Tag: historical fiction

Sunday Summary – 13th October 2019

Good evening readers! It’s Sunday night again, so you know what time it is… time for my Sunday Summary post!

Even though I have published posts every day this week, I don’t feel that it has been all that stressful. Now that I’m a little ahead of myself and have gotten into the routine of writing more than one post in a sitting, it’s become easier. I’ve also ended up going to two work social events this week, which has probably contributed as well.

What have I been gracing your screens with this week? I began the week with a discussion post about how to write book reviews, and what I think is important to include. In that post, I talk about why I don’t really use a star rating system on my blog and why it is important to express yourself as honestly as you can, even if you don’t love a book. I published another Top Ten Tuesday post (you guessed it, on Tuesday), in which I list what I think are my top ten achievements since starting my blog. When I started the post I imagined it to be a nice, light-hearted one, but it actually ended up quite personal.

Wednesday was the day for me to publish an audiobook review. This week’s subject was a little okay a lot overdue, having finished listening to it over four months ago. The Painted Man by Peter Brett is an enjoyable read (or listen) for fantasy-lovers and you can find all my views in that post. On Thursday I discussed the results of an experiment I conducted at the end of September. If you are a book blogger and want to find out whether paid advertising is really worth it, I strongly recommend you check out my results before you spend your money. Seriously. Know what you are getting yourself into.

On Friday I shared the introduction to last month’s work book club read (that I didn’t get around to… oops!) in my First Lines Friday post. I definitely want to try and read it on holiday though, so fingers crossed I can catch up with it. Then, yesterday, I shared my list of books I wish I had never read. Thankfully, these are very few and far between; there is nothing worse than investing time in books to end up disappointed.

 

Books Read

Between drafting blog posts, meeting friends for lunch, taking part in a Quiz Night and going bowling with my work friends, it’s amazing I have had time to fit in any reading this week! Following on from last week, I started by making progress with The Haunting at Paradise House by Killian Wolf. You can tell I had a busy week as I only really finished this on Friday after bowling. I had only just about started this last week, so I suppose I almost read it all in a few days.

Yesterday I picked up After Whorl: Bran Reborn by Nancy Jardine. This is my last read of the month for which I have an upcoming blog tour. I have already read 36% of the book and found it quite easy to do so. I can’t see that this will take me too long to finish at all. It’s a lot easier to read than The Beltane Choice, in my opinion. It’s definitely more historical fiction than romantic fiction, which I like.

Visions of Zarua is taking me a lot longer to listen to than I would have liked. My blog tour post is coming up pretty imminently, and I still have seven hours left to listen to. I’m going to put some serious time into listening to it next week to have this completed in time to write my review. I have to. It’s not that I’m not enjoying it, because I am, I just don’t listen to audiobooks very quickly.

 

Books Discovered

 

So, a few books have been added to the TBR this week. My first addition of the week came from a charity stall in my local Tesco, for the benefit of Cancer Research. I managed to pick up a second-hand, but a good-as-new copy of The Forbidden Queen by Anne O’Brien. You can tell it has never been read by the condition of the spine – not only has it not been cracked, it’s not even stretched.

Thanks to Bookbub, I have also added a couple more books by John Marrs to the TBR. I have already added The Good Samaritan to the list. This week, I added When You Disappeared and Her Last Move, because both sound fantastic!

 

Coming Up…

Blogtober continues and I have a mixed line up of posts to keep things fresh for you guys. Here is what to expect popping up in the near future: –

  • Monday 14th October – Quintessential Quotes: Margaret Atwood edition
  • Tuesday 15th October – Top Ten Tuesday: New releases I am excited for
  • Wednesday 16th October – Book Review: Crowfall by Ed McDonald
  • Thursday 17th October – Book Promo: Darkest Hour by Rachel Churcher
  • Friday 18th October – Shelf Control
  • Saturday 19th October – My Holiday Reads
  • Sunday 20th October – Blog Tour: Visions of Zarua by Suzanne Rogerson
  • Monday 21st October – Netgalley: Yay or Nay?
  • Tuesday 22nd October – Top Ten Tuesday: Bookish Worlds I Love
  • Wednesday 23rd October – Tips to get out of a reading slump
  • Thursday 24th October – Autumn: The Season of Reading (for me!)
  • Friday 25th October – First Lines Friday
  • Saturday 26th October – Blogging and Social Media
  • Sunday 27th October – Sunday Summary

 

I have lots of blog posts in this week’s list as I am going on holiday very soon! I already have four of these scheduled, with a draft for a fifth post well underway. I’m going to be prepping these posts before I go, with the exception of my Sunday Summary on the 27th. Even if it’s a brief list, I am going to do my best to update you on everything I have been reading in the two weeks since my last summary.

Wish me luck…

 

Top Blog Posts of the Week

It has been a few weeks, but here are a few blog posts I have stumbled across and enjoyed reading this week: –

Nope Book Tag

Sherlock Holmes and the Christmas Demon by James Lovegrove Book Review. #BookReview #BookBlogger #BookBloggers #SherlockHolmes @JamesLovegrove7 @TitanBooks @Sarah_Mather_15

Book Review: The Winter Sea

A big bookish discovery

Bookish tattoos and my favourite tv show | The Liebster Award 🌰🍂

What have you been reading this week?

 

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Reading List: October 2019

Hello spooky friends! It’s time to share this month’s reading list – and it’s a bumper one! I am going on holiday with my lovely sister a little later this month and I’m crossing my fingers for lovely sunshine and some R&R – reading and relaxation time!

A combination of blog tours and a few reads of my own choice to check off the list make for a busy month. In order to keep up with this list, I am looking at having to read an average of 59 pages a day. Combine this with taking part in Blogtober, and you’ll see that I don’t like to make my life easy!

It’s a good job I like a challenge right? Are you ready to check out the books on this month’s TBR?

 

Hallowed Ground: The Mystery of the African Fairy Circles – Paul Twivy

 

This magical story is inspired by the most haunting and least explored country in the world – Namibia – with its foggy Skeleton Coast, buried goldmines, shocking secrets and awe-inspiring sand dunes.

Spread across the face of its deserts are hundreds of miles of ‘fairy circles’ : vast enough to be seen from space.  They grow and die with the same lifespan as humans, yet no-one has been able to explain why or how they appear.

Then one day, three teenagers and their families arrive from different parts of the globe. Helped by bushmen, the buried possessions of a Victorian explorer, and a golden leopard, they solve the mystery of the African Circles. What will be discovered beneath the hallowed ground? And how will it change the future of the planet above it?

 

My blog tour post isn’t until the end of the month, but I am prioritising reading these books first.

The synopsis is both unusual and intriguing for this book; it’s what drew my attention to it. The blog tour has been extended too, so it has grabbed a lot of bloggers attention. The book also has some sci-fi elements to it, so I can’t wait to see how this ties into the book!

 

To Snare a Witch: Book 1 – Bell, Book and Candle – Jay Raven

Goodreads – To Snare a Witch

A chilling historical tale of lust, sorcery and devastating revenge.

No female dares spurn the lecherous advances of Sir Henry Cruttendon, 17th Century England’s most reviled nobleman. To do so risks a retribution that would terrify the Devil himself.

But Elizabeth Fiennes is no ordinary woman, blessed with stunning beauty, intelligence and guile. Coming from an influential family, she believes she is safe. What she doesn’t understand is that the Earl is determined to satisfy his lust at any cost and plans to use the wave of witch trials, fear and superstition sweeping the countryside to force her into his clutches.

And as he springs his malicious trap it triggers a chain of unholy events plunging hunter and prey into a maelstrom of deceit, terror and depravity – leaving them both staring into the face of true evil…

 

I am reading this novella for a blog tour as well, one day after Hallowed Ground. The end of the month is packed with reviews – four in four days!

At 85 pages, this one is comparatively short so I can probably read it in one sitting. I really enjoyed reading Game of Crones, also by Jay Raven earlier this year. The writing style of Game of Crones suited me really well and I devoured it quickly. I trust I will be able to read To Snare a Witch in good time too.

 

The Haunting of Paradise House – Killian Wolf

Goodreads – The Haunting at Paradise House

If you were given the chance to become a powerful sorceress, would you leave behind everything you thought you knew?

When Addison is offered the position of her dreams through a mysterious phone call, she rises to the occasion and moves to the Florida Keys to a mansion called Paradise House.

Footsteps from playful ghosts, a room of killer dolls, and an all too intelligent owl lead her to the mysteries that lie within the walls, to reveal the true reason behind her invitation. When dark forces get a hold of her and her patient, Addison is left with no choice but to take extreme measures to protect the ones she loves.

Will Addison be able to acquire the necessary skills fast enough in order to protect her patient, and defeat the evil entities that thrive in the mansion?

 

I have the pleasure of reviewing this mystical, arcane novel on none other than Halloween (or Hop Tu Naa here). It feels very appropriate to be reading books with spooky and sinister goings-on this month. How could I refuse this blog tour spot?

 

After Whorl: Bran Reborn – Nancy Jardine

Goodreads – After Whorl: Bran Reborn

RAVAGED BY WAR …AD 71. After the battle at Whorl, Brennus of Garrigill is irrevocably changed. Returning to Marske, Ineda finds her grandmother dead, though Brennus is not. Snared by a Roman patrol, they are marched to Witton where he is forced to labour for the Roman IX Legion. Embracing his new identity as Bran, Brennus vows to avert Roman occupation of northernmost Brigantia. Ineda becomes his doughty spying accomplice, though sometimes she’s too impetuous. Trading with the Romans lends excellent opportunities for information gathering. Over time, Bran’s feelings for Ineda mar with his loyalty to Ineda’s father. When she disappears, and cannot be found, Bran enters direct service with Venutius, King of the Brigantes.

 

If I want a rest after Blogtober then I have to go a few days longer before I can get it! After Whorl Bran Reborn is my last blog tour read of the month, with a tour date of 1st November. I recently read the first book in the series, The Beltane Choice. I enjoyed reading about a completely new period in British history. This book picks up after the events of the first book and I cannot wait to see how the story progresses.

 

Circe – Madeline Miller

Goodreads – Circe

In the house of Helios, god of the sun and mightiest of the Titans, a daughter is born. But Circe is a strange child—not powerful, like her father, nor viciously alluring like her mother. Turning to the world of mortals for companionship, she discovers that she does possess power—the power of witchcraft, which can transform rivals into monsters and menace the gods themselves.

Threatened, Zeus banishes her to a deserted island, where she hones her occult craft, tames wild beasts and crosses paths with many of the most famous figures in all of mythology, including the Minotaur, Daedalus and his doomed son Icarus, the murderous Medea, and, of course, wily Odysseus.

But there is danger, too, for a woman who stands alone, and Circe unwittingly draws the wrath of both men and gods, ultimately finding herself pitted against one of the most terrifying and vengeful of the Olympians. To protect what she loves most, Circe must summon all her strength and choose, once and for all, whether she belongs with the gods she is born from, or the mortals she has come to love.

 

I first took an interest in Greek Mythology earlier this year, reading Mythos by Stephen Fry. There are a lot of good reviews of Circe, and it won a Goodreads Choice award last year. I bought a physical copy of the book earlier this year and I am taking this on holiday with me. Given the choice, I like a mix of e-books and physical ones – it’s not so large that it’ll compromise my luggage space.

 

Daughter of Smoke and Bone – Laini Taylor

Daughter of Smoke & Bone

Goodreads – Daughter of Smoke and Bone

Around the world, black hand prints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky.

In a dark and dusty shop, a devil’s supply of human teeth grows dangerously low.

And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherworldly war.

Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real, she’s prone to disappearing on mysterious “errands”, she speaks many languages – not all of them human – and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she’s about to find out.

When beautiful, haunted Akiva fixes fiery eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?

 

I bought my copy of Daughter of Smoke and Bone at the same time as Circe. Laini Taylor’s Strange the Dreamer duology was absolutely fantastic! I wouldn’t describe myself as a champion of YA literature; I don’t read all that much of it, but I adored these! Based on my love of those, it was a no-brainer decision to try her other books. This also isn’t too large, so it’s coming away with me!

 

Imaginary Friend – Stephen Chbosky

Goodreads – Imaginary Friend

We can swallow our fear or let our fear swallow us.

Single mother Kate Reese is on the run. Determined to improve life for her and her son, Christopher, she flees an abusive relationship in the middle of the night with Christopher at her side. Together, they find themselves drawn to the tight-knit community of Mill Grove, Pennsylvania. It’s as far off the beaten track as they can get. Just one highway in, one highway out.

At first, it seems like the perfect place to finally settle down. Then Christopher vanishes. For six awful days, no one can find him. Until Christopher emerges from the woods at the edge of town, unharmed but not unchanged. He returns with a voice in his head only he can hear, with a mission only he can complete: Build a tree house in the woods by Christmas, or his mother and everyone in the town will never be the same again.

Soon Kate and Christopher find themselves in the fight of their lives, caught in the middle of a war playing out between good and evil, with their small town as the battleground.

Christopher is seven years old. Christopher is the new kid in town. Christopher has an imaginary friend. The epic work of literary horror from the #1 bestselling author of THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER.

 

I won a Netgalley download of Imaginary Friend by Stephen Chbosky. Given the nature of the book, it’s appropriate to wrap up with this book for Hop Tu Naa. Doesn’t it sound really creepy?! It reminds me a little of Stephen King’s Pet Sematary with the whole small town and sinister forest vibe. I loved that book. I wonder how it will compare.

So, seven books… I think that’s got to be one of the longest reading lists I have set for myself. Have you read any of these books? What spooky reads are you reading this autumn?

 

 

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Blog Tour Review and Giveaway: The Beltane Choice – Nancy Jardine

Today’s review of The Beltane Choice is the second blog tour post of the week! The Beltane Choice was the first book I picked up this month, despite not being the first tour date. I was in the mood for historical fiction, so why not? I knew I had plenty of time.

As always, I would like to take the chance to say a huge thank you to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for organising the tour. She has just celebrated her second year of starting up her blog tour business – so congratulations are in order too!

 

The Beltane Choice – Nancy Jardine

Goodreads – The Beltane Choice

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…

 

Purchase Link – Amazon.com

 

My Thoughts…

I signed up to the blog tour for The Beltane Choice as a means of exploring a new period of British History. It isn’t something I have studied extensively. Most of my school history lessons revolved around the World Wars, the Cold War and American History. The ‘oldest’ British history I have read to date goes back to the Viking invasion of Britain, which occurs several hundred years after the events of this series. The year is AD71; Nara and Lorcan are brought together by chance on the road, but little do they know they each have a larger part to play in the face of a new threat – Roman invaders.

One of the most significant elements of the book is the relationship that develops between Lorcan and Nara. It’s pivotal to the plot and the wider series, on the whole, so I’m not going to mark it down for that. It wasn’t my favourite aspect, however. It’s in no way a criticism – it’s relevant and appropriate. I am just not a lover of romantic fiction and I would say the novel is as much romantic fiction as it is historical fiction.

I enjoyed the overall development of the story. The goal of uniting small tribes to face the threat posed by the Romans is clear from the start, yet far from an easy task for the characters to accomplish. Lorcan, a messenger and effectively a mediator, must travel to new and dangerous lands. It is on one such trip that he discovers Nara in her plight. He takes her captive and brings her back to his tribe, where he learns her identity and the role she must play to give them a chance at survival.

I like how the chapters are broken down by location in order to help us keep track of what is happening when. The narrative takes place in various locations across modern-day Northern England, as a lot of travel takes place. Some chapters switch perspective and location from Nara to Lorcan, although this isn’t common. As and when it occurs, the transition flows. Each character is quite distinctive from the other and easy to identify so settling into the new perspective is seamless.

The Beltane Choice and the events within have established the wider plotline to be explored in the remainder of the series. I can’t wait to see where events take us in the later books; how will the Selgovae and Garrigill tribes meet the Roman threat? I’m already signed up to take part in the blog tours for the later books as well, so I don’t have too long to wait…

 

Giveaway to Win x1 signed paperback of The Beltane Choice to one UK winner; X1 kindle copy worldwide

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

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/33c69494276/

 

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 –

Blog: http://nancyjardine.blogspot.co.uk

Website: www.nancyjardineauthor.com/

Facebook: http://on.fb.me/XeQdkG & http://on.fb.me/1Kaeh5G

Twitter https://twitter.com/nansjar

Amazon Author page http://viewauthor.at/mybooksandnewspagehere

Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5139590.Nancy_Jardine

 

Sunday Summary – 8th September 2019

We’re at the end of another week already – so it’s time for my weekly Sunday Summary wrap up! The week was dragging… up until the weekend that is. Isn’t that always the way?

I began the week by sharing my Reading List for the month! With a book untouched from last month’s TBR and no less than three books still to be read for upcoming blog tours… it’s a busy one! In between all that, I am very excited about reading The Testaments, which is being published next week!

On Wednesday I set aside some of the older outstanding reviews and instead reviewed a recent read. After reading a previous book co-authored by him, Seeker, I gladly accepted a copy of Kau D’Varza from David Noë. I really enjoyed delving into the ChaosNova universe again.

On Friday I took a break from the usual Shelf Control post to take part in a book birthday blitz tour of The Fourth Victim by John Mead. As part of the tour, I reviewed the crime fiction novel. In order to make my life a little easier, I thought on and read this last month. What sets The Fourth Victim is its unusual main character Jenny – a sufferer of Dissociative Identity Disorder.

 

Books Read

I have spent the majority of the week reading The Beltane Choice by Nancy Jardine. As of last week’s Sunday Summary post I was 22% through the book. Midweek I felt pretty confident with how I was doing, but it ended up taking me a little longer to read than I wanted. I enjoyed the book overall, but I had a few moments with it. There are elements within that are necessary to the story, but I didn’t love it 100%. I persevered and I’m glad I did because I liked the wider historical fiction setting and novel. I finished reading The Beltane Choice yesterday morning.

As I have a blog tour post scheduled before that of The Beltane Choice, my next priority is to read Ring Fenced by Zach Abrams. I’ve fared a lot better with this book; the urgency of having the blog tour post due next week has spurred me along all the more I think. I started reading this yesterday afternoon and as of right now, I am 70% through the book already. If I push myself, I think I can have this read by the end of the night and be ready to move on to my next blog tour read. Thankfully I have a bit more breathing room before that post is due.

I am back to car-sharing in the mornings now, so progress on Six of Crows has slowed. That said, I have just less than five hours left of the book. If I listen to it in the car on the way home every day, I could have this finished in a couple of weeks. I have the scope to listen to them a little more at home (i.e. in the morning getting ready), so maybe I’ll give that a try again and see how I get on. Maybe this time next week I’ll be telling you I’ve finished it…

 

Books Discovered

I have a confession to make. I’ve added quite a few books to the TBR this week.

I’ve gotten involved with a bookish group of people that work at different offices of my company through our equivalent of a social media platform. In addition to discovering my interest in reading this month’s ‘Book of the Month’, When She Was Bad by Tammy Cohen. It’s an office-based thriller and I think it has the potential to be a great read. I am going to see how my reading goes over the next few days to see if adding this to the TBR is feasible or not so I can take part in the conversation this month. It’s not the end of the world if I can’t… I can always read it later. I’d like to try though.

Last week I put out a poll so we could all get to know each other’s reading habits and preferences. We ended up talking about our bias towards fiction novels and our knowledge of history. A colleague mentioned that she keeps meaning to pick up her copy of 50 Things You Need to Know About British History by Hugh Williams. I decided that I want to as well, as my lack of knowledge of British History is pretty embarrassing.

Outside of the book club, my colleague Claire recommended a book she read on holiday to me. The Island by Victoria Hislop is a historical fiction novel about a woman discovering her family history and her ties to Spinalonga – a former leper colony.

This is a real historical fiction week, as my last addition to the TBR is Cilka’s Journey by Heather Morris. The book is due to be published on the 1st October and having loved The Tattooist of Auschwitz, adding her new book to the TBR is a no-brainer!

 

Coming Up…

Next week is the busiest of this month, with no less than three blog tour posts coming your way.

In order to get myself organised with everything, I’ll forego my usual Monday/Tuesday post. Instead, my first post of the week will be shared on Wednesday. That post will be my review of my current read, Ring Fenced by Zach Abrams.

I’ll be skipping my fortnightly Shelf Control post again this week as I am due to take part in the blog tour for The Beltane Choice on Friday.

It’s not typical for me to post on a Saturday either, but I really wanted to take part in the blog tour for Faeries of Saizia by Tonya Chaves. If I didn’t have two blog tours already then I would have signed up to review this book. However, it is what it is, so I’m publishing a promo post to tell you all about it instead.

 

Top Blog Posts of the Week

 

Duffy the Writer – Tidelands: Latest book by Philippa Gregory

The Lone Read Blog – Favorite Books of 2019

Bibliophagist Reviews – Weekly Update

 

 

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Reading List: September 2019

At the beginning of September, a lot of people will be celebrating the return of the school year. The summer holidays are over and parents everywhere can breathe a sigh of relief. It’s been many years since I’ve been in that routine, but I’m looking forward to the new month for entirely different reasons. A new month means a new reading list and I have a busy one ahead of me!

I have a number of blog tours coming up this month… the first of which is just a few days away. Thankfully I have already prepared and read up for that, but there is no rest for the wicked! Shall we take a look at which books I’ll be burying my nose in this month?

 

The Beltane Choice – Nancy Jardine

Goodreads – The Beltane Choice

The Beltane Choice “…combines a very human and personal story with a very believable vision of Late Iron Age society in Northern Britain.”

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…

 

This is the first book I’ve picked this month, although strictly speaking it’s my third blog tour of the month. Tours two and three are so close together that it’s pretty inconsequential which order I read them in. Given my head start, I should have these both read in good time!

I signed onto the tours for this series as I wanted to broaden my horizons on British history. I haven’t read anything dating back even close to this period, so I’m interested to see how I’ll enjoy this book and the rest of the series!

 

Ring Fenced – Zach Abrams

Goodreads – Ring Fenced

Sex. Money. Power. Control. Benjamin has it all.

He is Bennie, a loving husband and father; Benjie, a beloved son. He climbs the ladder as Ben, a corporate banker, and rakes in money as a bestselling author. And when he wants to escape it all, Benjamin styles himself as Jamie — the lover of a beautiful musician. His life, in a word, is perfect.

But after years of keeping his separate personae a secret, cracks begin to appear in the façade. When an unexpected series of events topples Benjamin’s carefully crafted world, his separate lives collide with dire consequences.

 

After The Beltane Choice, I’ll promptly be picking up Ring Fenced by Zach Abrams. This is my second blog tour of the month, so no hanging around when it comes to getting this read! I was drawn to this novel because a mean part of me cannot wait to see how his life and multiple personas come together disastrously.

 

The Testaments – Margaret Atwood

Goodreads – The Testaments

In this brilliant sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale, acclaimed author Margaret Atwood answers the questions that have tantalized readers for decades.

When the van door slammed on Offred’s future at the end of The Handmaid’s Tale, readers had no way of telling what lay ahead for her—freedom, prison or death.

With The Testaments, the wait is over.

Margaret Atwood’s sequel picks up the story fifteen years after Offred stepped into the unknown, with the explosive testaments of three female narrators from Gilead.

“Dear Readers: Everything you’ve ever asked me about Gilead and its inner workings is the inspiration for this book. Well, almost everything! The other inspiration is the world we’ve been living in.” —Margaret Atwood

 

The Testaments will be published on the 10th September and it is the newest book on myTBR. As soon as my copy is in my local Waterstones, you had best get out of my way! I have fallen in love with The Handmaid’s Tale (book and TV series) despite not getting on with it at all years ago and I cannot tell you how excited I am for the sequel! I’ll be reading it as soon as I can squeeze it between my blog tour reads.

 

Simon Says – Jo Wesley

Goodreads – Simon Says

Her new life may not be perfect but she’s happy. Until she makes a terrible decision – and learns the hard way that home is not a place of refuge.

Not while Simon lurks in every shadow.

He groomed her as a teen: terrorised her into fleeing and leaving her baby behind. Now the man who destroyed her childhood has become the perfect father to her teenage daughter. And her return threatens his future.

A desperate man is a dangerous one.

Simon says she must leave or suffer the consequences. She refuses.

Now it’s his move. Because it’s not enough to face your demons.

Sometimes, you must destroy them.

 

Simon Says is my last blog tour of the month and thankfully I have a little breathing room after the above tours to read and review this book. I’m a huge fan of psychological thrillers and the premise of this one sounds so good! It has such potential for an explosive plotline and a dose of karma for those that deserve it! It has very good ratings to far too, so I have very high hopes for this!

 

Elantris – Brandon Sanderson

Goodreads – Elantris

Elantris was the capital of Arelon: gigantic, beautiful, literally radiant, filled with benevolent beings who used their powerful magical abilities for the benefit of all. Yet each of these demigods was once an ordinary person until touched by the mysterious transforming power of the Shaod. Ten years ago, without warning, the magic failed. Elantrians became wizened, leper-like, powerless creatures, and Elantris itself dark, filthy, and crumbling.

Arelon’s new capital, Kae, crouches in the shadow of Elantris. Princess Sarene of Teod arrives for a marriage of state with Crown Prince Raoden, hoping — based on their correspondence — to also find love. She finds instead that Raoden has died and she is considered his widow. Both Teod and Arelon are under threat as the last remaining holdouts against the imperial ambitions of the ruthless religious fanatics of Fjordell. So Sarene decides to use her new status to counter the machinations of Hrathen, a Fjordell high priest who has come to Kae to convert Arelon and claim it for his emperor and his god.

But neither Sarene nor Hrathen suspect the truth about Prince Raoden. Stricken by the same curse that ruined Elantris, Raoden was secretly exiled by his father to the dark city. His struggle to help the wretches trapped there begins a series of events that will bring hope to Arelon, and perhaps reveal the secret of Elantris itself.

A rare epic fantasy that doesn’t recycle the classics and that is a complete and satisfying story in one volume, Elantris is fleet and fun, full of surprises and characters to care about. It’s also the wonderful debut of a welcome new star in the constellation of fantasy.

 

Since I didn’t get around to reading this last month it’s hardly shocking that it’s on the list again. It may be last on the list but reading this is a priority too. I will not be postponing it another month because I fancied reading something else. I’m self-imposing a ban on starting any non-TBR books unless at the end of the month I have finished y TBR and have time to spare.

That’s everything for this month! Are there any other Margaret Atwood fans looking forward to the Testaments as much as I am? Otherwise, what are you reading this month?

 

 

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First Lines Friday – 30/08/2019

Happy Friday everyone! I hope you have had a lovely week after the bank holiday on Monday (for some of us, anyway!)

I’m back again with my new regular fortnightly feature – First Lines Friday. If you want to sample something new without the bias of a front cover, then you have come to the right place!

Which book am I featuring today? Here are the first few lines from today’s featured book: –

 

First the colours.

Then the humans.

That’s usually how I see things.

Or at least, how I try.

 

Here is a small fact

You are going to die.

 

I am in all truthfulness attempting to be cheerful about this whole topic, though most people find themselves hindered in believing me, no matter my protestations. Please, trust me. I most definitely can be cheerful. I can be amiable. Agreeable. Affable. And that’s only the A’s. Just don’t ask me to be nice. Nice has nothing to do with me.

 

Reaction to the Aforementioned fact

Does this worry you?

I urge you – don’t be afraid.

I’m nothing if not fair.

 

Of course, an introduction.

A beginning.

Where are my manners?

 

 

 

This particular book has been on my reading list for a couple of years now. It’s one I see a good number of bloggers talk about too. I have only ever seen praise of it. It’s currently scoring 4.37 stars and has over 1.6 million ratings, so I’m confident this is one I am really going to enjoy getting around to!

Not only that, but the undercurrents of the WW2 setting definitely make this my kind of read!

Would you like to find out what it is?

 

The Book Thief – Markus Zusak

It is 1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier, and will be busier still.

By her brother’s graveside, Liesel’s life is changed when she picks up a single object, partially hidden in the snow. It is The Gravedigger’s Handbook, left behind there by accident, and it is her first act of book thievery. So begins a love affair with books and words, as Liesel, with the help of her accordian-playing foster father, learns to read. Soon she is stealing books from Nazi book-burnings, the mayor’s wife’s library, wherever there are books to be found.

But these are dangerous times. When Liesel’s foster family hides a Jew in their basement, Liesel’s world is both opened up, and closed down.

In superbly crafted writing that burns with intensity, award-winning author Markus Zusak has given us one of the most enduring stories of our time.

What do you think of the introduction to The Book Thief? Have you read it? Added it to your TBR?

As always, I would love to hear from you!!

 

 

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Book Review: Sword Song – Bernard Cornwell

I’m on a mission to catch up with one of my book reviews I have outstanding. I read Sword Song, the fourth instalment of the Saxon Stories in May this year. Whether you have/are reading the books or watched the TV show, there is something for all historical fiction fans.

I was introduced to The Last Kingdom, the first book of the series, by a Danish friend of mine. If you’d like to check out my reviews of the earlier books, you can find the reviews for The Last Kingdom and The Pale Horseman here and Lords of the North here. If you want to check those out before jumping into my review of Sword Song, now is the time to do it!

 

Sword Song – Bernard Cornwell

Goodreads – Sword Song

“Bernard Cornwell ranks as the current alpha male of testoterone-enriched historical fiction….This satisfying tale leaves you hungry for more of Uhtred’s adventures.” -USA Today

The year is 885, and England is at peace, divided between the Danish Kingdom to the north and the Saxon kingdom of Wessex in the south. Warrior by instinct and Viking by nature, Uhtred, the dispossessed son of Northumbrian lord, has land, a wife and children-and a duty to King Alfred to hold the frontier on the Thames. But a dead man has risen, and new Vikings have invaded the decayed Roman city of London with dreams of conquering Wessex…with Uhtred’s help. Suddenly forced to weigh his oath to the king against the dangerous turning side of shifting allegiances and deadly power struggles, Uhtred-Alfred’s sharpest sword-must now make the choice that will determine England’s future.

 

My Thoughts…

There is something about Uhtred’s character you cannot help but like. He’s tough, sure of himself; I’d even go so far to say arrogant. He is not without fault, and begrudging admitting it when he is. It’s all part of his charm. It’s funny, because I can’t stand people like that personally. I suppose there’s only room for one ego, so it has to be mine. I’m not even embarrassed to admit it either…

Caught between his Saxon heritage and his Danish upbringing and love of the warrior life, Uhtred’s loyalties are constantly tested. As a character, Uhtred makes the perfect narrator. Having ties to both sides, his conflicting feelings neither glorify nor demonise one side over the other. It serves well in building the conflict of the plot.

There may be peace between both camps for now, but it sits uneasily. As a Danish man, Uhtred is a firm believer in destiny. When word spreads of a prophecising dead man rising from the grave, Uhtred cannot resist the temptation to find out what his future has in store for him. With promises of Kingship and grandeur, Uhtred helps the Danes occupy Lundene, threatening the last standing kingdom of Wessex.

Aside from Uhtred there are plenty of other brilliant characters. From prodigiously devout to callous and reckless, England is as divided within its people as it is with the Danes. King Alfred is doing his best to pull everyone together, but he is one man – fighting a losing battle to unite the men hiding their own agendas before he even makes it onto the field.

 

 

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First Lines Friday – 02/08/2019

Are you on the countdown to the weekend?! I sure am! I hope you are having a lovely day… whatever it is you are doing!

I’m back again with my regular fortnightly feature – First Lines Friday. It’s a fun way for you lovely readers to try something new, without the bias of a front cover or knowledge of the book before you read it!

So, shall we get on with today’s post? Here are the first few lines from today’s featured book!

 

 

 

I am a coward.

I wanted to be heroic and I pretended I was. I have always been good at pretending. I spent the first twelve years of my life playing at the Battle of the Stirling Bridge with my five big brothers, and even though I am a girl they let me be William Wallace, who is supposed to be one of our ancestors, because I did the most rousing battle speeches. God, I tried hard last week. My God, I tried. But now I know I am a coward. And I’m going to give you anything you ask, everything I can remember. Absolutely Every Last Detail.

Here is the deal we made. I’m putting it down to keep it straight in my own mind. ‘Let’s try this,’ the Hauptsturmführer said to me. ‘How could you be bribed?’ And I said I wanted my clothes back.

 

 

 

This was my last read of the year in 2017 and I couldn’t put it down! If you love historical novels and particularly enjoy books around World War II then this is completely for you. Much of the story is told as a written monologue by our main character. She is so human and so relatable you just want to sympathise with the awful position she is in – a prisoner of war. She is an incredibly strong lady though, the woman portrayed at the beginning is very different from the woman she proves to be.

The sequel is on my reading list (obviously!) and I can’t wait to see where her character can develop from here.

Do you recognise the excerpt or have an idea from the description what the book is? Let’s find out!

Code Name Verity – Elizabeth Wein

Goodreads – Code Name Verity

Oct. 11th, 1943 – A British spy plane crashes in Nazi-occupied France. Its pilot and passenger are best friends. One of the girls has a chance at survival. The other has lost the game before it’s barely begun.

When “Verity” is arrested by the Gestapo, she’s sure she doesn’t stand a chance. As a secret agent captured in enemy territory, she’s living a spy’s worst nightmare. Her Nazi interrogators give her a simple choice: reveal her mission or face a grisly execution.

As she intricately weaves her confession, Verity uncovers her past, how she became friends with the pilot Maddie, and why she left Maddie in the wrecked fuselage of their plane. On each new scrap of paper, Verity battles for her life, confronting her views on courage and failure and her desperate hope to make it home. But will trading her secrets be enough to save her from the enemy?

Harrowing and beautifully written, Elizabeth Wein creates a visceral read of danger, resolve, and survival that shows just how far true friends will go to save each other. Code Name Verity is an outstanding novel that will stick with you long after the last page.

What do you think of the introduction to Code Name Verity? Have you read the book or added it your TBR?

As always, I would love to hear from you!!

 

 

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First Lines Friday – 19/07/2019

Not only is today one of the best days of the week because it’s Friday – it’s also my mum’s birthday! Not only that, but my sister has come to the visit and celebrate with us for the weekend! I’m really looking forward to spending the time together with them – it’s not very often we are all together nowadays.

So, if you are reading this, Happy Birthday Mum! You really are one in a million!

 

I’m back again with my new regular fortnightly feature – First Lines Friday. I’ve seen this post on many a blog and I think it’s a fun way to try something new, without the bias of a front cover or knowledge of the book before you try it!

So, shall we get on with today’s post? Here are the first few lines from today’s featured book!

 

 

 

 

I died just after the clock in the passageway struck nine.

There are those who claim that Her Majesty, Elizabeth, by the grace of God, Queen of England, France and of Ireland, will not allow clocks to strike the hour in her palaces. Time is not allowed to pass for her. She has defeated time. But that clock struck. I remember it.

I counted nine bells. Nine. Then my killer stuck.

And I died.

 

My brother says there is only one way to tell a story. ‘Begin,’ he says in his irritatingly pedantic manner, ‘at the beginning. Where else?’

I see I have started a little too late, so we shall go back to five minutes before nine, and begin again.

 

 

The main influence behind this book purchase is the author. I have read, adored and reviewed a few of his other historical fiction works. What sets this book apart from his other series I am reading is that it is a completely different period of history. Set in Elizabethan England, it’s a far cry from the blood and battles of the Viking era.
Have you any inkling what today’s book is?

 

Fools and Mortals – Bernard Cornwell

 

A dramatic new departure for international bestselling author Bernard Cornwell, FOOLS AND MORTALS takes us into the heart of the Elizabethan era, long one of his favourite periods of British history.

Fools and Mortals follows the young Richard Shakespeare, an actor struggling to make his way in a company dominated by his estranged older brother, William. As the growth of theatre blooms, their rivalry – and that of the playhouses, playwrights and actors vying for acclaim and glory – propels a high-stakes story of conflict and betrayal.

Showcasing his renowned storyteller’s skill, Bernard Cornwell has created an Elizabethan world incredibly rich in its portrayal: you walk the London streets, stand in the palaces and are on stage in the playhouses, as he weaves a remarkable story in which performances, rivalries and ambition combine to form a tangled web of intrigue.

What do you think of the introduction to Fools and Mortals? Doesn’t it suck you in and make you want to read on? If I didn’t have such a busy TBR I would be so tempted!

Have you read the book or added it your TBR? As always, I would love to hear from you!!

 

 

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Blog Tour Review and GIVEAWAY: Storms of Babylon – Jennifer Macaire

Good morning everyone! Are you having a good day?

I am really excited to be taking part in a blog tour for Storms of Babylon, book four of the Time for Alexander series by Jennifer Macaire! I have been reading the series since January and loved it so far! The series is predominantly historical fiction, but with elements of science fiction in them too.

As always, a huge thank you to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for organising the tour!

If you haven’t had the opportunity to read up on the series so far, you can check out my thoughts on the first three books in the series by following the links below: –

 

Also, don’t forget to check out the giveaway that is also being run in conjunction with the tour – details of which you’ll find later in the post!

 

Storms Over Babylon

Goodreads – Storms Over Babylon

The Time for Alexander Series Book 4

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

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

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

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

 

Purchase Links –

Accent Press      Amazon      Kobo      Barnes & Noble

 

My Thoughts…

Storms of Babylon is as foreboding as it sounds; a dark time is fast approaching the lives of Ashley, Alexander and company. Years of planning are about to either come to fruition or fall apart dramatically. Can Ashley risk it all and save those she loves from their own terrible Fate?

This fourth instalment to the series is quite different in tone from the previous books. We have watched Alexander flourish and grow, journey and conquer new lands. Now, Alexander returns home and the cracks between his people start to show. Alexander the Great’s empire is destined to crumble without him to hold it together. Fate can only be changed so much, after all, or risk being erased altogether…

Ashley has blossomed from the emotional Ice Maiden stranded thousands of years in the past and completely out of her depth. Her capacity to love and empathise is admirable, but I like to see that an element of the strong-minded woman from the future remains. Using her knowledge of history and intuition, she attempts to prevent Plexis’ and Alexander’s deaths without altering the course of time.

One of my favourite elements of The Road to Alexander is the overlap of historical fiction and science fiction. I was glad to see this overlap play its part in Storms of Babylon once again. It’s such an interesting combination – one that’s not put together in the detail as it is in this series!

I have been really looking forward to the events that unfold in Storms of Babylon. Jennifer Macaire has succeeded in balancing a storytelling narrative with character progression that keeps us invested in each the characters. The tension and foreshadowing of the previous books boil over into an intense, exciting and at times, unexpected plot line. I would go so far as to say that Storms of Babylon is my favourite book of the series to date!

I cannot wait to see how events unfold next after such a twisty ending!

 

Author Bio –

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

Social Media Links –

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

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

twitter @jennifermacaire

https://jennifermacaire.wordpress.com/

 

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

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

 

Now we’ve gotten the dull bit out of the way… if you would like the chance to win a $10 gift certificate, you can enter the giveaway following the link below!

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/33c69494241/

 

I’d also love if you could check out the other stops on the tour!

Until next time,

 

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