal Crossing by Tom Hindle – Book review

Read my review of my  #ballstothebacklog buy, a murder mystery on a ship bound to an art fair in 1924.

Genre: historical crime

Source: My own, bought on impulse as I loved the cover blurb

November 1924. The Endeavour sets sail from Southampton carrying 2,000 passengers and crew on a week-long voyage to New York.
When an elderly gentleman is found dead at the foot of a staircase, James Temple, a strong-minded Scotland Yard inspector, is certain there is more to this misfortune than meets the eye.
Birch, the ship’s officer, agrees to investigate, and the trail quickly leads to the theft of a priceless painting. Its very existence is known only to its owner . . . and the dead man.
With just days remaining until they reach New York, and even Temple’s purpose on board the Endeavour proving increasingly suspicious, Birch’s search for the culprit is fraught with danger.
And all the while, the passengers continue to roam the ship with a killer in their midst .


I enjoy a good murder mystery- the kind of murder mystery where you have a room (or ship ) full of suspects with murky motives, a grumpy detective and a reluctant sidekick and this book has it all.

Continue reading “A Fatal Crossing by Tom Hindle – Book review”

The Unspoken Name by A .K Larkwood – book review

This epic sci-fi fantasy was on my beat the backlog challenge and I have to say I loved the first book of The Serpent Gates, The Unspoken Name by A. K Larkwood.

Genre: Fantasy, sci-fi fantasy

Series: Book 1 of The Serpent Gates

Source: My own – from my backlog!

Csorwe does. She will climb the mountain, enter the Shrine of the Unspoken, and gain the most honored title: sacrifice. On the day of her foretold death, however, a powerful mage offers her a new fate.

Csorwe leaves her home, her destiny, and her god to become the wizard’s loyal sword-hand — stealing, spying, and killing to help him reclaim his seat of power in the homeland from which he was exiled.

But Csorwe and the wizard will soon learn – gods remember, and if you live long enough, all debts come due.


I bought this book on impulse on a Kindle daily deal-the cover with its decorated tusk was alluring and then neglected to read it for some reason.

The plot is as expected for fantasy- a race to find an ancient artefact but there are so many parts of the book that makes it different from the other books.

Continue reading “The Unspoken Name by A .K Larkwood – book review”