fantasy · Historical fiction

The Kingdom Of Back – Marie Lu ★★★★

Blurb; Born with a gift for music, Nannerl Mozart has just one wish: to be remembered forever. But even as she delights audiences with her masterful playing, she has little hope she’ll ever become the acclaimed composer she longs to be. She is a young woman in eighteenth-century Europe, and that means composing is forbidden to her. She will perform only until she reaches a marriageable age—her tyrannical father has made that much clear.

As Nannerl’s hope grows dimmer with each passing year, the talents of her beloved younger brother, Wolfgang, only seem to shine brighter. His brilliance begins to eclipse her own, until one day a mysterious stranger from a magical land appears with an irresistible offer. He has the power to make her wish come true—but his help may cost her everything.

My Review; This is the first book I have read by marie Lu, I’ve heard she’s an amazing author and I do have her others on my shelf waiting. I treated myself to this one purely for the gorgeous cover. How beautiful is that!?

When I started reading it I must admit it wasn’t what I expected at all. But I carried on and before I knew it. I was hooked. It’s a mix between historical fiction and fantasy and it works perfectly. Two completely different worlds. The story focuses on music (piano) by Nannerl and Wolfgang Mozart. Nannerl wishes she won’t she be forgotton and her wish will soon be granted via helping another in a fantasy world herself and her brother created, but everything is not as it seems and she may have got it all wrong.

The story includes the highs and lows of both the siblings. The tasks Nannerl has to complete for her wish to come true but it soon turns dark and twisted. Nannerl has to fix it all before her wish costs her the most important thing (her brother). Brilliant written, imaginative, original. Perfect. I seriously loved it. Highly recommend. A well deserved four stars from me.

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Historical fiction

*BLOG TOUR* The Saracen’s Mark – S.W. Perry ★★★★

Blurb; Betrayal has many guises…

London, 1593: Five years on from the Armada and England is taking its first faltering steps towards a future as a global power. Nicholas Shelby – reluctant spy and maverick physician – and his companion Bianca Merton are settling into a life on Bankside. But in London there is always a plot afoot…

Robert Cecil, the Queen’s spymaster, once again recruits Nicholas to embark on a dangerous undercover mission that will take him to the back alleys of Marrakech in search of a missing informer. However, while Nicholas hunts for the truth across the seas, plague returns once more to London – ravaging the streets and threatening those dearest to him.

Can Bianca and Nicholas’ budding relationship weather the threats of pestilence and conspiracy? And will Nicholas survive the dangers of his mission in a hostile city to return safely home?

My Review; Yay. I am so glad to be back with this series. This is book three in the Nicholas Shelby series. Best read in order. It was lovely to be back with the gang but especially Nicholas and Bianca. Another brilliantly written story for me to stick my teeth into. It had me hooked. Will admit it took me a while to finish it. But it was worth every second. Again we see the characters placed in tough decisions and consequences due to a plague…

Will they all avoid the plague? Nicholas is sent to Marrakech but does not expect the unfriendly welcome and soon becomes suspicious that something is not right… Will he make it back to London? To Bianca?

I really hope there is more to come for this series. Fingers crossed. A well deserved four stars from me. Highly recommend the whole series. Something different. For once can I say a happyish ending? Which makes a change from the usual death defying and risks they all take.

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Historical fiction · romance · suspense · thriller

The Doll Factory – Elizabeth Macneal ★★★★

Blurb; The Doll Factory, the debut novel by Elizabeth Macneal, is an intoxicating story of art, obsession and possession.

London. 1850. The Great Exhibition is being erected in Hyde Park and among the crowd watching the spectacle two people meet. For Iris, an aspiring artist, it is the encounter of a moment – forgotten seconds later, but for Silas, a collector entranced by the strange and beautiful, that meeting marks a new beginning.

When Iris is asked to model for pre-Raphaelite artist Louis Frost, she agrees on the condition that he will also teach her to paint. Suddenly her world begins to expand, to become a place of art and love.

But Silas has only thought of one thing since their meeting, and his obsession is darkening . . .

My Review; I want to start by saying just how beautiful is that cover? A real eye catcher. I was sent this book off a friend to cheer me up and it did the trick perfectly. The Doll Factory for me felt like a historical fiction story with romance but also with a bit of thriller thrown in especially towards the end. Unusual but it really worked!

I cannot believe this is a debut novel. I would never have known it’s so beautifully written. It’s a page turner of a read. It’s a book that appreciates the arts and artists of the world.

Main character Iris has a choice to make does she stay as she is now working, alongside her sister and living with her family. OR… Does she go for it modelling, living alone and earning more money? She says yes to her new life and thats where it all begins. The love story. The loss of her family. The stalking that is about to begin from Silas.

Silas is one evil character. Delusional. A stalker. A predator. He won’t stop until he’s got Iris by himself. This is where the thriller part comes in… Edge of your seat, tense reading.

Overall a brilliant read for me. An escape. I loved the setting, era and the characters. The open ended ending. Just brilliant all of it. The picture of the old style shops in my mind. The appreciation of art. All of it. A well deserved four stars from me. Highly recommend.

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