Happy release day for Murder Lost and Found by Debbie Young #cozycrime #SophieSayers

Here’s the blurb

Sophie Sayers is ready for a glorious summer, but when a dead body is found in the village school’s lost property cupboard the summer holidays take an unexpected turn.

Even more shocking is when the body goes missing. Without a body, the police refuse to investigate. That’s just not good enough.

Sophie is determined to get to the bottom of the mystery. She needs to find out who has died and nab the culprit if she’s going to save the village school from the threat of closure.

My Review

Murder Lost and Found continues the Sophie Sayers Cosy Mysteries.

It’s the summer holidays, the school is empty of children, but while the caretaker and office manager try to ensure the school is prepared for the start of term, strange happenings take place.

I really enjoy this collection of stories. They’re light-hearted and a quick, pacy read, and I felt this one was particularly strong with the mystery of the lost property cupboard and the strange notes, making poor Sophie doubt herself, even while she contends with change at Horace’s bookshop.

A fun and entertaining read. Bring on book 8.

My thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for my review copy.

Purchase Link

https://amzn.to/3JIkJpH

Meet the Author

Debbie Young is the much-loved author of the Sophie Sayers and St Brides cosy crime mysteries. She lives in a Cotswold village where she runs the local literary festival, and has worked at Westonbirt School, both of which provide inspiration for her writing. She is bringing both her series to Boldwood in a 13-book contract. They will be publishing several new titles in each series and republishing the backlist, starting in September 2022.

Debbie Young

Connect with Debbie  

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/AuthorDebbieYoung

Twitter https://twitter.com/DebbieYoungBN

Instagram https://www.instagram.com/debbieyoungauthor/  

Newsletter Sign Up: https://bit.ly/DebbieYoungNews

Bookbub profile: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/debbie-young

(This review contains an Amazon affiliate link)

I’m sharing my review for brand new cosy crime A Date to Die For by E.V Hunter #cosycrime

Here’s the blurb

The start of brand-new Cozy Crime series! Welcome to Hopgood Hall.

An unlikely duo…

When investigative journalist, Alexi Ellis, falls victim to cutbacks, she and Cosmo, her anti-social feral cat, head for beautiful Hopgood Hall, where they plan to lick their wounds in the boutique hotel run by her old friends, Cheryl and Drew Hopgood.

A missing woman…

But when she arrives Alexi discovers Cheryl and Drew both distraught. Their close friend, Natalie Parker, who recently settled in the area, has gone missing. Alexi’s sure the woman has just taken a trip somewhere, but she still has a nose for a story and agrees to look into it.

A case to solve!

So too does ex-Met Police detective turned private eye, Jack Maddox. Natalie Parker had been using his sister’s online dating agency and Jack needs to find her before his sister’s business is ruined.

Reluctantly, Alexi, Jack – and Cosmo! – join forces to find out what happened to Natalie. But soon they discover secrets that someone desperately wants to make sure are never revealed!

Purchase Link

https://amzn.to/3HiFHso

My Review

A Date to Die For by E V Hunter is a fast-paced, modern-day cosy mystery.

The two main characters, well three if we include our side-kick, Cosmo, the cat, are well-sketched. Alexi has run away from her old life in the city to her friends in the country. Jack already has a new life in the country. They’re both city bods, suddenly faced with the world of equestrian shenanigans; one a journalist and one an ex-police officer working as a private investigator. And Cosmo, is well, Cosmo. He’s an unusual cat who likes to travel and has no problem being on a leash.

The author has such an engaging writing style. I actually couldn’t believe how quickly I read the pages, the mystery burbling away as the point of view switches between the two main characters so that the reader gets to know them and begins to unravel the mystery of the disappearance of Natalie, the woman who ran a local flower delivery company, but who hasn’t been seen for days.

Events take a slightly darker turn as the story progresses. The mystery itself is well-developed, and while there is one particular scene that might have every reader shouting, ‘No, don’t do that,’ I found the resolution to be satisfying and twisty enough that I’d never have guessed it.

A twisty, tightly-plotted cosy mystery, with a fabulous writing style. Very enjoyable.

Meet the Author

E.V. Hunter has written a great many successful regency romances as Wendy Soliman and revenge thrillers as Evie Hunter. She is now redirecting her talents to produce cosy murder mysteries. For the past twenty years she has lived the life of a nomad, roaming the world on interesting forms of transport, but has now settled back in the UK.

Connect with the Author

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(This post contains an Amazon affililate link)

Today, I’m welcoming The White Sails Series Collector’s Edition by Emma Lombard to the blog #blogtour

Here’s the blurb

Award-winner, The White Sails Series, where icy winter storms, opportunistic mercenaries, uncharted lands, and a colourful crew of sailors are all lashed together by an epic love story. 

This collector’s edition includes all four books in the series.

The White Sails Series: Special Hardback Omnibus

If Bridgerton and Pirates of the Caribbean had a love child.

Are you a fan of sweeping romantic adventures?

Do you fall for tall, brooding Naval Officers?

Love a feisty female lead who makes you yell aloud?

Then hop aboard Emma Lombard’s hardback Collector’s Edition of The White Sails Series, and batten down the hatches!

But why?

Well, firstly, let me tell you what my Kickstarter campaign isn’t. It isn’t a plea for donations, it’s not a beg for money, and it’s not just another retailer.

Okay, so what is it then? 

Kickstarter is a wonderful way for me to give more to my fans.

It allows fans access to a special collector’s edition that is not (and will never be) available from online retailers.

It allows fans to have each and every copy personalised, which is just not doable on retailers.

It also allows fans a more intimate view of the story behind my series.

And best of all, it allows fans to get involved in my next series, whether through an exclusive sneak peek of the first draft or even having a character named after them.

Oh, and did I mention there’s an opportunity to win the original oil painting of the cover?

Where else in the world do you get all this extra cool stuff thrown in just because you bought a book?

What’s in it for you, Emma?

Without wanting to sound too cheesy, I’m beside myself to put such a pretty book out in the world. I’m mean, just look at that dreamy sunset! I’m not going to lie, I love a chunky book.

This collector’s edition fulfils my ultimate author dream—to be able to hold (and smell) a weighty tome. I’m not the only one—I’ve had folks walk up to my books at the market and pick them up just to smell them! My kind of peeps!

I know it’s taboo to talk about money, but the pledges received for this campaign will help me recoup some of the upfront expenses that I have already laid out, like editing, book cover design, audiobook narration, and it will give me the momentum I need to invest in those same services for my next series, The Gold Hills Series.

You’ll be helping keep the indie publishing ecosphere turning, which in turn lets me keep creating more stories.

So, what’s The White Sails Series about?

One of my readers described it best: If Bridgerton and Pirates of the Caribbean had a love child.

The idea for this series was born from a tiny nugget of family gossip that my grandmother shared with me. She told me how my 3x great grandmother left her well-to-do family in England to elope with an English sea captain, and live aboard his ship with him. 

I took the basic concept of this story and had a blast creating an entirely fictitious imagining of what it might have been like for a woman to live aboard a ship in those days. Quite ironic considering that I get terribly sea-sick myself.

Curious? Never seen what a Kickstarter campaign looks like?

Just looking: Take a look at Emma’s campaign to see it in detail: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/emma-lombard-author/the-white-sails-series-special-hardback-omnibus-audiobook?ref=9oxhwz

Note: clicking on this link will not sign you up to anything, it will simply take you to the campaign page to look.

GIVEAWAY

Batten down the hatches, m’lovelies, for a chance to win an exclusive, personalised, hardcover Collector’s Edition of The White Sails Series: 

Fill out the entry form — https://forms.gle/Be1snbRhVZzcKyKY7

Winner will be notified by email on February 18th, 2023.

Buy Links 

Exclusively available on Kickstarter

Meet the author

Emma Lombard was born in Pontefract in the UK. She grew up in Africa—calling Zimbabwe and South Africa home for a few years—before finally settling in Brisbane Australia, and raising four boys. Before she started writing historical fiction, she was a freelance editor in the corporate world, which was definitely not half as exciting as writing rollicking romantic adventures. Her characters are fearless seafarers, even though in real life Emma gets disastrously sea sick.

Connect with Emma

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Follow The White Sail Series Collector’s Edition blog tour with The Coffee Pot Book Club

Today, it’s my turn on the #blogtour for Jane Dunn’s new historical romance, The Marriage Season. (There’s a lot of horses in this, so yes, I loved it:)

Here’s the blurb

‘It’s not a fair world I’m afraid. Beauty or fortune carries the day. You have the beauty and I the fortune, so there’s every chance we’ll succeed’

In Regency England, marriage is everything. For young widow Sybella Lovatt, the time has come to find a suitable husband for her sister and ward Lucie. Male suitors are scarce near their Wiltshire estate, so the sisters resolve to head to London in time for The Season to begin.

Once ensconced at the Mayfair home of Lady Godley, Lucie’s godmother, the whirl of balls, parties and promenades can begin. But the job of finding a husband is fraught with rules and tradition. Jostling for attention are the two lords – the charming and irresistible Freddie Lynwood and the preternaturally handsome Valentine Ravenell, their enigmatic neighbour from Shotten Hall, Mr Brabazon, and the dangerous libertine Lord Rockliffe, with whom the brooding Brabazon is locked in deadly rivalry.

Against the backdrop of glamorous Regency England, Sybella must settle Lucie’s future, protect her own reputation, and resist the disreputable rakes determined to seduce the beautiful widow. As the Season ends, will the sisters have found the rarest of things – a suitable marriage with a love story to match? 

Purchase Link

https://amzn.to/3DqXPOI

My Review

The Marriage Season by Jane Dunn is a delightful Regency romance that’s a little different to similar tales I’ve read, for the story is not just of a young woman trying to find a husband but of a widow deciding if she is perhaps prepared to love again, and her small son, James, or Jim as he likes to be called.

As much as Lucie and Sybella are fabulous creations, as are the men they encounter, it is little Jim and his love of ‘prancers’ that truly steals the show, and why not? That said, the story of Lucie and Sybella is delightful and well-told. Yes, it contains the twisting storylines we might expect, but the author has also littered the narrative with some delightful, period-specific words, which make the story really sparkle. And it’s not just young Jim and his roguish words that bring that charm.

I really adored The Marriage Season. Yes, it was fairly obvious what was going to happen, but that’s not truly the charm of the story but rather the detours the reader is taken on along the way, and of course, young Jim and his love of prancers is a true delight.

Meet the author

Jane Dunn is an historian and biographer and the author of seven acclaimed biographies, including Daphne du Maurier and her Sisters and the Sunday Times and NYT bestseller, Elizabeth & Mary: Cousins, Rivals, Queens. She comes to Boldwood with her first fiction outing – a trilogy of novels set in the Regency period, the first of which is to be published in January 2023. She lives in Berkshire with her husband, the linguist Nicholas Ostler.

Connect with Jane

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I’m so excited to share my review for Educating the Tudors by Amy McElroy #newrelease #nonfiction

Here’s the blurb

Education during the Tudor era was a privilege and took many forms including schools, colleges and apprenticeships. Those responsible for delivering education came from a variety of backgrounds from the humble parish priest to the most famed poet-laureates of the day. Curriculums varied according to wealth, gender and geography. The wealthy could afford the very best of tutors and could study as much or as little as they chose whilst the poorer members of society could only grasp at opportunities in the hopes of providing themselves with a better future. 

The Tudors were educated during a time when the Renaissance was sweeping across Europe and Henry VIII became known as a Renaissance Prince but what did his education consist of? Who were his tutors? How did his education differ to that of his elder brother, Prince Arthur and how did Henry’s education change upon the death of his brother? There is no doubt Henry was provided with an excellent education, particularly in comparison to his sisters, Margaret and Mary. Henry’s own education would go on to influence his decisions of tutors for his own children. Who had the privilege of teaching Henry’s children and did they dare to use corporal punishment? 

Educating the Tudors seeks to answer all of these questions, delving into the education of all classes, the subjects they studied, educational establishment and those who taught them.

Purchase Link

Pen and Sword Books

My Review

Educating the Tudors by Amy McElroy is a fascinating and thorough examination of the state of education for all during the Tudor era, following developments due to the Renaissance and the Reformation, as well as the introduction of the printing press. Not content with researching the tutors of the royal children from Arthur to Edward, Amy has also examined education for all levels of society as well as what would have been taught. With an eye for the difference between class, sex and wealth, Amy has examined what education was, and how it was undertaken, as well as the titans who were making use of their interest in learning to advance learning for all, making use of the printing press, even as they sought to catch the eye of the reigning monarch.

And this isn’t just book-learning, but also the paths of apprenticeships, as well as how people became lawyers, and just what effect the Reformation did have on an education system that was so heavily reliant on priests and had to be radically rethought when the monasteries, and later, chantries were closed.

I was fascinated by the subject matter, and learned so much from reading this book – indeed, even things I’ve read about before suddenly made a lot more sense.

An absorbing and well-researched book, which is sure to fascinate all those interested in the Tudors, as well as the development of education in England.

(I found the subject matter absolutely fascinating, especially as I’ve personally been researching the education of the children of King Alfred. I was struck by the similarities, despite the six hundred plus year distance between the two eras. I’m sure I won’t be alone in that – I hope:) And there’s a another link between the Tudors and the Saxons, as it was the renewed interest in learning that is responsible for many of the surviving Saxon text we now have, including the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle.)

My thanks to the author, the publisher and Netgalley for my review copy, but my hardback is in the post as well:)

Meet the Author

Amy my was born and bred in Liverpool before moving to the Midlands to study Criminal Justice eventually becoming a civil servant. She has long been interested in history, reading as much and as often as she could. Her writing journey began with her blog, sharing thoughts on books she had read, before developing to writing reviews for Aspects of History magazine and culminating in her own book.

Connect with Amy

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Happy publication day to The Alewives by Elizabeth R Andersen #mystery #historicalmystery #newrelease Highly Recommended

Here’s the blurb

Colmar, 1353 CE

Gritta, Appel, and Efi managed to survive the Black Death, only to find that they are in desperate need of money. With limited options and lots of obstacles, they band together to become alewives – brewing and selling ale in the free Alsatian town of Colmar. But when an elderly neighbor is discovered dead in her house, the alewives cannot convince the sheriff and the town council that her death wasn’t an accident, it was murder. As the body count piles up, the ale flows and mystery is afoot!

Set in the tumultuous years after the most devastating pandemic the world has ever experienced, The Alewives is a playful romp through a dark time, when society was reeling from loss and a grieving population attempted to return to normal, proving that with the bonds of love, friendship, and humor, the human spirit will always continue to shine.

Purchase Link

My Review

The Alewives is a fantastically well-written murder mystery set in the immediate aftermath of the Black Death, with delightful characters and a sinister murderer and thief, at the heart of all the problems. Set in the tannery area of Colmar, something smells bad.

The three main characters of Gritta, Appel, and Efi are all glorious creations – Grita with her useless husband and horde of children (she had 12, you see), Appel with her mysterious nighttime activities, and young Efi, who has the sense of a young kid goat at the beginning of the tale.

This story is immersive and filled with just enough tension and humour to make even a story about those who survived the Black Death an absolute delight to read. The humour is well constructed, the antics of the three women, acting a little outside the ‘law’ in a deeply patriarchal society that doesn’t allow women to brew their own ale for profit, artfully created, and even the Friar, Wikerus, is a sympathetic character, in the end. The three women are put upon. Society is against them, as is the sheriff (all the male characters are dismissive of the women, but they get on with it, doing all they can to circumnavigate the obstacles placed in their path), and the church, and just about everyone else, but they triumph.

The mystery itself is really well constructed, as are the red herrings. I didn’t know who the culprit(s) (no spoilers here) were until the big reveal.

A short, sharp, snappy, hugely entertaining, medieval mystery that portrays the realities of life at the time, with just the right amount of humour to make it thoroughly entertaining. A well-deserved 5/5 from me!

Meet the Author

Elizabeth R. Andersen’s debut novel, The Scribe, launched in July of 2021. Although she spent many years of her life as a journalist, independent fashion designer, and overworked tech employee, there have always been two consistent loves in her life: writing and history. She finally decided to do something about this and put them both together.

Elizabeth lives in the Seattle area with her long-suffering husband and young son. On the weekends she usually hikes in the stunning Cascade mountains to hide from people and dream up new plotlines and characters.

– Join Elizabeth’s monthly newsletter and receive the first two chapters of The Scribe for free. Sign up at https://www.elizabethrandersen.com

– Find photos of hikes and daily author life at Elizabeth’s Instagram: @elizabethrandersen 

– Follow Elizabeth on Twitter for nerdy medieval history facts: @E_R_A_writes 

– Watch Elizabeth try to explain the weird, wonderful world of Medieval life on her TikTok channel: https://www.tiktok.com/@elizabethrandersen

Elizabeth is a member of the Historical Novel Society and the Alliance of Independent Authors.

Find my previous blog posts here for The Scribe and here for The Two Daggers Series.

I’m delighted to be reviewing Patches Through Time by Sian Turner on the blog #blogtour

Here’s the blurb

An unbelievably believable time travel escapade.

Casual antique dealer Jake Patch picks up an unusual object and can’t put it down. Literally. His find is a time travel device, and he hatches a bold plan to acquire objects from the past and sell them at modern day prices. But when the mysterious Infinity Glass leaves Patch stranded in a dangerous past, it falls to his teen daughter Cass to save him.

With hints of The Time Traveller’s Wife and Back to the Future and a smattering of LovejoyPatches through Time will send you spinning headlong into the past, then spit you back into the twenty-first century.

This book contains occasional profanities. Trigger warning: bereavement (parent, spouse).

Purchase Links

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Patches-through-Time-Sian-Turner-ebook/dp/B0BNQ7XGT6

US  – https://www.amazon.com/Patches-through-Time-Sian-Turner-ebook/dp/B0BNQ7XGT6

My Review

Patches Through Time is a really enjoyable novel. It hooked me from the beginning, with its premise of limited and location-specific time travel.

Patch is a great character, but the story really comes to life with the point of view switch to Cass, and having visited a handful of places in the distant past, much of the narrative revolves around events in war-torn Hastings in the early 1940s. The author does an excellent job of reconstructing the past locations, and the characters that Patch and Cass meet there are believable and all bring something new to the story.

I’m not sure if the plan is to write a sequel, but if it is, then, I’ll happily read it, as I think there’s much more that Cass and Patch can do with their time travelling device.

A thoroughly enjoyable novel.

Meet the author

Sian Turner was born in Wales, but lives in East Sussex. She has recently started learning Welsh (and can categorically testify that Welsh is difficult). 

She works as a part-time volunteer in her local RSPCA cat re-homing centre, from where she keeps adopting new family members (only one or two at a time).

Sian enjoys reading and reviewing some of the many truly amazing novels by Independent Authors, and she is secretary of her local writers’ group, Shorelink Writers.

Connect with Sian

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Today, I’m welcoming Blood on the Tyne:Red Snow by Colin Garrow to the blog #blogtour #extract #review #mystery

Here’s the blurb:

A dead body. A hoard of forged banknotes. A gangster out for blood.

Newcastle, December 1955. Returning home after a weekend away, singer and amateur sleuth Rosie Robson discovers a man lying on a baggage trolley with his throat cut. After the police get involved, an attack on Rosie and her boss prompts Inspector Vic Walton to find a safe house for the pair. But the bad guys seem to be one step ahead of them and Rosie is forced to track down a possible witness to the murder in a bid to learn the truth. Can the canny crooner solve the mystery before a Newcastle gang boss catches up with her?  

Set on Tyneside, Blood on the Tyne: Red Snow is book #3 in the Rosie Robson Murder Mysteries series.

Purchase Link – https://geni.us/3PKXkN

Extract from: Blood on the Tyne: Red Snow by Colin Garrow (contains some strong language)

Having tracked down the train station porter to a Gateshead apartment, Rosie and Frankie question him about money he stole from the dead man’s pocket. Finally admitting his crime, the porter hands over the money. But a man in a trench coat is watching the building:

Frankie wandered into the kitchen while I counted the notes. Three hundred and thirty pounds. I looked up at the porter. ‘Not worth getting killed over, is it?’

He worked his mouth for a minute. ‘Ye’re sayin it belongs to that Danny Fisher, are ye?’

I nodded.

‘Fuck.’

‘Know him, do you?’

‘Only by reputation.’ He pointed to the money. ‘So are yous gonna give it him back?’

I laughed. ‘Don’t be daft. This’ll go to the police.’

Martin’s eyes widened. He stared at me. ‘But what if Fisher thinks Ah’ve still got it?’

I hadn’t considered what the consequences might be for Martin if Fisher did track him down. I studied the carpet for a moment, thinking. ‘If he didn’t suspect you’d nicked it, he’d have no reason to come visiting, would he?’

He glared at me. ‘But ye said,’ stabbing the air with a grubby finger, ‘ye said if Ah didn’t talk to yous, Ah’d have to deal with Fisher.’

I shook my head. ‘I implied that if we were able to find you, sooner or later he would too.’

His eyes almost popped out of his head. ‘Jezaz Christ. So, he might still turn up here, eh?’

‘He might. But if no-one saw you take the cash, there’s nothing to worry about.’ I looked hard at him. ‘No-one didsee you, did they?’ I’d dismissed the idea that Fisher might’ve seen something while he’d been standing by the bridge on the station platform. If he had seen the porter messing with the body, he’d have been here already, and we’d likely have another dead body to deal with.

‘Oh, Christ, man.’ Martin threw his hands up in the air. ‘When Ah found the money, Ah shook so much Ah could hardly walk. Ye could’ve driven a steam train up me arse and Ah’d not have noticed.’

I tried not to laugh. Resting a hand on his arm, I said, ‘Look. We’ll tell the police where we got it and they’ll probably come round to speak to you. If you’re worried about anything—’

Frank grabbed my shoulder. ‘We’ve got a problem, bonny lass.’

I followed him back into the kitchen. The man in the trench coat stood in the lane, looking up at the flat. Now though, he had two more men with him. Behind him, Maurice’s car had been pushed out of its hiding place. 

‘Is that who I think it is?’

‘It’s not the fuckin Pied Piper, that’s for sure,’ said Frankie.

Back in the living room, I caught sight of Martin making for the front door.

‘I wouldn’t do that, Mr Sutherland,’ I called.

He turned and stared at me. ‘Well Ah’m not bloody stayin here to get me neck sliced open.’

‘No, and neither are we. Is there a fire escape?’

He paused. ‘Not from this building.’ He came back into the room. ‘If we could get onto the roof…’

‘The roof?’

‘Aye. The warehouse next door has a fire escape.’

Frankie pushed past me and opened the flat door. Me and Martin followed him. Gazing over the banister into the stairwell below, we peered into darkness. Everything seemed quiet.

‘D’you think—’

Frankie shushed me. Lowering his voice, he murmured, ‘There’s someone there.’

Turning to the porter, I whispered, ‘How do we get to the roof?’

I didn’t hear what Martin said, my attention focused on the shadowy figures sliding up the first flight of stairs towards us. 

My Review

Blood on the Tyne: Red Snow by Colin Garrow is an exciting murder mystery set in and around Newcastle, Gateshead, Sunderland and Northumberland in 1955.

Many of the locations are familiar to me, and I could quite happily trace Rosie’s journey upon discovering a body at Newcastle train station on her return from York.

This really is a fast-paced tale of murder, mayhem, forgery and gangsters. Rosie is headstrong even when embroiled in something far beyond her control. She’s resourceful and determined to find out the truth and stay alive.

Surrounding her is a great cast of supporting characters, and the story takes some quite unexpected twists and turns before reaching its conclusion.

As might be expected, there is some foul language throughout the book, and the author has also done a great job of ensuring the Geordie accent is prevalent throughout. Readers will quickly come to ‘hear’ the characters as well as read about them.

An entertaining read.

Meet the Author

True-born Geordie Colin Garrow grew up in a former mining town in Northumberland and has worked in a plethora of professions including taxi driver, antiques dealer, drama facilitator, theatre director and fish processor. He has also occasionally masqueraded as a pirate. Colin’s published books include the Watson Letters series, the Terry Bell Mysteries and the Rosie Robson Murder Mysteries. His short stories have appeared in several literary mags, including: SN Review, Flash Fiction Magazine, The Grind, A3 Review, Inkapture and Scribble Magazine. These days he lives in a humble cottage in Northeast Scotland.

Connect with Colin

Website (Adults)  Website (Children)  Amazon Author Page 

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Today, I’m delighted to be taking part in the Bellatrix by Simon Turney #blogtour #histfic #Roman #Bellatrix#LegionXXII

Here’s the blurb:

Warrior and combat medic of the Twenty Second Legion, Titus Cervianus, must fight the armies of the fabled Warrior Queen in this blistering new Roman adventure from Simon Turney.

Egypt, 25 BC. Titus Cervianus is no ordinary soldier. And the Twenty Second is no ordinary legion. Formed from the personal guard of a conquered king, the Twenty Second’s ways are strange to soldiers of the Empire – yet the legion has proved itself in the blistering heat of the desert.

Cervianus and his comrades march into the unknown as he and the Twenty Second Legion contend with the armies of the Bellatrix: the Warrior Queen of Kush. The Kushites and the Egyptians are united against the Roman presence in their lands – but there are complex political and military forces at work. Deep in the deserts, Cervianus and his comrades must brace themselves for a furious onslaught as they take on the might of the Bellatrix.

Purchase link

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3V5BEEy

My Review

Bellatrix is the sequel to The Capsarius, (find my review here) a book that I thought was fantastic. I’ve been desperately waiting for Bellatrix, and it doesn’t disappoint.

From the first page, we’re plunged once more into the heat and cold of Egypt’s desert, an intense journey that makes for difficult reading at times. Our Capsarius is sorely tested. He’s not happy to be there, but he has orders to follow, and follow them he must. Luckily, his tent-mate, Ulxsses, is at his side, and just about manages to refrain from causing trouble for quite some time. Not that he manages to continue to do so for long.

This truly is a story about surviving against the odds. If you think the desert trek is bad, then things are only going to get much, much worse for our soldiers.

What I enjoy most about these stories of The Capsarius is the complete change of scene. I don’t read huge amounts of Roman-era fiction, although it’s a period that’s certainly growing on me, but even I know many of these stories take place in Europe or the UK. Egypt is completely new, and the clash of cultures between Rome and the Kush, is one of the highlights of the books.

Bellatrix is a worthy sequel to The Capsarius. You can taste the sand in your mouth and the pounding heat on your head as the story surges towards its stunning conclusion. Highly recommended.

Meet the Author


Simon Turney
 is from Yorkshire and, having spent much of his childhood visiting historic sites, fell in love with the Roman heritage of the region. His fascination with the ancient world snowballed from there with great interest in Rome, Egypt, Greece and Byzantium. His works include the Marius’ Mules and Praetorian series, the Tales of the Empire and The Damned Emperor series, and the Rise of Emperors books with Gordon Doherty. He lives in North Yorkshire with his family.

Follow Simon Turney

Twitter: @SJATurney

Facebook: Simon Turney Author aka SJATurney

Website: https://simonturney.com/

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Twitter: @AriesFiction

Facebook: Aries Fiction

Website: http://www.headofzeus.com

It’s my turn on the #Payback by Edie Balylis #NewRelease #blogtour #gangland

Here’s the blurb:

Revenge will come at a price…

With his once thriving casino business now in ruins, Seb Stoker is certain about two things: One – he will rebuild bigger and better than ever. And two – someone will pay for torching his club.

But until that day comes, Seb has bigger things to worry about and a business deal that could make or break them all…

Sam Reynold knows Seb is out for revenge, and she’ll do anything she can to help him. But Sam has her own enemies and battles to fight – ones much closer to home.

With pressure mounting for both of them, tensions run high.

And payback will be deadly.

Purchase Link – https://amzn.to/3DK8Xb2

My Review

Payback is the fourth book in the Allegiance series, but the third one I’ve read (I know, I know, I shouldn’t do that, but it’s book 1 I’ve not read, so I feel fairly up to speed now:). Payback picks up immediately after the events of book three (check out my review here) and is a deftly and tightly plotted sequel, taking into account each and every loose end from the previous book.

It’s fast-paced and well-written, ensuring the reader doesn’t have time to catch their breath as it tumbles towards its conclusion, with the main players seemingly unable to stay away from one another, as they intersect and react, sometimes with deadly consequences, in Birmingham of the 1990s.

This is not at all my ‘usual’ read, but Edie is such a fabulous writer, and while her characters are all, in some way or other, flawed or just downright horrible (and there are many of them who are, quite frankly, evil), I find the world she’s created to be hugely entertaining. I rushed to get to the end of the novel to find out how everything was going to play out. Will Payback come or will revenge go ‘wrong?’

Payback is not for those offended by violence or foul language, but it is a very well crafted novel, and I’m really looking forward to book 5, and seeing how the Allegiance series concludes.

Connect with Edie

Edie Baylis a successful self-published author of dark gritty thrillers with violent background settings. She lives in Worcestershire, has a history of owning daft cars and several motorbikes and is licensed to run a pub. She has signed a five-book deal with Boldwood and the first book in her new ganglit series, set in Birmingham, was published in January 2022.

Connect with Edie

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