The Awakening Aten by Aiden K. Morrissey #TheAwakeningAten @AidenKMorrissey #RandomThingsTours @annecater #HistFic #Review

I am delighted to share my review for The Awakening Aten by Aiden k. Morrissey. My huge thanks to Aiden for my copy of his book and also to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours for accepting my request to join the Blog Tour.

Let’s have a look and see what The Awakening Aten is all about…

he Awakening Aten envelops the reader in an Egypt of whispers and fears, of webs within webs, deceit upon deceit. Its themes of murder, intrigue, political and religious conflict, corruption, tomb robbing, war and executions are set against a background of fundamental ideological change.  

Ancient Egypt is seen through the eyes of two families; one royal, the other commoner. Yuya, whose tomb is in the Valley of the Kings, is a foreigner who rises from slavery to become Regent to an infant Pharaoh and thus, the most powerful man in the world’s wealthiest empire. His children and descendants will remain at the very heart of the country’s destiny. Kha is a tomb painter and builder who experiences both the despair of imprisonment and the horror of war. As Overseer of the King’s Works he restores the Great Sphinx, and inscribes the ‘Dream Stela’ placed between its paws, still visible today. Through tragic and deathly events his family and that of Yuya become entwined.  

This is the fictional tale of real people, whose possessions and artefacts can be seen in museums throughout the world. It gives a voice to those people, inspired by their personal items, buried with them 3,000 years ago.

PURCHASE LINK – Amazon UK

If you like ancient historical fiction novels that have a huge amount of factual detail incorporated, then you should consider picking up a copy of The Awakening Aten. It is set in 1420 BCE Egypt and it is the first in a planned 5 Book Series.

I enjoyed this story so much and rather than write a review about the story itself I am writing about the things that stood out for me. It is just that when I try and write a review on the story it sounds so confusing because it is such a big story, and I don’t feel able to do it justice. That makes it sound like the story is confusing, and actually, once you get into it flows wonderfully and makes complete sense!

The story has quite a large cast and the main characters have a mention in a handy list at the front of the book. What I liked about this list was that is was broken down into family groups. The author has also noted which characters are real or fictional.

The cast covers a diverse range of backgrounds from those facing death to the King. In between, there are priests, mercenaries, artists, builders and princes just to name a few. This is where that handy list comes in useful as I started to get to grips with them all.

The story itself charts the lives of the key characters, the roles they play as well as the everyday things. Here the author manages to weave individual stories that gradually build into a far bigger picture.

The research and knowledge are very evident and the inclusion of some very interesting notes from the author adds to that feeling that the details were right. I am not knowledgable in this era of history, I do know bits and pieces like most others but things just felt right as far as I was concerned.

The story itself had so many things going on and though it follows the lives of the main characters, I also felt as though I was getting a grand tour of ancient Egypt and all that was involved at the time. The story has a lot of drama and it is explored through various means. There is murder, corruption, power-struggles, religion, social etiquette, tombs, mummification… in fact, pretty much everything I would expect from this period and then a whole lot more!

This was such a fascinating and very insightful novel with some fabulous detail. Following different families as they made their way through the story. It has left me very eager to read the next in the series.

This is a book that has left me wanting to read more and it is one I would definitely recommend.

I am of Irish heritage and was the first member of my immediate family to be born outside of Ireland. My professional life has caused me to travel the world. I am now looking forward to settling in the North East of England, to concentrate on writing.

A graduate in Law from Leicester University, after working for some years in a commercial environment, I qualified as a Solicitor in 1981.

My career developed in an unusual way and I have lived and worked at various times in Italy, Brazil, the United States, India and Germany.

I have always had a love and fascination for history. A holiday in Egypt sparked a particular passion for Ancient Egypt, especially the latter part of the 18th Dynasty. A history, which Pharaoh Horemeb (Djeser-Kheperu-Ra circa 1319-1292 BCE) tried to destroy and which only came to light following the discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb in 1922.

‘The Awakening Aten’ is the culmination of many years of research.

I have built up a substantial collection of academic books and novels on Ancient Egypt, its customs, traditions and daily life. I am fortunate to have been able to visit all of the major museums containing artefacts from Egypt throughout the world, as well as spending months in Egypt itself studying the funereal valleys and other sites. All of this supplemented by internet research.

This novel is the first in a plannned five book series, looking at the fictional lives of real people through a period of major political and religious change, spanning approximately 130 years.

My hobbies are reading, which I enjoy as much as I do writing, and taking bracing walks along the North East Coast and in the Northumberland Hills.

Website: http://www.aidenkmorrisey-author.com/

Twitter @AidanKMorrissey

See what other Book Bloggers think by following the Blog Tour…

Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be amazing 🙂 xx

Blackberry & Wild Rose by Sonia Velton #Review

I am delighted to be sharing my review for Blackberry & Wild Rose by Sonia Velton. I have had this on my kindle for a little while now and I am so glad I chose to read it, it is a stunning story.

Let’s see what it’s all about…

WHEN Esther Thorel, the wife of a Huguenot silk-weaver, rescues Sara Kemp from a brothel she thinks she is doing God’s will. Sara is not convinced being a maid is better than being a whore, but the chance to escape her grasping ‘madam’ is too good to refuse.

Inside the Thorels’ tall house in Spitalfields, where the strange cadence of the looms fills the attic, the two women forge an uneasy relationship. The physical intimacies of washing and dressing belie the reality: Sara despises her mistress’s blindness to the hypocrisy of her household, while Esther is too wrapped up in her own secrets to see Sara as anything more than another charitable cause.

It is silk that has Esther so distracted. For years she has painted her own designs, dreaming that one day her husband will weave them into reality. When he laughs at her ambition, she strikes up a relationship with one of the journeyman weavers in her attic who teaches her to weave and unwittingly sets in motion events that will change the fate of the whole Thorel household.

Oh, Wow!

Why have I waited so long to pick this book up? A fabulous Historical Fiction that has a smattering of romance, once I started it I didn’t want to step away from it for a second.

Starting in 1768 as a naive Sarah Kemp arrives at Spitalfields, London. She is basically scammed and is tricked into working in a brothel. With no prospect of leaving because of mounting debts, she is fortunate indeed that Esther Thorel takes a chance on Sarah and gives her employment.

Esther is the wife of a Huguenot Silk Master. She is the dutiful wife who fills her days with painting, embroidery and charitable works. A journeyman silk weaver works in her home. During the day he works on his employers’ silks, in his own time he works on his own with the hope that he will be able to become a Master himself. Seeing him work, Esther has an idea of her own.

I immediately felt wrapped up in this novel. Sarah was so naive and I felt for her and the situation she finds herself in. Esther I didn’t immediately take to, she felt a little too goody two shoes for me. It isn’t until the arrival of Sarah into the household that I saw a different side to Esther asnd my opinion of her definitely changed. In some ways, the women have similarities in their naiveness, but gradually they bring out the best in each other. They gain a sort of strength from each other.

It is soon apparent that as much as the household looks like it runs smoothly, there is a tension lying just below the surface. The tensions of the silk weaving community gradually make themselves known as silk prices fall due to cheaper calico imports. It threatens not only the silk masters but also the lower down the ladder weavers.

The author has done a great job of incorporating some of the techniques and terms of silk weaving into the story. It has literally been woven in strand by strand to create a stunning story. It compliments the story of the two women so well. Not only giving a great story but also something new that I was able to learn about.

The setting mixes the contrasts between the different social classes, the workers and the masters. Using the tension of the cheaper imports to build tension and an air of unrest in the community that also affects homelife.

This is a stunning story that took many surprising turns, it was insightful and an absolute pleasure to read. If you love Historical Fiction then you really should pick this one up, totally absorbing and addictive.

This is a book with such a stunning cover that I am probably going to buy the hardback even though I own the e-book version!

Highly Recommended!

Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be amazing 🙂 xx

The Abandoned Daughter by Mary Wood @Authormary @panmacmillan @EllisKeene #Review #Giveaway

I am delighted to be sharing my review for The Abandoned Daughter by Mary Wood. Whether this author writes as Mary Wood or as Maggie Mason I absolutely adore her books. The latest is another book that had me in tears yet again! Mary just manages to create characters that I care about and I cannot help but feel for.

Mary is generously running a Giveaway. To be entered into this just comment below. All comments on my Blog require my approval. Once I have approved your comments Mary will then be able to see them and enter you into her draw.

This Giveaway is run by Mary and she will get in touch with the winner direct. Me And My Books is not responsible for the Giveaway or the dispatch or the prize.

Now then, let’s have a look at The Abandoned Daughter and see what it is all about 🙂 xx

Voluntary nurse Ella is haunted by the soldiers’ cries she hears on the battlefields of Dieppe. But that’s not the only thing that haunts her. When her dear friend Jim breaks her trust, Ella is left bruised and heartbroken. Over the years, her friendships have been pulled apart at the seams by the effects of war. Now, more than ever, she feels so alone.

At a military hospital in France, Ella befriends Connie and Paddy. Slowly she begins to heal, and finds comfort in the arms of a French officer called Paulo – could he be her salvation?

With the end of the war on the horizon, surely things have to get better? Ella grew up not knowing her real family but a clue leads her in their direction. What did happen to Ella’s parents, and why is she so desperate to find out?

The Abandoned Daughter by Mary Wood is the second book in The Girls Who Went To War series.

The Abandoned Daughter is available in ebook and paperback now.

This is the second in the Girls Who Went To War series and while I have not yet read the first book it has no way marred my reading of The Abandoned Daughter. Though I will say I will be buying the first.

The author does put her characters through the proverbial mill and also characters that I care about. Elle is such a lovable and sweet character and my goodness does she have so much thrown at her. Pain and suffering seem to follow her, just I thought she was going to have a happy life something goes wrong. A phrase that I have heard many times and also that the author used in her book was the one about “God only gives you what he knows you can deal with”. This is something that does sum up Elle to a tee. Even so, how a person could deal with losing so much!

The story is not just about Elle, it is about her friends and her time as a nurse. I should explain that the story begins as World War I, Elle is a nurse at the battlefield hospitals. After the war ends and Elle returns home things at first start to go well. There is mention of the struggle that returning troops found and this I found very interesting. Many soldiers finding themselves homeless, ill and well… lost.

The struggles at home take on a different route to what I expected, but thank goodness for Rowena. Everyone should have a Rowena in their lives and I adored her. The author adds so many social and economic problems for the time to her stories. It is such a useful thing as not only does it fit with the setting of the book it also highlights the struggles of others.

Elle is such an amazing character who really is pushed to the limits of endurance. I had my heart in my mouth so many times as I wondered how or if she would cope with everything.

This author is an absolute delight to read. She creates characters that I care about with plot lines that touch the heart. Emotional is something I expect and tears from me seem to be a given whenever I read her books. She creates stories that keep me eagerly turning pages and often until the early hours of the morning.

If you love historical fiction and family sagas you will love Mary Wood and also Maggie Mason.

The Abandoned Daughter is a book I would Highly Recommend.

Mary married young and now, after 54 years of happy marriage, four children, 12 grandchildren and many great-grandchildren, Mary and her husband live in Blackpool during the summer and Spain during the winter – a place that Mary calls, ‘her writing retreat’. 

After many jobs from cleaning to catering, all chosen to fit in with bringing up her family, and boost the family money-pot, Mary ended her 9 – 5 working days as a Probation Service Officer, a job that showed her another side to life, and which influences her writing, bringing a realism and grittiness to her novels 

Mary first put pen to paper, in 1989, but it wasn’t until 2010 that she finally found some success by self-publishing on kindle. 

Being spotted by an editor at Pan Macmillan in 2013, finally saw Mary reach her publishing dream.

When not writing, Mary enjoys family time, reading, eating out, and gardening. One of her favourite pastimes is interacting with her readers on her FacebookWebsiteTwitter

Mary welcomes all contact with her readers and feedback on her work.

See what other Book Blogger think by following the Blog Tour

The Hunted by Tarn Richardson @TarnRichardson #free #ebook

If anyone asks me about my favourite books, I always mention The Darkest Hand Trilogy by Tarn Richardson. This is fabulous Dark Fiction that absolutely blew me away. A blend of historical fiction, fantasy and religious conspiracy.

Why am I letting you know about this, I hear you ask!

Well Tarn Richardson also has a novella, a prequel to the series and it’s called The Haunted. It is an amazing action packed, full speed intro to Poldeck Tacit and the best bit is that it’s FREE!

Yep!

You heard me right!

A FREE download over on Amazon!

Do yourself a favour go and get a copy. It is 48 pages long so grab a coffee and have a read.

In the bustling streets of Sarajevo in June 1914, the dead body of a priest lies, head shattered by the impact of a fall from a building high above. As the city prepares for the arrival Archduke Franz Ferdinand, grim-faced inquisitor Tacit Poldek is faced not only with the challenge of discovering why the priest has been killed but also confronting other menaces: the demon rumoured to be at large in the city and the conspirators of the Black Hand organisation who plan to assassinate the Archduke. 


With terrible danger only ever one step away and his private demons silenced only by a strong drink, THE HUNTED introduces us to the damaged soul that is the unorthodox Catholic inquisitor Tacit Poldek. It is a world both like and unlike our own but in which the Inquisition, is alive and well yet existing in the shadows; in which history is poised to take dangerous and unpredictable paths; where evil assumes many horrific forms, from werewolves to the institutional slaughter of the trenches; and the threat to humanity (in all senses of the word) – and to love – is ever constant.


THE HUNTED is the
FREE prequel to Tarn Richardson’s gritty and compelling DARKEST HAND TRILOGY featuring the brilliant but flawed inquisitor Tacit Poldek.

Amazon UK Link

Happy Reading folks!

Dear Jane by Allie Cresswell @Alliescribbler @rararesources review

I am delighted and also saddened to share my review for Dear Jane by Allie Cresswell. Delighted to read the next book in The Highbury Trilogy and saddened because it is the final book in the trilogy!

I have loved all three books and if you have not yet had a chance to read them and you like Austen’s Emma, then have a look at the book by Allie, she has used Emma as the inspiration behind them and has done such a wonderful and beautiful job. It has been my absolute pleasure to read each one.

Let’s have a look and see what Dear Jane is all about…

The final instalment of the Highbury trilogy, Dear Jane recounts events hinted at but never actually described in Jane Austen’s Emma; the formative childhood years of Jane Fairfax and Frank Churchill, their meeting in Weymouth and the agony of their secret engagement.


Orphaned Jane seems likely to be brought up in parochial Highbury until adoption by her papa’s old friend Colonel Campbell opens to her all the excitement and opportunities of London. Frank Weston is also transplanted from Highbury, adopted as heir to the wealthy Churchills and taken to their drear and inhospitable Yorkshire estate. Readers of Emma will be familiar with the conclusion of Jane and Frank’s story, but Dear Jane pulls back the veil which Jane Austen drew over its remainder.

Purchase Links – Amazon UKAmazon US

I had been looking forward to reading the final instalment of the Highbury Trilogy, and now I have I do feel a little sad that it is over.

The Trilogy started with Mrs. Bates of Highbury, followed by The Other Mrs. Bates and finally ending with Dear Jane. Each story has takes on a main character and explores their family, friends and acquaintances. Dear Jane focuses on Jane Fairfax, she had a minor role in Emma and Allie Cresswell has made her into the major role, and I will add she has done it superbly.

Jane is taken in by the Campbells and is treated like a daughter with all the privileges that come with one whom lives within a certain class in society. Jane is to be a companion to the Campbell’s daughter Rowenna. Jane’s life is mapped out for her and she is well aware that at some point in the future she will have to make her own way in the world.

I absolutely loved this story, well let me be honest I have loved the whole trilogy. The author has captured the tone and writing style I like when I read the older classic lit books. I love to read about the “ladies”, I say ladies but often they are very far from lady-like with their barbed comments. there are several of these comments within the book as even though some see Jane as an equal, not everyone does.

Dear Jane is told over several years and follows Jane and Rowenna, I have to say that Jane has the patience of a saint as she coaxes Rowenna. But actually even though Rowenna was a bit of a pain, I also really liked her and got to understand her shyness and insecurities.

With society and the standing within society being so important with those in the upper echelons there is a focus on marriage, or rather how much will be brought into a marriage, both on a monetary and also positional platform. Marriage is a business deal rather than one of love, though there is love. Who falls in love and with whom is something I will let you discover for yourselves!

Romance, courtship and falling breathlessly and hopelessly in love is in equal measure with many a furtive glance, stifled giggles and the occasional swoon. Though things often appear to be simple it is not always the case. For some the road to marriage and love appears straightforward but those behind the scenes may have had a hand to stay the route, keeping the recipients unawares.

The story just oozes that old classic literature style. The mannerisms, dress and fashion, conversation style, society and etiquette all feel so right. Mix into this a storyline that has uncertainties, heartbreak, hope and trouble and that was me hooked and avidly reading.

I would say you could read each as a stand-alone, but you know what… Just go and get the whole trilogy and then just sit down, put your feet up and just relax and read.

This book, well, the whole trilogy gets a Highly Recommended from me.

Allie Cresswell was born in Stockport, UK and began writing fiction as soon as she could hold a pencil.

She did a BA in English Literature at Birmingham University and an MA at Queen Mary College, London.

She has been a print-buyer, a pub landlady, a book-keeper, run a B & B and a group of boutique holiday cottages. Nowadays Allie writes full time having retired from teaching literature to lifelong learners.

She has two grown-up children, two granddaughters, two grandsons and two cockapoos but just one husband – Tim. They live in Cumbria, NW England.

Dear Jane is her ninth novel.

Follow the Author on Social Media – Website Facebook Twitter

Check out the Blog Tour and see what other Book Bloggers think

Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be fabulous 🙂 xx

Tarn Richardson – #TheDarkestHand @TarnRichardson @RedDoorBooks – #CoverReveal #BookNews

I have been a huge fan of Tarn Richardson’s The Darkest Hand Trilogy and I am so excited and delighted to be welcoming you all to have a look at the fabulous new look covers for this fabulous and Highly Recommended trilogy. Tarn has recently moved to Red Door Publishing and I wish him all the best for this new journey.

I first became aware of this fabulous trilogy when I read the short prequel called The Hunted. This is action packed from the very start and was when I first got to meet inquisitor Poldeck Tacit. This prequel is available free for download from Amazon and is the start to an absolutely amazing trilogy. If anyone asks me about some of the best books I have read, this series always gets a mention! Get your free copy of The Hunted HERE

In the bustling streets of Sarajevo in June 1914, the dead body of a priest lies, head shattered by the impact of a fall from a building high above. As the city prepares for the arrival Archduke Franz Ferdinand, grim-faced inquisitor Poldek Tacit is faced not only with the challenge of discovering why the priest has been killed but also confronting other menaces: the demon rumoured to be at large in the city and the conspirators of the Black Hand organisation who plan to assassinate the Archduke.

With terrible danger only ever one step away and his private demons silenced only by a strong drink, THE HUNTED introduces us to the damaged soul that is the unorthodox Catholic inquisitor Poldek Tacit. It is a world both like and unlike our own but in which the Inquisition, is alive and well yet existing in the shadows; in which history is poised to take dangerous and unpredictable paths; where evil assumes many horrific forms, from werewolves to the institutional slaughter of the trenches; and the threat to humanity (in all senses of the word) – and to love – is ever constant.


After reading The Hunted I wondered how on earth this author could maintain such a frenetic pace in a full length book? Well not only did he deliver a story he did it in a very intricate way.

The Damned follows and I realised what sort of journey I was on. Referred to as Dark Fiction, for me this series covers many genres. Historical fiction, fantasy, crime, thriller, alternative history, if you love reading any of these or like mystery, thriller and suspense then this is for you as well.

Here is a snippet of one of my reviews…
“I fell in love with a little e-book called “The Hunted”. It had so many things going on its 45 pages, I couldn’t help but wonder how it would transfer into a longer book, nevermind a trilogy of them. Tarn Richardson has brilliantly put together a huge story with a vast array of memorable and unique characters. I have loved some, loathed some and have been very wrong in my opinion of some. For me this shows what a great author he is, he has managed to bring his characters and his books alive for me in the words he has written. It is like reading a film. There has been a huge amount of research gone into this book and it shows, through the way he has intertwined his world into our own world history.”

The Fallen and then The Risen just cemented my love for this trilogy and I was gutted when I realised that I had come to the end of my journey with Polek and the other fabulous characters. This trilogy for me was simply sublime reading, it ticked so many boxes because of the many genres it spans. The attention and research to historical events is brilliant and very evident. There is conspiracy and intrigue at every turn as Poldeck battles his own demons and investigates others. This is a trilogy that was perfect for me and I think deserves far more attention than it has had. It is my sincere hope that as Tarn has now moved publishers The Darkest Hand gets the notice, attention and acclaim that it deserves.

So let’s have a proper look at the covers …

Now when it comes to covers I am one of those that tends to prefer the cover of a book I see. So for me I loved the original ones, but I to say that I am impressed with these new ones. I love that the original main colour was kept and the imagery is very suited to each book and link in to the main story. I will definitely be buying these new copies when they are published.

Tarn Richardson was brought up in a remote house, rumored to be haunted, near Somerset. He has worked as a copywriter, written mystery murder dinner party games and worked in digital media for nearly twenty years. He lives near Salisbury in England. The Damned is his debut novel, the first in a series of three featuring tortured Inquisitor Poldek Tacit.

Having grown up in Somerset, he now lives in Salisbury with his wife, the portraiture artist Caroline Richardson.

Social Media links – Website Twitter

Many thanks for reading my post, a share or like would be amazing 🙂 xx

Blackpool’s Daughter by Maggie Mason @Authormary @LittleBrownUK #Giveaway #review

I am delighted to share my review for Blackpool’s Daughter by Maggie Mason. I am a big fan of Mary Wood she also writes as Maggie Mason. It was an absolute pleasure to have the chance to take part in the Blog Tour.

Before I get carried away I must mention that Mary will be running a #GIVEAWAY so to take part please leave a comment on this post. Mary is responsible for the giveaway and will contact the winner. I have no involvement in the giveaway. **Please note that I approve posts on my site, I may not approve straight away today because I will will sleeping after working a night shift! Good luck everyone 🙂 xx

Right then, let’s have a look and see what this book is all about…

The perfect read for fans of Mary Wood, Kitty Neale, Val Wood and Nadine Dorries

Clara is forced to flee her home as the Nazis invade the beautiful island of Guernsey

Separated from her mother, far away from anything familiar, she is at the mercy of a cruel shopkeeper. Clara is worked like a dog, but the warmth of her Blackpool friendships will go far to save her.

Julia just wants to find her beloved daughter – but the trials of war will keep them far apart.

They will meet again – but the war will change everything for mother and daughter

Having read the previous book called The Blackpool Lass, (you can read my review here) I was very keen to see if this author could pull at my heart and emotions again! Well! Oh my goodness! Yes she could! Blackpool’s Daughter is such an emotional rollercoaster that took my emotions once again through the wringer.

The story is of Clara and her mother Julia and I first met them on Guernsey, they do not have the best of life their but do make the most of what they have. As the threat of Germany taking over the island looms ever closer, the decision is made to evacuate the children and younger people off the island to the mainland. Clara eventually ends up in Blackpool while Julia remains behind. A change of circumstance makes it possible for Julia to find the fare for passage as well. She wants to find her daughter… but where she is, well no-one seems to know. She is given a rough idea of where Clara was possibly placed.

Oh Clara my goodness… Blackpool sounds like such a perfect place for her to be posted, but it’s not the Blackpool I imagine. Instead Clara is forced to work like a slave for such her obnoxious landlady. What should be a place of safety is in fact dangerous, dirty and an absolute nightmare. Clara’s situation just seems to go from bad to worse with every decision that is forced upon her. Clara is caught up in the back streets, full of danger and deceit. The Author really shows her research in this book as there are so many mentions of relevant things.

Julia does not find it any easier. The anguish at watching her daughter leave is so heartfelt and I really did feel for this strong character. She is one of those silent women that bear all that is thrown at her but not saying anything about. This silent strength is something that she will definitely need as she tries to earn enough to try and find Clara. The strength her mother has is something that Clara has also taken and she will need all her strength to get through some really tough situations.

Heartbreak and emotion are very strong themes in this book and at times it is gut wrenching to read some of the dilemmas and situations the characters find themselves in. The second world war has such a huge impact on families, communities and the nation as a whole. Pain and suffering is evident, but also that resolve to try to carry on as best as you can is in evidence. But with this resolve there are also the minority that see the war as a means to profit, it is these people who are the real danger.

The stories of the two women are told in quick alternating chapters. Each chapter left me wanting to know what was happening with the other, to see how they were faring and coping. But it was not only the two women that had my interest it was also the people they met along their travels and whose lives they become part of.

Along with the heartbreak and feeling of sadness there is also another emotion, it’s called hope and comes in various different other aspects and from other characters. Hope that mother and daughter will survive, hope they will be united, hope that others are re-united and, hope that futures and lives will eventually get better.

This is such a fabulous read, once I started I really did not want to put it down. The story hit me right from the start and this author really knows how to put her characters and also this reader through the emotional mill.

If you are a fan of historical fiction and family saga’s then you really should check this author out. Blackpool’s Daughter get a Highly Recommended from me! xx

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Maggie Mason is a pseudonym of author Mary Wood. Mary began her career by self-publishing on kindle where many of her sagas reached number one in genre. She was spotted by Pan Macmillan and to date has written many books for them under her own name, with more to come. Mary continues to be proud to write for Pan Macmillan, but is now equally proud and thrilled to take up a second career with Sphere under the name of Maggie Mason. A Blackpool Lass is her first in a planned series of standalone books and trilogies set in her home town of Blackpool.

Mary retired from working for the National Probation Service in 2009, when she took up full time writing, something she’d always dreamed of doing. She follows in the footsteps of her great-grandmother, Dora Langlois, who was an acclaimed author, playwright and actress in the late nineteenth – early twentieth century.

It was her work with the Probation Service that gives Mary’s writing its grittiness, her need to tell it how it is, which takes her readers on an emotional journey to the heart of issues.

Follow the Author on – WebsiteTwitterFacebook

Dont forget… leave a comment if you want to to be entered into the Giveaway ✍📖😘


Many thanks for reading my post, likes and shares are always appreciated 🙂 xx

The Strings of Murder by Oscar de Muriel #review

I am delighted to be sharing my review for Strings of Murder by Oscar de Muriel. This is the first book in the Frey & McGray Mystery series. If you like Gothic fiction then you really need to check out this series, this first book was brilliant!

Let’s have a look and see what it is all about…

1888: a violinist is brutally murdered in his Edinburgh home. Fearing a national panic over a copycat Jack the Ripper, Scotland Yard send Inspector Ian Frey. Frey reports to Detective “Nine-Nails” McGray, local legend and exact opposite of the foppish English Inspector. McGray’s tragic past has driven him to superstition, but even Frey must admit that this case seems beyond belief…

There was no way in or out of the locked music studio. And there are black magic symbols on the floor. The dead man’s maid swears there were three musicians playing before the murder. And the suspects all talk of a cursed violin once played by the Devil himself.


Inspector Frey has always been a man of reason—but the longer this investigation goes on, the more his grasp on reason seems to be slipping…

Every now and again I really like to read a good gothic novel. I came across this one on Amazon and decided to give it a go as it seemed to have an old investigative style of murder mystery to it and a touch of superstition. It caught my eye and I am so glad it did as it is a fabulously gothic thrillery read!

Enter Frey and Gray, they are just two wonderful and very different characters, very chalk and cheese. The setting is 1888, Edinburgh and Inspector Frey is sent from London to assist Detective “Nine Nails” McGray in the mysterious and bloody death of a violinist.

Frey is very much a no nonsense type of guy, strictly about the facts. A sharp dresser and follower of proper etiquette. Now then, Mcgray, you could not get much further in the opposite direction than him. He is the master of all knowledge when it comes to the occult and superstition. He definitely follows his own style when it comes to his fashion sense. On meeting for the first time, these two clash! The exasperation from the both of them shows, though more so from McGray, as it would not be fitting for Frey to give such a show of distaste, but believe me he does have his moments. The dynamics between the two are so good and kept me entertained at the various asides. The seriousness of their work does however allow them to find a sort of compromise, or should I say they start to form a somewhat professional respect as the story continues.

Over the course of the story I got to know more about the individual characters and their own stories. Frey and McGray have very intriguing backgrounds that gradually emerged. As this is the first in the series I thought there was a good foundation laid for building further n their characters and filling in more about them.

The timing of this book is at the time Jack the Ripper is at large, so why would a London send one of it’s investigators to Scotland when the death of Mary Kelly has just occured? Having the mention of such an infamous villain at the beginning of this story helps to add to the tone that is to be set as the story continues. A story of murder and malevolent intent.

Their case for the violinist is one that is also bloody and macabre. It gets them scratching their heads at this closed room murder. Who did it? Why was it done? And more importantly…how was it done? The intrigue through the questioning and deducing kept me on my toes as the two made their way through their investigations.

If you are looking for a wonderfully vivid and atmospheric gothic thriller then you really should cast your eye at this author. There are more books in this series and I am so looking forward to getting to see what Frey & McGray get involved in next and also hopefully learning more about what makes them tick.

This book gets a Highly Recommended from me!

Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be amazing 🙂 xx

Kin by Snorri Kristjansson #review

I am delighted to be sharing my review for Kin by Snorri Kristjansson. Kin is the first book in the Helga Finnsdottir Mystery series. It is a historical fiction and mystery read that is absolutely fabulous.

So let’s have a look at the synopsis and see what it is all about…

He can deny it all he likes, but everyone knows Viking warlord Unnthor Reginsson brought home a great chest of gold when he retired from the longboats and settled down with Hildigunnur in a remote valley. Now, in the summer of 970, adopted daughter Helga is awaiting the arrival of her unknown siblings: dark, dangerous Karl, lithe, clever Jorunn, gentle Aslak, henpecked by his shrewish wife, and the giant Bjorn, made bitter by Volund, his idiot son.

And they’re coming with darkness in their hearts.

The siblings gather, bad blood simmers and old feuds resurface as Unnthor’s heirs make their moves on the old man’s treasure – until one morning Helga is awakened by screams. Blood has been shed: kin has been slain.

No one confesses, but all the clues point to one person – who cannot possibly be the murderer, at least in Helga’s eyes. But if she’s going to save the innocent from the axe and prevent more bloodshed, she’s got to solve the mystery – fast . . . 

It is the summer of 970, the grown up children of Viking Warlord Unthor Reginsson and his wife Hildigunnur re due to visit. Karl, Aslak and Bjorn are the siblings and along with their respective spouses there is a tension surrounding the visit. Helga is the foster daughter of Unthor and Hildigunnur, she is curious to meet the her siblings. Unlike the rest of the family, Helga is a quiet girl, she is clever, mysterious and is the main protagonist.

Oh! I loved this book such a huge amount. The first half is setting the scene and is more historical fiction, this I adored so much and would have quite happily read more about this era in history. When I think Vikings it’s always the raids first and farmers second. This book falls into the second, Unthor is a farmer and family man, though he does have a more serious presence and strength to him when the need arises.

There are quite a few characters to get to know and in all honesty it didn’t take long. The characters who live on the farm were introduced first, then the siblings as they arrived. It was the ideal way to get to grips with everyone and start to form initial thoughts as to whether I would like them or not… Helga I really did like and also the enigmatic matriarch Hildigunnur who is such a strong and impressive character.

Though by far Helga was the star, she is one of those characters that see’s all and keeps it to herself. She tends to be overlooked and blends into the background, she is a people watcher and is able to pick up on the various tells people have in the behaviours, mannerism and during conversations. This stands her good stead as the story then progresses into the mystery section of the story.

The mystery section is the observations and deductions of Helga as she finds herself trying to work out the culprit. She uses her observations to gradually piece everything together. Given the time this novel is set in, the investigative process is very quiet and a nice change to read something that does not include technology. It is investigating at it’s very basic level, about reading people and situations, looking at every aspect of the scene and trying to think of the right questions to ask as much as discovering the answers.

I really enjoyed this book so much, the author provided a good amount of background to this very dynamic family. Yes a slower paced story to begin with but one that that speeded up as the urgency to find the killer increased. It was a book I found myself having to slow down the speed I read, I didn’t want to miss a single word and at times it was almost unbearable as I was so eager to turn the page and see what was going to happen next.

I liked the so much about this book, the characters, the setting, the history, the mystery and then there were the italicised sentences, call them Helga’s conscience if you like, they were her random thoughts as she was mulling over the information she was collecting. As well as really liking them they also infuriated me… in a good way… as they provided more questions than answers, they left odd thoughts from Helga hanging, a good addition by the author to add more intrigue.

In case you had not already guessed it… I Love This Book! It slotted so nicely into 2 genres that I love reading – Historical Fiction & Crime/Mystery. The slower pace fitted the histfic wonderfully well and especially the year of 970. As the pace increased, it it was more suited to the crime and mystery of the book. This is a series I am looking forward to reading more of.

It is one I would Highly Recommend.

Image and bio taken from the Author’s Amazon UK page.

Snorri Kristjansson was born in Reykjavik in 1974. He has since lived in Norway, where he found a passionate aversion to skiing, London and now Edinburgh with his wife, where he dabbles in classical acting and stand-up comedy while teaching English.

His fantasy series, The Valhalla Saga, and his crime series, Kin and Council, are published by Jo Fletcher Books. They both have Vikings in, so expect moderate cursing and beards.

Many thanks for reading my post, a like or a share would be amazing 🙂 xx

The Afghan by Andrew Turpin #review

I am delighted to be sharing my review for The Afghan by Andrew Turpin. I have been a fan of this Author’s Joe Johnson series and this latest instalment takes the reader back to where it all began for Joe.

Such a fabulous and eye-catching cover!

Let’s see what the book is all about…

A Cold War attack by Soviet helicopters on an Afghan village. A knife-edge CIA operation that goes wrong. And a vengeful mujahideen tribesman, armed with Stinger missiles. 
When CIA officer Joe Johnson is handed the tough task by his boss of capturing a Soviet helicopter and forging better contacts among the mujahideen, he unknowingly finds himself up against a sinister KGB rival who wants him dead.
But after coming under fire, Johnson comes to suspect that his difficulties stem not just from the Soviets—but from a traitor on his own side.
To extricate himself from the web of deceit in which he finds himself, Johnson comes to rely on a female colleague from Britain’s MI6, Jayne Robinson, to whom he grows unexpectedly close.
As pressure mounts on Johnson from CIA headquarters at Langley and politicians in Washington, DC, the story reaches a climax during a life-or-death shootout in Jalalabad.
The Afghan, set in 1988, is a thriller that forms a compelling prequel to the Joe Johnson series as a whole. It also creates the backdrop for book four in the series, Stalin’s Final Sting, set in Afghanistan, New York City, and Moscow in the present day.

Having read the three previous books by this author, and enjoying them all, I have to say it was nice to have a slightly different feel to the latest book. It took me on a journey back in time to the days when Joe worked for the CIA. It is a prequel to the series, also an intro to the 4th book Stalin’s Final Sting, and yep I have that one as well.

So, Joe is caught in the conflict between Russia and Afghanistan 1988 in a complex plot that pulls in a myriad of elements and deceptions. To be honest I expect deception and mistrust when the CIA is involved in anything!

The story see’s the meeting of Joe and MI6 agent Jayne Robinson. This aspect of the story I really enjoyed as the two form a friendship that extends into the future, so it was good to see how they first met.

One thing that I have come to expect from this author is the meticulous attention to detail. This is a large part of his books and they are brilliantly wrapped into each story in such a way that keeps each story flowing and not getting bogged down with an overload of facts and info. This story is no exception.

The action for this is relentless and Joe finds himself in a minefield of political pressure, a country in turmoil, arms deals, KGB, CIA and undercover double crossing. With all this going on, it creates a fast paced and intense flow to the story. It keeps the tension and the suspense building.

As always there is a fabulous section after the story ends, in this section the author presents his research and bibliography.

If you are after a gritty action packed read then you will find it in this authors books. The Afghan is the perfect place to start for a series that I highly recommend.

P.S…The Afghan is FREE on Andrew’s Website !

Andrew is a former journalist who has always had a love of writing and a passion for reading good thrillers. Now he has finally put the two interests together.

His first book, The Last Nazi, was published in August 2017, and the second, The Old Bridge, in January 2018. The third, Bandit Country, followed in February 2018. In January 2019 the fourth, Stalin’s Final Sting, was published along with a prequel to the series, entitled The Afghan.

The themes behind these thrillers also pull together some of Andrew’s other interests, particularly history, world news, and travel. They explore the ways in which events and human behaviors deep into the past continue to impact on modern society, politics and business. 

All of Andrew’s books draw strongly on these themes. They feature Joe Johnson, an ex-CIA officer and former U.S. Nazi hunter with the Office of Special Investigations, part of the Department of Justice in Washington, D.C.
Johnson has a passion for justice and a drive to investigate unsolved war crimes in different parts of the world.

Andrew studied history at Loughborough University and worked for many years as a business and financial journalist before becoming a corporate and financial communications adviser with several large energy companies.

He originally came from Grantham, Lincolnshire, and lives with his family in St. Albans in Hertfordshire, U.K.


Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be amazing 🙂 xx