So we have here Aileen (her brother calls her Ailey) fresh out of rehab and given a second chance of life. She travels to the Isle of Skye, Scotland to rethink her life, however she got more than what she bargained for as certain parts of her life are revealed to her. Her newly acquainted brother is trying to keep her safe from what is revealed, yet Ailey is strong headed and feels she can handle all that is dealt to her. Can she do this? I read with amusement to find out how she will cope, and how it will it end.
Aileys brother is a Police Constable. He thought he knew what was best for his sister, but the more he learns, the more he learns how wrong he was. The only way he can make it up to her is give her the one thing she never had, love and protection of the family.
So what of the father, that connects these two together? How, why and where is he? This is where the mystery starts as we follow Constable Brodie MacEwan on his enquiries.
To complicate matters even more we have Alec Galbraith, he fancies Ailey, so how is this going to fit in to the scheme of things. We all love a love story and this one I can tell you is worth reading. . Author, Wendy Hewlett has been an addiction counsellor at a private addictions treatment centre, so her knowledge on a subject that is dark is written in a very professional manner, extremely well done, executed perfectly. Her prose, style and word delivery extremely tasteful. I loved the plot of this book and a look into drug addictions and how they effected Ailey. Ailey recovering from drug addiction, is written to enlighten the reader that not all drug users are responsible for what has been done to them, which was Aileys case, this to me is a very inspiring book, very gripping, with a romantic tone and crime details that keep you interested throughout the story. . This book comes with a warning from me, this deals with alcohol/drug/child abuse, read with caution if these are triggers for you. . 5 star rating ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ . recommended genres – crime fiction – contemporary fiction – romantic suspense.
Aileen MacEwan has a second chance at life.
Fresh out of rehab, she’s still learning to deal with emotions. Discovering living relatives on the Isle of Skye, Scotland comes as a shock – one that has her gripping white-knuckled to her sobriety. How does a young woman who’s never experienced love and affection acclimate to an overprotective brother, a kind and loving mother, and a tenderhearted friend who desires more than friendship?
Scottish Police Constable Brodie MacEwan thinks he knows what’s best for his sister. Until he begins unravelling her past.
How can Ailey spread her newfound wings and fly with two wicked villains hell-bent on enslaving her in servitude?
So I start reading in the year 1745. I know nothing of this era and I wanted to learn more about it. “This is the tale of high adventure in the turbulent days of the Jocobite Rebellion” Actually before I go any further and forget, I won this novella as a giveaway on Facebook in July 2020. . I was totally surprised how well I could follow the slight wording of English, it made perfect sense to me, or maybe it’s the Scottish blood in me already attuned to this era. The “aye” and other quaint words peeked my interest and I’m left wondering how come we don’t use these words? because it does make for very interesting conversation, but I guess back in those days, they would consider it …. “normal”. . I was really fascinated about the “sword making” that the author describes and of course these are of the times where it was extremely important, as what else would they use as armoury? . I enjoyed the authors prose and here is an example delivered to you by a quote to give you an idea.
“I can take a bar of plain iron and work it until it becomes a thing of beauty. A fine blade or, if you like something less dangerous, a paperknife, or even a watch-spring! It is the process that fascinates me, Kate.”
If you are looking for romance, there is romance, but not what you would expect, definitely a romance with a twist. The author decided to give us a very suspenseful finish with quite a lot happening nearer the end. Are you into swording fighting? because if you are, this book will serve your purposes, but they arrive a lot later on in the book, so be prepared, although well worth the wait. . There was quite a lot of suspense three quarters of the way through right till the end, and it picks up on a pace from there on in to develop into quite an interesting ending.
I loved the sword making/fighting in this book, and if you are a fan of sword fighting this is worth picking up. This novella is a light hearted read with a suspenseful ending. . 5 star rating. . Genre – Historical Fiction/Historical Romance . . Blurb A tale of high adventure in the turbulent days of the Jacobite Rebellion
1745: John Steel takes a consignment of swords to Warenford Keep on the wild Northumberland coast. He suspects that the swords are destined for the rebel army of Charles Edward Stuart, but matters are complicated by his growing attraction to Katherine Ellingham, daughter of a known Jacobite and betrothed to the powerful Lord Warenford.
With Carlisle in the hands of the Jacobites, and government troops patrolling Northumberland, John makes a desperate bid to retrieve the swords from the Keep before his family is implicated in the uprising, but can he succeed, and protect Katherine and her family at the same time?
Hands up anyone who likes chocolate. You are in for a treat if you do, as this is the most irresistible book. We have here Alexandra, a very strong-willed female, who doesn’t want to be like the rest of the women in her era. What makes it more difficult is, she is born into a family that has lots of money, reeking of it, infact ooooozing with it. Alexandra wants to be independent and within her from a very young age, a fascination with chocolate. An opportunity occurs that’s so bizarre that sets her dreams in motion, working at the chocolate factory, but this is not the only factor here, we have Mathew who plans and plots and reveals the most bizarre marriage proposal. Will he win? Will Alexandra be successful in seeking out her independence in business in an age where its frowned upon? . What an extraordinary person Mathew is. I loved the frank talk he has near the beginning of the book with Alexandra’s Dad, Charles and the “contender males” that are marked to marry Alexandra…. however I’m left wondering how Alexandra and Mathew are going to work this out. . Halfway through this book and character dynamics get extremely interesting, without giving too much away another romance is blooming and things are not what they seem, by this time I was gripped and turning the pages and things started developing in a complicated way, I loved it, yet my thoughts were, that do I bare go on? It was getting too excited. All I can say is – oh what lives we weave with deception… and just leave it there for you to ponder.
This is a recommended read from Ellen Read and a gift from Ellen and I’m so glad she picked this book for me, as she certainly knows the books I would love to read. I want to congratulate the author on the extensive research that must have taken place in this most intriguing book. Historical Fiction at it’s best, I learnt alot, and I mean alot about the process of chocolate and how it actually gets to be chocolate, which starts off as a chocolate bean that looks like a coffee bean, now there’s a thought. I must mention the war, because this is a war time story, but in this story its touched very briefly on and although I have not delved into it with the character assessment here, I chose not too as it’s part of this wonderful story that is going to be unfolded when you choose to read it. Lastly the author has such a beautiful prose that it makes up for the dreadful killings in the battlefield. This is an awesome, wonderful, exciting, fantastic book wrapped up with a red bow!. . Rating System This is definitely a five star read from me ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ . Recommendation Genres are Historical Fiction (France & England) – Romance – Historical Romance. . Paperback, 412 pages . Published October 31st 2016 by Penguin Books Australia (first published 2016) The Chocolate Tin ISBN 0143797069 (ISBN13: 9780143797067) . Literary Awards Australian Book Industry Award (ABIA) Nominee for General Fiction (2017)
Alexandra Frobisher is a modern-thinking woman with hopes of a career in England’s famous chocolate-making town of York. She has received several proposals of marriage, although none of them promises that elusive extra – love.
Matthew Britten-Jones is a man of charm and strong social standing. He impresses Alex and her parents with his wit and intelligence, but would an amicable union be enough for a fulfilling life together?
At the end of the war, Captain Harry Blakeney discovers a dead soldier in a trench in France. In the man’s possession is a secret love note, tucked inside a tin of chocolate that had been sent to the soldiers as a gift from the people back home.
In pursuit of the author of this mysterious message, Harry travels to Rowntree’s chocolate factory in England’s north, where his life becomes inextricably bound with Alexandra and Matthew’s. Only together will they be able to unlock secrets of the past and offer each other the greatest gift for the future.
From the battlefields of northern France to the medieval city of York, this is a heartbreaking tale about a triangle of love in all its forms and a story about the bittersweet taste of life . . . and of chocolate.
Who do we have here? We have Stephanie, 25, who was in an abused relationship for 12 months, she decided to set herself free from the torture and the situation, and take the car and not much else and drive far away to another place, hopefully to start another life. On her way to goodness knows where, but just far enough away to feel safe, she decided to have some refreshments from an off the beaton track tearooms, with a broken down sign. She meets the owner, a friendly lady, Lynette. Both get on like a house on fire, this all started in the small village of Maleny, Queensland, where there is mountain air, friendly people, friendly faces (well almost), apart from Andrew that is. . Andrew has had problems of his own, so Lynette says. Small town, words whirl around. Andrew owns an antique place which is pretty handy as it sells second hand books, all of which are familiar to us readers. So this is quite interesting, why is Andrew acting in not a friendly manner? Where is all this leading to with Stephanie? Is she going to settle down in Maleny? and we are all thinking has Stepanie got rid of the abused boyfriend? A mystery is lurking with Lynette, I feel we are going to learn more about this mystery woman with the decrepit exterior tea rooms. . . Firstly I want to thank Ellen Read for gifting me the ARC of, When Jacarandas Bloom. Which is *Now Published*
. I loved Stephanie for her get up and go attitude, it takes some doing to fly caution to the wind and to just dive and drive right into another an unknown life. I noticed though she was being very cautious to who she was befriending. . You know what? Ellen’s books and writing improve as the years go by. Ellen’s writing flows so well, that reading is not an effort at all. This time we are in the picturesque, idyllic villages of Maleny and Montville in Queensland’s Sunshine Coast Hinterland. Ellen has taken a subject that can be taboo, physical and emotional abuse, a very hard subject to breach and has turned it into the most beautiful prose. Known for her mystery writing Ellen adds her style to this story as she feeds us a mystery surrounding Lynette. If you think Stephanie is something, wait till you read about Lynette!! Top notch job as always with Ellen’s skills here and sometimes I wonder how she is going to pull it off with the next one she will write, but she does and always delivering to us a polished full proof book with plots that are so tight you wouldn’t be able to prise them apart and we are always left guessing the outcome. This is definitely a gripping novella that will have you reading into the wee small hours of the morning. Lastly what an ending!! It sent chills down my spine. . I congratulate Ellen on designing the book cover, which I thought striking with the white background. Kudos also goes to Platform House Publishing, (Becky Wright) for formatting the interior for both the paperback and the ebook. The Jacaranda Tree placed at each beginning of each chapter and breaks in the story gave it a feel that you were reading underneath it with the blooms a mass of purple and the purple carpet of petals beneath them. . Five Star Rating ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ . Recommendation The genres are – Womens Fiction, Contemporary Fiction, romance, feel-good, new beginnings. Also, this is definitely a Christmas time read. . When Jacarandas Bloom Ellen Read
Novella – Pages 132 ISBN13 9798696237466 Can be purchased from Amazon.com
Set in the picturesque, idyllic villages of Maleny and Montville in Queensland’s Sunshine Coast Hinterland.
Stephanie Page has one chance to escape her abusive partner and she takes it. By the end of the day, she finds herself on the top of a mountain range. Is it far enough away? Can she be safe here?
She’s drawn to a rundown tearoom, although she’s not sure why. The owner, Lynette, is cheerful and friendly, and Stephanie finds herself calling in most days. Lynette never has any other customers, so this allows them time to chat.
Lynette encourages Stephanie to visit an antiques and craft place owned and run by Andrew, the son of a friend of Lynette’s. Stephanie calls in. The place is a treasure trove of wonderful antiques and books, but she finds Andrew to be rude and unfriendly. She tells Lynette so. Lynette urges her to go another day and make the effort to befriend him.
Stephanie has just run away from one bad relationship. She doesn’t want another, and she doesn’t want to befriend a rude man.
From what Lynette says one day over a Devonshire tea, it sounds as if she and Andrew have had a relationship. Then Lynette disappears. When Stephanie mentions this to Andrew, he orders her out of his antiques place.
Things are not what they seem.
Hurt and confused, Stephanie comes to the conclusion that she won’t find happiness here. Is it time to move on again?
I couldn’t put this down, I went overtime something shocking with my reading quota with Lost & Found, because it was so, so facinating and interesting. I totally enjoyed the banter, but not only the banter but the thoughts of both Luke and Ariana, both not letting on how they felt for each other in the beginning and I was totally memorized and totally invested in which I hoped was going to be the start of a memorable love affair. However I thought Isabella Santorini was a very dangerous woman and I totally agreed with Luke “a woman he would avoid playing poker with“ . I certainly didn’t like the way Isabella was using 7 year old Lucia. I could see nearing the halfway point that this could get very messy and complicated. I read on, kind of not wanting it to end, then it did get very messy and complicated indeed. Something had happened, but I can’t tell you what it is, because that would spoil the story, all I can say is, I need soup!! . I loved the style of chapters used in this book. Yes, each was numbered, but to give it more of a personal feel of that chapter, Julia has included a quote used within that chapter, it gave you more of a heads up of what was ahead. I was all in favour of this little teaser. Julia is an expert at weaving complicated issues, intriguing characters with all sorts of dynamics of personalities all in one story that will never leave you bored. Highly entertaining. . Rating System 5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Recommendation Genres are – Thriller – Suspense – Romance. A totally gripping fast paced action filled story which will have you glued to your sitting place (or lying if you read in bed). . Lost & Found Julia Blake
I bought this as an ebook off Amazon.com
Paperback, 230 pages
Published July 2020 by Createspace Independent Publishing Platform ISBN 9781974628520
Blurb from Lost & Found
Sometimes, you have to lose everything to find what’s important
Arianna Santorini has had a hard life. Abandoned by her husband and left alone to raise their child for six long years, she has learnt to make the best of things.
Then she meets Luke Blackwood and initially he seems perfect. Strong, kind, understanding and loving, he’s everything she could possibly want.
But Luke has a secret. He’s rich, very rich, and Arianna has a deep-seated prejudice against wealthy men, believing it turns them into men like her husband – manipulative, arrogant bullies. When she discovers the truth about Luke, her first response is to send him away and harden her heart to what might have been.
Then the worst thing that can happen to a parent, happens to Arianna. And the only person who can help her, is the one she’s vowed never to see again
Blurb Jenna Hartman is attending the movie premiere of her latest release when a breaking story emerges that destroys her image and threatens her career. Forced into hiding, and with Christmas looming, the only place to retreat is Seashell Cottage in Sandy Bay. But returning home is far from easy. It means fulfilling her mom’s final requests and facing the man who broke her heart.
Farmer by day and furniture maker by night, Ryan Cooper doesn’t have time for a serious relationship. As head of his family, he’s trying to keep the business afloat. But when Tinks—aka Jenna Hartman, the childhood sweetheart who slipped through his fingers—reappears, he can’t ignore the fiery sparks between them, even if he should.
Thrown together, they share an unexpected kiss, but is that all it is?
As they spend time together revisiting the past, will Jenna be able to forgive him? Will Ryan make her realize what’s missing in her glamorous life—a family and the chance of real love? . . My Thoughts Firstly I would like to thank J.M. Davies for gifting me an ARC of, An UnexpectedChristmas, in return for an honest review.
Is everyone ready for Christmas? If not, this novella will have you dashing towards the Christmas tree box. Already I can smell our self saucing ginger pudding wafting through the air, Chloe our cat happy as Larry ripping at the Christmas wrappings, chicken to be roasted, as well as pav and icecream for afters (somehow, we can squeeze it in) .. and afternoon naps, woken with the gurgle of the coffee machine and a mince pie. Ahhhh, bliss on a summers Christmas day, but wait a minute, although I’m talking about the Southern Hemisphere Christmas we now take our sledge to the Northern Hemisphere where snow, the smell of apple pie, cinnamon and pine cones. Read below what else you could give as a Christmas present to yourself, or someone else.
J.M. Davies is an Indie/Romance author. We see here J.M Davies writes in more of a gentle prose, a soft romantic touch. I like this approach very much. An UnexplainedChristmas is part of a series, so no doubt the Cooper family will grow in numbers within each series. Now lets talk about Ryan for a minute, J.M Davies based the character of Ryan Cooper on a couple of well known actors, a mix of Ryan Reynolds and Ryan Goslin. An ordinary bloke, he’s the man who puts you and your needs before his own, he’s a shoulder to cry on, a great cook, plays guitar and takes care of his mum. What more do you need in a man?
This is a 5 star rating and if I could give it anymore, I would ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
When Lady Jessie Hamilton returns home from serving as an ambulance driver in the Great War, she is hopeful there will be more opportunities for women like herself. However, she soon faces backlash for refusing to conform to the traditional roles expected of her, and when her uncle Theo, a powerful politician, resumes his vendetta against Jessie, for her earlier activities as a suffragette, she knows she must take a stand. But fighting Uncle Theo and his dirty tactics could cost her everything- including the man she loves.
Meanwhile, Alexa believes that marriage to handsome Lord Stephen de Courcy, a wealthy heir, will propel her into the kind of life she’s always dreamed of- the life of high Society. Too late, she realises they have little in common, and she must choose between causing a scandal or remaining in an unfulfilling marriage.
And then there is Adeline, who is struggling to come to terms with the fact her children are growing up. For a woman who has always found meaning in being a mother, letting go is difficult. And when tragedy strikes, she realises she must find an inner strength she never knew she had, or allow herself to be forever consumed by grief. Out of the dark days of the First World War, three women must find the courage to forge new lives for themselves, as they navigate the changing and turbulent times of the 20th Century.
. My thoughts Firstly I won this book as a giveaway on Instagram by @indie_women-writer on the 4 April 2020.
I just picked out two characters that seemed really interesting to me.
Lady Jessie Hamilton really did have her hands full. The hardship Jessie had at coaxing women, mainly housewives that they are actual people and not just a machine that laid tables, cooked and produced babies, to stand up for themselves and vote. Not to mention her Uncle Theo who not only didn’t agree with the idea, but seeked sabotage to try and ruin anything that Jessie had planned. This book shows at what length she had to go through to get her point across, which wasn’t an easy feat. I was extremely interested and fascinated that this was typical of what happened just after the war (WW1) but alot more was instore for Jessie that did not include politics and a very valuable lesson was learnt.
Alexa, poor Alexa, not everything worked out for Alexa, a rondaveou at her parents house meant that she had to marry Lord Stephen de Courcy. She felt there was nothing in common with her husband. I guess this was typical of alot of marriages at this time, just get on with it, happy or not, “marriage is marriage” is what Lord Stephen de Courcy said. It made me think how alot of marriages must have been in those days. Well, Alexa wasn’t going to have “one of those marriages” a flight of her own, a caterpillar that was turning into a butterfly, she found her footing and she flew. It was very courageous what she did and I admire her no end.
I congratulate the author, there must have been quite alot of research plowed into this book, a book of heart break, joy, turbulence, love, personal discoveries and knowledgeable facts. . This is a well worth reading, which I’m giving with no hesitation 5 stars.
Allison is newly seperated and living alone, she has the marital house for the time being. Felix, their son, lives with his Dad, Tony. Both parents have agreed on shared care. Allison has an obsession, she spies on her ex hubby, Tony, trying to find out who replaced her. Both Felix and Tony are keeping quiet and not saying a word. Allison befriends Luke, her mind also flip flops to Tony. . Luke has just shifted into a new neighbourhood. Widowed with a 4 year old daughter called Gracie, who has just started chemotherapy. Allison is the teacher at the school Gracie has enrolled at. Gracie needs a new treatment which can only be offered in Chicago, America, which Luke can’t afford and a suggestion of charitable fund raising has not only Allison helping, but the whole community. . . I really enjoyed this book so much, that I read more than I normally do just to find out what was happening. So many twists and turns and turns and turns, that I felt I was lead through a rabbit hole. This book reminded me of ailments of John Buchans, The Thirty-Nine Steps, with a chase-on-chase attitude.
I was eager to know how this fund raising was going to happen, it’s alot of money to find and to what cost. Will Gracie get to Chicago? Will Luke like the idea of Allison meddling? Will Luke feel he is in debt to Allison for helping out so much? And we can’t forget Tony and his mystery woman that hasn’t got a name. Does Allison eventually find out who she is … and what happends when she does? . Rating this ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ 5 stars . Recommendation – now published The Good Teacher by Petronella McGovern Paperback – 422 pages – ISBN 978 1 76087 529 9 A$29.99 NZ$32.99 Genre – Fiction – Action and adventure – mystery
You know how it is when you are like 17 and you go into a club? Well I don’t, I wasn’t that kind of a girl, but here I am, birthed again and following Kaylee, the first footsteps into a so called (air quotes – secret-club-of-some-kind). On entering, her eyes fall upon this dishy guy called, Vincent. Vincent according to Kaylees cousin Lily, is one of those bad boys…. but how bad? As we hit a Twlight Zone where Vincent teaches techniques to ground Kaylees energy, are we left thinking is Vincent a healer or a taker? I read on with anticipation, but not anxiety to find out. A war is about to take place, but who is it against? Kaylee, friends and relatives practise their moves with alarming effects. Who will win, who will die? . At this point I want to thank Kirsten Temple for giving me an ARC of Paired in exchange of an honest review. The ebook is available now to read.
Excerpt I Loved Everything on Earth is at a certain point within the cycle of life and death, starting and ending with the energy source that most call Mother Nature. For example, a seed uses Mother Nature’s energy to grow into a plant, but eventually it will die, decompose, and become nourishment for the next plant. . Quote I Loved You’re a positive air, and Lily is a negative fire. You, Lily, Tyler and I make up four of the current active eight. . Kristen, although from Australia writes this book for the American reader. This is aimed at the YAs but certainly anyone who likes other worldly stories, and battle scenes are certainly going to like this one. The battle scenes towards the end of the book were very intriguing and I had to read at a pace, to know what was going to happen and how its going to end. Just hear me out now, make sure if you are picking up this book, to allow yourself enough time to finish the last three chapters, because this is where all the action takes place.
This certainly is an extraordinary story, I’ve never read anything like it before. . Rating System ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ 5 stars
Book Review/Book Recommendation Light Of Hope C.N. Jannian
Genre – Fiction – YA – Healing – Life Lessons.
My thoughts Have you ever come across a book, that sends you into a deep sense of gratitude and blissfulness? This is what Light Of Hope did for me. Now this was a personal pick of mine, it was the fact that I have followed the author on Instagram for a few months now, that made me decide to read this. Bought 15 April 2020 off Amazon.com. Ebook – Approx 115 pages.
The author, C.N. Jannian writes for the YAs, but let’s stop right there for a moment, this doesn’t necessarily mean it was pitched solely for the YAs. The author chose very carefully not to use too many descriptive and complicated words, her writing very smooth, therapeutic, hypnotic to the point where you can feel very relaxed, so on that conclusion anyone who enjoys a light easy to read book should pick this up.
I knew as soon as I read that Hope had a twin sister called Faith, that this was going to be a brilliant story. I smiled.
So, this is a story about Hope losing her way. Feeling weak, it was up to Faith, the stronger sister to watch over her. In time Hope had to go to a teacher/healer in a group setting within a nature setting, where they all lived in a community, all women, to learn about the lessons of life, to have the courage to carry through all that she learnt, so that when the time came to go back to her family, she could apply everything she had learnt. Oh yes, Hope was tested alright and it all wasn’t plain sailing on her journey back home. So did Hope end up in one piece? Did she even get home? and how on earth was she going to shine her own light in a house that is so dark? . Excerpt I enjoyed It was a slow process of staying in that moment and holding love for whatever kept her grounded in her light. Love seemed to be a huge piece of this process. When she went out with joy in her heart, that helped.
Quote I Enjoyed The group came upon the babbling brook where they stopped and took a break. Everyone sat down. They had some kind of container that held a special tea and some nuts. . . Rating System ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ 5 stars . Recommendation Yes, recommended definately for the YAs, but if you are wanting a more simple, down to earth, light easy story then definately pick this one up. For people out there that like life lessons in their stories.
Book Review/Book Recommendation Pride and Progress Rosemary Gemmell
Ebook – Novella (approx 95 pages)
Genre – Victorian Romantic
My thoughts Pride and Progress made me feel at home with the cups of tea passed around. Hats, gloves and petticoats. . …. so this is how it goes….. Miss Emily Morton is not a fan of trains, infact she doesn’t want them near the village to spoil the atmosphere that they already have. After strolling on a lovely Spring day, Emily stumbled on a stone and rolled down the hill. Plonked right by the shoes of Arthur Muir, resident of the station master’s cottage, the enemy with “the modern contraption” So how does this pan out? Do we see love smouldering like the coals, ready to ignite? Or is it puffed away never to be seen in the light of day. . We then see the professional side of Miss Emily Morton, she is a teacher and we read snippets of information about how she deals with the kids in the class room. I was very amused by Sam Cartwright, who wanted to destroy the whole entire map by poking it. . I loved the trip to the seaside, there is nothing more rewarding then finding shells on a beach, however I was most surprised that there was a mystery to be had when exiting the beach, one will have to read to find out what happends next. . . Quotes I Enjoyed Now that spring had arrived, Emily could not wait to resume her longer walks in the countryside. It was as much for the pleasure of striding out by herself: a time of contemplation as well as exercise. . From her own interest in flowers and knowledge of some of their meanings, she reflected that the daisy was usually a symbol of innocence and purity. . . Rating System ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ 5 stars . Recommendation If you are interested in the Jane Austen era, 1870s, Victorian romance, Victorian times, beaches, trains and novellas, then this one is for you.
Book Review/Book Recommendation Formation Author – Ryan Leigh Dostie
Hardback – 358 pages Genre – memoir
TRIGGER WARNING – Rape issues and self harm.
My thoughts The first chapter did it for me, like Ryan Dostie, the drink that lured her to her bed, lured me into reading more… I wanted more of this. You know, as I grew to know more about “what really goes on in an army behind closed doors” that blaze feel of admiration for men in the army I have, changed. Yes, it burst my bubble, yes, it left me broken, yes it has changed me for ever, completely and utterly. Here is a woman, yes a woman …. female, who wanted to do her own thing, who gets violated and raped. It left me sad, it left me annoyed. . Have you ever heard the words “guilty until proven innocent”? …. because for me, as the story moves towards the “interrogation” part, this is what it felt like. The army, as the author describes it, or rather the men, are female haters, probably because the author is an invasion into their society where only men dare tread, they feel threatened, so their coward way out is to taunt, tease and humiliate.
I wouldn’t say I particularly “liked” this book, as it opens a gash, a wound, the truth, of what can and has happened and probably has happened in other male dominated places with woman in it.
As I read along more, it struck me, that really the author was a total emotional wreck and really needed counselling, but due to the nature of her case, if she asked for it, I would very much doubt she would have got it.
. . Quote I enjoyed Let me explain here, I didn’t really enjoy it, but, I couldn’t believe I read it! “Do you really want to ruin this guy’s life”
I mean, come on!! Seriously? I gaped with my mouth wide open when I read this.
….. and gruelling and grotesque in places. “When I put my hand on his jaw, you know, to open it, it just … came off in my hand.”
. . Well that was the beginning of the memoir, we readers then fall out of line and discover the first 11 years of the authors life, which includes some sort of religious cult (my eyes roll up to the celing and I groan)…. and her life leading onto how she managed to get into the army in the first place.
The author goes on to explain how she ended up in the army in the first place, what her solider mates were like and describes certain combat scenarios with us ….. I thought though that the doctor gave good advice saying not to go drinking for 9 months when she was having medical issues, but I thought it was quite silly of her not to take the advice …. it was obvious to me then, that alcohol was going to become the enemy of war.
The author puts herself on the line (no pun intended) to tell a story that is true, this book SHOULD BE used as a documentary series. No, you won’t get any hot lips Houlihan here, this ones more of a tough cookie to crack open, although during her years she lacked confidence, but I would say thats more to do with not being wise, even the author admits she was naive.
This, and many more memoirs Ive read before, have the same purpose, to reveal to anyone interested that life is not full of a bed of roses, there are thorns, but without thorns, where would we be? Thorns, although may break us, they also makes us too.
This is definitely not an airy fairy book, oh no, not a chance, not pretty, pretty, but gritty gritty, not like icecream and waves on a beach, but more like a gritty sand on a rough sea…. it may even give you sea sickness, or if that sea is icy cold, like ice cream … brain freeze 😣 .
Note To Oneself – strong, obscene language applies (R18).
This was a DNF – Stopped at Chapter – rage against the machine – p229. Why? I know I don’t have to explain myself, but this was too much out of my comfort zone to handle, it’s an extremely powerful book, too much for me to handle.
Rating System ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ 5 star rating.
Recommendation Pick this book up if you are into memoirs, especially if you are interested in the army, or used to be in the army, or even if you are writing about the army. A good one if you are wanting combat battle scenes, as you wont be disappointed, they are ugly!
Book Review/Book Recommendation Celiac Mom Author – Ann Campanella
Ebook Genre – Memoir – Health – Parenting
Paperback – now available on Amazon.com Ebook – release date 19th September 2020
My thoughts Firstly I want to thank Ann Campanella for gifting me the E ARC of, Celiac Mom, in exchange for an honest review.
This is the first time I’ve read about a family who are dealing with Celiac. Yes, I knew what the word meant, but not actually to what extent it can do to you, physically and emotionally.
Ann’s life consists of being a mother to her very precious daughter, Sydney. We, as readers are introduced to touches of Ann’s life with a newly born and Ann explains through those period of years, the symptoms and tests that Sydney had to go through. Sydney was then diagnosed with celiac at the age of 5. We then get sneak peaks of what the family goes through after Sydney turns 5, right up to her teens, managing and muddling the throes of school camps, a disastrous prom night and the shaky start to college at the beginning of 2020.
With Ann being a horsewoman, I was so pleased to see Ann’s horses from Motherhood: Lost and Found, Ann’s other memoir about her mother having Alzheimer’s, feature in Celiac Mom. Of course they were an important part of Sydneys life, as she loves horses as much as her Mom does and we travel with Sydney on the back of her horse. Sydney must have a natural gift when it comes to horses as in the book we hold onto our seats as Sydney lands herself in what could have been a dangerous situation.
This is told in a story form, a comfy memoir that’s not too full of medical terms, (there are some), but then again, easy to read for young Mums and likeminded sufferers. Not only is this a memoir written by Ann, but written also on behave of Sydney who had to go through such a varied strange mixed set of emotions, especially not knowing the cause, I could imagine it would be quite horrific for her to go through.
I found this book very informative. I was extremely interested in how Ann, being the loving mother that she is, was determined to keep her little girl healthy, considering and Ann admits in her book, she was a non cook, so Ann was equally challenged to rise to the task.
At the end of the book there are some very easy recipes to try, (14 days of gluten free meals) which even admittedly to me being a non adventurous cook, I was very enthusiastic to read and hopefully I will try some, at some point in time. The recipes are easy and even those who aren’t gluten free, like myself, can adapt these accordingly. Also included is a gluten free shopping list and I was absolutely pleased to see Yopliat Yogurt and M&Ms (plain and peanut) – both my favourites are actually gluten free and I didn’t even know it.
. Quotes I enjoyed. They ordered plates overflowing with gluten delicacies—hamburgers with fluffy gluten rolls, French fries sautéed up in cross-contaminated oil, ketchup with modified starch (yikes!), chicken processed with wheat and grilled on a gluteny grill, pasta made of curly bits of gluten, sauces thickened with flour…I mean gluten. . Our family was suddenly on the wrong side of the fence, outside of a world we had once been a part of and thoroughly enjoyed. Now, we watched as a parade of our favorite foods marched just under our drooling lips on a regular basis. . Going gluten free helped me feel, for the first time in my life, that food was truly nourishing me rather than contributing to a general sense of malaise, and I began to feel free. . With years of experience and research under my belt, I have become the resident celiac expert in my home and among my community of friends. .
Rating System 5 star rating ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Recommendation This comes highly recommended by me, and would suit any authors who were thinking of using a character that has celiac in their book, as Ann has a tremendous amount of knowledge that she shares with us. To any parent out there that has children with celiac as you will know of the trial and tribulations that are being faced. To anyone who wants to just learn more about staying healthy and to expand their knowledge, and anyone who love horses.
Set in 1928 in Victoria, Australia. The Thornton family made its money in the goldfields during the 1850s and the antiques trade. Thornton Park is their lavish mansion close to Melbourne. They also own a home and a goldmine in Daylesford, in the heart of Victoria, where their close friends, the Bassetti family, are part of a thriving Swiss-Italian community.
Alexandra Thornton has married Benedict Archer. On their honeymoon in Daylesford, Alexandra’s pearls are stolen and within days there are two murders.
Back at Thornton Park, Alexandra discovers a secret compartment in a desk. Inside is a gold and diamond necklace and a letter written by her grandfather, James Thornton. It’s a love letter, Alexandra assumes written to his wife after her death. He claims the necklace is cursed.
After further investigation, Alexandra uncovers the deaths of two miners at Thornton Goldmine.
The family return to Daylesford where Thomas Thornton is accused of murder.
Alexandra is determined to work out how it all connects.
What is the link to the Inca Emperor Atahualpa? Is it gold?
Is gold the curse?
Firstly I want to sincerely thank Ellen Read for gifting me the ARC of The Inca’sCurse, in exchange for an honest review.
My Thoughts I am extremely interested in conversational dialogue in general, so I was pleasantly surprised that I got just that in The Inca’s Curse. Questions and answers leaded to more intriguing scenarios, problems and then solutions. Ellen Read is a dab hand at creating and writing a scene in this way. A very “dialogue” driven book.
This is an extremely facinating, interesting and intriguing book, that has a very involved storyline, with lots of plot twists, its chockablock full. Apart from the mystery aspect, there is a newly wedded couple, so there is love. There is alot of references to antiques with the Thorntons being in the antique business and because Ellen Read herself, loves flowers and nature, we have the countryside of Daylesford with Wombat Hill, where there are black ducks, willy-the-wagtails, Asters, bluebells, daffodils, lillypilly and a whole range of flowers that are all wrapped up like a bouquet, not forgetting the scrumptious food mentioned, this time, there is an element of Italian, with the occasional mention of scrambled eggs and Maderia cake on the side, with copious amounts of tea drinking. I learnt quite alot of Italian dishes, plus the heritage of the Swiss-Italians. Plus I learnt about the family tree and who is related to who. We have references of books, more in depth this time is the book, Pride and Prejudice that Edith models herself on and Ellen Read executes the storyline superbly well into HER story, and lastly, because this is a historical fiction I must add that the information on the history of Daylesford, plus the gold mines is very educational which I was extremely interested in. The story-line and plotting, again, faultless and delivered to perfection.
It was a great honour to be able to delve into such a book with such a vast lot of information, inspiration and hard work that Ellen Read put into this. Ellen Read is definitely a mastermind of her own craft.
Give this a go, you won’t be disappointed, as it will captivate you and hold your attention till the end.
5 star rating ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Recommendation The Inca’s Curse comes highly recommended by me and will suit anyone who is interested in Italian cooking and heritage. For Historical Fiction lovers. Definately worth reading if you are into romance books. For antique lovers. For anyone interested in the fashion of the 1920s, especially music and clothes. Lastly for all readers who like flowers mentioned in their books.
Introducing the book title and author, I then move onto my review of what the book is about, some character analysis, commenting on the authors writing, what I rated it, genre and ending with the blurb.
Book Review/Book Recommendation Dance of Hearts Author – Byrd Nash
Ebook – Genre – Regency Romance/Fairy Tale Retelling – Cinderella Ebook length – Approx 100 pages – Short Novella
My thoughts Firstly I would like to thank Byrd Nash for gifting me this ARC in exchange for an honest review.
This book is now published.
Blurb In Regency England, 1816, it is not fashionable to display fairy blood. Melinda Wychwood managed to stay at her family home after her father’s death by working as her cousin’s unpaid housekeeper. But when a childhood friend returns, playing a game of deception, will she be satisfied acting as the dowdy chaperone? Or will her wild fairy heritage and a magical dress finally win her true happiness?
My Thoughts Have you at all read Jane Austens books? I have and this reminds me of the days long ago, once upon a time, and not in my time, when horses were used as transport, they couldn’t zoom down mud hills in their SUV. Horses were not only used for transport, but as an entertainment, a canter here and a gallop there and being a lady you must ride side saddled. Ladies played being ladies with a cuppa tea, cake, sewing and embroidery and tittle tattle, for they did not have radios and TV … they talked. What comes with talk? Well the men definitely talked, two men in particular …. apparently a plan was hatched, a plan of deception. Can one deceive and then get away with it?
Byrd Nash writes this Cinderella retelling in Jane Austen style with a difference, not at all in a classical way, but we see here in a way that’s mixed of a magical realm of fairy tales. I was totally engrossed and invested in this short sweet story.
I particularly loved Melinda Wychwood, and through this excerpt you will see why. . Excerpt “While her eye color was diluted to almost an acceptable color, Miss Melinda Wychwood of the Grange, ChippingWorth, could not control her blush. Her downcast eyes, slight smile, and tone of voice were always to be relied upon for any occasion. However, her blush hinted at a wildness of manner. Uninvited, it would color her cheeks, migrating to her forehead. There the pink would highlight a beating pulse, fluttering like a caught bird, at her temple.” . Yes, that’s right, there is a certain purity in her demeanour and, this I adore.
Speaking of admiration, I certainly admire Byrd Nashs writing. Although I have given a sizeable example of her writing up above, I couldn’t but help myself get thrown into the room where THE magical dress was being made, the magical dress will remain so, because I can’t reveal the magic, this is one that the reader will have to experience for themselves but, I will give you a sneak peak inside …. the sewing room … (I curtsey as you go through). . Quote It felt like they had stepped inside a jewelry box, lined in pink satin. The drapes on the walls shifted slightly as if an invisible breeze touched them and the distant chime of silver bells played pleasantly in the background. . Where does this fit in as far as Melinda Wychwood is concerned? Is what I was telling myself as I went along my merry way of skipping through the woods (oh wait! that’s goldilocks!) … but wait, don’t go!! There is a forest in this story that has a very wicked? … well I will leave that up to you to find out.
I love the way the romance was handled in this happily ever after adult fairy tale. It’s clean and sweet.
I’m very excited to announce the release date for my second book THE INCA’S CURSE Book 2 in The Thornton Mysteries Benedict says this quote below to Alexandra.“You are a part of my soul, part of my every thought, my every action. I breathe for you. I exist for you.” How romantic is he? The book […]
Book Review/Book Recommendation A Falling Starr (The Complete Trilogy) Author – Dani Hoots
Ebook – Genre – Sci Fic/Fantasy YA
My thoughts Firstly I would like to thank FoxTales Press/Dani Hoots for gifting me this ARC in exchange for an honest review.
This book is now published.
Who is Angela Starr? ….. Well this is a girl, who thinks thats what her name is.
Angela, after having an accident, wakes up in hospital and discovers she has amnesia. She knows she lives in Portland, her therapist decides it’s best for her to go to a community school. So, we as readers follow her around the new chosen college and we are slowly introduced to new friends and circumstances along the way. However, life is more complicated than that and Angela discovers men dressed in black snooping around. The mystery continues from there. On one hand putting the puzzle together on who she is and in the other hand keeping a watch on these men in black. There is also Emmerich, a boy that Angela meets through school, there is definately a connection between the two, although to me, Emmerich seems a bit too sleek and suspicious for my liking.
I loved Dani Hoots writing. It’s very light and suits the genre of Fantasy/Sci Fi well. I was so pleased that the author made Angela independent, sensible and created a realistic approach. well, apart from roaming all over the place in her pjs, although, kittens on pjs are excusable. Yes and Dani Hoots makes sure Angela leads a reasonably normal life as a student, microwaving is very essential these days.
The author knew my weakness in food and we have a platter throughout the book, such as donuts (well you got to have those) crepes, cinnamon honey bananas! (oh yum!!) Fire patties. . Quote Emmerich led me to the little vendor that sold crêpes and, after a ten-minute wait, they were wrapped up and handed to us. I had ordered a strawberry cream, and he had ordered a cinnamon honey banana. .
Lots of references to songs in this book which was apt to the age group of Angela, such as, “Labrinth”, “Somebody You Used To Know” and some song verses were weaved into the story.
Angela also liked movies, TV programmes and again the author made it prominent in the story, eg, “Torchwood”. “Dr Who” was a major influence and it’s written in different forms of references throughout the book, I’m guessing the author is a huge fan.
Yes, the author lead me on a very curious hunt when it came to the mystery side of this story and I congratulate the author for keeping me in suspense, because at times it was hard to put this book down, a very nail biting lead towards the end of the story.
5 star rating ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Recommendation I highly recommend this entertaining book and will suit all YAs out there that are interested in Fantasy and Sci Fi. Anyone who is after a mystery, as this had me scratching my head all the way through.
I thought I would include Ellen Reads book trailer to have a look at
Grief……. it comes to us all, at some point in time and with Mark it was no different. It was 4 years, Mark had decided to take a trip to see his best friend, Beth, a friend he has had since University days. Beth had emailed Mark inviting him to stay in the Sutton Forest. Due to the grief he was harbouring over his mother, he wasn’t sure whether to go or not, but he knew that Beth would push him to go, so go he did.
Beth operated ‘The Magnolias’ which is built on 20 hectares, a Georgian House, that had been turned into a boutique hotel and spa. ‘The Magnolias’ was so full that Mark ended up in a woman’s bedroom, but not anyones bedroom, this was Charlotte’s room, who had died over 100 years ago, no one had slept in it since and this bedroom wasn’t open to the public. As he was settling in he noticed a painting of a lady on the wall. Beth was proud to announce that it is her great great-aunt, Charlotte. Her last days were spent in her bedroom and in a walled garden, she explained.
What was the mystery behind the painting that was beckoning Mark? Was he seeing and feeling things that were real? or was it all a surreal dream?
I don’t know how many times I have re-read Love The Gift, and everytime it springs up, there are surprises that burst into glorious revelations. Ellen Read, to me, is the only author that has a knack of weaving a story into a whole different dimension, you feel transported to the place Ellen wants you in and places you in a comfortable array of showered goodness, words gently fall down into your soul and you feel quite at peace. This wont be the last time I read this, and I hope the flow of writing from Ellen will continue like a babbling brook wanting to be seen.
Quotes I Enjoyed This Time Around
I do highly recommend this novella. There is an important life lesson revealed nearer the end of the novella. Ellen has used the characters well to reveal what grief is, and how to deal with it. I loved Ellens approach to it and how she addresses it ……..so if you like novellas, Australian history and Australian places in your books, a look at grief and how people react towards it, life lessons, time slip stories and romance then, this ones for you.
This concludes my review, but leaving you all with the podcast and the You Tube versions.
Introducing the book title and author, I then move onto my review of what the book is about, some character analysis, commenting on the authors writing, what I rated it, genre and ending with the blurb.
Book Review/Recommendation Forgotten Love (Bound By Love #1) by J.M. Davies
Ebook – Genre – Contemporary Romance
Here was Summer, waiting for her husband to arrive, she was at the Italian bistro in the North End of Boston. She knew exactly what she wanted because she was a creature of habit and loved chicken parmigiana, but she held off giving her order, waiting for her husband to arrive. Yes he was late, as she peered at her Rolex watch. A desperate attempt to selvedge her marriage was what Summer was wanting to do. Fed up and not feeling that well, she was about to disembark when, there was a bit of a commotion, her husband, Rafe appeared.
Rafe could see Summers eyes, the love that had shined brightly was replaced with open disgust, but tonight was going to be different, but it was too late, Summer had thrown her wedding band off, like any decent man should do, he took the advice of the waiter and hi tailed it chasing after her wife. But when he opened the door to her well-organized third-floor condo, she wasn’t there.
The phone rang, Summer is in hospital. Yes, in hospital!! and had to be operated on as she suffered some head traumas. The thing is, the in laws had blamed him so Rafe and to pussy foot around them being at the hospital. 4 weeks in a coma, 4 weeks and miraculously Summer woke up, unfortunately this was bad timing as Rafe was just going out and in laws were going in when this was announced, taken onto one side, a pay off was made.
This is the back story, now 8 months later, with Summer having retrograde amnesia, the story takes a very different line. So how much memory has Summer lost? Does Summer remember her husband at all? How or what would trigger Summers memory?
Firstly I want to sincerely thank J.M Davies for gifting me the ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Gosh when I read this I felt so sorry for Rafe. He loses his wife through memory loss, this must be really hard to come to terms with, and also, watching Summer act like a single person and having no recollection of Rafe is even more baffling. You can, by his actions see, that he truly loves her. Oh it was just as heart wrenching watching Summer go through her troubles, yes, she was piecing together bits and pieces, but not quite getting there, her tears of hurt and not remembering were so sorrowful, you could feel the hurt seeping through the pages and into my eyes. Summer, oh dear, Summer!! At times I wanted to strangle her (metaphorically of course) she bounces like a yo-yo with her feelings towards Rafe, get a grip Summer, oh she is so annoying sometimes, just let your feelings go and live instead of holding back. Maybe this is why she is acting the way she is, because she is still hurting inside.
J.M Davies has an approach of leading you into the story with inviting words, the gentle flow, at the beginning is quite essential for the lead up to the main story. J.M Davies, plotting skills are marvellous and I couldn’t see where we were going with the storyline, it kept me guessing and always asking myself “what’s the trigger that’s going to help Summer remember?” I’m not a great fan of swearing in a book, so there is quite a bit in this one, the f bomb is used ahhhh, more than once, also with men were talking to men…. well reality check there. J.M Davies is a romance author and ahhh, this is very much a full on hot sex rumpy, bumpy, but I got to give credit where credit is due, it must be hard for a romance author to find different words used and describing a sex scene.
Although the love scenes are well out of my comfort zone, I’m still giving this a 5 star rating ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ ….. I do notice if something is done to perfection and JM Davies delivers just that. What an ending as well, it left me saying … wow, what a stunned moment that was!!!
What Is This Book About? This short story is a true story about a chance meeting with a man that Ellen meet on a trip to the chemist. A man that had a bit of a secret to tell, a man with hidden talents. What does he reveal?
My Thoughts On This Book? I was just so, so, memorized reading through this short story, I wanted to know as much as Ellen wanted to know about this mysterious man! Ellen’s writing has such flare and the words used really takes you there, one word I had to look up on Google, was…Akubra (so I learnt a new word). Ellen’s wity writing style is mixed with a poetic flow, for example and I quote here… “I decided an Akubra did not a bushy make” had me thinking, oh yes, this is Ellen and this is why I love her writing style so much, unique, wity and poetic. A phenomenal author and words never describe how amazing she is.
Quotes I Enjoyed
Now why did I choose this quote? Well, this is a phrase that’s not used here in New Zealand, so it definately intrigued me, and the Akubra reminded me of a movie I watched years a go, Crocodile Dundee.
I chose this quote because I was totally fascinated by the “3 chair rule” I didnt realise there was one. After reading this quote I certainly took notice at places like the doctors to see what people do, do…. must be living with my head in the sand.
Star Rating – 5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Recommendation I recommend this short story for anyone who wants a little bit of an entertainment, with being 7 pages it’s a good one to read while waiting somewhere. Actually I read it at lunch time, that length of time to settle my stomach was just right…. for anyone who wants an “inbetween” read and for anyone who likes a wity, yet adventurous short story. .
The City of Light: The Secret Of The Tirthus by Steve Griffin
Blurb A portal to India, hidden in a mysterious garden in the English countryside.
A demonic killer, preying on Indian street children.
A lonely English girl, the only one who can stop the killing.
After inheriting her great-uncle’s cottage, Lizzie Jones discovers a magical portal to Kashi, the Indian City of Light, concealed in his strange garden. Soon she begins to suspect a mysterious intruder might be the terrifying killer, the Pisaca of Kashi, using the portal to evade capture. Lizzie must act to save the children – but what can she do?
What I Thought Of This Book Paulines Personal Picks, bought from Amazon.com as an ebook, this is a YA Fantasy Fiction/Middle Grade book series. Well right away I was drawn into this book with food on the table, yes, this time it’s beans on toast! So naturally at lunch time I had to have a feast of baked beans, but mine were with fish in a double decker sandwhich. I was so pleased that a dog was featured in this book, and Mr Tubs, as he is called has come to be a friendly animal that develops onto my pages with licks included (dry licks of course). Thank goodness Mr Tubs doesn’t jump on you, I don’t think I could stand my kindle jumping around.
Ok, so now let’s get serious now, you know I’ve always wanted to go to India, and this was my first chance, a glimpse of what it must be like to go there, Steve took me to a place I will never get to see in a life time … India, the Ganges, the way the people dressed, the gnats, the burials drifting out in the sacred river, the smells of incense, the smell of raw sewerage, all so real. We are lucky as readers to be transported to two places in this story, Lizzie finds a portal, at first, like any reasonable person would, she can’t believe that this is real, she must be dreaming, but reasonable explanations says she’s not jumping from England, to India. In India – a killer on the lose. Lizzie, puzzled, overwhelmed yet very curious sets out to find out more, but some very strange things are also happening back where she lives in Herefordshire, England, when she finds people she has seen in India now in her home town. Had they used the portal too? As readers we hurriedly read along to see if Lizzie can make sense of the situation. Is she being used in some kind of witch hunt?
Quote I Enjoyed
This was quite an entertaining read, such imagination was used to create quite an adventure. This is book 1 of a 5 book series. It will be quite intriguing to see where Lizzie will end up next.
Book Review by Pauline Reid 🦁 The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe (The Chronicles of Narnia)by C.S. Lewis
Blurb THEY OPEN A DOOR AND ENTER A WORLD
Narnia…a land frozen in eternal winter…a country waiting to be set free.
Four adventurers step through a wardrobe door and into the land of Narnia–a land enslaved by the power of the White Witch. But when almost all hope is lost, the return of the Great Lion, Aslan, signals a great change…and a great sacrifice.
🦁 My Thoughts I loved the idea of jumping into my wardrobe and coming out the other side of it as a different world, I’m not keen on snow though, my preference would have been sunshine, flowers, butterflies and laughter in a forest scene.
I loved Lucy (🤣 no I’m not talking about the TV show here) for someone who was a child she certainly sounded quite wise. I’m thinking more in the lines of the start of the book when she met the Faun and when he admitted with a river of tears that he was to catch humans and give them to the Winter Queen. Go Lucy as she went back to the wardrobe, free and alive.
Now Edward was lured into Narnia by the wicked winter witch, the Queen, by Turkish Delight. I could see what was going on there, bribing Edward with more goodies if he lured the rest of the gang, and as he goes through back to the wardrobe, he feels sick with eating so much of the stuff. Gosh, what a horrid person this witch is. However, Edward was just as horrid when Lucy was so excited telling the rest of their friends about the secret country, because he decided to say it wasn’t true. What calamity this did among them all. So what happens next? Does Lucy shine with a capital S and her friends see that she is right and go on an adventure that’s going to give them goosebumps, wet feet and cold noses? Or are they going to believe Edward? I do hope they make the right decisions and take their snow shoes.
Introducing the book title and author, I then move onto my review of what the book is about, some character analysis, commenting on the authors writing, what I rated it, genre and ending with the blurb.
The Forest ~ A Tale of Old Magic ~ by Julia Blake 🔵 What This Book Is About? Sally, Jack and Reuben, all from the village, Wyckenwood, kids that grew up together, try and tackle and get their brains around the stories of old, and the tales of “The White Hind”. Yes, there is something definately lurking in the forest. 🔵 The story is based on the authors love of old folklore, legends and myths, and this book she drew heavily on the legend of The Green Man, that has intrigued her since childhood. 🔵 There are two stories told here. One of the present with the villagers, being introduced in such detail of people of the village and then there is the past, Julia Blake has chosen to tell the past in bold italics, and as folk tales.
🔵 My thoughts On This Book Oh Lordy, Lordy, Lordy, I was wondering why there is so much fuss over this book, and now I know why!!! Julia Blake has such great world building skills, and alot of depth was put in, into telling us readers the world she wanted us to be in. I was also amazed at all the minute details, that Julia puts into her characters and now I know why authors like to people watch, as Julia does this to quite an astonishing degree, infact to perfection. Julia also has a beautiful narrative style, so it’s so easy to settle down and get right on to reading it. Julia’s pace leads the reader with ease, but with a curiosity that’s not overbearing, slowly, but leads up to quite a dramatic interest, Julia’s sense of humour comes out in this book in the shape of her character names, such as, Wally Twitchett, Molly Mole, who is known really as Granny Mole, and others. Julia Blake’s attention to detail, her poetic style, the flow of her words and rhythm are highly commendable. 🔵 Rating System ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ 5 stars 🔵 Recommendation Yes, this book comes highly recommended by me and if you like supernatural stories, past and present stories, folk lore, legends, myths, forest and nature settings, love triangles, mysteries and thrillers, and horror, love and happy endings, then I suggest you pick up this book, as it’s highly entertaining.
Below is the front cover plus a podcast of the same book review if you prefer to listen to it.
Introducing the book title and author, I then move onto my review of what the book is about, some character analysis, commenting on the authors writing, what I rated it, genre and ending with the blurb.
….. that every now and again I do these little photos? This photo of mine I took and I turned it to a magical blue and what do you need with rain and blue Rose’s? Yes, you guessed right, rainbow butterflies. 🦋
Synopsis/Blurb Explore fairytales with a twist in these magical stories featuring strong women.
Meet a talking horse that tells only lies and a magical raven who speaks in riddles. Find powerful witches, cursed wolves, and fae changelings in medieval castles, modern skyscrapers, and Regency ballrooms in this short story collection.
My Thoughts I was quite intrigued by the short story titles in this book. Eight short stories in all. Milking Time. The Wicked Wolves of Windsor. The Queens favourite. The Prince learns a lesson. A Society Òf Heartless Women and Granny Starseed.
Although these were short stories, some were a lengthy size. Now these retellings of fairy tales are not suitable for children/YA but are written more for an adult audience. Some I didn’t really get and I asked myself, what was that all about and others I thought, yes, the meaning and morals stand true. I really liked, The Prince Learns A Lesson, but probably the most I felt drawn to was Granny Starseed, her eccentric nature, her ability to be just herself, and so she should be, given that she’s a Granny, if she hasn’t learnt to be herself at her ripe old age, then there is no hope for her at all.
Quotes I enjoyed “I’ve got some pretty good chocolate chip cookies at my place,” his grandmother said.”
Why did I chose this one?
Yes, I know, I was particularly very hungry when reading at this particular time, so I guess it took my fancy, but not only that, but these chocolate chip cookies, bickies, as we call them in New Zealand were very special, in the story they could do stuff that I’ve never seen bickies do before 😍 … but watch your teeth, they can become hard as rocks!
And another I enjoyed
“Mara, the raven, hopped onto the back head rest and investigated each of the packages until Bab pulled out a package of sunflower seeds to stop his nosy behavior.”
Why did I chose this one?
Well come on, what’s not to like about sunflowers and birds 😍🌻🦅 (so sorry, no raven emoji, an eagle will have to do).
Star Rating ⭐⭐⭐⭐ 4 stars
Recommendation If you want a retelling of favourite fairytales this one is for you, it has horses, witches, roses, medieval castles, wolves, and even an eccentric lady that’s very wise and has some very interesting things to say. If short stories are for you, this would be a good one to read, although some of these stories are longer than your average lunch time break and lastly if you like morals to your stories these are good ones.
What This Book Is About Will Rhonwyn free her heart and her people, or become the pawn of the most dangerous man ever seen?
When her skill at a complex strategy game gives her a way into the palace, Rhonwyn becomes the eyes and ears of the Resistance.
She’s there to help bring down the evil King Risick – the man who seized control and forced her people into his mines. The man who killed Rhonwyn’s father before her eyes, breaking her heart and fracturing her sanity.
Everything changes when she meets a vibrant man who’s also trapped in the palace. Rhonwyn’s not so alone now and her soul begins to heal. But his dangerous secret forces Rhonwyn to choose between the freedom of her people and the love she’s finally found.
What I Thought Of This Book First of all I would like to thank Susan Holt for gifting me her book in exchange for an honest review. Susan Holt is a New Zealand author, who lives in Porirua, Wellington, Wellington being New Zealand’s capital city. Susan Holts writing is very visual – like a movie.
The world building in The Heart Casts No Shadow, is phenomenal. Susan was inspired by a building she showed me on Facebook, here is the link
Shown was the audience hall, Mysore Palace, India. The colours of the inside of that palace are amazing, especially the lime coloured green, the rose round celings with the golden twirls were so magical, it certainly made my reading experience so much special. The Palace itself was just out of this world, with its domed topped red roofs, with a grass floor that made the Palace stand out more.
Now getting back to the actual book itself. I loved how this was set in a different time, for example the characters say, I’m 20 summers, instead of saying, I’m 20 years old. Their greetings were different too, instead of saying hello, or good morning, it seemed to be … “well met” and the reply being “Peace to you”.
Susan Holt is an expert at holding you in captivity, slowly enticing with bits and pieces, nudging here, a teaser there, all the while you are trying to figure out what was coming up next, no luck, Susan appears to twist these plots with very surprising results.
I enjoyed the character, Rhonwyn, who doesn’t know what a clock is and is kept up most of the night by something I can’t mention and I felt so sorry for the character, Kymra, who was having a real bad time, at the start she was fine, Rhonwyn and Kymra used to giggle like two hyenas and then just like that Kymra is as sad as a door mouse, you could tell her energy flagged, but why? We as readers are left wondering throughout the whole book.
Pauline Reid’s Ten Question Interview with author Ellen Read
Pauline – Today I would like to welcome to my blog page, Ellen Read the author of The Dragon Sleeps
Ellen Read – Thank you so much for inviting me, Pauline.
Pauline – Ellen, where did you draw inspiration for writing The Dragon Sleeps?
Ellen Read – My inspiration came from a few different directions. Many years ago, I visited Werribee Mansion in Victoria, Australia and I absolutely fell in love with it. I thought that one day I would like to write a story with a house like that in it. So, this house inspired me to create Thornton Park, which is the home of the Thornton family.
Another source of inspiration came from a short story I’d written many years ago about an Indian antiques dealer who visited a manor house in England. He brought a tiger statue to sell to his client. Murders started happening and the daughter of the house suspected the tiger came to life and killed people. The antiques dealer was involved in a cult that demanded sacrifices. So, I thought I might take that basic idea. However, I have since written a book with tigers in it, and I didn’t want to repeat it. Instead, I chose a dragon. When I think of dragons in the real world, not fantasy, I think of Chinese dragons. This led me to think Ming Dynasty Dragon statues. I have always had a love of antiques.
Pauline – The Dragon Sleeps is aimed at readers who like cosy mysteries. Why did you want to write a book for this genre?
Ellen Read – To start with, I had no intention of writing a cosy mystery. Historical fiction and murder mystery, yes, but the cosy mystery tag really came after I finished the book and I was looking at categories the book could be placed in. I realised then that it fell into the cosy mystery category. Given that Agatha Christie has always been one of my favourite authors, it’s not surprising that I wrote in that genre.
Pauline – The characters in The Dragon Sleeps, are they based on people you know? If so, who? Or were they entirely from your imagination?
Ellen Read – All the characters are entirely from my imagination. There may be small details taken from one person, another detail taken from someone else. I’m sure most writers borrow habits or appearances from people they know. However, each character is entirely fictional.
Pauline – Have you a favourite character from, The Dragon Sleeps? If so, who? And why?
Ellen Read – I have to go with two favourite characters because I can’t really separate them. Those two are Alexandra and Edith. I love Alexandra because of her courageous spirit and her great love for her family. Edith, I love because of her dry wit and her kind and generous nature. I have had so much fun writing about them. I love their friendship and their love for each other.
Pauline – How long did it take you to write The Dragon Sleeps, starting from manuscript to being published?
Ellen Read – I wrote The Dragon Sleeps quite quickly. It took me two months to do the first draft. I did another two drafts. Then it went to my editor. Altogether, it took one year before I could say it was ready to be published. To start with, I self-published it. Then, I was offered a contract from Crimson Cloak Publishing in the US.
Pauline – I know, The Dragon Sleeps is a Historical Fiction, what are one of the factual places mentioned?
Ellen Read – Some of the story is set in Melbourne, Victoria. In 1927, when the story is set, Melbourne had been the capital city of Australia. Every state has its own capital city, but Melbourne had been the Federal Capital city. However, in May 1927, the Federal Capital moved to Canberra, a city purpose-built for that reason. At the time, Canberra was considered to be out in the bush, and although a beautiful city was built, a lot of people had their doubts on the location of it.
Another historical fact that may interest people is concerning the music of Stardust written by Hoagy Carmichael in 1927. It remains one of his most favourite songs. In The Dragon Sleeps, Stardust becomes Alexandra and Benedict’s signature music. The theme continues when Benedict calls the stars of the Milky Way ‘Stardust’. They also frequently dance a Foxtrot to the music. In my ballroom dancing days, my husband and I have danced many a Foxtrot to Stardust. Originally, there weren’t any words to Hoagy Carmichael’s music. Mitchell Parish wrote the lyrics in May 1929.
Pauline – I know that The Dragon Sleeps is part of a series, but how many books are you hoping to write to be part of the series?
Ellen Read – I am writing the fourth book in the series now. The second book will be released this year. I do have an idea for a fifth book. Then, I think I will see. I have an idea for a spin-off series, that will involve mainly Alexandra and Edith in investigating in what will be purely cosy mysteries. Although the boys will be there, I think it will be fun to have the girls taking the lead.
Pauline – I have read all your books, Ellen, but perhaps you could tell readers here today what the titles are and what genre, where you can buy them from, oh and before I forget, have you any other projects coming up that you can tell us about?
Ellen Read – Besides The Dragon Sleeps, the second book is called The Inca’s Curse. My publisher has book three, and I am writing book four at present, as I’ve mentioned. They are all historical fiction/cosy mysteries.
I have written a short story, titled, Alexandra and Edith’s Escapades -The Diamond Ring. It is available on my website for free download.
Also free on my website is a short story titled, An Ordinary Man. It has a contemporary setting.
Another title that is free is Broken. Broken is women’s fiction, general fiction.
The Treasure is a novelette, which is longer than the short story but not quite as long as a novella. This is Young Adult Fantasy set in a medieval time period.
Love The Gift is a novella about grief and healing, loss and love. It can be purchased on Amazon and other online book stores.
Pauline – I know you are on Social Media, but perhaps you can mention to readers where they can find you?
The three stories that I’ve mentioned above are available for easy download on my website. Also, I have many of my photographs on my website. Most are of flowers, but I do have some architectural photos, too. Anyone who visits is very welcome to have a look through my photos.
Pauline – Thank you, Ellen for being on my blog today, I do hope future projects are a success for you. Take care and I wish you well and chat later sometime about forthcoming books.
Ellen Read – Thank you so much for having me on your blog today, Pauline. It’s been a delight
Book Review by Pauline Reid ⭐ The Dragon Sleeps by Ellen Read
The Dragon Sleeps by Ellen Read Book One of The Thornton Mysteries
Historical Fiction ( Australia – 1927 post or after WW1) Cosy Mystery Murder/Romance Crime/Thriller
Thank you to Ellen Read for giving me an ARC of The Dragon Sleeps in return for an honest review. This book has been re-published by Crimson Cloak Publishing
My View On What This Book Is About We open The Dragon Sleeps, and here we are, an invitation to a weekend party at Thornton Park. The hot topic is a brass Dragon…… it sits inside a velvet-lined box. An antiques dealer, Mr Zhang sold it to, Thomas Thornton, (Alexandra’s father) the owner of Thornton Antiques.
Edith wasn’t all that impressed with the brass Dragon and told Alexandra so. However, Alexandra felt she had to defend her father and said to Edith it was rare, from the 1500s, Alexandra was also disappointed with it and confirmed as much to Benedict who is the manager of Thornton Antiques.
Alexandra confides in Benedict that she had her suspicions over one particular person who had been invited… the person was being very shifty.
In the drawing room, Alexandra and Edith were having a bit of a tete-a-tete. What about? ….well to do with Benedict Archer of course!! Who else? but at this time Alexandra questioned herself, had she been aware how fond she is of Benedict?
A wrought-iron spiral stair case leads up to the tower. It was here that Alexandra and Benedict discussed the prospects of telling her father that Alexandra had been learning the ropes of the trade (Alexandra wanted to be an Antiques dealer at her fathers shop) nearer the end of their conversation, they noticed the stars in the sky.
“Here, with the sea of darkness surrounding us, the Milky Way stretches like a diamond blanket across the sky.”
After reiminiscing over the starry night, they decided to dance a foxtrot, to the music of Stardust, after that, like the gentleman Benedict is, he escorted Alexandra back to her room.
The next day activities consisted of showing stained windows, which added alot of curiosity, tennis playing, and a very deep discussion about a sword and a hint of a walk in the zoo, which ending up being a full tour of the zoo.
It wasn’t until the next day Benedict discovered there had been an “accident” in the Orchard. Was it an accident, or was it murder? Who was accountable? Who was missing? Where did the missing sword go? What was in the muniment room, that had Alexandra so entranced about her grandfather’s notebooks?
My Thoughts On This Book Well how can I put this without using my own cliche….. “I loved this book so much”. With writing up this review and leaving this till last, I slept on it till morning, and then some more….. this is a very special book for me that connected with me on a very personal level, a precious book that I will definately treasure for years to come.
The Dragon Sleeps, a cosy murder mystery, a historical fiction (set in Australia – 1920s after WW1), a romance, crime/ thriller to the flavour of Agatha Christie, but Hercule Poirot style.
Edith and Alexandra. I absolutely adored the banter that goes on between the two girls. Edith having such a dry sense of humour and slightly putting her foot in it which makes it even more facinating, and I love how Alexandra seems to put up with it and takes it in her stride. The camaraderie between the two, quite endearing and certainly makes reading about these two very entertaining.
Alexandra and Benedict. I loved the romance between these two. Some would say, it’s the old fashioned type of love, but I see it as an adoring love, a love that spreads with maturity over the years, not at all your hard, hot stuff, so it is in the nature to the story that Ellen uses this in a knowledgeable way.
Glossary. I loved how there is a glossary which is thoughtfully done, and is included at the end of the book, examples explaining of Australian language or towns, for example …. ANZAC biscuits, chutney, duffer.
Ellen Read’s dry wittiness in The Dragon Sleeps, seeps through and hints of this we get throughout, which adds flavour of what could have been a much darker book. Her breaks in the story, are well balanced. The construction of historical events are weaved so cleverly in the story that you don’t feel as if you are being bombarded with a history lesson. Her words made an impact where they should and softness where it should. I loved, also the soft quality of Ellen’s writing in parts of her story, I’m thinking of “her mothers essence”, the “romance part” of it for sure and even the sorrow behind the “funeral scene”, which seemed … bittersweet, magical and sensitive. Ellen’s plotting skills are amazing and I can’t think of a better word to use, “it’s a work of art, of words” is the closest I can put to it, again, this gives a different impact to the story, a gripping one, overall giving the book the exact right balance that is needed. I want to congratulate Ellen, her style and writing is astounding…. she leaves me speechless.
Rating System I give The Dragon Sleeps, 5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Recommendation The Dragon Sleeps comes highly recommended by me, and would suit anyone who likes Agatha Christie books, who likes historical fiction, who likes cozy mystery murder books, who likes soft endearing, maturing romance and anyone who likes wity humour and who likes crimes and thrillers.
A personal thank you, goes to you, Ellen, for such an inspiring book, your book has been a pleasure to read and much appreciated (and will be close part of my life).