The Awakening Aten – Blog Tour

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Blurb:

The Awakening Aten envelops the reader in an Egypt of whispers and fears, of webs within webs, deceit upon deceit. Its themes of murder, intrigue, political and religious conflict, corruption, tomb robbing, war and executions are set against a background of fundamental ideological change.  
Ancient Egypt is seen through the eyes of two families; one royal, the other commoner. Yuya, whose tomb is in the Valley of the Kings, is a foreigner who rises from slavery to become Regent to an infant Pharaoh and thus, the most powerful man in the world’s wealthiest empire. His children and descendants will remain at the very heart of the country’s destiny. Kha is a tomb painter and builder who experiences both the despair of imprisonment and the horror of war. As Overseer of the King’s Works he restores the Great Sphinx, and inscribes the ‘Dream Stela’ placed between its paws, still visible today. Through tragic and deathly events his family and that of Yuya become entwined.  
This is the fictional tale of real people, whose possessions and artefacts can be seen in museums throughout the world. It gives a voice to those people, inspired by their personal items, buried with them 3,000 years ago.

Book Information:
Paperback: 448 pages
Publisher: Troubador Publishing (21 May 2019)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1789018757
ISBN-13: 978-1789018752

Where to Buy

Amazon UK

 

My Review

I haven’t been able to read much fiction set in Ancient Egypt, I tend to stick with nonfiction on this ‘subject matter’ and I’m pretty passionate about history and for years as a child, I wanted to be an Egyptologist, but that’s just me fangirling over Egypt. So, let’s get to the heart of the matter.

The Awakening Aten. This is a promising start to a generational saga. Morrissey obviously did his research for this book, I was really impressed by the dedication shown in the history of this book. There are characters that were straight from the pages of history, many real, some purely fictional but all flowed seamlessly together and unless you recalled the list at the start that stated who was ‘real’ and who was fictional, they all blended together.

Some of you may be familiar with the story of Joseph, a biblical figure who rose from slave to being a respected and powerful man in Egypt. If you read this you’ll see similarities between him and Yuya, the man who he could have been based on. [Also a cool DreamWorks film that I really like haha]

Yuya rises from slave to the most powerful man in Egypt but he keeps his own ideology and faith while supporting those of family and friends who worship as most do in Egypt at this time period.

There is a long cast of characters for this, from all walks of life and backgrounds. An older generation their children and grandchildren those surrounded in their world.

Yuya’s friend Kha was one of my favorite characters and I really enjoyed his arc and the others as well. Being recalled to a world over 3000 years gone, it doesn’t lessen the connection I had with these characters. They were men and women who loved, toiled, and went through tragedies and triumphs no matter if they were Royalty, powerful men risen from their circumstances, or just artists who were passionate for their work.

There is a question of faith whether mono or polytheistic, and it’s interesting to see how Morrissey has taken the shift of many gods to one in Egypt’s history.

The ending has left me unable to contain my enthusiasm to read book two and I am already waiting for its release.

A rich and in-depth novel on Ancient Egypt and characters who connect to us across the ages.

I’m a huge fan and know I will return to Yuya, Kha, and the others again and again. Thanks to Anne Cater, Aidan K. Morrissey and Troubador publishing for a chance to read and honestly review this as part of the Random Things blog tour.

 

About the Author

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I am of Irish heritage and was the first member of my immediate family to be born outside of Ireland. My professional life has caused me to travel the world. I am now looking forward to settling in the North East of England, to concentrate on writing.
A graduate in Law from Leicester University, after working for some years in a commercial environment, I qualified as a Solicitor in 1981.
My career developed in an unusual way and I have lived and worked at various times in Italy, Brazil, the United States, India and Germany.
I have always had a love and fascination for history. A holiday in Egypt sparked a particular passion for Ancient Egypt, especially the latter part of the 18th Dynasty. A history, which Pharaoh Horemeb (Djeser-Kheperu-Ra circa 1319-1292 BCE) tried to destroy and which only came to light following the discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb in 1922.
‘The Awakening Aten’ is the culmination of many years of research.
I have built up a substantial collection of academic books and novels on Ancient Egypt, its customs, traditions and daily life. I am fortunate to have been able to visit all of the major museums containing artefacts from Egypt throughout the world, as well as spending months in Egypt itself studying the funereal valleys and other sites. All of this supplemented by internet research.
This novel is the first in a plannned five book series, looking at the fictional lives of real people through a period of major political and religious change, spanning approximately 130 years.
My hobbies are reading, which I enjoy as much as I do writing, and taking bracing walks along the North East Coast and in the Northumberland Hills.

Author Links

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Rest of the Tour

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JSS Bach- Blog Tour

JSS Bach Cover Image
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Blurb:

J

SS Bach is the story of three generations of women from either side of Germany’s 20th Century horror story – one side, a Jewish family from Vienna, the other linked to a ranking Nazi official at Dachau concentration camp – who suffer the consequences of what men do. Fast forward to 1990s California, and two survivors from the families meet. Rosa is a young Australian musicologist; Otto is a world-famous composer and cellist. Music and history link them. A novel of music, the Holocaust, love, and a dog. The author’s writing is a wonderland, captivating and drawing the reader in to the presented world. Time becomes no object as a literary universe unfolds and carries the reader through eighty years, where emotions are real and raw and beautifully given.

Book Information:
Hardcover: 200 pages
Publisher: Wrecking Ball Press; Hardcover edition (4 Mar. 2019)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1903110629
ISBN-13: 978-1903110621

Where to Buy

Amazon UK

 

My Review

 

Where do I start? This holds all the horrors and beauty of mankind. The fact that even when someone isn’t good they can still do good. It’s a book that shows how the past echoes on in the future, how it really affects people rather than the imprint it just leaves in history books.

Goodman immediately drops you into the story, he doesn’t waste time on flowery prose and shows you the heart of the matter, the journey he wants to take you on. It’s one that’s not for the faint hearted. He also is brilliant at describing history in such a modern and stark way. He shows how ugly things were, how brutal it was, and yet his words are elegant, poignant, guiding you through brutal honesty and lyricism of music.

Three generations of women from the same family have been entangled in Otto’s life, whether they know it or not. Katja is the origins of it all and her character is not an easy one to appreciate, but, Goodman does a good job showing you enough about her to at least have some understanding on certain parts of her workings. I can appreciate the struggles she went through though they are justified in many ways.

Her daughter Uwe broke my heart, if there was ever a character that I wanted to reach out and cherish, it’s her. The child of two Nazis, and yet just an innocent life herself. She bears the burden of the shame brought on to her by her parents, hated by others for simply being born to them. It’s a hard life to live, and really it was a heartbreaking read overall but especially for her, Otto, and Greta. In fact the reason I rated this 4.5 instead of 5 is simply because I wish there would have been more to Uwe’s story, and the women in general but this story in reality is about Otto more than anyone else in my opinion.

Otto himself is a character full of turmoil, tragedy, and isolation. Goodman breathes him to life, there’s not one moment where his actions are believable, the way he lives his life, the choices he’s made. The only thing I struggled to believe was a certain moment that occurs in the book once it’s back to 1994, but I won’t say it and spoil it, it was quite a small issue, and one though I don’t agree with, it makes sense why Goodman put it in. In fact the rest of the story is pretty flawless, I just wanted more because I think it needed more about the women but it’s hard to argue with the choices Goodman has made. Otto though, he is the true main character in my humble opinion, and your heart will be gripped by him.

Rosa is Katja’s Granddaughter and Uwe’s daughter, raised by Katja, she’s grown up in a world knowing the stark truth about her grandparents but never knowing her own past entirely, told that her father had died, and not at all knowing who he was. She is tugged by the past onto a path that will eventually lead her to Otto.

And at the heart of everything, the main reason I wanted to read this, is music.

Otto is a brilliant cellist and composer, Katja was a musician until she went deaf (not a spoiler as you find out within the first few pages she is indeed unable to hear), and Rosa is a musicologist. Fun fact, My postgrad is in Musicology, so I was a bit critical of the musical aspects of this, and Goodman certainly did his research, I was pretty impressed and he didn’t overreach, it was a perfect balance. Music connects Otto to his family and to Katja, to Rosa later on, and it draws people in and strips them down to the bare bones of their pain and joy, its something that can’t be quantified or explained but I loved the way Goodman wrote about it, the sensations it brings in emotions and to our bodies.

As I stated earlier, this book is not for the faint hearted. This shows the brutality and violence of WWII, there are Nazis before and after the war, there are people who are cruel, but it’s never needless cruelty or violence in Goodman’s writing, it all adds purposefully to the story.

4.5/5 Cups of coffee and I tip my hat to Goodman. This was a brilliant novel that broke my heart in the best ways. Thanks to Anne for letting me be part of this tour and thanks to Goodman for the copy of his book. [I don’t typically write this in blog tours but of course my honest opinion was given in exchange]

 

About the Author

Martin Goodman Author Picture

Martin Goodman was born in Leicester, and has lived and worked in China, Qatar, the USA, Saudi Arabia, Thailand, Germany, The Netherlands, Italy and France. Travel forms a large part of his writing: both for strictly travel-related books and also for novels and biographies. His first novel ON BENDED KNEES was shortlisted for the Whitbread prize, and his most recent biography SUFFER AND SURVIVE won 1st Prize, Basis of Medicine in the BMA Book Awards 2008. He is the Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Hull. He lives in Hull, London and the French Pyrenees. ‘Such narrow, narrow confines we live in. Every so often, one of us primates escapes these dimensions, as Martin Goodman did. All we can do is rattle the bars and look after him as he runs into the hills. We wait for his letters home.’
– The Los Angeles Times

Author Links

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The Rest of the Tour

JSS Bach Blog Tour Poster

 

 

Mini Review Day


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On April 5th, 1948, Gold met Kennig…

Inspired by the true story of a WWII marine and the love of his life, Christopher M. Struck has crafted a haunting tale of love, devotion, sacrifice…and betrayal.

Daniel Kennig only has one ambition: to be the greatest singer to have ever lived. While headlining at a mid-tier nightclub in Manhattan he meets Cynthia Gold. Smitten with the golden-haired heiress, the young couple begin a romantic rendezvous at the possible expense of his career.

My Review

**Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for the eARC copy, my honest review has been given in exchange below.**

This book was a sweet concept but it fell a little flat for me. I think it was actually Kennig who just didn’t seem fleshed out enough for my personal preference but Gold was very intriguing and I did love that Kennig was a male singer and model at one point, something a little different! The book is done in sweet flashbacks and moments in the present. The writing style is easy to read and I really enjoyed reading about their travels and the tour. A nice heartfelt read for those it can appeal to.

To me it just felt on the verge of going deeper but never daring to, and I think that’s what slightly disappointed me. Not to mention the part that seemed ‘flattest’ to me was Gold himself, and I was unsure how to take the advice he gave our Journalist friend who acts as the go between, between present time and the past through the letters he reads.

That is one thing I did enjoy, that it was the Journalist reading letters to reveal the past and Gold himself filling in the necessary blanks when needed.

This does have a bit of a religious undertone just as a warning for those who may not enjoy that, it wasn’t the theme of the book nor was it overriding the plot, just part of the story.

 


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“Vivid, gripping and actually riveting as the Red Danger takes a whole new meaning here. Loved it.” —The Book Smugglers

It is the waning days of the Russian monarchy. A reckless man rules the land and his dragons rule the sky. Though the Tsar aims his dragons at his enemies—Jews and Bolsheviks—his entire country is catching fire. Conspiracies suffuse the royal court: bureaucrats jostle one another for power, the mad monk Rasputin schemes for the Tsar’s ear, and the desperate queen takes drastic measures to protect her family.

Revolution is in the air—and the Red Army is hatching its own weapons.

Discover Russia’s October Revolution, reimagined in flight by the acclaimed mother-and-son writing team of the Locus Award-winning novel, Pay the Piper, and the Seelie Wars series.

My Review

**I received this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion.**

An interesting take on history and use of metaphors, I did believe though that there was more research needed on the historical and linguistic aspects of the novel. Overall I thought it was creative and intriguing, but of course as a novella there is only so much that can be revealed in such a short time frame. I would say that if you’re interested in Russian revolutionary history and don’t mind a large reach of creative license, then it is worth the quick read.

I do love that the other dragons were red, thought that was quite clever and got a chuckle out of me.

The novel is allegorical and I enjoyed that part, I would have loved to give this a higher rating but I couldn’t knowing that there was quite a bit wrong with the linguistics, and though it is fiction, the note at the back like another review mentioned, forgets to add that one of the daughters of Tsar is entirely fictional in this book and not at all a real person. Most of history reads of the nonfiction variety are Russian Revolution books so I’m a bit of a stickler for this.

The fact that the dragons show the same power just different colors is an important message the authors did deliver pretty well in my opinion. It wasn’t a bad read, just that I hoped for more. I think though that this had some really great ideas and I enjoyed Rasputin’s chapters the most.

 


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A young man struggling to forge his own path… A priestess forced to conceive an heir… A forbidden love…

Captured in a sweep of beings from Earth to aid planet Remeon’s dying society, Jack is plagued by deep ceded deception and mind control from those on the planet who seek to dictate the end of life choices of their citizens.

Sides are chosen as ancient magical powers thought to be long dead align to intervene in the fate of the two young lovers forcing a chain of events in motion that cannot be undone.

Truths will be destroyed. Myths will find life. Whose ultimate power will reign?

My Review

Thank you so much the publisher for letting me read this for free via NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion.

Garrett has some really interesting ideas, and I love that the time period for our hero was in the time of the building of the Hoover Dam. I felt her writing was strongest during the historical side, and though I loved the ideas she had, I think there maybe too many. A lot of times it felt like a whole jumble of ideas on spin cycle and you weren’t sure which one was supposed to be the main one or which was important at all. I think though that there’s a lot of promise in Garrett’s writing style and the story had some very tender moments which I appreciated. The style of the sci-fi writing was pretty ‘classic’ and it reminded me a little of ‘Dune’ in style and ideas but there wasn’t the same strength behind it. The ending was done well and it left it open ended enough that you hope she writes another but if she doesn’t, you’re still left hoping haha.

Unfortunately the love didn’t feel tangible to me between the two characters romantically and that was a struggle to read through. It was insta-love and it was badly done insta-love, I could not find it in me to believe they had a relationship at all and it went amazingly fast in terms of pacing. Maybe it’s because I’m a slow mover but I was slightly panicked for them! Also they were like 16 year olds deciding to have a child together while practicing magic and one is human and one is not. It’s just a lot to take in.

Slightly disappointed the alien’s only difference physically was that she had silver hair.

The friendship between Harry and Jack also feels very fabricated though the friendship between Jack and Sam is very genuine and the best part of the story, hands down.

The things i did like were Garrett’s time period choice, the basic premise, I mean it’s classic, alien abduction, I loved it, and the fact that she went with old school sci-fi. The problems with old school sci-fi though are pretty deep, and Garrett’s seemed to be slightly tinged with one its problems, sexism.

 


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Assassin’s Creed meets Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them in this gripping, epic fantasy romance trilogy.
My heart wasn’t part of the deal when I bargained for my life,
But assassins so rarely keep their word.
Exiled Charmer Leena Edenfrell is running out of time. Empty pockets forced her to sell her beloved magical beasts-an offense punishable by death-and now there’s a price on her head. With the realm’s most talented murderer-for-hire nipping at her heels, Leena makes Noc an offer he can’t refuse: powerful mythical creatures in exchange for her life.
Plagued by a curse that kills everyone he loves, Noc agrees to Leena’s terms in hopes of finding a cure. Never mind that the dark magic binding the assassin’s oath will eventually force him to choose between Leena’s continued survival…and his own.
In a game of trust and half-lies, only one thing can be certain: traps capture more than beasts and ensnared hearts are impossible to untangle.

My Review

**I received this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my HONEST opinion.**

This book was such an unexpected joy to read. Though labeled as sci-fi it did remind me more of steampunk fantasy, and you’ll hear no complaints out of me because that’s the aspect I loved best! Honestly, the beasts were so interesting and I love the way Martineau describes them, she’s got a talent for descriptive writing without overwhelming with details. Leena is a great character and the whole cast is except and somewhat diverse in LGBTQ rep which was really nice. It’s not often we get a bisexual male main character like Noc, another great character that is a delighted balance to Leena. The side characters are fleshed out well and I might have enjoyed them more than even Leena and Noc! And don’t get me started on the plot, it was great and I cannot wait to see what happens in book 2.

It is a slow burn romance and never loses sight of the plot and really it made it such a great read for me, the pacing was wonderful both in action and romance and the world is lush and creative. Martineau has impressed me and I wish I would have read this sooner! If you like romance of the slow burning variety and fantasy, join me  in loving this book lol. Please.

My only qualms was that it as slightly predictable but that’s also why I enjoyed it if that makes sense, there’s no major twists or surprises but the joy was in the journey and the beasts.

The beasts were also really nicely hashed out, I actually had a really strong urge to go play Pokemon Go after reading this. Going to different locations to capture beasts….I mean…can you blame me? I didn’t get as much an ‘Assassin’s Creed’ vibe though, and that’s okay, I was just happy enough there were assassins!

Also, the Charmers have the coolest place ever, I want to go visit…and battle like a trainer. Half Jk.

Again. Now to just wait for book 2. Bah, humbug.

 

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Forrest Gump meets Woody Allen in this endearing story about a sea turtle seeking to be reunited with the love of his life.

When Akela is separated from his migrant soulmate, Kalea, he will do anything to be reunited with her. Journey with this charming and neurotic sea turtle as he crosses paths with celebrities, politicians, and other moments in history with unbreakable determination to be reunited with his love.

My Review

**I received this book from the Publishers via Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.**

If you love introspective fiction and/or sea turtles, this will definitely be something you’ll want to pick up.

That’s it. That’s my review. (jk jk)

On amore serious not, this is a great novel and it’s all about Akela’s journey to find those he thinks are part of his purpose, in the beginning it’s his mother, later on it’s his mate, and along the way he meets a variety of people and animals who help/hinder him on his journey. He learns there is more to life than being afraid of the open water and that in order to get what you want, there will work and possibly sacrifice along the way. Most importantly though was Akela’s realization of who he was along this journey, what was important to him and what he discovered about himself at the end. I would say the ending really was lovely and the book did make my heart break a little at times but I also smiled and laughed as Uytdewilligen incorporates famous people with Akela who becomes a bit infamous to the humans, he spends time as being accused as part of grand Soviet schemes all the way to becoming the poster child for ocean pollution but I won’t give away more than that, you’ll have to read it to see how Akela ends up in these situations.

Seriously, Akela meets presidents, that’s right, plural. The book played out like a movie in my mind, Uytdewilligen did a great job being descriptive and keeping the pacing pretty decent. There were a couple of slumps but I felt that overall the drive of the story was never lost and sometimes I just wanted to shake Akela and say ‘get to it, your woman is out there!’ The cast of characters Akela encounters in the way of animals are all brilliant, and I enjoyed them so much more than the fascinating human encounters.

Overall I found this to be a very thoughtful read, it causes a lot of self reflection if you enjoy it and I certainly fell in love with Akela himself. The ending was beautiful and absolutely perfect for this book.

 


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The massive labyrinth was built to protect Zadie Kalvers’ isolated desert town. Unfortunately, living in the maze’s shadow makes her feel anything but safe. Even without its enchanted deathtraps and illusions, a notorious killer named Dex lurks in its corridors, terrorizing anyone in his path.

But when Zadie’s best friend vanishes into the labyrinth-and everyone mysteriously forgets he exists- completing the maze becomes her only hope of saving him. In desperation, Zadie bribes the only person who knows the safe path through-Dex-into forming a tenuous alliance.

Navigating a deadly garden, a lethal blood-filled hourglass, and other traps-with an untrustworthy murderer for her guide-Zadie’s one wrong step from certain death. But with time running out before her friend (and secret crush) is lost forever, Zadie must reach the exit and find him. If Dex and the labyrinth don’t kill her first.

My Review

**I received this book from the Publishers via Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.**

I’m dystopia trash with absolutely no regrets about it. Saying that, I really felt this was a four cups of coffee read. Tate does a great job to blend in fantasy with sci-fi/dystopia.

Their town is the only one left as their leader tells them. Everything else has died, they are the only ones lucky enough to take part in having protection from the leader and getting the water he provides. However he is one that likes to keep his distance anyone who wants to see him has to go through the Labyrinth. And it doesn’t enjoy visitors.

The Labyrinth rests on territory that is still infused with magic and not even the residents of Zadie’s town who all have amazing skills, except for Zadie and the others known as ‘Blanks,’ stand a chance. But more than that, in the labyrinth lives Dex, the monster that everyone knows of, he kidnaps people into the labyrinth and when they come back, they’re never the same.

So why does Zadie as a blank venture forth? Her best friend (and secret crush, as stated) is missing and she dares to brave the maze to get him back and help her family because something isn’t quite right, the Skilled aren’t acting normal and communication to their leader has been cut off.

Tate gives us a story where the one without the skills is rare, and weak. There’s no doubt that Zadie knows she’s no match for a person with skills, whether it’s just one skill or more. But this is kind of a nice approach, she’s not special in the sense that she’s overpowered, but in that she isn’t. So her strength will have to come from somewhere else and it will have to show up along the way or she’ll never survive the maze.

The maze itself was so incredibly fun to read about, a bit of Hunger Games meets Alice in Wonderland for how it works and the rest of the world is just as intriguing. All the information that Tate gives us is used well and I have to say I sincerely hope there’s another book for this, if not, the ending does satisfy enough, but holy cow the possibilities for what could happen next are endless!

I love Dex, you all can take him from my cold dead fingers.

 

There we have it, my mini reviews for the day!

 

 

Finer Things Review

**Thank you to Sandstone Press for sending me a copy of this book, below is my honest review in exchange for receiving the book.**

 

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GoodReads:

London: 1963.

The lives of a professional shoplifter and a young art student collide. Delia needs to atone for a terrible mistake; Tess is desperate to convince herself she really is an artist. Elsewhere in London, the Krays are on the rise and a gang war is in the offing. 

Tess’s relationship with her gay best friend grows unexpectedly complicated, and Delia falls for a man she’s been paid to betray.

Book Information:
Publication Date: 
27/06/2019
Format: Paperback
Length: 288
Category: Fiction
ISBN: 9781912240685

 

My Review

This was such a creative premise for a novel. I always love a good historical fiction but this grabbed me from the moment I glanced at the cover. But finding out it was basically a 1960s Female centered version with hints of ‘Ocean’s 11’? Oh I was all in. Disclaimer: This is way better than Ocean’s 11, and I refuse to talk about any movies from that after Ocean’s 12. They don’t exist in my world.

[Funnily enough my husband asked if the model on the cover was Joan from ‘Mad Men’ and considering that was focused on the 60s I would say they really nailed it with this cover.]

Wharton absolutely brings his A game to his debut novel, his writing is completely engaging and when I think of this book the first thing that comes to mind for me is ‘beautiful.’

The characters had so much intrigue to them, and the fact that he kept true to the time period of the 60s without taking away from the integrity of the characters just impressed me.

There was a whimsical air to Delia and I have to say she was my favorite, for being someone so utterly raw and from her roots she was like a changeling with a hint of the old ways in her superstitions.

Tess was complex and I think I would have wanted to see more of her but I was happy enough with how Wharton introduces her to us. She’s young, in London and trying to figure out who she is. Her story is also one that really resonates with the times. There was such a love of art and to see her blossom in her concepts of it was really great and her journey with Jimmy was one that I really appreciated at the end for all its difficulties and the heart aching truth of it all.

David Wharton gave a truly brilliant debut novel and I loved it, keep an eye out for this book and his future works. If you like a more ‘modern’ historical fiction or just a good fiction novel in general, I hope you’ll give this book a try.

 

About the Author

“David Wharton grew up in Northumberland and lives in Leicester, where he has worked in education for many years. He now divides his time between writing fiction and training English teachers. Finer Things is his first novel.”

 

The Amber Maze Blog Tour

Hi there, first off I just want to apologize for this post.

I don’t know what happened but it appears WordPress deleted it at some point…well..not the title, it kept that. But my nice whole post was empty and I wouldn’t have noticed it at all if Christopher Bowden hadn’t said something himself!

So please, my apologies on that front!

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Blurb

While staying in a Dorset cottage, Hugh Mullion finds a mysterious key down the side of an antique chair.  No one can say how long the key has been there or what it opens.

Hugh’s search for answers will unlock the secrets of the troubled life of a talented artist, destined to be hailed a neglected genius fifty years too late.  And no secret is darker than that of The Amber Maze, from whose malign influence he never escaped.

The trail takes Hugh from Edwardian Oxfordshire to 1960s Camden Town, where the ghosts of the past are finally laid to rest.

 

This book was a wonderfully light and delightfully read. Bowden manages to give you a historical tied to today mystery and does it in such a great length. It impresses me when someone writes a shorter book and manages to fit everything necessary without overwhelming the reader or leaving things out, and Bowden impressed me. The Amber Maze was also the perfect read for me after reading such heavy novels in length and content.

The way Hugh gets into these situations is a wonderful part of this character’s personality, he has a need to uncover the truth with even something as small as an old plain key.

The story that Bowden writes for us keeps you intrigued the whole time and his knowledge of art is obvious without being overbearing for those who may not know much about art, I actually felt like I came away with more art knowledge and really enjoyed that as someone who loves art!

If you’re needing a light read that delivers on some mystery and history, then I highly recommend The Amber Maze.

Thank you to Christopher Bowden for the copy of his book as part of this blog tour, and thanks to Anne Cater for let me take part in the tour!

About the Author

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Christopher Bowden lives in south London.  He is the author of six novels, each with a colour theme.  The Amber Maze, published in September 2018, is the latest.  His previous books have been praised variously by Andrew Marr, Julian Fellowes, Sir Derek Jacobi, and Shena Mackay. Of his third novel, The Red House, Sir Derek said, “Very entertaining, cleverly constructed and expertly paced.  I thoroughly enjoyed it.”

Website

The Rest of the Tour

The Amber Maze BT Poster

I Will Find You Review


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GoodReads Blurb:
I Will Find You, a tale of mystery and intrigue which starts in wartime Fenland near Ely and then moves halfway across the globe to Australia. John Taylor’s story is colourful, poignant and moving as it charts the journey of young Robbie Spalding and his path from a Dr. Barnardos Home in Cambridge to a new life on the other side of the world. Robbie becomes Nick Thorne and this account of his arrival into adulthood is more than a little tragic and filled with unexpected twists and turns.

Touching, funny, sad and filled with drama, I will find you is an authentic and pacey read, gripping and compelling, and will certainly keep the readers’ attention until the last page is turned. Expect to shed a tear for the casualties of war.
First off I would like to thank the Author, John M. Taylor for sending me a copy of his book to read and review, this was done so with the intent that I would give an honest review in exchange. And that’s what you all will find here, my honest review!

I will say I was intrigued from the description of the book alone and historical fiction especially one based on true stories. Taylor did seven years of research for this and the child migrant stories deeply resonated, the horrible truths of history are at the heart of this novel.

Some may not know but Aboriginal children were once taken by Australia’s white and western government, this was done so that they could be better integrated into Western society including the healthcare and education systems which were considered a cut above what was offered from the homes of the children. Of course doing this destroyed families and a cultural system that had been in place long before Western civilization touched Australia.

[And no matter what we do now I’m afraid it will always be a ‘too little, too late’ scenario…truly heartbreaking.]

This is spoken about in this novel but another issue was that of migrant children who were taken from their homes in say England as the boy in this novel and sent to Australia to be adopted. I would go into it more, gladly but the author does a brilliant job himself and I’m not going to spoil it for you all.

Taylor really sets you up for a story that takes you on quite an emotional ride. It’s a story that shoes not only what people did to the natives of Australia but to their own children and how one boy’s journey to figure out his history leads him through the lives of others. As said before, Taylor really did his research for this novel and not just with the darker parts of history but he made sure to do justice when writing about Aboriginal villages and ways of life and he never presumes to know more than he does about the culture or to write about things that are too culturally sensitive which is a great relief in this day and age.

The story is really well paced and extremely well written, I mean I barely wanted to put this book down the whole time. I needed to read more about Australia or Robert or find out what was going to happen in the Outback. I would strongly recommend this to anyone who enjoys historical fiction or even just looking for a book to really tug on the heartstrings.

If you have ever read The Thorn Birds this book spans the same sort of saga/epic story the only difference being this is the story and saga of one boy versus a family though he is not alone, and his journey will bring the story of others as he travels. Robert is on one quest, and that is to find his Mother.

While chatting with the Author and thanking him again, John sent me this great magazine article in relation to his research and his book and I’m sharing it below because I just think it’s such a good read and might sway those on the fence about the book.

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This was certainly a five star read for me.

The House on Rosebank Lane eARC Review


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GoodReads Blurb: 

Edinburgh, 1953.

Kirsten Mowat, eighteen years old and with a joyful spring in her step, couldn’t be more in love with her sea-faring sweetheart Duncan Armstrong.

But, seven years later – after a hasty wedding, a twist of lies and wrenching loss – Duncan and Kirsten’s relationship has faded to tatters. When those closest to her turn their backs, Kirsten – alone, with a young family to care for – must gather all her spirit and strength if they are to survive.

From much-loved Millie Gray, The House on Rosebank Lane is an Edinburgh story of families entwined, of sorrow and hopefulness . . . and of a young mother’s love for her children and a transforming quest for happiness.

Millie Gray does a great job giving us a look back at Edinburgh through the 50s toward the 70s, not only that but she gives you a truly heartstring tugging and simultaneously heartwarming tale of not just one woman but the others in her life. At first, I found it difficult to feel sympathy for Kirsten but that soon changed once you saw the radiance of her love as a mother. After that, I may not have approved of everything she did or didn’t do, but I gained respect for our main protagonist. I also greatly enjoyed the look back into the pasts of some of the other characters. Kirsten’s love for a mother isn’t just radiant but it’s real, she makes mistakes and deals with lasting consequences but you never once question the fact that she loved her children, and I think that’s what really drew me to this story, the heart of it all. You wanted to cheer them on, Kirsten, Dixie, Stella, Eddie, Jane, even Jessie! I was not expecting this to make me tear up, but it did and it was a satisfying read that I really didn’t want to put down until I’d finished it.

I would recommend for anyone who reads these sort of heartwarming and tear-inducing tales, Millie Gray has certainly done a brilliant job with it!

The object of this story wasn’t the romance but that did fit in nicely [and a good ‘slow burn’ if I may!] it was about the love of Motherhood, and even a bit of Fatherhood at one part. I can honestly say I don’t usually want to read ‘mushy’ or emotional reads but I wanted to read this one as it was a story located in Edinburgh.

This doesn’t drag on, and I think one of my few complaints besides that I didn’t always like Kirsten (and I wouldn’t say that was a complaint) was that I felt it was unresolved where Stella was concerned but I still greatly enjoyed it. I cried a little, got exasperated, sighed in frustration and smiled at the end. Makes for a pretty great read if you ask me.