TBR Pile Review: Unconquerable Sun, by Kate Elliott

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Hardcover, 523 pages
Published October 1st 2020 by Head Of Zeus (first published July 7th 2020)
ISBN:1800243200 (ISBN13: 9781800243200)

GENDER-SWAPPED ALEXANDER THE GREAT ON AN INTERSTELLAR SCALE

Princess Sun has finally come of age.

Growing up in the shadow of her mother, Eirene, has been no easy task. The legendary queen-marshal did what everyone thought impossible: expel the invaders and build Chaonia into a magnificent republic, one to be respected—and feared.

But the cutthroat ambassador corps and conniving noble houses have never ceased to scheme—and they have plans that need Sun to be removed as heir, or better yet, dead.

To survive, the princess must rely on her wits and companions: her biggest rival, her secret lover, and a dangerous prisoner of war.

Take the brilliance and cunning courage of Princess Leia—add in a dazzling futuristic setting where pop culture and propaganda are one and the same—and hold on tight:

This is the space opera you’ve been waiting for.

Continue reading “TBR Pile Review: Unconquerable Sun, by Kate Elliott”

The BFS Awards 2020: My reviews of the books in the Best Anthology category

I’ve been keeping fairly quiet about this, even after the British Fantasy Society announced the shortlist and jurors; I’m one of the jurors for the Best Anthology category. The Awards ceremony was yesterday (Monday 22nd February 2021) and was streamed on YouTube and Facebook.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsAgzty3SeNzHV3canzycwA

Originally the following were the shortlist:

·      New Suns: Original Speculative Fiction for People of Colour, ed. Nisi Shawl

·      Once Upon a Parsec: The Book of Alien Fairy Tales, ed. David Gullen

·      Wonderland, ed. Marie O’Regan & Paul Kane

·      The Woods, ed. Phil Sloman

Other jurors added:

  • A Secret Guide to Fighting Elder Gods, ed. by Jennifer Brozek
  • The Big Book of Classic Fantasy, ed. Jeff and Anne VanderMeer

You can find the short lists for the other categories here.

Now that the winners (add link to winners list)have been announced, I can safely share my thoughts on the books I read for the awards.

Continue reading “The BFS Awards 2020: My reviews of the books in the Best Anthology category”

Review: The Murderbot Diaries 1 -5, by Martha Wells

As I mentioned in my post about my future plans, I’m going to have a break from blog tours to make my way through my personal TBR pile. I thought I’d start with a sci fi series of four novellas and a novel by Martha Wells, the Murderbot Diaries.


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Rosie Reviews the ‘Theakston’s Old Peculiar Crime Novel of the Year 2019’ Shortlist books

Hola, peeps, dear readers, etc. I’m awa’ on my big adventures – heading to Harrogate (pronounced ‘Arragut, except for by posh people who pronounce it ‘harrow gayte’) for a long weekend of crime writing delights. The fun starts this evening at the Crime Novel of the Year Awards and in preparation (otherwise known as ‘so I don’t look like an illiterate twerp’) I have been reading the books on the shortlist. I couldn’t decide which order to read them in so I went for alphabetical by author’s surname.

Continue reading “Rosie Reviews the ‘Theakston’s Old Peculiar Crime Novel of the Year 2019’ Shortlist books”

Last Reviews of 2018

Honest! I’m not doing anymore this year. I’ve been ill, there’s been a lot of reading time. I’ve been making progress through my Pen & Sword collection.

Pirates and Privateers in the 18th Century
Published By: Pen & Sword
Publication Date: 7th November 2018
Format: Hardback
ISBN: 9781526731654
Price: £15.99
Link

Blurb


Pirates and Privateers tells the fascinating story of the buccaneers who were the scourge of merchants in the 18th Century. It examines their lifestyle, looking at how the sinking of the Spanish treasure fleet in a storm off the coast of Florida led to a pirate’s gold rush; how the King’s Pardon was a desperate gamble – which paid off – and considers the role of individual island governors, such as Woodes Rogers in the Bahamas, in bringing piracy under control.

The book also looks at how piracy has been a popular topic in print, plays, songs and now films, making thieves and murderers into swash-buckling heroes. It also considers the whole question of buried treasure – and gives a lively account of many of the pirates who dominated the so-called ‘Golden Age’ of Piracy.

My Review

A very good introduction to the subject, concentrating on the era known as the ‘Golden Age’ of piracy, and while the author notes that piracy is still with us and is the result of systemic inequalities, he doesn’t discuss modern piracy – that is outside the scope of the book. The chapters cover the general history of piracy, biographies of various pirates and colonial officials who sought to deal with them, and the ‘pirate’ sub-genre of crime literature and it’s later developments in novels and other popular culture such as plays and films.

The book was very easy to read, the author writes sympathetically but is realistic about the nature of piracy – not heroes but thieves, rapists and murderers – and explores the myths surrounding pirates and their treasures with a keen eye for poppycock. The book explores only a tiny fragment of the subject, but it is a good starting place for further research.

The Scandal of George III's Court
BPublished By: Pen & Sword
Publication Date: 19th November 2018
Format: Hardback
ISBN: 9781473872516
Price: £15.99
Link

Blurb


From Windsor to Weymouth, the shadow of scandal was never too far from the walls of the House of Hanover. Did a fearsome duke really commit murder or a royal mistress sell commissions to the highest bidders, and what was the truth behind George III’s supposed secret marriage to a pretty Quaker?

With everything from illegitimate children to illegal marriages, dead valets and equerries sneaking about the palace by candlelight, these eyebrow-raising tales from the reign of George III prove that the highest of births is no guarantee of good behaviour. Prepare to meet some shocking ladies, some shameless gentlemen and some politicians who really should know better.

So tighten your stays, hoist up your breeches and prepare for a gallop through some of the most shocking royal scandals from the court of George III’s court. You’ll never look at a king in the same way again…

My Review

What a family! I’d be so embarrassed if I was directly related to them. An overbearing matriarch and patriarch, daughters confined to the palace, sons and brothers making ‘unsuitable’ marriages, girlfriends and illegitimate children here there and everywhere, the odd murder. Sounds like most families. Except this one had money and power to back up their behaviour and silence people. And they were the centre of press focus for decades. And what fun the press had with them…

I sat and read this book yesterday after I’d finished reading about pirates. Sometimes a bit of gossip is fun, especially when those concerned have been dead for two centuries. It was fun, amusing. Curzon’s jaunty writing style lends itself to the subject and it’s obvious that the eighteenth century is her passion. She writes sympathetically and makes evenhanded judgements on the truth or otherwise of the rumours and scandal. She uses contemporary sources, later literature and current scholarship to provide a rounded picture of events and the people involved.

This book is a an accessible, fun, introduction to the period and people of George III’s court.

November Bonus review #5: ‘England’s Witchcraft Trials’, by Willow Winsham

 

England's Witchcraft TrialsPublished By: Pen & Sword

Publication Date: 6th September 2018

ISBN: 9781473870949

Format: Paperback

Price: £12.99

Purchase Link

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blurb

Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live.

With the echo of that chilling injunction hundreds were accused and tried for witchcraft across England throughout the 16th and 17th centuries. With fear and suspicion rife, neighbour could turn against neighbour, friend against friend, with women, men and children alike caught up in the deadly fervour that swept through both village and town.

From the feared “covens” of Pendle Forest to the victims of the unswerving fanaticism of The Witch Finder General, so-called witches were suspected, accused, and dragged into the spotlight to await judgement and their final fate.

Continue reading “November Bonus review #5: ‘England’s Witchcraft Trials’, by Willow Winsham”

Double Review Day!

Today I’m reviewing both Girl in the Gallery and Death in Dulwich, by Alice Castle. Thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for sending me the ebook files and arranging this blog tour. It’s a long post because there are two books, plus the author’s information and, if you like what you hear, at the end there’s a chance to win copies of the books.

Continue reading “Double Review Day!”

February Review Schedule

Since I’ve started back at university, I’m giving myself a bit of space for writing and university assignments, so there’s no planned reviews until the 14th. As usual, look out for the bonus reviews, you never know what might pop up.

  • 14th February
    • The Mother’s Secret
    • Clare Swatman
  • 17th February
    • Comfort Food
    • Julia Chen
    • Blog Tour – Authoright
  • 21st February
    • iHunt
    • David A Hill Jr
  • 27th February
    • So I Might Be A Vampire
    • Rodney Smith
  • 28th February
    • An Unquiet Ghost
    • Linda Stratmann

Review: ‘A Pearl For My Mistress’, by Annabel Fielding

 

A Pearl for My Mistress by [Fielding, Annabel]

Published By: HQ Digital

Publication Date: 9th August 2017

Format: Kindle

Price: £0.99

Blurb

A story of class, scandal and forbidden passions in the shadow of war. Perfect for fans of Iona Grey, Gill Paul and Downton Abbey.

England, 1934. Hester Blake, an ambitious girl from an industrial Northern town, finds a job as a lady’s maid in a small aristocratic household.
Despite their impressive title and glorious past, the Fitzmartins are crumbling under the pressures of the new century. And in the cold isolation of these new surroundings, Hester ends up hopelessly besotted with her young mistress, Lady Lucy.
Accompanying Lucy on her London Season, Hester is plunged into a heady and decadent world. But hushed whispers of another war swirl beneath the capital… and soon, Hester finds herself the keeper of some of society’s most dangerous secrets…
Received from the author in return for an honest review

Continue reading “Review: ‘A Pearl For My Mistress’, by Annabel Fielding”

Review: ‘Death, Disease, and Dissection: The Life of a Surgeon-Apothecary 1750 – 1850’, by Suzie Grogan

Published by: Pen and Sword

Publication Date: 30th October 2017

 

I.S.B.N.: 9781473823532

Format: Paperback

Price: £12.99

Blurb

Imagine performing surgery on a patient without anaesthetic, administering medicine that could kill or cure. Welcome to the world of the surgeon-apothecary…During the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries significant changes occurred in medicine. New treatments were developed and medical training improved. Yet, with doctors’ fees out of the reach of ordinary people, most relied on the advice of their local apothecary, among them, the poet John Keats, who worked at Guys Hospital in London. These men were the general practitioners of their time, making up pills and potions for everything from toothache to childbirth. Death, Disease and Dissection examines the vital role these men played their training, the role they played within their communities, the treatments they offered, both quack and reputable against the shocking sights and sounds in hospitals and operating theatres of the time. Suzie Grogan transports readers through 100 years of medical history, exploring the impact of illness and death and bringing the experiences of the surgeon apothecary vividly to life.

Continue reading “Review: ‘Death, Disease, and Dissection: The Life of a Surgeon-Apothecary 1750 – 1850’, by Suzie Grogan”