Blog Tour Book Review | The Aro Street Girls by Lindsay Campbell

Blog Tour Book Review | The Aro Street Girls by Lindsay Campbell

Kathy’s world is torn apart when her fiancé, Freddie enlists with NZ Forces to fight in World War One. When their father dies. she and her siblings, Belle and Walter, are forced to grow up fast and Kathy’s dream to become a teacher is thrown into question by family needs.

Kathy and Freddie’s romance continues via touching letters to and from the Front, but her devotion is challenged when Pacifist Lay Pastor, Arthur Tremaine appears on the scene.

This charming tale is set against the harsh realities of life in a small British colony a century ago. Feminist ideals are woven throughout as the cast of strong women and engaging men meet the challenges and tragedies they are faced with.

The reader is taken across the globe to Europe and post war Britain where the Spanish flu has taken hold. The disease follows returning New Zealand soldiers’ with devastating consequences.

Will Freddie survive the war to claim his love?

Will Kathy fulfil her dream to become a teacher, or has the war changed everything they once knew to be true?

The Aro Street Girls is awash with romance, mystery and excitement; a vivid portrayal of wartime life in New Zealand.

Universal link: http://mybook.to/AroStGirls

My Review

The Aro Street Girls is right up my alley and I couldn’t wait to read it.  It really didn’t disappoint.

Reading books like this always sets my emotions on edge because in some way, stories like this are real.

This book really tugged at my heart strings and the fact that we’ve just observed the 100th anniversary of the end of World War One was really poignant for me.

About Lyndsey Campbell

Writing has always been an integral part of my life. From factual articles for newspapers and news stories for a local radio station, interviewing offenders as a probation officer and writing their pre-sentence court reports for New Zealand’s District Courts, as well as amassing a small collection of poetry.

My historical fiction is inspired by the stories of my Scottish and Irish ancestors who crossed the seas in sailing ships in the mid 1800s to find a new life in Aotearoa New Zealand. This, combined with years spent working in the field of counselling and social work after my family had grown, has given me an interest in the lives of our ancestors more than a century ago and in writing about what makes people act the way they do. I love to create believable characters who find themselves in challenging situations.

I am a natural gypsy and while I love to travel internationally, more recently my husband and I have enjoyed motor homing around New Zealand. Walking the beaches and bush tracks and meeting people who also enjoy the mobile life is lots of fun. The wonderful thing about writing is its portability. I am happy with my laptop on my knee in our mobile home, or at a proper desk. Living on the shores of beautiful Lake Rotorua where steaming mud and thermally heated pools are the norm is quite a blessing and I am sometimes to be found writing in one of Rotorua’s lovely cafes.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lyndsay.campbell.71

Book Review – The Angel in the Glass by Alys Clare

Book Review – The Angel in the Glass by Alys Clare

When I joined NetGalley, I didn’t quite understand the impact it would have on me but I love it. When I was approved to read Alys Clare‘s new book in the Gabriel Taverner mystery series, The Angel in the Glass, I wasn’t sure what to expect given that I haven’t read the first book.

About The Angel in the Glass

June 1604

Dr Gabriel Taverner is called upon by coroner and friend, Theophilus Davey, when a body is found in an uninhabited house on the moor. The body appears to be that of a vagrant.

As Gabriel helps investigate the death, he becomes involved with helping the parish priest baitee his
personal demons.

Gabe learns that the demons are linked with the dead body and there is a terrible trail of secrets to be uncovered.

Who was the vagrant and why did he die?

What is haunting the painsh priest?

My Review

I loved this historical crime fiction. I didn’t read it too quickly but actually enjoyed taking it all in.

Dr Gabriel Taverner is a good character, and I didn’t need to read the first book to feel like I know him. The book works very well as a standalone.

Alys managed to build the suspense expertly throughout the book. It wasn’t a fast-paced read like most of the other books I have read recently but I did really enjoy ambling my way through the mystery. and suspense that was building.

All in all The Angel in the Glass was a fantastic read although not necessarily for the faint hearted.

Alys Clare’s Gabriel Taverner’s mystery series is available on Amazon using the following links*.

About Alys Clare

Alys Clare is the pen name used by Elizabeth Harris for the Hawkenlye series of historical mysteries.

Alys Clare is the pseudonym of a novelist with some 20 published works to her name. Brought up in the countryside close to where the Hawkenlye Novels are set, she went to school in Tonbridge and later studied archaeology at the University of Kent. She lives for part of the year in Brittany, in a remote cottage deep in an ancient landscape where many past inhabitants have left their mark; on her doorstep are relics that date from the stone circles and dolmens of the Neolithic to the commanderies, chapels and ancient tracks of those infamous warrior monks, the Knights Templar. In England, Alys’s study overlooks a stretch of parkland which includes a valley with a little spring. The waters of this spring are similar in colour and taste to Tunbridge Wells’s famous Chalybeat Spring, and it was this that prompted Alys’s setting of her fictional Hawkenlye Abbey in the very spot where her own house now stands.

*Affiliate Link – I will earn a few pennies if you purchase something using my link.

Interviewing the Book Reviewer – Joanna Larum

Interviewing the Book Reviewer – Joanna Larum

I thought that along with interviewing my favourite authors, I would like to interview my fellow book bloggers.  Here’s the first of the Book Reviewer interviews, Joanna Larum.

Joanna is not only a busy book reviewer but she is also an author herself.  Her latest book, Martha’s Secrets was released earlier this month and it’s a fantastic read.

Now I’m handing over to Joanna who will, no doubt, entertain you. 🙂

First off, tell us a little bit about yourself.

I am Joanna Larum.  I spent 25 years working for the library services. Now I’m retired and have time to read again.

Joanna on Book Reviews

When did you start reviewing books and why?

I have reviewed books on Amazon since about 2010. I aim to encourage writers who write the books I like and spread the word to other readers.

How soon after finishing a book do you write the review?

Usually immediately, but always very soon after.

What are the best and worst parts of being a Book Reviewer?

Best – being able to talk about books and encourage other readers. Worst – when I’ve read them all and I’m waiting for a new one!

Joanna on Reading

What is your earliest reading memory?

Finally being able to read the ends of all the stories my big sister began reading aloud to me before I started school.

Do you have a favourite book? Tell me about it.

The Minipins by Carol Kendall. It is a junior book which I first read in 1962. I still have a copy of it. Wonderful story.

What is your favourite genre and why?

Not just one! Historical, fantasy, crime, saga etc. The only one I don’t like is horror!

Who are your favourite authors?

Oh heck! Tolkien, Anya Seton, Rosemary Sutcliffe, Joy Ellis, Stewart Giles, Charlie Gallagher, Daisy White, Gretta Mulrooney, Norah Lofts, Catherine Cookson, Steve Parker, Helen Durant, etc etc

Does your family get your passion for reading?

NO

What items are essentials to have by your side when you read?

Chocolate.

Do you have a favourite place to read? Tell me about it.

Anytime, any place any where!

Do you think audiobooks, eBooks or physical books are better? Why?

Can’t do with audiobooks – too slow! I love ebooks and physical books equally.

Joanna’s Random Thoughts

Do you ever feel inspired to write your own book?  Have you ever written your own book?

Oh yes! I’ve just finished my 7th historical novel, Martha’s Secrets. I’ve also written a book for children Rowandell and have others half written.

What inspires you to get out of bed every day?

My writing and my cats and grandchildren

What is your most unusual reader’s quirk?

Books I really love I will read over and over and over again.

Do you feel like you would be a better book reviewer if you wore sparkly rainbow socks during your reading sessions?

No, but I would be a better reviewer if I got chocolate delivered every day.

Joanna’s Books

Blog Tour Book Review: Martha’s Secrets by Joanna Larum

Blog Tour Book Review: Martha’s Secrets by Joanna Larum

A good bit of historical fiction never goes amiss in my eyes. In fact, quite the opposite. When I got the opportunity to read the lovely Joanna Larum‘s new book, Martha’s secrets, I jumped at the chance.

It didn’t disappoint.

About Martha’s Secrets

Martha’s Secrets is the second in the series featuring the Coleman family. The first being ‘Something Wicked This Way Comes’.

Edith and her two children, Daniel and Martha, have had a torturous life at the hands of Edith’s parents. They faced Slave labour, regular bearings and starvation punishments. Edith and Daniel are as pure as the snow but something wicked lies inside Martha. Something wicked that is blamed on the father who is also her grandfather.

Right now, the Coleman’s are as happy as they will ever be. Business is going well for Daniel; Edith is married to a loving man; and Martha is… well Martha.

As the First World War begins, Daniel fears conscription, while Martha plots retribution on anyone who crosses her path.

The flaw in Martha’s personality continues to grow and loveable Edith and Daniel pretend not to see it.

What will Martha stop at to take revenge?

Will Daniel avoid fighting at the front Line?

Will Edith be able to tell her children the truth about their parentage?

My Review

Martha’s Secrets is a must-read in my opinion.

Joanna is a new author to me and I must say I am ready to hunt out the rest of her books and sit down to read them all one after the Other.

I loved the characters. They are well developed and kept me wanting to know more about them and find out what they would do next.

Martha, although a definite sociopath if not a psychopath, is likeable in a curious way. I can’t really tell you why. I do like a good villain though.

Daniel is loveable, he’s kind, caring and will make someone a marvellous husband.

Edith has been broken by an incredibly hard life but is still loving and kind.

The story is one that keeps a reader turning pages lout I feel the story of the Coleman’s is far from over.

If you love a good historical fiction with a captivating storyline Martha’s secrets is one you should read.

If you want to read Martha’s Secrets (or Something Wicked This Way Comes), you can buy using the links below.

About Joanna Larum

An image of the author of Martha's Secrets, Joanna Larum wearing a purple top and drinking a cuppaI only went to school to learn to read. At age 6, I decided I COULD read and promptly left, by the school gate, the same gate which my mother marched me back through 10 minutes later. So I had to spend the next 12 years at school, learning lots of different things, none of which lived up to the excitement of reading. Wanting to be a writer was a natural progression, because there is nothing as exciting as inventing the story yourself. But it’s taken over 50 years before I dared to present my stories for other people to read. So, here they are! I’ll just creep behind the sofa.

Pinnable Image: Martha's Secrets by Joanna Larum, Blog Tour

Meet the Author – Kristin Gleeson

Meet the Author – Kristin Gleeson

I am currently eagerly anticipating Sunday.  I cannot wait.  I’m eagerly anticipating the release of The Braes of Huntly by Kristin Gleeson.  It is the third instalment in her The Highland Ballad Series.  I have actually had to find something better than just waiting.  Luckily for me, Kristin has been kind enough to help me pass the time with a little interview.  The first in my new ‘Meet the Author’ series. 

The Highland Ballad Series is a fantastic work of Historical Fiction set in Tudor Scotland (in the most part anyway).  It is factually accurate although, perhaps rather obviously, the story is fictional.

Abby Gordon is our heroine, she overhears a plot to kill Mary Queen of Scots and is sent, by her father, from Paris to Kilchurn Castle.  Disguising herself as a boy, she takes up a position as a lute player with the castle’s musicians.  It is there she comes across Iain MacGregor.  The web of intrigue around the household entraps Abby and danger edges ever closer.  Abby and Iain’s lives entwine in a way that is not immediately obvious. 

The story left me completely enveloped in Abby’s story (and wishing I was her).  I needed to get to know the woman behind the book.

So, without further ado, I’m pleased to introduce Kristin Gleeson.

Hi Kristin, thank you for agreeing to this.  Would you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Originally from Philadelphia, I now live in Ireland, in the West Cork Gaeltacht. I work as a librarian, but I also play the harp, violin and piano and sing. In addition to that I love to paint, something I find hard to resist in the beautiful area in which I live. It’s so inspiring.

I hold a Masters in Library Science and a Ph.D. in history, and for a time was an administrator of a national archives, library and museum in America. She has also worked as a public librarian in America, worked as a professional harper and storyteller and taught art classes.  

Wow!  Your books are historical fiction, where do you get your inspiration from?  Is your job, as a librarian, helpful for finding the inspiration?

I get my inspiration from many places like songs, tales I’ve told or just something might catch my eye in the newspaper, on TV or in a book that says- wow that would make a good story.  For example, the book, Selkie Dreams was inspired by a ballad I used to sing and play on the harp—The Selkie of Sule Skerrie.  The current series I’m writing, The Highland Ballad Series- was also based on a song—as you can tell. The song is Iain Glinn Cuich, a traditional Scottish ballad. It inspired me to write a tale set in Tudor Scotland, during the time of Mary Queen of Scots. The clans are always good for meaty plots so I seized on three- The Campbells, the MacGregors and the Gordons.  

Music is so much a part of my inspiration and is woven in so many of my books, I have uploaded and created links to recordings I’ve made of pieces that are linked to each of my books. There are only a few at the moment, but it’s a library that I will expand over time. The link is available in my books and through my newsletter, so if you sign up for my newsletter on my website (www.kristingleeson.com) or buy one of my books the link will be inside.

I did wonder about Iain Glinn Cuich being the inspiration for the character of Iain. 

Do you have a research process for the factual historical setting prior to beginning the writing?  If so, which process is your favourite, if any?

My approach to research is based on my experience as a historian. Primarily I look for general and specific books on the area, time period or culture and read and note the things that are I think will be relevant.  Sometimes I start with children’s books  because they boil down the elements really well and then I go on from there to the adult books for the specific things. There are also many good children’s books covering fashion and culture in the past. For instance I had a great book that showed me what an Renaissance Italian palazzo looked like that I used in the Sea of Travail and the Quest of Hope.

I do of course do online research and find that helpful for a specific question or really general inquiries. As a historian I am compulsive about trying to get it as accurate as I can, so I assess online research carefully. But that said, some of the Wikipedia articles are very helpful. And there are really helpful things online like how long it would take a person to paddle a canoe down the Alabama River and then out to sea along the coast (Along the Far Shores) and what was the average distance a person covered riding a horse in Scotland in the Tudor period (The Hostage of Glenorchy)

How long, on average, does it take you to write your novels?

It varies. I’ve been working full time as a librarian the past three years and so it has slowed down to about 1- 1 1/2 a year. Before that I was working part time and I was writing 2-3 a year.

With regards to the Highland Ballad series, are there any characters that are (perhaps loosely) based on real people in your life?

Hmmmm. What a fun question. To some degree I would say all the heroes in my books are based on my husband, because over the years I would say I’ve come to understand men best through him and my brothers. So I would say that the heroes are a combination of the best of my brothers and my husband. So Iain has a lot of my husband’s physical characteristics and many of the others, including wit and charm. The music aspect comes from my brother. J Abby and many of my main characters has a bit of me in her. Or what I would think of myself to be like. That’s hard to avoid too.                                         

I loved the story of Abby arriving in the Highlands and meeting the mysterious Iain.  Little did I know how the characters would develop.  Do you have a favourite character from the series?  (Of course, we must be careful to reveal no spoilers.)

Well, Iain would be a favourite. I put into him what I would want in a man, so of course he would be the best of all things, though a bit flawed. We poetic women love to ‘fix’ men that are a bit broken. I do have to say that I really enjoy and like the character of Claudine, who is in the forthcoming book, The Braes of Huntly.  I had so much fun writing her.  She is French, very very sharp and witty. I think anyway.

With The Braes of Huntly being released on Sunday to join The Hostage of Glenorchy and The Mists of Glen Strae, will there be any further additions to Abby’s story?

The Braes of Huntly concludes Abby’s story, but she won’t disappear. The next book after that will tell Morag’s story. Morag is Iain’s sister and there is a real good tale to tell for her. Abby will continue to appear, but more in the background. I couldn’t let her go, easily.

Do you have any advice for Wannabe writers, young and old?

The best thing to do is 3 things: 1. Read. 2. Read. 3. Read. 🙂

Lastly, is there anything else you want to mention?

If you want to know more about me, my books, read my blog or sign up for my newsletter to hear about special offers, new releases and other news, go to www.kristingleeson.com. I’m also on facebook. www.facebook.com/kristingleeson1

Thank you so much Kristin, it is fantastic to ‘meet’ the author behind the book (and responsible for a VERY late night!).

If you would like to read Kristin’s books too they are available from Amazon, Apple, Nook and Kobo and Barnes & Noble.  (Full link details below.)

The Hostage of Glenorchy

The Mists of Glenstrae

The Braes of Huntly