Before the Fall by Juliet West

Before the Fall by Juliet West

1916. Across the channel, the Great War rages; in London’s East End, with her husband away fighting, Hannah Loxwood struggles to hold everything together. She has sacrificed so much for a husband who left her behind, a husband who may never come home. Then, when she meets David – thoughtful, intelligent, quietly captivating – Hannah find herself faced with the most dangerous of temptations…

As the war grips tighter and bombs fall down upon the streets, the stakes for the couple grow ever higher. Soon Hannah and Daniel will realize just how precarious their happiness is, as their destiny rushes towards them…

Beautifully wrought, utterly compelling and with a twist that will leave you breathless, Before The Fall, inspired by a true story, hurls you into a London torn apart by the First World War and paints a vivid and haunting portrait of one woman’s struggle. (back cover)

Hannah’s husband has gone to war leaving her with their two children. She’s not happy when she has to move in with her mother, sister, and brother-in-law. Hoping to earn some extra money, Hannah takes a job at a café where she meets Daniel Blake. Working as a ship worker exempts him from war, which isn’t to everyone’s liking.

I had read a lot of good reviews about this and I had high hopes for this one. It wasn’t bad but not as good as I wanted it to be. I didn’t quite connect with any of the characters and even the ending didn’t really move me. Especially Daniel felt very distant which wasn’t helped that Hannah’s narrative was in the first person while Daniel’s was in 3rd person.

It moved too slow at times to keep my interest. But on the positive side, it did give a realistic feeling about the time.

3/5

Published: Pan Books (2017)
Format: Paperback
Pages: 326
Source: My own

Mailbox Monday 23.4.2018

Mailbox Monday was created by Marcia and is now hosted on its own blog.

Here’s what I’ve got in the last few weeks:

The Tethered Mage by Melissa Caruso (bought)
A Brief History of the Amazons: Women Warriors in Myth and History by Lyn Webster Wilde (bought)
My Mother’s Shadow by Nikola Scott (purchased)
A Bold and Dangerous Family: One Family’s Fight Against Italian Fascism by Caroline Moorehead (purchased)

The Cold Light of Dawn (The King’s Greatest Enemy 4) by Anna Belfrage

The Cold Light of Dawn (The King’s Greatest Enemy 4) by Anna Belfrage

After Henry of Lancasterís rebellion has been crushed early in 1329, a restless peace settles over England. However, the young Edward III is no longer content with being his regentsí puppet, no matter that neither Queen Isabella nor Roger Mortimer show any inclination to give up their power. Caught in between is Adam de Guirande, torn between his loyalty to the young king and that to his former lord, Roger Mortimer.

Edward III is growing up fast. No longer a boy to be manipulated, he resents the power of his mother, Queen Isabella, and Mortimer. His regents show little inclination of handing over their power to him, the rightful king, and Edward suspects they never will unless he forces their hand.

Adam de Guirande is first and foremost Edwardís man, and he too is of the opinion that the young king is capable of ruling on his own. But for Adam siding with his king causes heartache, as he still loves Roger Mortimer, the man who shaped him into who he is.

Inevitably, Edward and his regents march towards a final confrontation. And there is nothing Adam can do but pray and hope that somehow things will work out. Unfortunately, prayers donít always help.

The Cold Light of Dawn is the fourth in Anna Belfrageís series, The Kingís Greatest Enemy, the story of a man torn apart by his loyalties to his lord and his king.

Edward III is growing up fast and the relationship between him and Mortimer, and Isabella, is growing more strained every day. Adam is finding it more and more difficult to balance his loyalty to both his king and to the man who is like a father to him.

This was supposed to be the last book in the series but apparently there might be a chance it isn’t. I’m really hoping it isn’t because I loved this book and I want to know what happens now. Do they reconcile?

I’ve never been a fan of Mortimer and this series hasn’t changed that. And I still don’t understand Adam’s unyielding loyalty for him, but I feel bad for Adam about how things went down. But he must have known that any other outcome isn’t possible…

I loved how much Thomas we have here. And I’m glad Edmund was never the heir to the throne… or king….

4,5

Published: Matador & TimeLight Press (February 16, 2018)
Format: ebook
Source: Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

About the Author

Anna was raised abroad, on a pungent mix of Latin American culture, English history and Swedish traditions. As a result sheís multilingual and most of her reading is historical- both non-fiction and fiction. Possessed of a lively imagination, she has drawers full of potential stories, all of them set in the past. She was always going to be a writer ñ or a historian, preferably both. Ideally, Anna aspired to becoming a pioneer time traveller, but science has as yet not advanced to the point of making that possible. Instead she ended up with a degree in Business and Finance, with very little time to spare for her most favourite pursuit. Still, one does as one must, and in between juggling a challenging career Anna raised her four children on a potent combination of invented stories, historical debates and masses of good food and homemade cakes. They seem to thriveÖ

For years she combined a challenging career with four children and the odd snatched moment of writing. Nowadays Anna spends most of her spare time at her writing desk. The children are half grown, the house is at times eerily silent and she slips away into her imaginary world, with her imaginary characters. Every now and then the one and only man in her life pops his head in to ensure sheís still there.

Other than on her website, www.annabelfrage.com, Anna can mostly be found on her blog, http://annabelfrage.wordpress.com ñ unless, of course, she is submerged in writing her next novel. You can also connect with Anna on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads.

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, February 26
Review at Historical Fiction Reviews

Tuesday, February 27
Guest Post at Let Them Read Books

Wednesday, February 28
Review at A Holland Reads

Thursday, March 1
Feature at What Is That Book About

Friday, March 2
Review at Book Drunkard

Monday, March 5
Review at A Bookaholic Swede

Tuesday, March 6
Review at Beth’s Book Nook Blog

Wednesday, March 7
Review at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!

Friday, March 9
Review at A Chick Who Reads

Monday, March 12
Review at Pursuing Stacie

Tuesday, March 13
Guest Post at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!

Thursday, March 15
Feature at Passages to the Past

Friday, March 16
Interview at Dianne Ascroft’s Blog

Monday, March 19
Review at So Many Books, So Little Time

Wednesday, March 21
Review at Svetlana’s Reads and Views
Feature at A Literary Vacation

Thursday, March 22
Review at Back Porchervations

Friday, March 23
Feature at Button Eyed Reader

Monday, March 26
Review at Just One More Chapter

Wednesday, March 28
Review at Broken Teepee
Review at Impressions In Ink

Friday, March 30
Review at Bookramblings

Mailbox Monday (26.3.2018)

Mailbox Monday was created by Marcia and is now hosted on its own blog.

I haven’t posted mailbox for ages but here’s what I’ve got in the last few weeks:


The Confessions of Young Nero by Margaret George (bought)
Deceptions by Kelley Armstrong (bought)
The Court of Broken Knives by Anna Smith Spark (purchased)
Godblind by Anna Stephens (purchased)
Sea of Shadows by Kelley Armstrong (bookmooch)

For the Winner by Emily Hauser

For the Winner by Emily Hauser

Some three thousand years ago, in a time before history, the warriors of Greece journeyed to the ends of the earth in the greatest expedition the world had ever seen. One woman fought alongside them.
When the king of Pagasae left his infant daughter on the slopes of a mountain to die, he believed he would never see her again. But Atalanta, against the will of the gods and the dictates of the Fates, survived – and went on to bring to life one of the greatest legends of all of ancient Greece…

Teaching herself to hunt and fight, Atalanta is determined to prove her worth to her father and, disguising herself as a man, she wins a place on the greatest voyage of that heroic age: the journey of Jason and the Argonauts to the very ends of the known world in search of the legendary Golden Fleece. But Atalanta is discovered, and abandoned in the mythical land of Colchis, where she is forced to make a choice that will determine her place in history – and change her life forever.

Here then is the legend of Jason and the Argonauts as never told before: the true story of the princess who became a warrior, who sailed and fought alongside Jason and Theseus and Peleus, father of Achilles, and who ultimately ran a race that would decide her destiny. Based on the myths of the ancient Greeks, For the Winner brings alive an archaic world where the gods can transform a mortal’s life on a whim, where warrior heroes carve out names that will echo down the ages . . . and where one woman fights to determine her own fate. (publisher)

As a baby, Atalanta was abandoned on Mount Pelion during a storm but rescued by a peasant family who raises her as their own. She grows up to be a tomboy learning to use the bow and hunting. After learning that she was adopted, she sets about learning the truth about her true family.

I have to confess that I’ve never heard of Atalanta or Jason and the Argonauts before reading this. My knowledge of ancient Greece is limited but still, I probably should have even heard about this before… This was my first Hauser book even though I own her first book For the Most Beautiful.

I really liked Atalanta who was strong, clever and capable of protecting herself. At first, she wants to just find her father and prove herself to him but getting to know ruthless Jason, she wants the crown to protect the people knowing she would be a fairer ruler.

I liked the scenes on Mount Olympus showing gods plotting and interfering in human affairs. This portrayal was how I always think about them. I blame Xena: Warrior Princess for that…

4/5

Published: Transworld (July 25, 2017)
Format: ebook
Source: NetGalley

An Argument of Blood (Oath and Crown 1) by J.A. Ironside, Matthew Willis

An Argument of Blood
by J.A. Ironside & Matthew Willis

William, the nineteen-year-old duke of Normandy, is enjoying the full fruits of his station. Life is a succession of hunts, feasts, and revels, with little attention paid to the welfare of his vassals. Tired of the young dukeís dissolute behaviour and ashamed of his illegitimate birth, a group of traitorous barons force their way into his castle. While William survives their assassination attempt, his days of leisure are over. Heíll need help from the king of France to secure his dukedom from the rebels.

On the other side of the English Channel lives ten-year-old ∆lfgifa, the malformed and unwanted youngest sister to the Anglo-Saxon Jarl, Harold Godwinson. ∆lfgifa discovers powerful rivalries in the heart of the state when her sister Ealdgyth is given in a political marriage to King Edward, and she finds herself caught up in intrigues and political manoeuvring as powerful men vie for influence. Her path will collide with Williamís, and both must fight to shape the future.

An Argument of Blood is the first of two sweeping historical novels on the life and battles of William the Conqueror.

When we first get to know William the Conqueror, he’s young and, honestly, not very likeable. He’s still learning to be duke and how to keep his dukedom. Ælfgifa is the youngest sister of Harold Godwinson, deformed and unloved especially by her mother, she has learned to read people and becomes skilled in the political game.

I’m not huge fan of William and he wasn’t very likeable here either, but he did have his moments. It was interesting to see him as a spoiled and selfish teen. That’s not necessarily how I’ve been seeing him, but it made interesting to read.

I loved Ælfgifa and I waited for her chapters. There isn’t much known about her so there’s lot more freedom writing about her. She’s intelligent and clever and gives refreshing side to the Saxon world. I really want to know how her story will develop.

3,5

Published: Penmore Press (June 19, 2017)
Format: ebook
Source: Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

About the Authors

J.A. Ironside (Jules) grew up in rural Dorset, surrounded by books – which pretty much set he up for life as a complete bibliophile. She loves speculative fiction of all stripes, especially fantasy and science fiction, although when it comes to the written word, she’s not choosy and will read almost anything. Actually it would be fair to say she starts to go a bit peculiar if she doesnít get through at least three books a week. She writes across various genres, both adult and YA fiction, and itís a rare story if there isnít a fantastical or speculative element in there somewhere.

Jules has had several short stories published in magazines and anthologies, as well as recorded for literature podcasts. Books 1 and 2 of her popular Unveiled series are currently available with the 3rd and 4th books due for release Autumn/ Winter 2017.

She also co-authored the sweeping epic historical Oath and Crown Duology with Matthew Willis, released June 2017 from Penmore Press.

Jules now lives on the edge of the Cotswold way with her boyfriend creature and a small black and white cat, both of whom share a god-complex.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Matthew Willis is an author of historical fiction, SF, fantasy and non-fiction. In June 2017 An Argument of Blood, the first of two historical novels about the Norman Conquest co-written with J.A. Ironside, was published. In 2015 his story Energy was shortlisted for the Bridport short story award.

Matthew studied Literature and History of Science at the University of Kent, where he wrote an MA thesis on Joseph Conrad and sailed for the University in national competitions. He subsequently worked as a journalist for Autosport and F1 Racing magazines, before switching to a career with the National Health Service.

His first non-fiction book, a history of the Blackburn Skua WW2 naval dive bomber, was published in 2007. He now has four non fiction books published with a fifth, a biography of test pilot Duncan Menzies, due later in 2017. He currently lives in Southampton and writes both fiction and non-fiction for a living.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, January 15
Review at Jaffa Reads Too

Tuesday, January 16
Feature at Passages to the Past

Wednesday, January 17
Review at Historical Fiction Reviews

Friday, January 19
Feature at A Bookaholic Swede

Monday, January 22
Review at Broken Teepee

Tuesday, January 23
Review at Pursuing Stacie

Friday, January 26
Feature at Let Them Read Books

Monday, January 29
Review at Locks, Hooks and Books

Tuesday, January 30
Feature at What Cathy Read Next

Wednesday, January 31
Feature at Just One More Chapter

Thursday, February 1
Feature at The Lit Bitch

Friday, February 2
Review at Bookramblings
Review at Impressions In Ink

Monday, February 5
Review at Back Porchervations

Tuesday, February 6
Review at Svetlana’s Reads and Views

Wednesday, February 7
Review at The Writing Desk
Review at Donna’s Book Blog

The Pearl Sister (The Seven Sisters 4) by Lucinda Riley

The Pearl Sister (The Seven Sisters 4) by Lucinda Riley

CeCe D’Aplièse has always felt like an outcast. But following the death of her father-the reclusive billionaire affectionately called Pa Salt by the six daughters he adopted from around the globe-she finds herself more alone than ever. With nothing left to lose, CeCe gathers the courage to explore the mystery of her origins. The only clues she holds are a black and white photograph and the name of a female pioneer who once lived in Australia.

One hundred years earlier, Kitty McBride, a Scottish clergyman’s daughter, abandons her conservative upbringing to serve as the companion to a wealthy woman traveling from Edinburgh to Adelaide. Her ticket to a new land brings the adventure she has dreamed of… and a love that she never imagined.

When CeCe herself finally reaches the searing heat and dusty plains of the Red Centre of Australia, something deep within her responds to the energy of the area and the ancient culture of the Aboriginal people. As she comes closer to finding the truth of her ancestry, CeCe begins to believe that this untamed, vast continent could offer her something she never thought possible: a sense of belonging, and a home…

This is my first Riley book and even though this is the fourth in a series, it works well as a standalone.

The book has two timelines: the present day with Cece and the past with Kitty. I really liked Cece and loved seeing how she grew and found herself while learning about her past. I wasn’t huge fan of the Thailand chapters, but it was great to learn more about aboriginals in Australia.
Kitty leaves Scotland in 1906 and moves to Australia which is a whole new world. Her life there is full of twist, and sorrow but fascinating none the less.

This was my first Riley book, but it certainly won’t be the last. I need to go back and read the previous books soon.

4/5

Published: Atria (January 23, 2018)
Format: ebook
Source: Publisher

2017 End of Year Survey

This annual survey is hosted by the incredibly talented Jamie @ The Perpetual Page Turner.

I’ve been meaning to post this for days now but haven’t really have the time. I didn’t answer all the question but here’s a little summary of the year.


Number Of Books You Read: 56
Number of Re-Reads: 0
Genre You Read The Most From: Historical

Best Book You Read In 2017?
I can’t say only one so here’s top 4 in no particular order:

Lionheart by Sharon Kay Penman
Under the Approaching Dark by Anna Belfrage
Magic Binds by Ilona Andrews
A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab

Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?
The Women in the Castle by Jessica Shattuck. I was really looking forward reading this, and while I didn’t hate it, I was waiting for more.

Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read?
Talking As Fast As I Can: From Gilmore Girls to Gilmore Girls, and Everything in Between by Lauren Graham. It was better than I thought it would be.

Best series you started in 2017? Best Sequel of 2017? Best Series Ender of 2017?
Best series you started: Mistress of the Art of Death (Mistress of the Art of Death #1) by Ariana Franklin
Best Sequel: Magic Binds (Kate Daniels #9) by Ilona Andrews
Best Series Ender: A Conjuring of Light (Shades of Magic #3) by V.E. Schwab

Favorite new author you discovered in 2017?
Ariana Franklin

Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?
Didn’t read anything out of my comfort zone

Favorite cover of a book you read in 2017?
The Library of Light and Shadow by M.J. Rose

Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2017 to finally read?
Lionheart by Sharon Kay Penman

Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2017?
Shortest: The Gingerbread Princess by Stephanie Dray
Longest: Six Wives: The Queens of Henry VIII by David Starkey

Best 2017 debut you read?
God’s Hammer by Eric Schumacher

Becoming Mrs. Smith by Tanya E. Williams

Becoming Mrs. Smith
by Tanya E. Williams

Not all of warís destruction takes place on the battlefield.

Violetís heart flutters from the scarlet fever she survived as a child, and it beats faster at the sight of John Smith, the man she plans to marry. America is entrenched in WWII, and when John enlists, Violet is certain she wonít ever forgive him for dashing their dreams. As the realities of war slowly overtake her life, Violet’s days are filled with uncertainty and grief. She struggles to maintain her faith in John, as the world as she knows it, crumbles.

Becoming Mrs. Smith is the inspiring, and at times, heartbreaking story of a womanís struggle to reclaim what she lost. War stole the man she loves, and childhood illness weakened her heartóperhaps beyond repair. While guns rage in Europe, the war Violet faces at home may be even more devastating.

Wonderfully emotional and beautifully written, Becoming Mrs. Smith will take hold of your heartstrings and leave you longing for more.” –Kelsey Gietl, author of Across Oceans

As a child Violet suffers scarlet fever that leaves her with a fluttering heart. At first, she believes it means she will die because of her broken heart – like her grandmother. Ah, the days of innocence…

Growing up, she falls in love with her childhood friend John Smith. When WWII rages and John enlists, Violet swears she will never forgive him and at first doesn’t even read his letters from the war.

I thought it was a different and honest emotion being angry for him to enlist. Usually, in books it’s like everyone is eager for war but I doubt everyone at home supported their men when they wanted to go to war.

I don’t usually read novellas and while I enjoyed this, it was just short and I wanted to know more. But this is the first in a series so at least there will be more.

3,5/5

Published: Rippling Effects Writing & Photography (October 10, 2017)
Format: ebook
Source: Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

About the Author

A writer from a young age, Tanya E Williams loves to help a reader get lost in another time, another place through the magic of books. History continues to inspire her stories and her insightfulness into the human condition deepens her character’s experiences and propels them on their journey. Ms. Williams’ favourite tales, speak to the reader’s heart, making them smile, laugh, cry, and think.

For more information, please visit Tanya Williams’ website and blog. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Goodreads, and Pinterest.

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, October 30
Feature at View from the Birdhouse
Excerpt at Myths, Legends, Books & Coffee Pots

Tuesday, October 31
Review at Hopewell’s Public Library of Life

Wednesday, November 1
Feature at The Lit Bitch

Thursday, November 2
Review at Bookish

Friday, November 3
Feature at Passages to the Past

Monday, November 6
Review at Once Upon A Book

Tuesday, November 7
Feature at The Reading Queen

Wednesday, November 8
Guest Post at Encouraging Words from the Tea Queen

Thursday, November 9
Excerpt at Just One More Chapter

Friday, November 10
Feature at Jenn’s Book Vibes

Monday, November 13
Excerpt at What Cathy Read Next

Tuesday, November 14
Interview & Excerpt at Jorie Loves a Story

Wednesday, November 15
Feature at A Literary Vacation
Review at Singing Librarian Books

Friday, November 17
Review at Bookramblings
Review at Locks, Hooks and Books
Feature at Broken Teepee