Saturday, 22 July 2017

#bookreview ~ The King's Daughter #historicalfantasy @WriterChurchill

The King’s Daughter

Stephanie Churchill


In this gripping sequel to The Scribe's Daughter, a young woman finds herself unwittingly caught up in a maelstrom of power, intrigue, and shifting perceptions, where the line between ally and enemy is subtle, and the fragile facade of reality is easily broken.

Irisa's parents are dead and her younger sister Kassia is away on a journey when the sisters’ mysterious customer returns, urging Irisa to leave with him before disaster strikes. Can she trust him to keep her safe? How much does he know about the fate of her father? Only a voyage across the Eastmor Ocean to the land of her ancestors will reveal the truth about her family’s disturbing past. Once there, Irisa steps into a future she has unknowingly been prepared for since childhood, but what she discovers is far more sinister than she could have ever imagined. Will she have the courage to claim her inheritance for her own?

What did I think of the book?

What if everything you thought you knew was a lie…

Irisa is a nobody. She is a poverty stricken young woman like the rest of the people in her neighbourhood. Irisa and her sister are only one breath away from being evicted, but thankfully Kassia has been hired for a job, so perhaps this month they will be able to make the rent.

But the life the sisters have known is about to come to a sudden and abrupt end.

Unbeknown to Irisa, her deceased parents have a past — a past that could cost the lives of both Irisa and her sister. Irisa has many questions, but the cost of discovering who they really are will come at a terrible price.

I was so looking forward to reading the sequel to The Scribe's Daughter, and I am pleased to say Stephanie Churchill did not disappoint.

The King's Daughter is a heartbreakingly emotional journey of discovery. In The Scribes Daughter, Irisa was portrayed as the delicate sister, the one that needed looking after by her sister, but Irisa has an inner strength and a quick wit. She is as much a survivor as Kassia is.

The story itself was incredibly fast-paced with many unexpected twist and turns that kept me turning those pages with anticipation.  The world Ms Churchill has created is so vivid in the telling that it is very easy to visualise, and her characterisation of both the protagonists and the antagonists were so well drawn that they practically breathed life.

The King's Daughter captivated me from beginning to end, and it is a story that I am sure I will come back to again. If ever there was a sit-down-and-finish book, then this is it. Kudos Ms Churchill. But don’t take my word for it, check it out for yourself.

I Highly Recommend.

*I received an Advanced Readers Copy of this book from the author for review consideration.*

Available for pre-order
Release 1st September 2017 

About the author

I used to live my life as an unsuspecting part of the reading public. Spending my days in a Georgetown law firm just outside downtown Washington, D.C., by all outward appearances I was a paralegal working in international trade and then antitrust law. I liked books, and I read them often, but that's all I was: a reader of books.

When my husband and I got married, I moved to the Minneapolis metro area and found work as a corporate paralegal, specializing in corporate formation, mergers & acquisitions, and corporate finance. Again, by all outward appearances, I was a paralegal and a reader of books.

And then one day, while on my lunch break, I visited the neighboring Barnes & Noble and happened upon a book by author Sharon Kay Penman, and while I'd never heard of her before, I took a chance and bought the book. That day I became a reader of historical fiction.

Fast forward a dozen years or so, and I had become a rabid fan of Sharon Kay Penman's books as well as historical fiction in general. Because of a casual comment she'd made on social media, I wrote Ms. Penman a ridiculously long review of her latest book, Lionheart. As a result of that review, she asked me what would become the most life-changing question: "Have you ever thought about writing?" And The Scribe's Daughter was born.

When I'm not writing or taxiing my two children to school or other activities, I'm likely walking Cozmo, our dog or reading another book to review.

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

#Bookreview ~ Everything We Left Behind #EverythingWeLeftBehind @kerrylonsdale

Everything We Left Behind: A Novel


Kerry Lonsdale

wo months before his wedding, financial executive James Donato chased his trade-laundering brother Phil to Mexico, only to be lost at sea and presumed dead. Six and a half years later, he emerges from a dissociative fugue state to find he’s been living in Oaxaca as artist Carlos Dominguez, widower and father of two sons, with his sister-in-law Natalya Hayes, a retired professional surfer, helping to keep his life afloat. But his fiancée, Aimee Tierney, the love of his life, has moved on. She’s married and has a child of her own.

Devastated, James and his sons return to California. But Phil is scheduled for release from prison, and he’s determined to find James, who witnessed something in Mexico that could land Phil back in confinement. Under mounting family pressure, James flees with his sons to Kauai, seeking refuge with Natalya. As James begins to unravel the mystery of his fractured identity, danger is never far behind, and Natalya may be the only person he can trust.

What did I think of the Book?

Sometimes the truth is a bitter pill to swallow…

The last thing James can remember is falling from a boat and trying to swim to shore. But when he opened his eyes, one morning, he finds himself in a bed he doesn't know, with two sons he can't remember. To his horror, James discovers that he has lost six years of his life. He has lost his fiancé, his identity, and has been betrayed by those closest to him. He had suffered from what the Doctors called ‘Dissociative Fugue.’ There is nothing left for James to do, but to try and piece back together his broken life. In doing so, maybe he will discover who he truly is.

Having just read Everything We Keep, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on the next book in the series. Lucky for me, I received an ARC of Kerry Lonsdale's latest release, so I didn't have to wait at all!

I was so looking forward to reading the story from James’ perspective, and I am glad to say this book did not disappoint. I thought Ms Lonsdale was very compassionate in her portray of James, and she nailed the emotional trauma that he goes through. This is, without a doubt, a heartbreakingly beautiful story.

I really took to James in Book 1, but by the end of book 2, I adore him. His determination to keep his family together — despite not remembering them — brought tears to my eyes. His confusion, his sense of betrayal, and his grief was very real in the telling. However, this is not a melancholy read. There are moments of humour, passion and love, as well as discovery. There are enough plot twists to keep you guessing and a cast of characters that are sublime in the telling.

I cannot praise this series enough. This book is certainly in my top ten — if not my top five — books I have read and reviewed this year.

I Highly Recommend.

 *I received a copy of this book from the Publishers, via NetGalley, for review consideration.*
Links for Purchase

About the author

Kerry Lonsdale is the Wall Street Journal and #1 Amazon Kindle bestselling author of three novels, including EVERYTHING WE KEEP. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo and is a founder of the Women’s Fiction Writers Association. She resides in Northern California with her husband and two children.

Useful Links

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

#Bookreview ~ Everything We Keep #EverythingWeKeep @kerrylonsdale

Everything We Keep : A Novel


Kerry Lonsdale

A luminous debut with unexpected twists, Everything We Keep explores the devastation of loss, the euphoria of finding love again, and the pulse-racing repercussions of discovering the truth about the ones we hold dear and the lengths they will go to protect us.

Sous chef Aimee Tierney has the perfect recipe for the perfect life: marry her childhood sweetheart, raise a family, and buy out her parents’ restaurant. But when her fiancé, James Donato, vanishes in a boating accident, her well-baked future is swept out to sea. Instead of walking down the aisle on their wedding day, Aimee is at James’s funeral—a funeral that leaves her more unsettled than at peace.

As Aimee struggles to reconstruct her life, she delves deeper into James’s disappearance. What she uncovers is an ocean of secrets that make her question everything about the life they built together. And just below the surface is a truth that may set Aimee free…or shatter her forever.

What did I think of the Book?

Love after death...?

It was supposed to be the best day of Aimee Tierney life, for she was marrying her childhood sweetheart, James Donato. But instead of a wedding, she is standing in the aisle and watching as James' coffin is carried to the front of the church. The life she and James had planned to have together, is now nothing but a distant memory. Aimee now must find the strength to come to terms with his death. Yet, however hard Aimee tries to get on with her life, there is that nagging doubt that maybe it wasn't James in the coffin.

Everything We Keep: A Novel, captivated me from the very first page and held my attention until the last. I was drawn into the heart-wrenching story of Aimee as she battled to come to terms with the loss of the man she loved.
Kerry Lonsdale has created an incredible cast of characters that drove this story forward. I though her portrayal of Aimee was very real in the telling. Aimee's emotional turmoil at the loss of the man she loved, the guilt that comes later when she feels herself falling for another man, and the utter despair she feels when she discovers a terrible truth, gave Aimee's character incredibly depth. 

I adored the backstory to this novel, it made Aimee and James' relationship all the more believable and really brought home to me just how much Aimee had lost with James' death.

The plot itself is very fast and there are a few curve balls that take the plot into different directions, which kept me turning those pages. Kudos Ms Lonsdale.

Everything We Keep is beautiful story with a compelling plot that I simply could not put down. This is the kind of book that deserves to be read.

I Highly Recommend

*I received a copy of this book from the Publishers, via NetGalley, for review consideration.*

Links for Purchase

About the author

Kerry Lonsdale is the Wall Street Journal and #1 Amazon Kindle bestselling author of three novels, including EVERYTHING WE KEEP. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo and is a founder of the Women’s Fiction Writers Association. She resides in Northern California with her husband and two children.

Useful Links

Monday, 3 July 2017

#Bookreview ~ The Indigo Rebels #HistFic #WW2 @EllieMidwood

The Indigo Rebels


Ellie Midwood

 France, 1940

The German army has marched into Paris. Three siblings, three very different people leading very different lives, find themselves face to face with new occupants of their city, and none of them can guess what the occupation has in store for them, and how it will change their lives once and for all.

Giselle Legrand, a renowned novelist and a socialite, encounters an unannounced guest in her apartment – a newly arrived chief of the Gestapo, Sturmbannführer Dr. Karl Wünsche, who is intended to billet there and who soon starts making rather unwelcome changes in Giselle’s lifestyle. Strong-willed and defiant, Giselle gets involved with one of the first Resistance cells, refusing to submit to the newly established authority despite the developing relationship between the two.

Kamille Blanchard, a new widow of the war left alone with a small daughter, is dreading the approaching army. However, she never expected that she could find love in the arms of an officer, who appears at her door as soon as the German army marches in. But will Kamille be able to trust a former enemy when he has to choose between his feelings and the duty for his country?

Marcel Legrand, a former history student and a deserter, fearing the capture by the Germans has no other choice than ask for the help from the ones he used to fear and avoid – the mysterious communists, who call for an uprising and freeing their country from the Nazi plague.
 Soon, the fates of all three siblings will become intertwined in a dangerous knot, all of them, fighting for the same goal: a liberated France.

What did I think of the Book?

In times of War and Peace.

France is under occupation. Giselle Legrand has to share her house with the Chief of the Gestapo. At first, Dr Karl Wünsche intrigues her, but soon her eyes are opened and she sees the ruthless monster that he truly is. Appalled by his behaviour towards her fellow countryman, Giselle joins the Resistance. She is determined to do her part to rid her country of these Foreign invaders.

I am a big fan of Ellie Midwood's work, and I was looking forward to her latest book. The Indigo Rebels didn't disappoint. It was exactly the kind of story I expect from Ms Midwood.

Filled with historical detail and with a compelling plot, The Indigo Rebels was a real page-turner. I simply could not put it down.

I adored the characterisation of Giselle. Giselle is a feisty, independent woman who, despite appearances, is determined to do something to free France. She is subjected to scorn from her fellow countryman who believes that she has sold her soul to the enemy, little do they know where her loyalties really lie.

I also loved the characterisation of Kamille. The complete opposite of her sister, Kamille, never expected to find love in the arms of the enemy, but Jochen is like no man she has ever met and her young daughter adores him. I thought it was a wonderful contrast between Giselle's relationship with the feared Chief of the Gestapo, Karl. Jochen is loving and kind. He is as appalled as Kamille to the German atrocities that he is witnessing.

I really enjoyed this book and I think it will be one that I come back to again and again.
If you are looking for quality historical fiction set in World War One, then you cannot go far wrong with The Indigo Rebels.

I Highly Recommend.

Links for Purchase

About the author

Ellie Midwood is an award-winning, best-selling historical fiction writer. She's a health obsessed yoga enthusiast, a neat freak, an adventurer, Nazi Germany history expert, polyglot, philosopher, a proud Jew and a doggie mama.

Ellie lives in New York with her fiancé and their Chihuahua named Shark Bait.

Thursday, 29 June 2017

#Bookreview ~ Flock, The Gathering of The Damned #HistFic #ASMSG @AuthoJana

Flock, The Gathering of The Damned 

 (The Flock Trilogy Book 3) 


Jana Petken

 Flock, The Gathering of The Damned, from the bestselling and multi-award-winning author of The Errant Flock, The Guardian of Secrets, Dark Shadows: Mercy Carver, and Swearing Allegiance.

The Sagrat militiamen suspend their hunt for Alejandro and return to Valencia to discover that they have become the prey.

When Rafael Perato is abducted at the Inquisitor’s funeral, he finds himself facing a new and dangerous enemy. What his captor wants with him is unclear, but as the days turn to weeks Rafael is plunged deeper and deeper into a web of deceit and betrayal.

David Sanz is marked for death after he uncovers a deadly secret and must choose between his duty to find Rafael Perato and his need to evade capture.

What did I think of the Book?

Conspiracies and intrigue in 16th Century Spain...

This is one of my most hotly-anticipated books of the year. Rich in historical detail with a story line that is simply unputadownable, Flock, The Gathering of the Damned, is an example of historical fiction at its very best.

Book 3 in The Flock Trilogy picks up where Book 2 left off, and I found myself immediately thrown back in the thick of the action.

This isn't a standalone book, you do need to read the other two books to appreciate how wonderfully compelling this story is. Set in 16th century Spain, during the Spanish Inquisition, Flock, The Gathering of the Damned, is full of conspiracies and plots. No one is safe, and everyone has their secrets.

Jana Petken is not only a master storyteller, but her attention to the historical detail of the era has to be commended. It is very obvious that Ms Petken has spent many hours researching this period and this comes across in her writing.

As before, I found the characters very well drawn. It was great to meet up with old friends, such as David, but Ms Petken has brought new characters into the story, and they slipped in as if they had always been there.

Reading this book was effortless, it was like watching a movie, and I didn't notice the time pass by while I was reading.

I cannot recommend this series, or this book, enough. Fabulous, rich storytelling that will leave you wanting more.

I Highly Recommend.

Links for Purchase

About the author

Jana Petken is a multi award winning, bestselling historical fiction novelist. She served in the British Royal Navy, was a bodyguard, and a member of British Airways cabin crew.
She turned to writing after an accident on board an aircraft, and has become critically acclaimed as a gritty, hard hitting author who produces bold, colourful characters and riveting storylines.
Useful Links



Tuesday, 27 June 2017

#Bookreview ~ Echo in the Wind by Regan Walker #HistFic #Romance @RegansReview

Echo in the Wind

(Donet Trilogy Book 2)


Regan Walker

 England and France 1784

Cast out by his noble father for marrying the woman he loved, Jean Donet took to the sea, becoming a smuggler, delivering French brandy and tea to the south coast of England. When his young wife died, he nearly lost his sanity. In time, he became a pirate and then a privateer, vowing to never again risk his heart.

As Donet’s wealth grew, so grew his fame as a daring ship’s captain, the terror of the English Channel in the American War. When his father and older brother die in a carriage accident in France, Jean becomes the comte de Saintonge, a title he never wanted.

Lady Joanna West cares little for London Society, which considers her its darling. Marriage in the ton is either dull or disastrous. She wants no part of it. To help the poor in Sussex, she joins in their smuggling. Now she is the master of the beach, risking her reputation and her life. One night off the coast of Bognor, Joanna encounters the menacing captain of a smuggling ship, never realizing he is the mysterious comte de Saintonge.

What did I think of the Book?

Love on the High Seas...

Lady Joanna West cannot abide to see the poverty around her, but instead of attending organised charity events by like-minded members of the ton, Joanna embarks on a far more dangerous pursuit to raise some money — she becomes a smuggler.

Her path crosses with the dashing French, Comte de Saintonge. What she doesn't realise is that the Comte is also the captain of one of the smuggling ships that she trades with.

The Comte de Saintonge, appears to be fearless, but that is not so. He fears to fall in love again. Can Lady Joanna help him conquer this fear?

Oh, what is not to like about this book? Set in the year 1784, Regan Walker transports her readers back to pre-revolution France in this most wonderful tale of love, honour and smuggling!

Echo in the Wind grabbed me from the very first page and did not let go of me until I had finished. I was swept away by Ms Walker's descriptive prose. The attention to historical detail in this book is outstanding. Ms Walker has brought this era to life. Kudos, Ms Walker.

I adored the characterisation of both Lady Joanne and Donet. They were both superbly well drawn and believable. As was their love story.

I really can't praise this book enough. A sublime read.

I Highly Recommend.

* I received a copy of this book from the Publishers, via Netgalley for review consideration. *

Links for Purchase

About the author

Regan Walker is an award-winning, #1 Amazon bestselling author of Regency, Georgian and Medieval romances. She writes historically authentic novels with real historical figures along with her fictional characters. She wants her readers to experience history, adventure and love. She has six times been featured on USA TODAY's HEA blog and her novels have won numerous awards.

You can sign up for her newsletter on her website and get the "Readers Extras" there, too. Regan loves to hear from her readers.

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Friday, 23 June 2017

#bookreview ~ Running Scarred (Scarred Series Book 1) #Military #Romance @wackyjackyful

Running Scarred

 (Scarred Series Book 1)


Jackie Williams

He once had it all, but for three years retired special services expert, Patrick Reeves has hidden himself and his terrible war wounds from the world.

But when a bright, beautiful woman buys the ruined château and estate on which his own home stands, it is more than Patrick’s unerring control can bear. For her to flinch from his injuries would be terrible, but for her to pity him would be the final insult. His only option is to make sure she never sees him at all. 

Ellen doesn’t give a damn what Patrick looks like. With one glimpse of his shaded figure, one touch of his work roughened hands, and one hint of his masculine scent, she is his. Forever. 

Buying the abandoned French château had been a dream, her only desire since her brother was blown up in Afghanistan, if she could only capture the elusive Patrick, her world will be complete. 

But Patrick is hiding from far more than himself. 

Devastated when her wounded hero abandons her for a flame haired beauty, and terrified when her selfish ex fiancé reappears, Ellen discovers that she might not only lose her lover but also her life. 

Can Patrick escape in time to save the woman who loves and accepts him exactly as he is, or will she be lost to him forever while he has been Running Scarred for far too long?

What did I think of the Book?

Finding love after war…

When Ellen heard the devastating news that her brother had received life-changing injuries during his tour in Afghanistan, she knew that she would do anything and everything she could to help him and his comrades.

She dreams of buying a property which she could renovate into a luxury hotel for injured veterans. Luckily her new found inheritance can go a long way in making her dreams come true.

After months of searching she finds a ruined château in France which will be perfect for her hotel.

A chance encounter with a mysterious man in the château's grounds, gives Ellen the push to finally end her longterm relationship with a man who is only interested in her money. It also means she is free to get to know this mysterious man who makes her heart flutter just by speaking!

Patrick has hidden away from the world. He cannot stand to be looked on with pity or disgust, for the wounds he received during his tour of duty have left their scars. But Ellen has captivated his heart. Dare he take the risk of rejection when Ellen sees his shattered face?

I LOVED this book! It was wonderful to have the protagonist portrayed with a disability, and I really wish there were more romance books like this one. Running Scarred (Scarred Series Book 1) is up there with my all-time favourite romance reads. It was superb. Jackie Williams has treated her characters disability with great skill and compassion. Patrick is not defined by his disability, although when strangers and family alike look at him, that is how he is treated — they see the disability, not the man. I felt heartbroken when he hid away from the world because he could not face the reactions of people when they looked into his face. Ellen is a real breath of fresh air, who does not see the scars, but sees the man behind them — if only there were more people like Ellen.

The love story is sweet and realistic. This is the kind of romance book I would be more than happy for my teen to read. The plot is fast-paced, and I read the book in one sitting.

Make no mistake Running Scarred (Scarred Series Book 1) is a sit-down-and-finish book. It is definitely one I will be coming back to again.

I Highly Recommend.

Links for Purchase

About the author

I was born in Essex England during the mid sixties but I missed all the fun. Being only young I assumed that all Beatles were six legged creatures and Flower Power was something to do with the vigorous way my mother kneaded the bread dough.

My wonderful parents brought me up with a huge love of books. We read anything and everything. Bedtime stories were a treasured time of adventure and mystery. My sister and I sat wide eyed in wonder and to this day I worry about Dinah and Dorinda being pricked with pins because they grew so fat, and I never pull faces at the a waning moon (or was it a waxing one?) just in case my chops stay that way . (The Wind On The Moon)

I began reading romance while still at school. The fuel for many a teenage fantasy leapt from between the covers of wildly romantic books and my passion still lingers now for all those dark haired heroes.

My own beautiful teenage daughter persuaded me to write my first romance. She was only fourteen at the time and between books for children and adults. She couldn’t find anything that ticked all her numerous and particular boxes and so she asked me to write a book, with all the exact ingredients just for her. Though not just a book for teens, she enjoyed the resulting tale so much that she shared it with her friends and I eventually published A Perfect Summer as an ebook on amazon.

But I have discovered that writing is not easily stopped once you start. It has turned into a grand passion that I just cannot hold back. The fingertips start tapping the keys and ideas suddenly come flooding, far too many for just one book and so I began another and then another. Nine books later I am still nowhere near done. Book ten is on its way and only just the other night I woke from a wild and wonderful dream with book eleven fully formed in my head.

Romance will always be my first love but recently I was so influenced by a tiny polished plaque on a sea wall that I gave paranormal romance a try. (Echo Beach) Mixing the two genres was a real challenge for me but I was delighted with the result. Historical romance is going to be my next genre. All those fabulously titled and passionate men are impossibly hard to resist.