Saturday, 31 August 2019

Review ~ Smoke In Her Eyes by Anna Belfrage


Troubadour Publishing
March 2019

My thanks to the author for my e-copy of this book
Six months ago, Helle Madsen would have described herself as normal. Now she no longer knows if that terms applies, not after her entire life has been turned upside down by the reappearance of not one, but two, men from her very, very distant past. 

Helle Madsen never believed in mumbo-jumbo stuff like reincarnation—until she came face to face with Jason Morris, a man who purportedly had spent fifty lives looking for her. Coping with being reunited with the lover from her ancient past was one thing. Having Sam Woolf, her vindictive nemesis from that same ancient past join the party was a bit too much. Suddenly, Helle finds herself the reluctant heroine of a far-flung, time-transcending epic story, one in which pain and loss seem to play a very big part. 

This time round, Jason and Helle are determined to make it to the happily ever after. Unfortunately, Sam Woolf will stop at nothing to crush them. That ride into the golden sunset seems awfully far away at times…

What did I think about it..

Those who have read A Torch in his Heart, which is the first book in the darkly romantic Wanderer series, will be entirely familiar with the dangerous love triangle which exists around Sam Woolf,  Helle Masden and Jason Morris, so I'm not going to repeat what has gone before, however, for those who are new to the series, it would be much better if you started at the beginning and followed this daring story of thwarted love and heated passion.

Smoke in her Eyes continues in the same dramatic way as the first book, with so much unease that my heart was in my mouth and that was from just what was happening over the first chapter! The story continues with further developments in the twisted world which exists between these three complex characters whose shared history spans well over three thousand years.

The author keeps us well entertained with this dark story of love and revenge and, as always, the drama explodes in some truly fascinating encounters. However, it is in the relationship between Jason and Helle where much of the passionate heat of the story lies and in Smoke in her Eyes, they both have to overcome some pretty powerful emotions in order to understand just where their relationship is headed. There's jealousy, misunderstanding and suspicion between them, which makes their volatile partnership all the more exciting, and yet it is their erotic and passionate relationship in the bedroom which fairly sizzles on the pages.

The dangerous relationship which Jason and Helle have with their nemesis, Sam Woolf is where the story really gets into some dangerous territory, and as old jealousies explode so the battle for dominance continues with deadly vengeance. Contemplating the destiny of her characters is what this author does really well and she plots their fate with a deft hand and a fine eye for detail. I especially like the way she plays with the readers emotions so that you both love, and loathe, the characters in equal measure. The suspenseful mystery at the centre of the novel is as taut and tight as ever and there's never a moment when the action relaxes into complacency.

Smoke in Her Eyes is a worthy continuation of the Wanderer series and, after reading the tantalising excerpt at the back of this e-copy, I'm already looking forward to Fire in the Skies which is book number 3.



Had Anna been allowed to choose, she’d have become a time-traveller. As this was impossible, she became a financial professional with three absorbing interests: history, romance and writing. Anna has authored the acclaimed time travelling series The Graham Saga, set in 17th century Scotland and Maryland, as well as the equally acclaimed medieval series The King’s Greatest Enemy which is set in 14th century England. 

Smoke In Her Eyes is the second book in her new series, The Wanderer. This time, she steps out of her normal historical context with fast-paced contemporary romantic suspense with paranormal and time-slip ingredients. She has loved writing the series – she hopes her readers will like reading it just as much.


Twitter @abelfrageauthor



Friday, 30 August 2019

Blog Tour ~ Butterfly in Frost by Sylvia Day



I'm delighted to hosting one of today's stops on this exciting
  blog tour  


Montlake Romance
27 August 2019

My thanks to Midas PR for my copy of this book
and the invitation to the blog tour


Teagan Ransom has finally settled in a place she can call home, spending time with new friends she adores, focusing on a fulfilling job, whilst reconciling the past and laying the groundwork for the future.

That is until Garrett Frost moves in next door. He’s obstinate and too bold, a raging and disruptive force of nature. Teagan recognizes the ghosts that haunt him, the torment driving him. Garrett would be risky in any form, but wounded, he’s far more dangerous. Tegan fears he could pull apart everything she has worked so hard to build, but Garret’s too determined…and too tempting.


Emotional and heartrending, Butterfly in Frost marks a brilliant return by global sensation Sylvia Day, the No.1 international multi-million bestselling author of the Crossfire saga.


✨✨

Thanks to the author and publishers 
I am thrilled to be able to share this tantalising extract from Butterfly In Frost


There are too many things to register at once, so my mind attempts to absorb the whole man. Dressed only in black shorts and shoes, he is a visual feast of deeply tanned skin, intricate sleeves of tattooed art, and sweat-slicked, flexing musculature. And his face. Sculpted. Square-jawed. Brutally, breathlessly handsome. Roxy, now a few feet in front of me, gives a low whistle. “Hot damn.” The sound of her voice reminds me to breathe. My skin feels hot and damp with perspiration. My pulse has quickened beyond what I could blame on exertion. He doesn’t see us at first, even though he’s running in our direction. His mind is elsewhere, his body on autopilot. His long, strong legs devour the asphalt beneath his feet. His arms swing in a rhythmic, controlled tempo. It’s impressive how gracefully his body moves at such speed, aerodynamic and efficient. There’s both beauty and power in the effortlessness of his stride, and I. Can’t. Stop. Staring. I know I’m doing it and should look away, but I can’t.

“Are you seeing this?” Roxy asks, apparently unable to look away, either. Our trances are broken by frantic barking. Bella and Minnie have spotted the stranger running full tilt in our direction. “Hey,” Roxy corrects Bella, pulling her closer. “Knock it off.” But I’m still too absorbed to react in time. Minnie decides to run for it. Her leash slides out of my hand as if I didn’t have a grip on it at all. She’s gone before I can catch her, her stubby legs moving so fast that they’re a blur, on a collision course with him. “Damn it.” Now I’m running toward him, too, and he sees me. He shows no surprise when he’s pulled from his thoughts to find two gawking women and their out-of-control dogs. The hard line of his mouth tightens as he shifts from looking distracted to laser focused. And he doesn’t slow down. Primitive instinct spurs me to evade, escape. He’s like a raging cyclone hurtling toward me, and self-preservation demands retreat. “Minnie!” I shout, swiping a hand down toward the leash while running. I miss the target. “Damn it.” “Minnie Bear!” Roxy snaps, and the tiny dog instantly skids to a halt and pivots to run back to her human. I’m nearly as agile. I shift direction to dodge the man who’s charging at me, crossing to the other side of the street. “Teagan!”

Roxy’s panicked shout of my name turns my head . . . just in time to see the Chrysler 300 barreling straight for me. Adrenaline spurts, and I surge forward, the sound of squealing brakes raising the hairs on the back of my neck. I’m hit from behind with enough force to propel me off the road and onto my neighbor’s lawn. Winded and still terrified, it takes a few seconds to realize I’m okay. And that the hot, hard, sweaty hunk of a man I’d been running from is on top of me.


About the Author


Sylvia Day is the No.1 New York Times, No.1 USA Today & No.1 international bestselling author of over twenty award-winning novels translated into 41 languages. With tens of millions of copies of her books in print, she is a No.1 bestseller in 28 countries. Sylvia served as the 22nd President of Romance Writers of America and presently serves on the Authors Guild’s Board of Directors. Sylvia’s work has been coveredin Time, Variety, People, The Wall Street Journal, Cosmopolitan, Associated Press, USA Today, and Entertainment Weekly.


Twitter @SylDay #ButterflyInFrost

@midaspr



Thursday, 29 August 2019

Blog Tour ~ Ask Again, Yes by Mary Beth Keane



Jaffareadstoo is thrilled to be hosting today's stop on this blog tour


Penguin
Michael Joseph
8 August 2019

My thanks to the publishers for my copy of this book
and the invitation to be part of this blog tour

Gillam, a quiet suburb in upstate New York is a town of ordinary, big-lawned houses, a leafy settling ground for young families moving out of the city. The Gleesons have recently moved there and soon welcome the Stanhopes as their new neighbours. Lonely Lena Gleeson hopes to find a friend in her neighbour, but Anne Stanhope – cold, elegant, unstable – wants to be left alone. It’s up to their children – Kate and Peter, who are born six months apart – to find their way to one another. Then, when Kate and Peter, a violent event divides the neighbours, and the children are forbidden to have any contact.

Is it possible to continue a friendship whose resilience and love has been almost broken by the fault line dividing both families, and by the terrible, tragic incident that has engulfed them all?

What did I think about it...

Two young NYPD officers strike up a friendship of sorts when they are first starting out on their respective careers. Quite by chance, Francis Gleeson and Brian Stanhope settle down as neighbours and make homes with their new wives, in Gillam, a quiet suburb in upstate New York, a place which is perfect for raising a family. Kate Gleeson and Peter Stanhope are born within six months of each other, and a close connection is made between them which, in light of the catastrophic difficulties which later emerge, will test their friendship to the absolute limit.

There is an uneasy emotion running through the novel which is heightened by the weight of responsibility which is placed upon the characters, we look to Kate and Peter to offer some respite from the pervading sense of impending doom, and yet they are as troubled as we are by events. Far from the author making it easy for her characters she makes them work hard to gain our sympathies, there were almost times when I wanted to step into the story and put things right for all of them, but it was rather like watching things unfold in slow motion just knowing from the offset that life wan't going to be easy for any of them, particularly, Francis Gleeson, who I liked from the beginning, and Anne Stanhope, Peter's mother, who I didn't like at all, and who adds a whole different dimension to this emotional family drama.

There's an immersive quality to this author's writing which appealed to me, and I liked the way she made me feel both sympathy and revulsion for some of the characters. And even though the story is perhaps a little slow in places, I felt that the pace suited the writing, and the tightness of the family drama added an emotional depth. Ultimately, Ask Again, Yes is a story about the power of family, not just as a force for inherent good, but also about what happens when the dynamics within a family are shattered, seemingly beyond repair.






MARY BETH KEANE is the author of The Walking People, Fever and Ask Again, Yes. In 2011, she was named one of the National Book Foundation’s ‘5 under 35,’ and in 2015 she was awarded a John S. Guggenheim fellowship for fiction writing. Her previous novel, Fever, is in development with BBC America (Killing Eve) with Elisabeth Moss producing/starring as Typhoid Mary, and with the scriptwriter for Mad Men attached. Producers Bruce Cohen (America Beauty, Silver Linings Playbook) and Scott Delman (Book of Mormon), have optioned rights for Ask Again Yes. Mary Beth currently lives in Pearl River, New York, with her husband and their two sons.


Twitter  @Mary_Beth_Keane #AskAgainYes

@MichaelJBooks



Wednesday, 28 August 2019

Blog Tour ~ Shelf Life by Livia Franchini




Jaffareadstoo is delighted to host today's Blog Tour stop


Doubleday
29th August 2019

My thanks to the publishers for my copy of this book
and to Random Things Tours for my invitation to be part of the Blog Tour

Ruth is thirty years old. She works as a nurse in a care home and her fiancé has just broken up with her. The only thing she has left of him is their shopping list for the upcoming week. And so she uses that list to tell her story. Starting with six eggs, and working through spaghetti and strawberries, and apples and tea bags, Ruth discovers that her identity has been crafted from the people she serves; her patients, her friends, and, most of all, her partner of ten years. Without him, she needs to find out – with conditioner and single cream and a lot of sugar – who she is when she stands alone.

What did I think about it...

First off it has to be said that I was influenced by the book cover, which I think is especially eye catching, so kudos to the jacket designer, as this is definitely one of those books I would pick up in a book store. 

The premise of the story, which focuses on Ruth's break up with Neil, her fiancé, is devised around a shopping list which is the only thing that remains of their time together. By using the mundane items on the list to tell her story, Ruth's feelings about who she thinks she is and where she wants to go with her life starts to emerge.

I think the author has been quite intuitive in her manipulation of the story, and rather than reveal everything at once, and this become just another story of a bad relationship break up, what actually happens is a dissection of Ruth's life, the good and the bad, both in the past and in the present, until we get to know everything that there is to know about her relationships, not just with her ex-fiancé, who has his own problems, but also Ruth's relationship with her mother, her friends, and work colleagues.

The author's unique writing style makes this into a jigsaw puzzle kind of read where at first the pieces don't seem to fit neatly together but as the story moves along, and as we get to know more about Ruth's troubled life, so we start to piece together the fragments and begin to understand more about why she behaves in the way she does.

Shelf Life is quite a sad story which the author does well to bring it to life in a meaningful way.


About the Author



Livia Franchini is a writer and translator from Tuscany, Italy, whose work has been published in numerous publications and anthologies. She has translated Michael Donaghy, Sam Riviere and James Tiptree Jr. among many others. In 2018, she was one of the inaugural writers-in-residence for the Connecting Emerging Literary Artist project, funded by Creative Europe. She lives in London, where she is completing a PhD in experimental women’s writing at Goldsmiths.

Twitter@livfranchini #ShelfLife

@DoubledayUK

#RandomThingsTours


Tuesday, 27 August 2019

Blog Tour ~ The Runaway Daughter by Joanna Rees



Jaffareadstoo is delighted to be hosting today's final stop on this Blog Tour 



Pan Macmillan
22 August 2019

My thanks to the publishers for my copy of this book
and the invitation to be part of the blog tour

The Runaway Daughter by Joanna Rees

 is the first novel in A Stitch in Time – a sweeping historical trilogy


It’s 1926 and Anna Darton is on the run from a terrible crime she was forced into committing. Alone and scared in London, salvation comes in the form of Nancy, a sassy American dancer at the notorious nightclub, the Zip. Re-inventing herself as Vita Casey, Anna becomes part of the line-up and is thrown into a hedonistic world of dancing, parties, flapper girls and fashion. When she meets the dashing Archie Fenwick, Vita buries her guilty conscience and she believes him when he says he will love her no matter what. But unbeknown to Vita, her secret past is fast catching up with her, and when the people closest to her start getting hurt, she is forced to confront her past or risk losing everything she holds dear.

What did I think about it..

Anna Darton is running away from something bad and is determined to start a new life, re-inventing herself as Vita Casey, and taking a job as a dancer in a London night club. This is quite a risky move and is so far removed from her normal life that Vita feels like a fish out of water. London in the 1920s is home of the latest fashions and the new risqué world of flappers and good time girls, and whilst her sheltered upbringing hasn't prepared Vita for this exciting new life she very quickly throws herself into the heart of the action with steely determination.

The story takes us right into the hedonistic world of the 1920s when those who had money could live a fine life filled with gaiety and pleasure and yet, beneath the facade of everyone having a good time, prejudices flourished and petty squabbles and jealousy could make or break those with fragile personalities.

It's been interesting to spend time with Vita, seeing London through her eyes and watching as she goes from wide eyed and frightened ingénue, to a strong and determined young woman. The journey she must take in order to get there is fraught with danger and filled with intrigue especially when her past threatens her fragile new future. The author writes well and has certainly captured time and place and gives us a real sense of an exciting time when women doing their utmost to become more independent and yet, as daughters, sisters, wives and mothers, they were still at the mercy of unscrupulous and dominant men.

The Runaway Daughter is the start of A Stitch in Time trilogy, and by the end of the novel, which I enjoyed immensely, and with the exciting finish, I'm already looking forward to seeing where the story takes us to next.




Joanna Rees

Joanna Rees is a bestselling writer of numerous novels such as The Tides of Change and A Twist of Fate. With over twenty years’ writing experience, Joanna regularly teaches creative writing in schools and libraries and she also contributes regularly to online station Radio Gorgeous. Based in Brighton, Joanna is married to the author Emlyn Rees, with whom she has three daughters. They have co-written several novels, including the Sunday Times number one bestseller Come Together, which was translated into over twenty languages and made into a film.


Twitter @joannareesbook #TheRunawayDaughter

@panmacmillan


Monday, 26 August 2019

Book Bingo...



😊...Over summer I've been playing a fun game of Book Bingo...😊




B
O
O
K
An author you’ve not read before
A book with over 400 pages





A Tapestry of Treason by Anne O'Brien
A book with fewer than 200 pages




The Nail House by Gregory Baines
Set in the UK
Aimed at teenagers or young children




Sven and the Purse of Silver by Michael E Wills
Recommended by someone


A Book of Poetry









10 Poems About Bees 
A book with a summery title








A Walk in Wildflower Park by Bella Osborne
A book from my wish-list









Lancelot by Giles Kristian
It’s been made into a play or film



The Thunder Girls by Melanie Blake
A non-fiction
Chosen with your eyes closed from book shelf 7th book along
A dystopian book 






The Last by Hanna Jameson
A crime novel
 A book you're
excited about




Photographer of the Lost by Caroline Scott
Published in 2019





Clear My Name by Paula Daly
A book with the month in the title
An award winning book






Her Last Promise by Kathryn Hughes
By a male author








At Your Door by J P Carter
Listened a book 

B
I
N
G
O










Saturday, 24 August 2019

Blog Tour ~ The Outrageous Fortune of Abel Morgan by Cynthia Jefferies


On Hist Fic Saturday

I'm delighted to be on the blog tour and go back in time to ...1660 



Allison and Busby
22 august 2019

My thanks to the publishers for my copy of this book
and to Random Things Tours for the invitation to be part of this blog tour

1660, England. War is at an end but for Christopher Morgan, his personalconflict 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.

What did I think about it..

When Christopher Morgan arrives at the Rumfustian Inn his life is in complete disarray but over time he settles into the running of the tavern and learns the hard way that he can't always rely on his neighbours to act in his best interest. The West Country in the 17th century is alive with intrigue, and when Christopher's young son, Abel, goes missing, the finger of blame seems to point at someone who bears a grudge towards Christopher.

Abel Morgan is only a child when his life takes an altogether different turn, and with a life of hardship ahead of him the story becomes a real swashbuckling adventure with tales of piracy on the high seas and of the dangers of life in the exotic port of Jamaica. Reading like a classic boys own adventure there is never a moment when the story doesn't lend itself to enterprise and intrigue and even though Abel's adventures take him into some dangerous situations, there is always a sense that, with his wits about him, Abel will survive whatever life throws at him. Christopher Morgan's desperate search for his lost boy will take him from meetings in London with Charles II, to dangerous assignations in Constantinople, where despite many setbacks and twists and turns, Christopher never stops hoping that his son will, one day, be returned to him.

The author brings alive both time and place, and allows the alternate narratives to give an exciting insight into both Christopher's and Abel's version of events. There's a great supporting cast of characters, I especially liked William and Jane at the Inn, and also, Turlough whose special role in the story made me quite emotional.

The Outrageous Fortune of Abel Morgan is an enjoyable 17th century historical romp which will appeal to those readers who like adventurous historical fiction.






AUTHOR: 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.


Twitter #CynthiaJefferies #The OutrageousFortuneOfAbelMorgan


@AllisonandBusby


#RandomThingsTours



Friday, 23 August 2019

Blog Tour ~ The Light Keeper by Cole Moreton


42443299. sy475
Marylebone Books
15 August 2019

My thanks to the publishers and Maxwell PR for my copy of this book
and the invitation to be a part of this blog tour

Sarah stands on the brink, arms open wide as if to let the wind carry her away. 

Her partner Jack is desperate to find her before it is too late. But Sarah doesn’t want to be found. She’s run away to be alone, to face a moment of truth that will mean life or death. 

And someone else is seeking answers up here on the high cliffs near Beachy Head, where the seabirds soar – a man known only as the Keeper, living in an old lighthouse without a light, right on the cusp of a four-hundred-foot drop. 

He is also discovering that sometimes love takes you to the edge…


What did I think about it..

Sarah Bramer is desperate for a child but with her marriage struggling with the strain of infertility, and in a sense of hopelessness, she has run away from her husband, Jack. Jack starts a desperate search to find Sarah before her fractured mind causes her to do something dreadful.

Near to Beachy Head, a man known as the Keeper tends an unused lighthouse, where high above the cliffs he guards his own battered soul, searching for answers he can never find, about a loss so great his mind is numbed by it. And then the Keeper meets Sarah, and life is irrevocably changed for both of these troubled souls.

With strong themes about love, loss, infertility and suicide, this is sometimes a difficult book to 'enjoy' in the widest sense, however, the author's ability to get right into the heart of these characters turns this story into something quite special. Each word is carefully placed, and with never an emotion wasted, the author's passion for imaginative storytelling shines through.

The Light Keeper is an insightful and carefully constructed story around the power of loss and of the torment of struggling in a world where all hope of understanding seems to have disappeared. Emotional and tense the story runs through a myriad of emotions which are beautifully expressed, often quite stark in places, but always reminiscent of those individual hurts which can so easily threaten to overpower everything.




Award-winning interviewer, writer and broadcaster Cole Moreton has covered many of the major news stories of our time, from 9/11 to the Olympics and the death of Nelson Mandela. He writes, talks and tells stories about the arts, politics, cultural identity, faith, spirituality and life - and above all, about people. Cole’s previous book, The Boy Who Gave His Heart Away, told the moving true story of a modern medical miracle. His BBC Radio 4 series of the same name won Audio Moment of the Year at the Arias, and Best Writing at the World’s Best Radio awards. The Light Keeper is Cole’s first novel.

Twitter @ColeMoreton #TheLightKeeper

@crudites_







Thursday, 22 August 2019

Guest Author ~ Anne O'Brien



✨✨ Happy Publication Day ✨✨


Anne O'Brien celebrates 10 years of giving a voice to the forgotten women of history


It is with great pleasure that I introduce best selling historical writer, Anne O'Brien to talk to us today about Constance of York, who features in her latest novel, A Tapestry of Treason, which is published in hardback and ebook today by HQ.





Welcome back, Anne and congratulations of the publication of  A Tapestry of Treason


Constance of York

A Woman of Tarnished Reputation


Meet Constance of York, Lady Despenser, and her magnificently dysfunctional family in the reign of King Henry IV. Few families have come down through history with such a questionable reputation, and Constance not the least of them. Not averse to swapping allegiances with unnerving frequency, plotting murder and insurrection, they were a deviously cunning bunch, worthy of a soap opera. How could I not write about Constance and such a superb cast of characters?

- Her father Edmund, Duke of York , the most ineffectual and poorest of the five sons of King Edward III. 

- Her mother Isabella, a Castilian Princess, with a reputation for easy morals.

- Her elder brother Edward, on the surface indolent and pleasure loving, but driven by hot ambition and with a sly charm to match it. 

- Her younger brother Richard, penniless and lacking a title, damned with the taint of possible illegitimacy.

- Her husband, Thomas Despenser, as ambitious and self-seeking as the rest. 

And what of Constance? Tradition says that she equalled her family in ambition and treachery, involving herself in every twist and turn of their conspiracies. History has damned her as a 'thoroughly bad lot'. Enjoying recognition at the vivid Court of Richard II, Constance could not accept the fall from grace that came with his overthrow and death. Thus her life became vicious and unprincipled, devoted to revenge, to restore her family's influence.

But was Constance as black as history paints her? Here we peek behind the tapestries and spy into her life more closely. Product of an affectionless family, committed to a loveless marriage, Constance's life was emotionally barren. No victim, she chose to live in an man's world and involve herself in her family's quest for power. That is until she fell in love, with all the possibilities of change and happiness. Unless Constance threw away her chances of fulfilment. Unless her lover abandoned her. 

This is tale of treachery, that is true, but also of thwarted ambitions and betrayed love. It highlights the influence that a woman could use, but also the limits on that influence in the medieval world. Constance was a woman of misplaced loyalties but must be admired for her steadfast support of those who demanded her duty. The ultimate betrayal by Constance's lover brought her heartbreak and loneliness. 

How could I possibly resist writing about her, bringing her to life? Constance is not an easy heroine, but she presents a formidable protagonist in A Tapestry of Treason.

Huge thanks to Anne for  being our guest author today and for sharing her thoughts about Constance of York.



HQ
22 August 2019
Anne O'Brien was born in the West Riding of Yorkshire. After gaining a BA Honours degree in history at Manchester University and a Master's in Education at Hull, she lived in the East Riding for many years as a teacher of history.

She now lives with her husband in an eighteenth century timber framed cottage in the depths of the welsh marches in Hertfordshire the borders between England and Wales.



Twitter @anne_obrien #TapestryofTreason




You can read my book review of A Tapestry of Treason by clicking here 




Wednesday, 21 August 2019

Blog Tour ~ Her Last Promise by Kathryn Hughes



Delighted to be part of this lovely Blog Tour


Headline Review
22 August 2019

My thanks to the publishers and Random Things Tours for my copy of this book
and the invitation to be part of the Blog Tour
✨✨ Winner Book of the Year in Prima magazine Big Book Awards 2019 ✨✨ 

Tara Richards was just a girl when she lost her mother. Years later when Tara receives a letter from a London solicitor its contents shake her to the core. Someone has left her a key to a safe deposit box. In the box lies an object that will change everything Tara thought she knew and lead her on a journey to deepest Spain in search of the answers that have haunted her for forty years.

Violet Skye regrets her decision to travel abroad leaving her young daughter behind. As the sun dips below the mountains, she reminds herself she is doing this for their future. Tonight, 4th June 1978, will be the start of a new life for them. This night will indeed change Violet's destiny, in the most unexpected of ways...


What did I think about it..

Back in the late 1970s, Tara, and her mum, Violet, don’t have an easy time but they're a close knit unit, and even though they live a precarious sort of life, there’s an abundance of love between them as they always look out for each other, that is until her mum goes on holiday with a new boyfriend and doesn’t return. Forty or so years later, Tara receives some unexpected news which opens up a whole batch of memories which have long been hidden.

It’s really difficult to say too much about what happens over the course of Her Last Promise as that would spoil the effect of this complex family saga and a story which flits seamlessly between two different times frames. Either in the present day, or back in 1978, the story progresses with a fine eye for detail, and both Tara and her mum, both fascinating characters soon start to come alive in the imagination. There are also several other people who warm the heart, especially Alf at the hardware shop, Tom, Tara's first boyfriend, and Tara's nan, all of them bring their own special brand of magic to the story.

There are several strands to the story which initially takes some getting used to and there were times when I wondered how everything was going to join together, but I needn’t have worried as the author does a great job of tying up all the loose ends in a satisfying conclusion.

I’ve really enjoyed being on this journey of discovery with Tara, and as she delves further and further into the mystery surrounding her mother’s disappearance, so a fascinating story of love, loss and family secrets starts to emerge.

Her Last Promise is a well written family saga with all the right ingredients for an epic and enjoyable story.








Kathryn Hughes is the internationally best selling author of The Letter, The Secret and The Key. Her total sales exceed 1.4 million copies and her novels have been published into 29 languages.


Twitter @KHughesAuthor #HerLastPromise

@Headlinepg

#RandomThingsTours




Tuesday, 20 August 2019

Review ~ Never Tell by Lisa Gardner


40376722
Century
21 February 2019
Detective DD Warren #10

My thanks to the publishers for my copy of this book 

One death might be an accident.
Two deaths looks like murder.


A man is shot dead in his own home, and his pregnant wife, Evie, is found with the gun in her hands.

Detective D.D. Warren instantly recognises her. Sixteen years ago, Evie also shot her own father. That killing was ruled an accident.

D.D. doesn’t believe in coincidences. But this case isn’t as open and shut as it first appears, and her job is to discover the truth.

Evie might be a victim.

Or she might be about to get away with murder again.

My thoughts..

Detective Warren and her team are called to investigate a shooting in which the perpetrator seems clear cut from the start but as the story progresses it becomes more obvious that all is not as it first appears, and the added complication that the alleged perpetrator has already been suspected of a previous killing only lends excitement to what is a rather tense plot line.

Since this is book number 10 in the Detective DD Warren series of crime stories, and I am new to the series, it took a little while for me to feel comfortable with the main character and the way that she goes about her investigations. However, once I started to feel more settled with the way the story was unfolding, I found Never Tell to be quite a gripping read. The many twists and turns certainly kept my attention and there were several investigative avenues which I didn't see coming.

Overall, I found Never Tell to be an exciting and action packed thriller, written by an author who has definitely streamlined this crime series into something rather special, and, I count this as a really good sign, that even as the story ended I found myself wondering if I had time to go back to the beginning and start reading this compelling series from the very start.



Lisa Gardner is a #1 New York Times bestselling crime novelist. A self-described research junkie, she has parlayed her interest in police procedure and twisted minds into a streak of twenty thrillers. Her latest, NEVER TELL features Detective D.D. Warren joining forces with vigilante Flora Dane to investigate the murder of known associate of Flora's infamous kidnapper.




Twitter @LisaGardnerBks #NeverTell


@PenguinBooksUK


Saturday, 17 August 2019

Hist Fic Saturday ~ A Tapestry of Treason by Anne O'Brien



On Hist Fic Saturday

Let's go back to...1399


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HQ
22 August 2019

My thanks to the author for my proof copy of this book

Her actions could make history – but at what price?


1399: Constance of York, Lady Despenser, proves herself more than a mere observer in the devious intrigues of her magnificently dysfunctional family, The House of York

Surrounded by power-hungry men, including her aggressively self-centred husband Thomas and ruthless siblings Edward and Richard, Constance places herself at the heart of two treasonous plots against King Henry IV. Will it be possible for this Plantagenet family to safeguard its own political power by restoring either King Richard II to the throne, or the precarious Mortimer claimant?

Although the execution of these conspiracies will place them all in jeopardy, Constance is not deterred, even when the cost of her ambition threatens to overwhelm her. Even when it endangers her new-found happiness.

With treason, tragedy, heartbreak and betrayal, this is the story of a woman ahead of her time, fighting for herself and what she believes to be right in a world of men.


What did I think about it..



The richness of A Tapestry of Treason is as sumptuous as anything that ever graced the walls of a medieval castle. Lovingly stitched by an author who continues to bring fascinating life to the forgotten women of our history. 

Constance of York was born into a vainglorious and deeply ambitious family whose familial connection to Edward III places them close enough to royalty to always be a threat. It is their unwavering allegiance to Richard II which will prove to be disastrous when in 1399 their cousin Henry IV usurps Richard’s crown inciting the York’s do all they can to restore Richard back to power.

A clever blending of fact and fiction brings the mercurial medieval court of Henry IV to life. Filled with political intrigue and deadly ambition, Constance discovers that despite her cunning and formidable ability she is always at the mercy of men who would exploit and deceive her. Despite an uneasy marriage to Thomas, Lord Despenser, Constance is never far from political intrigue and her uncompromising personality and her capacity to be drawn into scandal is what makes this account of her life such a fascinating read. That Constance is a worthy heroine is in no doubt, her life reads like a modern day reality show, and yet, by the end of the novel I couldn't help but have enormous respect for the trials she endured during her life in which her undoubted charisma, tenacity and sheer strength of will are tested to the absolute limits.

Beautifully written and impeccably researched, A Tapestry of Treason is another absolute triumph of a novel from an author who allows us, with her clever words and vivid imagery, to experience life in medieval England. We stand shoulder to shoulder with those strong and decisive women who forged our history, not armed with crossbows on the battlefields of Europe, but who, in draughty anterooms and dusty solar, could be found cleverly plotting and deftly weaving together the tapestry threads of  conspiracy, intrigue and deadly danger.


 A Tapestry of Treason is published in hardback and ebook on the 22nd August by HQ and is available to pre-order





by kind permission of the author


In 2019 Anne O'Brien celebrates ten years of giving voice to the forgotten women of history

Anne O'Brien was born in the West Riding of Yorkshire. After gaining a BA Honours degree in history at Manchester University and a Master's in Education at Hull, she lived in the East Riding for many years as a teacher of history.

She now lives with her husband in an eighteenth century timber framed cottage in the depths of the welsh marches in Hertfordshire the borders between England and Wales.



Twitter @anne_obrien #ATapestryofTreason