Secrets of the Jam Factory Girls by Mary Wood @Authormary #panmacmillan @RandomTTours #histfic #saga #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for Secrets of the Jam Factory Girls by Mary Wood. I am a huge fan of this author and her books and this is the second book in the series.

My huge thanks to Anne at Random Things Tours for my spot on the Blog Tour and for arranging my copy of this fabulous book.

A heart-warming saga about female friendship from the bestselling author of The Jam Factory Girls.
Secrets of the Jam Factory Girls is a moving saga novel of friendship set in the heart of pre-WWI London from
bestselling author, Mary Wood.


Elsie’s worked her way up at Swift’s Jam Factory from the shop floor to the top, and now it’s her time to shine. But
when she’s involved in an incident involving her half-sister Millie’s new husband, she is forced to keep it secret – the
truth could threaten their sisterly bond.


Dot is dogged by fear, coming to terms with her mother’s rejection of her. She should be enjoying the happiness she
craves with her beloved Cess; instead, she’s trapped in an asylum, haunted by the horrifying cries of inmates. All she
wants is to get married, but what chance is there for her if she’s locked away?


Millie is trying to build a life with her new husband. But the man she loves is not all he seems . . .


Can the Jam Factory girls create the future they all deserve?


This historical saga series begins with The Jam Factory Girls.

My Review…

This is the second book in the Jam Factory Girls series and it does continue on from the previous book, but you could read it as a stand-alone, but you would miss out on a great story and intro to the girls.

Life has changed for Elise and Millie as their sisterly bond becomes closer. In fact, the bond between Cess, Bert and all the characters becomes closer. Within this closeness, there is still the feeling of not belonging as Millie has lived a very different lifestyle to that of her new fond family. These differences can be overcome and realisations are discussed as each person finds where they feel more at home.

This closeness is going to be tested, and not in a way I had ever envisioned. I don’t ever read the synopsis for any of this authors books, I just know I want to read them and that is just what I do. The Jam Factory is improving, and not just in the profits but also in production since Elsie and Millie have had more of an input. Working conditions and the health and well being of their mostly female staff has worked wonders.

With the slowly changing attitudes, things do have the appearance of looking up, there is however the old fashioned attitude that is still very strong, an attitude of ” this is how things have always been” still has a firm foothold. Challenging this attitude both on the work and homelife front is something that will be a strength of will.

This is a wonderful historical fiction that I adored, as I mentioned this is a continuation and it was great to catch up with the girls and their families. The author really does encompass so many things in the time of the setting. Hints and nudges towards working condition, family life, status, a little of the politics and of course it is all wrapped up in a wonderful story.

the author never makes things easy for her characters, or for that matter her readers as she does put us all through the wringer. I did find this book angered me a lot as the attitudes of the time and of particular characters are so bloody-minded and it is the strength of the writing that brings out the feelings.

A superb read as always from a fabulous author. If you are a fan of historical fiction, sagas and family dramas from a time gone by then you are going to get on so well with this author. I would definitely recommend this book.

About the Author…

Born the thirteenth child of fifteen to a middle-class mother and an East End barrow boy, Mary Wood’s family was poor, but rich in love. Mary raised four children and has numerous grandchildren, step-grandchildren and great-grandchildren.


An avid reader, she first put pen to paper in 1989 and is now a full-time novelist. She is the bestselling author of
numerous books, including The Abandoned Daughter and The Brave Daughters.

Check out the other stops on the Blog Tour…

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How To Betray Your Country by James Wolff #JamesWolff @RandomTTours @bitterlemonpub #thriller #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review for How To Betray Your Country by James Wolff. This is the 2nd book in the trilogy and it does work well as a stand alone.

My huge thanks to Anne at Random Things Tours for my spot on the Blog Tour and for arranging my copy of this thriller book.

Following on from the acclaimed debut novel Beside the Syrian Sea, this is the second title in a planned trilogy about loyalty and betrayal in the modern world.


An authentic thriller about the thin line between following your conscience and following orders. James Wolff is the pseudonym of a young English novelist who “has been working for the British government for the last ten years”.


Things are looking bad for disgraced spy August Drummond. In emotional free fall after the death of
his wife, fired for a series of security breaches… and now his neighbor on the flight to Istanbul won’t
stop talking. The only thing keeping August sane is the hunch that there’s something not quite right
about the nervous young man several rows ahead – a hunch confirmed when August watches him
throw away directions to a European cemetery seconds before being detained by Turkish police. A
reckless August decides to go to the cemetery, where he meets a mysterious figure from the dark
heart of the Islamic State and quickly finds himself drawn into a shadowy plot to murder an Iranian
scientist in Istanbul.


But nothing is what it seems, and before long August realizes he has gone too far to turn back. As he
struggles to break free from the clutches of Islamic State and play off British intelligence against their
Turkish counterparts, he will find his resourcefulness, ingenuity and courage tested to the very limit of
what he can endure.

My Review…

The synopsis for this book is a good length so it does go into depth. This is the second book in the trilogy, and I do think I would have benefited from reading the first book. The first book would have given me an idea of what happened to August Drummond and what caused his decline. It is however mentioned in this second book.

This is a story that is slower-paced than I am used to with a spy thriller style. I found this novel to be a spy thriller but it is more about looking at what’s happening with August. So, while he is working and trying to discover plots the reader also joins him in his psychological journey.

August is a man who is very definitely struggling with grief, he has problems with his drinking and his general appearance. The author has portrayed him as a very sad and lonely person who is just hanging in there, trying to do his job and who is really on the edge. He is a character who I really felt for as he struggles with life and keeping in the loop with his work.

For me, this was more about August rather than the spy and espionage part, although that was very good indeed. It is a story that at first had me confused as I tried to work out the basics and then to get my head around the plot that is constantly evolving, I do feel for poor August in this respect!

Even though I did take longer reading this, I was so glad I persevered as things gradually started to come together, I found myself caring about what happened to August and also one of the other characters, Yousef. There are two different styles to this story, one is the story itself and the other is a series of reports and documents. These threw me initially and it was further into the story where I started to realise the significance of them.

This is a book that does fall into the spy thriller genre, its slower pace and the psychological side may throw readers if they are looking for a more general fast-paced story. I enjoyed this book and I did like the journey, it is one I would recommend.

About the Author…

James Wolff is an exciting new voice in literary thriller writing. He grew up in the Middle East and now lives in London. He has worked for the British government for the past ten years.

Check out the other stops on the Blog Tour…

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

The Fall of Koli by M.R. Carey @michaelcarey191 @Tr4cyF3nt0n #compulsivereaders @orbitbooks #fantasy #dystopian #bookreview

I am absolutely delighted to share my review today for The Fall of Koli by M.R. Carey. I am also gutted that this is the final book in The Rampart Trilogy.

My huge thanks to Tracy at Compulsive Readers for my spot on the Blog Tour and for arranging my book with the publisher Orbit Books.

The Fall of Koli is the third and final novel in the breathtakingly original Rampart trilogy – set in a strange and deadly world of our own making.

The world that is lost will come back to haunt us . . .

Koli has come a long way since being exiled from his small village of Mythen Rood. In his search for the fabled tech of the old times, he knew he’d be battling strange, terrible beasts and trees that move as fast as whips. But he has already encountered so much more than he bargained for.

Now that Koli and his companions have found the source of the signal they’ve been following – the mysterious “Sword of Albion” – there is hope that their perilous journey will finally be worth something.

Until they unearth terrifying truths about an ancient war . . . and realise that it may have never ended.

My Review…


The Fall of Koli is the final book in the trilogy and as much as I was eager to read it there is also a sadness knowing this is it.

Having previously read and loved the first two books I didn’t even think about reading the synopsis before I began. The title gives an indication that the story is coming to an end, but how that end is arrived at was something that I was strangely nervous about.

If you have read the previous books then you know that this is set in the future, it has several characters that join the main character Koli. Koli is an exile from his village and has to survive the wilderness. Not your average forest, this one has trees and plants that are as fierce and carnivorous as wild animals.

While Koli is making his journey, the village he has left behind has not been forgotten by the author. Spinner’s character is used skillfully to keep the reader up to date with what is happening in Mythen Rood.

The world the author has created is one that is full of awe, wonder and danger. Old technology is prized, even more so if it still works. One piece of tech is Monono. There are also weapons and medical equipment.

The final book sees the author filling in gaps, linking stories and also going back to finally give the reader the full picture. Explanations about some of the tech, what a strange signal is and also to give such a wonderful conclusion.

I am aware that this review may be vague, but if you have not read the previous books then there should be no spoilers.

M.R. Carey has created a world of characters having adventures that I adored. Each book has been an addictive read, from building blocks of the first book, through to more explanations and travels in the second until the final stunning conclusion of the final one.

An absolutely amazing trilogy from start to finish and it is one I would very absolutely recommend to those who like dystopian and fantasy genres.

About the Author…

M.R. Carey

Mike Carey is the acclaimed writer of Lucifer and Hellblazer (now filmed as Constantine). He has recently completed a comics adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere, and is the current writer on Marvel’s X-Men and Ultimate Fantastic Four. He has also written the screenplay for a movie, Frost Flowers, which is soon to be produced by Hadaly Films and Bluestar Pictures.

Also writes as Mike Carey 

Check put the other stops on the Blog Tour…

Here are all three books in all of their gorgeous-ness

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

The Jam Factory Girls by Mary Wood @Authormary @panmacmillan #hist/fic #saga #bookreview

I am absolutely delighted to share my review today for The Jam Factory Girls by Mary Wood. I was so surprised and absolutely delighted when a copy of this book landed on my doormat, so my huge thanks to Pan Macmillan for my amazing book post.

Any regular visitors to my blog may be aware that I am a big fan of Mary’s work, she also writes under the pseudonym Maggie Mason. This author definitely knows how to write a saga, so if you love your historical fiction then you need to check out some of her books.

Let’s look at the first in this new trilogy by Mary…

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The Jam Factory Girls is an uplifting and emotional novel of friendship set in the heart of pre-WWI London from bestselling author, Mary Wood.

Life for Elsie is difficult as she struggles to cope with her alcoholic mother. Caring for her siblings and working long hours at Swift’s Jam Factory in London’s Bermondsey is exhausting. Thankfully her lifelong friendship with Dot helps to smooth over life’s rough edges.

When Elsie and Dot meet Millie Swift, they are nervous to be in the presence of the bosses’ daughter. Over time, they are surprised to feel so drawn to her, but should two East End girls be socializing in such circles?

When disaster strikes, it binds the women in ways they could never imagine. Long-held secrets are revealed that could change all their lives…

Purchase from Amazon UK – Mary’s book are very accessible and you usually see them in the supermarket and you can of course order them from your local book seller.

My Review…

It is always an absolute treat to read a book by this author, especially when I get to read the first book in a new trilogy. The Jam Factory Girls is the first in this new trilogy and it is a wonderful book from start to finish.

This book introduces two Eastend girls Elsie and Dot, and also the Jam factory owners daughter Millie. An unlikely friendship blooms between these girls, they just get on so well. Millie’s friendship would be looked down upon by her parents just as the girls’ friendship with Millies would be. In an era when social classes are still very evident, and classes should not mix it is an unusual relationship, to say the least.

For me, Elsie was the main character of the three and her story is told more so than the others, but the author knows how to weave a tale that involves the three. Hardship, poor working conditions and living conditions are described and show that even when times are tough, there are always those that are in a worse condition.

The over-riding feeling through this book is one of friendship, loyalty and wanting to do the right thing. Not always easy when a good deed can be seen as charity and pride is a priority. The story tells of not just the friendship between the girls but also includes the going on in the factory, the rise of women calling for their own rights in the workforce.

This is an absolutely fabulous book and one that I adored. The author has once again transported me back in time and delivered such a heartbreaking at times story, but one that also injects hope for the future into it. If you are a fan of sagas and historical fiction then this is a book that is definitely one that should be on your list. If you have read any of this author’s books then you know you are going to be in for a wonderful read. The Jam Factory Girls is a book I would definitely recommend. 

About the Author…

Mary Wood

Born in Maidstone, Kent, in 1945, the thirteenth child of fifteen children, Mary’s family settled in Leicestershire after the war ended.

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 Facebook page. http://www.facebook.com/HistoricalNovels
And on her web page: http://www.authormarywood.com
She is also on Twitter: @Authormary

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

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

The Mist by Ragnar Jónasson , Andreas Jäger (Translator), Victoria Cribb (Translator) #IcelandicNoir #crime #trilogy #bookreview

I am delighted to be sharing my review today for The Mist by Ragnar Jónasson. This is the final book in the Hidden Iceland Trilogy and I am absolutely gutted to have come to the end of it. This has been such a brilliant literary journey.

Here is more about the final instalment…

1987. An isolated farm house in the east of Iceland.

The snowstorm should have shut everybody out. But it didn’t.

The couple should never have let him in. But they did.

An unexpected guest, a liar, a killer. Not all will survive the night. And Detective Hulda will be haunted forever. 

My Review…

This is sadly the final book in the Hidden Iceland Trilogy. This has been an absolute corker of a series and it has been set out very differently. The series runs back in time, so the first book is set in the present, and the final book set back in time. Running the series this way gives the reader a chance to experience a character from a slightly different perspective. I would advise reading them in the order they are meant to be and the way they have been published.

The main character is Hulda Hermannsdottir, a Detective. Her husband is Jon and they have a daughter Dimma. Family life is strained especially in the run up to Christmas. Hulda is called to a crime scene and then the story goes back in time to just before the events.

I really like the way the author has laid this series and especially this story out. If you are after blood and guts then you are not going to get it. This is a wonderful example of Icelandic noir, its atmospheric, has flawed characters and has a bleakness to it that adds to the overall subtle sense of suspense.

It is in a small part a police procedural, but this is not the main concept of the story. The author gradually builds up a scene, adds characters, develops them, adds a little tweak to them and then develops and adds more as the story progresses. I really enjoy this style and I have to say this author does this so well. The story is more about the interaction of the characters, there are not many but the author uses them so well. He drops links that I didn’t expect and it all works so very well.

The flow is quiet, patient and yet totally gripping from the first few pages. The series has been a wonderful journey and I have absolutely l loved each one. They do have an emotional side to them, not the gushy sort but a more heartbreaking sort, although the first book did have me blubbering.

This is a trilogy that fans of noir, crime, mystery and human relationships and interaction would love. I thought all three books were excellent and I would definitely recommend them all.

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

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 Trials of Koli by M.R. Carey @michaelcarey191 @OrbitBooks #TheTrialsOfKoli @Tr4cyF3nt0n #CompulsiveReaders #Bookreview

I am absolutely delighted to be able to share my review today for The Trials of Koli by M.R. Carey.

My huge thanks to Tracy at Compulsive Readers for my spot on the tour and for arranging my gorgeous copy of this second book in the trilogy.

This is a fabulous trilogy and yes you really should read them in order, it is a trilogy and therefore the first book is the start of the story, this book is the middle and the next is the end – makes sense to read them all doesn’t it? 😉

Let me show you what The Trials of Koli is about…

Synopsis…

The Trials of Koli is the second novel in M R. Carey’s breathtakingly original Rampart trilogy, set in a strange and deadly world of our own making.

Beyond the walls of Koli’s small village lies a fearsome landscape filled with choker trees, vicious beasts and shunned men. As an exile, Koli’s been forced to journey out into this mysterious, hostile world. But he heard a story, once. A story about lost London, and the mysterious tech of the Old Times that may still be there. If Koli can find it, there may still be a way for him to redeem himself – by saving what’s left of humankind.

Get your copy HERE (this is an affiliate link)

My Review…

I have been looking forward to reading this second book in the Rampart Trilogy. It continues the story of Koli as he makes his way towards a radio signal in London. His travelling companions are Ursual and Cup and together they make their way through the wilds, try to avoid others and also survive the danger in the world that the author has created.

The story flits back and forth between Koli as he journeys towards London and also of Spinner. Spinner is back home and this is where the author quickly recaps the first book but from Spinner’s viewpoint. It also continues her story and the villagers after Koli’s disgrace and departure. I like this as it keeps the reader in touch with what happens at home while Koli is away.

I thought the first book was great and while it did have that first book in a series feel it was still addictive. This second in the trilogy is absolutely brilliant and I adored it. I slowed my reading down for this book so I could savour the story. It is a story that is full of hidden dangers and of how society is surviving in an uncertain future in small pockets and communities.

The author paints a vivid picture of a future that still has everyday problems but also a future that has very little technology. The tech that is still in use is highly prized and gives the user a certain status. It is this tech that not only helps but also adds danger to having it as there is always those that want what they haven’t got.

Over the generations, stories have been passed down of what was but it is what is happening now that has people dealing with new challenges. I like the way the author has simplified some of the words that are used, it gives more of an innocence to the characters and it didn’t take me long to fall back into their speech and way of talking.

I absolutely adored this book and it is with great anticipation that I look forward to the next book, but also sad that it is the final one in the trilogy. A brilliant book and one that I would definitely recommend.

Check out the other stops on the Blog Tour…

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

The City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty #20booksofsummer #fantasyfiction #bookreview

Catching up with the reviews for the books I chose for the #20booksofsummer #readingchallenge I have for you The City of Brass by S. A. Chakraborty and it is an amazing book.

SYNOPSIS

Step into The City of Brass, the spellbinding debut from S. A. Chakraborty—an imaginative alchemy of The Golem and the Jinni, The Grace of Kings, and One Thousand and One Nights, in which the future of a magical Middle Eastern kingdom rests in the hands of a clever and defiant young con artist with miraculous healing gifts

Nahri has never believed in magic. Certainly, she has power; on the streets of 18th century Cairo, she’s a con woman of unsurpassed talent. But she knows better than anyone that the trade she uses to get by—palm readings, zars, healings—are all tricks, sleights of hand, learned skills; a means to the delightful end of swindling Ottoman nobles. 

But when Nahri accidentally summons an equally sly, darkly mysterious djinn warrior to her side during one of her cons, she’s forced to accept that the magical world she thought only existed in childhood stories is real. For the warrior tells her a new tale: across hot, windswept sands teeming with creatures of fire, and rivers where the mythical marid sleep; past ruins of once-magnificent human metropolises, and mountains where the circling hawks are not what they seem, lies Daevabad, the legendary city of brass, a city to which Nahri is irrevocably bound. 

In that city, behind gilded brass walls laced with enchantments, behind the six gates of the six djinn tribes, old resentments are simmering. And when Nahri decides to enter this world, she learns that true power is fierce and brutal. That magic cannot shield her from the dangerous web of court politics. That even the cleverest of schemes can have deadly consequences. 

After all, there is a reason they say be careful what you wish for . . . 

Purchase from Amazon UK – KindlePaperbackHardbackAudio ( these are affiliate links)

My Review

Wow what and adventure this was as I was transported across deserts into a magical land/ A land full of danger, lies, deceit and revenge. The synopsis gives a very good indication as to what this book is about and I thought it was brilliant.

The author had me hooked within a few pages of this book and kept me captivated till the end. It is the first book in the trilogy and as such there is some scene setting, and getting to know the characters, the history and the like bit it was done in such an interesting way and not once did I feel that I was bogged down.

There are a few characters to get to know, these are introduced gradually and so it was easier to remember who was who. As for what part each of the characters holds or their viewpoint, well that is another thing entirely. This is a story where control and power is at the heart of the decisions made by those higher up the ladder. Keeping people under control and therefore more compliant is easier than a riotous mob.

There are some characters that have a prominent position, such as Nahri, she is responsible for summoning a warrior, Dara, he is her bodyguard and it is he that is responsible for starting to explain about a world she was not aware of.

This is a cracking read and one that I adored. It has a whole load of good stuff in it and if you like speculative fiction and fantasy then you need to have a look at this. Warriors, old rivalries. secrets, magic, mistrust, deception are just the tip of the iceberg in this story and it is one I would definitely recommend.

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

The Vagabond King by Jodie Bond @jodierbond @annecater #RandomThingsTours #TheVagabondKing #fantasy #Bookreview

I am delighted to share my thoughts on The Vagabond d King by Jodie Bond. My huge thanks to Anne at Random Things Tours for my spot on the Blog Tour and also for arranging my copy of this brilliant book.

I am so excited about this book and I am delighted that it is the first in a planned trilogy! 🙂

Let me show you what it is all about…

Threon, the Vagabond King, is torn from a life in the palace by raiders and forced to scrape a living on the streets of a foreign land. Meeting a witch from distant mountains, a rebel soldier and a woman cursed by a god, he seeks retribution through a quest to reclaim his home and throne. Together they rekindle old allegiances, face an immortal army and learn to trust one another. But when the gods begin to interfere with their plans, is it a curse or a blessing?

When soldiers raid the city and kill the King and Queen, their son Prince Threon finds an unlikely ally who rescues him. Threon then spends the next few years in exile, living as a beggar and a wanderer and being given the title of The Vagabond King. Unlikely allies are going to be important to Threon as he gradually makes his way back to his old home. The road is fraught with danger as it is not only people, but also gods who have a hand in what happens on the earth.

This is a fabulous fantasy read and one that I thoroughly enjoyed. I liked the way this story played out and the author did a cracking job of explaining the various different people and where they are on the power ladder.

Power is a very sought after commodity in this story. From the powerless slaves who are forced to work in the mines, to the power hungry gods who are trying to gain overall control of the world below.

With fantasy stories there are some things I like to see, the first is pronounceable names, I like a story line that is not too complex, I like corruption and power struggles and then I like a good under dog, a few battles, some uncertainty and a bit of magical influence, okay maybe a bit more than a few things! This book had all these things and and more, they are wonderfully wrapped and entwined into a fabulous story-line that was very addictive indeed.

The story-line follows some wonderful characters who are very memorable for various reasons. One of my favourite characters was Savanta who was pulled into the story in a very harsh way, also Azzania with her powers, that were a little different and well thought out by the author. Threon is however the main focus of the story, but these other characters definitely have a role to play as the intensity increases throughout the book to a climatic ending.

There are some wonderful descriptions and some vivid imagery within the story. This is great for me as a reader because it makes it so much easier to see the world the author has created. As well as the scenery, a lot of thought has gone into the structure of the societies and also of the religion, I liked having three gods, though the focus is on two.

The author brought this first in the trilogy to a very climatic ending with just the slightest hint of something to come in the next book. This was a really good book and when I began it I didn’t realise it was part of a planned trilogy until I had finished it.

A fabulous read with characters that are memorable and that I cared about, a pace and flow that felt right and gradually built as the story progressed, basically a cracking read that when I wasn’t reading, had me itching to pick it up again. The Vagabond King is one that I would definitely recommend.

Jodie Bond comes from a family of gin makers in the mountains of north Wales. She works in marketing and performs as a burlesque artist. She had an unconventional childhood, dividing her time between a quiet life on her mother’s farm and her father’s home which was infamous for holding some of the UK’s biggest raves in the 90s.

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Blackpool’s Angel by Maggie Mason @AuthorMary #Bookreview

I am delighted to share my thoughts today for Blackpool’s Angel by Maggie Mason. I love this authors books so much and if you love historical fiction then you will love her books. Mary Wood writes as Maggie Mason so do check her out as her books are brilliant.

Let me show you what Blackpool’s Angel is all about…

Blackpool, 1893

Tilly has come a long way from the run-down tenements in which she grew up. She has a small but comfortable home, a loving, handsome husband, two beautiful little’uns – Babs and Beth – and she earns herself a little money weaving wicker baskets. Life is good.

Until the day Tilly returns home to find a policeman standing on her doorstep. Her Arthur won’t be coming home tonight – nor any night – having fallen to his death whilst working on Blackpool tower. Suddenly Tilly is her daughters’ sole protector, and she’s never felt more alone.

With the threat of destitution nipping at their heels, Tilly struggles to make ends meet and keep a roof over her girls’ heads. In a town run by men Tilly has to ask herself what she’s willing to do to keep her family together and safe – and will it be enough?

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

Maggie Mason you have done it again! Every book I have read by this author has been a absolute pleasure to read. Whether writing as Mary Wood or Maggie Mason I know I am in for a wonderful read.

Blackpool’s Angel is the first book in the planned Sandgronians trilogy and Wow what a start it was. This is the story of Tilly, born and bred in Blackpool and mother to twins and very happily married until a change in circumstances see’s her put out of her home.

Poor Tilly just seems to attract the wrong sort of attention. She is taken advantage of and ends up on the wrong foot time after time. My heart really went out to this character and also I really wanted to give her a shake and tell her to wise up. I do however understand how she acted. She did posses an inner strength that she herself was not aware of.

Tilly as I have mentioned has a real tough time of it, and I am desperate to shout about all the things I loved about this book, but in doing that I will let out spoilers. But things get bad for her to say the least and she finds herself in some very serious situations that as tough as they are actually give her the kick up the rear she needs. Tilly is a character who had to hit rock bottom before she could then see a back up again. What a drop it was though, my emotions went through the wringer once again as I followed our heroine.

I have never been to Blackpool, but the author does a great job with her descriptions and imagery in her writing that I can imagine the sights, sounds and smells of the era she sets her books in. I am really looking forward to reading the following books in the trilogy. The author knows Blackpool and this shows in her writing, she also researches for her books and this adds a realism to her stories in a historical fiction sense that is. The history of Blackpool and of the conditions of those living and working in the area before the Golden Mile was wonderful. A little snapshot back in time to an era of excitement for its visitors but of extreme hardship for its residents.

This is a tale that revolves around Tilly, her lifestyle and the lifestyles of the various people she meets. It has the atmosphere of despair as she loses what she values most and yet there is a hope that balances things out. This is a must read for fans of historical fiction and I would absolutely recommend it. If you have not yet read anything by this author before then may I suggest picking up this one as it s the start to a new series. I know that you will then want to check out her other books.

In case you had not realised I loved this book, I am a huge fan of this author and obviously I Highly Recommend Blackpool’s Angel 🙂


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