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.

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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 .

Dead Reckoning by Lea O Harra – Book review

Here is my review of this atmospheric murder mystery with plenty of human drama- here is my review of Dead Reckoning by Lea O Harra.

Indiana, January 2010.
It’s a hot summer’s day in 1984 when twelve-year-old Gilly and her friend Sally find a dead new-born in a shoebox in the cemetery of their tiny town.
Deciding to keep their discovery a secret, they bury the body in Gilly’s yard.
The results are disastrous. Flowers are mysteriously left on strollers. Two local children disappear and end up dead. A suspect is arrested and confesses, blaming the deaths on the girls’ having taken the dead baby.
Gilly grows up but is haunted by what’s happened. As a young woman, she flees the town and its memories, going all the way to Japan.
Returning with her Japanese husband Toshi to attend her mother’s funeral, Gilly finds the past is not past. She’s threatened, and someone is putting flowers on strollers again.
When another child is abducted, Gilly knows she must discover the truth about what happened all those years ago before more lives are lost.


Here is my review of this murder mystery Dead Reckoning by Lea O Harra which I think perfectly captures the atmosphere of a small town where everyone knows each other- and this isn’t always a good thing.

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Covert in Cairo by Kelly Oliver – Book review and Book Tour

I’m pleased to be part of the Blog Tour for Covert in Cairo by Kelly Oliver continuing  Fiona’s and Kitty’s adventures in Cairo in 1917.

Cairo. December 1917.

Following a tip-off from notorious spy Fredrick Fredricks, Fiona Figg and Kitty Lane of British Intelligence find themselves in the hustle and bustle of Egypt. But ancient mummies aren’t the only bodies buried in the tombs of Cairo.

When a young French archeologist is found dead in a tomb in the desert with his head bashed in, and an undercover British agent goes missing, the threat moves closer to home.

As they dig deeper, soon Fiona and Kitty uncover a treasure trove of suspects, including competing excavators, jealous husbands, secret lovers, and belligerent spies! Fiona wonders if the notorious Fredrick Fredricks could be behind the murders? Or is the plot even more sinister?

One thing is clear – If Fiona and Kitty can’t catch the killer, they might end up sharing a sarcophagus with Nefertiti.


I enjoyed the second instalment of Fiona Rigg and Kitty Lane’s mysteries and adventures. Here is my review of Covert in Cairo by Kelly Oliver.

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Our Violent Ends by Chloe Gong- Book review

Here is my review of Our Violent Ends by Chloe Gong, concluding this fantasy retelling of Romeo and Juliet in 1927 Shanghai.

After sacrificing her relationship with Roma to protect him from the blood feud, Juliette has been a girl on the warpath. One wrong move, and her cousin will step in to usurp her place as the Scarlet Gang’s heir. The only way to save the boy she loves from the wrath of the Scarlets is to have him want her dead for murdering his best friend in cold blood. If Juliette were actually guilty of the crime Roma believes she committed, his rejection might sting less.
Roma is still reeling from Marshall’s death, and his cousin Benedikt will barely speak to him. Roma knows it’s his fault for letting the ruthless Juliette back into his life, and he’s determined to set things right—even if that means killing the girl he hates and loves with equal measure.
Then a new monstrous danger emerges in the city, and though secrets keep them apart, Juliette must secure Roma’s cooperation if they are to end this threat once and for all. Shanghai is already at a boiling point: The Nationalists are marching in, whispers of civil war brew louder every day, and gangster rule faces complete annihilation. Roma and Juliette must put aside their differences to combat monsters and politics, but they aren’t prepared for the biggest threat of all: protecting their hearts from each other.


I wasn’t sure I wanted to read Our Violent Ends by Chloe Gong, the concluding part of this Duology, after I finished These Violent Delights ( Review here)

But I saw this book when I was on holiday, so I ended up buying it to see if I enjoyed the second part more( and had run out of physical books.

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Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow by Gabrielle  Zevin – Blog Tour and Book review

I’m pleased to be part of the blog tour for Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow by Gabreille- historical fiction shortlisted for the Wingate Fiction Prize.

The Wingate Literary Prize was established in 1977 by the late Harold Hyam Wingate. It is now run in association with JW3, the Jewish Community Centre. Now in its 46th year, the annual prize is awarded to the best book, fiction or non-fiction, to translate the idea of Jewishness to the general reader. The winner receives £4,000.

On a bitter-cold day, in the December of his junior year at Harvard, Sam Masur exits a subway car and sees, amid the hordes of people waiting on the platform, Sadie Green. He calls her name. For a moment, she pretends she hasn’t heard him, but then, she turns, and a game begins: a legendary collaboration that will launch them to stardom. These friends, intimates since childhood, borrow money, beg favors, and, before even graduating college, they have created their first blockbuster, Ichigo. Overnight, the world is theirs. Not even twenty-five years old, Sam and Sadie are brilliant, successful, and rich, but these qualities won’t protect them from their own creative ambitions or the betrayals of their hearts.
Spanning thirty years, from Cambridge, Massachusetts, to Venice Beach, California, and lands in between and far beyond, Gabrielle Zevin’s Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow is a dazzling and intricately imagined novel that examines the multifarious nature of identity, disability, failure, the redemptive possibilities in play, and above all, our need to connect: to be loved and to love. Yes, it is a love story, but it is not one you have read before.


Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin has been shortlisted for the Wingate Literary Prize and it is easy to see why.

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The Book Of Eve by Meg Clothier- Book review

Here is my review of this historical fantasy The Book Of Eve by Meg Clothier-a feminist imaging of the mysterious Voynich Manuscript.

Beatrice is the convent’s librarian. For years, she has shunned the company of her sisters, finding solace only with her manuscripts. But she longs for knowledge of the outside world – a world ruled by men in which women can play no part.
One carnival night, it seems her prayers are answered: two women, badly injured and desperate for help, are abandoned at the convent’s gate. Moments from death, one of them presses something into Beatrice’s hands: a bewitching book whose pages have a dangerous life of their own.
But the men of the city, bent on the book’s destruction, are closing in. Beatrice must do all she can to protect it – no matter what the cost.


The Book Of Eve by Meg Clothier is a feminist imaging of the mysterious Voynich Manuscript- I manuscript I haven’t heard ( thank you google for enlightening me).

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The Skeleton Key by Erin Kelly- Book review

A story of family, obsession, and treasure hunts. Here is my review of The Skeleton Key by Erin Kelly

Summer, 2021. Nell has come home at her family’s insistence to celebrate an anniversary. Fifty years ago, her father wrote The Golden Bones. Part picture book, part treasure hunt, Sir Frank Churcher created a fairy story about Elinore, a murdered woman whose skeleton was scattered all over England. Clues and puzzles in the pages of The Golden Bones led readers to seven sites where jewels were buried – gold and precious stones, each a different part of a skeleton. One by one, the tiny golden bones were dug up until only Elinore’s pelvis remained hidden.
The book was a sensation. A community of treasure hunters called the Bonehunters formed, in frenzied competition, obsessed to a dangerous degree. People sold their homes to travel to England and search for Elinore. Marriages broke down as the quest consumed people. A man died. The book made Frank a rich man. Stalked by fans who could not tell fantasy from reality, his daughter, Nell, became a recluse.
But now the Churchers must be reunited. The book is being reissued along with a new treasure hunt and a documentary crew are charting everything that follows. Nell is appalled, and terrified. During the filming, Frank finally reveals the whereabouts of the missing golden bone. And then all hell breaks loose.


The Skeleton Key by Erin Kelly is complicated blend of a thriller, historical fiction, family drama and murder mystery.

Nell is the first person narrator in the present but the book slowly explores the past from the points of view of The Churchers and friends of the family the Lallys.

The plot is complicated and covers several strands including the complicated and symbiotic relationship between Frank and Lal, the impact of her parent’s fame on Nell, a murder mystery and complicated family dramas that come together in the end.

I found the murder mystery the most interesting part of the book as well as random people’s obsession with the treasure hunt, I felt sometimes the family drama slowed down the pace and not in a good way.

I didn’t warm to any of the characters (except for Billie the unofficially adopted daughter of Nell) and all of them were horrible without exception but Nell does eventually grow as a person breaking free from her toxic family.

This book will appeal to anyone who loves thickly plotted and complex books

Content warning

Sexual abuse

Perfect for fans of

The Twyford Code by Janice Hallet

Source: My own

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…


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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