Sunday 31 March 2019

#wasreading 11-13 during #March

March reading update! 

My non-fiction reading during March has mostly been to dip back into research books on Roman Scotland that I’ve already read once through. Since I can’t recall exact details, I have to do lots of fact-checking as I do new writing set in late first century A.D. during the Flavian occupations of 'Scotland'.

However, one new research book read in March took me some time to read, in between many other pressing daily domestic and writing related tasks. Here’s the gist of it, and similarly the gist of some fiction also read during March.

Non-fiction - Domitian: Tragic Tyrant by Pat Southern.  5 stars

This was recommended to me as the ‘go to’ book for studying Emperor Domitian A.D. 81-96. I requested the loan of this book from my local library since the hardback copy was priced at £93.99 on Amazon; paperback at £35.99; and Kindle at £26.99 - none of which I could afford. I’m absolutely delighted to say that Aberdeenshire Libraries, and Kintore in particular, did me proud by acquiring a paperback copy for me.   

This gave me many some insights about Domitian that I wouldn’t have managed to extract from other sources. I particularly enjoyed the references Pat Southern used from contemporary and later sources – poets and writers – which I personally can’t read in the original Latin or Greek. These focused on an emperor who knew he was always going to come to power after the successful careers of his brother Titus, and father Vespasian. Whether, or not, he had anything to do with the early demise of his brother Titus, it was an onerous task to assume the mantle of the emperor during the expansion of the Roman Empire when there were many other ‘power hungry’ military commanders with multiple Roman legions backing them.

I didn’t learn very much about Domitian’s policies regarding Britannia but reading between the lines of Pat Southern’s text, Domitian had to concentrate on the insurrection that was closest to Rome. What happened on the periphery of the western Empire boundary was not his main concern.

Fiction read in March included:

The Ides of April by Lindsey Davis 5 stars

Once again Ms Davis did not disappoint! I read a number of L. Davis’ books during the 1990s and then had a period of catch up more recently. I love her casual chatty detective mystery style of delivery – albeit all set in Ancient Rome. I sussed out the perpetrator quite early on but that didn’t detract from the very engrossing read.

A Wicked Earl’s Widow by Aubrey Wynne 4 stars

This was an entertaining quick read. There were a few references to historical timeline events and use of particular words ( US versus British English) which I wondered about as I read that had me making a search for details. Since I was reading what was essentially a Regency style novel, they seemed 'not quite right' but fortunately they didn’t stop the flow of my read. 

Chasing the Case (The First Isabel Long Mystery) by Joan Livingston 5 stars

This was a really enthralling read which had me desperately wanting to solve the mystery. I love the chatty style of writing though, admittedly, the changes of tense took me a short time to acclimatise to. Isabel is one of the few heroines I’ve read about recently that I truly would like to get to know in a downtown coffee bar in the wilds of rural US. Her aging mother sounds like a great character to meet as well though only if you have a squeaky clean police record.

I look forward to reading more entertaining stories involving Isabel Long.

From this short update, I really can see that I need to find more leisure reading time during April to ensure that I can fulfill my reading targets on Goodreads and Wendy's Reading Challenge on Facebook!


Friday 29 March 2019

April A to Z Blog Challenge

Fantastic Friday!

I've just signed up for the April A to Z Blog Challenge!

This will be the 3rd time I've participated, so I know in advance what a commitment it can be to post a blog article each day, entitled initially with an A and then all the way through the alphabet to Z over the course of the month of April (Sundays excepted).

It was a major decision for me to make but I've decided I need the impetus it should give me to keep up some momentum with new writing on Book 5 of my historical Celtic Fervour Series Saga.

I have, naturally, made it easier for myself since my theme is The Flavian Invasion and Occupations in 'Scotland- i.e the Agricolan Campaigns in northern Britannia/ Caledonia as the Ancient Romans named the barbarian territories north of Brigantia. This theme lends itself to me also including some snippets and relevant information regarding the novels in my Celtic Fervour Series. 

It will be fabulous to have your company on this exciting journey. Wish me luck and.. pray that Fortuna favours me! 


Tuesday 26 March 2019

50th Anniversary SAW (#Scottish Association of Writers) Conference 2019!

Weekend Update!

50th anniversary Cake and
current President - Wendy Jones 
Last Friday  (22nd March),  I headed south to go to the Scottish Association of Writers Annual Conference at the Westerwood Hotel, cumbernauld, near Glasgow. The hotel is familiar since I went to the 2017 SAW Conference as a Saturday Day Delegate, and last year I attended the full weekend of the Historical Novel Society International Conference 2018 at the same very recommended venue.

This time I had ensured I was booked in for the whole weekend so as not to miss anything important. Although I hadn't sent in any competition entries this time around, I was able to appreciate how many of the adjudication speeches take place on the Friday evening. This was the part I missed in March 2017 when I was 'joint second place' for the Barbara Hammond Trophy for Best Self Published book. 

It was a fabulous weekend, a brilliant mix of congratulatory elements (presentation of prizes), workshops and evening entertainments. 

On Friday evening,  after the main competition announcements, which included full explanations of the criteria used in adjudications, was the spectacular Talent Show which went on into the wee sma' hoors (i.e. after midnight). 

There was a highly entertaining mix of anecdotal information; songs and poems - the Brexit related material being highly funny and very topical. This was not content that was created months ago but more like hours, even minutes, before the show. 

Me and Rae Cowie from the North East of Scotland.
Saturday evening was a joy after the splendid Gala dinner when some of the well known members of the Association put on an incredibly funny 'Carry On Sleuthing' farce aptly named 'Murder on the Ocean' - a take off of a Miss Marple type event. Brilliant executions and quick on the hoof asides to the manuscripts that were being read since only a very small amount of rehearsal time is spent on these performances. Excellent entertainment all round.

I'll have to save up my pennies again to make sure I can attend in 2020! 

Taking a pre-dinner selfie not very expertly.
I drove home to a family party to celebrate my grandson's 5th birthday so I am suitably still exhausted, even though it Tuesday and have had a couple of sleeps. 

My Monday and Tuesday writing time has been spent on updating and inputting information top the Nielsen Title Editor database for my ebooks, and filling in requests for FREE editorial reviews from a reputable site (Reader's Favourite). I'll await news of that in a few months time. 

It's now time to really get into new writing and finish off novels I started to read days ago. 


Wednesday 20 March 2019

#Launch News from #Joan Livingston

Welcome to Wednesday!

Today, I've got a very welcome visitor in Joan Livingston, my Crooked Cat author friend, who has returned to this blog to share information about the latest novel in her Isabel Long series. I confess I'm a bit behind in my reading of the series because a) I can't seem to get through my kindle pile quickly and b) I just don't have enough time in a day! Excuses, I know, but the fact that this is the third novel about this interesting journalist-turned-detective - Isobel Long -  means I'm not writing hard enough either.

Since I'm currently (honestly) reading Book 1 - Chasing the Case I feel I'm already familiar with Isabel, her hometown situation, and her chatty style of delivery. Today, Joan has sent along lots of lovely information to give us an idea of Book 3, so I'd best get cracking and get on with my reading of Bks 1 & 2!

Welcome, Joan. Spill the beans about Checking the Traps...

Meet the Big Shot Poet

By Joan Livingston

His name is Cyrus Nilsson. But Isabel Long, the protagonist in my mystery series, calls him the Big Shot Poet. And he is a suspect in the third book, Checking the Traps, and an unusual suspect, I would say.

Let me back up here. For her third case, Isabel, a longtime journalist turned amateur P.I., is hired to look into the death of a man. The officials say Cary Moore jumped from a bridge known for suicides. His half-brother, Gary Beaumont, says he was pushed. So, he’s paying Isabel to get to the truth.

The Big Shot Poet turns out to be a suspect. Why? Cary Moore was a highway worker who also wrote poetry. They were neighbors initially, and Cary got good enough that the Big Shot Poet put his name on several of his poems. They appeared in what turned out to be an award-winning book.

What’s Cyrus’s backstory? He grew up poor, went to an Ivy League college, and became a sensation in the poetry world when he made the right connections. His manners and style belie his humble upbringing.

So, naturally Isabel, being such a smart ass, came up with that nickname.

I’ve known many poets, and, no, none of them inspired the character. But as I wrote about Cyrus, I imagined someone who has worked hard to overcome his humble beginning. He likes being famous, but not the interference on his personal life, which includes fans who show up at his house or bother him in public.

He did take Cary Moore under his wing, reading his work and encouraging him to write more. As Cyrus tells Isabel, it’s the first and last time he would ever do that.

Among other scenes, I show Cyrus in action at a poetry reading — as well as his adoring fans. Isabel and her ‘Watson” — her 93-year-old mother — go there to coerce the man into an interview. Here’s an excerpt from Checking the Traps.

As I’ve said before, I’ve seen Cyrus in action although that time at the Penfield Town Hall, the atmosphere was different. Most of the folks who came were curious locals. He was decent not talking down to them, so he came off more like an understanding schoolteacher than a famous poet. That had to be twenty-five years ago. But for this reading, he is definitely the Big Shot Poet. I figured rightly his audience tonight would be filled with educated poetry fans, well, except for Ma and me. We’re only pretending. I even bought his new book for him to sign. It’s a ploy to meet him. Plus, I figure it’ll be a tax write-off.

Cyrus reads from his memoir and a few of the poems it contains. In between, he banters about the poet’s life. He finds inspiration wherever he goes. Yeah, right.

“At this stage in my life, I can’t help it,” he says.

Many in the audience go “ah” and laugh along with Cyrus’s knowing chuckles.

Good grief.

The man has aged well. I will give him that. He’s kept most of his hair, which is now white, and his face has the right amount of lines to make him look distinguished and smart. His white shirt is open a few buttons. His legs are spread apart in a rather manly pose, a thrill, I’m certain, for his middle-aged groupies.

“That poem practically wrote itself,” he says after reading one called “The Crossing.” “It came to me as I was standing on the bow of the ferry taking me to Nantucket. I stepped to the side and recorded it on my phone. What you heard tonight is pretty much what I got down that day.”

A woman in the second row moans. Actually, she moans whenever she thinks she hears anything profound, which seems to be about every third line that comes from the Big Shot Poet’s mouth. Her response is a cross between a moan and a gasp. It’s her way of saying she is moved big time, I suppose. Honestly, I find it annoying. So does my mother, who cranes her neck to see who’s making all that noise.

My mother mouths, “Do you think she’s in pain?”

I stifle a laugh.

The reading is over after Cyrus fields a few questions and agrees to sign copies of his book. He takes his place behind a table. Fans, clutching his latest, form a long line. I expected that. So instead, I sit and wait beside Ma.


Isabel Long is a bit banged up from her last case with a broken collarbone and her arm in a sling. But that doesn’t stop her from pouring beer at the Rooster Bar or taking her third case with Gary Beaumont, a local drug dealer who once terrorized her. Gary is convinced his brother didn’t jump off a bridge known for suicides. Somebody pushed him.

Gary’s brother was a boozer who drove for a highway crew. But what interests Isabel and her ‘Watson’ — her 93-year-old mother who lives with her — is that the man wrote poetry.

The chief suspects are one of Gary’s business associates and a famous poet who plagiarized his brother’s poetry for an award-winning book. Yes, he was that good.

As a journalist, Isabel did regular meetups with her sources for stories. She called it checking the traps. She does the same as a private investigator, and this time, she’ll make sure she doesn’t get caught in one.

Joan Livingston is the author of novels for adult and young readers. Checking the Traps, published by Crooked Cat Books, is the third in the mystery series featuring Isabel Long, a longtime journalist who becomes an amateur P.I. The first two are Chasing the Case and Redneck’s Revenge.

An award-winning journalist, she started as a reporter covering the hilltowns of Western Massachusetts. She was an editor, columnist, and the managing editor of The Taos News, which won numerous state and national awards during her tenure. Recently, she was named editor of the Greenfield Recorder.

After living eleven years in New Mexico, she has returned to rural Western Massachusetts, which is the setting of much of her adult fiction, including the Isabel Long Mystery Series.

 Find Joan here on SOCIAL MEDIA

Redneck’s Revenge: http://mybook/rednecksrevenge
Checking the Traps: http://mybook/checkingthetraps

Twitter: @JoanLivingston

Fabulous! Thank you for visiting today, Joan. Best wishes with this latest launch and with future writing. I'll be posting a review when I get my current read finished, which is presently around 65% read on my kindle! 


Tuesday 19 March 2019

#Special Promotions #Celtic Fervour Series

Tuesday talk...

Special promotions are ongoing for the books in my Celtic Fervour Series this current week!

  • Monday 18th (March) and Tuesday 19th - Book 1 The Beltane Choice is #FREE across Amazon.

From a recent Amazon 5* review of The Beltane Choice
"...I hissed at villains, cheered the heroes, and found this delightful novel thoroughly entertaining."

  • Tuesday 19th & Wednesday 20th  - Book 2 After Whorl: Bran Reborn is a featured author on the Book Hippo site at #99p. 

5* review of After Whorl: Bran Reborn:
"As in The Beltane Choice, the author brings the culture and society of celtic Britain vividly to life - and in this book there is also an intriguing contrast with the ordered, militaristic lifestyle of the occupying Romans. An engaging tale, with fascinating insights into Celtic and Roman Britain."

  • Wednesday 20th - Book 2 After Whorl: Bran Reborn is featured on Ereader News Today and on #JustKindleBooks at #99p/99c.

My fingers are crossed that there's a little buzz of sales this week, to boost the impact of my Celtic Fervour Series (and to pay for the paid promotions).

To make things even easier for buyers and browsers Books 1, 2 & 3 will be on sale at 99p till early Friday 22nd, with Book 4 reduced to £1.99.

They are all excellent bargains for full length novels- with realistic experiences of what life was like in 1st Century Ancient Caledonia/ Northern Roman Britain with my Garrigill Clan as the main protagonists in this series that has also been called an ancient saga.

Readers should note that although I have tried hard to make each a standalone novel, they are very inter-connected, with some clan members taking the limelight in one book and then continuing the struggle to thwart the Roman usurpers as secondary characters in later books. and as in all good sagas by the time a reader reaches Book 4 it is the second generation clan members who are the ones featuring. Similarly it is a second generation clan member who is the main character in Book 5 which is currently being written.

Click the links below to get your copies on Amazon!

Bk 1 - The Beltane Choice

Bk 2- After Whorl: Bran Reborn

Bk 3 - After Whorl: Donning Double Cloaks

Bk 4 - Agricola's Bane

p.s. All books are on #KindleUnlimited if that's how you prefer to find your quality reading material.

Enjoy the reads...


Saturday 16 March 2019

#Saturday Selection with #Tim Walker

Saturday Special!

Today, I'm delighted to welcome back my author friend, Tim Walker, who has come to share news of the latest release in his A Light in the Dark Ages Series. Where I have chosen to focus on the earliest part of the Ancient Roman invasions of northern Britannia, Tim has been setting his sights, and imagination, on later centuries of Roman occupation, and beyond into the virtually unrecorded haze after the Romans retreated from Britannia. 

Neither of our chosen eras are easy to research, so I truly appreciate the effort it takes to create a credible world for the protagonists in the novel, and for the reader to believe in them when work is set in those formerly named 'Dark Ages' A.D.

I've very much enjoyed Tim's previous adventures in Ancient Britain and have this next book on my kindle where he gives us a new perspective on the intriguing figure of the fabled King Arthur. I'm looking forward to reading Arthur Dux Bellorum  very soon! 
(I have to find more pleasure reading time since my kindle pile is still too large!)

Along with details about Arthur Dux Bellorum, Tim's sent along an excerpt today to give us an idea of what to expect and to whet my/our appetite... so make sure to read all the way down...


BTW- Tim mentions an author unknown to me - Mathew Harffy- so I'll just have to go onto Amazon and fill up my kindle even more.

From the ruins of post-Roman Britain, a warrior arises to unite a troubled land

Britain in the late Fifth Century is a troubled place – riven with tribal infighting and beset by invaders in search of plunder and settlement. King Uther is dead, and his daughter, Morgana, seizes the crown for her infant son, Mordred. Merlyn’s attempt to present Arthur as the true son and heir of Uther is scorned, and the bewildered teenager finds himself in prison. Here our story begins…
Arthur finds friends in unexpected quarters and together they flee. Travelling through a fractured landscape of tribal conflict and suspicion, they attempt to stay one step ahead of their pursuers, whilst keeping a wary eye on Saxon invaders menacing the shoreline. Arthur’s reputation as a fearsome warrior grows as he learns the harsh lessons needed to survive and acquire the skills of a dux bellorum, a lord of war.
Tim Walker’s Arthur Dux Bellorum is a fresh look at the Arthurian legend, combining myth, history and gripping battle scenes. Although in a series, it can be read as a standalone novel.

Fans of Bernard Cornwell, Conn Iggulden and Mathew Harffy will enjoy Walker’s A Light in the Dark Ages series and its newest addition – Arthur Dux Bellorum.

You can buy the book using this link HERE

Tim Walker is an independent author based in Windsor, UK. His background is in marketing, journalism, editing and publications management. He began writing an historical series, A Light in the Dark Ages (set in Fifth Century Britain), in 2015, starting with Abandoned, set at the time the Romans left Britain. This was extensively revised and re-launched as a second edition in 2018.
Book two, Ambrosius: Last of the Romans, was published in 2017 and the third installment, Uther’s Destiny, was published in March 2018 (winner of One Stop Fiction book of the month award, April 2018). The adventure continues from March 2019 in the fourth book, Arthur, Dux Bellorum.
His creative writing journey began in July 2015 with the publication of a book of short stories, Thames Valley Tales. In September 2017 he published a second collection of short stories – Postcards from London. These stories combine his love of history with his experiences of living in London and various Thames Valley towns.
In 2016 he published his first novel, a dystopian political thriller, Devil Gate Dawn, following exposure through the Amazon Scout programme. In 2017 he published his first children’s book, The Adventures of Charly Holmes, co-written with his 12-year-old daughter, Cathy, followed In 2018 by a second adventure, Charly & The Superheroes.
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From: Arthur Dux Bellorum 

Arthur and his father-in-law, Chief Meirchion Gul of the Rheged, are leading an army north of Hadrian’s Wall to secure an alliance by evicting Hibernian settlers (the Scotti) from Galway

BY MID-AFTERNOON on the second day, the army of Meirchion and Arthur had reached the settlement of the Scotti on the rocky, windswept coast called Galwydell. Meirchion sent Gawain and his cavalry to by-pass the coastal village and surround them. Arthur waited with his father-in-law on a sandy dune looking down on the feeble picket fence that enclosed a settlement of no more than fifty dwellings in a crude semi-circle, their ships lying on the beach behind. These were single-mast ships that could take eight oars on each side and carry about fifty men. The Scotti, a fierce tribe from the island of Hibernia in the western sea, knew of their presence and had their men lining the inside of the fence, armed and ready. Meirchion kept looking out to sea away to his left, until he saw what he searched for – the sails of a fleet of at least half a dozen ships.

“Ah, there they are. Those are our cousins, the seafaring Setanti. I ordered them to come and cover our sea flank. We have yet to establish the numbers of Scotti settlers on this coast, so their presence can help us count and corral them.”

“What do you intend to do with them?” Arthur asked.

Meirchion laughed and jabbed his heels into his horse’s flanks, pointing ahead of him with his short spear to where Gawain’s banner could be seen fluttering on a dune on the far side of the settlement. Horn blasts signalled the advance, and his foot soldiers marched through the sand and tufts of wild grass to take up a position within a hundred yards of the fence. Gawain did the same from the far side – a shallow stream separating the two forces.

Meirchion gathered his commanders to him. “These warriors, Arthur, are from the Novantae clan on whose land we are standing,” he said, pointing to a group of stocky warriors with weathered faces, their dark eyes under thick eyebrows burning with passion. “They are keen to evict the Scotti and take back their lands, and we are here to aid them.”

He pointed to the guarded settlement where ragged black banners fluttered in the strong sea breeze, and continued. “But first we must talk to their leaders. I will invite them to leave, provided they swear allegiance to me and give me warriors for our campaign further north.” He instructed three deputies, including one who spoke the Scotti tongue, to ride to the gates and request a meeting with their leaders. By now, the Setanti ships had blockaded the harbour, cutting off any chance of escape.

They had not long to wait before the rickety gates of the stockade opened and three men walked out. Meirchion nodded to Arthur and they took a central position, out of arrow range of the platform above the gate, and waited for them. The Scotti leaders had plenty of opportunity to see the thousand or more men lining the dunes around them as they walked out. Their leader spoke through a bushy grey beard in the language of the Gaels, his arm bands jangling as he gesticulated. Meirchion waited patiently for the translation.

“Tell him that I am Meirchion Gul of the Rheged and this is Arthur of the Brigantes. Together we speak for the entire north of this land, below and above the wall. They have seized this place from our friends, the Novantae, who now want it returned to them. They also want your heads on spikes to adorn their hall.” Meirchion paused for the translator to catch up. The startled looks on the faces of their opponents showed that they understood the full nature of the threat.

A garbled reply was translated as, “We have lost our home lands to raiders and have been forced to travel here, across the narrow sea. We are at your mercy, mighty lord, and ask only for land to settle.”

“Who is your leader?” Meirchion demanded.

“They are led by their king, Fergus Mor, who is in a settlement to the west,” the translator replied.

“Another king. That’s all we need. Don’t translate that,” Meirchion muttered.

Thank you for sharing with us today, Tim, and very best wishes for a great launch of Arthur Dux Bellorum. 


Thursday 14 March 2019

#FREE #indieBRAG Ides of March!

It's coming!

The 15th March tends to be thought of as the ides of March, though technically I believe that the ides can straddle the middle days of the month. Looking at the Julian Calendar of Rome it was quite a system they had for describing each day with relevance to festivals, or its position as the month progressed.

The indieBrag site which awards medallion status to books of quality are having theme days this year and the 'Ides' is one of them so tomorrow, 15th March, is an Ancient Roman theme.

Since my time travel novel has an #indieBRAG medallion it was perfect to join their promotions so in honour of that I've made it #FREE on Amazon for 2 days (14th and 15th) .

Grab your copy quick- I can't be sure exactly when Amazon will do the price changing in your part of the globe.


Click this link HERE to get your #FREE copy. .


#presentations and challenging #plenary questions

Happy Thursday!

Yesterday, 13th March 2019, I was giving a presentation on the Roman Invasions of Scotland to a group of retired Professional and Business Men in Aberdeen. The talk went smoothly and, as always, I get so involved in relating information about my current passion - Ancient Roman invasions of Scotland - that the time flies past. 

During the plenary session a number of the 37 or so strong audience asked some very pertinent questions, which I was glad I knew most of the answers to. Only one was an 'I'm not sure' answer, since I was asked when the Christian influence would have begun to make an impact amongst Roman invaders in Scotland. As far as I've read it was very unlikely that any of Agricola's Roman legions and Auxiliary units would have been practising Christians, though I could never rule out that they might have heard of what was a relatively new religion in Rome itself. What I could say was that during the Severan invasion amongst soldiers in southern Scotland - e.g. at Trimontium Roman Fort - there is evidence that the Cult of Mithras was popular and there is evidence of this for the era around A.D. 210. To my knowledge the evidence of Christian worship in the Hadrian's Wall area is dated to the later third and early fourth centuries but I'd need to do a little re-reading to remember that exactly.

The point is that I love being asked challenging questions as well as easy ones!

Ten paperbacks will have been sold as a result of the presentation and a few ebooks. What was a first was an email popping into my inbox even before I got home after the presentation to ask if I'd be interested in giving a presentation to another history group in Aberdeen in June 2019. Yes, I answered, even though I know that these small groups cannot pay me proper author rates. Some day soon I will learn to say no...maybe! 

I love this part of my author job - talking about a subject I'm pretty well obsessed with and which I'll probably never stop researching. 


Friday 8 March 2019

#review 9 of books read in 2019

Friday Greetings to you!

I didn't get this review posted on here the other day since my grandchild minding duties were in high demand. I read the novel below very quickly when I got my pre-ordered copy from Amazon.

A Highland Captive by Cathie Dunn

I thoroughly enjoyed the Scottish locations in this enthralling medieval adventure, the descriptions of highlands and islands very atmospheric. The choice of which faction to back during the late thirteenth century Scottish Wars of Independence was a tough one and many clansmen ended up being on the wrong side of a sword blade. Sometimes this was through gullibility, though treachery was also rife as we experience in A Highland Captive. 

Isobel de Moray has some tough choices to make since placing her trust isn’t easy when faced with unenviable situations. I very much enjoyed how the author portrays her vulnerability, though Isobel’s definitely no wimp. When options for a woman of status were limited, it was great to follow Isobel’s reasoning, even if it seems skewed as seen through my twenty-first century lens. 

The endearing hero Cailean makes decisions that are honour bound but he’s also got some deep personal issues to work through which he manages very effectively. There are some well-described secondary characters, balanced by some nasty double-crossers that you would not want to meet on a little boat carrying you between the Scottish mainland and the islands.  

A Highland Captive is definitely recommended for readers who enjoy a historical Scottish romantic adventure!

Wishing you enjoyable reading...


Wednesday 6 March 2019

#Reviews 5-8 of 2019

It's time to catch up with a bundle of review comments on books I've recently read in February!  

Here are a few of them... more to follow soon.

The List: A WWII Story Set in France by Vanessa Couchman

I’ve read full length novels by this author before, thoroughly enjoyed them, and the high standard of writing and attention to detail continues in this short novella. The characters speak easily off the page to the reader and the excellent description creates vivid images of the circumstances. The task of staying alive under occupied forces during wartime is not the easiest of subjects to write about but this is done with great sensitivity in The List. Making the correct decisions in time of war, that will not have crucial repercussions for your own family, or close friends and neighbours, must always be a very difficult thing to do – but I think the author managed to get the balance just right in this story between the heroism of protecting someone highly sought after, and the caution needed for self-survival. I highly recommend this to anyone who loves a French setting to a story or to those who love to read WWII fiction with little time for longer reads.

Secrets in the Heather by Gwen Kirkwood 

Being stuck in a niche isn’t inevitable!

I very much enjoyed the plot of this novel, the upbringing and situation of the main character, Victoria, very believable. The past isn’t always easy to bury or escape from and sometimes people like Victoria need to meet it head on to ensure that the past doesn’t shape the future. The settings are realistic and well-described, as are the characters. It was a pleasant, quick read. 

The theatre of Dreams by Rosie Travers

The world really can be a very small place!

The interesting plot lines of this novel make it an unusual but very rewarding read. The characters, main and secondary, come with interesting weaknesses and strengths and are well-drawn. The changes of setting help the pace to skip along, the descriptions vivid and realistic. The mysterious elements were fairly easy to work out early on but didn’t detract from the read since my suppositions had to be proven! I’m a little sceptical about someone being accepted at face value as being suitably experienced and qualified for taking on children’s dance classes these days but that apart, I really enjoyed the read. 

Moment of Truth by Joan Fleming

First impressions are not necessarily the last ones!

People are not always how they seem at first meetings. Sometimes it just takes a little persistence to change initial impressions and so it is for the main characters, Mandy and Gavin, in this heart-warming novel set in Scotland. The pace of the novel moves along nicely, the characters are well-drawn and there's sufficient twist to keep the 'non-romantic' interest going. The fact that I’m familiar with the territory mentioned - although some of it fictitious - added an extra dimension as I skipped through this pleasurable read. Which character did I like best? That’s a leading question but I’d be quite happy to meet Gavin any time and his grandmother sounds like a lady I’d like to get to know, as well! 

Happy Reading...