Weyward by Emilia Hart – Book review

Here is my review of Weyward by Emilia Hart historical fantasy featuring three women from three generations and their fight to escape trapped their lives.

‘I had nature in my heart, she said. Like she did, and her mother before her. There was something about us – the Weyward women – that bonded us more tightly with the natural world.
We can feel it, she said, the same way we feel rage, sorrow or joy.’
In 2019, Kate flees an abusive relationship in London for Crows Beck, a remote Cumbrian village. Her destination is Weyward Cottage, inherited from her great Aunt Violet, an eccentric entomologist.
As Kate struggles with the trauma of her past, she uncovers a secret about the women in her family. A secret dating back to 1619, when her ancestor Altha Weyward was put on trial for witchcraft…

Review

Weyward by Emilia Hart is an ambitious story about three different women at three different times but all three need to escape their trapped lives.

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

The story of three women suffering from surprisingly similar problems is at times harrowing. Kate in 2019 is trapped in an abusive relationship and has escaped to a cottage she has inherited from her Great Aunt. Violet in 1942 whose father controls her life to an extreme degree and Altha who as a clever independent woman in 1619 is accused of witchcraft.

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She Had It Coming by Carys Jones- Book review/Blog Tour

I’m pleased to be part of the blog tour for She Had It Coming by Carys Jones- a twisty mystery.

‘Someone needs to bring her down a peg or two
When Pippa’s best friend goes missing on a school run, no one thinks twice. Heather is pretty, popular and more than a little wild.
Most people think she ran away for the attention… Others say girls like her always get what’s coming to them.
Pippa’s mother, Abbie, has never liked Heather. Or her mother Michelle, a successful doctor who thinks she’s too good for the school mums’ group.
But when Heather turns up dead, everything changes. Because Pippa was the last person to see her alive… and now Abbie’s own house of cards is about to come tumbling down.

Review

I really enjoyed this twisty murder mystery- She Had It Coming by Carys Jones was an intriguing book with two interesting narrators.

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The Premonitions Bureau by Sam Knight- Book review

Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction! – Here is my review of The Premonitions Bureau by Sam Knight

What if you could share your vision, and stop that train? Could these forebodings help the world to prevent disasters?
In 1966, John Barker, a dynamic psychiatrist working in an outdated British mental hospital, established the Premonitions Bureau to investigate these questions. He would find a network of hundreds of correspondents, from bank clerks to ballet teachers. Among them were two unnervingly gifted “percipients”. Together, the pair predicted plane crashes, assassinations and international incidents, with uncanny accuracy. And then, they informed Barker of their most disturbing premonition: that he was about to die.
The Premonitions Bureau is an enthralling true story, of madness and wonder, science and the supernatural – a journey to the most powerful and unsettling reaches of the human mind.

Review

I must make a confession; I was in a bit of rush when I picked this book off the shelf at my local waterstones. I took one look at the title and assumed with a title like the Premonitions Bureau, this book by Sam Knight would be firmly in the science- fiction genre. But this book is a strange true story!

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Death on a Winter Stroll by Francine Mathews- Book review/Book tour

I’m pleased to be part of Austenprose booktour for Death on a Winter Stroll by Francine Mathews- murder mystery set in Nantucket post pandemic

Nantucket Police Chief Meredith Folger is acutely conscious of the stress COVID-19 has placed on the community she loves. Although the island has proved a refuge for many during the pandemic, the cost to Nantucket has been high. Merry hopes that the Christmas Stroll, one of Nantucket’s favorite traditions, in which Main Street is transformed into a winter wonderland, will lift the island’s spirits. But the arrival of a large-scale TV production, and the Secretary of State and her family, complicates matters significantly.  The TV shoot is plagued with problems from within, as a shady, power-hungry producer clashes with strong-willed actors. Across Nantucket, the Secretary’s troubled stepson keeps shaking off his security detail to visit a dilapidated house near conservation land, where an intriguing recluse guards secrets of her own. With all parties overly conscious of spending too much time in the public eye and secrets swirling around both camps, it is difficult to parse what behaviour is suspicious or not—until the bodies turn up.  Now, it’s up to Merry and Detective Howie Seitz to find a connection between two seemingly unconnected murders and catch the killer. But when everyone has a motive, and half of the suspects are politicians and actors, how can Merry and Howie tell fact from fiction?

Review

I enjoyed Death on a Winter Stroll by Francine Mathews- my first murder mystery in a post-pandemic Nantucket where Covid-19’s presence is still felt.

Read more: Death on a Winter Stroll by Francine Mathews- Book review/Book tour

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

This is a book in a series featuring no-nonsense detective Merry Folger but I found not having read the other books in the series made no difference in my enjoyment of the book or understanding of Merry and her colleagues’ characters.

A range of murder suspects descend on Nantucket for the Christmas stroll including powerful politicians, controlling fathers, Hollywood producers happy to abuse their power, rich tech people, actors, and their young grown-up children. Merry has to navigate carefully to find out who the murderer is while dealing with her own grief. I liked Merry- sensible and patient and her sidekick Howie and their need to balance investigating the murder and not to upset powerful was interesting with bonus points for having a tortured backstory.

The author makes Nantucket a character in its own right with her beautiful description of the environment, the joy of the Christmas Stroll but also the inequalities between the rich visitors and the not well-off permanent residents of the area.

The plot paces along with plenty of motives and revelations.  I initially found myself disliking many of the characters, but the author’s writing shows them as deeply flawed but human. Despite the deaths and some of the dark themes, the book ends with hope for a few of the characters.

But it is the description of the new and strange world we find ourselves in post covid that particularly caught my interest and it was refreshing to read a book that didn’t dwell on this but didn’t ignore it either.

Content warning

References to alcohol and drug addiction, suicide, sexual assault

Perfect for fans who

Like non-gory murder mysteries with an edge.

About The Author

Francine Mathews was born in Binghamton, New York, the last of six girls. She attended Princeton and Stanford Universities, where she studied history, before going on to work as an intelligence analyst at the CIA. She wrote her first book in 1992 and left the Agency a year later. Since then, she has written thirty books, including six previous novels in the Merry Folger series (Death in the Off-Season, Death in Rough Water, Death in a Mood Indigo, Death in a Cold Hard Light, Death on Nantucket, and Death on Tuckernuck) as well as the nationally bestselling Being a Jane Austen mystery series, which she writes under the pen name Stephanie Barron. She lives and works in Denver, Colorado.

The Secrets of Rochester Place by Iris Costello- Book review/Blog tour

I loved this heart-warming fiction about family both found and real and a little-known historical event.

In the current time, there are moments when I feel the world has become a confusing and scary place but books like The Secrets of Rochester Place makes me feel a little happier and more optimistic.

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

The story is told from three points of view- Corrine, a first responder in the present day, Theresa, a child evacuated to England from Spain in the 1930’s and 40’s and Mary, an Irish immigrant to England in the 1920’s (through her journal).

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Dragonfly Summer by J. H Moncrieff- Book review/Booktour

I’m so pleased to be part of the Randon Thing Tours blog tour for Dragonfly Summer by J H Moncrief- a twisty, psychological mystery.

No small town’s secrets can stay buried for long. Moncrieff digs into the treachery of memory and the power of female friendships.
Dragonfly Summer is a gripping thriller that asks: What happens when the past comes back to haunt you?
Jo Carter never thought she’d return to Clear Springs, Minnesota. But when the former journalist receives a cryptic note about the disappearance of her friend Sam twenty years before, she’s compelled to find out what really happened. During her investigation, she learns another high school friend has died in a mysterious accident. Nothing is as it seems, and Jo must probe Clear Springs’ darkest corners and her own painful and unreliable memories to discover the truth – and save herself from the killer who could still be on the hunt.
Deliciously twisty and suspenseful from the first minute to the last, Dragonfly Summer proves that no small town’s secrets can stay buried for good.

Review

 I really enjoyed this twisty psychological mystery and I’m so pleased that Dragon Summer B H Moncrieff is the first thriller I’m reviewing on my newly expanded blog.

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Sunwise by Helen Steadman – Blog tour/book review

Sunwise by Helen Wiseman picks up Jane’s and John’s story from where it left of in Widdershins.

When Jane’s lover, Tom, returns from the navy to find her unhappily married to his betrayer, Jane is caught in an impossible situation. Still reeling from the loss of her mother at the hands of the witch-finder John Sharpe, Jane has no choice but to continue her dangerous work as a healer while keeping her young daughter safe.
But, as Tom searches for a way for him and Jane to be together, the witch-finder is still at large. Filled with vengeance, John will stop at nothing in his quest to rid England of the scourge of witchcraft.
Inspired by true events, Sunwise tells the story of one woman’s struggle for survival in a hostile and superstitious world.

Review

Sunwise by Helen Wiseman picks up Jane’s and John’s story from where it left of in Widdershins (review here).

I received a copy for a free and unbiased review

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Widdershins by Helen Steadman – Blog tour/book review

I really enjoyed Widdershins by Helen Steadman-a gripping historical fiction set in 1650 inspired by the Newcastle Witch trials.

Did all women have something of the witch about them?’
Jane Chandler is an apprentice healer. From childhood, she and her mother have used herbs to cure the sick. But Jane will soon learn that her sheltered life in a small village is not safe from the troubles of the wider world.
From his father’s beatings to his uncle’s raging sermons, John Sharpe is beset by bad fortune. Fighting through personal tragedy, he finds his purpose: to become a witch-finder and save innocents from the scourge of witchcraft.
Inspired by true events, Widdershins tells the story of the women who were persecuted and the men who condemned them.

Review

I’ve lived in the North-East of England for almost two decades now and I had very little knowledge of the terrible Newcastle Witch trials, so when I saw the blurb for Widdershins by Helen Steadman, I knew I had to read this book.

I received a copy for a free and unbiased review.

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Blue Water by Leonora Nattrass – Book review

Jago continues to be the reluctant spy but now on a ship bound for Philadelphia in Blue Water by Leonora Nattrass. Here is my review of this historical fiction set in the 1700’s.

Review

I loved Black Drop (review here), so I was so excited to be approved by NetGalley to read Blue Water by Leonora Nattress which continues Laurence Jago’s story now a disgraced clerk. But you can enjoy this book without having read Black Drop.

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

Laurence Jago continues to be a reluctant spy but this time he is now stuck on a ship bound for Philadelphia. He has been told his mission is to help the civil servant carrying a treaty that will make all the difference in war between the French and the British. But then the civil servant is murdered, so now Jago must find the murderer before he becomes the next victim.do the right t

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The Whispering Dark by Kelly Andrews – Book Review

The Whispering Dark by Kelly Andrews is marketed as The Raven Boys meets The Ninth House and you can see why.

Delaney Meyers-Petrov Is accepted to a prestigious program at Godbole college- a college  where the paranormal is part of the curriculum .She is eager to escape her overprotective parents, so she accepts a scholarship to the college. She finds herself drawn to the distant Colton Price who seems to dislike her and struggles to keep up with the academic work when her college seems unable to accommodate her deafness. Colton has his own reasons for keeping his distance including the fact Lane saved his life when he drowned at the age of nine. But they are forced to work together when students start turning up dead.

Review

While I did find this an easy read, I didn’t really like the book, but I imagine loads of people will. I will focus on the good bits first.

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

I haven’t read many books where with good disability rep, but in Lane the author has managed to create a woman who isn’t defined by her deafness but must overcome the daily challenges this brings. I loved the fact The Whispering dark had diverse range of characters and seamlessly wove this into the story.

The book is told from Lane and Colton’s point of view. Colton while on the surface appears to be a privileged student is also dealing with loss and abandonment which makes his fixation with Lane understandable. The world-building and the descriptions of the paranormal including parallel world were descriptive and interesting but not unique.

But like I said before I didn’t enjoy this book despite the positives. The book seems to focus on the relationship between Colton and Lane at the expense of the supernatural elements, and it felt at times I was reading a romance with some paranormal elements. I figured out quickly who the Apostle was, and their motivations seemed a little boring and by the end I still couldn’t figure why they disliked Lane.

Lane also seemed to have some potent power of her own which seemed to take second place to the romance with Colton which was disappointing. But towards the end, I felt uncomfortable with the power dynamics between the two of them (although this would have made interesting reading if this was explored a little more).

Perfect for fans of

The Ninth House or paranormal romances with slightly more gore.

Publication Date: October 20th 2022