Book reviews, Historical fiction, Thriller

A Shadow On The Lens by Sam Hurcom – Book Review

0B86EC4D-4D7E-40F8-85C0-50143B0D9F32

PUBLISHERS BLURB 

The Postmaster looked over my shoulder. As I turned to look I saw a flicker of movement from across the street. I felt unseen eyes peer at me.

He walked away without another word. I watched as he climbed onto his bicycle and sped away down the street. I turned back and looked over my shoulder.

Someone had been watching us.

  1. Thomas Bexley, one of the first forensic photographers, is called to the sleepy and remote Welsh village of Dinas Powys, several miles down the coast from the thriving port of Cardiff. A young girl by the name of Betsan Tilny has been found murdered in the woodland – her body bound and horribly burnt. But the crime scene appears to have been staged, and worse still: the locals are reluctant to help.

As the strange case unfolds, Thomas senses a growing presence watching him, and try as he may, the villagers seem intent on keeping their secret. Then one night, in the grip of a fever, he develops the photographic plates from the crime scene in a makeshift darkroom in the cellar of his lodgings. There, he finds a face dimly visible in the photographs; a face hovering around the body of the dead girl – the face of Betsan Tilny.

A757E4BE-D760-4791-8928-BE5402D84ACF

MY REVIEW 

Betsan Tilney has been murdered and her body burnt. Due to the local villagers superstitions, her body is being kept in an abandoned church. They feel the Death is the result of the demon, Calon Fawr.

Thomas Bexley, a forensic photographer is sent to document the evidence, but he is unwell with a fever and starts to see things …including a shape over the body in one of his photographs …or is it just a flaw?

He visits Bethan’s mother and while unwell he is certain she told him, “Do not look for her with your eyes”….

Will Thomas find the killer, or is there something even darker walking in the village?

This is a creepy, gothic supernatural mystery in the vein of Poe and Lovecraft, there are even rats scratching in the ceiling….if like a historical, supernatural mystery then you’ll love this.

Thank you to Tracy and Compulsive Readers for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour and for the promotional materials and a free copy of the ebook.  This is my honest, unbiased review.
You can buy a copy here

https://amzn.to/2AjpWiL

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

Sam Hurcom was born in Dinas Powys, South Wales in 1991. He studied Philosophy at Cardiff University, attaining both an undergraduate and master’s degree. He has since had several short stories published, and has written and illustrated a number of children’s books. Sam currently lives in the village he was raised in, close to the woodlands that have always inspired his writing. 

 

A SHADOW ON THE LENS is Sam’s debut novel.

(Courtesy of Goodreads)

Book reviews, Historical fiction

The Secrets We Kept by Lara Prescott – Book Review #TheSecretsWeKept

0ADBA1F4-F71C-4033-970E-EB8C5E331E38

PUBLISHERS BLURB

TWO FEMALE SPIES. A BANNED MASTERPIECE. A BOOK THAT CHANGED HISTORY.

  1. A celebrated Russian author is writing a book, Doctor Zhivago, which could spark dissent in the Soviet Union. The Soviets, afraid of its subversive power, ban it.

But in the rest of the world it’s fast becoming a sensation. 

In Washington DC, the CIA is planning to use the book to tip the Cold War in its favour.

Their agents are not the usual spies, however. Two typists – the charming, experienced Sally and the talented novice Irina – are charged with the mission of a lifetime: to smuggle Doctor Zhivago back into Russia by any means necessary.

It will not be easy. There are people prepared to die for this book – and agents willing to kill for it. But they cannot fail – as this book has the power to change history.

Sold in twenty-five countries and poised to become a global literary sensation, Lara Prescott’s dazzling first novel is a sweeping page turner and the most hotly anticipated debut of the year.
B0E37D9A-D63C-4484-A3BA-653B896726CF

MY REVIEW 

Based on the real person, Boris Pasternak, this is a possible story of how the famous novel, Dr Zhivago was smuggled out of the Soviet Union.

The CIA believed this to be an anti USSR novel and would be great propaganda.

Set in the 1950’s during the Cold War, this tells of Boris and his muse and lover, Olga. She is arrested and kept captive while the authorities want the details of Boris’ book. It tells the truth of the Russian Revolution and so is deemed subversive…

Part love story and part spy novel, with women taking a major part in the story, as the typing pool, women who were masters at getting information from various sources, mainly gullible men!

Also sometimes completing simple letter drops and at others more dangerous missions. These characters, Olga, Irina and Sally were my favourites and show you underestimate women at your peril!

Amazingly immersive writing by Lara Prescott, a real time thief of a novel. Brilliant historical fiction and a must read.

Thank you to Anne Cater and Random Things Tours for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour and for the promotional materials and a free copy of the book. This is my honest, unbiased review.

You can buy a copy here 

 

https://amzn.to/2ZUybkk

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: 

9DE685ED-24FA-4033-A63F-C6ABC9757EA8

Lara Prescott was named after the heroine of Doctor Zhivagoand first discovered the true story behind the novel after the CIA declassified 99 documents pertaining to its role in the book’s publication and covert dissemination.

She travelled the world – from Moscow and Washington, to London and Paris – in the course of her research, becoming particularly interested in political repression in both the Soviet Union and United States and how, during the Cold War, both countries used literature as a weapon.

Lara earned her MFA from the Michener Center for Writers. She lives in Austin, Texas with her husband.

 

Website : http://www.laraprescott.com/

 

Twitter : @laraprescott

 

 

 

 

 

Book reviews, Fantasy, Historical fiction, Science fiction

Ten Thousand Doors Of January by Alix. E. Harrow – Book Review

PUBLISHERS BLURB 

In the early 1900s, a young woman searches for her place in the world after finding a mysterious book in this captivating and lyrical debut. 

In a sprawling mansion filled with peculiar treasures, January Scaller is a curiosity herself. As the ward of the wealthy Mr. Locke, she feels little different from the artifacts that decorate the halls: carefully maintained, largely ignored, and utterly out of place.

Then she finds a strange book. A book that carries the scent of other worlds, and tells a tale of secret doors, of love, adventure and danger. Each page turn reveals impossible truths about the world and January discovers a story increasingly entwined with her own.

8D243EDE-43C6-4789-A2EA-F542CBA42280

MY REVIEW

January Scaller, 7years old and lives with her father’s employer, Mr Locke. He is a wealthy man who is a collector of antiquities and items from around the world. January’s father, Julian is Mr Locke’s Agent, who searches for these items and in return January is cared for and even has a nursemaid.

January finds a diary and writes stories to keep herself amused, she is bored and lonely. One day she runs off and finds a Door, going through it, she finds  another world…..She returns, Locke finds her, throws her diary away and locks her in her room for days until she learns to behave……so she does, for ten years. But she still has the silver coin she found in the other world…

I don’t want to say too much about the actual plot, other than it is utterly mesmerising.

A beautifully written piece of literary fiction, with magic, alternate worlds, and even a vampire. A tale of movement, of not standing still, of taking chances in a world where you don’t feel you fit in….what is behind the next Door?

“Those of you who are more than casually familiar with books—those of you who spend your free afternoons in fusty bookshops, who offer furtive, kindly strokes along the spines of familiar titles—understand that page riffling is an essential element in the process of introducing oneself to a new book. It isn’t about reading the words; it’s about reading the smell, which wafts from the pages in a cloud of dust and wood pulp. It might smell expensive and well bound, or it might smell of tissue-thin paper and blurred two-color prints, or of fifty years unread in the home of a tobacco-smoking old man. Books can smell of cheap thrills or painstaking scholarship, of literary weight or unsolved mysteries.”

I haven’t read a book like this before, it is a masterpiece of storytelling by Alix E Harrow. It will touch a nerve for anyone who loves books, as we know each one opens a door to another world. An absolute must read. 

Thank you to Tracy and Compulsive Readers for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour and for the promotional materials and a free copy of the ebook.  This is my honest, unbiased review.

 

You can buy a copy here 

 

https://amzn.to/34xhdHz

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 

I’ve been a student and a teacher, a farm-worker and a cashier, an ice-cream-scooper and a 9-to-5 office-dweller. I’ve lived in tents and cars, cramped city apartments and lonely cabins, and spent a summer in a really sweet ’79 VW Vanagon. I have library cards in at least five states.

Now I’m a full-time writer living in with my husband and two semi-feral kids in Berea, Kentucky. It is, I’m very sure, the best of all possible worlds.

My debut novel–a historical fantasy called THE TEN THOUSAND DOORS OF JANUARY–will be out in Fall 2019 from Orbit/Redhook. 

(Courtesy of Goodreads)

Book reviews, Crime thriller, Historical fiction

Code 17 by Francis Booth – Book Review

D724FA33-FE3F-4BEB-9785-8BCD46BB38A8

PUBLISHERS BLURB 

Code 17 by Francis Booth

Code 17 was originally a musical idea.

Ten years ago I made an album that paid homage to the theme music of 1960s British TV spy series like The Man from UNCLE, The Baron and Department S, and to films like Modesty Blaise and The Ipcress File. The music on the album was from an imaginary TV series called Code 17, featuring the glamorous art dealer/spy Lady Laura Summers. She was imagined as a cross between Sharron Macready of The Champions, Emma Peel of The Avengers and Lady Penelope Creighton-Ward of Thunderbirds, though none of these women was the lead character in their own show.

Ten years later I thought I could make a novel out of Code 17 and Lady Laura – a fast-paced, female-led thriller set in the art world of Swinging 1967 London. I kept to the format of a twelve-episode TV series and tried to imagine each chapter as a self-contained thirty minute episode, split into short, cinematic scenes; I imagined our heroine getting into deep water in every episode but always getting out of it before the credits rolled.

I hope you can imagine it that way too.

You can hear the music at https://www.mixcloud.com/planckmusic/code-17/

And watch the promotional video here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PfZsXqxch5I

48EA62D7-121A-40B2-969F-726D02150189

MY REVIEW 

Lady Laurencia Artemisia Claudia Summer or Lady Laura as she prefers, is an upper class art dealer……she is also a dealer in art forged by her friend Muffie…

Lady Laura is also gay, she is to marry Jonny, to keep up appearances, but on the wedding day, he is shot and with his dying breath he says ‘Code 17’….

Code 17 turns out to be a clandestine group of wealthy, powerful men who right wrongs their own way….

Lady Laura believes a woman to have shot Jonty, confirmed by her father as he tells her of the secretive Code 17…she wants revenge for Jonty and decides to find out more herself.

What follows is a romp through 1967….with its pop art, money and fashion. It’s a fast paced adventure in the vein of the Avengers….bowler hats and swords,there’s even a catsuit…. Lady Laura reminded me distinctively of Joanna Lumley’s Purdy…..

Lots of twists, with references to art and literature too. Great characters and a fun read.

Thank you to Anne Cater and Random Things Tours for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour and for the promotional materials and a free copy of the book. This is my honest, unbiased review

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

E1448D8B-8A46-48C9-988B-C45DD1F6C771

Francis Booth’s novels are all available as eBooks and paperbacks on Amazon. They include:

  • The Watchers series of Young Adult fantasy novels: The Charlotte Strain and The January Legacy;
  • The Nevermore novel sequence Nevermore, Evermore, Gone Before and Nothing More, a series of dark revenge tragedies;
  • Code 17, a fast-paced, female-led thriller set in the art world of Swinging Sixties London.

Francis is also the author of several academic books on modern literature and culture, also available on Amazon:

  • Amongst Those Left: the British Experimental Novel 1940-1960 (to be published by Dalkey Archive Press);
  • Everybody I Can Think of Ever: Meetings That Made the Avant-Garde;
  • Girls in Bloom: Coming of Age in the Mid Twentieth Century Woman’s Novel;
  • Text Acts: Twentieth Century Literary Eroticism;
  • Comrades in Art: Revolutionary Art in America 1926-1938.

As a translator, Francis Booth has published English versions of the Marionette Plays of Maurice Maeterlinck and produced libretti adapted from Akutagawa, Strindberg and early Sanskrit and Buddhist texts, several of which have been set to music and recorded.

Francis also produces music under the name Tektonix, all of which is on YouTube and at mixcloud.com/planckmusic. He is currently at work on Code 17.1, the sequel to Code 17.

 

F673A1A0-37A7-4282-B6D5-78AC1EEFB91C

 

Book reviews, Historical fiction, Science fiction

A Superior Spectre by Angela Meyer – Book Review

68877EA0-6483-428A-82D8-BA793D92455D

PUBLISHERS BLURB 

 

“A brilliant, deeply unsettling work.” Books + Publishing

 

Jeff is dying. Haunted by memories and grappling with shame, he runs away to a remote part of Scotland with a piece of beta tech that allows him to enter the mind of someone in the past. Instructed to only use it three times, Jeff – self-indulgent, isolated and deteriorating – ignores this advice.

In the late 1860s, Leonora lives in the Scottish Highlands, surrounded by nature. Contemplating the social conventions that bind her, her contented life and a secret romantic friendship with the local laird are interrupted when her father sends her to stay with her aunt in Edinburgh. But Leonora’s ability to embrace her new life is shadowed by a dark presence that begins to lurk behind her eyes, and strange visions.

A Superior Spectre is a novel about curiosity, entitlement and manipulation. It reminds us that the scariest ghosts aren’t the ones that go bump in the night, but those that are born and create a place for themselves in the human soul.

3A56CCA7-FBF4-44EB-94D9-EFC5D64B674D

MY REVIEW

Jeff leaves his life behind in Melbourne, Australia to travel to Scotland with his Andserv robot helper and companion. He is dying, but has declined medical treatment.

He has, and uses tech that assigns you a hosts mind in the past, where you can see and feel what they feel, but they are unaware. He visits Leonora in the 1860’s…..in her mind …a time travelling parasite. I have to admit to disliking Jeff, as he was a self-indulgent, yet self pitying man whose desires control everything he does…with little thought for the effect he is having on Leonora’s mind.

Leonora is a simple kind soul, with a secret romance with the local laird, William. But her life is one of hard work and oppression as a woman in the 1860’s. The descriptive writing really brings this to life.

Jeff uses his invasion of Leonora’s mind to pass his own desires to her…..an abuse,  of male domination and as a result she feels she is possessed. It also shows society’s double standards when it comes to female sexuality, and promiscuity is seen as a mental illness.

A beautifully written, almost poet mix of historical, gothic fiction and sci-fi with real atmosphere and both likeable and reprehensible characters. Thought provoking and something rather special. I’m sure this will be a favourite amongst Book clubs everywhere. A definite must read.

Thank you to Ruth Killick Publicity for the opportunity to read this marvellous book for free. This is my honest and unbiased review.

You can buy a copy here 

https://amzn.to/2N0LKrO

 

About the author:

A71E4BFF-1BE8-48DD-AEFF-D6BEFC29E467

Angela Meyer’s Joan Smokes won the inaugural Mslexia Novella Competition in 2019. Her short fiction has been widely published, including in Best Australian Stories, Island, The Big Issue, The Australian, The Lifted Brow and Killings. By day she works as a publisher for Echo Publishing, an Australian imprint of Bonnier Books UK, and in this role has discovered and developed a range of award-winning, globally published and bestselling talent, including global number one bestselling author Heather Morris. A Superior Spectre, Angela’s debut novel, is already shortlisted for a number of prestigious awards.

Angela Meyer is @literaryminded on Twitter and Insta. @literarymindedblog on Facebook. You can find her online at literaryminded.com.au where there are also some book club questions for A Superior Spectre.

Saraband is @SarabandBooks

 

Book reviews, Classic Fiction, Historical fiction

A Shot In The Dark by Neil Richards and Matthew Costello – Book Review

B9E848F8-2016-4880-B626-351EB87B943D

PUBLISHERS BLURB 

Sussex, England, 1929.

Mydworth is a sleepy English market town just 50 miles from London. But things are about to liven up there considerably, when young Sir Harry Mortimer returns home from his government posting in Cairo, with his unconventional American wife – Kat Reilly.

No sooner have the two arrived, when a jewel robbery occurs at Harry’s aunt’s home – Mydworth Manor – ending in one of the thieves being shot…and killed.

The local police are baffled by the case. But Harry and Kat have an edge in the hunt for the second thief: not only do they have certain useful “skills” they’ve both picked up in service of King, President and Country, they also have access to parts of English high society that your average bobby can’t reach.

Because this Shot in the Dark…could have come from anywhere.

1E5DA329-463C-43AE-BF60-CC78FCE395D7

MY REVIEW 

#1 of the Mydworth Mysteries series

Lord Harry Mortimer and his new wife, Kat have just arrived in England, when Harry is called to Whitehall on urgent business. So Kat decides to drive herself to their new home, in his beloved Alvis….

Eventually, she arrives at Dower House, but it’s all locked up, so she walks to nearby Mydworth Manor, home to Harry aunt, Lady Lavinia. But, as she arrives she hears gunshots, a man falls from a window and more shots are fired in her direction…..What a welcome!

Harry arrives and they search the body and find jewellery in his pockets…..who is this man? And how did he know where to find these jewels?

Kat and Harry put their skills and knowledge to use to find out….

All set in 1920’s England amongst the upper classes, this is a marvellously fun crime thriller from a simpler time. It reminded me of the novels of Josephine Tey and is a must for readers of a classic style mystery. A quick read but packs a lot in. I loved it.

Thank you to Red Dog Press for the opportunity to read this for free and this is my honest and unbiased review.

You can buy a copy here

https://www.reddogpress.co.uk/product-page/a-shot-in-the-dark

 

ABOUT THE AUTHORS

8B1D36FC-CB4B-4590-9D1A-883FEAA8D6AE

Co-authors Neil Richards (based in the UK) and Matthew Costello (based in the US), have been writing together since the mid-90s, creating innovative television, games and best-selling books. Together, they have worked on major projects for the BBC, PBS, Disney Channel, Sony, ABC, Eidos, and Nintendo to name but a few.

Their transatlantic collaboration led to the globally best-selling mystery series, Cherringham, which has also been a top-seller as audiobooks read by Neil Dudgeon.

Mydworth Mysteries is their brand new series, set in 1929 Sussex, England, which takes readers back to a world where solving crimes was more difficult — but also sometimes a lot more fun.

Book reviews, Historical fiction

The Outrageous Fortune of Abel Morgan by Cynthia Jefferies – Book Review

79F8CFDF-5EA1-4BBA-A405-70100F07A769

PUBLISHERS BLURB 

1660, England. War is at an end but for Christopher Morgan, his personal conflict rages on. Haunted by the tragic death of his wife, Christopher is desperate to escape the pain her memory brings, although looking into the eyes of his young son, Abel, he cannot help but be reminded of what he has lost. Over time, father and son develop a strong bond until they are callously torn apart when Abel is snatched by smugglers and sold overseas.

From the shores of Constantinople to the coast of Jamaica, time and tide keep them apart. Christopher will sail across oceans to find Abel, never losing faith that one day they will be reunited, and, as the years pass, Abel will learn that fortune favours the brave.

7E28AC52-CB11-467F-87D7-080CC18CF16A

MY REVIEW 

Set in the 1600’s, this starts with Christopher Morgan arriving at The Rumfustian Inn, his new home, with tiny baby Abel, who is frail and Christopher doesn’t think he will survive…

But, with the care of the Blacksmith’s wife, he begins to thrive….

A close bond begins between Abel and his father, but after an altercation with a local smuggler, Abel is taken and awakes aboard a boat where he is expected to work to eat…

Christopher is distraught…..and believes Abel to be dead…..

However, Abel nearly escapes and sees his father, handing him a package, only for him to be taken again…

Can this map be a clue to where Abel has been taken?

What follows is a ripping yarn of pirates, adventure, desperation and love. It doesn’t shy away from the harsh realities of slavery, servants and abuse, but it also does not sensationalise them. 

Abel learns to be a surgeon, comes into money but his life isn’t all it could be with betrayal and tragedy. It is a story of Abel’s life, from weak baby to a grown man and all between. With little touches of his father’s search for him and his life at home.

Will Christopher and Abel ever be reunited ?

A totally unputdownable masterpiece of historical fiction with a difference …there will be tears.

Thank you to Anne Cater and Random Things Tours for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour and for the promotional materials and a free copy of the book. This is my honest, unbiased review.
You can buy a copy here

https://amzn.to/2KTP9Gp

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

8BCF6721-FCC3-4E8F-BA1D-E760538F6FBE

Cynthia Jefferies is a long-established writer for children, whose work has been translated into more than a dozen languages. She was born in Gloucestershire and her love of history was encouraged by regular family outings to anything of interest, from great cathedrals to small museums. Having moved to Scotland and back to Stroud, she has always made time to write and her abiding interest in Restoration England has never left her. The Outrageous Fortune of Abel Morgan is her first historical novel for adults.

 

A father. A son. A desperate search. New 17th century sweeping historical fiction – first adult novel by very successful children’s author (writing as Cindy Jefferies).

 

Taps into the market for historical epics by Philippa Gregory, Kate Mosse, Ken 

Follett, and Winston Graham’s Poldark series.

 

Takes the reader on an epic journey from the West Country to Jamaica and Constantinople.

 

Book reviews, Historical fiction

American Dreams by Kenneth Bromberg – Book Review

682DE513-7FB3-4B8F-8B91-0D57EE2A7BD5

PUBLISHERS BLURB 

In 1904 Czarist Russia, Max, a four-year-old Jewish boy, witnesses his mother’s rape and murder by Russian soldiers. After the boy’s father extracts terrible revenge, father and son escape to New York and settle on the Lower East Side, a teeming melting pot of recent immigrants.

Max meets a young Polish girl, Sophie, and the two children become inseparable playmates. By the time they are teenagers, Max excels at both school and sports, Sophie has become a stunningly beautiful young woman, and friendship has grown into love. Their plans are shattered when Sophie is forced to marry a local crime boss and once again, Max must simply watch as the most important person in his life is taken from him. In response, he begins a ruthless and violent climb to the top of the New York underworld.

326F6D6C-F567-4158-821A-5BF86BE0D792

MY REVIEW 

This is a tale of family, of immigration to America, the land of opportunity ….good and bad…

Max is just a small child, when Czarist Russians come to his village, and his mother hides him in a closet, but he hears her rape and murder…..

His father who had been secretly farming, (it was against the law for the Jewish), returns and kills the drunken soldiers and manages to escape with Max…finally reaching America.

Jonathan, is the son of a member of the IRA, who is to be hanged and tells Jonathan to leave for America, to make a new life.

Max and Jonathan’s meet in their journey building their new lives…..can their dreams come true?

There’s also Sophie, forced to marry a much older man, a crime boss, due to her father owing him money…..can she fulfil her dream of being an actress?

This is an epic family saga, with an organised crime element. Max is ruthless in his pursuit of power…will they all survive? An intriguing tale of family, loss, love, violence  and power over generations….

Thank you to Anne Cater and Random Things Tours for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour and for the promotional materials and a free copy of the book  and this is my honest, unbiased review.

you can buy a copy here 

https://amzn.to/2MkysFl

 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

E7073BA8-3D99-455D-AEBB-989F382E0C11

Kenneth Bromberg grew up in the beach cities of Southern California with a passion for tennis, American history, and literature. He attended the University of California, Los Angeles, after which he worked for several years as a bartender. He eventually returned to UCLA to pursue an MBA and become a certified public accountant.

After retiring from accounting, Kenneth fulfilled a lifelong dream of becoming a novelist. His first work, American Dreams, is based upon stories told by his grandmother who immigrated to New York from a small Jewish village near Kiev in the first years of the 20th century. If you like Mario Puzo’s The Godfather and Ken Follett’s Century Trilogy, you will love this debut novel.

He lives in Santa Monica, California, with his wife of forty years.

FLAME TREE PRESS is the new fiction imprint of Flame Tree Publishing. Launching in 2018 the list brings together brilliant new authors and the more established; the award winners, and exciting, original voices.

 

Book reviews, Historical fiction

The Violin Maker’s Daughter by Sharon Maas – Book Review

451FAC75-1B84-461A-8F6B-8C9FBB9E435C

PUBLISHERS BLURB 

When the Nazis march onto the cobbled streets of Colmar on November 1st 1940, Josef, a Jewish violin maker, gathers his wife and daughters closely to him and tells them everything will be alright. 

But one year later, three sharp knocks on the door at midnight turn his seventeen year old daughter Sarah’s world upside down. As the oldest child, Sarah must be the first to leave her family, to make her escape in a perilous journey across France via Paris to Poitiers. And she must hide who she is and take a new name for her own safety. For now, bilingual Sarah is no longer a French Jew but a German girl. 

As she bids farewell to her beloved father and family, Sarah has hope, against all odds, that she will see them again when the war is over. But, travelling through the mountains she finds herself in terrible danger and meets Ralf, a German deserter, who risks his own life to save her. 

Ralf and Sarah continue their journey together, keeping their identities secret at all cost. But when Ralf is captured, will Sarah pay the ultimate price for sharing who she really is?

A gripping and heart-breaking account of love, bravery and sacrifice during the terror of war. A story of standing up for what you believe in; even if it’s going to break your heart. Perfect for fans of The Tattooist of Auschwitz and The Ragged Edge of Night. 

16492928-F493-4245-9EE4-6E513FC4134F

MY REVIEW 

This starts in the town of Colmar in the Alsace, it has been annexed by the Germans, who are ‘relocating’ all Jewish people….

Josef Mayer, his wife Leah and daughters Sarah. Amelie, Therese, Mannion and Sofie, have changed their names to more acceptable names, to keep their heads down and stay at home.

Sarah, the eldest daughter is an apprentice violin maker, she has a talent for it….but then German soldiers come to the shop and demand papers to show their aryan backgrounds, if they can’t supply this…..well the consequences do not bear thinking about…

With the help of a neighbour, Josef decides they have to leave…..first to leave will be Sarah…..

What follows is a tale of Sarah’s journey, the huge amount of people willing to help her get to safety, with danger at every turn….a constant fear..will Sarah survive? Will she finally see the danger she is in?

Set during WWII this is a coming of age drama set amidst the horror of Hitler’s Germany, the persecution of Jewish people and the many many lives saved by the resistance.  Historical fiction at its best….

Thank you to Bookouture for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour and for the promotional materials and a free copy of the ebook. This is my honest and unbiased review. 

You can buy a copy here ( only £1.99 for Kindle at the moment too)

 

https://amzn.to/2XUQtRP

 

About the author:

799083BC-3354-4CA5-A26B-C48AE4880A5F

Sharon Maas was born in Georgetown, Guyana, in 1951 and educated in Guyana and England. After leaving school she worked as a staff journalist at the Guyana Graphic and the Sunday Chronicla in Georgetown.

Sharon has always had a great sense of adventure and curiosity about the world we live in, and Guyana could not hold her for long. In 1971 she set off on a year-long backpacking trip around South America. In 1973 she travelled overland to India through Europe, Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan, and spent two years in an Ashram in South India.

 

http://www.sharonmaas.com

 

https://twitter.com/sharon_maas

 

https://www.facebook.com/sharonmaasauthor/

 

THE VIOLIN MAKER’S DAUGHTER by Sharon Maas

AMZ: https://geni.us/B07RV34JNDSocial

Apple Books: https://buff.ly/2JDHCuT

Kobo: https://buff.ly/2GuSR79

Googleplay: https://buff.ly/2O46n7M

 

Book reviews, Historical fiction

The Awakening Aten by Aidan K Morrissey – Book Review

57CF1334-A42F-45D8-9B47-33BACA6A6A10

PUBLISHERS BLURB 

The Awakening Aten envelops the reader in an Egypt of whispers and fears, of webs within webs, deceit upon deceit. Its themes of murder, intrigue, political and religious conflict, corruption, tomb robbing, war and executions are set against a background of fundamental ideological change.  

Ancient Egypt is seen through the eyes of two families; one royal, the other commoner. Yuya, whose tomb is in the Valley of the Kings, is a foreigner who rises from slavery to become Regent to an infant Pharaoh and thus, the most powerful man in the world’s wealthiest empire. His children and descendants will remain at the very heart of the country’s destiny. Kha is a tomb painter and builder who experiences both the despair of imprisonment and the horror of war. As Overseer of the King’s Works he restores the Great Sphinx, and inscribes the ‘Dream Stela’ placed between its paws, still visible today. Through tragic and deathly events his family and that of Yuya become entwined.  

This is the fictional tale of real people, whose possessions and artefacts can be seen in museums throughout the world. It gives a voice to those people, inspired by their personal items, buried with them 3,000 years ago. 

10587079-3506-465C-A82D-D892C94909CF

MY REVIEW 

Partly based on factual elements of Egyptian history.

The story revolves around three men who escape jail, are then given positions by the King of Egypt and become rich and powerful….

There  are a lot of characters and it does take quite a while to get these in your head and let the story flow, but once you do you become immersed in the politics, and the culture of the gods, with murder, lies and even tomb robbing….

A character driven epic with beautifully descriptive writing that brings this ancient world to life.

Thank you to Anne Cater and Random Things Tours for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour and for the promotional materials and a free copy of the book  and this is my honest, unbiased review.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

758E013E-1A21-45CD-8A46-E77AF1977974

I am of Irish heritage and was the first member of my immediate family to be born outside of Ireland. My professional life has caused me to travel the world. I am now looking forward to settling in the North East of England, to concentrate on writing.

A graduate in Law from Leicester University, after working for some years in a commercial environment, I qualified as a Solicitor in 1981.

My career developed in an unusual way and I have lived and worked at various times in Italy, Brazil, the United States, India and Germany.

I have always had a love and fascination for history. A holiday in Egypt sparked a particular passion for Ancient Egypt, especially the latter part of the 18th Dynasty. A history, which Pharaoh Horemeb (Djeser-Kheperu-Ra circa 1319-1292 BCE) tried to destroy and which only came to light following the discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb in 1922.

‘The Awakening Aten’ is the culmination of many years of research.

I have built up a substantial collection of academic books and novels on Ancient Egypt, its customs, traditions and daily life. I am fortunate to have been able to visit all of the major museums containing artefacts from Egypt throughout the world, as well as spending months in Egypt itself studying the funereal valleys and other sites. All of this supplemented by internet research.

This novel is the first in a planned five book series, looking at the fictional lives of real people through a period of major political and religious change, spanning approximately 130 years.

My hobbies are reading, which I enjoy as much as I do writing, and taking bracing walks along the North East Coast and in the Northumberland Hills.

Website: http://www.aidenkmorrisey-author.com/

Twitter @AidanKMorrissey

 

Paperback: 448 pages

  • Publisher: Troubador Publishing (21 May 2019)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1789018757
  • ISBN-13: 978-1789018752

 

Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Awakening-Aten-Aidan-K-Morrissey/dp/1789018757

 

Book reviews, Historical fiction

The Nanny At Number 43 by Nicola Cassidy – Book Review

1704458F-443A-473C-B36F-85B5330B7B4F

PUBLISHERS BLURB 

Wanted, a respectable woman to care for a motherless child.

When William D. Thomas’s wife dies in childbirth, he places an advertisement in his local newspaper seeking a nanny for his newborn child.

He is thankful when an experienced nanny arrives at 43 Laurence Street and takes over from his frazzled housekeeper Mrs McHugh.

Mrs McHugh confides in her bedridden friend Betty, who has a bird’s-eye view of all the happenings on Laurence Street, that the Nanny is not all she seems. Betty begins her own investigation into the mysterious woman.

When the bodies of twin babies are discovered buried in a back garden, by a family who have moved from their tenement home into a country cottage, a police investigation begins.

But it is Betty who holds the key to discovering who the Nanny really is … and the reason she came to 43 Laurence Street.

514B30B2-881E-4A63-845A-E5D28083697E

MY REVIEW 

“What is wrong with you?”

This is set in Ireland in the 1880’s.

Mrs McHugh, the housekeeper is struggling, trying to look after the baby of Mr Thomas when his wife dies in childbirth. He puts an ad in the local paper for a respectable woman to care for a motherless child. 

We meet Margaret Murphy (Maggie), who has responded to the ad, a stern woman who instantly calms and feeds the baby…..so the job is hers.

Mrs McHugh tells her friend Betty, she doesn’t trust her, she said something doesn’t feel right. Betty is housebound and spends her days watching from the window, she knows everyone’s business and so decides to find out more about the Nanny…..

We learn of Maggie’s past, and it wasn’t easy to say the least, but is she the woman she purports to be….or is there something more sinister going on?

This is a slow burn of a thriller, thoroughly engrossing, filled with atmosphere and a sense of menace. Mary Poppins this is NOT….I can recommend this for anyone who loves historical fiction with a thrilling edge.

Thank you to Anne Cater and Random Things Tours for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour and for the promotional materials and a free copy of the book  and this is my honest, unbiased review.
You can buy a copy here 

https://amzn.to/2JrQSC7

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

EC949BC6-DF66-45B8-AE9A-FB1F759EB65B 

Nicola Cassidy is a writer and blogger from Co. Louth, Ireland.

She started her writing career early, entering short story competitions as a child and became an avid reader.

Encouraged by her English teachers, she chose to study journalism at Dublin City University and while working in political PR and marketing, studied a series of advanced creative writing courses at the Irish Writers’ Centre.

Later she set up a lifestyle and literary blog http://www.ladynicci.com/, which was shortlisted in the Ireland Blog Awards in 2015 and 2016 and finalist in 2017 and 2018.

She signed with Trace Literary Agency in 2016.

December Girl is Nicola’s debut historical fiction novel and is set in the mystical and ancient Boyne Valley, Co. Meath, famed for its stone age passage tombs. Elements of the story are inspired by true events.

Her second novel The Nanny at Number 43 is published by Poolbeg Press. 

She lives with her husband and two young daughters in Termonfeckin, Co. Louth.

Follow her at http://www.ladynicci.com/, on Twitter @ladynicci or http://www.facebook.com/ladynicciblog.

 

The Nanny At Number 43 by Nicola Cassidy

  • Paperback: 344 pages
  • Publisher: Poolbeg Press Ltd; 1 edition (1 July 2019)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1781998086
  • ISBN-13: 978-1781998083

 

Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Nanny-at-Number-43/dp/1781998086

 

 

 

 

 

Book reviews, Historical fiction

Storms Over Babylon by Jennifer Macaire – Book Review and #Giveaway

184F668D-768E-426A-BB1C-AF77F99CB103

PUBLISHERS BLURB

The Time for Alexander Series Book 4

From the scorching plains of Persia to the opulent city of Babylon, Ashley and Alexander continue their sensuous and passionate journey through history.

Alexander the Great is now king of Persia and Greece – but his reign will be short.

Time-travelling Ashley knows when her husband will die. She’s determined to cheat Fate and save Alexander and her children, even if it brings the gates of time crashing down.

Following Alexander on a tour of his new kingdom, she plans her moves and bides her time. She must, however, convince Alexander to abandon his crown and his kingdom.

1324A07C-C3A4-40D8-8953-4B1BC95657CF

MY REVIEW

#4 in this series by Jennifer Macaire, I would strongly recommend you read the previous novels first, as it really is the continuation of this incredible story.

Alexander is now returning to Babylon, his fighting is over and he rules the world. But Ashley knows Alexander will die……

Ashley has now spent 10 years with Alexander, through think and thin. This tale of love, history, religion and ancient politics is so immersive…I feel I know these characters personally and all their foibles…

This is their greatest trial yet…..can Ashley change history and have her beloved Alexander survive ?

A powerful tale of love, history and sacrifice…..

Thank you to Rachel’s Random Resources for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour and for the promotional materials and a free copy of the ebook. This is my honest, unbiased review.

Purchase Links

getbook.at/StormsOBabylon (Amazon)

Accent Press: https://accentpressbooks.com/products/storms-over-babylon

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/storms-over-babylon-1

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/storms-over-babylon-jennifer-

macaire/1127012046;jsessionid=45552155952FC026F7A8E875A2656A0E.prodny_store01-

atgap06?ean=9781682996393&st=AFF&2sid=Simon%20&%20Schuster_7567305_NA&sourceId=AFFSimon%20&%20Schuster

Author Bio –

83D34698-1906-4E66-96F3-EA0758F0A6A5

Jennifer Macaire lives with her husband, three children, & various dogs & horses. She loves cooking, eating chocolate, growing herbs and flowering plants on her balcony, and playing golf. She grew up in upstate New York, Samoa, and the Virgin Islands. She graduated from St. Peter and Paul high school in St. Thomas and moved to NYC where she modeled for five years for Elite. She met her husband at the polo club. All that is true. But she mostly likes to make up stories.

Social Media Links –

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TimeforAlexander/

Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/jennifermacaire/

twitter @jennifermacaire

https://jennifermacaire.wordpress.com/

Giveaway to Win a $10 Amazon gift certificate (Open INT)

*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.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

4DE4833B-07E2-4098-A289-ADB3467F2A97

Book reviews, Historical fiction

Monopoli Blues by Tim Clark and Nick Cook – Book Review

838AB7A1-A403-46E3-A1CF-EA00D970B57C

PUBLISHERS BLURB

A son’s journey to uncover the story of his parents in war-time special forces

PRAISE for Monopoli Blues

‘Lucidly written, deeply researched and extremely well-structured … a remarkable act of imagination and filial homage’ William Boyd, New Statesman

‘Powerful … this is the reality of war behind the headlines’ Jonathan Dimbleby

‘A gripping tale of wartime exploits, an unlikely love story, and a son’s journey to discover his father’s secret war’ Joshua Levine, author of Dunkirk.

 

BOOK DESCRIPTION

In November 1944, Sub Lt Bob Clark, a twenty-year old agent with Britain’s top-secret Special Operations Executive, parachuted into northern Italy.

He left behind the girl he had fallen in love with, Marjorie, his radio operator. Captured by the enemy, Bob’s fate hangs in the balance and Marjorie won’t know for six months whether he is alive or dead…

Monopoli Blues recounts the story of Tim Clark’s journey to uncover the story of his parents’ war – and the truth behind the betrayal of his father’s Clarion mission to the Nazis.

53F08BF2-97BF-4539-92EE-B74DF6B95B5B

MY REVIEW

I found this to be a wonderful book, it’s how history of war should be written from the personal lives and experiences of ordinary men and women in sometimes extraordinary circumstances.

This is beautifully written and captures the emotions and atmosphere of the time. It shows just how war affected those involved, the fear and suffering they experienced and then kept it all bottled up to protect those around them.

This is an epic story of love, bravery, humility, war and betrayal. This will bring tears to your eyes more than once as Bob and Marjorie capture your heart. Totally spellbinding and magnificent…..a must read.

Thank you to Anne Cater and Random Things Tours for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour and for the promotional materials and a free copy of the book  in exchange for my honest, unbiased review.

You can buy a copy here (click on the image)

  

ABOUT THE AUTHORS

890900BD-9790-4C4F-9236-EF871C91579C

Tim Clark spent a large part of his career working as a lawyer at one of the world’s leading firms specialising in M+A and corporate work in the UK and internationally, ultimately becoming Senior Partner. Since retiring as a lawyer, Tim has taken on board positions on a number of corporate, arts and charitable organisations, and senior advisory roles at a number of international think tanks.

Nick Cook is an author, journalist, broadcaster and entrepreneur. In 1986, he joined the world-renowned Jane’s Defence Weekly, initially as a reporter, rising quickly to become Aviation Editor, a position he held until 2005. His first novel, Angel, Archangel, was published in 1989 to critical acclaim. In 2001, Cook’s first non-fiction title, The Hunt For Zero Point, was published, reaching Number 1 in Amazon’s Non-Fiction charts. He has also written, hosted and produced two documentaries about the world of aerospace and defence – Billion Dollar Secret and an Alien History of Planet Earth. He lives and works with his wife and two children in London.

Tim Clark and Nick Cook have spoken about the book to sold-out audiences at the Chalke Valley History Festival and the National Theatre.

The book has received considerable attention in the media: the authors have been interviewed on Sky News and BBC Radio London, and a glowing review from William Boyd was published in New Statesman. A feature written by Tim Clark has also appeared in the i newspaper.

Book reviews, Historical fiction, Romance

The House Of Secrets by Terry Lynn Thomas- Book Review

 

46293F69-48C3-4D70-8C43-6375A8ED92D6

PUBLISHERS BLURB

Sarah Bennett has two secrets: she sees ghosts, and she is in love with a spy.

When Sarah takes a job with occult expert Dr Matthew Geisler, he promises to help her understand the sorrowful spirit that seems to have attached itself to her.

As Sarah struggles to cope with the ghostly presence, she runs into Zeke, the man who left her six months earlier and is recovering from injuries suffered in an alleged accident. But Zeke has secrets of his own, and when an attempt is made on Geisler’s life, Sarah finds herself caught in a struggle between the living and the dead.

Unsure who she can trust, Sarah must solve the mystery of the soul determined to haunt her, and save Dr Geisler and herself from an unknown threat.

This book was previously published as WEEPING IN THE WINGS
B57F238A-DF57-4EB4-BEC1-DD93DE6DB518

MY REVIEW

This is a following novel to Spirit of Grace, but can easily be read as a stand-alone.

Sarah Bennett, still traumatised by her fathers murder trial, she takes a job working for a psychiatrist, Dr Matthew Geisler..

He has an interest in the supernatural and says he can help with her visions…..so Sarah takes the job, she can also keep an eye on her ex fiancé, Zeke, who is there for treatment for his injuries..

She befriends, Minna, who is struggling at the institution…..she also claims to see ghosts…and there are threats of harm to Dr Geisler……just who is intent of doing him harm?

“My mind went to my pocket book where the glass bottle that held the opium tincture waited for me, the panacea for situations such as this. Two drops in eight ounces of water, and whatever I heard, whomever I saw, would disappear.”

This is a supernatural historical fiction mystery with a touch of romance too and I found it to be well plotted and certainly entertaining with a clever ending that brings all the pieces together. A thoroughly entertaining read.

Thank you to Rachel’s Random Resources for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour and for the promotional materials and a free copy of the ebook. This is my honest, unbiased review.

 

Purchase Links:

US – https://www.amazon.com/House-Secrets-Sarah-Bennett-Mysteries-ebook/dp/B07H3DKQQ4

 

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/House-Secrets-Sarah-Bennett-Mysteries-ebook/dp/B07H3DKQQ4

 

The House of Secrets is 99p throughout June as part of the June Kindle Monthly deal. The Spirit of Grace, book 1 in the series is also .99 throughout June.

 

AUTHOR BIO –

E14DFB79-BBA4-4D2D-9CEB-55DC0FD86B59

Terry Lynn Thomas grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, which explains her love of foggy beaches and Gothic mysteries. When her husband promised to buy Terry a horse and the time to write if she moved to Mississippi with him, she jumped at the chance. Although she had written several novels and screenplays prior to 2006, after she relocated to the South she set out to write in earnest and has never looked back.

Terry Lynn writes the Sarah Bennett Mysteries, set on the California coast during the 1940s, which feature a misunderstood medium in love with a spy. The Drowned Woman is a recipient of the IndieBRAG Medallion. She also writes the Cat Carlisle Mysteries, set in Britain during World War II.

The first book in this series, The Silent Woman, came out in April 2018 and has since become a USA TODAY bestseller. When she’s not writing, you can find Terry Lynn riding her horse, walking in the woods with her dogs, or visiting old cemeteries in search of story ideas.

 

Social Media Links https://twitter.com/TLThomasBooks

 

1E3B1703-CD9A-4059-8EFE-3E20C0CDA58B

 

Book reviews, Historical fiction

God’s Children by Mabli Roberts – Book Review

EB11866C-E335-4D57-B636-49242307BDAA

PUBLISHERS BLURB

‘Kate Marsden: nurse, intrepid adventurer, saviour of the lepers or devious manipulator, immoral and dishonest?’

As she lies on her deathbed visited by the ghosts of her past, who should we believe, Kate or those who accuse her of duplicity? Memory is a fickle thing: recollections may be frozen in time or distorted by the mirror of wishful thinking. Kate’s own story is one of incredible achievements, illicit love affairs and desperate longing; those of her accusers paint a very different portrait – of a woman determined on fame and fortune.

The reader navigates a narrative as fractured as the Siberian ice Kate crosses in search of a cure for leprosy, and as beautiful as Rose, her lost love, as the full picture emerges of a life lived when women were not expected to break the mould.

55E4D262-7BCA-48D4-A18E-B3E33E5046A4

MY REVIEW

God’s Children is a unique, engaging read by Mabli Roberts….

This is the story of Kate Marsden and her 11,000 mile search for a flower that could possibly cure leprosy.

This is an epic tale of travels through a hostile environment of, forests, snow and ice with some truly perilous moments.

It starts on Kate’s death bed as she remembers her past…During her story she recounts earlier memories of her life in England, Russia, Bulgaria and New Zealand, we learn of her personal life too which damaged her reputation at the time.

“In the spring of 1890, St Petersburg was filled with blossom.”

Beautifully written with such descriptive writing you’ll feel every chill and moment of danger along with Kate. It’s not a fast read and I felt at sometimes a little disjointed, but it is human, with all its foibles, love, beauty, fear and death…..stunning and it will stay with me for a long time.

Thank you to Damppebbles Blog Tours for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour and for the promotional materials and a free copy of the ebook. This is my honest, unbiased review.

 

About Mabli Roberts:

122B02EA-D8E5-4813-8075-FFF31225D601

Mabli Roberts lives in a wild, mountainous part of Wales. She has an MA in Creative Writing from Lancaster University and has worked as a Visiting Lecturer at the University of Wales, Newport. Most of her inspiration comes from her love of history and from long walks in the timeless landscape around her.

Mabli also writes as Paula Brackston, PJ Brackston and PJ Davy. Nutters was shortlisted for the Mind Book Award and The Witch’s Daughter was a New York Times bestseller.

Her work has been translated into five languages and is sold around the world. You can find out more about her books on her website http://www.paulabrackston.com, her Author’s Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/worldofpaulabrackston/ and YouTube channel https://www.youtube.com/paulabrackstonbooks as well as the God’s Children Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Gods-Children-1476228589147399/

Social Media:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/worldofpaulabrackston/  

https://www.facebook.com/Gods-Children-1476228589147399/

Website: http://www.paulabrackston.com

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/paulabrackstonbooks

 

Purchase Links

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Gods-Children-Mabli-Roberts/dp/1909983950/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1559639624&sr=8-2

GoogleBooks: https://books.google.co.uk/books/about/God_s_Children.html?id=I53mvQEACAAJ&redir_esc=y

Foyles: https://www.foyles.co.uk/witem/fiction-poetry/gods-children,mabli-roberts-9781909983953

NOOK: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/gods-children-mabli-roberts/1130754042

Blackwells: https://test.blackwells.co.uk/bookshop/product/Gods-Children-by-Mabli-Roberts-author/9781909983953

Hive: https://www.hive.co.uk/Product/Mabli-Roberts/Gods-Children/23350712

Publishing Information:

Published by Honno Press in paperback and ebook format on 11th April 2019.

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Gods-Children-Mabli-Roberts/dp/1909983950/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1559639624&sr=8-2

GoogleBooks: https://books.google.co.uk/books/about/God_s_Children.html?id=I53mvQEACAAJ&redir_esc=y

Foyles: https://www.foyles.co.uk/witem/fiction-poetry/gods-children,mabli-roberts-9781909983953

NOOK: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/gods-children-mabli-roberts/1130754042

Blackwells: https://test.blackwells.co.uk/bookshop/product/Gods-Children-by-Mabli-Roberts-author/9781909983953

Hive: https://www.hive.co.uk/Product/Mabli-Roberts/Gods-Children/23350712

Publishing Information:

Published by Honno Press in paperback and ebook format on 11th April 2019.

1F225A1D-59BF-4A72-9FAF-7A9C3EC17BD3

 

Book reviews, Historical fiction

The Serpent’s Mark by S.W.Perry – Book Review

BBBEF7A4-BB8C-4F00-BAC3-F3115E13D21D

PUBLISHERS BLURB

A smart and gripping tale of conspiracy, murder and espionage in Elizabethan London, ideal for fans of CJ Sansom, Rory Clements and SG MacLean.

Treason sleeps for no man…

London, 1591. Nicholas Shelby, physician and reluctant spy, returns to his old haunts on London’s lawless Bankside. But, when the queen’s spymaster Robert Cecil asks him to investigate the dubious practices of a mysterious doctor from Switzerland, Nicholas is soon embroiled in a conspiracy that threatens not just the life of an innocent young patient, but the overthrow of Queen Elizabeth herself.

With fellow healer and mistress of the Jackdaw tavern, Bianca Merton, again at his side, Nicholas is drawn into a dangerous world of zealots, charlatans and fanatics. As their own lives become increasingly at risk, they find themselves confronting the greatest treason of all: the spectre of a bloody war between the faiths…

54393A64-AB8B-4AEB-8CFF-CA52D999C58E

MY REVIEW

#2 in a series featuring Dr Nicholas Selby, but can easily be read as a stand-alone.

 

“In the dusk of a desolate November evening an urchin in a mud-stained and threadbare jerkin, long since stolen from its rightful owner, hurries along the Thames foreshore beneath the grim ramparts of Tilbury Fort.”

 

Set in 1590’s London, this is the continuing tale of surgeon and reluctant spy, Nicholas Selby..

Nicholas had been unable to stop his wife dying during childbirth, so distraught and disillusioned he takes up residence in a Tavern to drink the remainder of his life away….but he is asked, by Robert Cecil to investigate a mysterious Swiss doctor.

He finds a plot to overthrow the queen, Queen Elizabeth!

This is a tale of religious conflict, of zealots and fanatics, Nicholas is again in danger as he delves into the mystery. A beautifully written, slow burn of a tale that brings to life the Elizabethan age in all its, at times dark, glory.  Great characters and a clever, engaging plot….If you enjoy historical fiction with an edge, then you love this.

Thank you to Anne Cater and Random Things Tours for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour and for the promotional materials and a free copy of the book  in exchange for my honest, unbiased review.

 

About the author

7D794EE4-DB24-41A3-A2B4-9CB3485EFFD0

S . W. Perry was a journalist and broadcaster before retraining as an airline pilot. He lives in Worcestershire with his wife.

Praise for The Serpents Mark

“No-one is better than S. W. Perry at leading us through the squalid streets of London in the sixteenth century.” – Andrew Swanston

“The writing is of such a quality, the characters so engaging and the setting so persuasive that, only two books in, S.W. Perry’s ingeniously plotted novels have become my favourite historical crime series.” – S G MacLean

Praise for The Angel’s Mark

“A gorgeous book – rich, intelligent and dark in equal measure. It immerses you in the late 16th century and leaves you wrung out with terror. This is historical fiction at its most sumptuous…” – Rory Clements

“Wonderful! Beautiful writing, and Perry’s Elizabethan London is so skilfully evoked, so real that one can almost smell it.” – Giles Kristian

“An impressively dramatic and gripping debut novel. Elegantly written, thoroughly researched, The Angel’s Mark draws us into the murky world of Elizabethan London where life is a game of chance, and savage death a close neighbour, quick to pounce on the unsuspecting. I predict that we will be seeing much more of Nicholas Shelby, physician and reluctant spy.” – Anne O’Brien

“I knew before I got to the bottom of the first page that The Angel’s Mark was the real thing. In an increasingly crowded field, this one is going to stand out.” – S G MacLean

 

Corvus | Hardback £14.99 | 6th June 2019

Also available in e-book

 

Book reviews, Historical fiction, Thriller

Forms Of Things Unknown by Elizabeth Ireland – Book Review

87EA3464-2842-4209-86E4-6ADA9D06D6C4

PUBLISHERS BLURB

Recently returned to Chicago after a successful tour of Hamlet, Lillian Nolan is awakened in the dead of night by a strange voice. She is shocked to learn that well known and admired actress, Louise Hawthorne, has fallen to her death from the sixth floor of the Tremont House. Was it an accident? Did she jump or was she pushed? Louise’s former lover, and the main suspect, pleads with Lillian to uncover the truth and clear his name.

In the process of learning to trust her intuitive abilities, Lillian attempts to find balance between relying upon her gift and uncovering the truth in her own way. But the menace of death pursues her and soon her own life is at risk. When she finds herself in a trap from which she cannot escape, her only hope of survival is to call upon the metaphysical world.

Forms of Things Unknown is based on an actual event which occurred in June of 1876 in Chicago. It is the third standalone book in the Backstage Mystery Series.

THE BACKSTAGE MYSTERY SERIES

Tagline: Life upon the wicked stage can be deadly.

Set against the backdrop of the Gilded Age, the Backstage Mystery Series stars Lillian Nolan, an unconventional member of Chicago’s upper class who dreams of a career of fortune and fame in the theater. Talented and ambitious, she possesses a hidden skill which she is extremely reluctant to use—the ability to communicate with those who have died and now live in the world of “The Beyond.”

The series chronicles her adventures in which she continually becomes enmeshed in solving mysteries which often require her accessing the realm of the paranormal. Filled with an incredible cast of characters—factual, fictional, and sometimes non-physical—who either help or hinder her quest for the truth, the stories take place during a period considered to be the golden age of both acting and spiritualism in America.

B8F9904D-D3E7-49A4-BA09-2FCC1B00A9C3

MY REVIEW

As always I really enjoyed catching up with Lillian and her memoirs….while this is the third in the Backstage Mystery Series, it can quite easily be read as a stand-alone.

I loved the little factual elements to this story, mentions of a patent for the telephone, popular fiction of the time and the general lifestyle, which just brought the story to life.

Lillian is again called on to help solve the suspicious death of an actress, did she fall or was she pushed……can Lillian find out with the help of her spirit guide….? Using her own deductive skills, she starts to find the answer but puts herself in danger as a result..

An absolute charming, cosy mystery with a haunting feel. Marvellously engaging writing as always by Elizabeth Ireland.

Thank you to Rachel’s Random Resources for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour and for the promotional materials and a free copy of the ebook. This is my honest, unbiased review.

This is currently free to read as part of KindleUnlimited at the moment too…you can signed up for a 30 day free trial (and cancel anytime)…here

https://amzn.to/2XqNw7a

 

Purchase Links:

US – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07PZYHC4S

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07PZYHC4S

 

Author Bio –

8630EAB6-16B8-4996-AAE3-31D0FED41A42

Elizabeth Ireland discovered her passion for theater early. After receiving

undergraduate and graduate degrees in Theater, she accepted a teaching position in a vibrant performing arts department at a college in northern Illinois. For ten years, she taught, directed and ran front-of-house operations. American Theater History—

particularly that of the 19th century—has always been of particular interest to her.

She has been a quarter-finalist and a semi-finalist for the Don and Gee Nicholl Fellowship In screenwriting sponsored by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Two of her screenplays have been optioned, but remain unproduced. Her nonfiction work, Women of Vision: Ordinary Women, Extraordinary Lives, was published in 2008. Her work has also been published in a collection of paranormal short stories, Paramourtal: Tales of Undying Love and Loving the Undead. She lives in metro Atlanta with her ever-patient husband, and two quirky dachshunds.

 

Social Media Links –

 

http://www.facebook.com/BackstageMystery/

http://www.BackstageMystery.com

https://twitter.com/EbethIreland

https://twitter.com/BackstageMystery

 

3F82283D-C20B-48EB-907D-1E84E245CEB1

Book reviews, Historical fiction

The Blue Bench by Paul Marriner – Book Review

CDDA21B2-D153-4528-812E-14A60E8F40C8

PUBLISHERS BLURB

Margate 1920

The Great War is over but Britain is still to find peace and its spirit is not yet mended.

Edward and William have returned from the front as changed men. Together they have survived grotesque horrors and remain haunted by memories of comrades who did not come home. The summer season in Margate is a chance for them to rebuild their lives and reconcile the past.

Evelyn and Catherine are young women ready to live to live life to the full. Their independence has been hard won and, with little knowledge of the cost of their freedom, they are ready to face new challenges side by side.

Can they define their own future and open their hearts to the prospect of finding love?

Will the summer of 1920 be a turning point for these new friends and the country?

AE28CC41-2E0A-4A34-A987-8D38A3B95C58

MY REVIEW

This is told from several points of view, Edward, badly wounded in battle, Evelyn, a wonderfully empathetic soul, Catherine, full of life and a passion for fun and just being alive, and William, a bit of a loveable rogue.

It tells of the horrors of war, its effect on those fighting, those left at home and the constant fear and worry. It also tells of the emotional and physical struggles faced by everyone, once the war is over and those that survived return home back to a ‘normal’ life.

This is not a fast paced read, but slow and melancholy, something to lose yourself in, beautifully written and full of characters that will touch your heart a little and will stay with you for a long time. A heartbreaking and also heartwarming epic of historical fiction. A stunning read.

Thank you to Anne Cater and Random Things Tours for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour and for the promotional materials and a free copy of the book  in exchange for my honest, unbiased review.

You can buy a copy here (click on the image)

The author

27848A82-B3C4-4196-A6D4-54B0F16A7151

Book reviews, Historical fiction, Science fiction, Thriller

Aurelia by Alison Morton – Book Review

375C30C6-E7E4-4111-8794-DBCDA73CC7C2

PUBLISHERS BLURB

1960s Roma Nova. Retrained as an undercover agent, ex-Praetorian officer Aurelia Mitela is sent to Berlin to investigate silver smuggling, but barely escapes a near-lethal trap. Her lifelong nemesis, Caius Tellus, is determined to eliminate her. When Aurelia is closing in on him, he strikes at her most vulnerable point – her young daughter.

A former military commander, Aurelia is one of Roma Nova’s strong women, but she doubts in her heart and mind that she can overcome her implacable enemy. And what part does the mysterious and attractive Miklós play – a smuggler who knows too much?

If you enjoy reading mystery books for women with plenty of twists and a female protagonist driving the action, this is for you!

Fourth in the Roma Nova thriller series, where Roman fiction is brought into the 20th century through an alternative history lens and first of the AURELIA trilogy. INSURRECTIO and RETALIO complete the trilogy.

39D90968-2C4E-4756-B90E-1AFDDA169924

MY REVIEW

Aurelia is #4 in the Roma Nova series by Alison Morton.  I haven’t read the previous novels, but I had no problems reading this as a stand-alone..

Set in the 1960’s, BUT, the Roman Empire had not ended and still continues as a matriarchal society.

It starts with Aurelia being head of a praetorian guard special forces unit on an operation, but one of their suspects escaped…..

Aurelia’s mother is then injured in a hit and run accident and unfortunately she eventually dies. Aurelia ‘retires’ from her unit to run the family business and take care of her daughter , Marina.  She is constantly badgered by the odious Caius Tellus, who wants to marry her to join their two families….but she’s not interested….will it end here?

When the Silver markets are in trouble, someone is affecting supply and demand, she is called out of retirement and sent to Berlin, undercover to find out more.

Here she comes across an old adversary and is smitten by the enigmatic Miklos…..Caius raises his ugly head again in this exciting, well plotted, unique thriller with incredible world building and characters your will love and hate in equal measure…..I loved it and will be reading more of the series now.

Thank you to Anne Cater and Random Things Tours for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour and for the promotional materials and a free copy of the book  in exchange for my honest, unbiased review.

Currently reduced to 99p….an absolute steal….

You can buy a copy here (click on the image)

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

EFBADFAE-63D7-4F1E-88B4-ACAFA8F16E24

Alison Morton writes the Roma Nova thriller series featuring modern Praetorian heroines. This springs from a deep love of Roman history, six years’ military service and a life of reading crime, adventure and thriller fiction.

All six full-length novels have received the BRAG Medallion. SUCCESSIO, AURELIA and INSURRECTIO were selected as Historical Novel Society’s Indie Editor’s Choices. AURELIA was a finalist in the 2016 HNS Indie Award. SUCCESSIO featured as Editor’s Choice in The Bookseller.

A ‘Roman nut’ since age 11, Alison has misspent decades clambering over Roman sites throughout Europe. She holds an MA History, blogs about Romans, social media and writing. Oh, and she gives talks.

She continues writing, cultivates a Roman herb garden and drinks wine in France with her husband. To get the latest news, subscribe to her free newsletter https://alison-morton.com/newsletter/

Twitter : @alison_morton

Author Page on Facebook

Book details

Paperback: 286 pages

  • Publisher: Pulcheria Press (22 Jan. 2019)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-13: 979-1097310165
  • ASIN: B07MGJ6MJJ

Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/AURELIA-Aurelia-Mitela-thriller-Thriller/dp/B07MGJ6MJJ

 

BABD9392-5B7E-4A92-8348-BA1C3BA8C262

Book reviews, Historical fiction

Foul Deeds Will Rise by Elizabeth Ireland – Book Review

DD7B4311-EB4D-44DB-8143-173FBC176BDA

PUBLISHERS BLURB

By 1875, Lillian Nolan believes she has successfully shut off any connection to the spirit world. That winter she is thrilled when she wins the role of Ophelia in a new production of Hamlet in her home town of Chicago. Everything changes when the body of the managing director is found sprawled across the steps of the dress circle and all the investors’ money is missing. Lillian fears, once again, her career is over before it begins.

After her dearest friend is arrested for murder, Lillian commits herself to discovering the truth. Her search is complicated by a strange man who is following her, the romantic overtures of her co-star, and a reunion with an old nemesis. But nothing is what it seems. What she does find puts a member of her own family at risk and leads to the unmasking of the killer with lethal consequences for herself.
1B2A2FCC-BE1A-4779-ABC3-9233A205CA48

MY REVIEW

This is the second book in the  A Backstage Mystery series by Elizabeth Ireland…but can easily be read as a Stand-alone.

Philip Kincaid has died…natural causes? Maybe not and suspicion is raised at something more sinister…

The story is told by the elderly, Lillian Nolan and her memoirs.

Phillip Kincaid’s widow, Regina is arrested on suspicion of his murder. She is a friend of Lillian and so Lillian wants to help her clear her name..the spirits again make themselves known, adding a little of the supernatural to this clever and intriguing tale. There’s more of Lillian’s background and life too which add the to atmosphere along with the excitement of solving a murder….

Thank you to Rachel’s Random Resources for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour and for the promotional materials and a free copy of the ebook. This is my honest, unbiased review.

 

Purchase Links

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B07NQM8NT4/

US – https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07NQM8NT4/

 

THE BACKSTAGE MYSTERY SERIES

Life upon the wicked stage can be deadly.

Set against the backdrop of the Gilded Age, the Backstage Mystery Series stars Lillian Nolan, an unconventional member of Chicago’s upper class who dreams of a career of fortune and fame in the theater. Talented and ambitious, she possesses a hidden skill which she is extremely reluctant to use—the ability to communicate with those who have died and now live in the world of “The Beyond.”

The series chronicles her adventures in which she continually becomes enmeshed in solving mysteries which often require her accessing the realm of the paranormal. Filled with an incredible cast of characters—factual, fictional, and sometimes non-physical—who either help or hinder her quest for the truth, the stories take place during a a period considered to be the golden age of both acting and spiritualism in America.
62C20972-C159-4C07-8E13-FCDE94C31CB9

Author Bio –

Elizabeth Ireland discovered her passion for theater early. After receiving undergraduate and graduate degrees in Theater, she accepted a teaching position in a vibrant performing arts department at a college in northern Illinois. For ten years, she taught, directed and ran front-of-house operations.

American Theater History—particularly that of the 19th century—has always been of particular interest to her.

She has been a quarter-finalist and a semi-finalist for the Don and Gee Nicholl Fellowship in screenwriting sponsored by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Two of her screenplays have been optioned, but remain unproduced. Her nonfiction work, Women of Vision: Ordinary Women, Extraordinary Lives, was published in 2008. Her work has also been published in a collection

of paranormal short stories, Paramourtal: Tales of Undying Love and Loving the Undead. She lives in metro Atlanta with her ever-patient husband, and two quirky dachshunds.

 

Social Media Links –

http://www.facebook.com/BackstageMystery/

http://www.BackstageMystery.com

https://twitter.com/EbethIreland