Tag: Rachel’s Random Resources

Blog Tour Review and GIVEAWAY: Twelve Nights – Penny Ingham

Hello everybody and welcome to today’s blog tour review of Twelve Nights by Penny Ingham. As a fan of historical fiction, I was keen to dive into this particular book! I was intrigued by the mystery alluded to in the synopsis, but I also was interested in its literary ties as it features William Shakespeare and the theatre in general. I loved performing arts in school, so the culmination of all these elements excited me!

not only am I sharing my review with you today, but for UK-based readers, there is a link below to a giveaway in which you could win a paperback copy of the book for yourself! Read on to find out more!

As always, before I jump into sharing my thoughts on the book, I like to say a massive thank you to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources, and the author Penny for providing me with a review copy. All of the opinions stated in this post are honest and my own!

 

Twelve Nights

Genre: historical-fiction

Pages: 380

Audience: Adult

Publisher: Nerthus

Publication Date: 1 Jun 2022

Rating: ***

 

The Theatre – London, 1592

When a player is murdered, suspicion falls on the wardrobe mistress, Magdalen Bisset, because everyone knows poison is a woman’s weapon. The scandal-pamphlets vilify her. The coroner is convinced of her guilt.

Magdalen is innocent, although few are willing to help her prove it. Her much-loved grandmother is too old and sick. Will Shakespeare is benignly detached, and her friend Christopher Marlowe is wholly unreliable. Only one man offers his assistance, but dare she trust him when nothing about him rings true?

With just two weeks until the inquest, Magdalen ignores anonymous threats to ‘leave it be’, and delves into the dangerous underworld of a city seething with religious and racial tension. As time runs out, she must risk everything in her search for the true killer – for all other roads lead to the gallows.

Purchase Links: –   Amazon UK     Amazon US

 

My Thoughts…

Twelve Nights brings together a lot of elements I enjoy; a mystery, an influence of literature, and the theatre. Whilst I confess that I have never had much love or understanding of William Shakespeare’s literary works (sorry, the language is just gibberish to me), I am interested in his history. I have studied a few bits and pieces in school, but I have only had a very perfunctory education about him.

From the author’s note at the end of the book, this may be in part because very little is known of him. This book gave a nice introduction to who he was as a person, professionally and personally, in an interesting fictional story. The book also touches on other interesting elements of the history of the period. Religion plays a significant role in the society protagonist Magdalen lives in, and this shines through throughout the book. I don’t have much prior knowledge of religious history, and the religious views that were prominent in the period. However, this wasn’t necessary. It was incorporated into the narrative and explained within the story. It made an interesting backdrop to an already intriguing storyline.

The setting of this book is also interesting from the perspective of Magdalen and her position in society. Frankly, women in this period are treated horribly. You are the property of your father until you are married and you are expected to have children. That is it. Even attempting to have a life of your own or support yourself earns you disapproval from men and constant accusations of lewd behaviour.

I knew this was something that I would have strong feelings about… but it was something I wanted to have strong feelings about if you know what I mean? I wanted to rage at the treatment of this poor woman, and many other women in this story, and I did. Twelve Nights has been a great eye-opener into how much times have (thankfully) changed. This story is also a gateway to understanding what it is like to be a woman in the 16th century. It is one thing to know, but quite another to experience the vitriol and harassment unjustly through the eyes of our protagonist.

I enjoyed Magdalen as a character. She is brave and perhaps a little foolhardy, but she stands up to prejudice and discrimination where she sees it and takes a stand when it counts – for herself. She has grown up a very independent woman, and she is a rarity in this society. I constantly admired her for her ability to fight against society’s expectations of her.

I enjoyed the characterisation of more than just the protagonist in this book. In particular, I think the author did very well to portray the struggles of caring for somebody with Alzheimer’s and dementia. There are a couple of characters in this book that deals with these conditions, and the representation that they are given in the book is fantastic. Having had a family member suffer from the condition, I think the portrayal was very well done.

I enjoyed the mystery that plays out across the pages of Twelve Nights. We are taken through a variety of twists and turns as Magdalen tries to get to the bottom of a murder she is accused of, but did not commit, all before her ‘inquest’ and inevitable conviction for the crime. The mystery took a turn I was not expecting, and I enjoyed this element of surprise at the 11th hour!

One small thing to add, but I recommend reading the author’s note at the end. Within that note, we learned that a lot of the characters in this book are based on real people, which I found interesting. It proves that the author really knows her stuff on the subject and has researched it thoroughly before incorporating the story into a fun fictional narrative.

 

Author Bio

I was born and raised in Yorkshire where my father inspired my love of history from an early age. He is a born story teller and would take us to the top of Iron Age hillforts, often as dusk was falling, and regale us with stirring tales of battles lost and won. Not surprisingly, I went on to study Classics at university, and still love spending my summers on archaeological digs. For me, there is nothing more thrilling than finding an artefact that has not seen the light of day for thousands of years. I find so much inspiration for my novels from archaeology.

I have had a variety of jobs over the years, including working for the British Forces newspaper in Germany, and at the BBC. When our family was little, the only available space for me to write was a small walk-in wardrobe. The children used to say, ‘oh, mum’s in the cupboard again’.

I have written four historical novels: The King’s Daughter explores the story of Aethelflaed, the Lady of the Mercians. The Saxon Wolves and the Saxon Plague are both set in fifth century AD, a time of enormous upheaval and uncertainty in Britain as the Romans departed and the Saxon era began. My latest is something a bit different. Twelve Nights is a crime thriller set in sixteenth century London, and features William Shakespeare and Christopher Marlowe.

I now live with my husband in the Hampshire countryside. Like many others during the pandemic, we decided to try growing our own fruit and vegetables – with mixed results! We can only get better!

 

Social Media Links –

Facebook: Penny Ingham Author Page | Facebook

Instagram: Penny Ingham (@penny.ingham)

Twitter: Penny Ingham (@pennyingham) / Twitter

Website: Penny Ingham (wordpress.com)

 

Giveaway to Win a PB copy of Twelve Nights (Open to UK Only)

*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/33c69494511/?

Blog Tour Review: Wolf of Mercia – MJ Porter

Happy Friday and welcome to my blog tour review of Wolf of Mercia by MJ Porter!

It has been a little while since I last took part in a blog tour and provided a review as part of that. I’m really excited to jump back in and share my thoughts on Wolf of Mercia with you today. As always, before I get into my thoughts on the book, I like to take the opportunity to say thank you to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for organising the tour… and thank you to MJ Porter as well!

Wolf of Mercia isn’t the first book I have read by this author. I took part in a blog tour and provided a review of the first book, Son of Mercia, earlier this year. If you want to get up to speed with that first book before jumping into today’s review, you can find a link here!

And now, onto today’s review!

 

Wolf of Mercia – MJ Porter

Goodreads – Son of Mercia

As a lone wolf inside a Wessex stronghold, Icel must ensure his own and Mercia’s triumph.

Icel is becoming a warrior of Mercia, but King Ecgberht of Wessex still holds the Mercian settlement  of Londonia and its valuable mint.

King Wiglaf of Mercia is determined that the last bulwark be reclaimed from his sworn enemy to complete his rehabilitation as Mercia’s rightful ruler.

In the heart of the shield wall, Icel suddenly finds himself on the wrong side of the battle and thrust into the retreating enemy stronghold where he must take on the pretence of a Wessex warrior to survive and exact a cunning plan to bring down the Wessex force cowering behind the ancient walls.

His allegiances are tested and the temptation to make new allies is overwhelming but Icel must succeed if he’s ever to see Tamworth again and bring about King Wiglaf’s victory, or will he be forced to join the enemy?

Purchase Link – https://amzn.to/3tNhWTG

 

My Thoughts…

One of my favourite things about this series is the unique perspective of our protagonist. Icel is a young man in a world full of strife. Thrust into a war he has no desire to take part in, we get to see Icel battle with his own internal conflict and his loyalties in this book. In this kind of time period it’s typical for men like Icel to become warriors. It is the expectation.

However, Icel is a man who likes to heal. Having spent his childhood learning how to mend hurts and treat wounds… he does not enjoy inflicting such on others. This is particularly prevalent in the first book, and I really enjoyed his perspective. What I have also enjoyed through reading Wolf of Mercia is that we get to see a lot of character development that has taken place. Icel still does not relish hurting people, however he has stepped up in his duty to defend his country and he will do what is necessary, even if he doesn’t enjoy it. He has grown up from the cowardly boy he used to be.

Even though he can step up and do his part as a warrior, Icel maintains his authenticity in not wanting to do what he has to do. Although we’ve seen a marked change in him, his core principles have stayed the same. It is a challenging angle to take with a character, but MJ Porter has done this very well. She has enabled this development whilst keeping the character fundamentally the same in terms of his root beliefs and values. As one of the biggest selling points for me for this book and series, I’m really glad this has been done so well!

There is a lot more action in Wolf of Mercia than the first book of the series, and through the perspective of Icel, we are quite literally thrown into the middle of it. From the first battle in a shield wall in the opening chapters to the subterfuge of hiding amongst the enemy, there is never a dull moment. It took our main character completely out of the context we have seen him previously and gave him the opportunity to grow. I feel like events like these can either make or break a character… And it certainly made Icel. he is one of my favourite book characters.

I flew through this book in just a handful of days. The narrative and storyline are so immersive that it is easy to get lost in. It is the kind of book you can lose track of time in. The chapters are just the right length to convey what is going on, without being too lengthy either. It is just the perfect balance to justify telling yourself that it’s okay to read just one more chapter… Just one. But it never is!

On the whole, Wolf of Mercia, compared to the first book of the series Son of Mercia, exceeded my expectations and it is a very easy five star rating from me. This is a fantastic sequel to the series and personally I can’t wait to see what happens next!

 

Author Bio

MJ Porter is the author of many historical novels set predominantly in Seventh to Eleventh-Century England, and in Viking Age Denmark. They were raised in the shadow of a building that they believed housed the bones of long-dead Kings of Mercia – so their writing destiny was set. The first novel in their new Anglo-Saxon series for Boldwood Son of Mercia was published in February 2022.

Social Media Links –

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

Twitter https://twitter.com/coloursofunison

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

Newsletter Sign Up: https://bit.ly/MJPorterNews

Bookbub profile: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/mj-porter

Blog Tour Review: Son of Mercia – MJ Porter

Hello everyone and welcome to today’s blog tour review of Son of Mercia by MJ Porter! It has been a few months since I last took part in a blog tour, but I knew I wanted to take part in this one as soon as I saw it! Granted, I missed Rachel’s first email about it, but the day she contacted me in the hopes of signing me up was a happy one for us all! As always, I want to say a massive thank you to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources and to the author for organising the tour and giving me the opportunity to take part!

It’s a pleasure to be able to share my thoughts with you today!

 

Son of Mercia – MJ Porter

Goodreads – Son of Mercia

Tamworth, Mercia AD825.

The once-mighty kingdom of Mercia is in perilous danger.

Their King, Beornwulf lies dead and years of bitter in-fighting between the nobles, and cross border wars have left Mercia exposed to her enemies.

King Ecgberht of Wessex senses now is the time for his warriors to strike and exact his long-awaited bloody revenge on Mercia.

King Wiglaf, has claimed his right to rule Mercia, but can he unite a disparate Kingdom against the might of Wessex who are braying for blood and land?

Can King Wiglaf keep the dragons at bay or is Mercia doomed to disappear beneath the wings of the Wessex wyvern?

Can anyone save Mercia from destruction?

Purchase Link – Amazon

 

My Thoughts…

The opening of the novel sets the scene of a turbulent and unstable way of life. Conflict, strife and war are in abundance. Mercia is left, after the death of Beornwulf, to be governed by weak and non battle-seasoned warriors. It does not bode well.

I enjoy how the narrative is shared mostly from the perspective of Icel. In a society where being a warrior or a skilled craftsmen, such as a blacksmith, Icel does not fit in. He detests violence, and instead he feels in himself a calling to heal. It is clear that he does not know something about his past even from the early chapters of the book, as he is frequently scorned by those around him, and not just for shirking his duty to do what’s considered ‘women’s work’. Some of Icel’s background is unveiled to us readers via another perspective in the book, which is a nice touch in helping us understand the circumstances, whilst keeping Icel ignorant.

This tumultuous situation is laid out for the first third of the book, at which point, events come to a point that put young I saw and the rest of Tamworth in danger. This is transformative for Icel. He always retains hatred for violence, but his exposure to danger increases tenfold and forces him to challenge himself in new ways.

I like Icel’s perspective throughout the book because we view the events of the novel through a lens which is not dissimilar to our own. The narrative is set in a time when men are expected to become warriors. Valour, honour, and domination are expected and it is difficult to pull off a narrative from a character of this nature and keep them relatable to the audience. It’s not impossible; I’m a huge fan of Bernard Cornwell‘s The Saxon Stories series (a.k.a. The Last Kingdom), and any fans of those books will really appreciate this book as it offers a similar setting (9th century Britain). It differs in that it focuses on the power struggles within English factions.

If you love history then the world-building in this book is something that you can really get behind. Every care is taken to set the scene of a politically turbulent England. At the same time, this is well-balanced with a wide range of characters that complement the story. There are a lot of characters that come and go throughout the book but I wasn’t confused by this. The author does a fantastic job of reminding us of who is who wherever relevant, which is a great help in following the interwoven storylines!

The pace of the narrative is enjoyable too. There is action and world-building aplenty, so neither is neglected. It makes for a great standalone novel, but if you are as invested as I am after reading it then you will want to follow and continue the series as I do!

 

Author Bio

MJ Porter is the author of many historical novels set predominantly in Seventh to Eleventh-Century England, and in Viking Age Denmark. Raised in the shadow of a building that was believed to house the bones of long-dead Kings of Mercia, meant that the author’s writing destiny was set.

Social Media Links

https://twitter.com/coloursofunison

https://www.instagram.com/m_j_porter/

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7163404.M_J_Porter

https://www.pinterest.co.uk/coloursofunison/_saved/

Blog Tour Book Review: Million Eyes II – C. R. Berry

Hello everyone and welcome to today’s blog tour review post. As part of the ongoing tour for Million Eyes II: the Unraveller, I’m really excited to be sharing my thoughts with you on this book!

Having taken part in the blog tour for the first book of the series (Million Eyes), back in January 2020, it was a pleasure to be invited back by the author to read and share my opinion on this second book. It is always nice to know that my thoughts are appreciated and I hope I can convince you in today’s post to give this series a try. I can certainly say from experience that it is well worth it!

 

Million Eyes II: The Unraveller – C. R. Berry

Goodreads – Million Eyes II

Following an impossible discovery in East London, archaeologist Dr Samantha Lester joins forces with software developer Adam Bryant to investigate the events that led to the disappearance of his best friend, Jennifer, and to bring down the people responsible – Million Eyes.

Before long, Lester and Adam are drawn into a tangled conspiratorial web involving dinosaurs, the Gunpowder Plot, Jesus, the Bermuda Triangle, and a mysterious history-hopping individual called the Unraveller, who is determined to wipe Million Eyes off the temporal map.

But as the secrets of Million Eyes’ past are revealed, picking a side in this fight might not be so easy.

Million Eyes II: The Unraveller is the second book in the Million Eyes Trilogy by C.R. Berry.

 

My Thoughts…

If you love science-fiction with themes of time travel and alternate timelines then Million Eyes is a series that you should definitely check out!

Full of action and with twists and turns to keep you intrigued, Million Eyes II picks up from events in the first book. From there, time travel, character actions and consequences all intertwine and develop a sophisticated narrative but in an approachable way. The chapters are nice and concise, keeping the action flowing and the reader involved at different stages of the timeline of the narrative which makes it easy to follow.

Having so many moving parts must be a difficult task for a writer. There is so much going on at any one time and yet C.R.Berry has managed to bring all these together in a fantastic way. The added bonus of the short chapters means we can regularly revisit the certain period in time and keep tab of the events ongoing at that particular moment.

Million Eyes II is slightly longer than the first book of the series, which I enjoyed. The added page count allows the book to explore a more in-depth narrative, but equally it’s still very approachable to pick up for any reader. It also builds nicely upon the foundations set up in the first book. It’s been nearly two years since I read Million Eyes, but picking up this sequel novel wasn’t a challenge at all. Yes, there is plenty of action, but the narrative is well written so that the detail provides a sort of re-cap. I certainly didn’t feel like I had to go back to the beginning as a result, which is in my eyes a great skill for a writer to implement.

By no means would I describe myself as a conspiracy theorist, but I really enjoyed how this was explored in the novel. I’m not going to go into any detail whatsoever because if you’re interested, that’s motivation for you to pick up the book yourself! I loved the topics and particulars of history that were touched upon in the book and how these events may have been shaped by future intervention. No part of the timeline is left untouched and as a huge fan of historical fiction in general, this aspect appealed to me as well. Conspiracy theories and time travel is not something I read a lot of, but I knew I enjoyed this from the first book, so following it through and reading the sequel was a no-brainer!

I hope you like the sound of the Million Eyes series and that I may have just convinced you to give the books a go! Whether you are a fan of science fiction, historical fiction or anything in between, this series will appeal to a broad range of readers. Even if you just want to read something a little bit out there, go ahead and challenge yourself to this one – you won’t regret it I promise!

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Blog Tour Review: Ruabon – Karl Drinkwater

Hello everyone and welcome to today’s blog tour review of Ruabon by Karl Drinkwater! This is my second blog tour review for this author in the space of a week! If you haven’t read my previous review of Clarissa, shared last Saturday, here’s a handy link so you can take a look. Don’t forget to check out my reviews of the earlier books in the series, Helene and Grubane too!

Today’s review is for the fourth short story in the Lost Tales of Solace series. As I said in my blog tour for Clarissa, I haven’t actually read the main series these books originate from. So, my perspective is from not having read them (yet!).

Before I share my review, I always like to take a moment to say thank you to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources and to the author, Karl, for organising the tour and giving me the opportunity to take part!

 

Ruabon – Karl Drinkwater

Goodreads – Ruabon

Welcome to Tecant.

Nothing ever happens here.

Until today.

Ruabon Nadarl is just another low-ranking member of the scan crew, slaving away for the UFS which “liberated” his homeworld. To help pass the time during long shifts he builds secret personalities into the robots he controls. Despite his ingenuity, the UFS offers few opportunities for a better life.

Then Ruabon detects an intruder on the surface of a vital communications tower.

He could just report it and let the deadly UFS commandos take over, while Ruabon returns to obscurity.

Or he could break UFS laws and try to capture the intruder himself. For the UFS, only the outcome matters, not the method. If his custom-programmed drones can save the day, he’ll be a hero.

And if he fails, he’ll be dead.

 

Purchase Linkhttps://books2read.com/b/Ruabon

 

Lost Tales of Solace Kickstarter Campaign

The Kickstarter has an option for someone to get EVERY Lost Solace book as an e-book; but also to get the new paperbacks that will be designed, if they prefer print.

 

My Thoughts…

I literally read Ruabon in a day.

I started reading the stories last Sunday morning, before visiting my parents for the day and finished it later that night after I came back. As all the other Lost Tales of Solace books, it is a very approachable read and is equally easy to binge or pick up and put down at leisure, whatever your preference.

Having read Clarissa recently, I was amazed to see the diversity between the different stories that stem from the same universe. It goes to show just how much thought and world-building has gone into the series overall (including the main one). Although they all interlink, the books could easily be completely different stories and so read independently. That said, there are some names that will make more sense if you have read some of the other books. It’s not a big deal, but I like the subtle inclusion of information from other books as well. They’re the sort of books that you can take from them what you will; you can read them independently and enjoy them that way, or you can read them all and read between the lines… so to speak!

I love how well written the different robot personalities are. They in themselves are extremely different and were really fun to read. I imagine getting across vastly different personalities with only the written word and a limited amount of space in the book to do so is a challenge. However, I think this was done brilliantly! I personally enjoyed each individual little drone and their unique personality. Not only that, but their own existence says a lot about our main character and supplement the main storyline and character building very well.

Ruabon is a story that tells how some people can bloom under pressure. What is supposed to be the equivalent of a quiet day in the office turns out to be anything but, and quiet, unassuming Ruabon steps up to the challenge in the time of need. The fact that he even sticks his neck out on the line shows that he is not the quiet timid man people think he is. It shows a degree of calculation and understanding of when it matters most to make a stand and take a risk. His intentions aren’t necessarily altruistic, however they are very relatable. Ultimately, he wants to make his family proud and respect his heritage as opposed to pleasing his new ‘overlords’.

Ruabon is packed full of action and if you enjoy a fast-paced narrative, this is definitely for you. Again, in a condensed storyline, the unravelling of the plot and the tension of events played out in a way that is very easy to read and keep the reader hooked. I literally only put this down because I was due to go out somewhere-if I haven’t been, I am pretty sure I would have read this all in one sitting.

 

Author Bio

Karl Drinkwater writes thrilling SF, suspenseful horror, and contemporary literary fiction. Whichever you pick you’ll find interesting and authentic characters, clever and compelling plots, and believable worlds.

Karl has lived in many places but now calls Scotland his home. He’s an ex-librarian with degrees in English, Classics, and Information Science. He also studied astrophysics for a year at university, surprising himself by winning a prize for “Outstanding Performance”.

When he isn’t writing he loves guitars, exercise, computer and board games, nature, and vegan cake. Not necessarily in that order.

Social Media Links –

Website https://karldrinkwater.uk

Twitter http://twitter.com/karldrinkwater

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

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

Newsletter http://bit.ly/newsletterkd

 

Blog Tour Review: Clarissa – Karl Drinkwater

Hello everyone and welcome to today’s blog tour review of Clarissa by Karl Drinkwater! It has been a little while since I shared a book review for blog tour. For the most part, I have stepped back from doing these a little this year as I’m focussing on reading books currently on my TBR. I have been doing promo posts for books that I really like the sound of. However, at the outset of this year I said to myself that I would still take part in tours for authors I have read before and come to love, and Karl Drinkwater is one of those!

Today’s review is for his third short story in the Lost Tales of Solace series. Whilst it may be helpful to read the main series, my review is actually coming to you from the perspective of not having read them (yet!). I do have the books to read and my reviews will most certainly follow, but today’s review comes to you unbiased – and you can rest assured that even if you have not read them, it doesn’t matter; you can still pick up these books and enjoy them as I have.

Before I jump into sharing my thoughts, I always like to take a moment to say thank you to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources and to the author, Karl, for organising the tour and giving me the opportunity to take part! I really appreciate it and having enjoyed the first two books of the Lost Tales to date, I was really excited to see how Clarissa compared! 

 

Clarissa – Karl Drinkwater

Goodreads – Clarissa

If you’re reading this: HELP! I’ve been kidnapped.

Me and my big sister stayed together after our parents died. We weren’t bothering anybody. But some mean government agents came anyway, and split us up.

Now I’m a prisoner on this space ship. The agents won’t even say where we’re going.

I hate them.

And things have started to get a bit weird. Nullspace is supposed to be empty, but when I look out of the skywindows I can see … something. Out there. And I think it wants to get in here. With us.

My name is Clarissa. I am ten years old.

And they will all be sorry when my big sister comes to rescue me.

Purchase Linkhttps://books2read.com/b/Clarissa

 

My Thoughts…

I find myself reading more and more science-fiction, and the more I read, the more I come to love it! The books I have picked up to date prove that science-fiction doesn’t have to be too technical. I think when I was younger I always had this concern that as a not particularly science-y minded person, I just wasn’t going to understand it. That’s not true at all! I’m sure there are books out there that will float your boat if this is the sort of thing you enjoy, but equally science-fiction can be very approachable. Karl Drinkwater’s Lost Tales of Solace series definitely falls into this latter category.

Clarissa is the third book of the series. I have already read and reviewed the previous two books, Helene and Grubane. If you’d like to check out my thoughts on both of these books, I’ve provided a handy link to each of these. That’s not to say that the events of Clarissa depend on you having read these two books (or my reviews), because that’s not the case at all! It can be read standalone. Some of the characters or places might make a little bit more sense, but it’s definitely not required. I personally really like this. Adding to the ‘non-complexity’ point above, just being able to pick up a standalone is a great way of trying the genre without the commitment of a dense narrative and storyline.

As short stories, each of the Lost Tales of Solace books have been really easy to pick up. Clarissa is no exception. I managed to read this in no more than two sittings. I’ve actually been reading a lot less than normal, but was still able to read this book very quickly despite my reduced reading time. It is the perfect length to be able to enjoy a full narrative, but not too long either.

The thing I loved the most about Clarissa is that it is written from the perspective of a 10-year-old child. Children’s perspectives are very under-represented in literature. There aren’t many books I have read that have them, but almost all that I have, I’ve loved! I think there is a misconception that a narrative from a child’s perspective won’t be detailed or comprehensive enough, but children are very clever. They may not understand the subtleties of some of the things going on around them, but as adults, we can still interpret that from the clues left by the author. Clarissa in particular is very clever, so the telling of her story in the universe, and the strange goings on, does not leave us readers left wanting.

Fun, approachable and a pleasure to read, Clarissa is a fantastic way of delving into science-fiction for anyone of any age. The story is engaging whilst fitting into the wider Lost Tales of Solace narrative. I think I’ve made it abundantly clear, I really enjoyed reading this short story and I hope I can convince you to pick it up for yourself!

If you want to find out more about the book, or check out some other reader’s opinions, please make sure to check out the other stops in the blog tour. I’ll provide a full list of the names of blogs and date they are touring (or have toured) below!

Finally, if you want to find out more on the series, I’m taking part in the blog tour for the fourth book of the series next week. Again, I am providing a review so stay tuned for it!

 

Author Bio

Karl Drinkwater writes thrilling SF, suspenseful horror, and contemporary literary fiction. Whichever you pick you’ll find interesting and authentic characters, clever and compelling plots, and believable worlds.

Karl has lived in many places but now calls Scotland his home. He’s an ex-librarian with degrees in English, Classics, and Information Science. He also studied astrophysics for a year at university, surprising himself by winning a prize for “Outstanding Performance”.

When he isn’t writing he loves guitars, exercise, computer and board games, nature, and vegan cake. Not necessarily in that order.

Social Media Links –

Website https://karldrinkwater.uk

Twitter http://twitter.com/karldrinkwater

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

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

Newsletter http://bit.ly/newsletterkd

Blog Tour Extract: The Five Things – Beth Merwood

Hello everyone and welcome to today’s blog tour post for The Five Things by Beth Merwood. I’m excited to be taking part in the tour and for today’s post, I have an extract to share with you. As always, a huge thank you to Beth and to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for organising the tour and inviting me to take part.

I really hope you enjoy today’s exclusive extract. This chapter appears as any normal typical childhood would, and in the context of the book we know that something is going to happen very shortly to these characters. The scene seems very innocent and so I can’t help but wonder what happens next! Of course we’ll have to read the book to find out, but for now, here is today’s extract!

 

Exclusive excerpt from The Five Things by Beth Merwood

The Five Things is set in 1969 in rural England. The following excerpt is from an early scene and finds the key characters in their favourite place, playing a game during the carefree days of the school summer holiday. Soon a terrible event will interrupt their world.

Tommy had us lying on our backs in the grass at the far side of the upper field. It was really just a game of hide and seek that he’d slightly embellished.

“Count to a hundred,” he said, and we heard him running off.

We had to lie on our backs so that he knew we would keep our eyes shut. The sun was blazing down, and I put my arm over my face because it was so bright it seemed it could burn right through my eyelids.

Anna, Naomi, Sam, and I were all there.

Sam was moaning. “I’m so hot.”

“Thirty-four, thirty-five, thirty-six…” Anna counted.

“I feel weird,” I said.

Naomi never said very much. She was joining in the game, though, so that was something.

“Fifty-one, fifty, forty-eight,” Anna said.

“Fif-ifty-fi-i-ive, fiiiiiifteeee-siiiiix, fty-svn,” said Sam. He was saying the numbers slowly, or quickly, or in a funny voice to make it more interesting.

Anna started to giggle. It’s hard to stop giggling when you’re lying on your back, and soon we were all giggling, and no one was counting. Sam stood up.

“Give it a bit longer, then we’ll go and search,” he said.”

We waited. He lay down again. I was trying to look at him through gaps in my fingers without being blinded.

“One hundred!” Naomi said. We weren’t sure if she was guessing or if she’d continued counting the whole time.

We got up and headed to the wood to hunt for Tommy. Anna said we had to split up. I was sent on the normal path, while Sam was to go to the left of the path and Anna to the right of the path. Naomi was to walk round the outside of the wood looking in. I had the easiest route, but I was finding it hard to adjust my eyes after coming out of the sunlight, and I felt dizzy. It seemed so dark, but it was lovely and cool. A piece

of ivy, hanging down, brushed my bare shoulder and made me jump. Then, as I climbed over the fallen tree, I thought I spotted something moving. I sat on the trunk for a while, watching and listening. All I could hear was the sound of the others in the undergrowth, the swishing sounds as they thrashed their way through. I went on. Eventually, I thought I’d been in the wood long enough and came out the other side without finding Tommy. I headed back to where we’d been sitting. As I walked round, I saw Tommy and Naomi lounging on the grass in full view. Tommy put his finger to his lips to silence me. I strode over.

“You’re supposed to be hiding,” I whispered loudly.

He whispered back, “I waited until I saw you all come into the wood, and then I came back here.”

“Tommy, that’s cheating!” I told him. Naomi probably knew he would do something like that.

He shrugged.

“Well, the others won’t be too pleased, they’re searching high and low for you.”

“Shhhhh…” he said.

The others were anything but pleased when they finally returned. In fact, they told Naomi and me we were as much to blame because we hadn’t called off the hunt. Sam had torn his T-shirt, and both Sam and Anna had been scratched by brambles and stung by nettles.

“You’re in for it this time, squirt,” Sam said.

“Little brothers can be very annoying,” Naomi confirmed.”

 

The Five Things – Beth Merwood

Goodreads – The Five Things

For nine-year-old Wendy, the summer of 1969 will never be forgotten.

Local kids have always told stories about the eerie wood on the outskirts of the village, and Wendy knows for sure that some of them are true. Now the school holidays have started and she’s going to the wood again with Anna and Sam, but they soon become convinced that someone is trying to frighten them off.

When a terrible event rocks the coastal community, the young friends can’t help thinking there must be a connection between the incident, the tales they’ve heard, and the strange happenings they’ve begun to witness. As glimpses of a darker world threaten their carefree existence, they feel compelled to search out the underlying truth.

 

Purchase Links –  Amazon UK     Amazon US

 

Author Bio

Beth Merwood is from the south of England. The Five Things is her debut novel.

 

Social Media Links –

https://www.instagram.com/bethmerwood

https://twitter.com/lizcity77

https://bethmerwood.wixsite.com/write

https://www.facebook.com/bethmwriting

Blog Tour Promo: Preacher Boy – Gwyn GB

Hello everyone and welcome to today’s promo post for Preacher Boy by Gwyn GB. As always, it is a pleasure to be taking part in today’s tour schedule. I’d like to take the opportunity to say thank you to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources and to the author for giving me the chance to take part!

I really like the sound of Preacher Boy. Were it not for my commitment to reading pretty much all books from my TBR this year, this would definitely be on my list to review! From the synopsis, the narrative sounds intense and I really like the psychological element. I read something that sounded similarly dark last year and it became one of my top reads of the year. If you haven’t heard about the book, and want to find out more, you can do so below.

Preacher Boy: first in the Dr Harrison Lane series – Gwyn GB

Goodreads – Preacher Boy

IT’S TIME FOR A NEW CRIME MYSTERY HERO

Dr Harrison Lane is everything you wouldn’t expect from a man with a psychology doctorate. For victims, he’s everything they need.

They look, but they don’t see…

As Head of the Metropolitan Police’s Ritualistic Behavioural Crimes Unit, Dr Harrison Lane knows his Voodoo from his Aum Shinrikyo and a Satanist from a Shaman.

Harrison had an unusual childhood, raised by a bohemian mother and one of the native American Shadow Wolves – the elite tracking squad that works with US Drug enforcers. After his mother’s murder, he dedicated his life to tracking down those who hide behind spiritualism and religion to do evil.

Following the discovery of a missing boy’s body in what looks like a Satanic killing, Harrison is called in to help detectives. When a second boy is snatched, it becomes a race against time to save him and sees Harrison come face-to-face with some dark secrets from his own childhood.

Preacher Boy is the first book in a gripping new crime mystery series from Amazon Top 20 bestselling author, Gwyn GB. Perfect for fans of LJ Ross, JD Kirk, J.R. Ellis, J M Dalgliesh, Rachel Abbott, Joy Ellis and David Blake.

 

Purchase Links –   Amazon UK      Amazon US 

 

If you really like the sound of the synopsis and want to find out more, I would encourage you to check out some of the reviews that have been shared as part of this blog tour. Some of my favourites are: –

https://scintilla.info/2021/06/09/preacher-boy-gwyn-gb/

https://jessicabelmont.wordpress.com/2021/06/07/blogtour-preacher-boy-gwyn-gb-gwyngb-rararesources-gilbster1000-bookblogger-bookreview-amreading/

https://sharonbeyondthebooks.wordpress.com/2021/06/05/gwyn-g-b-preacher-boy/

Author Bio

Gwyn is an Amazon Top 20 bestselling author. She’s a former UK national TV newscaster and presenter, and journalist for national newspapers and magazines. Gwyn became a journalist because all she wanted to do was write and has finally realised her dream of being a full-time fiction author.

Born in the UK, Gwyn now lives in the Channel Islands with her family, including a rescue dog and 17-year-old goldfish.

Gwyn launched her debut novel, Islands as Gwyn Garfield-Bennett in 2016, the romantic suspense book rose quickly into the Amazon top 20. Her first crime mystery series, featuring DI Falle, launched with Lonely Hearts in 2017.

You can find out more about Gwyn at www.gwyngb.com
Or on social media:

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/GwynGB

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

Blog Tour: Guest Post by Alison Knight, Author of The Legacy – I Wouldn’t Like To Bet on That!

Hello everyone and welcome to today’s guest post by Alison Knight. Before we jump in to Alison’s post I just wanted to offer a quick introduction to say thank you to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for organising The Legacy’s blog tour and to Alison herself for providing today’s guest post.

It’s about an important topic as well. Gambling may seem a bit of fun to some, provided we know our limits. However, it can very quickly get out of hand and that is the subject of both The Legacy and today’s guest post.

I really hope you enjoy the below post. Don’t forget to check out the other posts and book reviews making up this tour as well (details at the end of the post). And now, over to you Alison!

 

I WOULDN’T LIKE TO BET ON THAT! By Alison Knight, Author of The Legacy

In these days of online gambling, there is a lot of concern about how easy it is for someone to lose everything on a virtual spin of a wheel or the turn of a card. This is a problem that has been with us for centuries. In Roman Britain, soldiers would wager their hard-earned cash on a game of Tabula – an early version of Backgammon; Henry VIII banned his soldiers from gambling, although he allowed it amongst his courtiers; the Victorians created the National Anti-Gambling League to campaign against it.

Gambling 1960s-style

Thanks to the Betting & Gaming Act 1960, the sixties were a boom time for the gambling industry, seeing the creation of 15,000 betting shops, bingo halls and casinos. Working-class men and women, my parents included, enjoyed a flutter on the horses at the betting shop and nights out at the bingo, while the upper classes flocked to the casinos.

The legislation was so badly drawn, however, that it enabled organised crime to infiltrate the industry – the most notorious in London being the Kray twins and their associates. Various attempts to tighten the legislation did little to stop the influence of criminals in the West End casinos and many a fortune was lost at the roulette wheel.

Don’t count your chickens

In my new book, The Legacy, set in London in 1969, the main male character, James, has built up huge debts at a casino. He expects to inherit a fortune from his spinster aunt which will easily clear his debts and the criminals running the casino have allowed him to continue gambling on the strength of that. James is so confident of his legacy that when he is told that his aunt has died, he immediately resigns from his job and rushes over to his aunt’s solicitor to find out how much she’s left him.

Unfortunately, he’s in for a nasty shock. His aunt changed her will and left him ‘a pittance.’ It’s not even enough to pay off his gambling debts.

James is faced with rising debts, the threat of violence and a desperate bid to reclaim his inheritance by any means.

An innocent victim?

The fortune that James had expected has instead been given to his aunt’s god-daughter, Charlotte, a hard-working teacher who never expected to receive such riches. However, she is guarding dark secrets that James’s campaign against her threaten to reveal. The more that James tries to intimidate and discredit her, the harder she will fight back.

A pawn in a dangerous game

James’s failed attempts to get his hands on the money lead him into a dangerous situation. He must complete a ‘job’ for this creditors on the promise of his debts being cleared. He sets off to drive across France with his girlfriend, Fliss, to deliver a mysterious package and collect one in return. On the journey, James decides on one final gamble in order to escape his situation. Will he be able to pull off the deception, leave everything behind (including Fliss) and start a new life?

I didn’t bet on that!

Both James and Charlotte learn some harsh lessons as a result of the legacy. Will it prove to be a blessing that makes them stronger, or a curse that ruins their lives?

I suppose the moral of this tale is that you should never gamble, even if you’re convinced it’s a sure thing.

 

BLURB for The Legacy by Alison Knight

An unexpected inheritance. A web of deceit. A desperate escape.

London, 1969.

James has his dreams of an easy life shattered when his aunt disinherits him, leaving her fortune to her god-daughter, Charlotte. He turns to his friend, Percy, to help him reclaim his inheritance – and to pay off his creditors. But when their plans backfire, James becomes the pawn of Percy and his criminal associates.

Charlotte is stunned when she is told of her windfall. After an attempt at cheating her out of her inheritance fails, James tries to intimidate her. But she is stronger than he thinks, having secrets of her own to guard, and sends him away with a bloody nose and no choice but to retreat for now.

Resigned, James and his spoilt, pampered girlfriend, Fliss, Percy’s sister, travel across France on a mission that promises to free James from the criminals for good.

But James isn’t convinced he can trust Fliss, so he makes his own plans to start a new life.

Will James be able to get away, or will his past catch up with him? Will Charlotte’s secrets turn the legacy into a curse?

 

BUY LINK – The Legacy by Alison Knight is published by Darkstroke Books and is available from: https://mybook.to/legacy

 

ALISON KNIGHT, AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY

Alison has been a legal executive, a registered childminder, a professional fund-raiser and a teacher. She has travelled the world – from spending a year as an exchange student in the US in the 1970s and trekking the Great Wall of China to celebrate her fortieth year and lots of other interesting places in between.

In her mid-forties Alison went to university part-time and gained a first-class degree in Creative Writing at Bath Spa University and an MA in the same subject from Oxford Brookes University, both while still working full-time. She signed her first three-book publishing contract a year after she completed her master’s degree.

The Legacy is her fifth novel and the second book published by Darkstroke Books. It is a drama set in 1960s London and France, exploring how we don’t always get what we want, with themes of greed, intrigue and desperation. Her previous Darkstroke book, Mine, is a drama also set in 1960s London, based on real events in her family, exploring themes of class, ambition and sexual politics. Some of the characters from Mine also appear in The Legacy, although this is a standalone story.

Alison teaches creative and life-writing, runs workshops and retreats with Imagine Creative Writing Workshops (www.imaginecreativewriting.co.uk) as well as working as a freelance editor. She is a member of the Society of Authors and the Romantic Novelists’ Association.

She lives in Somerset, within sight of Glastonbury Tor.

SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS – ALISON KNIGHT

www.facebook.com/alison.knight.942

www.alisonroseknight.com

@Alison_Knight59 on Twitter

www.imaginecreativewriting.co.uk

www.darkstroke.com/dark-stroke/alison-knight/

 

Blog Tour Extract: Glasshouse – Morwenna Blackwood

Hello everyone and welcome to today’s blog tour post for Glasshouse by Morwenna Blackwood. I’m excited to be taking part in today’s tour and I have an extract to share with you from the book. As always, a huge thank you to Morwenna and Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for organising the tour and inviting me to take part.

Having read the extract below I’m really intrigued by the novel and I hope it piques your interest too! If you do enjoy today’s extract I’ll provide details of the book below so you can find out more about it and how you can get a copy! But for now, onto the extract.

 

Extract

(In this extract, Lizzie is in psychiatric hospital, and has a conversation that will change the lives of everyone in the novel…)

I am mute until this girl called Kayleigh arrives. She’s really nice – she’s kind and friendly, and always gets me a cup of tea if she goes to get one for herself. She even picks the snails up when they come onto the path and puts them back in the garden so they won’t get eaten or stepped on. After few days of smiling at each other when we pass in the corridors or in the garden, she comes and sits next to me on the sunny bit of a bench one day, and offers me a cigarette.

On reflex, I start to say, “Thanks, but I can’t – I’m pregnant,” but stop myself after “Thanks”, and take the rollie she’s made for me. And then I can no longer pretend to myself that I have forgotten. I take a long drag on the rollie, and bite my lip to get control of myself. But Kayleigh starts crying before I do, telling me that they’re going to take her little boy away, when she hasn’t done anything wrong. I don’t know what to do, so I just touch her shoulder, and listen. She says that she’s bipolar, that someone set her up, and that the psychiatrist she’d been seeing for years suddenly went away, and some ‘posh new boy in a waistcoat’ gave the final order for her to be sectioned. Something clicks, and I ask her the name of her old psychiatrist. And then I really start listening to what she’s saying.

When she finishes her horror story, she asks me how I ended up here. I think about all the ways I could reply, but stammer out, “I ODd. Again.” I don’t need to say any more, and Kayleigh just smiles in sympathy. And then I go and get us some tea, and we have another rollie each, and just sit there until the sun goes down, sometimes chatting, sometimes silent.

The days pass. I eat my dinner like a good girl; watch some telly, like a good girl; have a little joke with the nurses when I’m taking my meds, like a good girl; and then I go to bed, like a good girl. One of the nurses calls after me, “Goodnight, Lizzie. Sleep well. And don’t worry, love, I’m sure you won’t be here long.”

She’s right – I won’t.

 

Now I don’t know about you, but I am intrigued to find out more about this book. The ending of the extract implies that our main character has a little secret something up her sleeve and I just want to know what is going on! If you do as well here are the details of the book and where you can get yourself a copy: –

 

Glasshouse – Morwenna Blackwood

Goodreads – Glasshouse

‘Now if I carry out this oath, and break it not, may I gain for ever reputation among all men for my life and for my art; but if I break it and forswear myself, may the opposite befall me.’

~ from the Hippocratic Oath (translated by WHS Jones)

Psychiatrists, Drs Whittle and Grosvenor, have dedicated their lives to helping their patients, but their approach, and the complications it reveals, lead them into relationships that harm not only themselves.

As their lives entangle, both men find that doing no harm is not as cut-and-dried as they perceived.

Can the patients in their care really trust them? Or are more sinister motives at work?

Delve into the dark world of psychiatric institutions where doctors and residents play a dangerous  game where no one is infallible!

Purchase Link – http://mybook.to/glasshousenovel

 

Author Bio

When Morwenna Blackwood was six years old, she got told off for filling a school exercise book with an endless story when she should have been listening to the teacher/eating her tea/colouring with her friends. The story was about a frog. It never did end; and Morwenna never looked back.

Born and raised in Devon, Morwenna suffered from severe OCD and depression, and spent her childhood and teens in libraries. She travelled about for a decade before returning to Devon. She now has an MA in Creative Writing from the University of Exeter, and lives with her husband, son and three cats in a cottage that Bilbo Baggins would be proud of. Her debut psychological thriller, The (D)Evolution of Us, is published by #darkstroke, and has become an Amazon best-seller. When she is not writing, Morwenna works for an animal rescue charity, or can be found down by the sea.

She often thinks about that frog.

Social Media Links

Twitter – @MorwennaBlackw1

Instagram – morwennablackwood_

Facebook – Morwenna Blackwood page

Website – www.morwennablackwoodauthor.com