Jane and The Year Without a Summer by Stephanie Barron- Book review and Blog Tour

I’m so pleased to be part of the blog tour for the Austensque, historical fiction Jane and The Year Without a Summer by Stephanie Barron.

  • Series: Being a Jane Austen Mystery (Book 14)
  • Genre:Historical Mystery, Austenesque

May 1816: Jane Austen is feeling unwell, with an uneasy stomach, constant fatigue, rashes, fevers and aches. She attributes her poor condition to the stress of family burdens, which even the drafting of her latest manuscript—about a baronet’s daughter nursing a broken heart for a daring naval captain—cannot alleviate. Her apothecary recommends a trial of the curative waters at Cheltenham Spa, in Gloucestershire. Jane decides to use some of the profits earned from her last novel, Emma, and treat herself to a period of rest and reflection at the spa, in the company of her sister, Cassandra.
Cheltenham Spa hardly turns out to be the relaxing sojourn Jane and Cassandra envisaged, however. It is immediately obvious that other boarders at the guest house where the Misses Austen are staying have come to Cheltenham with stresses of their own—some of them deadly. But perhaps with Jane’s interference a terrible crime might be prevented. Set during the Year without a Summer, when the eruption of Mount Tambora in the South Pacific caused a volcanic winter that shrouded the entire planet for sixteen months, this fourteenth installment in Stephanie Barron’s critically acclaimed series brings a forgotten moment of Regency history to life.




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, the fourteenth book in the series.

The book is told in the first person from Jane’s Austen point of view and I felt like I was seeing the world with her eyes. Jane’s voice is strong, confident, with a sense of humour and her attitude is in keeping with the times.

Continue reading “Jane and The Year Without a Summer by Stephanie Barron- Book review and Blog Tour”

Red Monarch by Bella Ellis- Book Review

I couldn’t resist this cover but the story was even better. Here is my review of Red Monarch by Bella Ellis featuring the Bronte sisters as Detectors.

Genre: Historical Fiction

Source: My own

When Anne Bronte receives a letter from her friend Lydia pleading for help to find her husband, the Brontes rush to London to help given their success as amateur detectors. But they soon find themselves out of depth and in danger in London’s underworld and dealing with the notorious crime king Red Monarch


The book is set just after the Brontes have published their collection of poetry and Charlotte anxiously awaits the critic’s review. So, a little mystery to distract them seems like a good idea but London isn’t Yorkshire. 

Emily Bronte is my favourite classic author but there is very little out there about what she was like as a person compared to her sisters. So, I was fascinated by this book take on her personality and the fictional aspect of her being a detector along with Charlotte and Anne.

Continue reading “Red Monarch by Bella Ellis- Book Review”

Son of York by Amy License- Book Review

I enjoyed reading Son of York by Amy License, historical fiction about the War or the Roses told from mainly from Edward’s perspective. Here is my review.

Genre: Historical Fiction

Series: House of York ( Book 1)

Source: Kindle Unlimited

 I was invited to read the second book of this series as part of a blog tour and couldn’t say no- I love reading books set in this period. I was particularly intrigued as the story was told from Edward’s perspective. Most of the books I have read so far have been from the women (eg Philipa Gregory’s White Princess).

The author does a good job of weaving the complex history and family trees that led to the Duke of York laying claim to the throne leading to the War of the Roses.

This is historical fiction, so there really are no spoilers or twists but I found unable to put the book down even though I knew what was going to happen.

 The book is well written and fast-paced even during the parts when politics and strategy were involved. The battles scenes were beautifully written and again I found myself unable to put the book down during these scenes to find out what happens (even though I knew perfectly well).

The book is mainly told from Edward’s perspective with additional scenes from his Father, The Duke of York, and his brother Edmund. Edward is a sympathetic character and his dilemma when making difficult decisions at a young age is well described. Edward’s reputation as a woman’s man is known but in this book, his romance with a local woman is sweet and heart-breaking.

Perfect for fans

Of Historical fiction like Phillipa Gregory who would like a different perspective on the War of Roses.


I look forward to reading Edward’s story after his coronation in the next book The York King.

36 Streets by T.R Napper- Book 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. Read my review of 36 Streets by T.R Napper,

Genre: Science Fiction/Cyperpunk

Source: Netgalley

Publication date 8 February 2022

Lin is a gangster living on the 36 Streets, the only part of Hanoi now controlled by China in the future.  She was born in Vietnam and now lives there but spent her childhood and teenage life in Australia. But she feels like an outsider, neither Australian nor Vietnamese.

One day her boss, Bao Nguyen, asks her to take the case of a missing person- the co-creator of the immersive and addiction game Fat Victory. As result, her life and the people she loves are changed forever when she is drawn into a complex conspiracy involving the powerful who will do anything to achieve their goals.


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

The cover hooked me in as did the promise of cyberpunk themes with thought-provoking questions set in a different setting. I haven’t read anything before set in Vietnam and this book didn’t disappoint. The author’s description of Vietnam in the future and the past are lush and vivid, especially the food Lin has delivered to her flat.

The tech in the book is explained well but not in too much detail to distract from the story. I appreciated how the author highlighted who spoke in English and who spoke in Vietnamese and what was translated.

Continue reading “36 Streets by T.R Napper- Book Review”

Clockwork Magpies by Emma Whitehall- Book review

I loved this heart-warming fantasy debut with lots of feisty women, a strong theme of friendship and a clever heist. Read my review of Clockwork Magpies by Emma Whitehall.

Genre: Fantasy

Publication date: February 2022

Source: Copy received from Northodox press for an honest review

Ida has a secret life. By day she is the efficient maidservant to rich and slightly naïve socialite Lucinda and by night she is a notorious thief ‘The Rat-Prince’. She can keep her secret life hidden by being a loner, something she is happy to keep doing to keep stealing. But suddenly she finds herself being befriended by two people and realises she was right-friends can bring all sorts of complications. But they can also help her with her most dangerous heist so far.


Ida is a great heroine-feisty, clever, funny and compassionate- I loved her character development from an isolated teenager to a girl with friends behind her all the way.

The world-building is descriptive and Loxaport, North England a character in its own right with hidden pathways, grand houses and well-placed technology.

I loved Lucinda, the slightly dim but lovely rich widow who Ida feels compelled to protect, Edith, determined to be friends with Ida and Clem, a jeweller trying to be successful. These are the people who weasel their way into Ida’s life and heart against her will.

Ida’s is tasked to steal a strange and powerful stone for Lord Devon, who is courting Lucinda, without realising the consequences of doing so and the resulting heist to steal the stone back forms the basis of this fast-paced story.

All the plot threads are resolved by the end of the book, but there is enough left that could potentially set up another book in this world ( A book I would happily read).

I received a copy for a free honest and unbiased opinion

Perfect for fans who

Like fantasy without dark themes and lots of humour.

I look forward to reading more from this author.

The Leviathan by Rosie Andrews-Book review

Here is my review of The Leviathan by Rosie Andrews  a historical fiction in the time of witchfinders on the background of political turmoil in 1643.

Thomas Threadwater returns home in 1643 after fighting in the English Civil war to find his father is dying and his sister embroiled in witch trial after she accuses their servant of being a witch. Thomas is a rational man, expecting to find a logical explanation but something ancient is awakening and he must stop it.

The writing in this book is beautiful and wonderfully atmospheric with lots of rich detail. The story is split over two timelines- one in 1643 and one in early next century when Thomas is an old man.  The two timelines converge neatly together at the end. There are a few surprises as the story progresses but no real shocks. Thomas is the main point of character and drives the plot.

The fantasy elements are barely present, and the focus is on the relationships between Thomas,the people he cares about and his need to do right by them no matter the cost to himself.

This is a book that many will love and enjoy especially fans of The Binding.

I received a copy for an honest and unbiased opinion


4 stars.I didn’t love this book as much as I thought I would, but think so many other readers will and recommend this for anyone who loves a beautifully written character driven story.

Nophek Gloss by Essa Hansen- Book Review

That’s another one ticked off my #beat the backlog challenge created by @owlbesatreading. I enjoyed this space-opera by Essa Hansen.

Genre:Science fiction,space opera

Source: my own

Caiden’s planet is destroyed. His family gone. And, his only hope for survival is a crew of misfit aliens and a mysterious ship that seems to have a soul and a universe of its own. Together they will show him that the universe is much bigger, much more advanced, and much more mysterious than Caiden had ever imagined. But the universe hides dangers as well, and soon Caiden has his own plans. He vows to do anything it takes to get revenge on the slavers who murdered his people and took away his home. To destroy their regime, he must infiltrate and dismantle them from the inside, or die trying.


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. I stopped reading after the first chapter as Caiden, the main point of view character telling was fourteen years old and I didn’t fancy reading a middle-grade book.

So, do I feel a bit stupid when I read this as a part of the beat the backlog challenge . This is an adult science-fiction with many dark themes. Caiden in fact undergoes a procedure of accelerated growth to become a grown-up and thoughtful hero of twenty.

Continue reading “Nophek Gloss by Essa Hansen- Book Review”

The Beyond by Ken Brosky- Book Review

Read my review of The Beyond by Ken Brosky, horror ( with a touch of something more) story set in a small mining town with horrible secrets.

#TheBeyond #bookreview #horror #booktwitter @press_ghost @Grendelguy

Genre: horror

Source: I received an eARC from the author for a free,unbiased review.

Moon Song’s brother has gone missing in the town of Blackrock, Pennsylvania. Worried that her brother has slipped back into addiction and desperate for answers, Moon hires private investigator Ben Sawyer to help her uncover the truth. Together they discover what the people of Blackrock refuse to acknowledge: something terrible has happened inside the coal mine that defies all logical explanation, and it threatens the lives of every single person in town. Bodies are piling up at the funeral home, and many others have seemingly vanished. Moon’s only hope of finding answers rests in the hands of a local professor who knows the mine’s horrible secrets. But the professor has problems of his own, and unless he can confront the creature that’s hunting him, Moon’s chances of making it out of town alive are darker than a seam of coal.


An electronic copy of this book was given to me by the author for a free and unbiased 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 but to add any details would broach this review into spoiler territory, but it does elevate this book to a different level.

Continue reading “The Beyond by Ken Brosky- Book Review”

The Thirteenth Hour by Trudie Skies – Blog Tour and review

I’m so pleased to be part of the The Writereads Tour of this action-packed fantasy. Here is my review of The Thirteenth Hour by Trudie Skies.

Genre: Fantasy

Series: Book 1 of The Cruel Gods

Source: Copy received as part of the blog tour, but this is also available on Kindle unlimited.

 Cruel gods rule the steam-powered city of Chime, demanding worship, and tribute from their mortal subjects. Kayl lost her faith in them long ago, and now seeks to protect vulnerable and downtrodden mortals from their gods’ whims. But when Kayl discovers powers that she didn’t know she had—and destroys a mortal’s soul by accident—she becomes Chime’s most wanted.

Quen’s job was to pursue sinners, until the visions started. Haunted by foreboding images of his beloved city’s destruction, Quen hunts soul-sucking creatures made of aether who prey on its citizens—and Kayl is his number one target.

To ensure Chime’s future, Kayl and Quen must discover the truth of Kayl’s divine abilities before the gods take matters into their own hands.

For a city that bows to cruel gods, it’ll take godless heathens to save it.


 Can I just say that this book was a whole lot of fun to read?

 I enjoyed the complicated world-building and magical system. Chime holds the gate and portals to the various domains of twelve Gods. Each God can create their own mortals with unique special abilities but also literally control their lives. But Kayl, a young Vesper is one of the Godless who bows to no God on a mission to change the world. In this book, you have mortals who can control time, sunlight, which are made of trees and flowers among so many weird and wonderful people.

The story is told in the third person from the point of view of Kayl a Vesper who may be so much more than she thought she was and Quen, a conflicted diviner warden. Of course, as the story progresses, we learn Kayl and Quen are not as straightforward as you think and I had to keep reading to learn Kayl’s true nature. Kayl and Quen are sympathetic characters (especially Quen and his love of biscuits when stressed, something we can all relate too). I must admit to feeling for poor Quen towards the end of the book when we find out about his tortured past.

The book races along with an action-packed plot and I look forward to savouring all the intricate details on my next reread ( yes this book has made my reread pile). The underlying mystery of Kayl’s true nature and the underlying conspiracies is intriguing and kept me really hooked on the story. There are a few twists that really did throw me.

Content warning

The author has a detailed list of content warnings.

Rape, sexual abuse, torture (alluded to but happens off-page), attempted sexual assault, physical abuse.

Perfect for fans

Who enjoy complex fantasy without an explicit description of dark themes.


I loved this complex and intricate fantasy especially as unlike a lot of other fantasies the darkness stays firmly off-page. I can’t wait to read what happens next in the second book in the series.

About the Author

Trudie Skies has been living inside fantasy worlds ever since she discovered that reality doesn’t quite live up to the hype. Through the magic of books, she wishes to share these worlds of hope and heroes with other weary souls. Living in North East England, Trudie spends most of her free time daydreaming about clouds, devouring whatever fantasy books or video games she can get her hands on, and chasing after her troublesome dogs, who would like to reassure you they are very good boys.

Her debut YA fantasy series, Sand Dancer, was published through Uproar Books. Trudie is now writing adult gaslamp fantasy with her new series, The Cruel Gods.

Author’s Website and Social Media Links

Website: https://trudieskies.com/ 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/TrudieSkies 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorTrudieSkies 

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/trudie-skies 

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/80486694-trudie-skies 

Top Ten Tuesday- Books with names in their title

I love this week’s theme of Top Ten Tuesday; – books with names in the title. I didn’t think I would come up with many but again it was hard limiting this to ten.

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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.

So in no particular order, here are my top ten books with names in the title.

The Pickwick Papers by Heather Redmond (review)

I enjoyed reading this historical crime fiction featuring Charles Dickens and his finance trying to prove his innocence of a gruesome murder in 1836. Kate Hogarth sounds like an amazing woman in her own right and it seems entirely plausible that she could help solve a crime.

Jane and the Year without Summer by Stephanie Barron

I can’t believe I haven’t come across The Being Jane Austen Mystery before I took part in the Jane and the Year without Summer blog tour but I loved the concept of prim and proper Jane Austen solving a murder in a B and B full of eccentric characters while dealing with her own doomed love life.

Agatha Raisin and the quiche of death by M.C Beeton

The Agatha Raisin books are cosy crime at its best with an amazing, gorgeous, flamboyant woman in her fifties who moves to a little village and solves crime.

The Murder of Rodger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie

From one Agatha to another Agatha, This was one of the first books that left me gasping at the end with its audacious plot twist.

Little Rabbit Foo Foo by Micheal Rosen

This was one of my little one’s favourite books when they were very little. The story of a bullying rabbit who finally gets his punishment at the end at the hands of a sweet little fairy was strangely satisfying.

Roderick Rules by Jeff Kinney

The Diary of a Wimpy kid is a series of middle-grade books that most kids can relate but I have to say I relate to the poor parents in this series. We listened to the audiobook of Roderick rules on a long trip to London and it kept the grown-ups sane when we were stuck in the nightmare that is the M25 orbital. It was still as funny when we listened to it again on the long trip back North.

Anne of Green Gables by L.M Montogomery.

This was the first book to make me cry when I read this as a child. This lovely tale of an orphan looking for a family to belong to really needs no introduction. I have never watched any of the films or TV adaptations just in case the magic disappeared.

Nancy Drew and The Hardy Boys

When I was in my teens, YA didn’t really exist, so the adventures of Nancy Drew as well as the Hardy Boys filled the gap and probably started my love for cosy crime.

Niccolo Rising by Dorothy Dunnett( Review here)

The first book of the House of Niccolo series is the perfect introduction to the wonderful world of Dorothy Dunnett. The book charts the rags to riches story of Claes in Bruges with plenty of drama, action, intrigue and unexpected twist at the end.

Discerning Grace by Emma Lombard ( review here)

Discerning Grace the first book in the White Sails Series was the first book review request I ever had, so this will always have a special place . Featuring a feisty heroine navigating life on the sea as well the stifling patriarchy in 19th Century society-think Outlander meets a clean version of Black Sails.

The Charmed life of Alex Moore by Molly Flatt ( review here)

I didn’t love this book but I have to say it did leave a huge impression on me and would definitely recommend it because of the weirdest mid-story plot twist ever.

Thank you for visiting.

Please leave a link to your Top Ten , so I can have a read