Friday, 11 October 2019

Blog tour The Museum of Lost Love by Gary Barker a #Randomthings #BlogTour

Blog tour The Museum of Lost Love by Gary Barker a #Randomthings #BlogTour

Hello blog readers and book lovers. Today I am joining in the Blog Tour for The Museum of Lost Love by Gary Barker, organised by Randomthingstours.

With its beginnings in Croatia, it brought back memories of a wonderful trip to the former Yugoslavia which I took before the war which split the country apart. It reminded me that the place I explored no longer exists and as well as the country being fractured and broken, it's people are damaged by the atrocities too.

My review – The Museum of lost love – Gary Barker

Today I’m sharing my review of the Museum of Lost love by Gary Barker for the Blog Tour organised by Randomthingstours.

This is a short book, practically a novella so if you’re looking for a quick read this might easily fit the bill. 

Set in Croatia, after the recent war which ripped the country apart, this is mainly about a couple, Katia and Goran and a third character Tyler who is also suffering the aftershock of war, he has fought in Afghanistan and it has left him a broken man. The stories of these characters meander about, intertwining and crossing.

Goran and Katia visit a rather unusual museum in Zagreb, which is apparently based on a real exhibition. The museum of lost love displays all kinds of random memorabilia each item accompanied by a letter from the owner explaining why this object reminds them of a past love and each short chapter is preceded by one such exhibit, which is an unusual and original concept. Clothes and small mementoes line the shelves each accompanied by a letter from the owner telling why their heart is broken.

The museum seemed to me like a rather mawkish and grim idea, but it helped me to grasp that this country is a place so ravaged by war that all which remains for many is a few broken belongings and a handful of memories of better times. 

Some of the short tales about broken relationships are utterly heartbreaking and all the more poignant in that most of them are people who don’t even feature in the book so you know nothing else about their lives except their heartache yet they are opening their hearts to a bunch of strangers. It’s not really about the exhibits, in fact I must confess I felt a little uncomfortable finding that some of the “exhibits” were used sex toys (Eeewwww), but it's about the letters and stories which accompany them.

When Katia and Goran pay a visit to the titular museum one exhibit jumps out at Goran. The accompanying story was written by a young girl of fourteen in a refugee camp and he is convinced he is the lost love she writes so poignantly about. He feels he must find out what happened to her.

As he tries to rekindle his lost youth and track her down, Katia too faces her demons and heads off the favelas of Brazil where her own past lies hidden.

What follows is fractured story of damaged people, uncovering past tragedies and memories of appalling atrocities, broken promises and lost hope which is, in turn, haunting and uplifting. Featuring actual conflict and conflicting emotions generated by the siblings of love and hatred it's not an easy read but very compelling.

The Blurb
In Zagreb is an unusual museum: it displays mementos of broken relationships. Each exhibit describes a unique story of a broken heart, of love gone awry.

When Katia and Goran visit the museum, Goran stumbles upon an exhibit that seems to be addressed to him, from a girl he met in a Sarajevo refugee camp at age fourteen. A reminder of two days spent together while he and his mother and brother waited anxiously for visas to America to escape the war.

Encouraged by Katia, a therapist, to reconnect with his lost past, Goran confronts the youth he lost during the Yugoslav Wars. Similarly Katia, adopted by Americans at one week old after her birth mother was murdered in a gangland killing in Brazil, heads back to Brazil to uncover her own family history. 

Meanwhile Tyler, a military veteran and one of Katia’s patients, attempts to put the Afghan war behind him, and finds love in unexpected circumstances.

Drawing upon his own experiences working in conflict zones, Gary Barker’s powerful novels dive deep into human love and longing. Crossing continents, and set against backdrops of war, deprivation, and violence, The Museum of Lost Love is a soulful testament to the resilience of the human heart.

The Author

GARY BARKER is an author, researcher, and human rights activist. He is founder and director of Promundo, an international organization that works with men and boys in more than 25 countries to achieve gender equality and end violence against women. He has been awarded an Ashoka Fellowship and an Open Society Fellowship for his work in conflict zones. His previous novels include Luisa’s Last Words, Mary of Kivu, and The Afghan Vampires Book Club (co-written with Michael Kaufman). Barker lives in Washington, DC.

Critical acclaim for Gary Barker:

‘Partly a satirical broadside against the insanity of war by two writers who have spent years campaigning against violence, The Afghan Vampires Book Club also works as a conspiracy thriller, speculative fiction, and full-on descent into hell.’  Herald

Friday, 27 September 2019

Blog Tour - A Phoenix Rising by Vivienne Brereton - Excerpt #APhoenixRising #VivienneBrereton #HFVBTBlogTours

Today as part of the Blog Tour for A Phoenix Rising by Vivienne Brereton I am offering an excerpt as a taster to see if you fancy it.

The book is historical Fiction set in Tudor times and here's the description:

The Blurb

“If I have anything to do with it, we Howards will live forever.”
Thomas Howard Charismatic head of one of the most powerful Houses in Tudor England. An indomitable old man approaching eighty: soldier, courtier, politician, a ‘phoenix’ rising from the ashes. After a calamitous period of disgrace, the Howards, renowned for their good looks and charm, are once more riding high at the court of Henry VIII.
Set against the backdrop of the extraordinary 1520 ‘Field of Cloth of Gold’, it is a tale of ambition, love, and intrigue, with Thomas at the centre of this intricate tapestry
Will Thomas’s bold vow be fulfilled? Danger stalks the corridors of the royal courts of Europe. Uneasy lies the head beneath a crown. Every other ruler – a fickle bedfellow…or sworn enemy.
The action takes place in England, Scotland, and France. On either side of the Narrow Sea, four young lives are interwoven, partly unaware of each other, and certainly oblivious to what Dame Fortune has in store for them.
Sounds gooood doesn't it!

Now here's that excerpt to get you well and truly hooked:

12th September, 1512.
   Cecily Tredavoe and her half-Cornish, half-French first cousin, Tristan d’Ardres, have just escaped a tedious service in the Lady Chapel at Saint Michael’s Mount. Cecily has taken Tristan to the May Day fair, over at Marazion.

   Caught up in Tristan’s good mood, I was happy for him to take part in an archery competition. About twenty archers, of all ages and sizes, were lined up ready to take part, cheered on by a sizeable crowd.
   ‘But only if I can join in, too,’ I said.
   Tristan looked surprised. ‘I didn’t know you’d ever used a bow and arrow. Or a crossbow.’
  ‘Father gave me one of each as a New Year’s gift last year. I’m not very good yet but you’d be surprised how resourceful Lady Catherine can be when she sets her mind to something.’
   Tristan shrugged as he watched the man in front of the equipment tent hand me a smaller lighter crossbow, giving me a broad wink as he did so.
  ‘Good for you, little maid. Even if you have no hope of beating your friend here. Most wenches I know are too busy with talk of fripperies and their sweethearts to pay a mind to men’s sports.’
   Taking the man’s words as a challenge, I awaited my turn with a mixture of mounting excitement and trepidation. There would be several excellent archers amongst the group, one of whom I guessed might be Tristan himself. In front of us, an artificial popinjay, especially built in sections, had been placed on a wooden mount. It was our task to take aim at individual pieces of the bird, winning points for each one. The main prize, and the part each of us, of course, yearned to hit, was the heart section of the popinjay. Whoever managed this, also known as the ‘king shot’, would be crowned champion.
   Walking up to the line chalked along the grass, I passed Tristan looking very pleased with himself, carrying a pair of leather gloves, his prize for hitting one of the legs. ‘Good luck, Lady Catherine. Make sure you don’t hit anyone by mistake, won’t you!’
    Frowning at this loud remark which made everyone around me draw back several feet, I took a deep breath. Then I lifted the crossbow up to my shoulder, aimed it at the bird, pulled the trigger and fired….

                      *                               *                               * 

               ‘The heart! The wench has hit the heart!’
      I allowed myself a small smile of triumph. <<What Tristan and the man running the competition (a pair of naysayers) don’t know is that I’ve got one of the best archery tutors in Cornwall>> He was always full of praise for my coordination, telling me he’d never seen anything like it in either lad or maid. Of course, as an only child with indulgent parents, it helped I was able to spend as many hours practising as I wished.
  As we walked away from the makeshift butts, I glanced down at the posy ring now adorning a finger on my right hand. After a fair amount of scrabbling around amongst the stallholders, a more suitable prize had been found for a female winner than a brace of pheasants (almost certainly) poached from the land of a local lord, perhaps even our own. I twisted the gold band (still a little big for me) with the fingers of my other hand, admiring the stars engraved around the circumference. On the inside, written in black were the words:  My brightest star, my one true love. N.’ Even though I knew the ring (like the pheasants) was probably stolen, I vowed never to take it off but wear it in memory of this happy day.

                               *                                   *                             *

     Not long after this, the clock chimed again. However, instead of the reassuringly long twelve chimes, there was the unmistakably ominous sound of not one…but three single chimes.
  Aghast, we stared at one another.
  ‘Three o clock!’ gasped Tristan.
   ‘Quick,’ I said. ‘Follow me. There’s not a moment to lose.’
 Racing down the cobbled streets of Marazion, we soon found ourselves standing on the shore again, looking back towards the Mount. We were also looking at the waves beginning to swirl against the shore at our feet, and the much higher ones at the end, near the entrance to the Mount.
   ‘We’ll never make it in time,’ Tristan said.
   ‘Of course we will.’
   ‘We won’t. When does the causeway reopen?’
  ‘Not until late evening. Come on. I promise you we’ll be fine. Stop acting like a whey-face. Surely you don’t mind getting your clothes a bit wet. Think how sad it would make our two families if we missed my mother’s birthday celebrations.’
  ‘Very well. But I’m not happy about it. Not at all.’
    Deep down, nor was I. As a Cornish girl born and bred, I knew it was sheer folly to attempt a crossing in these conditions. As we began the journey back across the partially covered causeway, I could hear my father’s voice in my head, warning me as he’d done so many times before:
  “Never cross the causeway if you see large waves at the far end. The high tide is fickle and has a mind of its own. It can come in much faster than you think. Before you know it, it’ll take away both your breath and your life

The Author

Born near historic Winchester in the UK, Vivienne Brereton has been passionate about the Tudors for as long as she can remember. This led to a degree in medieval history at university where she met her future husband. Three sons later and six countries she called home, she finally felt ready to write a novel.

Words have always played an important part in Vivienne’s life whether it’s been writing, editing, teaching English to foreigners, or just picking up a good book. In preparation for her novel, she read intensively on the skills needed to write well and did an enormous amount of research which she greatly enjoyed. Having three sons was helpful when she came to write about the characters, Tristan and Nicolas. All those squabbles she had to deal with came in very handy. She also used her husband and sons as guinea pigs for her Tudor cookery attempts with varying degrees of success (abuse).

Seeing ‘A Phoenix Rising’ in print for the first time was a moment of great joy for her and she hopes you enjoy reading it as much as she enjoyed writing it.

Thursday, 26 September 2019

Review - Here to Stay - Mark Edwards

Review - Here to Stay - Mark Edwards

My Review

Bloody hell Mark Edwards knows how to f**k up your mind.

His books just get scarier and creepier and I'm actually quite glad I don't live next door to him, 'cause where does he get his ideas from?

This is a brain-numbingly intense read, that creates the inlaws from hell, brings them into your beautiful posh house and when you're ready to scream with frustration the bloodshed begins.
It begins with a lovely romance, Elliott meets a beautiful woman and after falling head over heels proposes quickly and the pair get married, who cares they haven't known one another very long - they have the rest of their lives to get to know each other.

But the lovely Gemma comes with a family in tow, Mum, Dad and younger sister Chloe and when she invites them to stay he can't say no, (please say No, Elliott) after all his gorgeous house is plenty big enough for them all to not get under each other's feet.

But they prove at first to be mildly annoying, and I'm reading it thinking, well they aren't really THAT bad! But they get worse and WORSE and his life begins to spiral terrifyingly out of control and they're in his house and he can't get shot of them and what is Gemma hiding? What is wrong with Chloe? WHY did he let them in and most importantly how the hell is it going to end??

A must-read for fans of this wickedly clever author and anyone who loves a twisty macabre domestic Noir thriller.

You can get your copy now from Amazon

The Blurb

A beautiful home. A loving wife. And in-laws to die for.

Gemma Robinson comes into Elliot’s life like a whirlwind, and they marry and settle into his home. When she asks him if her parents can come to stay for a couple of weeks, he is keen to oblige – he just doesn’t quite know what he’s signing up for.

The Robinsons arrive with Gemma’s sister, Chloe, a mysterious young woman who refuses to speak or leave her room. Elliot starts to suspect that the Robinsons are hiding a dark secret. And then there are the scars on his wife’s body that she won’t talk about . . .

As Elliot’s in-laws become more comfortable in his home, encroaching on all aspects of his life, it becomes clear that they have no intention of moving out. To protect Gemma, and their marriage, Elliot delves into the Robinsons’ past. But is he prepared for the truth?

Wednesday, 25 September 2019

Dragon Lady by Autumn Bardot - Extract and blog Tour

Dragon Lady by Autumn Bardot - Extract and blog Tour

Today I'd like to invite you along on the Historical Fiction virtual Blog Tour for the hot and exciting Dragon Lady by Autumn Bardot.

As I haven't yet managed to read this book I'm offering a free extract to tempt you to investigate further. I think you'll agree that Dragon Lady offers something sultry and exciting for readers of historical fiction set in exotic locations. Its a story based on a factual character, of a determined young woman and her struggle to succeed in a world where women are only valued for their bodies


By the time the lookout sighted Donghai Island I was familiar with both Zheng Yi’s temperament and the ship’s layout.
Man and boat were much the same. The iron-like strength of the main mast matched Zheng Yi’s unyielding and strong will. The watertight camphor and pine bulkheads were as impenetrable as Zheng Yi’s command, his leadership sealed by experience as a former Tâyson rebel leader. The pirates’ tiny sleeping compartments on the lower deck corresponded to the size of Zheng Yi’s intolerance for laziness and disrespect. Like the giant retractable rudder that controlled the ship’s course, so too did Zheng Yi guide me towards a new direction. His squad boss face was as rough and crude as his ship’s exterior. His private face—expressive and handsome—much like the lavishly appointed saloon and cabin. His smile-sneer, I decided, was meant to confuse and intimidate.
Zheng Yi was the first man I respected. The first man who made my stomach flutter.
Like today, when he strode into the saloon where Golden Moon, the headman’s wife, taught me how to mend a broken teacup with rivets.
“Donghai Island is just ahead.” Zheng Yi examined the teacup’s seam. “Excellent. Do you enjoy this sort of work?”
“It’s a satisfying way to pass a few hours, although I much rather the helmsman teaches me how to steer.”
Golden Moon covered a giggle with her hand.
“That’s a man’s job.” Zheng Yi’s mouth scowled but his eyes flashed with pleasure. He set down the teacup, beckoned me to follow, strode out the door, and to the ship’s bow. “How long has it been since you set your feet on land?” His gestured to the strip of land in the distance.
“I went with Madam Xu into port to conduct business.”
“I’m not talking about the odor and noise of a thousand merchants. How long since you felt sand between your toes, smelled fresh flowers, rested against a tree, and slept on solid ground?” His brow lifted, expectant.
“I don’t remember.” Memories of fragrant orange blossoms, tall grass, bird songs, insect hums, and comforting stillness rushed into the locked-up place in my heart. I squeezed shut my eyes, willed myself not to cry.
Zheng Yi’s thick brows knotted with concern. “Do you miss the life stolen from you?”
My spine rippled with fear. Was Zheng Yi’s plan to sell me to someone on the island? I took a ragged breath and met his incomprehensible gaze. Perhaps this was his way of telling me he was getting rid of me. How foolish of me to think I had any value other than being his concubine. And although my flower girl skills included fawning over a man enough to make him a repeat customer, I knew this was no whore’s game.
My life rested in Zheng Yi’s hands. His rough pirate hands. He was nothing like the queue-wearing, soft-bodied, rich men I entertained with flattery and false sighs. If Zheng Yi had reason to believe I playacted, that my respect for him was false, he would kill me. My answer must be true, leave no room for misinterpretation, and yet excite and delight him.
“Do I miss my former life?” I twisted my lips.  “I don’t miss the poverty. If Father hadn’t sold me I would be married to another poor farmer and birthed nine children by now. I don’t miss the flower boat either, even if I did wear silk. The work was dull and too boring for my curious mind.” I touched his hand, which rested on the rail. “For ten years I have merely existed. All joy gone. Until you came. The sea. Your ship. You. I’m alive. You’ve made my soul sing.” I looked out at the sliver of land. “I don’t know your intentions. Whether you want to sell me or kill me, but it doesn’t matter. You and your ship, for some reason, make me happy. And a little bit of happiness is better than none at all. I thank you, Zheng Yi.”
Zheng Yi pushed me against the bulwark, his lust evident, and wrapped me in his arms. “I won’t sell you, Xianggu. You’re not mine to sell.”
My stomach lurched with fear. “What!? Am I the chieftain’s property? Your Uncle Qi?”
Zheng Yi’s mouth dropped open. “No. No. You’re mine. Not as a slave but…” He rubbed his grizzled cheek against mine, “you delight me in ways I can’t explain.”
My heart leapt. I delighted him! In unexplainable ways! Which meant he liked me, not just my flower girl skills. “Is your wife on Donghai?” I kept my voice light. How could he not have a wife? Or several?
Zheng Yi rubbed his chin. “Wives are expensive and dull.”
“Why do you think the flower boats are always so busy?” My mischievous grin made Zheng Yi laugh.

I hope you enjoyed reading that extract and if its whet your appetite you can buy Dragon Lady now.

Heres the blurb

The triumph of the notorious Zheng Yi Sao is the fierce and unflinching adventure of how a prostitute became the most powerful and successful pirate in the world.

Xianggu is sold into slavery to work on a floating brothel, her virginity bought by the highest bidder. Determined to rise above her poverty and lowly status, she learns the business from the madam. But a violent midnight pirate raid destroys her ambitions. Kidnapped by the powerful pirate boss, Xianggu embarks on a journey that demands beauty, brains, and brawn. Yet she must do more than learn to wield a sword, sail a ship, and swim across the bay if she hopes to survive. She must prove her worth to the Red Flag fleet.

The winds never blow in the same direction and tragedy forces Xianggu to make a risky decision that changes not only her life but the lives of thousands of pirates. Surrounded by jealous men, devious women, ancient prejudices, and the Qing navy, Xianggu battles to save her empire, her family, and her own heart.

In 18th century China, when men made and enforced the rules, the Dragon Lady lived by her own.

Wednesday, 18 September 2019

#AnEchoOfScandal - @LauraMadeleine - Blog Tour - Excerpt via Random Things Tours

An Echo of Scandal - Laura Madelaine - Blog Tour and a free Extract.

The first thing which struck me about an Echo of Scandal is the Sumptuous cover which perfectly conjures up the settings of Historic Tangier and Spain in the early 20th century.

The Luscious cover

I must admit I'm dreadfully disappointed that I haven't been able to make time to read it yet but also really glad I still have it to look forward to as it sounds like the most perfect bit of autumn escapism.

So, instead of a review to whet your appetite I have a free extract for you which I hope you'll read to see if you fancy reading the book, I know I do.

Heres a description of the book from the publisher Black Swan (an imprint of Penguin Random house books) :

"The sumptuous and seductive world of Tangier in the early 20th century is a world where men make decisions and women follow. But Alejandra is determined to secure her independence, at any cost."

In the dead of night, with blood on her hands, she made her escape.

Accused of murder, Alejandra flees her home, escaping to the southern edge of Spain, where she faces a life of poverty and destitution.

Seduced by the power of the rich and the anonymity that waits across the water in Tangier, Ale makes a bid for a new start. But it will come at a cost: a life of deception. Because Ale’s new friends want to know what she is running from, they want to know who she is and whether they can trust her.

Fifty years later, a young American writer wanders the streets of Tangier, searching for inspiration. When he stumbles across a trace of Ale’s life, he finds himself tangled in a story of scandal, love and danger that has not yet reached its end.

WOW, that sounds so good!
Now here's a generous extract so you can taste the flavour of the authors writing and dive into the heady world of early 20th century Tangier and the heat of Spain.



Take a pony of fresh blood orange juice and another of good Scotch whisky.
 Add into this the same of Cherry Heering and sweet Italian vermouth.
Shake violently enough to break a sweat and strain into a coupe glass.
 An experience rarely repeated.

Blood and Sand.
It’s the name that haunts me. It takes me straight back to that night. Every time I read the recipe, I can’t help but imagine another one, written in its place:

Take one girl as ripe as fruit and one man as hard as liqueur. Throw them together with sweet words turned rotten and fill them with alcohol until the result is inescapable.

It’s the Scotch that does it. After that night, whenever I opened a bottle – however expensive – all I could ever smell was blood.

The Señor was the source of it. The blood had run down the sides of his neck on to the pink flowered rug that had been his gift from Madrid, glistening on the creamy roses before sinking into the pile, as if into sand. His gaze was fixed on the corner of the room. That’s where she stood, with her pretty dress spattered and the broken neck of the bottle still clutched in her hand, the jagged edge dark with his blood. Droplets of it fell into the Scotch that had pooled around her feet, like vinegar into oil.

I should have spun on my heel and screamed, should have bellowed murder down into the courtyard below. But I didn’t. And that was the start of all the trouble for me. It’s what brought me here.

I’ve always suffered because of blood. Right from the start, I was told that the two bloods that made me, rich and poor, shouldn’t have been mixed: that they had no business being shaken together and even less business resulting in a child. Some of our customers – like the Señor Ramón Vélez del Olmo who bled out on the rug – called me a mongrel. Most of the girls called me that too, though never to my face.

It was all right for them. They were of somewhere. I was of nowhere, except for the inn. Which is why, I suppose, I eventually named myself for the place. Del Potro.

The Hostería del Potro stood on one side of a small plaza, where the city had once held horse fairs, back before anyone could remember. It was the centre of my world, the plaza, with its fountain topped by a crumbling stone horse, and its tiled rooftops that butted and jostled one another, a cat’s highway down to the river. I knew those roofs and streets as well as my own body, and nowhere better than the hostería, the oldest inn in Córdoba.

I believe I was born there, or at least, was left there soon after. The hostería’s flaking plaster walls absorbed the sound of my first cries. The draught through its cracked windows was the breath that soothed my fevers, the groan of its floorboards was a grandmother’s voice murmuring a lullaby, the clanking of bedposts and the snores of countless men were the familiar sounds of my childhood years.

I had been at the inn longer than anyone, except for Mama Morales. Once, I made the mistake of asking whether she was my mama. She had looked at me with such contempt that I knew the truth immediately: I did not belong to people, to mother or father or family. I belonged to the inn, like the cats born in the stable that lived and died too soon amongst the hay.

I sometimes worry it could still get me into trouble, this talk about the inn. But it seems so small now, so distant, after everything else. I’ll never go back to Córdoba, and anyway, you already know that I didn’t kill the man.

It’s the rest of it that could be dangerous for me; what came after. The only other person who knew it all is dead and gone. Perhaps – at last – I have kept his secret for long enough. I drowned it at the bottom of cocktail glasses and buried it beneath the scrapings left on silver platters. I tied it with white silk and hid it in plain sight. I held my tongue, kept fifty years of silence. Even he could not have asked me for more.

Of course, if he had, I might have given it. But he is not here, is he?

Perhaps silence is no longer the answer.
Perhaps this is a story that should finally be told.

And after all, I have already begun.

There you are - if this has tempted you, feel free to follow this link to buy the book from Amazon uk
Or find it in your favourite book shop.

About the author

Laura Madeleine

After a childhood spent acting professionally and training at a theatre school, Laura Madeleine changed her mind, and went to study English Literature at Newnham College, Cambridge.

She now writes fiction, as well as recipes, and was formerly the resident cake baker for Domestic Sluttery. She lives in Bristol, but can often be found visiting her family in Devon, eating cheese and getting up to mischief with her sister, fantasy author Lucy Hounsom.

Here is what people are saying about Laura Madeleine

Readers love Laura Madeleine

Quotes provided by the publisher
**** ‘The comparison with Kate Morton is very apt. I was thoroughly swept up in the story. Highly recommended’ *****

**** ‘This is the first novel I have read by this author but it will not be the last’ *****

**** ‘Beautiful, tormenting, poignant and un-put-downable’ *****

**** ‘Will certainly look for other works from this talented author’ *****

Thursday, 12 September 2019

Spotlighting The Beltane Choice by Nancy Jardine for #rararesources

Today I'm joining the Blog Tour for the first in an exciting historical fiction saga series of books by Nancy Jardine.

Entitled The Beltane Choice its the first of a series of 4 books set in Roman Britain the Celtic Fervour Series.

Here's the description to whet your appetite:

AD 71 Northern Roman Britain

Lorcan of the Brigantes knows that unity of the northern tribes is essential when the Ancient Roman legions advance northwards to Brigantia. Yet, everything comes at a price. Using his captive, Nara, as a political bargain with the Selgovae comes with impossible stipulations. Battle at Whorl – Iron Age tribes against the Romans – is inevitable.

Will Nara have her Beltane choice?

The adventures of the Garrigill Clan begin…

How fabulous does this series sound!

Read more or buy it here 

About the Author:

Author Bio – Nancy Jardine writes historical fiction; time-travel historical adventure; contemporary mystery thrillers; and romantic comedy. She lives in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, where life is never quiet or boring since she regularly child minds her young grandchildren who happen to be her next-door neighbours. Her garden is often creatively managed by them, though she does all the work! Her husband is a fantastic purveyor of coffee and tea…excellent food and wine! (Restorative, of course)  

A member of the Historical Novel Society; Scottish Association of Writers; Federation of Writers Scotland; Romantic Novelists’ Association and the Independent Alliance of Authors, her work has achieved finalist status in UK competitions.

Social Media Links – 

Wednesday, 11 September 2019

Spotlight for blog tour Re-navigation by Sue Parritt

Spotlight for blog tour Re-navigation by Sue Parritt

Although I have been unable to fit Sue's new book into my reading schedule yet I'm pleased to be part of the Blog Tour highlighting her latest title - Re-navigation.

Here's the blurb to help you decide if you'd like to add it to your library.

A gloomy seascape is of little consequence to Julia, as a ferry transports her to an isolated Welsh island to undertake a Spiritual Development course.

Soon, Julia finds herself surrounded by new friends and questions. As relationships deepen, so does Julia’s feeling that something crucial is missing from her life.

As passion ignites and deep-buried secrets surface, Julia faces choices that will forever change the direction of her life. But at what cost?

Purchase links:

About the Author Sue Parritt and her previous books:

Author Bio – Originally from England, Sue worked in university libraries until taking early retirement in 2008 to concentrate on creative writing. 

Since then she has written short stories, articles, poetry, a short TV drama script and six novels:

Sannah and the Pilgrim, first in a trilogy of a future dystopian Australia focusing on climate change and the harsh treatment of refugees from drowned Pacific islands. Odyssey Books, 2014. Commended in the FAW Christina Stead Award, 2014.

Pia and the Skyman, Odyssey Books, 2016. Commended in the FAW Christina Stead Award, 2016.

The Sky Lines Alliance, Odyssey Books, 2016.

Chrysalis, the story of a perceptive girl growing up in a Quaker family in swinging sixties’ Britain. Morning Star Press, 2017

Re-Navigation recounts a life turned upside down when forty-year old Julia journeys from the sanctuary of middle-class Australian suburbia to undertake a retreat at a college located on an isolated Welsh island. Creativia Publishing, 2019.

Feed Thy Enemy, based on her father’s experiences, is an account of courage and compassion in the face of trauma as a British airman embarks on a plan that risks all to feed a starving, war-stricken family. Creativia Publishing, 2019.

Sue’s current project, A Question of Country, is a novel exploring the migrant experience through the protagonist’s lifelong search for meaningful identity.

Passionate about peace and social justice issues, Sue’s goal as a fiction writer is to continue writing novels that address topics such as climate change, the effects of war, the treatment of refugees, feminism and racism.  Sue intends to keep on writing for as long as possible, believing the extensive life experiences of older writers can be employed to engage readers of all ages.

Social Media Links –

Friday, 30 August 2019

Feed Thy Enemy by Sue Parritt - Blog Tour @rararesources

Feed Thy Enemy by Sue Parritt - Blog Tour

Today I am spotlighting the new title by Sue Parritt entitled Feed Thy Enemy.

Feed Thy Enemy is a heartwarming story about an airman who served in World War Two, coming to terms with his past via a series of flashbacks to when he risked everything 30 years earlier.

It is based on a true event and promises to be exciting and thought-provoking.


In this heart-warming narrative based on a true story, a British airman embarks on a plan that risks it all to feed a starving, war-stricken family. 
Thirty years after serving in World War II, middle-aged Rob’s holiday plans see an unforeseen change that leads him on a coach tour of Italy. Struggling with post-war PTSD and depression, he reluctantly agrees to the journey – and sparks a dream that plunges him into long-stifled memories.
Set in Europe, Sue Parritt’s Feed Thy Enemy is an account of courage and compassion in the face of trauma. When Rob’s flashback delves into his attempts to save a famished family with a series of increasingly daring raids on his army’s supply stores, will he trigger suppressed remembrances of past war, love, and sacrifice – and find the strength to confront them in the present?

Purchase Links:

Author Bio – Originally from England, Sue worked in university libraries until taking early retirement in 2008 to concentrate on creative writing. Since then she has written short stories, articles, poetry, a short TV drama script and six novels:

Sannah and the Pilgrim, first in a trilogy of a future dystopian Australia focusing on climate change and the harsh treatment of refugees from drowned Pacific islands. Odyssey Books, 2014. Commended in the FAW Christina Stead Award, 2014.

Pia and the Skyman, Odyssey Books, 2016. Commended in the FAW Christina Stead Award, 2016.

The Sky Lines Alliance, Odyssey Books, 2016.

Chrysalis, the story of a perceptive girl growing up in a Quaker family in swinging sixties’ Britain. Morning Star Press, 2017

Re-Navigation recounts a life turned upside down when forty-year old Julia journeys from the sanctuary of middle-class Australian suburbia to undertake a retreat at a college located on an isolated Welsh island. Creativia Publishing, 2019.

Feed Thy Enemy, based on her father’s experiences, is an account of courage and compassion in the face of trauma as a British airman embarks on a plan that risks all to feed a starving, war-stricken family. Creativia Publishing, 2019.

Sue’s current project, A Question of Country, is a novel exploring the migrant experience through the protagonist’s lifelong search for meaningful identity.

Passionate about peace and social justice issues, Sue’s goal as a fiction writer is to continue writing novels that address topics such as climate change, the effects of war, the treatment of refugees, feminism and racism.  Sue intends to keep on writing for as long as possible, believing the extensive life experiences of older writers can be employed to engage readers of all ages.

Social Media Links – 

Wednesday, 28 August 2019

Review - A Single Thread by Tracy Chevalier

Review - A Single Thread by Tracy Chevalier

What makes this book a wonderfully enjoyable read is the authors' talent at taking subjects I have absolutely no interest in and weaving such a lovely story around them that I am absorbed and entranced throughout. 

Her writing is outstanding and the book is a delight to read.

It tells the story of a very ordinary young woman, Violet, who has had the misfortune to become one of the thousands of "surplus" women following World War One. In an era when a woman’s worth was measured by the quality of husband she could marry and at a time when men are extremely thin on the ground and eligible ones almost non-existent, there are a plethora of such unattached ladies, the archetypal spinster.

Violet lives at home with her overbearing and crotchety Mother who neither appreciates nor values her daughter. Violet has known love, she is one of many women whose fiancé was killed in the war. Approaching early middle age her opportunities are few and her life is so dull and stifling she takes the quite bold decision to break free and manages to get a job in Winchester, a cathedral city which surely must hold more promise than slowly being suffocated as her Mothers drudge.

Moving into a respectable lodging-house for impoverished ladies, she becomes instead a slave to poverty. Trying to stretch a woman’s meagre wage to provide a roof, food and clothe herself proves almost impossible and any kind of social life also seems out of her reach.

At work she doesn't feel as though she fits in, working in a small office with 2 slightly younger women, who have already formed a clique they are reluctant to grant her access to. Her life is little better than before but at least she has broken free and she relishes this freedom even if she doesn't quite know what to do with it.

In a world filled with people broken by the recent war, she eventually finds a little niche for herself by "gatecrashing" an event at the nearby Cathedral which she so admires and discovers a group of ladies who embroider kneelers for the Cathedral. Eventually, she manages to join this little group and makes a new friend Gilda, who is also a “surplus woman” and as much a misfit as Violet (and most of the women who are in this group). With the Cathedral as central a character to the story as Violet herself, with the bells ringing as a backdrop she manages to stitch together a kind of life for herself.

What she doesn't expect is to fall in love, with someone very unsuitable with whom she can have no possible future. Little does she realise at first that her lively and outgoing new friend Gilda is also involved in an unconventional relationship she needs to conceal and the story unfolds as each tries to come to terms with choosing whether to love the wrong person or to forego love at all as they try individually to flout rigid convention and prejudice and find love where they can. 

There are a few idiosyncrasies which rather than detracting from the tale, add to it. Violets encounters with whom she refers to as Sherry men and an unpleasant character who seems to follow her with ill intent.

There is a lot of detail about embroidery and later in the book, about bell ringing, which although central to the story I must confess I rushed through wanting to get back to Violet's story.

It’s a warm and gentle story, in which you think nothing much at all is happening but when you reach the end you realize you've lived someone else's mundane life instead of your own and you know what - jolly well enjoyed every moment of it.

Violet is an unlikely heroine, living a very unremarkable life. She doesn't change the world in any huge way but she fights bravely for her own right to a life of her own and represents the small moves made by women in the past to open doors for us women of today to choose to live as we want to and not how other people want us to.

I unreservedly recommend this book to women of any age, who are interested in what life was like for the women who paved the way for us and who enjoy heart-warming women’s fiction and appreciate quality writing.

The Blurb

It is 1932, and the losses of the First World War are still keenly felt.

Violet Speedwell, mourning for both her fiancé and her brother and regarded by society as a ‘surplus woman’ unlikely to marry, resolves to escape her suffocating mother and strike out alone.

A new life awaits her in Winchester. Yes, it is one of draughty boarding-houses and sidelong glances at her naked ring finger from younger colleagues; but it is also a life gleaming with independence and opportunity. Violet falls in with the broderers, a disparate group of women charged with embroidering kneelers for the Cathedral, and is soon entwined in their lives and their secrets. As the almost unthinkable threat of a second Great War appears on the horizon Violet collects a few secrets of her own that could just change everything…

Warm, vivid and beautifully orchestrated, A Single Thread reveals one of our finest modern writers at the peak of her powers.

Quotes from the Publisher  -The Borough Press at Harper Collins

‘Told with a wealth of detail and narrative intensity’ Penelope Lively

‘I loved it. So compelling and warm and subtle, and very moving’ Bridget Collins

‘Deeply touching … careful, beautiful’ Louisa Young

Sunday, 25 August 2019

#TheLostDaughter by @SylviaBroady - #Review and #BlogTour

#TheLostDaughter by @SylviaBroady -  #Review and #BlogTour

Today I'm part of the Blog Tour for the lovely engaging emotional read that is The Lost Daughter by Sylvia Broady and I'm thrilled to announce that it is available to purchase for the ridiculous sum of just 99p between 22nd and 29th August, now considering its a gorgeous book and you can't buy a cup of coffee for 99p these days, please read my review and let yourself be tempted.

My Review
To say I got swept along with this story is no exaggeration, I found it a completely immersive read, very easy to get involved with and just pure reading delight, pretty emotional throughout, by the end I had a soggy tear-soaked tissue in my hand.

We first meet our main character, Alice, as she is running for her life as her big bully of a husband, tries to beat her senseless. With nothing but the nightgown she has fled in, terrified, she runs in front of a car and is badly injured.

Awaking in hospital her injuries aren’t just physical, at first, she has complete amnesia. But as her memories return she looks forward to being reunited with her little girl, 6-year-old Daisy. 

But it’s not just her husband who has let her down, her poverty-stricken and overworked Mother, at the end of her tether trying to keep her families heads above water, has done the unthinkable and handed over little Daisy to the authorities and as Alice becomes increasingly more desperate to get her daughter back, the more difficult it becomes. 

Life goes on, world war two breaks out and we follow Alices life and loves as she first gets a job to keep a roof over her head, meets someone else and battles with her own guilt, as she is still officially a married woman.

The book really grabs your attention and gets you involved in the story straight away with the mystery of what has happened to Daisy keeping you interested and it’s a real page-turning saga, very emotionally engaging.

Set in Hull, in the grim interlude after world war one, then leading into the second world war, when poverty was rife, this is an emotional family saga, which will appeal to fans of Lesley Pearse, Anna Jacobs, June Tate and similar authors of womens historical fiction. 

In fact, I found it extremely similar in style and content to many of Lesley Pearse's books and if you are a fan of hers I'm certain you'll adore this too.

It deals with the stark difficulties of a woman on her own trying to fight the authorities and build a new life for herself when women were expected to stay at home and be subservient to their husbands even if they were battered and ill-treated, it makes my blood boil that this happened to so many real women in a past relatively recent, yet which feels so long ago.

Historical fiction with heart and soul an easy to follow and very engaging book.

The Blurb

Hull, 1930. A terrified woman runs through the dark, rain-lashed streets pursued by a man, desperate to reach the sanctuary of the local police station. Alice Goddard runs with one thing in her mind: her daughter. In her panic she is hit by a car at speed and rushed to hospital. 

When she awakes, she has no memory of who she is, but at night she dreams of being hunted by a man, and of a little girl.

As the weeks pass and her memories gradually resurface, Alice anxiously searches for her daughter, but no one is forthcoming about the girl’s whereabouts – even her own mother is evasive. 

Penniless and homeless, Alice must begin again and rebuild her life, never giving up hope that one day she will be reunited with her lost daughter.

About the author

Sylvia Broady was born in Kingston upon Hull and has lived in the area all her life, though she loves to travel the world. It wasn’t until she started to frequent her local library , after World War 2, that her relationship with literature truly began and her memories of war influence her writing, as does her home town.  
A member of the: RNA, HNS, S of A and Beverley Writers. She has had a varied career in childcare, the NHS and East Yorkshire Council Library Services, but is now a full-time writer. Plus volunteering as a Welcomer at Beverley Minster to visitors from around the world, and raising money for local charities by singing in the choir of the Beverley Singers, both bringing colour and enrichment to her imagination and to her passion for writing. 

Blog tour The Museum of Lost Love by Gary Barker a #Randomthings #BlogTour

Blog tour The Museum of Lost Love by Gary Barker a #Randomthings #BlogTour Hello blog readers and book lovers. Today I am joining in t...