The Expectant Detectives by Kat Ailes – Book Review

The Expectant Detective, a cosy murder mystery by Kat Ailes was a fun and an easy read. Here is my review.

The Expectant Detectives a cosy murder mystery by Kat Ailes was a fun and an easy read due out on the 8th of June. Here is my review.

For Alice and her partner Joe, moving to the sleepy Cotswold village of Penton is a chance to embrace country life and prepare for the birth of their unexpected first child. He can take up woodwork; maybe she’ll learn to make jam. But the rural idyll they’d hoped for doesn’t quite pan out when a dead body is discovered at their local antenatal class and they find themselves suspects in a murder investigation. With a cloud of suspicion hanging over the heads of the whole group, Alice sets out to solve the mystery and clear her name, with the help of her troublesome dog, Helen. However, there are more secrets and tensions in the heart of Penton than first meet the eye. Between the discovery of a shady commune up in the woods, the unearthing of a mysterious death years earlier and the near-tragic poisoning of Helen, Alice is soon in way over her head.

Read more: The Expectant Detectives by Kat Ailes – Book Review

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

The first person narrator, the heavily pregnant Alice, finds herself  moving to the rural Peyton with her boyfriend Joe as a result and struggling to adapt to her new neighbours. This is made worse when she is embroiled in a murderer when a man is poisoned in the middle of her antenatal class and to top it all off Joe is definitely acting a little shifty too.

There are some laugh out funny moments with Alice’s descriptions of the highs and many lows of being pregnant- something which many women will relate to. As with all cosy murder mysteries there is a cast of interesting and weird characters and suspects with many possible motives.

There are a few mysteries to be solved and while I did figure out one of them, I didn’t really guess who the murderer was.

The book was easy to read and I did finish this is one sitting but I did find the middle did drag a tiny bit ( but not enough to spoil my enjoyment of the book).

Perfect for fans of

Cosy crime

Tropical Issues- by Dorothy Dunnett – Book review and Blog tour

I’m pleased to be part of the Random Things Blog tour for Tropical Issues by Dorothy Dunnett- one of the Dolly mysteries featuring the enigmatic Johnson.

Rita, a small, tough Scottish make-up artist is on Madeira trying to find out who killed Kim-Jim, an American make-up supremo. Also anchored off the island is Dolly, the yacht of Johnson Johnson with whom Rita teams up to get to the bottom of this foul deed.Rita’s fighting spirits are aroused despite her danger. She is not one for quitting, even when she learns she is caught up in an international drug-smuggling ring.But she also discovers that dealing with the maddeningly enigmatic Johnson Johnson is, by no stretch of the imagination, plain sailing.


The Lymond Chronicles (review here) and The House of Niccolo ( review here) by Dorothy Dunnett are some of my favourite book and the author ability to spin an amazing story is evident in the Tropical Issue, book one in the Dolly mysteries.

Continue reading “Tropical Issues- by Dorothy Dunnett – Book review and Blog tour”

The Hammer of Fate by G.N Gudgion ( The Rune Song 1) – book review

Here is my review of this fantasy inspired by Viking magic

Adelais was raised in the far north, learning stories of the old gods and the skill of weaving runes into magic. Now, she is locked in a convent far from home, forced to kneel to a foreign god.
When inquisitors arrive with plans to torture an innocent man, Adelais cannot stand by. She aids an attack to free the prisoner and joins the raiders as they flee into the night.
Her new companions are the last of the Guardians—once a powerful holy order, now ragged fugitives, hunted almost to extinction.
The knights carry a secret treasure, precious and powerful enough to shape kingdoms. Their pursuers, desperate to possess it, will crush any who stand in their way.
Nowhere is safe—in city or chateau, on the road or in the wilds. And even disguised as a boy, Adelais draws attention wherever she goes. Is she angel or demon, priestess or witch?
Adelais must summon all her courage and all her memories of the old gods’ magic as the noose tightens around her and a thunderous final reckoning approach.

Thank you NetGalley and @secondskybooks for a copy of my book


Here is my review of Hammer of Fate by G N Gudgion Viking inspired epic fantasy with medieval undertones and fans of epic fantasy will enjoy this.

Continue reading “The Hammer of Fate by G.N Gudgion ( The Rune Song 1) – book review”

Leeward by Katie Daysh- book review

Here is my review of Leeward Katie Daysh- thrilling naval historical fiction.

1800. HMS Ulysses mutinies off Trinidad and vanishes into the Caribbean. No one knows how many of the crew are left alive or what the mutineers plan to do with the vessel.Captain Hiram Nightingale is a veteran of the wars which have raged throughout Europe and the Americas for the last decades. But a grand victory at the Battle of the Nile comes at a devastating cost. Plagued by wounds both physical and mental, he attempts to recover by accepting command of HMS Scylla. His task is to hunt down the mutineers and bring the ship and crew to justice.However, it soon becomes clear that the Ulysses is just one danger in an immense web. Nightingale finds himself in the middle of a network of secrets that will affect everyone onboard the Scylla. He has to battle against the perils of the war-torn seas, a crew who he fears does not accept him, and meddling, powerful figures from the past.
And in the centre of all this, his new lieutenant, the popular Arthur Courtney, stirs up long repressed feelings. On his journey, Nightingale must confront his own demons. For it seems, during his dangerous adventure, Nightingale’s greatest enemy might be himself.


I enjoyed this action-packed naval historical novel, Leeward by Katie Daysh, with a gentle and subtle romance at its heart.

Continue reading “Leeward by Katie Daysh- book review”

Top Ten Tuesday- Things Want That Make Me Instantly Not want to Read a Book

Another Top Tuesday and another Top Ten- this week is about things That Make Me Instantly Not Want to Read a Book

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.

Another Top Tuesday and another Top Ten- This week it is   Things That Make Me Instantly Not want to Read a Book. I feel I must add a disclaimer, these are my own personal dislikes and quirks and some my be irrational!

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The Malevolent Seven by Sebastien de Castiel- Book review

Here is my review of  The Malevolent Seven by  Sebastien de Castiel- fantasy featuring the most unlikely group of people who have to save the world.

Picture a wizard. Go ahead, close your eyes. There he is, see? Skinny old guy with a long straggly beard. No doubt he’s wearing iridescent silk robes that couldn’t protect his frail body from a light breeze. The hat’s a must, too, right? Big, floppy thing, covered in esoteric symbols that would instantly show every other mage where this one gets his magic? Wouldn’t want a simple steel helmet or something that might, you know, protect the part of him most needed for conjuring magical forces from being bashed in with a mace (or pretty much any household object).
Now open your eyes and let me show you what a real war mage looks like . . . but be warned: you’re probably not going to like it, because we’re violent, angry, dangerously broken people who sell our skills to the highest bidder and be damned to any moral or ethical considerations.At least, until such irritating concepts as friendship and the end of the world get in the way.
My name is Cade Ombra, and though I currently make my living as a mercenary wonderist, I used to have a far more noble-sounding job title – until I discovered the people I worked for weren’t quite as noble as I’d believed. Now I’m on the run and my only friend, a homicidal thunder mage, has invited me to join him on a suicide mission against the seven deadliest mages on the continent.  
Time to recruit some very bad people to help us on this job . . .


I enjoyed most of The Malevolent Seven by Sebastien de Castiel featuring the most unlikely antiheroes who have to save the world led by Cade Ombra ( who has once of the best first point of view voice I’ve come across). But there was one aspect of this dark fantasy I didn’t like.

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Perilous Times by Thomas Lee – Book review

Here is my review of Perilous Times by Thomas Lee- a modern and different take on those tales of King Arthur and his Knights.

Being reborn as an immortal defender of the realm gets awfully tiring over the years—or at least that’s what Sir Kay’s thinking as he claws his way up from beneath the earth yet again.
Kay once rode alongside his brother, King Arthur, as a Knight of the Round Table. Since then, he has fought at Hastings and at Waterloo and in both World Wars. But now he finds himself in a strange new world where oceans have risen, the army’s been privatized, and half of Britain’s been sold to foreign powers. The dragon that’s running amok—that he can handle. The rest? He’s not so sure.
Mariam’s spent her life fighting what’s wrong with her country. But she’s just one ordinary person, up against a hopelessly broken system. So when she meets Kay, she dares to hope that the world has finally found the savior it needs.
Yet as the two travel through this bizarre and dangerous land, they discover that a magical plot of apocalyptic proportions is underway. And Kay’s too busy hunting dragons—and exchanging blows with his old enemy Lancelot—to figure out what to do about it. 
In perilous times like these, the realm doesn’t just need a knight. It needs a true leader. 
Luckily, Excalibur lies within reach. 
But who will be fit to wield it?


I saw a tweet about Perilous Times by Thomas Lee and I knew I had to read this book with a modern twist on King Arthur and his Knights.

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March’s End by Daniel Polansky- Book review

Here is my review of March’s End by Daniel Polansky- a portal fantasy.

The Harrows are a typical suburban family who, since time immemorial, have borne a sacred and terrible charge. In the daylight they are teachers, doctors, bartenders and vagrants, but at night they are the rulers and protectors of the March, a fantastical secondary world populated with animate antiquated toys and sentient lichen, a panorama of the impossible where cities are carried on the backs of giant snails, and thunderstorms can be subdued with song.
But beneath this dreamlike exterior lie dark secrets, and for generation after generation the Harrows have defended the March from the perils that wait outside its borders – when they are not consumed in their own bitter internecine quarrels.In the modern day the Harrow clan are composed of Sophia, the High Queen of the March, a brilliant, calculating matriarch, and her three children – noble Constance, visionary, rebellious Mary Ann, and clever, amoral Will. Moving back and forth between their youth, adolescence, and adulthood, we watch as this family fractures, then reconciles in the face of a conflict endangering not only the existence of the March, but of the ‘real world’ itself.


March’s End by Daniel Polansky isn’t just a portal fantasy but a book about intergenerational conflict and the impact of childhood trauma. There was so much I really loved in this book but there were a few things I struggled with.

Read more: March’s End by Daniel Polansky- Book review

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

The author brings to life the world of the March in vivid technicolour. This is a world inhabited by living toys who torture, sentient plant beings that don’t hesitate to kill and talk, rebelling animals. The sense of impending danger and doom is present from the start and infests the book both in March and the real world. I loved the tower- a building that seems to go on forever.

The complicated lives of the Harrows, the conquerors and protectors of the March take centre stage in both worlds. The Harrows have had their role over generations and seem stuck with continuing this for generations more no matter what the trauma.

The family drama between the siblings feels realistic and I like how they are not neatly resolved by the end of the book. The pace is fast with plenty of action and magic with plenty of creepiness. Mary Ann and Sophia’s brother bring in the discussion around whether colonisation is right or wrong concerning the March even though the Harrows are protectors which isn’t usually present in these types of fantasies.

I had a lot of ‘how’s’, How do the Harrows travel to the March and why Mary- Ann can travel there differently? Why was it only the Harrows that could travel? How did Hank end up living next door to the Harrows and why? But hopefully this will be addressed in the next book!

Content Warning

References to suicide, drug misuse, and domestic violence.

Perfect for Fans of

Portal fantasies as well as epic fantasies, Son of Shadow ( review here), The Magicians ( review here), Witherward ( review here), and An Accident of Stars. Through Dreams So Dark by Angela Boord ( review here)

Top Ten Tuesday- Things  That Make Me Instantly Want To Read a Book

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.

There are so many Things That Make Me Instantly  want to Read a Book ( it doesn’t take much)
but here are the top ten

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The Book That Wouldn’t Burn by Mark Lawrence – Book review

Here is my review of the The Book That Wouldn’t Burn( Book 1 of the Library Trilogy) by Mark Lawrence- epic fantasy that will appeal to anyone who love libraries and books.

A boy has lived his whole life trapped within a vast library, older than empires and larger than cities.
A girl has spent hers in a tiny settlement out on the Dust where nightmares stalk and no one goes.
The world has never even noticed them. That’s about to change.
Their stories spiral around each other, across worlds and time. This is a tale of truth and lies and hearts, and the blurring of one into another. A journey on which knowledge erodes certainty, and on which, though the pen may be mightier than the sword, blood will be spilled and cities burned.


The Book That Wouldn’t Burn by Mark Lawrence will appeal to anyone who loves books. This epic fantasy is the book in The Library Trilogy.

Read more: The Book That Wouldn’t Burn by Mark Lawrence – Book review

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

This book has so much to love- strong and interesting characters, lush world-building, and libraries with magical doors leading to other worlds. Liviria is a young girl and outcast who lives in the dust  but whose life is destroyed by the Sabbers. She ends up being moved to a city and allocated to the free-thinking Yute to learn and work with books. One day in the depths of the library, she meets Evar who is looking for someone.

The world Liviria lives is alien and yet relatable- we have leaders who spin the truth and discriminate against people who look different but a world with automated librarians and magical portals.

I found the book a little slow at times and struggled with the length of the book, it does pick up towards the middle with some really amazing plot reveals. But I imagine that many readers will love the attention to description and the atmosphere.

Content warning

Death of children

Perfect for Fans of

The Starless Sea, or anyone who loves books about books and libraries.