Sunday, 26 November 2017

#bookreview ~ Conquest: Daughter of the Last King #HistFic #Norman #Wales @TraceyWarr1

Conquest:
 Daughter of the Last King
By Tracey Warr

 

1093

The three sons of William the Conqueror – Robert Duke of Normandy, William II King of England and Count Henry – fight with each other for control of the Anglo-Norman kingdom created by their father’s conquest.

Meanwhile, Nest ferch Rhys, the daughter of the last independent Welsh king, is captured during the Norman assault of her lands. Raised with her captors, the powerful Montgommery family, Nest is educated to be the wife of Arnulf of Montgommery, in spite of her pre-existing betrothal to a Welsh prince.

Who will Nest marry and can the Welsh rebels oust the Normans?

Daughter of the Last King is the first in the Conquest Trilogy.


What did I think of the book?


The Norman invasion did not stop at Hastings.
It was where it began...

Nest Ferch Rhys, daughter of the King of Deheubart, has a future to look forward to. She is betrothed to Prince Owain ap Cadwgan, and one day, when she is all grown up, her husband will be the King of Powys.

But then the soldiers came.

They slaughter her kin and take her to Cardiff Castle as their special guest. Now she has to pretend gratitude towards people that she hates and she has to find the courage to live and prosper under the watchful eyes of the enemy.

Conquest: Daughter of the Last King by Tracey Warr is a compelling tale and a realistic account of what life was like for a Welsh King's daughter, in a Norman court, in the 11th Century.  This book is rich with historical detail, it is very obvious that Ms. Warr has spent a great many hours in researching this fascinating era. The story itself was refreshing, and the writing was very elegant. This is certainly a sit-down-and-finish book.

I adored the characterisation of Nest. She is a brave and courageous heroine who I came to adore. My heart broke for her when she was so cruelly snatched away from her family, but despite it all, she manages to keep hold of her dignity and grace. She is treated very much as a pawn by the Normans — I am not going to give away any spoilers, but I will say that how some of these powerful men treated her was nothing short of appalling. But she kept her head held high and her dignity intact.

Conquest: Daughter of the Last King is a very well written book and one I certainly enjoyed.

I Highly Recommend.

* I received a copy of this book, from the publishers, for review consideration.*

Links for Purchase

About the author
Tracey Warr's historical novels, Almodis the Peaceweaver, The Viking Hostage, Conquest: Daughter of the Last King, and Conquest: The Drowned Court are published by Impress Books, and based on incidents in the lives of real medieval people. Her writing awards include Author’s Foundation Award, Literature Wales Writer’s Bursary, Rome Film Festival Book Initiative, Santander Research Award, and the Impress Prize for Fiction shortlist.

Her future fiction novella, Meanda, is published as an ebook in English and French.

She also writes on contemporary art and is the editor of The Artist’s Body (Phaidon) and co-editor of Setting the Fell on Fire (Editions North) and Remote Performances in Nature and Architecture (Routledge). Her essays on contemporary artists have been published by Black Dog, Palgrave Macmillan, Merrell/Barbican, Tate, Manchester University Press and Intellect.

She writes articles and reviews for Times Higher Education, Historical Novels Review and The Displaced Nation.

Before becoming a full-time writer she was Senior Lecturer in Contemporary Art at Oxford Brookes University and Dartington College of Arts, and Guest Professor at Bauhaus University, Weimar and Piet Zwart Institute, Rotterdam. She is currently teaching art history for St Francis University’s Study Abroad programme in Ambialet, France.

She is a member of the Society of Authors and the Historical Novel Society. 

Connect with Tracey…



Monday, 20 November 2017

#BookReview ~ A Family At War #WW2 #History #memoirs @berylkingston

A Family At War
By Beryl Kingston


This is a story for people who want to know what it was really like to be a child during the war and in the London Blitz. But it will also interest people who can't understand how anyone would want to deliberately hurt a child or an animal, since at its centre is a closely observed character study of an abuser, cruelty, selfishness, bravery under fire, fantasy world and all.


What did I think of the book?

It was hard growing up while bombs dropped from the sky. It was even harder to do so without a mother's love.

A Family at War by Beryl Kingston is one of those books, that after reading, I found myself pausing and giving myself time to digest what I had just read. A Family at War is a heartbreakingly true story about a child who is absolutely desperate for her mother's love. But instead of love and security and everything a mother should give, Beryl is subjected to terrible emotional and physical abuse from her very mentally unstable mother. But despite that, she tries so hard to please this unpleasable woman. No matter what Beryl does, it is never good enough, and many times she is physically reprimanded for doing absolutely nothing wrong.

This book is a very honest account of her very complicated family dynamics growing up. Everyone was scared of her mother, including her father and her gran. Beryl had no one to stand up for her, and that is what really broke my heart. All I can say is thank goodness for Roy. He was a beacon of light, and I can understand why Beryl fell in love with him.

I have to talk about the writing of this book. It was sublime. I have read a fair few autobiographies, but this one is something very special. It is certainly on par with Frank McCourt's, Angela's Ashes.  What I thought was amazing about the writing was how it reflected the age of the child. This is incredibly difficult to do well, but Ms Kingston nailed it. Kudos, Ms. Kingston.

Ms. Kingston grew up during the blitz, and anyone who is looking for a book that demonstrated the horror of the blitz, through the eyes of a child, will certainly take a lot away from this book.

I could go on and on about this book. It was truly wonderful.

I Highly Recommend.



Links to Purchase




About the author

I was born in 1931 in Tooting, and when I was four was enrolled at a local dancing school run by a lady called Madam Hadley, which I attended until I was eight when the war began. Because of the war my school career was – shall we say – varied. I was evacuated twice, the first time to Felpham which is near Bognor Regis and the second to Harpenden in Hertfordshire, and consequently went to ten different schools. I ended up at Streatham Secondary School, an LCC grammar run on the Dalton system, which offered a few lessons as sparking points and then required pupils to be responsible for their own learning, either in study rooms with their teachers on hand to help and advise, or on their own in the library or the school hall. It suited me to a T. Then to King’s College London, where I read English and enjoyed myself a lot, but wasn’t particularly distinguished, having other things on my mind by then...

Sunday, 12 November 2017

#BookReivew ~ The Death Of The Miller's Son: Marcus I #historicalfantasy @AnnaGabbyMGD

The Death Of The Miller’s Son: Marcus I

By M.G.D.

Marcus, a young slave, saves a king and embarks on a new life.

*

What did I think of the book?

"I want you to kill the King..."

Taken as a slave at the tender age of five, Marcus — the Miller's son — knows more than most eight-year-olds about cruelty and death. As a slave, he has no choice but to do as he is told. But Marcus is no murderer, and although he has heard terrible things about King Halcome, he will not kill him.


With an astonishing act of bravery, Marcus defies his master, and in doing so, he changes his destiny forever...


Oh, Boy!! What a journey author M.G.D has just taken me on! The Death Of The Miller's Son: Marcus I by M.G.D is an action-packed adventure about warring factions in a fictional historical kingdom. On one side there is the evil and power obsessed Prescott, and on the other, there is King Halcome. Our young hero, Marcus, finds himself stuck in the middle.


This book has a very slow and somewhat confusing start, but you really need to stick with it because once Marcus saves the King, the storytelling is sublime. I had a job to put this book down. It was a very compelling read. I grew to care very much about the characters, especially for Jonathan and Eron, I thought M.G.D did an amazing job of portraying these two in particular. I grew very fond of Marcus, as he struggled to understand what was happening to him. He knows how to be a slave, but he doesn't know how to be a child, or a son for that matter. This pulled at my heartstrings. Beautiful, beautiful, storytelling.


M.G.D. certainly knows how to build up tension in her story — who is friend and who is foe?  There is betrayal and courageous acts of loyalty. It is also a story of discovery  —what makes Marcus, the Miller's son, so special?


I really enjoyed this book and it is a story that I will come back to.


I Highly Recommend.

Links for Purchase

Amazon US  Amazon UK

 

About the author

M.G.D the author of Recipe For A Ghost, Hallowed Springs, and others, now brings readers to the world of Marcus. Born in Southern Indiana. A coffee drinker by day and an author by night. M.G.D lives for family, little pug dogs, and a desire to enwrap the reader in worlds of epic wonder. Launching a career in writing in 2014, M.G.D strives for literary excellence in the school of outstanding authors, such as C. S. Lewis and J.R.R Tolkien.

 

 



Friday, 10 November 2017

#BookReview ~ The Soldier’s Return (Heaven's Pond Trilogy) #German #HistFic @LauraLibricz

The Soldier’s Return

(Book #2 Heaven’s Pond Trilogy)

By Laura Libricz


The year is 1626. A senseless war rips through parts of Germany. Ongoing animosity between the Catholics and the Protestants has turned into an excuse to destroy much of the landscape situated between France, Italy and Denmark. But religion only plays a minor role in this lucrative business of war.

The young dutchman, Pieter van Diemen, returns to Amsterdam in chains after a period of imprisonment in the Spice Islands. He manages to escape but must leave Amsterdam in a hurry. Soldiers are in demand in Germany and he decides to travel with a regiment until he can desert. His hope of survival is to reach Sichardtshof, the farm in Franconia, Germany; the farm he left ten years ago. His desire to seek refuge with them lies in his fond memories of the maid Katarina and her master, the humanist patrician Herr Tucher. But ten years is a long time and the farm has changed. Franconia is not only torn by war but falling victim to a church-driven witch hunt. The Jesuit priest, Ralf, has his sights set on Sichardtshof as well. Ralf believes that ridding the area of evil will be his saving grace. Can Pieter, Katarina and Herr Tucher unite to fight against a senseless war out of control?

 

What did I think of the book?

When Laura Libricz approached me and asked if I would like to read an ARC of The Soldier’s Return ~ Book #2 of Heaven's Pond Trilogy, I jumped at the chance. I so enjoyed book #1 that I could not wait to head back to this fascinating time in German history.

The period that Ms. Libricz writes about is one not often seen in historical fiction but it was a very compelling and bloodthirsty era, and The Soldier's Return reflects this. This book is not for the faint-hearted, there are multiple rapes and savage torture, which some readers may find upsetting, but it added to the realism of the time.

As before, I loved the portrayal of Katarina. She suffers the most horrendous abuse, not only by the hands of soldiers but also by the man who professes to love her. When she needs him the most, he isn't there.

Once again we meet the vile priest, Ralf. He is just as disgustingly evil as he was in the first book. He looks for evil and is determined to find it, even if that means forcing confessions from the innocent. His actions are deplorable. I do not think I have ever hated an antagonist, quite so much.

The writing, as expected, was elegant and engaging. The story itself had a good pace to it, and it kept me turning those pages. I am eagerly waiting for the conclusion of this trilogy.


Links for Purchase

Amazon US  Amazon UK


About the author

Laura Libricz was born and raised in Bethlehem PA and moved to Upstate New York when she was 22. After working a few years building Steinberger guitars, she received a scholarship to go to college. She tried to 'do the right thing' and study something useful, but spent all her time reading German literature.

She earned a BA in German at The College of New Paltz, NY in 1991 and moved to Germany, where she resides today. When she isn't writing she can be found sifting through city archives, picking through castle ruins or aiding the steady flood of musical instruments into the world market.

Her first novel, The Master and the Maid, is the first book of the Heaven's Pond Trilogy. The Soldier's Return and Ash and Rubble are the second and third books in the series.
Connect with Laura…


 

 

 


 

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

#bookreview ~ Forgotten Places #Australia #HistFic @JohannaCraven

Forgotten Places
 by Johanna Craven


Van Diemen's Land, Australia. 1833

English settler Grace Ashwell flees an abusive lover in Hobart Town, with six-year-old Violet in tow. In her head, escape is easy: find work in the northern settlements and earn enough for passage home to London. But the terrain beyond the settled districts is wilder than Grace could ever have imagined. She and Violet find themselves lost in a beautiful but deadly land where rain thunders down the sides of mountains, the earth drops away without warning and night brings impenetrable darkness.

Deep in the wilderness, they find a crude hut inhabited by Alexander Dalton, an escaped convict long presumed dead. Hiding from civilisation in an attempt to forget his horrifying past, Alexander struggles to let Grace into his world.

When Violet disappears, Grace's fragile trust in Alexander is put to the test. And while she searches for answers, he will do anything to keep his secrets inside.

Inspired by the true story of the Macquarie Harbour bolters; one of the most horrifying events from Colonial Australia's bloody history.


What did I think of the book?

Is it possible to come back from Hell and start again?

Travelling to Australia was meant to be a grand adventure, but Australia is nothing what Grace Ashwell imagined it to be. Instead of an adventure, it becomes her worst nightmare.

Alexander Dalton had no choice about coming to Australia, but when the opportunity arose he escaped his bondage, and for the last eleven years he has hidden in the forest. The last thing he wants is a woman, who is running from an abusive lover, to intrude upon his solitude.

I opened this book, read the first paragraph, and I found myself smiling because from that short excerpt I knew this book was going to be great. Oh my days, was I in for a surprise because this book wasn't great it was fantastic! Forgotten by Johanna Craven was simply unputadownable. From that first paragraph, I was drawn into this desperate story of Grace and Alexander as they struggle to survive and find a purpose to their lives in the wild and unforgiving Australian outback. The pages flew by while I lost myself in this unforgettable story. In fact, I stayed up half the night so I could finish it, there was no way I was going to put this story down, I wanted to find out how it ended!

The story is incredibly well crafted, and it kept me guessing until the end. When I thought I understood where the story was going Ms. Craven threw a massive curve ball into the plot, which left me with my mouth open in surprise! I really wasn't expecting that!

Forgotten is inspired by a true story about the Macquarie Harbour bolters and it raises some interesting questions about that time and how prisoners were treated. It really brought this era to life.

If you are a lover of historical fiction then Forgotten by Johanna Craven really should be on your To Read list!

I Highly Recommend.


Links for Purchase

About the author

Johanna Craven is an Australian-born writer of historical and new adult fiction. She is also a film composer, music teacher and pianist. She has lived in Melbourne and Los Angeles and is currently based in London.

Her more questionable hobbies include ghost hunting, meditative dance and pretending to be a competitor on The Amazing Race when travelling abroad. 


Useful Links

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

#NEWRELEASE ~ The Du Lac Princess #Arthurian #HistFic #ASMSG

The Du Lac Princess
(Book 3 of The Du Lac Chronicles)
By Mary Anne Yarde


The multi award-winning series, The Du Lac Chronicles, continues…

War is coming…

The ink has dried on Amandine’s death warrant. Her crime? She is a du Lac.

All that stands in the way of a grisly death on a pyre is the King of Brittany. However, King Philippe is a fickle friend, and if her death is profitable to him, then she has no doubt that he would light the pyre himself.

Alan, the only man Amandine trusts, has a secret and must make an impossible choice, which could have far-reaching consequences — not only for Amandine, but for the whole of Briton.



Links for Purchase
Available on Kindle and in Paperback!


Catch up with The Du Lac Chronicles series.
Free with



About the author

Mary Anne Yarde is an award winning author of the International Best Selling Series — The Du Lac Chronicles. Set a generation after the fall of King Arthur, The Du Lac Chronicles takes you on a journey through Dark Age Briton and Brittany, where you will meet new friends and terrifying foes. Based on legends and historical fact, the Du Lac Chronicles is a series not to be missed.

Born in Bath, England, Mary Anne Yarde grew up in the southwest of England, surrounded and influenced by centuries of history and mythology. Glastonbury--the fabled Isle of Avalon--was a mere fifteen-minute drive from her home, and tales of King Arthur and his knights were part of her childhood.
Useful Links

Monday, 9 October 2017

#bookreview ~ Tabula Rasa (A Lambeth Group Thriller) @ADPase

Tabula Rasa: the end is nigh…
(A Lambeth Group Thriller)
By Gordon Bickerstaff


A hundred years ago, a wealthy family of visionaries prophesied the devastation that global warming would bring to world food supplies in the 21st century. They decided to prepare for the worst, and embark on an ambitious plan of revolution.

Lambeth Group agents, Zoe Tampsin and Gavin Shawlens, prepare to investigate the unusual death of a government defence scientist. Someone is determined to stop them before they get started. Zoe uncovers two unfamiliar words, Tabula Rasa. The only other clue is the curious behaviour of the dead scientist's son, Ramsay.

Posing as a couple, Gavin and Zoe enter the secret and dangerous world of Ramsay's aristocratic guardians, headed by philanthropist billionaire, Lord Zacchary Silsden.

What Gavin uncovers, shocks him to the bottom of his soul. Does he have the courage and the conviction to stop the greatest revolution in human history?

What Zoe discovers about Gavin—words can't describe. Zoe is faced with an impossible choice, but one thing is certain, she will not hesitate to do her duty, no matter the cost.

What did I think of the book?

What if Armageddon wasn't an act of God, but an act of man?

There is something very suspicious about the death of a renowned British Scientist. Lambeth Group agents, Zoe Tampsin is determined to find out the truth. But at what cost?

Well, Gordon Bickerstaff has done it again!

Full of intrigue and ripe with action, Tabula Rasa: The end is nigh ...  by Gordon Bickerstaff is a not to be missed read. This book is a gritty race against time story, which is simply unputdownable.

Zoe Tampsin is a female James Bond, I can think of no other way to describe her. She is tough, clever, but human. Her character came across as very real in the telling. As for the antagonists, they are a twisted bunch with a warped idea about how to save the world. Their goal is to create a new Eden, but at what cost?

The story is super fast-paced, and it certainly is a very compelling read. I really enjoyed it.

If you love high action thrillers then you can not go far wrong with  Tabula Rasa: The end is nigh.

I Highly Recommend.

Links for Purchase


About the author


I was born and raised in Glasgow but spent my student years in Edinburgh. On summer vacations, I learned plumbing, garden maintenance, and I cut the grass in the Meadows. I learned some biochemistry and taught it for a while before I retired to write fiction. I do some aspects of DIY moderately well and other aspects not so well. I live with my wife in Scotland where corrupt academics, mystery, murder and intrigue exists mostly in my mind. I have written the Gavin Shawlens series of thrillers: Deadly Secrets, Everything To Lose, The Black Fox, Toxic Minds and Tabula Rasa. More will come in due course. I enjoy walking in the hills, 60s & 70s music, reading and travel.
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