Until We Can Forgive by Rosemary Goodacre @HeraBooks @rararesources #histfic #bookreview

I am delighted to one of the Bloggers opening the Blog Tour today and to share my review today for Until We Can Forgive by Rosemary Goodacre. This post also has a great sadness to it as this wonderful author passed away earlier this month. My thoughts are with her family xx

We’re honouring her memory with her last book and blog tour, finishing off the trilogy that she leaves as a legacy” by Rachel @rararesources

I would like to thank Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for introducing me to Rosemary’s writing with earlier book tours. My thanks once again to Rachel for my stop on this Tour and also for arranging my copy of this book.

Let me show you what the book is about…

Synopsis…

They survived the Great War, but will life ever be the same?

Spring 1919: WW1 is over and a fragile peace has descended over the country. Now living in Cambridge with husband EdmondAmy Derwent is settling into her new life as wife and mother to little Beth. But the shadow of the Great War looms large, particularly as the injuries Edmond sustained at Ypres still take their toll on him today.

Edmond’s cousin, Vicky, has now grown into a fine young woman, eager to help her country. Throwing off her privileged background to train as a nurse, she spends her days tending to the many soldiers still suffering the after-effects of their time on the battlefield.

Meeting Maxim Duclos, a young Frenchman who has arrived in Larchbury, fills her heart with joy – but when it is discovered that Maxim may be hiding the truth about his past, Vicky is faced with an impossible choice. Follow her heart’s desire and risk her family’s disapproval or keep her family – but deny herself the chance of true love?

The war may be over, but Edmond, Amy and Vicky must all face a new battle, finding their own peace in a country wounded by loss.

Purchase Links

AMZ: https://amzn.to/3ichWUY

Kobo: https://bit.ly/2GHIIqv

My Review…

(I wrote this review before I was aware of the authors passing)

This is the third book in The Derwent Chronicles and continues the story of the characters from the previous books. Because this is an ongoing story I am going to say it would be better to read the books in order, but they also do work as stand-alone.

This is set just after the end of World War I, some men have returned home, some are still in Europe and of course, there are those that will never return. The author does such a wonderful job of depicting life as people try to look forward, to new starts and also to peace. For families to return to some sort of normality and daily routine.

While this book doesn’t have the danger of the War there are still plenty of other things going on in everyday life that add drama, tension and also danger. Everyone has lost someone and feelings over the repatriation of the fallen is mentioned along with Poppy Day, the building of the Cenotaph and also the troops that remain in occupied Germany.

While some have been discharged due to injuries there are still those who are enlisted. Each one has there own problems whether it is coming to terms with living a civilian life or wanting to be back home with loved ones. There is still animosity towards Germany and also a wariness with the Americans, the country wants to get back to how things were but with so much change there has to be compromise.

The author has done a wonderful job of continuing the story of Amy and her husband Edmond and those that cross their paths. There is a real sense of wanting to get on and not to complain, worry or moan as things are still fresh from the years during the war. As I mentioned, this has a different backdrop but there are still struggles and worries.

A wonderful next instalment in this saga that sees how opinions of family and friends can make things difficult, how friendships and relationships can overcome differences. It is one for those who love historical fiction, sagas and family life. A wonderful read that had me hooked and One I would definitely recommend.

About the Author…

Rosemary Goodacre is thrilled to have a three book deal with Hera Books. Her World War I romance Until We Meet Again will be released on 31/10/19. Her heroine, Amy, faces many challenges as she works as a nurse and struggles to spend time with Edmond, her sweetheart.
Previously Rosemary has had a novella published, entitled A Fortnight is not Enough, and a science fiction story in the anthology Telescoping Time.
Rosemary has always loved languages and travel, mainly in Europe. In her spare time she enjoys country walking, bridge and classical music. She lives in Kent, England.

Here are the other stops on the Blog Tour…

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

The Nesting by C.J. Cooke @CJessCooke @RandomTTours #RandomThingsTours @fictionpubteam #mystery #bookreview

I am absolutely delighted to share my review today for The Nesting by C.J. Cooke. This book has a gorgeous cover and the story inside is just brilliant. Huge thanks to Anne at Random Things Tours for arranging my copy of the book and also for my spot on the Blog Tour.

Synopsis…

It was like something out of a fairytale…

The grieving widower.

The motherless daughters.

A beautiful house in the woods.

Deep in a remote Norwegian forest, Lexi has found a new home with architect Tom and his two young daughters. With snow underfoot and the sound of the nearby fjord in her ears, it’s as if Lexi has stepped into a fairy tale

But this family has a history – and this place has a past. Something was destroyed to build their beautiful new house. And those ancient, whispering woods have a long memory.

Lexi begins to hear things, see things that don’t make sense. She used to think this place heavenly, but in the dark, dark woods, a menacing presence lurks.

With darkness creeping in from the outside, Lexi knows she needs to protect the children in her care.

But protect them from what?

Purchase from Amazon UK (this is an affiliate link)

My Review…

I am going to start with the cover for this book and say that I absolutely adore it. The relevance of the cover image is something that is gradually revealed as the mysterious and atmospheric story unfolds.

The story is about Lexi taking someone’s identity and finding herself in Norway in a remote woodland being a Nanny to Gaia and Coco, Lexi is known as Sophie. The house she stays in is creepy, full of weird noises and there is a certain creepiness to it. Why the need for a Nanny, when Aurelia died Tom needed help to look after his daughters while he was finishing the building the eco-friendly house.

Ecology plays a part in this story as does a folk-lore of the land looking after itself. The author has used her own Scandinavian feeling fairy tales to add a folklore vibe to this story. It gives it a wonderful sense of the old world or ancient woodland that fits in so well with this mystery. The atmospheric air is suspense-filled but not over the top spooky. There is the ever-present presence of something lurking in the background and it does give a certain eerie chill.

The story itself is one that had a lot more than I first expected, as much as it is a story of discovering the mystery it is also about one of the characters discovering herself. In fact, the characters all have something that they hold back, giving tension to the book.

I really liked this book and once I started it I found it difficult to put down. It has the feel of a Scandi-Noir and it does have folklore, gothic feel as well as being a mystery and to a certain extent a mystery thriller. I thoroughly enjoyed it and it is one that I would definitely recommend.

Check out the other stops on the Blog Tour…

The One by John Marrs

The One by John Marrs is the last book I read as part of my #20booksofsummer reading challenge and what a book to end the challenge with !!!!! It has taken me a month to get the final reviews posted, but better late than never!

Before I get carried away, let me show you what this book is about…

Synopsis…

Soon to be a major Netflix Original series and perfect for fans of Caroline Kepnes’s You
__________________________
HOW FAR WOULD YOU GO TO FIND THE ONE?

One simple mouth swab is all it takes. A quick DNA test to find your perfect partner – the one you’re genetically made for.

A decade after scientists discover everyone has a gene they share with just one other person, millions have taken the test, desperate to find true love. Now, five more people meet their Match. But even soul mates have secrets. And some are more shocking – and deadlier – than others…

You can get a copy of this and other books by John Marrs HERE

My Review…

I have seen several readers rave about this book in various book groups on Facebook and thought yeah it’s about time I read it. I should have read this when I first bought it as it is such an amazing book to read.

The basic premise is that a gene in human DNA has been identified and it is now possible to find your perfect match, the love of your life, your soul mate.

So is science a sure-fire way of finding the person you are meant to be with? Is this cheating fate if you are led to the one or does fate still have a hand in the natural way of things? I really enjoyed the various different ways that this subject has been expanded on. Some of the scenarios mentioned are what if you are matched with someone of the same sex, what if you are already in a relationship and find that your DNA shows it is not the one. What if there are other problems of a medical kind? These are the tip of an ice-berg that took a wonderful slippery path around the possibilities.

I adored the way the author approached various themes in his story. Introducing and exploring the characters and what makes them tick, but more importantly gradually drawing their secrets out. There is a whole lot of twist in this book and I loved the journey with some unexpected revelations and surprises.

I really enjoyed this fictional look at love and human nature. Secrets, shocks, surprises all wrapped up in such a wonderfully gripping and addictive story. A mix of mystery, crime, psychological, contemporary and basically a really cracking read that left me wishing I had read it when I first bought it. I would most definitely recommend this book.

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

Afraid of the Light – An Anthology of Crime Fiction #anthology #crime #bookreview

I am delighted to share a review of another of my #20booksofsummer, tomorrow see’s the final review of the 20th book 🙂

However, today I am delighted to share Afraid of the Light – An Anthology of Crime Fiction with a Forward by Alex North. Let me show you more about it…

Synopsis…

Some people are scared of the dark. But it’s the light that exposes the secrets.

A young boy with nightmares faces up to his demons. A deathbed confession turns the world on its axis. A five-year-old watches his parents bury a body in the garden. A soldier returns from the war to find the horror isn’t yet over.

Afraid Of The Light brings the imagination of fourteen bestselling crime writers together in a collection that will keep you up all night. From a deadly campfire game to a holiday gone wrong, to an AI assistant with a motive and a love affair that can only end in murder, this is a gripping, twisty set of stories to send a shiver down your spine.


CONTRIBUTORS
Are you Listening? – Adam Southward
Daddy Dearest – Dominic Nolan
Deathbed, Beth Dead – Elle Croft
Loveable Alan Atcliffe – S R Masters
Sleep Time – Phoebe Morgan
Coming Home – N J Mackay
Sausage Fingers – Victoria Selman
Just a Game – Rachael Blok
Drowning in Debt – Heather Critchlow
To Evil or Not to Evil – Jo Furniss
Sheep’s Clothing – Robert Scragg
Frantic – Clare Empson
Planting Nan – James Delargy
Shadow – Kate Simants


All author royalties from the sale of this anthology will be donated to the Samaritans.

Samaritans is a charity working across the UK and Ireland to reduce the number of people who take their own lives and help people who are struggling to cope with how they’re feeling or with life’s challenges. When life is difficult, Samaritans are here – day or night, 365 days a year.

You can call them for free on 116 123, email them at jo@samaritans.org, or visit http://www.samaritans.org to find your nearest branch.

Buy your copy HERE 🙂

My Review…

I have recently finished an excellent crime thriller book that has left me with a bit of a book hangover. I knew I wanted to read a book but couldn’t seem to find anything that felt right. I came across this Crime Anthology that I bought a while ago and thought this may be just the thing, and indeed it was.

Fourteen Authors bring 14 short stories that have a darkness to them. Whether it is an outwardly criminal action or something far more sinister this anthology has a good mix. There were some of the stories that I really did like and had me on edge, while others were more thought-provoking.
I had initially intended only reading a couple of stories but sat and read each one, so this book definitely helped me with my book hangover.

I did like the various different styles of the authors and also how they created very different stories with a dark theme to them.

It is a great way of discovering new authors as well as seeing favourites. A good mix of styles and stories that crime readers, as well as general fiction readers who like their books a little on the dark side, will like. I thoroughly enjoyed all the stories and I would definitely recommend this book.

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

Ravens Gathering by Graeme Cumming #20booksofsummer #thriller #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for Raven’s Gathering by Graeme Cumming. This was one of the books I added to my #20booksofsummer reading list, and yes, I am still playing catch-up on the reviews. Raven’s Gathering was a fabulous read and let me show you more about it…

Synopsis…

As she let her gaze drift around her, she saw that there were more birds. Perhaps a dozen or so, perched among the trees that stood on the edge of the clearing. And yet more were arriving, swooping down through the gap overhead and landing on branches that overlooked them. The birds weren’t threatening, yet the sight of them all coming together in this dark and isolated spot was unnerving. Tanya reached a hand out towards Martin, and was relieved to feel him take it. She felt him move in behind her. After the uncertainty she’d experienced with him in a similar position only a few moments ago, she recognised the irony of her reaction. His closeness offered security.

“You know what they are, don’t you?” 

A stranger’s arrival in a small village coincides with a tragic accident. For the Gates family in particular it’s more than a coincidence, but their unease increases following a brutal attack. As tensions rise, a dark past returns to haunt them and others, while newcomers to the village are drawn into a mystery with terrifying consequences. And no one can explain why the ravens are gathering.

Ravens Gathering twists and turns as the truth is gradually exposed in a gripping thriller with a supernatural edge to it.

You can get your own copy from Amazon, HERE is the link to his Author Page 🙂

My Review…

I went into this book blind, by this I mean I didn’t read the synopsis immediately prior to starting it so I was unsure what to expect. From a dark, eerie and very creepy start, it took me on a journey that I found myself very quickly wrapped up in.

This is the first book I have read by this author and I have to say I really enjoyed it as it crossed genres. A mix of suspense, family secrets a little fantasy and a sense of an underlying ominous sense of something nasty lurking around the edges.

The main character is Martin Gates, he has returned to his childhood home after being away for many years. He hasn’t been in touch with his family in all this time. So his arrival is tinged with a sense of nervousness and also apprehension. Returning to a village community I would expect to see something along the lines of being asked how you are, or its been a while but no. Not in this village. Strangers are met with a silence and wariness that borders on being almost hostile. The only spirit is found in the pub in a bottle, a pub that falls silent when unknown people enter.

The author built up such a sense of foreboding and an air of suspense with this story as I was unsure what was actually happening and what route the story would take. But through this, I was still hooked on the atmospherics, the mistrust, the strange occurrences and too many coincidences. It was further into the story that I began to see how the various threads were gradually linked together. It led me to a story that was dark, secretive, mysterious and quite creepy.

This was such a good book to read as I really enjoyed the suspense that was woven through along with the eerie atmosphere. As I read, I was aware that there were many things that were unknown to me, but the author did a fantastic job of gradually filling in the gaps and also putting back on the right track when I was caught out by the red herrings.

A wonderful book that is a mix of things but one that absolutely captured my attention so that I read it over two sittings. A book that ticked many boxes for me and one that I would definitely recommend.

About the Author…

Photo and Bio taken from Graeme’s Amazon Page

Graeme Cumming lives in Robin Hood country. He has wide and varied tastes when it comes to fiction so he’s conscious that his thrillers can cross into territories including horror, fantasy and science fiction as well as more traditional arenas. 
When not writing, Graeme is an enthusiastic sailor (and, by default, swimmer), and enjoys off-road cycling and walking. He is currently Education Director at Sheffield Speakers Club. Oh yes, and he reads (a lot) and loves the cinema.

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

The Second Marriage by Gill Paul @GillPaulAUTHOR @RandomTTours #RandomTTours @AvonBooksUK #histfic #bookreview

I am absolutely delighted to finally share my review, and also help close the Blog Tour for The Second Marriage by Gill Paul, this is such a wonderful book and I cannot wait to show you what I thought. In fact, it’s one of those historical fiction that I say “just go and buy it – right now!”

My huge thanks to Anne at random Things Tours for my spot on the blog Tour and also for arranging my e-copy of this book.

This was published in the US under the title Jackie and Maria.

Synopsis…

JACKIE
When her first marriage ends in tragedy, Jackie Kennedy fears she’ll never love again. But all that changes when she encounters…

ARI
Successful and charming, Ari Onassis is a man who promises her the world. Yet soon after they marry, Jackie learns that his heart also belongs to another…

MARIA
A beautiful, famed singer, Maria Callas is in love with Jackie’s new husband – and she isn’t going to give up.

Little by little, Jackie and Maria’s lives begin to tangle in a dangerous web of secrets, scandal and lies. But with both women determined to make Ari theirs alone, the stakes are high. How far will they go for true love?

You can purchase your own copy at Amazon UK

My Review…

I absolutely adored this book, I mean the names Kennedy, Onassis and Callas just ooze rich, lavish, well-documented lifestyle with the possibility of something a little shady in the background. The book is historical fiction and this gives the author a chance to give a voice to the characters and also to add some creative embellishments. The author does discuss at the end of the book various ways she has adapted, changed dates or added extras and why. Also, there is a fabulous few pages that covers the actual facts around the main characters as well as a comprehensive list of resources.

OK! How to write e review about this book! I am aware of the names of the Kennedy’s, of Aristotle Onassis and also of Maria Callas but only basic facts so I approached this book as I would any other historical fiction. The story was one that alternated between Jackie Kennedy and Maria Callas, how they met Aristotle, their thoughts about him and also how he managed to become part of their lives.

The author includes the heart-breaking accounts of JFK assassination as well as his brother Bobby’s death. The effect it had on Jackie and what led her to become Jackie O. I don’t know how much is true, but as I mentioned earlier I am reading this purely as historical fiction don’t know all the facts. But how the author tackled the subject of Jackie, JFK and life were truly heart-breaking and it really made me feel for her.

Maria’s story is equally as heart-breaking. I knew she was an amazing opera singer and that she was a bit of a recluse and Diva, but I knew nothing of the other connections. This was a real eye-opener for me and she really did have a very rough ride in life.

This is a fabulous historical fiction by Gill Paul, she has woven a story of love, life, death, convenience, profit, betrayal, scandal and as whole lot more. I found the story of the two women t be fascinating and also very sad. It has been written so well and I was so absorbed in it that I read it over two days. It is a story that I cannot even come close to writing a review for that does this book justice.

If you like historical fiction that has factual or real life people and events in it then you should really pick this book up. I definitely recommend it.

About the Author…

Gill Paul is an author of historical fiction, specialising in relatively recent history.

Gill’s novels include Another Woman’s HusbandThe Secret Wife, about the romance between cavalry officer Dmitri Malama and Grand Duchess Tatiana, the second daughter of Russia’s last tsar, who first met in 1914,  Women and Children First about a young steward who works on the Titanic and The Affair set in Rome in 1961–62 as Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton fell in love while making Cleopatra. No Place for a Lady is about two Victorian sisters who travel out to the Crimean War of 1854–56 and face challenges beyond anything they could have imagined.

Follow the Author – TwitterFacebookWebsite or Check out her Amazon Author Page HERE

Check out the other stops on the Blog Tour…

 

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

No Love Lost by Robert Crouch @robertcrouchuk #mystery #crime #bookreview

I am absolutely delighted to share my review today for No Love Lost by Robert Crouch. I am a big fan of this author and his Kent Fisher mystery series. I have read every book, and in order! Can you read his latest as a stand-alone… well I suppose you could… but why would you 🙂

Let me show you Robert’s latest book…

Synopsis…

How can a simple job interview end in complete carnage?

When Mandy Paige seeks Kent Fisher’s help to find the mother who abandoned her as a baby, he has no idea of the mayhem his investigation will unleash. With only a photograph of a woman he once knew, he discovers she left her office one Friday afternoon twenty years ago and never returned.

Did Helen Cassidy escape an abusive husband or was she abducted and murdered?

People connected to Helen begin to die in mysterious circumstances. An old foe returns, leaving cryptic messages on the windscreen of Kent’s car. He seems to know Kent’s every move, hounding and taunting the sleuth, attacking those who can help him solve the mystery.

When the main suspect dies, Kent’s investigation lies in tatters – until he realises he’s not the one pursuing the killer. The killer’s pursuing him.

You can order this and the other books on Robert’s Amazon Author Page – HERE is the link 🙂

My Review…

How can a simple job interview end in complete carnage?.. Well you would not believe me if I told you!!! This is the latest book in the Kent Fisher series, number 6 in fact. As someone who has read this series in order I would suggest that it is the best way of approaching the series. There are mentions of Kent’s past that do still come up in the books.

So, back to my first question, how can a simple job interview end in complete carnage?… Well, you would not believe me if I told you!!! This is the latest book in the Kent Fisher series, number 6 in fact. As someone who has read this series in order, I would suggest that it is the best way of approaching the series. There are mentions of Kent’s past that do still come up in the books.

So, how can an interview end in carnage?… Yeah, I am still in shock about this as I try to write my review, hence the third time of me trying to answer this question! 🙂 This story sees Kent right in the midst of things once again as he tries to juggle his job as an Environmental Health Officer, as well as helping run his Animal Sanctuary. Oh, and if that wasn’t enough he also solves crimes. This book, however, is so much more personal than the previous one especially when it comes to the crime part.

It also delves into how much of a lady’s man Kent was in his earlier days, yes we know he doesn’t do long term commitment but back in the day, it seems he was a lot worse. This is so vague as there are things from his younger days that really have come back to bite him in the behind.

The author really has woven a wonderful tale of mystery, revenge, deceit and also a tragedy. It was a brilliant book and I think it may be my favourite so far and also the one that shocked me the most with events. It draws things from the past and the present and they have been twisted and turned into such an addictive read.

Poor Kent, I did feel for him as he seemed to spend much of the time trying to work out the what if’s and chasing his tail. Now as much as I do like Kent’s multiple roles I also see that there is a possible change on the horizon.

I really do adore this series and the author does such a brilliant job giving his protagonist a hard time, juggling too many of the proverbial hats and also his love-life. Not only do I very definitely recommend this latest book I also very definitely recommend the series. It is a wonderful mystery and crime series that has a whole lot of other threads wonderfully interwoven to create an addictive mystery series. Brilliant from start to finish.

About the Author…

Robert Crouch is the author of the Kent Fisher murder mystery series. Set in today’s world, the books pay homage to the traditional murder mystery and classic whodunit.

Based on his career as an environmental health officer, Kent Fisher is a different kind of detective, described as ‘unique in crime fiction’ by one reviewer.

Having left environmental health, Robert now writes full time from his home on the East Sussex coast. He loves walking on the South Downs with his wife, Carol, and their Westie, Harvey, reading crime fiction and photography.

To find out more, you can visit his – WebsiteAmazon PageFacebook

Check out the other stops on the Book Launch…

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

Taking a Chance on Love by Erin Green #contemporaryfiction #womensfiction #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for Taking a Chance on Love by Erin Green. I read this a couple of weeks ago and I am desperately trying to catch up with some of my reviews.

Let me show you about this book…

Synopsis…

One question can change everything.

Meet Carmen, Polly and Dana – all happy and successful women, with very different views on relationships.

Carmen has made a life with Elliot for the past eight years. She’s ready for the next step but a proposal seems to be as far away as ever.

Polly is devoted to her family. But after her parents’ bitter divorce, she’s wary of marriage – even after sharing twenty years and one son with Fraser.

Single mother Dana longs for companionship, despite her dedication to raising her son Luke. Finding the right person to bring into their lives feels impossible – until a unique way to select a potential Mr Right comes along.

With 29th February fast approaching, will they each take the chance this Leap Year to take control of their fates?

My Review…

What a gorgeous book this was to read. A first for me by this author and I am so glad to see there are some earlier books that I can read.

This is the story of three women. Polly Dana and Carmen. One has been with her boyfriend for 8 years with no sign of a marriage proposal from him, which is a shame as she owns a bridal shop so knows exactly what she wants. The other a single mum with a home floristry business that caters for weddings, bouquets, buttonholes, table displays and the like. She has just signed up for a show about finding love. The final woman is a Mum, in a stable long term relationship and works in travel agents and is juggling her time between her divorced parents and trying to organise a last-minute birthday party.

Each of them is busy, they have their own priorities and appear very stable but looking for a little something else. The story flits between each of the women in several subchapters. This is great as it gives the reader a chance to get to know the women and what is going on in each of their lives.

While this is a romance, it is not heavily romantic more contemporary fiction with a dash of romance later on in the story. I really enjoyed getting to know women and also their families. It was a gentle introduction that gathered momentum the further the story went.

There are connections that are made, brief pasts mentioned and always the look towards the future and what it may hold. The latter section of the book had me absolutely riveted to every word, I was already pretty addicted in the earlier stages as well. But the ending was just… well I will let you find out for yourselves.

This is a fabulous read and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I liked the way the author tackled various subjects through her story. This is such a lovely read and one that readers of contemporary fiction, family life and romance will enjoy. I would definitely recommend it.

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

The Bone Shard Daughter by Andrea Stewart @AndreaGStewart @orbitbooks @Tr4cyF3nt0n #compulsivereaders #fantasy #bookreview

I am absolutely delighted to share my review today for The Bone Shard Daughter by Andrea Stewart. This is the first book in The Drowning Empire series and was an excellent start and has left me eagerly waiting for the rest of the books. This is a fantasy book, but it is very accessible and would suit many readers.

My huge thanks to Tracy at Compulsive Readers for my spot on the Blog Tour and for arranging my copy of the book from Orbit Books. Before I get to carried away let me show you what The Bone Shard Daughter is about…

Synopsis…

In an empire controlled by bone shard magic, Lin, the former heir to the emperor will fight to reclaim her magic and her place on the throne. The Bone Shard Daughter marks the debut of a major new voice in epic fantasy.

The emperor’s reign has lasted for decades, his mastery of bone shard magic powering the animal-like constructs that maintain law and order. But now his rule is failing, and revolution is sweeping across the Empire’s many islands.

Lin is the emperor’s daughter and spends her days trapped in a palace of locked doors and dark secrets. When her father refuses to recognise her as heir to the throne, she vows to prove her worth by mastering the forbidden art of bone shard magic.

Yet such power carries a great cost, and when the revolution reaches the gates of the palace, Lin must decide how far she is willing to go to claim her birthright – and save her people. 

My Review…

I have been looking forward to reading this book for so long and I was not disappointed. This is the first book in The Drowning Empire and I am so excited to see where this series goes in the future.

As I started this book I was introduced to the main cast, I was aware of them having an Oriental feel to their names. When I got to the end of the book I discovered the author is of Chinese/ American heritage. I do like Eastern folklore, magic and legend and this book has the feel of some of those elements.

There are a few characters to get to know as I mentioned earlier. There is Lin, the Emperor’s daughter and in theory, should be the next Emperor when her father retires or does. But he doesn’t show much time for Lin or in showing her how to work the Bone Shard magic. He is such an odd character, a recluse who seems to be paranoid and is searching for something.

Then there is Jovi, he is the best smuggler ever and he has posters of him for his arrest. He is a character that I really liked, while he seems cold, he is actually more compassionate than I first realised. He’s a smuggler but one that has a moral sense of right, Iknow that sounds bizarre but it is true and his character works really well.

Then there is the Governors daughter, Phalue. She is aware of the suffering of the people and does what she can to help. But in the eyes of her girlfriend, it is not enough, that Phalue doesn’t truly understand the suffering. I did feel for this character as she struggled with the love she has for her father but also the love of her girlfriend.

Finally, there is Sand, I first thought this was a very strange character, but actually, as the story progresses, she becomes more prominent, and her true role is just starting to emerge.

Often with first books in a series I find they are slower to get going as characters, backstories and threads begin the process of being started and plotted for the adventures and stories that will follow. With this book, that process seemed to progress really quickly, yet I never felt it was rushed, and I quickly found myself drawn into a story that has an epic feel to it.

The chapters are quick and rotate between the various main characters, I think this really helped with adding backstories, brief snippets of history, some geography and also a little of the politics. There is a general feeling of unrest in the people of the various Islands. They are hungry, have to work long hours for little p[ay and live in awful conditions. Yet the residences of the EMperor and the Governor is that of opulence and ignorance.

I really adored this story and I thoroughly enjoyed being transported in this story of magic, moving islands, strange occurrences and meeting some wonderful characters. I am really excited about this series and I would definitely recommend it to readers of fantasy and also to readers who are looking for a new series to being.

About the Author…

Andrea Stewart is the Chinese American daughter of immigrants, and was raised in a number of places across the United States. Her parents always emphasized science and education, so she spent her childhood immersed in Star Trek and odd-smelling library books. When her (admittedly ambitious) dreams of becoming a dragon slayer didn’t pan out, she instead turned to writing books. She now lives in sunny California, and in addition to writing, can be found herding cats, looking at birds, and falling down research rabbit holes.

Check out the other stops on the Blog Tour…

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The Summer Island Swap by Samantha Tonge #20booksofsummer #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for The Island Swap by Samantha Tonge. This was a book I read at the beginning of August this year and it is one of the books I chose for the #20booksofsummer #readingchallenge and I am still playing catch-up on posting my reviews!

Let me show you what this wonderful book is all about…

Synopsis…

Sometimes the best holidays are the ones you least expect… 

After a long and turbulent year, Sarah is dreaming of the five-star getaway her sister has booked them on. White sands, cocktails, massages, the Caribbean is calling to them.

But the sisters turn up to tatty beaches, basic wooden shacks, a compost toilet and outdoor cold water showers. It turns out that at the last minute Amy decided a conservation project would be much more fun than a luxury resort.

So now Sarah’s battling mosquitos, trying to stomach fish soup and praying for a swift escape. Life on a desert island though isn’t all doom and gloom. They’re at one with nature, learning about each other and making new friends. And Sarah is distracted by the dishy, yet incredibly moody, island leader she’s sure is hiding a secret.

My Review…

I have 2 or 3of this authors books and they seem to have slid down my TBR pile. When I decided that I wanted a more relaxing summery, romance style read it was this author that suddenly sprung to mind and I thought I really need to read one of her books.

Well, what an amazing book this was and I absolutely adored it. Amy and Sarah are sisters and after a lottery win, Amy decides to treat them both to a luxury holiday. Amy works as a veterinary nurse and Sarah has a management role in a hotel. Both are looking forward to getting away, although Sarah is a little worried about leaving all the arrangements to her younger sister. Expecting a resort with pools, spas, beaches and the full 5-star treatment only to discover that Amy has suddenly changed the plan. Instead, they are on a working holiday on a small island in the Virgin Islands, No spas, 5-star treatments or anything else she was expecting, instead, Sarah has to deal with compost toilets, mosquitoes, cold showers and physical work.

Yes, this story does has a romantic thread running but it is actually the relationship between the sisters that really intrigued me. Sarah is the eldest and has looked out for Amy since their mum passed away, effectively taking on the parenting role and guiding, advising and to be fair has been quite controlling. The reasons for this are revealed more within the story. Amy is lacking confidence but she more than makes up for in enthusiasm and passion for animals.

While the sisters are chalk and cheese, they also have a very strong bond. They have been looking out for each other for years. This trip to a remote island with absolutely no mod cons and basic amenities is right up to Amy’s street but not so much for Sarah.

The thing about this story is the way the author has woven the story of the sisters and their upbringing around the conservation aspects of the island. The author goes into detail about the inspiration behind the story a the end, but it is obvious that there has been research and fact-checking as there is a myriad of little snippets about the wold life, flora and fauna, food, ecology and environment. So many interesting facts add a wonderful additional ingredient.

A wonderful story that readers of contemporary fiction, friendship and family will really enjoy, as I said there is a romantic thread but it is a subtle slower one that really fits in with the feel of the characters. A fabulous read and one I would definitely recommend.

About the Author…

Image and Bio taken from the Author’s Goodreads Page.

Samantha Tonge lives in Manchester UK with her husband and children. She studied German and French at university and has worked abroad, including a stint at Disneyland Paris. She has travelled widely.
When not writing she passes her days cycling, baking and drinking coffee. Samantha has sold many dozens of short stories to women’s magazines. 
She is represented by the Darley Anderson literary agency. In 2013, she landed a publishing deal for romantic comedy fiction with HQDigital at HarperCollins. In 2015 her summer novel, Game of Scones, hit #5 in the UK Kindle chart and won the Love Stories Awards Best Romantic Ebook category. In 2018 Forgive Me Not, heralded a new direction into darker women’s fiction with publisher Canelo and in 2020 her novel Knowing You won the RNA’s Jackie Collins Romantic Thriller Award. 

http://samanthatonge.co.uk/

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