Henry VIII The Heart & The Crown by Alison Weir – Blog Tour Review

About The Book

Six wives. One King. You know their stories. Now it’s time to hear his.

The magnificent new Tudor novel from the author of the Sunday Times-bestselling Six Tudor Queens series. 

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. 


Alison Weir’s most ambitious Tudor novel yet reveals the captivating story of a man who was by turns brilliant, romantic, and ruthless: the king who changed England forever.

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. The Tudor reign is my favourite period to read about and I have read quite a few novels about the wives of  Henry VIII but never any about him. I have also never read a book by Alison Weir and when I got the opportunity to read this novel I decided to start with this and then I could make my way through the other books. The length of the book was a little daunting but it couldn’t have been any shorter, there was so much to learn about this king. 

What was obvious immediately was how vain he was, obsessed with his appearance and his standing in Europe. Initially very little confidence with women but this didn’t last long and it became evident pretty quickly that he had little respect for anybody he desired. It was one of the many things I found intimidating about him. And a bit of  revulsion. once he had them in his grasp he had no respect for them, ruling by fear and only had contempt for their opinions, because being women they weren’t meant to have any. 

It wasn’t just his wives he wanted to control but also his court. If he felt unsupported he cast them aside or in many cases sent to the Tower and often executed. The way that this was mentioned, so often in a cursory way, showed how little he cared. Whoever was executed or banished, be it wife or life long friend, was just replaced. 

Sadly, many of his court were just like him. It was a hornet’s nest, full of envy and a willingness to sacrifice a life just to better themselves. Very few of them could be trusted. 

I found this a wonderful novel difficult at times to read because of the amount of characters, many who were known by their title rather than their name.  Rather than being off putting it had me looking on the internet to find more about them therefore adding to the amount of time it took me to read it. I’m really looking forward to reading more of this series of books, I certainly have a lot of reading, and researching to do. 

Thirty Days of Darkness by Jenny Lund Madsen, translated by Megan. E. Turney – Blog Tour Review.

About The Book

Copenhagen author Hannah is the darling of the literary community and her novels have achieved massive critical acclaim. But nobody actually reads them, and frustrated by writer’s block, Hannah has the feeling that she’s doing something wrong.

When she expresses her contempt for genre fiction, Hanna is publicly challenged to write a crime novel in thirty days. Scared that she will lose face, she accepts, and her editor sends her to Húsafjöður – a quiet, tight-knit village in Iceland, filled with colorful local characters – for inspiration.

But two days after her arrival, the body of a fisherman’s young son is pulled from the water … and what begins as a search for plot material quickly turns into a messy and dangerous investigation that threatens to uncover secrets that put everything at risk … including Hannah…

Atmospheric, dramatic and full of nerve-jangling twists and turns, Thirty Days of Darkness is a darkly funny, unsettling debut Nordic Noir thriller that marks the start of a breath-taking new series.

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. At the start of this wonderful quirky novel Hannah is at a book event where a well known crime author is due to appear before an audience of fans. Bitter, because she isn’t as successful, and extremely critical of his type of novel she ends up in a public dispute which results in her going to Iceland to write a crime novel within 30 days. But spending 30 days in darkness isn’t the only thing that she experiences. She finds death, fear, mistrust but also some unexpected friendships and she also started to like herself a lot more.

This original novel was one I enjoyed immensely. The death happens very early in the novel and even though Hannah knew little about the victim she found herself very close to his grieving friends and family. Too close, in some ways, she doesn’t see that her questions are unwelcome.

She decides that she needs to be the one who solves the mystery of the young man’s death.Struggling with the language barrier and not being anywhere near as good at solving crimes as she thought she was this made for very entertaining reading. Especially when she tried to combine her sleuthing with her writing. It soon became evident that she didn’t know how to police and writing a crime novel wasn’t as easy as she expected it to be. Her Inspector Clouseau style of investigation, her slight bafflement over the way she was actually seen by the locals rather than how she thought she was and her increasingly brilliant group of friends all made this book very entertaining to read.

Not a character I liked immediately but I soon grew to love her, I hope we get to meet Hannah and many of these characters again. Just wonderful.

Skin Deep by Antonia Lassa – translated by Jacky Collins – Blog Tour Review.

About The Book

When police arrest eccentric loner Émile Gassiat for the murder of a wealthy woman in a shabby seaside apartment in Biarritz, Inspector Canonne is certain he has put the killer behind bars.
Now he just needs to prove it.

But he hasn’t reckoned with the young man’s friends, who bring in lawyer-turned-investigator Larten to head for the desolate out-of-season south-west of France to dig deep into what really happened.
Larten’s hunt for the truth takes him back to the bustle of Paris as he seeks to demonstrate that the man in prison is innocent, despite all the evidence – and to uncover the true killer behind a series of bizarre murders.

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. I don’t read a lot of translated fiction, something which I tend to regret when I had the chance to read one such as this. There must be a lot of great novels what I’m missing out on. This novel was only short but it was packed with some fascinating and original characters, lies and murder. One of the things I enjoyed most were the characters. I wanted to know more about all of them. Original doesn’t even begin to cover the ones who feature here. Larten was definitely wanted to know more about, There was only a taster about his personality but it left me wanting to know more. I suspect that the reader has only seen a glimpse of him and there is a lot to discover.

The case itself was a little unusual. Whilst I didn’t think the only suspect, Émile, was the culprit he didn’t do that much to help himself. He was certainly loyal to his lady friends and didn’t seem to concerned about the situation that he was in. Larten had to work hard to persuade him that the only way he could prove his innocence was to reveal who they were and what they had provided for him. 

The detective only appeared for brief intervals, and these seemed to focus more on his marriage and dental issues rather than the investigation. He seemed to be quite happy to let Larten prove his suspect innocent rather than the police prove him guilty.

A slightly unusual novel, it was short but I would love to see these characters again. I hope there will be a follow up. 

Her Deadly Game by Robert Dugoni – Blog Tour Review

About The Book

A defense attorney is prepared to play. But is she a pawn in a master’s deadly match? A twisting novel of suspense by New York Times bestselling author Robert Dugoni.

Keera Duggan was building a solid reputation as a Seattle prosecutor, until her romantic relationship with a senior colleague ended badly. For the competitive former chess prodigy, returning to her family’s failing criminal defense law firm to work for her father is the best shot she has. With the right moves, she hopes to restore the family’s reputation, her relationship with her father, and her career.

Keera’s chance to play in the big leagues comes when she’s retained by Vince LaRussa, an investment adviser accused of murdering his wealthy wife. There’s little hard evidence against him, but considering the couple’s impending and potentially nasty divorce, LaRussa faces life in prison. The prosecutor is equally challenging: Miller Ambrose, Keera’s former lover, who’s eager to destroy her in court on her first homicide defense.

As Keera and her team follow the evidence, they uncover a complicated and deadly game that’s more than Keera bargained for. When shocking information turns the case upside down, Keera must decide between her duty to her client, her family’s legacy, and her own future.

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. I don’t tend to read a lot of legal fiction, but this was a first book in a new series by an author who I’d never heard of so thought I’d give it a try. I’m glad I did, I found it a really interesting read with a fascinating and likeable family who were all trying to prove their client innocent. 

Keera, the lead character is new to the family business and desperate to prove that she is able. Like many in her family she had issues with alcohol but unlike them hadn’t fallen victim to it. One of her ways of avoiding its lure was online chess and throughout the game she was playing a game against an opponent who was at first unidentified. I did have my own suspicions about who the opponent was but I was completely wrong. The parts concerning the chess game went way over my head but I did enjoy seeing the way that it helped Keera forget about the case.

I had a lot of appreciation for the court room setting. The extremely frosty relationship that Keera had with the prosecuting lawyer Ambrose worked perfectly and I loved the way she tore apart his arguments. Mainly because he was such an awful character but also because it gave insight into how the legal process worked. If more legal thrillers were written this way I’d probably read more. 

I would definitely read more books by this author, there are certainly quite a few to choose from.

The Ugly Truth by L. C. North – Blog Tour Review.

About The Book

Melanie Lange has disappeared.

Her father, Sir Peter Lange, says she is a danger to herself and has been admitted to a private mental health clinic.

Her ex-husband, Finn, and best friend, Nell, say she has been kidnapped.

The media will say whichever gets them the most views.

But whose side are you on?

Told via interviews, transcripts and diary entries, The Ugly Truth is a shocking and addictive thriller about fame, power and the truth behind the headlines.

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. I wasn’t really sure what to expect from this novel but what I got was a stunning and chilling account of the levels of vitriol that exists daily on certain aspects of social media, in the gutter press and in an often sensationalist TV documentary.

The novel consisted of interviews with friends, family and those who gained from tormenting Mellie, newspaper reports and mostly vicious tweets. It made it quick to read initially but as the novel progressed and Mellie’s situation deteriorated I found it more difficult to read. 

Throughout the entire novel I wasn’t sure what to believe or even know if there were any of the characters I liked. I did however, have a lot of sympathy for Mellie, and it was obvious that she was damaged mentally when her modelling career took off. Forever in the public eye, under attack from those who envied what she had, including from her own father and sister, both damaged themselves.

As I said earlier, I found it more difficult to read as I read further. But I also found it increasingly difficult to put down. It is a long time since I have felt this way. I read the final 25% in one sitting, even though I felt often on edge as Mellie’s desperation increased. 

My feelings regarding most of them changed when I’d finished the book. The twitter trolls and media were the only ones I still loathed. The others, I could start to see how they were affected by the impact of the publicity on Mellie’s life.

I found this a brilliant, original and emotionally challenging novel, I’m sure I will be thinking about it for days to come.