Tag: historical fiction

Shelf Control #17 – 03/04/2020

Hi everyone and welcome back to another Shelf Control post! Shelf Control is a meme run by Lisa at Bookshelf Fantasies. It’s a weekly celebration of the unread books on our shelves. Pick a book you own but haven’t read, write a post about it (suggestions: include what it’s about, why you want to read it, and when you got it), and link up!

For more info on what Shelf Control is all about, check out Lisa’s introductory post.

Shelf Control posts allow me to look in more depth at the books I have added to my TBR. It’s a great chance to talk about why I want to keep the featured book; it also acts as a second sweep for anything that I may have changed my mind about. I have actually deleted a few books doing this sweep. I don’t necessarily own all the books (yet), but I will have a reasonable number of them. I’ve also gone on to read a couple of the earliest books on the list, so this mini-series is proving useful!

In today’s post, I am featuring a historical fiction novel with what appears to be a strong female lead character in a male-dominated world. When I first started reading historical fiction, I was sticking to our more modern history. However, I find myself reading novels set in increasingly “older” time periods. It’s completely different from the courts and political history I am used to!

Shall we check out today’s featured book?

 

Hild – Nicola Griffith

Goodreads – Hild

Hild is born into a world in transition. In seventh-century Britain, small kingdoms are merging, usually violently. A new religion is coming ashore; the old gods’ priests are worrying. Edwin of Northumbria plots to become overking of the Angles, ruthlessly using every tool at his disposal: blood, bribery, belief.

Hild is the king’s youngest niece. She has the powerful curiosity of a bright child, a will of adamant, and a way of seeing the world—of studying nature, of matching cause with effect, of observing human nature and predicting what will happen next—that can seem uncanny, even supernatural, to those around her. She establishes herself as the king’s seer. And she is indispensable—until she should ever lead the king astray. The stakes are life and death: for Hild, her family, her loved ones, and the increasing numbers who seek the protection of the strange girl who can read the world and see the future.

Hild is a young woman at the heart of the violence, subtlety, and mysticism of the early medieval age—all of it brilliantly and accurately evoked by Nicola Griffith’s luminous prose. Recalling such feats of historical fiction as Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall and Sigrid Undset’s Kristin Lavransdatter, Hild brings a beautiful, brutal world—and one of its most fascinating, pivotal figures, the girl who would become St. Hilda of Whitby—to vivid, absorbing life.

Purchase Links – Amazon UK     Amazon US     Waterstones

 

My Thoughts…

Hild will be the first book that I read in this particular time period. The only historical fiction novels I have read that are based in England and pre-date this are Nancy Jardine’s Celtic Fervour novels. These are based around 71AD onwards. On the other side of the timeline, I have been reading Bernard Cornwell’s Saxon Stories series, better known as The Last Kingdom. These are set quite a bit later in the 9th and 10th century.

I always like to try something new. Reading the same or similar things can get boring over time. This is especially true for historical fiction. By nature, they are based on fixed events that happened already. It must be difficult to write about certain subjects already covered as there is a lot less flexibility in putting your own stamp on it. That said, I have read several stories set in the Tudor period and not gotten bored yet. I don’t read them all the time though – so that’s probably why!

I am hoping and imagining that Hild will be more like The Last Kingdom in vibe… minus the invading Vikings of course! From the sounds of the synopsis, the conflict around religion is there and there is an element of supernatural and superstition too. These are things that I really love about Bernard Cornwell’s series, so I am optimistic that Hild will be a hit for me too!

Have you read Hild, or any other books by Nicola Griffith? Would you recommend it? Let me know in the comments!

 

 

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Thank you!***

 

Blog Tour Review: Songbird – Karen Heehan

In today’s blog tour review post I’ll be talking about Songbird by Karen Heehan. I’m in a great position to write this review as I have just finished the book. Songbird is a historical fiction novel set in one of my favourite historical time periods. I have a good number of books on the Tudor period of history on my TBR, which is testament to my love of the subject!

Before I jump into my review, I’d firstly like to thank the author and Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for organising the tour and providing me with a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review. As always, the views expressed within are my own.

 

Songbird: A Novel of the Tudor Court – Karen Heehan

Goodreads- Songbird

Bess has the voice of an angel, or so Henry VIII declares when he buys her from her father as a member of the music, the Royal company of minstrels, best grows up with in the decadent Tudor Court navigating the ever-changing tide of royals and courtiers. Friends come and go as cracked voices, politics, heartbreak, and death loom over even the lowliest of musicians. Tom, her first and dearest friend is her only constant but as Bess becomes too comfortable at court, she may find that constancy has its limits.

Purchase Link:  https://books2read.com/tudorsongbird

 

My Thoughts…

Combine one of my favourite historical fiction time periods with a character born to sing and perform – a hobby of mine as a teenager – and Songbird is an ideal read for me! In truth, Songbird is far much more than that. I expected a novel a lot more light-hearted than this proved to be, but it is so much better for its unexpected depth.

From a historical perspective, the tale of Katherine’s downfall, Anne Boleyn’s ascension and the political/religious rumblings of the move by Henry VIII is an interesting one. Having the tale narrated by a well-placed servant, party to all the gossip but without allegiance in all the machinations made a refreshing change of perspective. The life of a minstrel in the King’s Court is dictated by his will entirely. Yet, Bess’ personal life and the historical element of the novel are both distinct and complementary to one another. Neither overshadows the other, making for a perfect balance of historically-driven plot and character development.

Elizabeth, or Bess, lives a comfortable life at Court, performing for King Henry VIII. It’s an honour well earned by our songbird, but that honour is tainted by the knowledge that Bess was sold to the King by her family. As a child, Bess is resented by her mother and sister for frittering away her days fostering her talent instead of helping with ‘honest’ work. She is also wrongly blamed for a family tragedy, marring one of the few relationships she has in her young life. Only her father has good motivations in securing her a place in King Henry’s court.

I should have known that such an emotional beginning would be setting a precedent for the rest of the novel. Songbird’s narrative is powerfully emotive. Friendship, love, longing and loss all touch Bess from an early age. The narrative is written entirely from her perspective and her character development plays a strong part in the book. As a reader we experience Bess grow up from an immature young girl into a young woman tempered by her experiences. The stark differences in her character at the start and end of the book are remarkably written.

I confess to shedding a tear or two at times whilst reading this. It might seem bizarre that my next statement is a compliment, but at times the narrative was hard to read. The depth of emotion woven into the narrative is so stark and real. I was so invested in Bess, Tom and the other members of the Music and Henry VIII’s court that their loves and losses were mine. The feelings evoked are incredibly relatable to the reader. Songbird has a profound rawness of emotion throughout the novel that will stick with me for a long time.

 

Author Bio

Karen Heenan was born and raised in Philadelphia. She fell in love with books and stories before she learned to read, and has wanted to write for nearly as long. After far too many years in a cubicle, she set herself free to follow her dreams – which include gardening, sewing, traveling and, of course, lots of writing.

She lives in Lansdowne, PA, not far from Philadelphia, with two cats and a very patient husband.

Social Media Links – 

www.karenheenan.com

www.facebook.com/karenheenanwriter

www.twitter.com/karen_heenan

www.instagram.com/karen.heenan

 

Blog Tour Promo Post: Lady Edith’s Lonely Heart – Audrey Harrison

Good morning readers!

Today I am featuring a historical fiction novel that I hope will be of interest to you to read about. Maybe I can tempt you to read for yourself! As a Regency Romance, it’s a little different to the books I typically read. However, I really like the concept behind the novel. At 23, Lady Edith is on the verge of being considered a spinster. Poor woman. By these standards, what does that make me…?

Lady Edith’s Lonely Heart has been described as ‘witty and clever’, and like ‘landing in a Jane Austen’s world with more daring characters’ by Elodie at Elodie’s Reading Corner. She is just one blogger to have taken part in the tour.

If you would like to find out more, here are the details of the book and the participants in the blog tour if you want to check out other’s thoughts on it!

 

Lady Edith’s Lonely Heart – Audrey Harrison

Goodreads – Lady Edith’s Lonely Heart

A dashing tale of romance from a bestselling author of Regency Romance.

She is under pressure to find a husband she doesn’t want.

He keeps to the fringes of society because of family constraints.

Will the written word be enough to bring two lost souls together?

Lady Edith Longdon is an heiress, in danger of being classed a spinster, and disillusioned with the fops, dandies, and fortune hunters surrounding her in society. Deciding it’s time to take her future into her own hands, she devises a foolproof way of finding someone she can love. She’s convinced nothing could go wrong…

Lord Ralph Pensby, overwhelmed by a sense of obligation, and with no one he can turn to, is adrift from those around him…

Two people drawn together, both on a journey which will affect them in ways they could never have foreseen. Secret correspondence, mistrust and confusion, not to mention cads of the highest order, make this novel a fast-paced, heart-warming story, with appealing characters and a strong sense of time and place.

Perfect for lovers of all things Regency.

 

Purchase Links:  Amazon UK     Amazon US

 

Author Bio

AMAZON UK KINDLE STORYTELLER COMPETITION FINALIST 2018!

Audrey was born about two hundred years too late. She wants to belong to a time when men were men and women were dressed in gowns and could float, simper and sigh.

In the real world she has always longed to write, writing a full manuscript when she was fourteen years old. Work, marriage and children got in the way as they do and it was only when an event at work landed her in hospital that she decided to take stock. One Voluntary Redundancy later, she found that the words and characters came to the forefront and the writing began in earnest.

So, although at home more these days, the housework is still neglected and meals are still late on the table, but she has an understanding family, who usually shake their heads at her and sigh. That is a sign of understanding, isn’t it?

 

Social Media Links – www.audreyharrison.co.uk (sign-up for emails and receive a free novella)

www.facebook.com/AudreyHarrisonAuthor

https://www.instagram.com/audrey.harrisonauthor/

www.twitter.com/AudreyHarrison2

Reading List – March 2020

I can’t believe it is the beginning of March and I’m writing my reading list post already! Last month just flew by. I know it’s a short one, but still! I’m happy with my reading progress last month given that I had a few bits on. I didn’t quite finish last month’s reading, so I am carrying one book over.

Shall we take a look at the books on this month’s TBR?

 

Good Omens – Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman

Goodreads – Good Omens

‘Armageddon only happens once, you know. They don’t let you go around again until you get it right.’

People have been predicting the end of the world almost from its very beginning, so it’s only natural to be sceptical when a new date is set for Judgement Day. But what if, for once, the predictions are right, and the apocalypse really is due to arrive next Saturday, just after tea?

You could spend the time left drowning your sorrows, giving away all your possessions in preparation for the rapture, or laughing it off as (hopefully) just another hoax. Or you could just try to do something about it.

It’s a predicament that Aziraphale, a somewhat fussy angel, and Crowley, a fast-living demon now finds themselves in. They’ve been living amongst Earth’s mortals since The Beginning and, truth be told, have grown rather fond of the lifestyle and, in all honesty, are not actually looking forward to the coming Apocalypse.

And then there’s the small matter that someone appears to have misplaced the Antichrist…

 

Good Omens is my carryover. I only just started reading this at the end of last week, so it’s hardly surprising I’ve had to carry it over to this month. That said, I’ve managed to make a good start over the past day or two and I am enjoying the book so far! It’s definitely got the flavour of Terry Pratchett’s humour I love so I can see myself finishing this book pretty quickly!

 

Songbird – Karen Heenan

Goodreads – Songbird

Bess has the voice of an angel, or so Henry VIII declares when he buys her from her father. As a member of the Music, the royal company of minstrels, Bess grows up within the decadent Tudor court, navigating the ever-changing tide of royals and courtiers. Friends come and go as cracked voices, politics, heartbreak, and death loom over even the lowliest of musicians. Tom, her first and dearest friend, is her only constant. But as Bess becomes too comfortable at court, she may find that constancy has its limits.

 

My first blog tour related read of the month is this historical fiction novel. I love the Tudor period of history and I haven’t picked up a book on it in ages! Also, books with politics in them really interest me, which is funny because I hate politics! At least, I hate ours!

 

Helene – Karl Drinkwater

Goodreads – Helene

Dr Helene Vermalle is shaping the conscience of a goddess-level AI.

As a leading civilian expert in Emergent AI Socialisation, she has been invited to assist in a secret military project.

Her role? Helping ViraUHX, the most advanced AI in the universe, to pass through four theoretical development stages. But it’s not easy training a mind that surpasses her in raw intellect. And the developing AI is capable of killing her with a single tantrum.

On top of this, she must prove her loyalty to the oppressive government hovering over her shoulder. They want a weapon. She wants to instil an overriding sense of morality.

Can she teach the AI right and wrong without being categorised as disloyal?

Lost Tales of Solace are short side-stories set in the Lost Solace universe.

 

I’m definitely reading more in the way of science-fiction than I ever have before. I have been fortunate to have picked up some great books recently, which means I keep gravitating back to the genre.

I love the premise of this novel. Artificial Intelligence is definitely relevant right now and there are plenty of people sat on the fence about its benefits and drawbacks. It sounds like this book might touch on that, so I can’t wait to read it and share my thoughts with you in the upcoming blog tour!

 

Tooth & Blade – Julian Barr

Goodreads – Tooth and Blade

Parts 1-3 of the legendary TOOTH AND BLADE series together for the first time!

Two worlds. One destiny.

Dóta has dwelled sixteen years among the trolls. She knows nothing but the darkness of her family’s cave. Her mother says humans are beasts who would slay them all. Yet the gods of Asgard whisper in the night: Dóta is a child of men, a monster unto monsters.

To discover her human side, Dóta must take up her bone knife and step into the light above. Secrets await her in the human realm–beauty, terror, the love of a princess.

Soon Dóta must choose between her clan and humankind, or both worlds will be devoured in fire and war.

A monster sheds no tears.

Norse mythology meets historical fantasy in TOOTH AND BLADE. Step into a realm of haunted meres, iron and magic.

 

I love the idea of a mash-up of Norse Mythology and fantasy. Honestly, it’s so unlike anything I have read before that I wanted to give it a try.

 

Shadows of Self – Brandon Sanderson

Goodreads – Shadows of Self

Shadows of Self shows Mistborn’s society evolving as technology and magic mix, the economy grows, democracy contends with corruption, and religion becomes a growing cultural force, with four faiths competing for converts.

This bustling, optimistic, but still shaky society now faces its first instance of terrorism, crimes intended to stir up labor strife and religious conflict. Wax and Wayne, assisted by the lovely, brilliant Marasi, must unravel the conspiracy before civil strife stops Scadrial’s progress in its tracks.

Shadows of Self will give fans of The Alloy of Law everything they’ve been hoping for and, this being a Brandon Sanderson book, more, much more.

 

I really enjoyed reading The Alloy of Law back in January and I am keen to make even more progress with this series. It’s been on my TBR for a long time so it’s overdue! I honestly love every single Brandon Sanderson book I have ever read. The Alloy of Law was brilliantly reminiscent of the previous Mistborn trilogy, yet so much more! The change in setting and characters really worked for me. I can’t wait to get back to their adventures!

 

The God Game – Danny Tobey

Goodreads – The God Game

You are invited!
Come inside and play with G.O.D.
Bring your friends!
It;’s fun!
But remember the rules. Win and ALL YOUR DREAMS COME TRUE.™ Lose, you die!

With those words, Charlie and his friends enter the G.O.D. Game, a video game run by underground hackers and controlled by a mysterious AI that believes it’s God. Through their phone-screens and high-tech glasses, the teens’ realities blur with a virtual world of creeping vines, smoldering torches, runes, glyphs, gods, and mythical creatures. When they accomplish a mission, the game rewards them with expensive tech, revenge on high-school tormentors, and cash flowing from ATMs. Slaying a hydra and drawing a bloody pentagram as payment to a Greek god seem harmless at first. Fun even.

But then the threatening messages start. Worship me. Obey me. Complete a mission, however cruel, or the game reveals their secrets and crushes their dreams. Tasks that seemed harmless at first take on deadly consequences. Mysterious packages show up at their homes. Shadowy figures start following them, appearing around corners, attacking them in parking garages. Who else is playing this game, and how far will they go to win?

And what of the game’s first promise: win, win big, lose, you die? Dying in a virtual world doesn’t really mean death in real life—does it?

As Charlie and his friends try to find a way out of the game, they realize they’ve been manipulated into a bigger web they can’t escape: an AI that learned its cruelty from watching us.

God is always watching, and He says when the game is done.

 

I was very lucky to receive a copy of this from Gollancz in exchange for a review. Again, I love the science-fiction vibe. If asked what my second hobby was (because reading is my first, obviously),I’d say it’s gaming. I don’t have anywhere near as much time as I used to spend playing games on my laptop, but I do enjoy it now and then!

The premise of The God Game combines my two favourite hobbies, so I have very high hopes that I’ll enjoy it. It reminds me of another book I received by Gollancz and reviewed last year – Ctrl+S by Andy Briggs. That particular book blended these two together, as well as included virtual reality and I really enjoyed it.

So, that’s March’s TBR taken care of. Have you read any of the books on this month’s list? Have any of them caught your eye? I’d love to hear from you in the comments!

 

 

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Blog Tour Review: The Girl from the Workhouse – Lynn Johnson

Today’s review of The Girl from the Workhouse will, I hope, appeal to anyone who loves historical fiction novels or family sagas. I personally signed up to today’s blog tour for the historical fiction element, but I loved the book for many more reasons besides this!

Thank you to the author Lynn Johnson and to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for organising the tour. I am very grateful to have received a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review!

 

The Girl from the Workhouse – Lynn Johnson

Goodreads – The Girl from the Workhouse

Even in the darkest of times, she never gave up hope

Staffordshire, 1911. Ginnie Jones’s childhood is spent in the shadow of the famous Potteries, living with her mother, father and older sister Mabel. But with Father’s eyesight failing, money is in short supply, and too often the family find their bellies aching with hunger. With no hope in sight, Ginnie is sent to Haddon Workhouse.

Separated from everything she has known, Ginnie has to grow up fast, earning her keep by looking after the other children with no families of their own. When she meets Clara and Sam, she hopes that she has made friends for life… until tragedy strikes, snatching away her newfound happiness.

Leaving Haddon three years later, Ginnie finds work as a mouldrunner at the Potteries, but never stops thinking about her friends in the workhouse – especially Sam, now a caring, handsome young man. When Sam and Ginnie are reunited, their bond is as strong as ever – until Sam is sent to fight in WW1. Faced with uncertainty, can Ginnie find the joy that she’s never had? Or will her heart be broken once again?

An emotional, uplifting and nostalgic family saga that will make you smile, while tugging on your heart-strings. Fans of Sheila Newbury, Kitty Neale and Sheila Riley will love this beautiful read.

 

Purchase Links:    Amazon     Kobo

 

My Thoughts…

WW1 is the historical setting of this fictional saga. I love reading historical fiction novels in this time period. The main character Ginnie is from a poor family. When they cannot make ends meet, she is sent with her parents to a workhouse and in the care of the state. Separated from her parents and her sister, Ginnie is thrown into a whole new world of work, new friendships and tragic loss.

The ‘make-do-and-mend’ attitude of the characters is really appropriate for the time and background of their story. Not only that though, it reminds me of another historical fiction novel set in northern EngIand really enjoyed. The time setting is different but the characters and sentiment are the same: tough it out and make the best of what you’ve got.

A number of characters are given the chance to shine throughout this novel. Ginnie is thick-skinned and robust at adjusting to workhouse life and even becomes a pillar for others to lean on in hard times. Her friend Constance is a suffragette and plays no small part in the movement that gains some women the right to vote. When the war does break out and men are called up into service, some men are ecstatic to serve their country. More so, however, there is a vibe of palpable fear in many that they won’t come back to their families. It’s heartbreaking but I’m glad that this is portrayed. It’s a very raw and honest emotion that men aren’t expected or encouraged by society to show.

I didn’t think I’d say it, but my favourite part of the novel is the relationship between Ginnie and Sam. Each has known their own share of hardship even before they come to know each other all that well. Their companionship grew on me the more I read and their interactions with each other aren’t dominated by physical need or pining over each other. It’s a relationship built on an emotional bond. Both have grown-up in the workhouse at the rear end of society (to put it politely), and have been there for each other when they needed it. Theirs is a childhood friendship that blooms into something more and I really found myself rooting for the pair. I’m not a romance reader, but they managed to thaw my frosty heart.

The Girl from the Workhouse is a little different from my typical reading habits, but I’m glad I put myself forward to take part in the tour. I really enjoyed reading the book and the added bonus of perspective gained on life in Britain during the war.

 

Author Bio

Lynn Johnson was born in the Staffordshire Potteries and went to school in Burslem, where the novel is set. She left school with no qualifications and got a job as a dental nurse (and lasted a day), a nursery assistant, and a library assistant before her ambition grew and she enrolled at the Elms Technical College, Stoke-on-Trent and obtained six O’levels. She obtained a Diploma in Management Studies and a BA Hons in Humanities with Literature from the Open University while working full-time.

Most of her working life was spent in Local Government in England and Scotland, and ultimately became a Human Resources Manager with a large county council.

She started to write after taking early retirement and moving to the north of Scotland with her husband where she did relief work in the famous Orkney Library and Archives, and voluntary work with Orkney’s Learning Link. Voluntary work with Cats Protection resulted in them sharing their home with six cats.

She joined Stromness Writing Group and, three months after moving to Orkney, wrote a short story which would become the Prologue to The Girl From the Workhouse.

Social Media Links – https://twitter.com/lynnjohnsonjots

Sunday Summary – 16th February 2020

It’s Sunday evening, so it can only be time for this week’s Sunday Summary post!

I feel really good about this week’s progress. Not only have I shared two book reviews with you, but I have also done well on reading during the week too! My first post of the week was a review of Fires of the Dead by Jed Herne. I really enjoyed this short story courtesy of the author and BookSirens. If you want to check out my full review, here’s a handy link.

My second review of the week was shared on Wednesday. I shared my review of this sinister thriller novel as part of the blog tour that has been running with Blackthorn Book Tours. It was my first time working with them and I really enjoyed reading The Mentor!

On Friday, I published a First Lines Friday post loosely themed on Valentine’s Day. It features a very funny opening about a relationship (of sorts). It’s the funniest take I could find on the subject of romance; I don’t read romance so in my defence, I didn’t have much to work with. I’ve had some great comments on it though, so I think it’s been well received!

Something else happened this week, which I haven’t really shouted about – I celebrated my birthday! I got some really lovely presents that I wanted, as well as gift cards that I can put to good use! I also got some book vouchers, so I’m sure you can imagine how happy this gal is right now!

 

Books Read

As promised in last week’s Sunday Summary post, I did finish The Mentor after my post went live. I didn’t have too long left and I was desperate to find out how this ended!

My main read of the week has been The Girl from the Workhouse by Lynn Johnson. I did actually start this last Saturday (I needed a wee break from the intensity of The Mentor) but hadn’t gotten too far into it. I finished this yesterday and it’s a lovely, albeit slightly sad story. The reason I picked this up is becuase of its historical fiction element, but I ended up enjoying it for many more reasons than that!

I also started reading another book yesterday – Unborn by Rachel McLean. I’ve managed to read a lot of this considering I’ve only just picked it up too! I’m currently at 58% and hoping to finish this in the next day or so.

And now, onto the audiobooks! I finished listening to Darkdawn on Monday night and can I say, wow! This series is absolutely fantastic. I’ve already decided I am going to be spending some of my book vouchers on buying these in paperback. I have to wait until June for Darkdawn to come out in paperback. I think I am going to wait and see if I can get them as a set. That way I can be sure they all match!

I couldn’t listen to another audiobook straight away, so I didn’t start listening to Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo until the next day. I haven’t long finished listening to Six of Crows so I’ve managed to get into it really quickly!

 

Books Discovered

Since the TBR has topped 200 books, I’m trying not to add anything really. It’ll get out of control otherwise.

That said, my colleague Brita did make a recommendation for me this week. She was more recommending the TV series that has been made based on the book, but you know me. I am going to watch the series on catch-up if I can, but I have also added this epic book to the TBR.

 

Coming Up…

Next week is also going to be one where I share a couple of reviews. I have a few waiting in the wings to be written, so I’ll be starting the week by taking on one of these. My first review of the week is for a book that I was kindly sent by Gollancz last year. The War Within is the second book of a series and is set on a grander scale to its predecessor, Seventh Decimate. I hope you can check out my review!

On Friday I’ll be taking a break from my usual posts to take part in the blog tour for The Girl from the Workhouse by Lynn Johnson. I finished reading this family saga yesterday and can’t wait to share my thoughts with you all about it!

Last, but by no means least, I’ll be sharing next week’s Sunday Summary at the usual time.

That’s all from me today folks! What have you been reading this week? Have you read any of the books on my list?

 

 

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Blog Tour Review and Giveaway: A Crown in Time – Jennifer Macaire

I’m really looking forward to sharing my review of A Crown in Time with you today as part of the ongoing blog tour with Rachel’s Random Resources.

Some of you may know that I have read a number of other books by Jennifer Macaire in the past. I was first introduced to another historical/science-fiction series of hers, The Time for Alexander, around this time last year. If you haven’t checked out my reviews of those books, you can see what I thought of the first book, The Road to Alexander, with the link here!

As always, I like to take the opportunity to thank both Rachel and the author for organising these tours – I really enjoy taking part in them and sharing my thoughts about the books I read for them. Speaking of which, shall I get on with it?

 

A Crown in Time – Jennifer Macaire

Goodreads – A Crown in Time

In the far future, a convicted criminal is given a chance at redemption.

Her mission? To save the crown of France by convincing a young noble not to join the ill-fated Eighth Crusade.

But nothing goes as planned, and Isobel finds herself accompanying a hot-headed youth on his way to fight the infidel in Tunis: a battle Isobel knows is fated to be lost.

From the rainy villages of medieval France, to the scorching desert of Tunis – Isobel faces her destiny and tries to fulfil her duty, knowing she can never return to her time, knowing that a wrong move can doom the future, or doom her to be burned as a witch.

 

Purchase Links – Waterstones    Amazon UK     Amazon US    Amazon AU

 

My Thoughts…

One of my favourite things about The Time for Alexander series was how science fiction and historical fiction were blended together via time travel. A Crown in Time takes on a completely different time period and has an array of new characters, but it’s still connected to The Time for Alexander series. The location and the nature of time travel are exactly the same; it’s just the circumstances that differ slightly!

Isobel is a fantastic main character. I didn’t know what to expect or whether I would like her, having discovered why she was serving life in prison. Would she be an anti-hero, out for no-one but herself, or would she do her duty in an attempt to redeem herself? She certainly redeemed herself in my eyes. She was never going to be able to undo her past. However, by being sent back in time we get to see a completely different side to her.

Her mission seems impossible, but Isobel has a steely determination to do the right thing and set the course of history back on track. Her life will never be the same again. Her ticket to medieval France goes only one-way, so she must adapt to her new life permanently.

There are a variety of other characters that come together in this tale. Charles, a young boy, takes to Isobel very early on and the pair has a fabulous relationship throughout. They travel together with Jean on the Crusades, but the journey is far from romanticized. Used to a life of reasonable hygiene and cushioned by modern standards, the hardships of the journey are all-the-more stark.

I really enjoyed reading about a completely new period of history. Being able to do so in Jennifer Macaire’s easy to read narrative style made the experience that much better!

 

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 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 passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for 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/33c69494334/

 

Author Bio

Jennifer Macaire is an American living in France. She likes to read, eat chocolate, and plays a mean game of 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 modelled for five years for Elite. She went to France and met her husband at the polo club. All that is true. But she mostly likes to make up stories.

Social Media Links –

Website https://authorjennifermacaire.wordpress.com/

Blog https://jennifermacaire.wordpress.com/

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

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

Twitter https://twitter.com/jennifermacaire?lang=en

 

Shelf Control #13 – 24/01/2020

After a month or so break, it’s time for my next Shelf control post! As always, in this post, I’ll be taking an in-depth look at the next book on my TBR and tell you what it is I really like, or what interests me about it!

As a refresher, Shelf Control is a meme run by Lisa at Bookshelf Fantasies. It’s a weekly celebration of the unread books on our shelves. Pick a book you own but haven’t read, write a post about it (suggestions: include what it’s about, why you want to read it, and when you got it), and link up!

For more info on what Shelf Control is all about, check out Lisa’s introductory post.

Shelf Control posts allow me to look in more depth at the books I have added to my TBR and listed as keepers in my Down the TBR Hole posts. It’s a great chance to talk about why I want to keep the featured book; it also acts as a second sweep for anything that I may have changed my mind about. I have actually deleted a few books doing this sweep. I don’t necessarily own all the books (yet), but I will have a reasonable number of them. I’ve also gone on to read a couple of the earliest books on the list, so this mini-series is proving useful!

Shall we check out today’s featured book?

 

The Thief Taker – C. S. Quinn

Goodreads – The Thief Taker

Purchase Links: Amazon UK      Amazon US     Waterstones

The year is 1665. Black Death ravages London. A killer stalks the streets in a plague doctor’s hood and mask…

When a girl is gruesomely murdered, thief taker Charlie Tuesday reluctantly agrees to take on the case. But the horrific remains tell him this is no isolated death. The killer’s mad appetites are part of a master plan that could destroy London and reveal the dark secrets of Charlie’s own past.

Now the thief taker must find this murderous mastermind before the plague obliterates the evidence street by street. This terrifying pursuit will take Charlie deep into the black underbelly of old London, where alchemy, witchcraft and blood-spells collide.

In a city drowned in darkness, death could be the most powerful magic of all.

 

My Thoughts…

I’m the first person to admit that I’m not that shy of the macabre in literature. The first thing that struck me about this book and screamed that I’d like to read it is its inclusion of The Black Death. The second thing was murder and the mystery behind it.

The synopsis hints at shady, sinister characters in the dark underbelly of a plagued London. A masked perpetrator walks the streets and it’s a race against time to identify them and prevent further deaths. Combine this with elements of witchcraft, “dark arts” or sorcery and I have very high expectations for this book! I get the impression from some of the reviews that this isn’t for the faint-hearted – I’m intrigued!

 

Have you read The Thief Taker? Would you recommend it? Let me know in the comments!

 

 

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***Please note this post contains affiliate links, meaning that I will earn a small commission on purchases made through them. If you like what you read and are interested in purchasing a copy of the book(s) featured in this post, please consider using these links and supporting a book blogger!

Thank you!***

Blog Tour Review and Giveaway: Agricola’s Bane – Nancy Jardine

In today’s blog tour post I will be sharing my review Agricola’s Bane by Nancy Jardine, the fourth book in the Celtic Fervour series. You may recall that I have been reading the series for the blog tours organised for each book and I have really enjoyed being a part of it. If you haven’t read anything about the series or want to refresh yourself on the previous books, you will find my reviews of The Beltane Choice, After Whorl: Bran Reborn and After Whorl: Donning Double Cloaks with the links here. 


As always, I would like to say a huge thank you to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for organising the blog tour and to the author for provided my with a copy of Agricola’s Bane in exchange for an honest review. 

Now all the formalities are out of the way, let’s get into it!

Agricola’s Bane – Nancy Jardine

Goodreads – Agricola’s Bane

A.D. 84 Northern Roman Britain

Nith of Tarras helps Enya of Garrigill in the search for her kin, missing after the disastrous battle at Beinn na Ciche fought between the Caledonian warriors and the mighty Ancient Roman legions. Enya soon has a heartrending choice to make. Should she tread Vacomagi territory that’s swarming with Roman auxiliaries to find her brother? Or, should she head south in search of her cousin who has probably been enslaved by the Romans?

The Commander of the Britannic Legions and Governor of Britannia – General Gnaeus Iulius Agricola – is determined to claim more barbarian territory for the Roman Empire, indeed plans to invade the whole island, but finds not all decisions are his to make. It increasingly seems that the goddess, Fortuna, does not favour him.

The adventures of the Garrigill clan continue…

Purchase Link – mybook.to/ABsherenow

My Thoughts…

Agricola’s Bane picks up the tale of the Roman invasion of Britain after the battle of Beinn na Ciche and offers new perspectives to the increasingly developed tale. The Celtic fighting spirit remains strong despite adversity and the remaining clans have pulled together to face the threat once more. Prior to the Roman threat, the tribes kept themselves to themselves and even skirmished with each other. To see the boundaries of their stubborn independence gradually breakdown, the mistrust of each other slowly abate (in some more than others) and them finally see the benefits of working together is well written. The development of the whole, from communities to community is considered as well as each of many complex individuals within. I enjoyed the new characters, although I did find myself having to mentally double check who they were and how they related to existing characters on occasion. Unlike previous books, there are fewer overlaps to introduce them, or they played a minor role previously.

There is a fair amount of travel and movement of characters in Agricola’s Bane. I really enjoyed reading the beautiful descriptions of the countryside and geography; you can tell a lot of time, knowledge and effort are behind the narrative. There is plenty of action to keep the narrative moving along at a good pace. This can safely be said for all the books I have read in the series so far. The writing, content and character development are all consistently good throughout and the balance of action and description is just right for my taste. 

As ever, I have enjoyed the story from both sides of the battle lines. The Celts and their unyielding determination to remain free of the Roman yoke is inspiring to read. Equally, the complexity of the ever-expanding Roman empire and their struggles in a new challenging climate are really interesting too! 

I was originally under the impression that Agricola’s Bane was going to be the last book of the series. However, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that the adventures of the Garrigill clan are not yet over! I can’t wait to see how the tale continues!

Giveaway to Win x1 signed paperback of Agricola’s Bane 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 passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for 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/33c69494332/

Author 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 – 19th January 2020

Hello, bookworms! It’s the end of another week, so of course, it’s time for another Sunday Summary post!

It’s been quite a busy week with plenty of blog tour posts to keep you entertained. On Monday I published my review of Million Eyes, a sci-fi conspiracy thriller novel. If you like science-fiction with elements of time travel, then I definitely recommend checking out my review!

Tuesday’s post was also a review, this time for The Violinist’s Apprentice by Isabella Mancini. This book also has elements of time travel but differs from Million Eyes in that it has a more historical fiction feel, with a focus on Italy in 1660 throughout.

I took a break from reviews on Friday and shared a First Lines Friday post. I featured a book that is on my TBR from a well-known author I am looking forward to trying!

Then on Saturday, I shared yet another review; this post was sharing my thoughts on a book read last month, Sixty Minutes by Tony Salter. This particular book is an exciting contemporary psychological thriller with a diverse variety of characters.

 

Books Read

Two was the first book I finished this week. I had not long started this book as of last week’s Sunday Summary post, but this didn’t take me long to read. Being familiar with a number of the characters from previous books made this really easy to get into. K J McGillick also has a really easy-to-read style of writing, so it’s no wonder I blitzed this.

The next book I picked up was A Crown in Time by Jennifer Macaire. I’ve read several books of hers in the last year or so, but A Crown in Time is a new interlinking series with a common theme to The Time for Alexander books, being time travel governed via the Tempus University. I actually finished reading this yesterday and I really enjoyed the focus of a different time period (the Crusades). The main character of the books couldn’t be more different from each other either. It was refreshing!

I started reading Gardens of the Moon yesterday as well. The oldest book on my TBR has finally been picked up. Seriously, I added this to my list over five years ago now – it’s overdue, majorly! I’m currently 11% of the way through the book, which is about sixty-odd pages.

I’ve listened to more of Darkdawn this week and even put in half an hour to an hour in the evenings before going to bed for a change. I did it on a whim on Friday night and it was actually a great way to wind down before going to sleep. So much so, I did it again on Saturday night too! Now, don’t try to tell me I’m not a twenty-something-year-old woman with an exciting nightlife, okay?!

 

Books Discovered

I’ve been pretty good this week and only added one book to my TBR. Following my blog post for Tony Salter’s Sixty Minutes, I added his debut novel to my reading list. I really like the sound of it and since I enjoyed the writing style of Sixty Minutes, I think I’ll enjoy this one too!

 

Coming Up…

I’m back on the blog tour blitz next week! My first post is scheduled for tomorrow, so we’re jumping straight into it! I’m excited to be sharing a guest post written by Zach Abrams about his book, 133 Hours. You may recall I reviewed another book of his, Ring Fenced, not too long ago! I would have liked to read and review 133 Hours too, however, I already had a lot of reviews for other blog tours I’d agreed to at this point.

I’m sharing a second blog tour post on Tuesday. I know – so many tours lately! I can’t help myself, honestly. This post is a promo, as again, I had no more time for reviews. This post will be featuring a book called The Profit Motive by David Beckler.

That’s me done for blog tours this week, so I’ll be sharing a lighter, fun post on Friday. It’s time to take a look at the TBR again and feature the next book on the list. This week’s book is a historical fiction novel with a sinister mystery plotline in the plague-ridden city of London.

 

Top Blog Posts of the Week

https://comfortreads13.wordpress.com/2020/01/16/book-review-long-bright-river-by-liz-moore-new-release/

 

And that’s a wrap for today’s Sunday Summary post! What have you been reading?

 

 

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