Synopsis
It’s the most wonderful time of the year – and the East End Angels are working hard to keep Londoners safe.
Frankie is trying hard to keep everything together. She can count on the support of the East End Angels, even in the face of family trouble.
Winnie’s beloved husband, Mac, is putting himself at risk every day in the bomb disposal unit and she’s finding it hard while he’s away.
Bella is growing in confidence and happiness. Her friendship with Winnie’s brother, James, is getting closer all the time.
Christmas on the Home Front is a hard time with loved ones far away – but the women of the Auxiliary Ambulance service are making do and mending.

My review
This is a lively and evocative story set in wartime London. Our three heroines are wonderfully strong women. Like so many others during this time of heartbreak but also empowerment, they’ve assumed important roles in the war effort. Not only are their jobs demanding and dangerous, but home life isn’t easy either. Frankie misses her grandfather who died recently and is struggling to cope with her obnoxious step-gran Ivy. Winnie’s husband is in the army and so she constantly worries about him, although she has her beloved dog Trixie to keep her company, and Bella has lost the writing assignments she so enjoyed. But they keep their spirits up as best they can and tackle every new task that comes their way.
A new person joins the team: Rose, who’s come from Austria. She moves into Frankie’s house as a lodger, which is a big boost to Frankie’s precarious financial situation. Since it’s Christmas their boss wants them to put a carol concert on. Bella helps to organise it and then they move on to organising another, grander event.
The women’s lives are busy and full of incidents, big and little. There’s never a dull moment for either the characters, or us the reader.
This is the third book about these three energetic ladies. However, it works well as a standalone, and there is enough detail so that we know everything we need to. I shall certainly read the earlier books now.
The atmosphere of wartime England is beautifully portrayed. There are many little details that make the descriptions so convincing. The author has brought the period to life, no doubt as a result of fascination on her part and considerable and thorough research.

A very enjoyable, festive read that is uplifting and moving.

Purchase Links
Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Christmas-East-Angels-Rosie-Hendry-ebook/dp/B07CLL56W9
Amazon US – https://www.amazon.com/Christmas-East-Angels-Rosie-Hendry-ebook/dp/B07CLL56W9

 

About the author

Rosie Hendry lives by the sea in Norfolk with her husband, two children, chickens and a snake. She’s worked in a variety of jobs from fruit picking, waitressing, teaching and as a research scientist but has always loving reading and writing. Starting off writing short stories for women’s magazines, her stories have gradually become longer as her children have grown bigger.

Listening to her father’s tales of life during the Second World War sparked Rosie’s interest in this period and she’s especially intrigued by how women’s lives changed during the war years. She loves researching further, searching out gems of real-life events which inspire her writing.

When she’s not working, Rosie enjoys walking along the beach, reading and is grateful for the fact that her husband is a much better cook than her.

Website: www.rosiehendry.com
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/RosieHendrybooks/
Twitter – https://twitter.com/hendry_rosie

I’m delighted to be taking part on this the opening day for the blog tour of this lyrical and unique novel.

Synopsis

A novel about food, whanau (= family, essentially), and mental illness.
Valerie reads George Eliot to get to sleep – just to take her mind off worries over her patients, her children, their father and the next family dinner. Elena is so obsessed with health, traditional food, her pregnancy and her blog she doesn’t notice that her partner, Malcolm the ethicist, is getting himself into a moral dilemma of his own making. Evie wants to save the world one chicken at a time. Meanwhile her boyfriend, Michael is on a quest to reconnect with his M?ori heritage and discover his own identity. Rosa is eight years old and lost in her own fantasy world, but she’s the only one who can tell something’s not right. Crisis has the power to bring this family together, but will it be too late?

My review
The story is set in New Zealand and centres on a family. It’s helpful, I think, to quickly run through the relationships and say a little about the main characters. There’s Valerie, the mother, who was married to a Maori man. There’s Elena, the elder daughter, who’s pregnant. She’s a food blogger and we see some of her posts in the book. She’s married to the philandering Malcolm.
Michael is Valerie’s son. He’s at university and lives the life of a carefree twenty-year-old, chilling with friends and enjoying himself. He’s very interested in Maori culture, which he learns about from his grandmother, Gayle.
There’s also youngest child, Rosa, a very precocious eight-year-old, and from whose mouth come some very astute observations, and also there’s close family friend and activist Evie.

These are the main characters who act as narrators in turn. Each voice is distinct, and not just from the point of view it conveys but also in the language and imagery. Each person faces some sort of crisis, some more major than others. But none of it is over the top since we see the family cope, the way that close families do, with whatever life throws at them. The serious issue of mental health that crops up is particularly sensitively handled.
Another thing to know about is the reference to Maui in the book’s title. In Maori mythology he is a clever trickster. One of his accomplishments was to catch a giant fish using his grandmother’s jawbone as a hook. He attempted to make humankind immortal by tricking the Goddess of the Night, but he failed and died. When you read the book you will see how this title is so apt for this story.
It’s a lyrical and moving story, beautifully written, slow and steady to begin with but the pace and tension build as problems begin to emerge. Not all are completely solved but the family show strength and courage as they deal with them. Each of them moves from being rather self-absorbed at the start of the story to developing a wider awareness of their loved ones and their own role in the pattern of their family. Personal and cultural clashes are faced and dealt with.
This is a very thought-provoking, compassionate, enlightening and absorbing novel. Most enjoyable.

Purchase Links
Amazon US – https://www.amazon.com/Fishing-Maui-Isa-Pearl-Ritchie-ebook/dp/B07DZBXSCN/
Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Fishing-Maui-Isa-Pearl-Ritchie-ebook/dp/B07DZBXSCN/
Smashwords – https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/826608

Author bio
Isa Ritchie is a Wellington-based writer. She grew up as a P?keh? child in a bicultural family and M?ori was her first written language. She has completed a PhD on food sovereignty in Aotearoa. She is passionate about food, wellbeing and social justice.

Social Media Links
https://www.facebook.com/isapearlritchie/
https://twitter.com/IsaPearlRitchie
https://www.instagram.com/isapearlritchie/

Follow the rest of the tour:

The Promise of Tomorrow

Charlotte Brookes flees her lecherous guardian, McBride, taking her younger sister with her. After a year on the road, they stumble into a Yorkshire village. There, they are taken in by the Wheelers, owners of the village shop. This new life is strange for Charlotte, but preferable to living with McBride or surviving on the roads.
Harry Belmont is an important man in the village, but he’s missing something in his life. His budding friendship with Charlotte gives him hope she will feel more for him one day, and he will have the woman he needs.
However, when McBride finds out where Charlotte lives, his threats begin, and Harry takes it upon himself to keep Charlotte safe. Only, World War I erupts and Harry enlists.
Left to face a world of new responsibilities, and Harry’s difficult sister, Charlotte must run the gauntlet of family disputes, McBride’s constant harassment and the possibility of the man she loves being killed.

Can Charlotte find the happiness that always seems under threat, and will Harry return home to her?

 

My review

The Promise of Tomorrow is a touching and powerful historical romance set just prior to and during the First World War. It grabs the reader’s attention from the very start when we meet the conniving McBride, who is planning to ‘lose’ his ghastly wife and marry his wealthy ward instead.

Those plans evidently go wrong because in the next chapter we meet Charlotte and her little sister, Hannah, who are living on the streets. Charlotte realised in time that something bad was going on and chose to life rough with her sister, supporting them both by working then stay where she was, in a life of luxury but menace. Charlotte is our heroine, and we see straight away that she’s a remarkable and strong woman. This strength remains throughout the novel as further challenges come her way.

So does romance. Harry is the perfect foil for her. He too is strong and loyal, and these two good souls are well suited. But he enlists, putting his own life in danger with all the other brave young soldiers, but also Charlotte’s since McBride is hot on her trail. Tension builds as the book progresses with these added dangers to Charlotte’s happiness. She has a lot to deal with, but her love for Harry and her family keep her motivated.

The story is moving at times, terrifying at others. Our characters ran the gamut of emotions from despair to elation, and are all interesting to meet. The plot is clever and the writing absorbing. All in all this is a polished and pleasing work of historical fiction.

Purchase Links:

Amazon UKhttps://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07GHCXQ8Y/

Amazon US – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07GHCXQ8Y/

 

Author bio

Australian-born AnneMarie Brear writes historical novels and modern romances and sometimes the odd short story, too. Her passions, apart from writing, are travelling, reading, researching historical eras and looking for inspiration for her next book.

Social Media Links

http://www.annemariebrear.com
http://annemariebrear.blogspot.co.uk
https://www.facebook.com/annemariebrear
Twitter @annemariebrear

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I’m delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for ‘Steel and Shadows’ by Stuart Field, published by Crime Scene books. If you enjoy breathless, gritty thrillers that are well thought out, then this is most definitely the book for you.

Synopsis

No-nonsense NYPD detective Sam McCall is investigating one of the deadliest and most complex cases of her career when the mysterious, yet infuriatingly intriguing, John Steel insinuates himself into the department. What appears at ?rst to be the work of a serial killer soon encompasses a cast including violent Russian gangsters, creepy psychiatric doctors, the homeless community and ghosts from the past for both McCall and Steel. This fast-paced thriller combines grit and glamour, the well-drawn characters engage the reader from the outset and the Big Apple is beautifully captured in all its majestic, romantic, seedy, grimy colour. This debut novel keeps the reader gripped from start to ?nish with a breathtaking joyride through a wild series of unexpected twists and turns, inevitably falling into the pitfalls of thinking you’ve solved the mystery, only to ?nd yourself wrong-footed on the next page.

 

My review

This is a high-octane, fast-paced thriller, with a complex plot that’s both clever and cleverly delivered. This author is very good at not giving too much away. He enjoys keeping us on tenterhooks all the way through the book. You can’t help trying to guess what’s going to happen next, or attempting to piece the clues together, but the author’s always one step ahead, laying a misleading trail of breadcrumbs! This makes the book all the more exciting: all you know for sure is that you don’t know what’s going to happen next       

It’s very much action driven although there are slower moments where we see characters and relationships develop. There is a lot of violence, but it’s not glorified and yet neither is it diminished.  It’s shown to be cruel and largely fruitless, although revenge can validate it to an extent. The book is merely brining an element of life we prefer to ignore to the forefront: there are evil bastards are out there doing despicable things. But it’s not intended to be depressing. Fighting in the good corner are the likes of the mysterious, elusive John Steel and the in-your-face Sam McCall.

These are both excellent characters. There’s a hint of 007 about Steel, given his well-to-do background, his calmness, his desire to get a job done efficiently, but he’s facing rather more down-to-earth adversaries. They don’t want to take over the world, merely make more money. McCall is altogether more instinctive and impetuous than Steel, but that only makes her an even better cop although a more vulnerable human being.

The book gains in pace and excitement as it proceeds, and I sensed the author grew in confidence too. He really gets into his stride in this first novel of a series, and I’m  looking forward to seeing how both he and his characters will blossom in future ones. More books in the series are due out in 2019, which is really good news!

I must comment on the excellent cover too – it’s really eyecatching and classy, hints at the story and I think reflects how committed Stuart Field is to delivering top quality work to his audience.  

About the author

Stuart Field was born in the UK, in the West Midlands. He spent his early years in the army, seeing service in all the known (and some unknown) hotspots around the world. He now lives in Germany with his wife Ani. When not engaged in highly con?dential security work, he writes thrillers which perhaps mimic his life-experience more than the reader would like to believe.

 

Books Are Cool is getting into a festive mood. Today Snowflakes Over Holly Cove by Lucy Coleman is in the twinkling spotlight.

Synopsis

As the snowflakes start to fall, Holly Cove welcomes a new tenant to the beautiful old cottage on the beach…

For lifestyle magazine journalist Tia Armstrong, relationships, as well as Christmas, have lost all their magic. Yet Tia is up against a Christmas deadline for her latest article ‘Love is, actually, all around…’

So, Tia heads to Holly Cove where the restorative sea air and rugged stranger, Nic, slowly but surely start mending her broken heart.

Tia didn’t expect a white Christmas, and she certainly never dared dream that all her Christmas wishes might just come true…

Set in Caswell Bay on the stunningly beautiful Gower Coast, the cottage nestles amid the limestone cliffs and the woodlands, where the emotions run as turbulently as the wind-swept sea.

As cosy as a marshmallow-topped mug of cocoa, fall in love with a heart-warming festive story from the bestselling author of The French Adventure.

 

Review

I’m a big fan of this author and so I was really looking forward to reading her new novel. And what a delightful and festive treat it is! It has all the ingredients you want from a romcom, and especially a Christmassy one – love, a touch of sadness, new beginnings, misunderstandings, reconciliations and a cast of colourful, good-hearted (on the whole) characters.

Tia is still reeling from her mother’s death. She had a close relationship with her, and it’s lovely to see that strong bond between them in the book. After all, a mother-daughter relationship is such a special thing. Tia has the sense to take time to bounce back, and to realise it’s more a case of readjusting than recovering. You never stop missing a loved one who’s died, but you do learn to carry on without them. This is what Tia does. It also encourages her to deal with the fractures in her other family relationships. What better time for this than Christmas?

The wild and beautiful Holly Cove is the perfect place for Tia to get her priorities back in order, and her life back on track. It’s not an easy process but we know that our likeable, stong heroine will be successful eventually, despite the odd setback, and when the handsome Nic crosses her path, well, we all start hoping that will turn out for the best too.

There is a lot of richness to the story in the well thought-out plot, the interesting people we meet, the complexities of the relationships that come under scrutiny and the portrayal of life as it is, with its pleasures and pains, its highs and its lows. We see Tia develop and blossom, and a splintered family mends – Christmas magic in an everyday setting. Really lovely.

 

Purchase Linkhttp://smarturl.it/SnowflkOverHollyCove

Author Bio –

From interior designer to author, Linn B. Halton – who also writes under the pen name of Lucy Coleman – says ‘it’s been a fantastic journey!’

Linn is the bestselling author of more than a dozen novels and is excited to be writing for both Aria Fiction (Head of Zeus) and Harper Impulse (Harper Collins); she’s represented by Sara Keane of the Keane Kataria Literary Agency.

When she’s not writing, or spending time with the family, she’s either upcycling furniture or working in the garden.

Linn won the 2013 UK Festival of Romance: Innovation in Romantic Fiction award; her novels have been short-listed in the UK’s Festival of Romance and the eFestival of Words Book Awards.

Living in Coed Duon in the Welsh Valleys with her ‘rock’, Lawrence, and gorgeous Bengal cat Ziggy, she freely admits she’s an eternal romantic.

Linn is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and writes feel-good, uplifting novels about life, love and relationships.

Social Media Links –

https://www.facebook.com/LinnBHaltonAuthor/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/LucyColemanAuth   https://twitter.com/LinnBHalton

 

Giveaway . Win a signed paperback of A Cottage in the Country and a rustic wooden heart decoration (Open Internationally)

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

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/33c69494148/?

What a treat to be taking part in the blog tour for the wonderful Aphrodite’s Closet by Suzy Turner.

Synopsis

Agatha Trout didn’t even know she had a Great Aunt Petunia, so imagine her surprise when she finds Petunia left her a corner shop in her will. But it’s not just any old corner shop—it’s a corner shop that needs something unique, something the town of Frambleberry has never seen before.

Influenced by her confident best friend, Coco, Agatha is soon convinced that there’s only one way to go: an adults-only sex shop.

While some of the townspeople are clutching their pearls in horror, others are open to the new experiences this shop offers. But not everyone in Frambleberry is convinced. Will the women soldier on in the face of violent threats or will their fears get the best of them—and their new venture—before it even gets off the ground?

 

My review

This is a really enjoyable novel. We have fabulous lead characters in the strait-laced Aggie, a self-confessed prude if ever there was one, and her exuberant best friend Coco. They make for a solid partnership, balancing each other out. Coco can get a bit carried away without Aggie’s calming influence, and she in turn needs her friend to forcibly drag her out of the shadows she’s happy to lurk in. The setting of the story, Frambleberry, is Aggie’s equivalent so it’s not just our heroine who is getting shaken up by this sex shop venture!

The story is bubbly and original, although not without menace and violence, and there’s an intriguing touch of ghostliness too. We also see good and bad relationships, tolerance, hatred, hypocrisy, betrayal and courage so there’s a lot of substance to this book. It’s not just frill and frivolity, like some of the knickers Aggie sells!

There’s a strong thread of family love, support and loyalty throughout the book. Aggie’s parent, Trixie and Ted, play a crucial role in events. Dad offers unwavering support from the start whereas as the slightly dramatic Trixie has to come round to the idea in her own time. However, she’s they lynchpin to the story in many ways. Aggie’s sister Chrissie becomes involved in the adventure too, and Coco’s brother Kyle, who has a slightly chequered history, is always in the wings. And of course it’s Great Aunt Petunia who has provided the shop in the first place.

Aggie becomes stronger and more confident as the story progresses, overcoming many challenges on the way. She’s a fabulous heroine who deserves a happy ending, but will she still keep getting in her own way? Well, you’ll have to read this joyful novel to find out!


Purchase Link

Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B071DZ7K24

Amazon US – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B071DZ7K24

Author Bio

Born in England and raised in Portugal, Suzy lives with her childhood sweetheart Michael, their two crazy dogs and three cats.

Shortly after completing her studies, Suzy worked as a trainee journalist for a local newspaper. Her love of writing developed and a few years later she took the job of assistant editor for the region’s largest English language publisher before becoming editor of a monthly lifestyle magazine. Early in 2010 however, Suzy became a full time author. She has since written several books: Raven, December Moon, The Lost Soul (The Raven Saga), Daisy Madigan’s Paradise, The Ghost of Josiah Grimshaw, The Temporal Stone, Looking for Lucy Jo, We Stand Against Evil (The Morgan Sisters), Forever FredlessAnd Then There Was You, Stormy Summer and her latest, Aphrodite’s Closet.

In 2015 she launched her popular 40+ lifestyle blog which continues to go from strength to strength, while just over a year later, she trained to become a yoga instructor. Suzy continues to write, blog and teach yoga in one of Portugal’s loveliest settings – the Algarve.

 

Social Media Links

 

Lifestyle Blog: www.suzyturner.com

Instagram: www.instagram.com/suzyturner

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/suzyturner

Facebook: www.facebook.com/suzyturnerbooks

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/suzy_turner

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/suzyturnerbooks

 

Do support Suzy and follow the tour:

Today I’m delighted to be a host in the blog tour for ‘Pictures in the Sky’ by Amanda Paull.

She gave up on romance years ago. He’s going through the motions. Their lives change forever when he makes contact out of the blue. 

With her daughter leaving the nest, Michelle Cameron would rather spend her time with good friends, a glass of fizzy and a box set, than with another idiot bloke chipping away at her self-esteem. But when childhood friend Daniel Helmsley gets back in touch, the years roll away on a tide of laughter and friendship, which soon gives way to another roller coaster of love, excitement and panic. Can Michelle let herself trust again? What if Dan is just another idiot bloke, disillusioned with the present and nostalgic for the past?

If you like cosy romance that makes you laugh as well as cry, then you’ll love this feel-good tale of past disappointment, renewed friendship and finding true love.
Download Amanda Paull’s Pictures in the Sky today to discover if Michelle dares to love again.

‘Your lively style and humour are exactly right for this genre.’ Susan Davis.

 

My review

Any romcom that has more mature characters at his heart is going to have an extra layer to it. They’ve had time to accumulate emotional baggage as well as scars from the knocks that life has given them. They’re at an age when health concerns can begin to niggle and, if things haven’t quite gone to plan, disillusionment can set in.

Thus ‘Pictures in the Sky’ with divorced, middle-aged Michelle is a romcom with added grit. There’s lots of lovely humour for us to enjoy, but also an edge. Michelle has been happy enough in the shell she’s built around herself over the years to keep the male world at bay, so when Dan suddenly smashes it with a hammer, she runs for cover.

The story moves at a steady pace, a bit like Michelle jogging uphill, but is equally determined. There’s lots of action with tension and drama, and whilst it tends to be of an everyday nature that doesn’t mean it’s mundane. The author extracts the excitement that can suddenly loom out of the blue and make the ordinary extraordinary.

Amanda Paull really gets into her characters’ shoes and thus portrays a cast of very different people, all courageous, all doing their best, all just human.

The settings are at home and abroad and there’s vibrancy a sense of movement to them.

I especially liked how the book came full circle with an airport scene at beginning and end, but we see a very different Michelle as this book closes.

This is a clever, engaging and well thought-out novel.

Purchase Links

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Pictures-Sky-Amanda-Paull-ebook/dp/B07FZKK42H/

books2read.com/u/3kr6eO

Author Bio –

Amanda Paull is a writer of humorous romantic fiction. She lives in the North East of England with her husband and works in the public sector. The inspiration for her stories comes from real life, which she tries to show the funnier side of by embellishing to the hilt.

Amanda’s Website: http://www.amandapaull.co.uk

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Apaullfiction

 

I’m so pleased to be taking part in the blog tour for this sparkling cosy mystery.

Right on the Monet

New York

Claude Monet painting is stolen

Mediterranean

Of all the things Harry Chase had imagined in his life, being a drummer on a cruise ship band was not one that would have occurred to him. And yet, there he was. Centre stage, behind a young female singer along with his mates, Dave, Tony and Steve.

Which meant that getting involved in a jewellery theft, an on-board massage parlour and the hunt for an Old Master was even further from his mind as he cracked the snare drum.

And yet, this was exactly how he found himself being questioned by Interpol …..

 

My review

I’m a huge fan of cosy mysteries, and especially ones with witty titles, so how could I resist ‘On the Monet’? And I’m so glad I couldn’t, because it’s a super book.

It’s a cosy with a bit of difference as our lead sleuth is a fella, Harry. This is a genre where females generally take the lead. Harry is aided and abetted by this three friends Steve, Dave and Tony, also by his partner Cara and Tony’s wife Liz. This group work well together. There’s genuine camaraderie and loyalty between them all. There’s the odd spat and nerve-grating going on, but they’re as thick as thieves, and this quality is what helps them catch a thief in this story. But not without things going a bit haywire every now and again…

Harry, Steve, Dave and Tony get together and form a band. To everyone’s surprise, especially theirs, they’re actually quite good, especially once they call on Clem to be their vocalist. Through her they get the opportunity to preform on board a cruise ship to replace a band that’s pulled out. They accept the job, and things get off to a great start. Then two of the band get injured whilst fishing, and the show can’t go on. This, however, frees up the group to start investigate some slightly odd goings-on aboard the ship which end up being linked with a major art theft.

The story moves at a cracking pace, and we’re permanently kept guessing. Malcolm Parnell drops clues to tantalise us but it needs his ingenuity to work them altogether into such an enjoyable and exciting denouement. The author’s expert knowledge of art adds a rich and fascinating layer to the story.

I found the author’s style a delight to read. It really flows and is warm and enveloping. When his characters converse it’s like we’re there, as part of their group. They’re funny, kind people and all immensely likeable.

This is a lively book delivered with confidence and humour by a talented author. A total joy.

And what a great cover!

 

Author bio

Malcolm Parnell has a passion for painting and teaches art and drawing skills when he is not working on his next novel.

His other passion, apart from his good lady wife, Marion, is Leicester City Football Club. Becoming an author and Leicester win the Premier League have been two of his greatest ambitions realised.

Social Media Links – Twitter – @PaintAuthor

Facebook – malcolmparnellbook

 

Today it’s my turn to take part in the blog tour for A Stain on the Soul by Elizabeth Davies. I’m thrilled!

A Stain on the Soul

Resigned to another lifetime of being a witch’s familiar, Caitlyn has found a degree of peace in her role as the Duke of Normandy’s protector and spy.

But that peace is shattered when she returns to her native land only to come face-to-face with her past, and fall in love with a man who she desperately hopes will become her future.

My review

Paranormal is a literary genre that continues to be massively popular. Others come in and go out of fashion, but not this one, and in the hands of this author it’s easy to see why it retains its freshness and appeal. Paranormal combines a real world setting but include elements that defy a rational explanation. Thus is A Stain on the Soul we have a historical setting with real characters, as in they were real people (William, Godwin, Matilda and Brihtric). And we also have Caitlyn, nickname Cat and who is a cat some of the time, and her witch mistress, Arlette, who is William’s mother. Caitlyn combines the roles of witch’s familiar and royal spy very competently.

In this novel Catilyn’s mission is to make Matilda fall in love with William (later to become William the Conqueror). She tries to accomplish this as a cat, but when that doesn’t work she becomes her human self and travels to her homeland of Flanders. The journey and her task are far from straightforward and she faces plenty of danger. She also becomes embroiled in a romantic entanglement that she really doesn’t need…

The author creates the historical setting delightfully, with the language she uses reflecting the period, as well as all the details of daily and political life that she throws in. Everyone we meet is a rounded, convincing person, with their flaws and foibles, like a bad temper or impatience or an inflated sense of self. This makes them all the more human. Caitlyn is a wonderful heroine. She’s down to earth in both her guises, likeable, clever and courageous. We really care what happens to her, and so whether it’s technically acceptable or not to bewitch people into doing something they might not choose for themselves, we can persuade ourselves that it is. After all, Caitlyn is just doing her job, and her adventure makes for a wonderful story! But the tale isn’t quite over. There’s quite an intriguing cliff-hanger at the end. I really want to know what will happen next, and I’m sure you will too.

A Stain on the Soul is an enjoyable, escapist novel made richer by its historical setting. This book is the second in a series, but works well as a standalone. I hadn’t read the prequel, Three Bloody Pieces, before reading A Stain on the Soul, but I definitely will now.

 

Pre-Order Link: http://books2read.com/StainOnTheSoul

Author bio 

Elizabeth Davies is a paranormal author, whose books have a romantic flavour with more than a hint of suspense. And death. There’s usually death…

Social Media Links –

Website – www.elizabethdaviesauthor.co.uk

Twitter  – @bethsbooks

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/ElizabethDaviesAuthor/

Instagram – @elizabethdavies.author

Giveaway – Win signed copies of Three Bloody Pieces and A Stain on the Soul plus a magic mug and a coaster. (Open Internationally)

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

Click the link below to enter:

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/33c69494141/?

 

I’m delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for Joseph Barnaby by Susan Roebuck, and to have a giveaway for you to enter.

Joseph Barnaby

Stand by your beliefs – even if it means going to the end of the Earth

By standing up for his principles to save the life of a prize racehorse, farrier Joseph Barnaby loses everything. Now, a personal vendetta has become too deep to fight and he escapes to the island of Madeira where he finds work on a small farm at the foot of a cliff, only accessible by boat. The balmy climate and never-ending supply of exotic fruit, vegetables and honey make it sound like paradise but, for Joseph, it’s the ideal place to hide from the world. Can the inhabitants of Quinta da Esperança, who have more grit in them than the pebbled beach that fronts the property, help Joseph find his self-worth again? And can he escape the danger that draws ever nearer?

 

My review

Joseph Barnaby is an atmospheric novel of place, romance and journey, both physical and spiritual. For me it was also a novel of discovery, learning about the horse racing world from the inside, travelling to Madeira for the first time and finding out more about the experience of deafness. The author has a deft hand and whilst creating what outwardly appears a fairly placid, gently novel on the whole, there is a lot of depth to it and turmoil beneath the surface.

Both Joseph and Sofia, the female protagonist, are dealing with huge issues in their lives. Joe has a black cloud over his head that he’s trying to disperse and Sofia is in a rather one-sided relationship with local man Dario, who isn’t seeing the whole person. When Joe appears, Sofia is immediately interested and the two gradually get to know each other. The lively, Medusa-haired Lua is something of a complication, but the course of true love was never meant to run smooth. There are some twists and turns in the plot, some tension and conflict, to keep our attention fully riveted.

There is so much beautiful description in the novel. The author creates settings in immense detail, but it’s never overwhelming. This adds greatly to the richness of the story. There are some Portuguese words (explained in the glossary) and that’s a nice touch. I don’t think you can set a story in another country or culture without using some native words as language and place are interwoven.

This is an extremely enjoyable and accomplished novel. By the end of it we know who Joseph Barnaby is, and so does he, finally.

 

Purchase Links

Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Joseph-Barnaby-Susan-Roebuck-ebook/dp/B07FMVFLH1/

Amazon US – https://www.amazon.com/Joseph-Barnaby-Susan-Roebuck-ebook/dp/B07FMVFLH1/

 

Author bio 

I was born and educated in the UK (I am British!) but now live in Portugal. I’ve been an English teacher for many years with the British Council and also the Portuguese civil service where I developed e-learning courses.

My first love is, of course, my husband, my second writing, and my third painting. And now I have time to be able to indulge in all three.

My debut novel, “Perfect Score” was published by Mundania Press on Sept 21, 2010 and the paperback launched on May 11 2011. It was a finalist in the 2012 EPIC e-book Awards in the Mainstream Category.

My second novel is a dark thriller/fantasy called “Hewhay Hall”. It won an EPPIE award in the 2013 EPIC (Electronic Publishing Industry Coalition) e-Book Awards in the Horror Category.

Next comes “Rising Tide”, published in 2015. Set in Portugal, published by Mundania Press. It is set in a tiny fishing village that the world, and most of Portugal, has forgotten. Read about the wonders of the ocean and see if Piper from Norfolk UK and Leo from Alaska, USA, can find what they’re searching for in the little village of Luminosa.

“Forest Dancer” was published on 20th February 2018 by CrookedCat Books. This is novel number 2 set in Portugal but this time in the forests outside Lisbon, Portugal. Instead of the sea (as in Rising Tide), now find out about the wonders of the forest and whether classical ballerina, Flora, can find what she’s searching for in the small village of Aurora.

On 5th October 2018 CrookedCat Books published my newest novel, “Joseph Barnaby”, another romance/suspense which is set on the island of Madeira.


Social Media Links –  blog and website:
http://www.susanroebuck.com

General Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SuRoebuck

Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/SusanRoebuckauthor/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/sueroebuck

Amazon page: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Susan-Roebuck/e/B0050B2O3U/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1526385163&sr=8-1

Giveaway – Win

  1. 1st prize an Amazon book token (£10) ,
  2. 2nd prize – 2 x signed paperbacks of Joseph Barnaby
  3. 3rd prize – 2 x ebooks of Joseph Barnaby

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

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/33c69494143/

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