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”

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.

Continue reading “The Malevolent Seven by Sebastien de Castiel- Book review”

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.

Continue reading “Perilous Times by Thomas Lee – Book review”

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)

The Medici Murders ( The Venetian Murder #1 )by David Hewson – Book review and Book review

I’m pleased to be part of the blog tour for The Medici Murders by David Hewson- murder mystery set in Venice.

When a well-known British TV historian, Marmaduke Godolphin, is found murdered in the canals of Venice during carnival, stabbed by a stiletto blade, the Venetian police are eager to have the case solved and cleared up within a day – murder is bad for tourism!
The police recruit the help of retired archivist, Arnold Clover. Godolphin had hired his services on arriving in Venice to help sort through some historical papers of note. These dusty documents may contain previously unknown information about the assassination of the murderer, Lorenzino de’ Medici, 500 years previously.
How coincidental that Godolphin meets his death in the same place as the Medici murderer, Lorenzino, on a cold, dark, bloody night. Can Arnold use his powers of perception to establish a link and solve the murder of Godolphin?


This atmospheric murder mystery was a joy to read and The Medici Murders, the first book in the Venetian Mysteries, by David Hewson may be my favourite murder mystery of the year so far.

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

The book packs a lot in 284 pages. Venice was never a place I fancied visiting but that has changed after reading the descriptions of little side streets, cafes, canals and beautiful buildings in this book. The author also weaves little historical titbits about Venice and its famous people which I loved.

Arnold Clover, the first-person narrator, historian, widower and reluctant amateur detective is pleasant, unassuming man-the perfect foil for a cast of colourful suspects. But Valentina Fabbri, the Captiano, has to be my favourite female detective. She is part Poirot, Miss Marple and a lover of good food but best of confident.

This is a clever book enriched with historical details including the complicated life of Michelangelo and his friends, his enemies, and his lovers. There are plenty of suspects and motives, but the ending took me by surprise.

Content Warning

References to sexual assault, suicide.

Perfect for Fans of

Clever, murder mysteries set in exotic locales with colourful characters.

The Stolen Crown by Carole McGrath- Book review and Blog tour

I’m pleased to be part of the blog tour for The Stolen Crown by Carole McGarth- historical fiction featuring Empress Matilda.

When Princess Matilda is eighteen years old, tragedy strikes the royal family, and she becomes the only child of the king of England – the de facto heir to the throne. As her dying father persuades the barons to pledge allegiance to her, Matilda returns to England – but the lords and clergy do not like an independent woman. And Matilda is nothing if not headstrong . . .
When the old king dies, the country is plunged into instant chaos. So begins a fierce battle between cousins that will go down in history as a time called ‘The Anarchy’. And Matilda must race across England, evading capture until she can demand the crown . . .


The Stolen Crown by Carole McGarth will appeal to historical fiction fans especially those who enjoy non-Tudor stories. The book tells the story of Empress Matilda’s fight for the English crown from her Cousin King Stephen leading to civil war.

Read more: The Stolen Crown by Carole McGrath- Book review and Blog tour

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

The book is rich with historical details and vivid descriptions of clothes, foods and customs which adds richness to the story. As always, history can almost feel like fiction and The Stolen Crown has plenty of drama, action, deception, politics and romance. The plot is fast-paced and even though I knew what was going to happen, I still couldn’t put the book down.

 Matilda, Robert her half-brother and Alice a fictional character with a complicated background are the point-of-view characters. Matilda’s nature comes through as does the difficulty of being a strong and ambitious woman in the 1100s. Robert and Alice add balance as two people caught up in the drama and politics trying to right by their Queen and families.

Strangely enough, I read this book over the coronation weekend, and I wondered if the rituals and rites are the same as the ones that would have crowned Empress Matilda as Queen of England. But if you know your English history this isn’t as straightforward as it should be.

Perfect for fans of

I would recommend this book to any fan of historical fiction and strong women.

Henry VIII: The Heart and the Crown By Alison Weir- Book review and Blog Tour

I’m pleased to be part of the Random Things Tours Blog tour for Henry VIII: The Heart and the Crown by Alison- historical fiction from Henry VIII point of view.

A second son, not born to rule, becomes a man, and a king…
In grand royal palaces, Prince Harry grows up dreaming of knights and chivalry – and the golden age of kings that awaits his older brother. But Arthur’s untimely death sees Harry crowned King Henry of England.
As his power and influence extends, so commences a lifelong battle between head and heart, love and duty. Henry rules by divine right, yet his prayers for a son go unanswered.
The great future of the Tudor dynasty depends on an heir. And the crown weighs heavy on a king with all but his one true desire.
HENRY VIII. HIS STORY. Six wives. One King. You know their stories. Now it’s time to hear his.


I love reading historical fiction especially those set in the Tudor period, so I was excited to read Henry VIII: The Heart and The Crown by Alison Weir particularly as this book is told from Henry’s point of view. I really wanted to see if Henry could be portrayed as a man I could root for, given everything I have read about him.

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

The book is from Henry’s perspective about his life- starting when he learns about his mother’s death till his own death, covering a time in English history that led to changes that still shape the country to this day.

The author skilfully weaves the impact of Henry’s childhood trauma having a critical and overprotective father after his mother’s death, and stepping into a role he was never meant to have throughout the book. This makes Henry less of a tyrant and more of a man who had to deal with his losses as the King. But she doesn’t shy away from the negative aspects including his arrogance, fickleness, sense of entitlement and cruelty to the people he once loved.

Henry in this book is a man who also mourns the loss of his children with Katharine of Aragon, a man who wants to find someone perfect to love him but is influenced by the court around him, a conflicted father and man dealing with his past. But he is also a man with unlimited power, as well the power of life and death over his subjects including his wives and friends.

The book is rich with historical detail, not just about his complicated quest to find the perfect wife, but about the religious and political issues which still mark the landscape of England today. Sometimes literally- the ruins of once grand monasteries are still visible.

Content warning

References to miscarriages, stillbirths and sexual coercion

Perfect for Fans of

Historical fiction set in the Tudor period, fans of Alison Weir, Phillipa Gregory .