#BookReview : Wildcat by JP Harker @JP_Harker

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Today I am delighted to be sharing my thoughts on “Wildcat” by JP Harker. This is available in paperback and eBook format from Amazon UK and is the first in The Caledon Saga.

Synopsis:

Rhianwyn of the Caderyn is conflicted about giving up a warrior’s life to become a wife and mother, but her love for her new husband is enough to at least make her consider it. However, with the conquering Gaians moving ever closer to her homeland a peaceful life may no longer be an option, for Rhia or for any of her people. With rival tribes, old suitors, and the dangerous General Lepidus to contend with, Rhia soon finds her new family in unprecedented danger, and her choices now must be about more than just herself… 

Wildcat takes place in a fantasy land inspired by Iron Age Britain and follows Rhianwyn’s story as she encounters a civilisation unlike any she could imagine, and is constantly forced to learn and adapt through trial after deadly trial.

My Thoughts:

Rhianwyn (Rhia) is a woman you really do not want to mess with. She, like other women, is a  warrior of the Caderyn, women fight beside the men and are just a ferocious and deadly. As with all things, nothing stays the same. Change is on the way as the Gaians gradually take over land and the people. A truce between the Calderyn and the Gaians is formed with Rhia and her sister Gwen starting a new life to keep the peace.

This is an absolute cracker of a read and the author has created a story that is heavy in elements of Iron Age Britain. The references and general feeling of the story show the authors obvious interest for the period and at times I forgot this was actually a fantasy read. When the tribes are conquered there you understand who by as the references to them of their lifestyle, training and language is apparent. The fight for power and control took me through underhand politics and battles as the story was laid out.

The plot evolves around Rhia and her life and her roles within a tribe and also as part of the conquers family. I really liked the way the author had done this as it showed a contrast between two cultures through one set of eyes. I was able to see different traditions, rituals and lifestyles while following Rhia’s journey. It shows several sides to her as a person and I loved the way she had evolved from the first meeting to years later.

The descriptive passages of the surroundings, people and their lifestyle I really enjoyed, there was plenty to build up a vivid image but without going over the top. The author has balanced it well within the story so as not to disrupt the flow of the story. It is a story that spans several years and you get to meet a great many characters especially at the beginning, but the time span allows the other characters to be gradually introduced.

Now this is a fair old lump of a book, it is 500+ pages long and I devoured it in two evenings and was thoroughly caught up in it. I liked the historical feel to it and as I mentioned before, forgot that it is a fantasy based read with a historical inspiration. It is one I would say is an Epic Fantasy rather than a series as it has a great depth of  plot and characters.

This is a book I would recommend to readers who like stories with elements Historical Fiction as well as fantasy. It is a book I completely lost myself in for several hours as it took me through a few emotions, especially towards the end. A series that I will definitely be reading more of and I would highly recommend this book to other readers.

About the Author:

JP Harker is the pen-name of James Thomas, an obsessive martial artist and history fanatic. A proud Welshman with just enough Saxon in him to make things interesting, James hails from glamorous Glamorgan, Old South Wales.

You can find JP Harker on Twitter  and his Website.

 

Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be amazing 🙂 xx

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#BookReview : Block 46 by Johana Gustawsson translated by Maxim Jacubowski @JoGustawsson : @OrendaBooks

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Today I have my thoughts on “Block 46” by Johana Gustawsson and translated by Maxim Jacubowski. Published by Orenda Books and available in various formats from Amazon Uk and other book sellers.

Synopsis:

Falkenberg, Sweden. The mutilated body of talented young jewellery designer, Linnea Blix, is found in a snow-swept marina. Hampstead Heath, London. The body of a young boy is discovered with similar wounds to Linnea’s. Buchenwald Concentration Camp, 1944. In the midst of the hell of the Holocaust, Erich Hebner will do anything to see himself as a human again. Are the two murders the work of a serial killer, and how are they connected to shocking events at Buchenwald? Emily Roy, a profiler on loan to Scotland Yard from the Canadian Royal Mounted Police, joins up with Linnea’s friend, French true-crime writer Alexis Castells, to investigate the puzzling case. They travel between Sweden and London, and then deep into the past, as a startling and terrifying connection comes to light. Plumbing the darkness and the horrific evidence of the nature of evil, Block 46 is a multi-layered, sweeping and evocative thriller that heralds a stunning new voice in French Noir. 

WINNER: Nouvelle Plume D’Argent 2016 
For fans of The Missing, Dominique Manotti, Camilla Lackberg, Stieg Larsson

My Thoughts:

The body of Linnéa Blix is found in Falkberg, Sweden the wounds are similar to the body of a young boy found in London. Are the two connected, if so how? Running within this stroy is that of a Prisoner of War from the Buchenwald Concentration Camp his story runs from arriving at the camp through the years of his life. It will take the on loan Canadian Royal Mounted Police Profiler Emily Roy to try and find the pieces to this intense puzzle with French True Crime Writer Alexis Castells.

First of all, if you have not read this book then you need to take yourself off right this moment and get a copy.  If you have read this book, then why the hell didn’t you demand I read it?  This book has a time slip element to it and the author has done such a fantastic job bring the past up to date within this deeply tense, suspense filled thriller.

So what to say about this book without giving anything away? The depth of the plot is as creative as it is chilling, as the author relates and weaves several stories together in quick snappy chapters.  It is told from the perspective of key characters to give different opinions and viewpoints giving the reader a much bigger picture. The descriptions of the camp conditions and practices are detailed enough to allow the evil nature of the place and of some people to be felt.  But the way the author has dealt with this topic has been done with sensitivity and respect.

As I said earlier there are several story lines and they are gradually and expertly drawn together, adding more suspense, intrigue and intensity as she brings you closer to the end. The end was jaw dropping, unexpected and to use a cliche “I really did not see that one coming”, or in fact the next one… absolutely knocked me sideways.

I am going to share few lines from the first page of this book and I hope you can see why I was immediately hooked :

“He picks up his spade, gathers earth and spreads it out in the hole. A single shovelful and the legs are already covered; all that sticks out are the toes. Toes as smooth as pebbles, as cold as ice, that make him want to touch them with the tips of his fingers.”

So if you are a reader who likes suspense, crime, thriller, mystery reads that are hard hitting, strongly written, totally absorbing, addictive, brutal, outstanding read then you MUST READ this book.

About the Author:

Born in 1978 in Marseille and with a degree in political science, Johana Gustawsson has worked as a journalist for the French press and television. She married a Swede and now lives in London. She was the co-author of a bestseller, On se retrouvera, published by Fayard Noir in France, whose television adaptation drew over 7 million viewers in June 2015. She is working on the next book in the Roy & Castells series.

Follow Johana on :  Twitter ~ or Website

Many thanks for reading my post, a like or a share would be amazing 🙂 xx

#BookReview | Dear Mrs Bird by AJ Pearce @ajpearcewrites| @panmacmillan #NetGalley

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I have the delightfully spiffing “Dear Mrs Bird” by AJ Pearce to share with you today.  Published by Pan Macmillan and available in various formats from 5th April 2018 you can purchase a copy from Amazon UK.

Synopsis:

London, 1941. Emmeline Lake and her best friend Bunty are trying to stay cheerful despite the Luftwaffe making life thoroughly annoying for everyone. Emmy dreams of becoming a Lady War Correspondent and when she spots a job advertisement in the newspaper she seizes her chance – but after a rather unfortunate misunderstanding, she finds herself typing letters for the formidable Henrietta Bird, the renowned agony aunt of Woman’s Friend magazine. Mrs Bird is very clear: letters containing any form of Unpleasantness must go straight into the bin. But as Emmy reads the desperate pleas from women who may have Gone Too Far with the wrong man, or can’t bear to let their children be evacuated, she decides the only thing for it is to secretly write back . . . Irresistibly funny and enormously moving, Dear Mrs Bird by AJ Pearce is a love letter to the enduring power of friendship, the kindness of strangers and the courage of ordinary people in extraordinary times.

My Thoughts:

Emmy soon realises that the job she has just accepted is not quite what she thought it would be.  Rather than becoming part of a journalistic team investigating and helping reporters, she is a junior for a problem page at Woman’s Friend magazine.  She is responsible for sifting through the letters looking for help and advice, sounds great but in actual fact there are certain things that Mrs Henrietta Bird will not have on her column. I say certain things but it turns out that most things will not appear in her column.

This is such a great read, set in London during the blitz.  It has all the elements you would expect rationing, shortages of everyday items, sadness of loved ones away from home, despair when they do not return. The letters that are written to the magazine give a more personal feel to those women who are left at home possibly for the first time.  This is a great way of giving a sense of time and place, it has a real feel of the time with references to clothing, films, music and obviously the war.

A lighter side is added to this with the antics of Emmy and how she decides to take things into her own hands. It has an almost chick lit feel to it and I thought it balanced the harrowing experiences people experienced as the war raged around them. It does have a great deal of emotion in it as you read the letters that have been sent in and also as you follow the characters through the story.

This is a great read that I thoroughly enjoyed.  Once I started it I could not put it down.  This is a book that I think would appeal to readers of lighter historical WWII fiction and definitely from a female perspective and thought it was a well-balanced book.  This is a book that I would highly recommend. I also think this would be a great Book Club read, there are many things that would make some great discussion points.

Many thanks for reading my post, a like or a share would be wonderful 🙂 xx

#GuestPost | Outremer by D.N Carter @gilbster1000 @AuthorightUKPR @Authoright #SpringReads #BlogTour

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I had the pleasure of reading “Outremer” by D.N Carter last year and was absolutely stunned by the amount of historical references in this tome of a book, the first in a planned four part series.  When the opportunity to take part in Authoright’s Spring Reads Event arrived I knew exactly what I wanted; more information about the research that went into the book, and also about the £10,000 prize for anyone than can crack the code in the book. In this post you will discover, amongst other things, how a lifetime of research lead the author underestimated the word count, from 140,000 to 1,247,000…… yes you really did read that right!  It is a real eye opener.

You can  Purchase fromAmazon UK.

Firstly the Synopsis:

Who Controls The Past Controls The Future

 An epic love story must overcome religious divide and a plot to eradicate two blood lines, as the Crusades and the search for the ancient mysteries of the Holy Grail gather momentum.

Raised by his father in La Rochelle, France, Paul Plantavalu is known for his artistic nature, inquisitive mind and Christian faith. He also has an unshakable love for his Muslim childhood friend, Alisha al Komaty. Courageous and outspoken, she returns Paul’s love. But their path is paved with obstacles; religion, war, political chaos and a mysterious enemy determined to destroy their family lines.

Sometime between 1110 AD and 1120 AD in the aftermath of the first crusade, a small band of nine knights — the founding knights Templar — recover ancient precious artefacts left by a former, advanced civilisation, beneath the City of Jerusalem. Ruthlessly guarded, the secrets revealed by this discovery are highly prized by powerful and dangerous forces far and wide; the repercussions of their capture are inextricably linked to Paul and Alisha. As Paul starts to experience dark and vivid dreams and the fragile balance of peace starts to crumble, it will fall to an enigmatic man known as Kratos and his female warrior protégée Abi Shadana, to safeguard Paul and Alisha.

Paul and Alisha’s love story weaves between the threads of our reality and other realms — from the Druids to the Sufi mystics, the Magi of the East, the secret political arm of the Knights Templar and the Isma’ilis, the Assassins. Knights and pilgrims alike will witness some of the darkest battles ever fought. The discovery of a unique sword’s lethal power and whispered connections to King Arthur and the Holy Grail lead Paul and Alisha to question if their lives ever be the same again.

The first of a four-part series, Outremer is an historical epic, which sweeps across England, Scotland and France, to Syria, Jerusalem and Egypt. Discover the truth — and crack the ancient code — behind the great mysteries of the High Middle Ages for yourself.

 

Get comfortable for this amazing post about the research and the prize:

    It has taken me since I was a young child to accumulate the research behind Outremer…and I am still learning more even now in my fifties. My main reason for writing Outremer was, and remains, to share and impart what appears to be highly advanced knowledge from our distant past that is provable and irrefutable, yet suppressed or deliberately ignored by so-called main stream academia. It all started after reading Chretien de Troyes Grail romances, plus my love of castles and ancient ruins…my original inspiration. I hope to provoke readers to think and start upon a path of their own research and not just accept my words, but to challenge all that I write, to seek for themselves answers and either refute or verify what I claim.

I can state with all clarity the first time I sat down and wrote the title and saved it as a word document was back in 2005. Almost a year later I penned the basic story time line together…175 pages! I knew it was going to be a massive undertaking but vowed I would finish. The research took the most time to ensure accuracy. From the smallest detail of clothing to major historical facts, to religious doctrine and philosophies, and only then, when I felt confident enough, did I commit to writing full time. In early 2014 I finally began to flesh out the original story time line. It soon became apparent my idea of penning a 140,000 word book was woeful wishful thinking and grossly underestimated the extent and volume of material I was trying to convey. 1,247,000 words later I typed ‘The End’ in December 2015. Now the hard work would begin I was then informed with editing and proofing etc and splitting the manuscript into four major volumes.

I wanted to share the knowledge of the ancients and their codes, as I believe I have understood them, in an engaging and enjoyable format, especially as they still have profound consequences for all of us. I have included a new one using those codes that readers may wish to work upon. If they crack it, it will lead to a location and an item. There are also exoteric and esoteric messages that run throughout the manuscript. To some they will be obvious whilst missed by others unfamiliar with the symbolism at first; however they will discover and understand as the information slowly reveals itself. It is possible to crack the code from book 1 alone. I have learnt that all three of the Abrahamic religions (Judaism, Christianity and Islam) all carry within their respective Holy Books, a genuine and provable mathematical code…and they are the same code. As the famous scientist Stephen Hawkins once said, “If God is real, he is maths”. It shows that there is a higher knowledge behind their origins. Whoever breaks my code will win £10,000. The code can also be reversed to reveal the location of a genuine and far greater treasure and that is why I put up the prize to get people to look a little closer than perhaps they would have.

I have adhered as near as possible to historical truth whilst conveying a new perspective on our history in a verifiable format that not only educates the reader, but hopefully inspires too. ‘Your beliefs do not make you a free thinker…the ability to change your beliefs based upon new information does’ I was told when living in Cyprus, and so I strive to seek out new information; consequently I discovered many new things…far too many to include here but all comprehensively covered within Outremer. Some of the simpler facts that surprised me however were learning that King Richard the Lion heart could not speak English…his first language being French, and the name Jesus was not even generally known by that name in the Middle Ages, but as Iesus.

Outremer is based upon real people who lived during the tumultuous period of the 12th century, and few people nowadays appreciate the massive implications of events then that still impact upon us today. This was the perfect period platform to express the many levels of love, from the total and unselfish love for another, to unrequited love, jealousy, betrayals and forgiveness. But this period was also when items were recovered by the original founding Knights Templar that would ultimately lead to the rediscovery of practices and technologies that had an immediate impact, especially upon the design and construction of great cathedrals, but also leaps in other areas not so obvious that led to the explosion of what became known as the Renaissance starting in Florence.

This was when the first Grail romances about chivalry were being penned. Geoffrey of Monmouth, writing around 1130 with ‘History of the Kings of Britain’, introduced the first literary creation of the character, King Arthur and the idea of courtly love, but it was Chretien de Troyes who built and expanded on this creating Camelot, Lancelot and the Holy Grail. All my research pointed to this as being the period when a great revelation of esoteric and exoteric codes started…and the perfect backdrop to set a love story that is enmeshed with those very same codes of antiquity. I have always had an affinity to this period, especially the secret and mysterious Knights Templar, their clothing and equipment plus a deep fascination with ruins, mainly castles. It began when I was nine years of age. I went to Fountains Abbey in Yorkshire on a school trip. I loved the architecture and the feeling of spiritual peace that I sensed there. That trip revealed I had a natural talent for drawing architectural scenes. I visited many castles and ruins and my fascination simply grew from there. As a youth I was lucky enough to travel to several major castles in Cyprus, Syria, Jordan and Egypt. The beauty, scale and history of them utterly captivated me…but gave me a sense of sadness too for all the carnage of war that was visited upon them and their occupants. Consequently I asked myself, why, why would people fight wars of such unbelievable brutality? That question was rammed home after learning how the Christian Crusaders captured Jerusalem in 1099 AD and massacred all of its 70,000 inhabitants regardless of religion. I seriously questioned the real motives for the first Crusade with a deep sense there was far more than we are taught.

I still love ruins…an almost naive romantic notion of great Knights on quests that stirs within me whenever I see a castle, or even just a small part of an ancient wall, but the reality of castles is one of war and likewise those warrior monks, the Knights Templar. They projected a mystique I wanted to know all about, especially if they were somehow true guardians of what is known as the Holy Grail. How could monks be warriors too…it was a contradiction? I learned that Knights Templar swore to protect an original spirituality belief system, which is the basis for all religions, dedicated to supporting established Churches of all denominations and religious Orders and of other traditions…including Islam. It is knowledge and an understanding all people should have the opportunity to be shown.

The main thing I have personally learned, is that we, mankind as a whole, are all connected, we are inherently good, not bad and we are all spiritual beings and religion is simply a vehicle that has been used to convey a higher message across time as well as moral codes and words of hope and comfort…plus a message we are now only truly beginning to recognise for what it is. And that love, as airy fairy, corny or as some argue naive as that may sound, is the key…and true education I believe is when you are shown something, but not told how to see it. So we have a choice for we effect the very environment we live in and the world as a whole.

Being of a spiritual nature, I have read and studied as much as I could on every religious order and doctrine I could find. One aspect I always suspected was not somehow real was the so-called apocalypse. I could never understand how and why a God, who supposedly created us, would destroy us. I learnt that Apocalypse means to ‘unveil’ or to ‘reveal’ meaning ‘un-covering’, translated literally from Greek meaning ‘disclosure of knowledge’, a lifting of the veil or revelation …not destroy, nor the end of the world etc. So what else within scripture was not explained properly I wondered? Also what was contained within the fourteen books removed from the Bible and why were they removed. To learn why meant delving back to the late 1100’s, a period that shaped the geopolitical maps of both Europe and the Middle East, which in turn shaped the relations between Christian and Muslim countries to this day, with repercussions that still echo to the present. That is why, in my opinion, it is so essential to fully grasp and understand the true realities of that era that led to Christian and Muslim ideologies being so diametrically opposed …but how some today, knowing how to manipulate those facts to suit their own particular agendas, can effectively control the future by controlling our understanding of the past; hence the sub title ‘Who controls the past, controls the future’.

Follow on:  Outremer Website  ~    Outremer on Facebook

Yvonne: Oh my goodness, if this does not show the dedication I really don’t know what does. I am no where close to discovering the secret of the code.  But I do know is that this book is an epic read, full of so many facts and historical content.  The following books in this series are already on my “must buy when then are published list”.

About the Author:

About the author: After strange and vivid experiences whilst living in Cyprus as a child, author D N Carter has been fascinated by the history, myths and legends of the Middle Ages and mankind’s past. As he got older travels to Pyramids of Giza in Egypt, the Languedoc region of France and the deserts of Arabia fuelled his enthusiasm. While not decoding maps and mathematical codes D N Carter enjoys adventure sports from parachuting to microlight flying. Today he divides his time between East Anglia in the UK and the south of France with his family.

Check out the other books and bloggers on the Spring Reads 2018 Blog Tour

Spring Reads 2018

Many thanks for reading my post, a share or a like would be great 🙂 xx

 

#GuestPost : The Invisible Hand by James Hartley @jameshartleybks @rararesources #TheInvisibleHand #Giveaway

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Today I have a wonderful Guest Post by James Hartley, author of The Invisible Hand : Shakespeare’s Moon – Act One.  James explains how books, especially those by Paul Theroux helped him.  Purchase from – Amazon UK ~ Amazon.com

Synopsis:

The Invisible Hand is about a boy, Sam, who has just started life at a boarding school and finds himself able to travel back in time to medieval Scotland. There he meets a girl, Leana, who can travel to the future, and the two of them become wrapped up in events in Macbeth, the Shakespeare play, and in the daily life of the school. The book is the first part of a series called Shakespeare´s Moon. Each book is set in the same boarding school but focuses on a different Shakespeare play.

Guest Post by James Hartley:

When books are your best friends

I was ill recently. Not anything life-threatening, but enough to put me down and keep me there, to change my world and leave me out of everyone else’s.

Stuck in the house, alone, immobile, I felt as though I were living a parallel existence to my neighbours and the rest of the world. My usual routine made no sense and was largely impossible. I wondered how everyone else could carry on, laughing and running about, when I was aching and felt so useless. As usual when I became ill, I could’t believe how much I´d taken my good health for granted and vowed to do a million things when I got better and never be lazy again.

Unable to sleep or concentrate on films or television, I reached for the books I´d been reading up to then and rejected them: no, they were for when I was well. Some other person had been reading those books, not me. Now I needed something different. Some comfort reading, perhaps, but not necessarily an easy read. Just a dependable one. An old friend.

Looking about the house, I spied Paul Theroux´s book about travelling the coast of the Mediterranean, The Pillars of Hercules, up on a top shelf in the living room, and thought: Yes, that´s what I want. What I need. I have all of Theroux´s travel books huddled together at home, close at hand; battered old copies which have criss-crossed the world and relationships with me.

I don´t know what it is about these books, why they comfort me in dark times, but I think it has something to do with the time I suffered a shocking bereavement, over ten years ago now. Someone very close to me had left the house in the morning and had never come home. It was an accident, they said, but that´s no comfort. There are no answers in accidents, only chaos and misery.

Nobody could console me then, no words or drink or actions, and I really don´t know how I even managed to start reading. Perhaps it was an escape from the tears and reality. Back then it was The Happy Isles of Oceana, by Theroux, and I still have the copy I dived into all those years back. That book got me through a vile time. It somehow managed that odd trick books have, like sleep, shock or love, of playing with time, of taking me out of myself, away from my real life, to bathe in a kind of collective sea of imagination which replenished me and gave me a breather and made me come back stronger.

I always feel the need to keep these books close to me after periods in my life like this. They are like mementos, gateways to times past, reminding me of where I’ve been, where I come from. They are good, old friends, always the same and always different each time we meet.

Now, getting better, I salute those old friends, gathering dust, looking down upon me from that top shelf, and I remember why they are they´re there. They´re there because, like me, they have survived and come through.

The trick is to never take them, your health or your life for granted.

I hope you are now on the road to recovery James.  Personally I find books to be a great friend when not feeling well, they can help lift your spirits and have no expectations.  Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts today, and I wish you all the very best.  Yvonne xx

About the Author:

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James was born on the Wirral, England, in 1973 on a rainy Thursday. He shares his birthday with Bono, Sid Vicious and two even nastier pieces of work, John Wilkes Booth and Mark David Chapman.

His mother was a hairdresser with her own business and his father worked in a local refinery which pours filth into the sky over the Mersey to this day. They married young and James was their first child. He has two younger brothers and a still-expanding family in the area. As an Everton fan he suffered years of Liverpool success throughout the seventies and was thrilled when his father took a job in Singapore and the family moved lock, stock and two smoking barrels to Asia.

He spent five fine years growing up in the city state before returning to the rain, storms, comprehensive schools and desolate beauty of the Scottish east coast. Later years took he and his family to baking hot Muscat, in Oman, and a Syria that has since been bombed off the surface of the planet.

James studied journalism in London and later travelled through Ireland, France, Germany and India generally having a good time, before finally settling in Madrid, Spain, where he now lives with his wife and two children.

Social Media Links – ~ Facebook ~ Twitter ~ Goodreads ~ Website

Giveaway *Win 5 x Signed copies of The Invisible Hand with special Invisible Hand tactile pens (Open Internationally)

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*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

See what other Blog Tour participants thought of this book.

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Many thanks for reading my post, if you liked it please give it a share. Or, get yourself a copy and let me know what you think 🙂 xx

#BlogTour : The Summer Will Come by Soulla Christodoulou @schristodoulou2 @rararesources #BookReview

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Today I am on the blog tour for The Summer Will Come by Soulla Christodoulou. This is available in either eBook or paperback format and can be purchased HERE.  My thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for my spot on the tour and also Soulla for my copy of this book.

Synopsis:

Set in the 1950s, the story begins in Cyprus. EOKA, British rule, and the fight for Enosis (unity) disrupt the world of two Greek Cypriot families, living in different villages on the island. They are desperately trying to cope with the unpredictability of this fractious time.

Circumstances over a five-year period push both families to escape to London where, as immigrants, they struggle to settle, face new challenges, trauma and cope with missing their homeland’s traditions and culture.

Both families’ lives cross paths in London and it seems that happier beginnings could be theirs. But at what cost?

A story of passion for a country in turmoil, family love, loyalty and treachery and how, sometimes, starting over isn’t always as imagined. 

My Thoughts:

Set in 1950’s Cyprus we meet two Cypriot families, from different villages.  These families eventually make the decision, along with many others, that it is better to leave the trouble in Cyprus and start a new life in England.

We meet both the families and discover a little of their histories and also the run up to the hard decision they have to make to leave the homeland and start again in a new country.  This part of the story is a great way to get to know our main characters as they go about their everyday lives, also a great way to show much of a difference and a contrast it is when they continue their lives in London.

Once in London the families have to find lodgings and jobs, even though it is a new start, their traditions and customs have an even bigger part to play.  It is an essential part of who they are and gives them a strength, something they know and can rely on as they come to terms with the changes.  London is cold, noisy and has a polluted atmosphere compared the tranquillity that was their home before the troubles.  With a close-knit community and a commitment to traditions paths are invariably going to cross and new connections and friendships made.  This leads to the romantic side of the story.  This part of the story is where new and old meet and mix, traditions governing the meeting of potential husband/wife are paramount to the way things are done and also seen to be done.  Just because they are in a new culture does not mean they should abandon their own.

This is a really interesting book to read on many levels.  The author explains how the trouble on the island in the 50’s was experienced by those in the midst of it and incorporating it into a story line that is a great read.  I did feel the second half of the story was stronger and had a more personal feel to it.  The contrasts between the two lifestyle between the two countries were well explained and gave a great insight into conditions and also feelings.  The actions and reactions of people was also touched upon, by that I mean the racists attitudes and comments made.  I really loved the mentions of the mouth-watering sounding dishes and foods from a culture I know only the basics about.

If you are after a fictionalised historical novel that explores the Cypriots and the move some of them made to London to escape the fighting and turmoil at home then I would definitely recommend this book. It takes the reader in a journey of life, death, despair, hope and new beginnings.   It is insightful and also educational, and has a wonderful romantic side to it.  I book I would definitely recommend to readers.

About the Author:

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Born in London to Greek Cypriot parents Soulla Christodoulou spent much of her childhood living carefree days full of family, school and friends. She was the first in her family to go to university and studied BA Hotel & Catering Management at Portsmouth University. Years later, after having a family of her own she studied again at Middlesex University and has a PGCE in Business Studies and an MA in Education.

Soulla is a Fiction author and wrote her first novel Broken Pieces of Tomorrow over a few months while working full time in secondary education. She is a mother of three boys.

She is a compassionate and empathetic supporter of young people. Her passion for teaching continues through private tuition of English Language and Children’s Creative Writing Classes as well as proof reading and other writing services.

Her writing has also connected her with a charity in California which she is very much involved in as a contributor of handwritten letters every month to support and give hope to women diagnosed with breast cancer. One of her letters is featured in a book ‘Dear Friend’, released on Amazon in September 2017.

When asked, she will tell you she has always, somewhere on a subconscious level, wanted to write and her life’s experiences both personal and professional have played a huge part in bringing her to where she was always meant to be; writing books and drinking lots of cinnamon and clove tea!

She also has a poetry collection, Sunshine after Rain, published on Amazon and The Summer Will Come is her second novel. She is currently working on a third novel Trust is a Big Word about an on-line illicit relationship that develops between two people.

Social Media Links – Website ~ Twitter ~ Instagram ~ Facebook ~ Pinterest ~ Scriggler

See what the other Bloggers on the tour think.

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Many thanks for reading my post, a share would be wonderful.  Get you own copy of the book HERE  🙂 xx

#BlogTour : Among the Branded by Linda Smolkin #AmongtheBranded @Lindasmolkin @annecater #BookReview

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I am sharing my thoughts on “Among The Branded” by Linda Smolkin today on my blog.  This is available in Paperback and eBook format from Amazon UK .  My thanks to Anne at Random Things Tours for my spot on this Blog Tour.

Synopsis:

What if a 70-year-old letter from World War II changed the course of your life?

While attending Valor of the ’40s, art director Stephanie Britain stumbles upon a flea market selling letters from the war. She buys a handful, hoping they’ll inspire the redesign for a client’s website at her branding and design firm. She’s at first drawn by the lost art of penmanship, but soon discovers a hidden treasure nestled inside declarations of love from homesick soldiers. Stephanie enlists a coworker to translate one and realizes it’s not a love letter after all. When a shocking discovery about a client causes Stephanie to question her principles and dedication to her firm’s business, she’s forced to make a difficult decision—one that could give her peace of mind, yet ruin her career in the process.

Contemporary fiction with a historical touch, AMONG THE BRANDED explores family life, an unexpected friendship, and moral conflicts that make us wonder what’s more important: our livelihood or our beliefs. This moving debut novel by Linda Smolkin is a great addition for readers who enjoy books by Jodi Picoult, Kristin Hannah, and Liane Moriarty.

My Thoughts:

Stephanie and Greg Britain, with their two children Jeremy and Jack are off to Valour of the 40’s a WWII re-enactment.  This trip was Jack’s choice, Jeremy is soon to go off to college.  While there Stephanie comes across a bundle of letters on a second-hand stall. One letter catches her eye and the story begins.

Oh my goodness what a beautiful and heartwarming story.  A chaotic and frantic beginning with the hectic lifestyle of this family. It shows how this active and close-knit family go about their everyday lives.  Then all of a sudden this story starts to grab your attention, in amongst the hustle and bustle of family and work, Stephanie and the truth about a letter start to make their place known and the story just blossoms.

This story is one about family, hope, love compassion and is a beautifully engrossing and an addictive read.  I found myself swept up as the story behind the letter comes out.  It touches on serious subjects and these have been told by an adult talking to children, it is told simply, honestly and with respectful. But also the realisation that there are still those in the world that are not accepting of others.  The characters in this story are funny, vivid and have been brought to life as we learn more about them. I’m not going into too much detail about the content of this letter or what Stephanie discovers, for me the details of it are what makes this story a stunning read.

This is a very engaging book, and was an absolute joy to read.  It is beautiful and has a serious and heart wrenching side to it as you learn the truth about the letter, but among this serious side is a witty and humorous side, it had me giggling at the banter between family and friends.

This is a debut novel by Linda and I want to know what is next. This book is one that I would highly recommend to readers who like a story that is a mix of historical and contemporary that has a great balance.  I loved this book and hope others will find it and love it as well.

About the Author:

Linda Smolkin - Author Picture .jpg  Linda Smolkin always wanted to be a writer—ever since she saw her first TV commercial and wondered how to pen those clever ads. She got her degree in journalism and became a copywriter. Linda landed a job at an ad agency, where she worked for several years before joining the nonprofit world. She’s currently working on her second novel, which will be released in Spring 2018. When not in front of the computer, she’s behind the drums (slightly) annoying her husband, son, and their 70-pound dog. For more information, visit her Website ,  follow her on Twitter  ~ Facebook

Many thanks for reading my post, a share if you liked it would be wonderful.  Or go and grab a copy of this brilliant book HERE 🙂 xx

#PublicationDay : Ike & Kay by James MacManus #ikeandkay @jamesmac1x: @Duckbooks #BookReview

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I am delighted to be sharing my thoughts on “Ike & Kay” by James MacManus.  It is publication day today for this book by Duckworth OverLook and is available in various formats.  CLICK HERE for the link to purchase from Amazon UK.  I would like to express my thanks to Thogdin at Duckworth Overlook for my copy of this wonderful book.

Synopsis:

The secret affair at the heart of World War II

Ike and Kay is the absorbing new novel from the highly acclaimed author James MacManus. A compelling historical novel, it is a vivid reimagining of General Eisenhower and Kay Summersby’s infamous love affair in London during World War II.

In 1942, Kay Summersby’s life is changed forever when she is conscripted to drive General Eisenhower on his fact-finding visit to wartime London. Despite Eisenhower’s marriage to Mamie, the pair take an immediate liking to each other and he buys Kay a rare wartime luxury: a box of chocolates. So begins a tumultuous relationship that, against all military regulation, sees Kay traveling with Eisenhower on missions to far-flung places before the final assault on Nazi Germany.

The general does dangerously little to conceal his affair with the woman widely known as “Ike’s shadow,” and in letters Mamie bemoans his new obsession with “that Irish woman”. That does not stop him from using his influence to grant Kay citizenship and rank in the US army, drawing her closer still when he returns to America. When officials discover Eisenhower’s plans to divorce his wife they threaten the fragile but passionate affair, and Kay is forced to take desperate measures to hold onto the man she loves…

Based on the scandalous true story of General Eisenhower’s secret World War II love affair, Ike and Kay is a compelling story of love, duty, sacrifice and heartbreak, set against the backdrop of the most tumultuous period of the 20th century.

My Thoughts:

Firstly this is a story that is based on true events.  It is the story of how Kay Summersby became driver to General Eisenhower while he was on a visit to London during WWII.  A time when street signs were removed and London was in a black out, hence the need for drivers with knowledge of the area, the MTC (Motor Transport Corp) was in place and essential for the movement of visitors.

James has created a story that has a great balance for this reader, actual events with a romantic liaison.  It becomes evident that there is something going on between Ike and Kay as she transports him not only around London, but further afield into Europe.  She is a woman who is able to provide a stable environment that Eisenhower gradually starts to rely on.  It is not based just during the war, but also continues in the years after.  You get to see different sides to the man who goes on to become President.  My opinion at the start of the book about these two people changed by the time I got the end.  My heart went out to Kay as her role during the war and after changed, her role changed so much from the driver she originally started out as.  Ike was in a position asking where loyalties lay, were they with Kay or to his country.

There are author notes at the end that are interesting reading, they explain how no one actually knows the extent of the relationship between Ike and Kay.  The story that is told is one that has been researched and the author has used this research to then create a wonderful read of what may have happened.  I had no idea about Kay and her role so I tootled off to do a bit of research of my own after I had finished reading.  I found photographs and various articles that was great to be able to put an actual face to the lady behind the story.

This is a story I would definitely recommend to readers of historical fiction, romantic fiction based during WWII, it is a mix of emotion and heartbreak  as the characters come to terms with their feelings and how they are seen by others with documented facts . As this lady was someone I knew nothing about it was interesting to read on further about her, and I am grateful for being introduced to Kay.

About the Author:

51QTtUz2b2L._SY200_ James MacManus has worked in the newspaper business for 46 years.He is currently the Managing Director of the Times Literary Supplement.He began his career on The Daily Express in Manchester after leaving St Andrews University.He worked in the Express regional offices in Newcastle,Belfast and Dublin before leaving to join the Guardian in London in 1972.He became Paris correspondent of that paper in 1974 then Africa and Middle East correspondent between the years of 1974-1985.He did not begin writing creatively until became MD of the TLS in 1998.His first book,Ocean Devil, told the story of a young Englishman who was caught up in the Sino-Japanese war of 1936-45.George Hogg was an Oxford graduate who worked as a journalist and then schoolmaster during the ferocious conflict.He became a hero in China having led a school of ninety children to safety from the advancing Japanese in the bitter winter of 1944.Ocean devil; was made into a film directed by Roger Spottiswoode and starring Jonathan Rhys Meyer. MacManus’ debut novel On the Broken Shore was published by Harper Collins in April 2010 and launched in the US with the title the Language of the Sea in 2013.

Follow James MacManus on : Website  ~ Twitter

Many thanks for reading my post, please give a share or a like.  Or go and get yourself a copy of this book CLICK HERE 🙂 xx

#BlogBlitz : Found Drowned by BK Duncan @BKDuncanwriter @BloodhoundBook @sarahhardy681 #NetGalley #BookReview

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Today I have “Found Drowned” by BK Duncan.  This is the 3rd in the “May Keaps” series and I think this may be my favourite one to date.  Published by Bloodhound Books and available in eBook and paperback and available for purchase HERE my thanks to Sarah and Bloodhound Books for my spot on the blog blitz, also to BK Duncan and NetGalley for my copy of the book.

Synopsis:

Smuggling. Prostitution. Murder.

London. 1920 and coroner’s officer May Keaps is tasked with solving the mystery that surrounds the death of a young boy, found drowned in The Thames.

But was it murder or an accident? 

May knows that when children go missing, the reason is often linked to money but she is in danger of underestimating the corrupting influence of power . . .

On streets where poverty and exploitation walk hand-in-hand everyone has a price. And some are more valuable dead than alive. But who is pulling the strings?

May must journey into the dark underbelly of London to find the answers.

My Thoughts:

May Keaps works for Poplar Coroners Office and finds herself in a whole heap of trouble.  The body of a young boy turns up in the Thames in 1920’s London.  May is desperate to find out the identity of the boy, what she finds is far more than what she bargained for.

As I said this is my favourite May Keaps story to date, it is grittier, puts her in more danger and catches her off guard a little more.  May is a very dependant and strong character and she does have a more feminine side that makes an appearance on occasion.  In this story she finds herself in the dark and murky world of prostitution and from the synopsis you get a good idea of what sort of thing you are going to come across.  Duncan gives a very good description of various activities without getting too graphic, enough to give a picture without going for show.  She has created a very dark and wonderfully described sense of time and setting.  The setting of 1920’s London is based around the wharves, docks and back alleys, along with smuggling, poverty, workhouses and Poor Law.  She has included a lot of detail relevant for the time and that gives the story a real believable feel to it.

Familiar faces from previous books make a welcome return and we learn a little more about some of them and more about May and her family.  This is a book that could be read as a stand alone, but as with all series it is better to read earlier books to get a sense of the characters and their stories.  May for me seems to be getting a little more bolder as the series has continued and also a little more reckless. She is a wonderful character and I look forward to seeing what her future in fiction holds.

This is a book I would definitely recommend to readers of historical fiction, crime, mystery and murder.  It is a great read with really good atmospheric historical content and a great story line.

About the Author:

BK Duncan and Foul TradeBorn on a steam railway and brought up on the South Coast of England, such beginnings were destined to leave BK Duncan with a love of vintage transport, crashing seas, and Art Deco architecture.

Following a career encompassing developmental learning and management consultancy (specialising in personal and organisational change) she made the switch to full time writer, combining producing her own work with lecturing in creative writing in colleges and academies in Hertfordshire and Cambridge. Her summers are spent on two never-ending tasks – re-pointing the walls of her flint cottage and reclaiming the wilderness of her meadow garden. For relaxation she reads, goes to the theatre, and explores the local countryside but her two great passions are longbow archery and the Argentine Tango. Sadly, she is not nearly as accomplished at either as she’d like.

Her proudest moment was when she overcame her fear of deep water to go potholing in the Yorkshire Pennines.

BK Duncan also writes as Ruth Wade. Read her Amazon #1 best-seller A Fatal Rhythm on Kindle.

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#BookReview : The Coffin Path by Katherine Clements @KL_Clements @headlinepg @NetGalley

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Today I have a ghost story set on the eerie Yorkshire Moors.  The Coffin Path by Katherine Clements is available in various formats from Amazon UK.  My thanks to NetGalley and Headline Publishing Group for my copy of this book.

Synopsis:

An eerie and compelling ghost story set on the dark wilds of the Yorkshire moors. For fans of The Witchfinder’s Sister or The Silent Companions, this gothic tale will weave its way into your imagination and chill you to the bone.

‘Spine-tingling… the scariest ghost story I have read in a long time’ Barbara Erskine

‘Brooding and full of creeping menace’ Laura Purcell, author of The Silent Companions 

‘Like something from Emily Bronte’s nightmares’ Andrew Taylor, author of The Ashes of London

Maybe you’ve heard tales about Scarcross Hall, the house on the old coffin path that winds from village to moor top. They say there’s something up here, something evil.

Mercy Booth isn’t afraid. The moors and Scarcross are her home and lifeblood. But, beneath her certainty, small things are beginning to trouble her. Three ancient coins missing from her father’s study, the shadowy figure out by the gatepost, an unshakeable sense that someone is watching.

When a stranger appears seeking work, Mercy reluctantly takes him in. As their stories entwine, this man will change everything. She just can’t see it yet.

My Thoughts:

Set in the 17th century on the eerie Yorkshire Moors. Meet Mercy, she lives with her father Bartram Booth and Agnes in Scarcross Hall.  They are in the heart of the sheep community and part of a close-knit of herders, shepherds and locals. But when a stranger appears looking for work, is it coincidence that things take on a turn that boarders on creepy maybe even supernatural.

The descriptions given of the contrasts that can be experienced on the moors have been vividly told, they paint a beautiful and bleak image.  She has explored the deeply rooted sense of community. But when uncertainty mixed with fear is in the air then self-preservation is utmost priority, woe betide anyone getting on the wrong side of community spirit. Fear is something that lurks in the minds of some, makes them think of things from the past, it creeps into the heads and when things go missing, noises are heard and items are moved the feeling that something more is going on.

The plot itself is a good suspense filled one, it paints the bleak, rugged and dangerous moors as a backdrop for a more intense feeling.  I was never quite sure who or what was the cause, but by the end I felt quite satisfied that my questions and thoughts had been answered.  Mercy is a hard but likeable character, the epitomizes the strength required to work, a woman in a man’s world, doing a man’s job, just as good as any man as well.  She is a powerful character, and there were times that she did have more of a feminine side.

I thought this was a great read, it has the eerie suspense of evil that chitters away in the background, occasionally raising its head to remind you of its presence. It is atmospheric and has a beautiful description of the moors and surrounding areas.  This is a book I would definitely recommend to readers of historical fiction, suspense and in my opinion only a hint of horror.

About the Author:

81NpCsnHasL._SY200_  Katherine Clements is a critically acclaimed historical novelist and short story writer. Her debut novel, The Crimson Ribbon, was published in 2014 and her second, The Silvered Heart, in 2015. Both works are set in the seventeenth century and centre on the events and aftermath of English Civil War. Her work has been compared to the likes of Sarah Waters and Daphne du Maurier. Her third novel, The Coffin Path, will be published in February 2018.

Katherine is editor of Historia, the online magazine of the Historical Writers’ Association, and is a member of the HWA committee. She writes for various blogs and websites and particularly enjoys reviewing historical drama on film and TV. She is based in Manchester where she is currently Royal Literary Fund Fellow at Manchester University, and is working on her next novel.

Visit Katherine online at http://www.katherineclements.co.uk or find her on Twitter and Facebook.

Many thanks for reading my post, if you liked it please give it a share.  Or go and grab yourself a copy of this book 🙂 xx