46. 12 Days of Clink Street: 'Murder on Track' by Stephen Childs

Sunday, 11 December 2016

I was very kindly asked by Rachel at Authoright if I would like to take part in the festive 12 days of Clink Street blog tour, and of course I was thrilled to accept! The advent calendar below details what is featured on which blogs over the festive 12 days, if you'd like to catch up with any of them you can check it out below:

 Unfortunately, I have not received a copy of Stephen's Murder on Track in time for posting a review, however I did ask Stephen to write me his interpretation of Christmas with his characters, which I enclose below. I love how they are adjusting to their new lives in Australia, yet still holding fast to Christmas tradition despite the change of climate and environment. I especially liked the festive visit by kangaroos!

45. 'Conquest: Daughter of the Last King' by Tracey Warr

Sunday, 4 December 2016

1093. The three sons of William the Conqueror Robert Duke of Normandy, William II King of England and Count Henry fight with each other for control of the Anglo-Norman kingdom created by their father s conquest. Meanwhile, Nest ferch Rhys, the daughter of the last independent Welsh king, is captured during the Norman assault of her lands. Raised with her captors, the powerful Montgommery family, Nest is educated to be the wife of Arnulf of Montgommery, in spite of her pre-existing betrothal to a Welsh prince. Who will Nest marry and can the Welsh rebels oust the Normans? 'Daughter of the Last King' is the first in the Conquest Trilogy.

44. Fifteen Words by Monika Jephcott Thomas

Monday, 28 November 2016

Two young doctors form a profound and loving bond in Nazi Germany; a bond that will stretch them to the very limits of human endurance. Catholic Max - whose religious and moral beliefs are in conflict, has been been conscripted to join the war effort as a medic, despite his hatred of Hitler's regime. His beloved Erika, a privileged young woman, is herself a product of the Hitler Youth. In spite of their stark differences, Max and Erika defy convention and marry. But when Max is stationed at the fortress city of Breslau, their worst nightmares are realised; his hospital is bombed, he is captured by the Soviet Army and taken to a POW camp in Siberia. Max experiences untold horrors, his one comfort the letters he is allowed to send home: messages that can only contain Fifteen Words. Back in Germany, Erika is struggling to survive and protect their young daughter, finding comfort in the arms of a local carpenter. Worlds apart and with only sparse words for comfort, will they ever find their way back to one another, and will Germany ever find peace?

Fifteen Words is a vivid and intimate portrayal of human love and perseverance, one which illuminates the German experience of the war, which has often been overshadowed by history. 

43. 'The Constant Queen' by Joanna Courtney

Friday, 28 October 2016

‘You need not take England without me, Hari, because I will be your constant queen – there with you; there for you.’

Elizaveta is a princess of Kiev but that doesn’t stop her chasing adventure. Defying conventions she rides the rapids of the

Dnieper alongside her royal brothers and longs to rule in her own right as a queen.
Elizaveta meets her match when the fearsome Viking warrior Harald Hardrada arrives at her father’s court seeking fame and fortune. He entrusts Elizaveta to be his treasure keeper, holding the keys to his ever-growing wealth – and eventually to his heart.

Theirs is a fierce romance and the strength of their love binds them together as they travel across the vast seas to Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Iceland. In 1066, their ambition carries them to the Orkneys as they plan to invade England and claim the crown…

42. 'Katharina Luther' by Anne Boileau

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

On 31st October 1517 Martin Luther pinned ninety-five theses on the Castle Church door, Wittenberg, criticising the Church of Rome; they were printed and published by Lucas Cranach and caused a storm. Nine young nuns, intoxicated by Luther’s subversive writings, became restless and longed to leave their convent. On Good Friday 1523 a haulier smuggled them out hidden in empty herring barrels. Five of them settled in Wittenberg, the very eye of the storm, and one of them – Katharina von Bora – scandalised the world by marrying the revolutionary former monk. Following a near miscarriage, she is confined to her bed to await the birth of their first child; during this time of enforced rest, she sets down her own story. Against a backdrop of 16th Century Europe this strikingly realised account of the early life of Katharina von Bora brings to the spotlight this spirited and courageous woman.

41. The Learn by Tony Halker

Friday, 30 September 2016

"Two thousand years before the Romans came, women and men of Britain worshipped the Goddess while developing their technology and culture. Working stone and building trails for their livestock, they made metal, pots and works of beauty. With purpose and endurance, they harnessed nature, laying foundations for a Celtic Druid culture that would spread through what are now England, Wales, Ireland and Europe."

40. The Marriage Game by Alison Weir

Tuesday, 30 August 2016

I was fortunate to attend Alison Weir's talk at the St Albans Literary Festival a few months back, where she discussed her new series of books, most notably 'Katherine of Aragon: The True Queen'. It made me so excited for the coming books, as I do really enjoy her work as a historical fiction writer. She weaves fact and fiction really well, and it is more believable for it, without bringing nonsensical witchcraft into the plot line (I'm looking at you Gregory!).

39. Hello June...

Monday, 13 June 2016

I feel like I'm repeating everyone around me when I write this, but I cannot believe it is June! Surely Christmas wasn't that long ago? It feels like it has only just passed.

Can we take a moment to appreciate the fantastic choice of wrapping paper presented to me this year?

May is always a busy month for me, what with it being not only being my birthday month, but also some of my very good friend's birthdays as well. It's always a bit of a challenge to try and get together as we all seem to be born around the bank holiday weekend at the end of May, and to complicate things further my cousin was also getting married on my birthday this year. 

I got the gorgeous Somerby Pendelton bike in mint for my birthday from my parents. Dan gave me a Cambridge Satchel in mint, with embossing on it. I've been coveting it for a while now, and I'm so pleased with it. Inside he sneakily hid the 20th anniversary edition of The Princess Bride, which I'm thrilled about as it is one of my all time favourite films. He also gave me Cary Ewles book about the filming of it too. I can't wait to get stuck in!

This June will mark Dan and I's five year anniversary, and on 23rd June it will be a year exactly until we tie the knot. It gives me butterflies just thinking of it! I can't wait to really get round to sharing my wedding planning here, I'm holding off until my last family wedding has passed, which will be in July when my Mama remarries. It'll be extremely strange that she won't have the same surname as me, but all good things must come to an end and I am excited for this next chapter of my mum's life. 
I also started a new job three months ago, and feel so much happier in general. You don't think about it much, but enjoying where you work really does make a huge difference to the quality of your life. It has definitely helped with my anxiety, although it will always be there in some form, I feel that I am dealing with things much better. The company is really young and cool, and my coworkers are a lovely bunch. It isn't necessarily where I saw myself going career-wise but there is a wealth of opportunity, and I'm so proud to be such an integral team member in the day to day workings of the company. They are very vocal about making sure their staff feel appreciated, and I have to admit, so far so good, it is easily the best company I have worked for to date!
I'm excited to share the next few blog posts with you, so watch this space!

38. The Taming of the Queen by Philippa Gregory

Monday, 14 March 2016

I have always been slightly dubious when picking up one of Philippa Gregory's books. There's no doubt that she is a talented writer, and that she does her research, however my problems tend to stem from what she chooses to present in the story line. I enjoyed her The White Queen series, and taking it with a pinch of salt for the magical elements I do go back to them every now and then. I really didn't enjoy her take on Anne Boleyn in The Other Boleyn Girl, as I don't believe that she was guilty of what she was accused. Gregory took the route portraying Anne as guilty of the charges. Over all it is probably one of the most hated books I have ever read. So it was with some trepidation that I picked up The Taming of the Queen. Focusing on Katheryn Parr, and the issues surrounding her new life as the King's desired bride, and the ensuing drama of court politics. 

I was pleasantly surprised. 

37. The Secret of the Cathars by Mike Hiller

Tuesday, 9 February 2016

In her last will and testament, Philip Sinclair's grandmother leaves him an unusual bequest, the translated journal of his ancient ancestor. Delving into the pages, Phillip soon realises that it is written by one of the four Cathar Perfecti who had escaped from the Castle of Montsegur in the mid-12th century with the treasure of the Cathars strapped to their backs -a treasure that has never been found. Attached to her bequest is a note urging him to travel to the Pyrenean fortress of Le Bézu where she believes the treasure still lies. Fuelled by the chance of an adventure, and honour-bound to carry out his grandmother’s final wishes, Phillip wastes no time in embarking on a journey into the heart of Cathar France to claim his inheritance. 
Meanwhile, a famous young French archaeologist Jaqueline Blontard also arrives at Le Bézu, with her assistant André Jolyon, to start excavation of the ruins as part of a new television series about the Albigensian Crusade. They believe their team will have the summer to uncover the secrets of the region before they are disturbed by the media, and the authorities. However, Jaqueline’s assistant is discovered dead, suspicion is immediately directed towards Phillip and the police instruct him to stay in the locality while they investigate. Doubting the polices’ motives, Jaqueline believes that Phillip is not responsible and the couple join forces to uncover the identity of the true murderers and keep up the hunt for the treasure. Caught up in their own investigations and their developing relationship, neither Phillip nor Jaqueline are aware that a dangerous and powerful organisation are watching their every move and are closing in quickly to beat them to their breathtaking discoveries.

36. The Queen's Choice by Anne O'Brien

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

I was very kindly sent a proof copy of Anne O'Brien's latest offering, The Queen's Choice which I thoroughly enjoyed. 

Set towards the end of Richard II's turbulent reign, and the uncertain allegiances that would lead to what would be come to be known as The Wars of the Roses, The Queen's Choice follows the life of Joanna of Navarre, as she goes from Duchess of Brittany to Queen of England. 

35. 366 New Days, 366 New Chances

Tuesday, 12 January 2016


Hello, and Happy 2016! I can't quite believe it is officially 2016 - 2015 where have you gone?! When I was writing this post I didn't actually realise 2016 is a leap year, until I saw a very helpful picture on weheartit while looking for some stock images for this post. So we get an extra day to make this year count, which is rather wonderful, don't you agree?

While I can't say I'm sorry to close the chapter of 2015, I will take with me all the lessons I have learnt into 2016. I feel this is going to be a good year for me, my goals and my life with Fella. 2015 kicked my backside, and challenged me constantly, but it also taught me that it is okay to fail at things, it is okay to take the time that you need to heal. It also taught me that even my tolerance has a breaking point, and to purge each and every single negative and poisonous aspect from my life, and move on with a brighter outlook. 

1. No more Snooze button. I am a multiple offender of hitting my snooze button in the morning, leaving myself very little time to get up and ready, to the point where I leave my home like a tornado, leaving a wreck in my wake. This leaves me feeling quite rushed, and definitely doesn't help with my anxiety. I moved our annoyingly loud alarm clock into the bathroom, which means I have to get out of bed and go into another room to turn it off. By that point, I've turned on the lights and the worst is over with. My phone alarm goes off about 5 minutes after this as an added deterrent to getting back into bed. Is this what being an adult feels like?

2. Have breakfast every morning. I used to be so good at ensuring I had a hearty meal at the start of my day, but somewhere along the line, as my wake up time became earlier and earlier this dropped off. I need to take better care of myself and ensure that I am setting myself up for the day in the correct way. Since being back to work I haven't missed a single breakfast, and I really do notice the difference in myself already. 

3. No electronic devices after 9pm. This is something I thought I would struggle with a lot more than I have done. I am a repeat offender for going to bed and being on my phone or tablet until the early hours of the morning. No wonder I was such a zombie. I've only broken this rule once so far, and although I am disappointed in myself I still have time to get on top of my game! 

4. Be in bed by 10:30pm on work nights. I have to be at work for 8am, and I have a long day, and have an impossibly awful train-line to grapple with before I even get to work, so it is essential that I get enough sleep. A minimum of 8 hours to be precise. Again, I haven't completely stuck to this as of yet, but when I have I feel better for it, 

5. Create content I am really proud of. I started doing this last year, and I would like it to continue into 2016, not just on this blog, but also in the form of a YouTube channel where I can focus on historical fiction in different ways, whether it be talking about a book, or a film adaptation.

6. Get a new header design that is more of a reflection of this space, and what I'm about. 

7. Enjoy our wedding planning. Our venue is booked, or date is set. I have found THE dress and my bridal party has been confirmed. All great positives that will ensure that I have the best year of wedding planning. 

8. Be thankful for the life I have. 
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