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.

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.

The Close by Jane Casey – Blog Tour Review.

About The Book

At first glance, Jellicoe Close seems to be a perfect suburban street – well-kept houses with pristine lawns, neighbours chatting over garden fences, children playing together.

But there are dark secrets behind the neat front doors, hidden dangers that include a ruthless criminal who will stop at nothing.

It’s up to DS Maeve Kerrigan and DI Josh Derwent to uncover the truth. Posing as a couple, they move into the Close, blurring the lines between professional and personal as never before.

And while Maeve and Josh try to gather the evidence they need, they have no idea of the danger they face – because someone in Jellicoe Close has murder on their mind.

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. There are quite a few crime fiction series that I’ve not been able to keep up with and to my deep regret this is one of them. From the moment I started to read I was absolutely hooked. Not just with the two crimes that had to be solved but also the relationship between the two main characters, Maeve Kerrigan and Josh Derwent. I couldn’t get enough of them.

Maeve and Josh have to go undercover, Maeve is a lot less enthusiastic about it than Josh is but realises that she doesn’t really have an option. She can still supervise Georgia and guide her in the investigation through the case that they have to solve. However the undercover operation is really the most important one throughout this novel. There are though, other things occurring in this small community that are deeply unsettling, some of which neither of them are aware of at first. It was one of those situations where the reader suspects before the characters what could be happening.

I have to say that they made a very convincing couple, they certainly seemed a lot closer than any of the genuine couples on the close. Most of them weren’t particularly likeable, some of them were detestable and I had absolutely no idea who the unnamed male narrator who featured often throughout the novel could be. I must have changed my mind at every appearance. 

It didn’t matter that I hadn’t read every book, it was obvious that Maeve was struggling at times, the reasons why were made obvious. But I have no idea how prominent these events were in the earlier books and I didn’t feel put off by reading them later on, despite knowing what happened to her.  It also didn’t matter that I wasn’t familiar with any of their colleagues, Georgia was really the only one who I would like to know more about and I’m sure I would appreciate seeing what she was like as a rookie officer.

I was absolutely gutted when I finished this novel, I can’t wait to see what happens next in this wonderful series. 

Good Taste by Caroline Scott – Blog Tour Review.

About The Book

England, 1932, and the country is in the grip of the Great Depression. To lift the spirits of the nation, Stella Douglas is tasked with writing a history of food in England. It’s to be quintessentially English and will remind English housewives of the old ways, and English men of the glory of their country. The only problem is –much of English food is really from, well, elsewhere . . . 

So, Stella sets about unearthing recipes from all corners of the country, in the hope of finding a hidden culinary gem. But what she discovers is rissoles, gravy, stewed prunes and lots of oatcakes. 

Longing for something more thrilling, she heads off to speak to the nation’s housewives. But when her car breaks down and the dashing and charismatic Freddie springs to her rescue, she is led in a very different direction . . . 

Full of wit and vim, Good Taste is a story of discovery, of English nostalgia, change and challenge, and one woman’s desire to make her own way as a modern woman.

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. Stella is a novelist and loves her work, her first book, although well received, hasn’t brought her much income. She is thrilled and excited when her publisher has an idea for a follow up alongside a very generous advance. This is the third book I have read by Caroline Scott so I knew that I would feel different emotions when reading. There were parts of this novel that made me smile, usually when Stella’s friend Lucien featured but there were also those that made me very emotional. Some of the more emotional moments were from reading the letters that Stella received from those who wanted to share their recipes. At times these revealed family memories but also the hardship experienced by many at the time. I had never heard of the hunger marches or that so many shipyards, collieries and mills had closed. But much more upsetting were reading the pages from her mother’s diary. I felt that Elizabeth was just as strong a character as Stella and that I really got to know her on the pages that she featured. 

I know little about the history of food and what ingredients go into a meal. A few of the foods mentioned in the letters Stella received I had heard of. Both Chorley cakes and Eccles cakes are a local food and I have eaten both without knowing anything about the custom. Many of the foods I had never heard of, and on googling feeling grateful that I had never eaten them whilst also feeling shame because my grandparents families would have lived off food like this for most of their childhood. 

I loved this novel and can’t wait to see what will come next from this author.