Friday, 27 April 2018

#BookReview : Mary - A Tudor Princess by Tony Riches #HistoricalFiction #Tudor #mustread @tonyriches

Mary – Tudor Princess
by Tony Riches

From the author of the international best-selling Tudor Trilogy, the true story of the Tudor dynasty continues with the daughter of King Henry VII, sister to King Henry VIII. Mary Tudor watches her elder brother become King of England and wonders what the future holds for her.

Born into great privilege, Mary has beauty and intelligence beyond her years and is the most marriageable princess in Europe. Henry plans to use her marriage to build a powerful alliance against his enemies. Will she dare risk his anger by marrying for love?

Meticulously researched and based on actual events, this 'sequel' follows Mary's story from book three of the Tudor Trilogy and is set during the reign of King Henry VIII.

What did I think of the book?

"I ask you to consent to my choice of husband, if it is God's wish that I outlive King Louis..."

Sister to the newly crowned King Henry VIII, Mary's future is assured. She is destined to marry Prince Charles of Ghent, grandson of Ferdinand II of Aragon. But unbeknown to Henry, Mary harbours a deep longing for Charles Brandon, a young knight of Henry's court. Mary understands her duty and she will marry Prince Charles. But if wishes were horses...

Being a huge fan of Tony Riches' work, I could not wait to get my hands on his latest offering. Mary - Tudor Princess, was everything I expected from Mr Riches and then some.

I was swept away by the grandeur of the English and French courts. And the scheming, manipulation, and the endless currying of favour was forever present.

Mary was a woman in a man's world, but she knew her mind, and she cleverly weaved a promise from her brother that if the worst were to happened she could choose her own husband.  And choose him she did. It was a dangerous game Mary and Charles Brandon played. To go against Henry’s orders could have meant certain death. But to deny their love would have been an even great crime.

This book was certainly a compelling read with a host of historical characters that, if you are a fan of the Tudor era, you will already know much about. Seeing the Tudor court through Mary's eyes gave a unique perspective.

A beautiful tale of a princess who knew her own heart and was courageous enough to stand up to a king.

I Highly Recommend.

Tony Riches

Tony Riches is a full-time author of best-selling historical fiction.
He lives in Pembrokeshire, West Wales and is a specialist in the fifteenth century, with a particular interest in the Wars of the Roses and the lives of the early Tudors. For more information about Tony’s other books please visit his and his popular blog, The Writing Desk and find him on Facebookand Twitter @tonyriches.

Thursday, 26 April 2018

#BookReview ~ COUNTERPOINT: Theo, Earl of Suffolk: The Lydiard Chronicles 1603-1630 by Elizabeth St. John #HistoricalFiction @ElizStJohn

 Theo, Earl of Suffolk: 
The Lydiard Chronicles 1603-1630

By Elizabeth St. John



Theo Howard, Earl of Suffolk is torn. Betrothed to a child to satisfy his family dynasty, he longs for the freedom to make his own choice. And when he attends a lavish party at his family's newly-restored palace, he is immediately attracted to Lucy, a beautiful young lavender-seller. But in this enchanted world of Shakespeare's Midsummer's Night Dream, all is not as it appears. Theo's headstrong sister Frances is determined to sabotage her own arranged marriage, and aided by the cunning of Frances and her friend Barbara St.John, perhaps Theo can find his own path to happiness and true love.

What did I think of the book?

“Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind,
And therefore is winged Cupid painted blind.”
A Midsummer Nights Dream By William Shakespeare

Duty. A word Theo Howard, Earl of Suffolk, understands all too well.  It is a good match. It is good for the family. But Theo is less than enthusiastic about being betrothed to a child that is only six years of age.

As he tries not to dwell too much on his future, he meets a young lady whose innocent is alluring, but whose quick wit hints at an intelligent mind. He cannot help but fall for her. If only....

COUNTERPOINT: Theo, Earl of Suffolk: The Lydiard Chronicles 1603-1630 by Elizabeth St. John is a short and sweet story that swept me away to another time.

With elegant prose and characters that will linger in the memory, this is a story not to be missed!

Elizabeth St. John

Elizabeth St.John was brought up in England and lives in California. To inform her writing, she has tracked down family papers and residences from Nottingham Castle, Lydiard Park, and Castle Fonmon to the Tower of London. Although the family sold a few castles and country homes along the way (it's hard to keep a good castle going these days), Elizabeth's family still occupy them - in the form of portraits, memoirs, and gardens that carry their imprint. And the occasional ghost. But that's a different story...

Elizabeth loves to hear from readers, you can find her... Website 
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#Bookreview ~ (Untamed Regency Book 3) by Jackie Williams #Regency #Romance #mustread @wackyjackyful

A Ring of Midnight Orchids:
Flowers of the Aristocracy
(Untamed Regency Book 3)
 By Jackie Williams

Who would have believed it? His lifelong friend, Lord Pierce Trenchard engaged! To none other than the lovely, but frivolous Angelique Lancer. As if hurt pride, a broken nose, and crushed hopes were not enough, the surprise announcement in the London paper almost made Lord Lucas Caruthers choke on his breakfast.

Lovely she may be, but marriage to a woman who prefers to peruse books rather than follow the hunt? Not in Pierce’s lifetime! However, with essential body parts under threat of imminent amputation, what other options does a man have? None. The Peckham Pulveriser, a notorious cheating prizefighter, breaker of the Caruthers noble nose, and brother of Angelique, is not a man one can reason with... Unless Pierce can perhaps persuade someone else to do the dreaded deed! A visit to his most stalwart friend, the recently jilted Lucas Caruthers, is clearly in order.

Lucas could barely believe his own ears! Friends they might be, but marrying his archrival’s sister was stretching the boundaries too far. Although the suggestion did throw up certain ideas. Could Pierce’s ill fortune be Lucas’ salvation? A chance to seek retribution for his own pain and ruined looks, while saving his friend from a parson’s noose? It certainly seemed an opportunity not to be missed.

But the truth about Angelique is not quite what Lucas has been led to believe. His quest for revenge reveals depths he would never have imagined, and while Pierce disappears into hiding, Lucas’ is left with the delightful tilt of a stubborn chin, a pair of deliciously determined shoulders, and the heady fragrance of Midnight Orchids playing on his mind.

And this time he concedes that, if the Pulveriser wants to fight it out, it might not be simply the Caruthers nose that is broken. 

What did I think of the book?

There is always that one friend you would do anything for. When Lord Pierce Trenchard comes knocking on Lord Lucas Caruthers door with a plea to help him escape from his impending marriage, what else could Lucas do but help him escape the parson's noose?

But what Lucas did not take into account was Lord Pierce's betrothal. He had heard of Angelique, of course. She was considered shy and had a nose constantly stuck in a book. However, there was another side to her. A side that only Lucas had seen. And it was a side of her he would very much like to know a little better...

I have really enjoyed Jackie Williams Untamed Regency series. When I heard that a new book had been released, I could not wait to get my hands on it. A Ring of Midnight Orchids: Flowers of the Aristocracy (Untamed Regency Book 3) is a tender, emotional, hysterically funny story that grabbed me from the first sentence and kept me hooked throughout the rest of the book.

I adored the characterisation of Angelique. There is so much more to her character than the shy violet that the ton gossips about. Lucas is so different to any man she has ever met. He is tender, and loving, and kind. It is no wonder she falls for him. Likewise, Lucas is a real sweetheart. A very gentle man who, despite being a prize-fighter, feels everything with his heart. He wants to give Angelique — his Angel — everything that has been denied her.

As well as being a great romance, this is one of those books where you will find yourself laughing out loud. I am not going to give away any spoilers, but there is scene which was so brilliantly executed that I am still laughing now!

Book 4 of this series cannot come fast enough. Love. Love. Love it!

Jackie Williams

I was born in Essex England during the mid sixties but I missed all the fun. Being only young, I assumed that all Beatles were six legged creatures and Flower Power was something to do with the vigorous way my mother kneaded the bread dough.

My wonderful parents brought me up with a huge love of books. We read anything and everything. Bedtime stories were a treasured time of adventure and mystery. My sister and I sat wide eyed in wonder and to this day I worry about Dinah and Dorinda being pricked with pins because they grew so fat, and I never pull faces at the a waning moon (or was it a waxing one?) just in case my chops stay that way . (The Wind On The Moon)

I began reading romance while still at school. The fuel for many a teenage fantasy leapt from between the covers of wildly romantic books and my passion still lingers now for all those dark haired heroes.

My own beautiful teenage daughter persuaded me to write my first romance. She was only fourteen at the time and between books for children and adults. She couldn't find anything that ticked all her numerous and particular boxes and so she asked me to write a book, with all the exact ingredients just for her. Though not just a book for teens, she enjoyed the resulting tale so much that she shared it with her friends and I eventually published A Perfect Summer as an ebook on amazon.

But I have discovered that writing is not easily stopped once you start. It has turned into a grand passion that I just cannot hold back. The fingertips start tapping the keys and ideas suddenly come flooding, far too many for just one book and so I began another and then another, and I am still nowhere near done.

I hope you enjoy all of my efforts and I look forward to your comments and reviews.

If you are interested in finding out more, you can see what I get up to at:

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Wednesday, 21 March 2018

#BookReview ~ The Last City: The Colony Book 2 by R.M. Gilmour #Romance #fantasy #ScienceFiction @RMGilmour

The Last City:
The Colony Book 2
By R.M. Gilmour

A battle approaches Threa - a war of wills, one driven to control it, and the other to destroy it.

While immersed in their history, Lydia learns of the overwhelming threat to the planet and its people. And even though she was brought to Threa by her soulmate Jordan, it has come to be her home. And she will not let it go.

Every day Lydia trains with Lena and Dax, but she doubts she will ever be as strong as they need her to be. She is determined however, to be strong enough, to be ready, should she ever again, be confronted by an enemy.

But what she can’t fight, are Jordan’s memories. With each step that he takes toward the past, Lydia feels him pulling away, closing himself off.

As the war rages, Lydia is determined to stay strong when her faith in Jordan is challenged. But is she strong enough to survive her own fears? Or will his ties to the past sever the unbreakable bond between them?

What did I think of the book?

"Love is not love which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove.
O no! it is an ever-fixed mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken..."
Sonnet 116 by William Shakespeare.

The world that Lydia lives in is far removed from the one she was born in. But it matters not, for her home is wherever Jordon is. And yet, the threat of war forever sits on the horizon, and Lydia must learn to battle her own ghosts if she has any chance of vanquishing her enemy. However, there is a war that she is unaware of and one she cannot fight. For this war is Jordon's and his alone. He must face it, and he must own it, or all will be lost forever.

The Colony was one of those books that wriggled into my heart and stayed there. I reviewed it back in 2016, and I still hold it up as an example of the very best in romantic fantasy. It has been a long wait for the sequel, but then some books are worth such waits.

The Last City (The Colony Book 2) by R.M. Gilmour picks up where The Colony left off, and once again I found myself immersed in this wonderful fantasy world that Ms Gilmour has created.

There are some books that leave you gasping, and for me, The Last City is such a book. The storyline is enthralling. The characters leap of the page. The love story is sublime — there is simply no other word for it. There are several antagonists, and all of them bring menace and fear into the story. The pace of the plot is perfect. There are plot twists that I did not see coming. This book also has something very rare, and that is movement. It was so easy to read it was like listening to a symphony. Everything had its proper place. Everything was well timed. Perfection.

I adored the characterisation of Lydia. But be warned, there are some very harrowing scenes in this book. I am not going to give away any spoilers, but there is one scene in particular that made me hold my breath. I wanted to look away but I couldn't. Very traumatic. Lydia deals with this trauma as anyone else would. She does not brush herself off. She doesn't forget about it and move on. Yet she finds the will not to let it consume her. And that is something that I really liked about this book. This attention to detail, this understanding of mental health made Lydia human. A very believable character. As for Jordon... Well, doesn't he have a secret that will break your heart! His compassion. His gentleness. His understanding just left me in tears. He is an exquisite character that I could not help but fall in love with. The chemistry between Lydia and Jorden is so wonderfully real that at times I actually cried.

Lena is a wonderful contrast to Lydia, she is this real tough cookie who is a warrior first and foremost, but even she has secrets. Which leads me on to the supporting cast. There is quite a big cast in the book, and they all bring to the story something unique. And as for the antagonists...  All I can say is Ms Gilmour — I did not see that coming!

The Last City is Book 2 in The Colony series. I don't usually say this, but I would not recommend starting with this one.  You can pick up the threads of the story in The Last City but seriously, start with Book 1. So much happens in The Colony that to start with Book 2 would really be a disservice to yourself.

Hand on heart, The Colony series is the best romantic fantasy series I have ever read, and I would not say that if I didn't mean it. If you are going to read only one fantasy series this year, then read this one.

R M Gilmour
R M Gilmour was born in Sydney, Australia and currently resides in sunny Florida with her two children and two cats.

Writing stories since she was a child, she has always enjoyed losing touch with reality, even if for only a short time, through either reading or writing. For many years she has played host to a never-ending stream of characters patiently waiting their turn in the spotlight, several of which refuse to let her fall asleep until that last hand-crafted sentence has been written down, lest it be forgotten. More often than not it is forgotten if not written down... all hail pen and paper!

Wednesday, 28 February 2018

#BookReview ~ Love In Modena (A Desert Love Novella) by Angelina Kalahari #Romance #NewRelease @angelinakalhari

Love In Modena (A Desert Love Novella)
By Angelina Kalahari

Love In Modena is the follow-up novella to the contemporary romance, Under A Namibian Sky.

Naomi has found her prince, her Luca, her soul mate. In Modena, she also found her place in the world with him. But she can't let go of Namibia so easily, not now she's become the new owner of Desert Lodge. She feels her duty keenly to the people there who had given their loyalty to her family over many years.

Luca, the heir apparent to the Armati supercar dynasty, perfectly understands Naomi's dilemma. Their decision to split their time between the two countries and their responsibilities seems like the perfect solution. Theirs would be a lifestyle others can only dream of.

But neither expected that their relationship would be tested to the limits by an unforeseen foe in their midst.

Can the newlyweds survive the assault? Will it stretch their young relationship to its limits? Could it make them stronger, or break them apart?

My Thoughts

Naomi and Luca have found marital bliss in Modena. Each day their love grows. They are stronger together than apart. Nothing could ever come between them... Nothing.

Under A Namibian Sky is a beautiful romance set in Africa, but when I heard the author was going to write a follow-up novella, I clapped my hands with glee. I was so looking forward to reading more about Naomi and Luca. I am glad to say that the wait was worth it. Love In Modena (A Desert Love Novella) by Angelina Kalahari, is a compelling romance and one I thoroughly enjoyed.

Often I am left with a feeling of 'what happened after' in romance books, and it was really refreshing to read a follow-up story. Things are not easy for Naomi or Luca, and the story was very compelling as well as heart-warming and romantic. Ms Kalahari's elegant use of language gave this story an almost poetic feel. I truly loved every minute of it.

I adored both Naomi and Luca in Under A Namibian Sky, and my affection for these two characters did not waver in the follow-up story. A lot happens in this book. Some new characters are introduced, and not all of them have good intentions. This drives the plot forward and left me turning those pages long after I should have called it a night!

The world that Ms Kalahari has created is both real in the telling and easy to visualise. The characters leapt off the page, and it is one of those books that I am going to come back to again and again.

Fabulous storytelling. Fabulous romance. Fabulous book.

Angelina Kalahari
Angelina Kalahari entered this life among the red dunes of Namibia’s deserts. Her first sounds merged with the power of the massive yellow moon that lit up the vast African spaces. There, where the heavens presented the splendour that the Milky Way flung across its canvas.

A nomadic childhood enchanted her, as Africa presented the raw beauty of her many faces, while Angelina’s family traversed the desert in search of crops for their herds of Karakul sheep. This fertile ambience, filled with strange legends, amazing animals, and wonderful people, afforded Angelina a unique opportunity to live in a world of wonder and to develop a deep sense of self.

Her mother loved listening to Mario Lanza and other tenors of the day. A record player and records accompanied the family on their travels, and back to their farm. The gift of this divine music found resonance within Angelina's body and called to her soul’s desire to share her voice with the world. She left her magical universe to study with other voice and performance obsessives, which resulted in degrees in drama, singing, and opera.

Angelina continued her nomadic existence as an adult, enthralling audiences with her singing, acting, and directing. These activities allowed her to visit a world far beyond her beloved Africa. She shared her talents on such diverse platforms as opening the busking scheme on London Underground, to a recital at the Royal Opera House, and everything in between.

This led to an invitation to Buckingham Palace, no less, where Angelina met Queen Elizabeth as a reward, and in recognition of her contribution to the music, culture, and economy of the United Kingdom.

Meanwhile, her fascination and obsession with the human vocal instrument grew, together with her knowledge of it. She found herself to be a teacher and sharer of the magic of the voice and performance, and she became co-founder of the North London Performance Academy.

Storytelling, which formed such a big part of her childhood, became an inherent element in her performances and continued to live in her heart. She never stopped writing down her stories. When, due to illness, it became clear that she would no longer be able to share her voice in the way she had before, writing became the obvious and perfect outlet for her creative expression.

Although she has finished many novels, plays, children’s stories, and had several articles published, The Healing Touch is her first published novel, the first in the Love Beyond Reason series. George And The Gargoyle Who Lived In The Garden, is her first middle-grade novel, again the first in a series. Her latest contemporary romance, Under A Namibian Sky, is the first in the Desert Love series.

Angelina has found a new colourful and vibrant universe in London. She now lives near a massive park, which satisfies another obsession, her awe and wonder of trees. The intoxicating world of London's artistic scene has introduced Angelina to many inspirational people who have become a close and integral part of her tribe.

The only magnificent creatures that share her home today, apart from all the characters wanting to live in the world through her books, are her husband, her little fur cat daughter, a rapidly diminishing population of house spiders, and a smallish herd of dust bunnies.

You can connect with me directly at