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Posts Tagged ‘Authoright Marketing & Publicity’

The Dog Ate My Homework

** My thanks to Rachel at Authoright for my copy of this book and for inviting me to be part of the blog tour **

 

Description:

The Dog Ate My Homework by Aaron James is a collection of short poems that will capture your imagination. Filled with fun stories that make you think, laugh and tell your friends. Do you remember your first day at school? Or when you tried to convince your teacher you actually done your homework? Or the excitement you felt when you bought your new pair of trainers? In The Dog Ate My Homework you will get a chance to read all these stories and many more!

My Thoughts & Review:

The Dog Ate My Homework is a lovely short book filled with some great poems that will make children and grown ups laugh.  And coupled with the bright and cheery artwork, this makes for a great wee read.  My daughter was soon giggling aloud at the poem from which the book takes its title, asking whether her dogs might eat her homework one day.  The poems have their own story to tell, Sports Day and School Dinners were strong favourites in our house, being reread on our snow days this past week.

The illustrations in the book are lovely and bright, making this a book that holds the interest of young readers who may not be able to read it alone.  We took great delight pointing out all of the things in each picture and linking them back to the lines of the poem.
With the content of the poems, this might be a good book for children just starting out on their school journey, giving them some lighthearted anecdotes about school and what it’s like on the first day, what school lunches are like etc.  I know that I may well pop this book aside for a wee while to use for explaining about starting school when my daughter progresses to that stage.

A fun and entertaining read that can be enjoyed no matter the age of the reader!

 

You can buy a copy of The Dog Ate My Homework  via Amazon UK

 

About the Author:

Born and raised in Tottenham, North London and today living in Bromley, South London with his wife, Aaron James works as a poet and spoken word artist. The Dog Ate My Homework is his first children’s poetry book.

 

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Have You Seen the Sleep Fairy ebook cover

** My thanks to Rachel at Authoright for my copy of this book and for inviting me to be part of the blog tour **

 

Description:

Have YOU seen the Sleep Fairy? This is the story of a sleep deprived mother and father who are rescued by this shyest of fairies, who only comes out at night when all the children in the home are asleep. She helps children get into the habit of sleeping through by leaving tiny items of interest under their beds for a few days until she can trust them to sleep through on their own. This sweet story is simply told by the author and beautifully bought to life in this new illustrated children’s story. Get your children into the habit of sleeping through by reading The Sleep Fairy to them and applying the idea to your family routine. Here’s to you and a peaceful night’s sleep.

My Thoughts & Review:

Having a young child means I spend a lot of time reading story books, and so when I saw this book I wondered if it might be a good one to add to our collection for bedtime reading.  With a cover that catches the eye, this book was grabbed quickly by small hands and “can we please read this?” soon followed.

Have You Seen The Sleep Fairy is a lovely story about a family helping their children sleep through the night by introducing The Sleep Fairy.  I know as a parent that there have been nights (and will probably be ones to come,) where sleeping is the last thing that a child wants to do, there are games to play, books to read, cars to play with…the list is endless really.  So the idea of a Sleep Fairy is really lovely, coming to bring good sleep for those who manage to sleep well all through the night and for those who don’t sleep so well there is a small surprise under the bed just for them.

When we read the book at bedtime, my daughter asked lots of questions about The Sleep Fairy, asking how she knows when you’re asleep, how she knows if you’ve had good sleep, how she knows what surprises to leave under the bed….yes I’ve got an inquisitive child….we decided that we would name the sleep fairy for our family.  Now we have Rosie the sleep fairy who comes to make sure we all have good sleep.
This makes for a lovely bedtime read, the story is just the right length to hold the attention of younger audiences without being too short and with a lovely illustration on each page it means there’s something to look at with each page turn and my daughter enjoyed being able to tell us the story through the pictures.

We very much enjoyed the story and will definitely be revisiting this one again soon (probably tonight as it seems to have wound up in the pile to read regularly….)

You can buy a copy of Have You Met The Sleep Fairy? via Amazon UK

 

Monika Cover 2

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Hello and welcome to my stop on the 12 Days of Clink Street Christmas!  I am delighted to share a review of Dating Daisy by Daisy_Mae224 with you today.


Description:

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What do you do when you’re a newly divorced 52 year old mother, keen for a second chance of romance? Why internet dating of course!
Daisy Mae_224 embarks on the internet dating process with trepidation. Having not been on the dating scene for nearly 30 years, and with fairly rudimentary computer skills, she finds herself embroiled in a series of haphazard and hilarious situations. Daisy keeps a diary of her internet dating life and reveals detail by detail, the ups and downs of her midlife dating extravaganza. Soon after starting out, Daisy realises her true mission. With no past experience and no-one/nothing to guide her, she needs to produce – Internet Dating lessons.

Read on to find out about PLONKERS, muppets and MAWDs, and a whole host of amusing anecdotes, tips and ideas. Working by day as a Sexual Health doctor, the story as it unfolds contains accounts of Daisy’s clinical experiences with patients in the Sexual Health clinic.
She also reflects on her past life with Voldemort (the dreadful ex-husband). With advice and encouragement from Imogen, her 17 year old daughter, her surrogate parents known as the Amigos, with a big house and swanky swimming pool, her friend Pinkie and from Jeannie, her nonagenarian friend from the Nursing Home, Daisy resiliently persists in her quest to find a long term partner.

This is a heartfelt story that will ring bells with anyone who has ended a long term relationship and now wants to find somebody new. It is humorously written, full of emails, poems, limericks, and even a recipe! Daisy can’t resist her pages of advice on topics like “Kissing” and “Anti-Snoring.” It is a unique and highly amusing book, which will make you laugh out loud! So read on and se;e. Will Dating Daisy find her “prairie vole?” Or will the whole process end in disaster?

My Thoughts & Review:

Dating Daisy was just the funny sort of read I needed to shake up my reading list recently.  The book is told in somewhat of a diary fashion and follows Daisy who is a sexual health doctor.  In this she shares some of the stories about her patients, as well as giving a look into her forays into the world of internet dating.

The book itself is broken into short and snappy chapters with Daisy regaling readers with tales from her work which are embarrassing, daft and strange at times.   I did initially wonder how these would fit in with the story but somehow they do work well along side the story and once I was used to the style of writing I found it easy to go with the flow.

I think that this may appeal to readers who are looking for a quick read and something a little different.  It’s the sort of book you might recommend to a friend to give them a wee giggle or perhaps if they’re considering internet dating.
Whilst I found it an easy and entertaining read, I can’t say that it stuck in my head too much after I finished it, perhaps I was looking for a more weighty read, but that doens’t take away from the fact that I laughed out loud several times whilst reading this and did appreciate the dry humour of the author.

You can buy copy of Dating Daisy via:

Amazon UK

 

 

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Hello and welcome to my stop on the 12 Days of Clink Street Christmas!  I am delighted to share an extract with you from The Keeping of Secrets, a coming of age story full of secrets set in the time of WWII.

 

The Keeping of Secrets Cover

The Keeping of Secrets

The keeper of family secrets, Patricia Roberts grows up isolated and lonely. Trust no one and you won’t be disappointed is her motto. Three men fall in love with her and she learns to trust, only to find that their agendas are not her own. With secrets concealed from her by the ultimate love of her life, and with her own secret to keep, duplicity and deceit threaten their relationship.

In a coming of age story set against the sweeping backdrop of the Second World War – evacuation, the Battle of Britain, the Blitz, buzz bombs and secret war work – Patricia ultimately has to decide whether to reveal her deepest held secret for the sake of her future happiness.

You can buy a copy via Amazon


Extract:

The Keeping of Secrets tells the story of Patricia Adela Roberts growing to womanhood during the Second World War. Evacuated from Brixton at the war’s outbreak as a fifteen year old schoolgirl, when the Blitz hits London the following year she and her friend Becky should be safe in their billet in the leafy lanes of Surrey, but then the warning sounds and they sit the night out with their hostess in the garden air raid shelter.…..

At first it seemed a false alarm as we sat dozing the hours away, then we heard the distant droning drawing nearer and explosions occurring only a few miles away. The newspaper a couple of days later told us that on the Sunday night attacks had been made on railway lines running south out of London.

“Fat lot of good us being here,” said Becky as we wheeled our bikes away from the newsagent in the town centre. “Don’t know why anyone thought Leatherhead might be safe.”

I mounted my bike and, as I set off, said to Becky over my shoulder, “Well at least they’re mostly coming over at night now and giving us a chance to get back safely from school.”

I was a bit of an expert at famous last words. As we passed the field entrance, at the southern end of Warenne Road, the roar of a high revving engine and the descending flight of a falling bomb assailed our ears. Instinctively we threw ourselves off our bikes onto the side of the road, covering our heads with our hands. Just beyond the gate the bomb detonated. My head seemed to implode with the pressure of the shockwave, my body bucking at the earth tremor and a shower of earth, stones and splinters of wood descended, pummelling my back and protective hands. My face felt fiery where it scraped the ground as I landed. I heard only a high-pitched ringing tone and the pain in my ears was beyond any I had ever experienced before. I lay stunned and unmoving, feeling my heart thudding in my rib cage and an unbearable tightness in my throat. I realised I was not breathing and felt a rising panic. Is this how I die?…..

Two of the neighbours retrieved our bicycles and our little procession made its way slowly along the road to be greeted by Mrs Grice hurrying down the road from the opposite direction wringing her hands and looking anxiously up and around, saying, “Oh my goodness, oh my goodness, where did he come from? Are there any more to come? Why no warning?” To our rescuers, “Thank you for bringing them back safe. I heard the bang at the shop and thought, our road’s been hit. You’d all better come in for a cup of tea, I suppose,” but fortunately for Mrs Grice’s larder the householders all had more important things to do like sort out their shattered windows. Mrs Grice’s bungalow was just far enough away to have survived unscathed.

The news continued to mount of the night time raids mostly, but not exclusively, to the east side of London. We also read that Kingston, Malden and Surbiton, all London suburbs less than ten miles away, were badly hit.

The daytime battles in the air were still continuing with daily reports of downed planes, mostly German fighters. I worried about James and was anxious to get back to London the following Friday and see if he had written, but again, when I did, still no letter.

My father and I decided to resume our Sunday morning walks which had become somewhat disjointed recently, promising my mother that I would be back in time to head off to Leatherhead sooner than usual. We left early that morning, 15th September, around nine o’clock, thinking to beat the air raids, and walked to Dulwich Park. As we arrived waves of Spitfires and Hurricanes in formation flew overhead and shortly after, not only to the distant southeast, but all around and above us we heard the fighting and the bombing and the sounds of planes falling out of the sky, criss-cross patterns of vapour trails in their wake. Later that afternoon, having sped back to Leatherhead in what proved to be a lunchtime lull, there was a second wave of fighting and the skies of London and all over the south east were again filled with swooping, swerving, spiralling winged creatures that belched bullets, smoke and death.

 

About the Author:

Born and raised in the Home Counties, Alice Graysharp has enjoyed a varied working life from hospitality to office work and retail. She currently lives in Surrey. This is her first novel, and the first title in a two book series, she is also already working on a seventeenth century trilogy. Published in the anniversary month of the outbreak of the Second World War and the Battle of Britain

Website: https://www.alicegraysharp.com/

 

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I am so excited to be part of 12 Days of Clink Street Christmas and be one of the many wonderful blogs sharing reviews and posts from a wealth of authors this Advent.  Today I have the honour of sharing a very special post written by Peter Worthington, the author of The Eden Tree, who has written about how writing his novel was a cathartic experience.


eBook Cover Peter Worthington

Description:

” Mark Twain said, “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” John James Morgan knew the day he was born. Two days before his sixty-first birthday he found out why. John is a happily married businessman, father and grandfather, living in Cheshire, in the heart of England. Happy, that is, until his family face a crisis. A terminal one. At the local market, a flower-seller tells John a story that changes his life. Assured his destiny is in his own hands, John crosses the globe in pursuit of a religious artefact which has remained hidden for two thousand years. Presented with an antique box containing maps, parchments and a bag of leaves, John returns to the UK and witnesses a miracle. With the box in his possession, John and his family find new friends and enemies; lives are threatened and people die, although some will be healed. With the help of many different people, from all walks of life, John’s journey will finally lead him to the discovery of an extraordinary and mysterious tree. But what will this Eden tree mean to John, his family, their faith and their future? The Eden Tree is author Peter Worthington’s first novel; a fictional account based on his own experiences with his son, John Wesley, who underwent treatment for cancer but sadly passed away shortly after his seventh birthday. The Eden Tree has allowed Peter to give his much-loved son “a happier ending.”

You can buy a copy of The Eden Tree via:

Amazon UK


Guest Post:

How writing the Eden Tree has helped.

I want to thank you for allowing me to share my story. I hope readers find some hope in the words here and inspiration in my novel. When our son Wesley was a three- year- old and diagnosed with cancer writing a book never crossed my mind. Thirty years later, however, I can say the process of thinking and writing theEdenTree has helped me with the loss of our child and been cathartic.

Wesley was born on January 4th, 1977, just two weeks before we moved to Ipswich in Suffolk. Our young family had already been blessed with the arrival of Rachel eighteen months before and in 1980 Calvin was born. With our three children and a growing church congregation, of which I was pastor, everything seemed wonderful. Like my fictional family, the Morgans, that spell was to be broken. On August 18th, 1980, our wedding anniversary, the bombshell dropped. Our three-year-old had cancer.

Like my fictional family in the Eden Tree a world of suffering and worry was opened. A maelstrom. Much of my story is based on my family, and Wesley. In my book there is so much taken from my personal experience. The Morgans enter Great Ormond Street Hospital with trepidation, just as we did as a young family. They are accommodated above the chapel just as my wife and I were. They walk the underground corridors following a red-painted line just as we did. The smells and sounds all came back to me as I wrote. In my book the Morgans drive home in silence, their little boy oblivious. In writing the scenes were very vivid. Seeing those days again in my mind aided the scars in my memory. Is it possible that writing opens wounds that need to heal?

By writing of the shock and pain, alongside the cries of children in the night allowed me to remember our own dark nights. Not in a morbidly sad way but with gratitude for the care and support we received. In the pages of my novel I relived walking the hospital corridors, talking with doctors and witnessing the bravery of our little boy.

There is a healing that occurs when we talk about the loss of loved ones. Putting pen to paper in a poem or story allows the emotions to flow. It is part of accepting the reality of what has happened. The hardest thing I’ve ever done was answering the Registrar, “when did Wesley die?” To admit the fact and see it recorded was gut wrenching. In my novel I was glad that John Morgan could avoid that. One of the thrills of writing is that you determine what happens. It may seem escapism and maybe it is. By drawing upon actual events and memories it’s possible to write your own story yet create romance, mystery, and adventure. Your protagonist can become a better you!

It may seem strange but writing about our experiences and placing them in a story helped me to understand the grief we felt. The Morgans story was mine, yet I could re-write history. My UK press release from Authoright suggested that the Eden Tree gives a “happier ending” which it does, as the fictional Wesley is healed by healing leaves from the mysterious Eden Tree. Most of my research involved the tree in the garden of Eden and archaeological or religious documents. In my novel the Morgans almost accidentally “drop” into the location.

Our son Wesley died just after his seventh birthday in 1984, but in my novel another Wesley celebrates his seventh birthday with nurses, teachers, friends and the leading children’s oncologist. Writing my book gave me cathartic tears as I reflected upon my son, thrilled that my fictional Wesley lived. Of course, as a Christian, I believe in an after-life. I have no doubt that I shall see Wesley again one day. Going through our ordeal has made me a more rounded person, and I believe, a more authentic author.

As a grandparent I love the time I have with my three grand-children. Writing about John Morgan as a grandad caused a lot of happiness as I see my own offspring growing up so fast! Without my personal familiarity with grand-parenting coupled with the feelings generated I would have been unable to write about John and Liz Morgan.

A few weeks ago, my wife and I visited Wesley’s grave in Ipswich. Though we shed some tears, as Christians we have hope. In the Eden Tree too, there is a beacon of hope. I intended my story to be an apologetic as well as presenting an interesting tale.

A friend predicted thirty years ago that the story of Wesley would travel the globe. Little did he realise how that would be fulfilled!

I’m sure you will agree that it was a great honour for Peter to share that with us and it’s so wonderful to see that being able to write a better ending for Welsey has helped him through his grief.

 

About the Author:

Today Peter Worthington lives in Bromsgrove, Worcestershire with his wife Margaret. Peter has enjoyed a bright and varied career as a church minister, financial adviser and internet consultant. Now retired he is busier than ever thanks to his three grandchildren, studying for an Open University Degree in Creative Writing, voluntary work, playing World of Warcraft, serving on the board of a housing association and writing. He has previously published short stories in a number of Christian magazines. His first novel, The Eden Tree (published by Clink Street Publishing 19th July 2016 RRP £8.99 paperback, RRP £2.99 ebook) is available to purchase from online retailers including amazon.co.uk and to order from all good bookstores.

For more information you can follow Peter @CatshillPeter or visit http://www.edentree.co.uk/

 

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A Ragbag of Riches Cover

** My thanks to Rachel for my copy of this & for inviting me to be part of the blog tour **

 

Description:

This collection of quips and quotes creates a book for the bower, the bedside, the bath and for browsing; a book at arm’s length from the deck chair, for the tedium of travel but above all for pleasure.

It is a haphazard collection: the Ragbag covering the rougher, even vulgar (but nevertheless witty) entries of graffiti, newspaper headlines and bumper stickers, the Riches being the poetry, prayers and prose of fine minds that inspire by their beauty, sincerity and sublime use of words. At the lower end, I love the astringency and ability of the authors to poke fun with the sharpness of a red-hot needle. At the top end, silver words and profound wisdom sometimes lead me to tears.

So I invite you to wallow or skip lightly. I hope there is something in this salmagundi to make you smile or catch the affections of your heart; to mingle quiet music with amiable irreverence.

My Thoughts & Review:

I’m fast becoming a fan of books like this, there’s something so enjoyable about a book that you can pick up at your leisure and read a page or two and take something new from it each time.  Combining witty quips, poems, obituaries, some wonderfully charming illustrations, this book is a journey through a collection of delights amassed by James Chilton over some fifty years.

Flicking through this at first glance there are many things that catch my eye, the clean layout, the drawings and the commentary notes on certain things.
Collective nouns are something I find interesting and so when I found a page with these on it I was pleasantly surprised.  There is a note about the source of this sort of information, the author mentioning that there are a number of books that have been published with exhaustive lists of these collective nouns and that these are some of the favoured ones.  I particularly liked “A Conspiracy of Ravens”, “A Flamboyance of Flamingos” and “A Prattle of Parrots” – such lovely alliteration.

The section on prayers was one that brought a chuckle, for having worked as a secretary many years ago I could find great humour in “A Prayer For Secretaries”, lines such as “And when the boss asks me to stay late to type a three page letter that absolutely must go out today and then he doesn’t sign it until tomorrow, please help me keep my mouth shut” definitely struck a chord.

Village names are also a fun section, my home town being known as Brokenwind or Somerset having such names as Mudford SockPuddletown, or Wyke Champflower.  Aren’t these just such wonderful words?

This is one of those books that’s perfect to pick up if you’re in the mood for a quite read, and it’s easy to read a few pages before noticing you’ve actually read an entire section!  The title couldn’t be more fitting, it really is a ragbag of riches and I suspect that this would make a wonderful gift.

I’ll leave you with a wonderful quote from Stephen Amidon, an American author and film critic “Fall asleep reading a good book and you enter a world of dreams; fall asleep in a film and you miss the end.”

You can buy a copy of A Ragbag of Riches via Amazon UK

 

About the Author:

A grandfather of nine and a father of four, James Chilton lives with his wife and two labradors in Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire. He holds diplomas in Architectural History from Oxford University, in Design and in Plantsmanship from The English Gardening School and a certificate in the Decorative Arts from the Victoria & Albert Museum. Perennially busy, James draws, sculpts, designs gardens and jewelry and is a member of Bart’s Choir. He also a member of the International Dendrology Society and has lectured at the Royal Geographical Society and in Oxford. His first book, The Last Blue Mountain, was published in 2015.

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The Prisoners Wife Cover

 

** My thanks to Rachel at Authoright for inviting me to be part of the blog tour for this **

 

Description:

From the CIA headquarters to the danger zones of Morocco and Pakistan, undercover agent Shawn Maguire is embroiled in a sinister conspiracy and an unlikely romance in this exhilarating debut spy thriller.

Shawn Maguire, unemployed American spy, has been paid to find a young Iranian now being interrogated in one of the CIA’s black prisons. The prisoner’s location remains unknown – he may be in Fes, Cairo or even Peshawar – but Shawn has every confidence that he’ll find his man eventually. Based on his time as an agent, it’s an assignment he knows he can handle. But there’s one person he’s not sure even he can handle:  the prisoner’s wife.

The Prisoner’s Wife is a political thriller ripped from today’s headlines; a tense trip through the murky worlds of state–sponsored terrorism, nuclear politics, secret American jails and lawless rendition. Conspiracies abound in this sophisticated and suspenseful novel, with its crackling dialogue and evocative, lawless landscapes. Maguire is a first-rate protagonist, complicated and heroic, and writer Gerard Macdonald does an expert job of capturing the casual ambivalence of the American intelligence officers in their rendition campaigns and keenly observes the cynical manner in which operatives prop up or depose criminal leaders depending on America’s own needs.

A pulse-pounding account of political intrigue in the Middle-East starring complex hero Shawn Maguire, The Prisoner’s Wife is the perfect next read for fans of espionage and international thrillers.

Extract:

Outside the gate, the mustachioed chauffeur had reversed the Lexus, turning it around. He stood by the car, bending his head, speaking to the veiled woman within.

‘Your enemies, and your dead. Keep them close,’ Abbasi said to Shawn. ‘I believe in that.’ He stood by the slate-roofed summerhouse, scanning the walled garden. ‘So peaceful.’ He considered his host. ‘Your face. You lost a fight?’

‘That was last week,’ Shawn said. ‘Skinny drunk kid. Thought I could teach him a lesson. I was wrong.’

Abbasi said, ‘We all get old. You attacked one of your colleagues, did you not?’ Shawn nodded. ‘Suspended from active service, I hear. No longer an American spy.’

‘They call it extended leave. I behave, take anger management class, they let me back.’

Abbasi covered his mouth, disguising what might have been amusement. ‘You think?’ His attention elsewhere, he asked how Mr. Maguire spent his time.

‘You’ll laugh,’ Shawn said. ‘It amuses people. What I ask myself these days – what I try getting my head round – is, what the hell was I doing out there? Last twenty-some years.’

‘What you were doing as a spy?’

Shawn nodded. ‘I mean, I know what I actually did, minute by minute, most days. Unless I was drunk. What I don’t know is why. Why they told me, do whatever I did. Why I did it.’

‘Protecting America from its enemies, were you not? So Mr. McCord would say.’

‘Yeah,’ said Shawn, ‘right. It’s what I tell myself. It’s what I try believing.’

He opened a bottle and poured two glasses of sparkling water. Abbasi, an observant Muslim, did not touch alcohol.

‘My turn for a question, Mr. Abbasi. You employ people. A lot of people. Import-export, it’s what I hear.’

‘In the past tense. I did employ. Like its owner, business is not what it was.’

‘I seem to remember offices, AfPak, Morocco, Kandahar, Miami. Am I right?’

‘Sadly, Afghanistan, no longer. Nor Florida. But still, we are in Islamabad. Tenuously, in Fes. And Peshawar, on the AfPak border. As you call it.’

‘So why? Why would you need me?’

‘I have a problem,’ Abbasi said, looking around him. ‘A problem with your people. CIA, Office of Special Plans, CIFA – one or all. I never know. And a problem with my people. My Pakistani, would you say, compatriots?’ He pointed to a table and chairs midway across the lawn. ‘Might we sit over there?’

Shawn stood, moving out of the summer house. A cloud of white doves spread high through still air, planing and gliding in leaderless synchrony.

‘I don’t believe this. You’re worried about bugs? Here? An English village? Do you want to pat me down?’

‘If you would not mind. To be sure you do not wear a wire.’

Ayub Abbasi ran his hands over Shawn’s body. ‘You are very fit.’

‘For your age,’ Shawn said. ‘That’s usually how the sentence ends these days. I’m fifty one. I lose fights.’

‘I know your age,’ Abbasi said. ‘I read the file. You are fifty-three. You still attract women.’

‘That,’ Shawn said, ‘I’m seriously trying to give up.’ He unpacked a new box of shells. Abbasi eyed the rifle and the pear tree.

‘I know that you trained as a sniper. I had not realized you were such a shot.’

Without looking down, Shawn reloaded the M24.

‘I used to be good. Trying to get back there.’

‘For your own amusement? Or some other reason?’ Abbasi seated himself at a wrought-iron table set on a mower-striped lawn. ‘You may know I also worked for your agency. Your former agency.’

‘Langley?’

‘Indeed. I was, as you say, on the payroll. Liaison between America and Pakistan.’

‘Not Pakistan as such,’ Shawn said. ‘Liaison with Inter-Services Intelligence, is my guess. ISI was always the target. Always the problem.’

‘For our purposes,’ Abbasi said, ‘and your purposes, ISI is Pakistan. You know, we all know, they are not just a spy service. Invisible Soldiers Incorporated, we call them. They take the dollars your Congress sends. They run my country. And much of Afghanistan, of course. Taliban is their creation. As is the drug trade.’ Abbasi smoothed his lightly oiled hair. ‘Sadly, now, those invisible soldiers wish to kill me.’

I don’t know about you, but that’s definitely piqued my curiosity!

You can buy a copy of The Prisoner’s Wife via:

Amazon UK

About the Author:

Author Gerard MacDonald lives in West London and is currently working on a short series of political fiction books.

Website: http://gerardmacdonald.net/

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The Watcher Cover

** My thanks to Rachel Gilbey  for my copy of this book and for inviting me to be part of the blog tour **

 

Description:

It’s 1949 when Netta’s father Max is released from a Siberian POW camp and returns to his home in occupied Germany. But he is not the man the little girl is expecting – the brave, handsome doctor her mother Erika told her stories of. Erika too struggles to reconcile this withdrawn, volatile figure with the husband she knew and loved before, and, as she strives to break through the wall Max has built around himself, Netta is both frightened and jealous of this interloper in the previously cosy household she shared with her mother and doting grandparents. Now, if family life isn’t tough enough, it is about to get even tougher, when a murder sparks a police investigation, which begins to unearth dark secrets they all hoped had been forgotten.

 

My Thoughts & Review:

The Watcher is the continuation of the story of Max, Erika and Netta Portner from Fifteen Words (my review can be found here).
Often there is a danger with follow up books that they don’t meet the high standard set initially, but here I think it’s fair to say that The Watcher is a wonderfully written book that is packed with strong emotions and exceptional characters.

The physical and psychological scars of the war are deeply imprinted on the souls of  Max and Erika.  Upon his return home Max is not the man he once was, and far from the man that Netta is expecting from the tales told my her mother and grandparents.  But more difficult, is that he is so far from the man that Erika used to know, his traumatic experiences in the Siberian POW camp have reshaped this character beyond recognition.  Today he would probably be diagnosed with PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), but not back in 1949.  The murder investigation and the secrets that are unearthed add an extra layer to this well crafted plot.

As before, the author writes with a wonderful descriptive quality that gives the reader fully detailed account by these characters, there is a rawness to the prose that evokes emotion from the reader and almost makes you want to reach out to these characters.  You become invested in their lives and well being.  There is a poignancy in any tale about survivors of WWII, but here there’s something more.  Perhaps because I read Fifteen Words and witnessed the suffering that the characters endured previously I felt more of a connection reading The Watcher, but I really felt this book tugging on the heartstrings and lingering in my head long after I finished reading it.

I would thoroughly recommend reading both Fifteen Words and The Watcher, they are definite must reads for fans of WWII fiction.

You can buy a copy of The Watcher via Amazon UK

 

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I am delighted to welcome you to my stop on the blog tour for Mário de Sá-Carneiro: The Ambiguity of a Suicide by Giuseppe Cafiero and share a guest piece written about Mário de Sá-Carneiro.

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The apparent suicide in 1916 of the writer Mário de Sá-Carneiro causes his friend, the poet Fernando Pessoa, great distress. Pessoa feels compelled to trace Sá-Carneiro’s final movements, to understand what could have caused him to lose all hope.
Exploring byways of the imagination and ambiguity with the investigator David Mondine and Dr. Abílio Fernandes Quaresma, solver of enigmas, the three men decide to uncover the conclusive certainties which led Mário to poison himself.
These suicide investigators travel to Lisbon – Mário’s birthplace – and to Paris, talking to strangers and friends who might shed light on the poet’s mysterious and sudden decline. As the city wrestles with the grief and tumult of war, the men hold court at the cafes and bistros Mário would have frequented. Their witty, enigmatic and sometimes obscure conversations illuminate the friendship between Mário and Fernando Pessoa, their poetry and their literary ambitions, revealing the tragic end of one of the founders of Portuguese modernism.

 

You can buy a copy of Mário de Sá-Carneiro: The Ambiguity of a Suicide via Amazon


Guest Post:

Mário de Sá-Carneiro with his chronic oddities. Mário who went about Paris in melancholy and shy solitude. Mário who believed it necessary to inflict heartache upon himself to atone for his dark irreverences. Mário who played the part of a fashionable anti-conformist. Mário who was so self-absorbed that he seemed to live in a constant dreamlike delirium. Mário who seemed to want to be surrounded by an atmosphere of non-involvement and thus to enjoy his disquietude. Mário who was afraid to retrace his steps because nothing could ever be the same as before. Mário who wallowed in his contemplative ecstasy because the rest was extraneous to him. Mário who complacently felt that he did not belong to any city or country. Mário who was extremely concerned about the dark sensations of his instinct. Mário who considered his mind able to create an inappropriate reality disturbing to the society he was compelled to endure. Mário who complained of a nostalgia which, in truth, he did not feel because no nostalgia could satisfy him. Mário who wasted time in remembrances that responded to memories recovered from a reality experienced in a distorted manner and never loved. Mário who wished to construct a world in his own image and likeness, even though an innate discontent forced him to presume that there could never be a world in his image and likeness. Mário who was tirelessly seeking a fictitious gratification of his intimate desires which seemed to him impossible on account of that kind of apathy in which he delighted in living. Mário who seemed to have a poor ability to reflect realistically about himself and his fantasies because he was a simple dreamer who did not wish to realize any dream. Mário who exhibited, according to many who knew him, a strong affective deficit and a smug reluctance to establish cordial friendships. Mário who seemed to feel the irrepressible desire to influence the world, to be a protagonist as a poet and playwright. Mário who had a true servile propensity for Pessoa, for which he was ready to satisfy any request or desire merely to please him.

 

My thanks to Rachel Gilbey at Authoright for inviting me to be part of the blog tour.

Check out the other stops on the blog tour:

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Welcome along to another post to celebrate Clink Street Publishing’s Second Annual Blogival!  The event is running from 1st August right through to 31st August across a wealth of wonderful blogs and features some amazing reviews, guest posts and other bookish goodness for you lucky readers!

Today I am delighted to share a guest piece written by Anne Boileau about Katharina Luther.

Katharina Luther: Nun, Rebel, Wife

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On 31st October 1517, Martin Luther pinned ninety-five theses on the Castle Church door, Wittenberg, criticizing 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, she sets down her own story. Against a backdrop of 16th Century Europe this vivid account of Katharina von Bora’s early life brings to the spotlight this spirited and courageous woman.

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Guest Post:

Would you say that Katharina von Bora was one of the first feminists who shaped history?

We cannot claim that Katharina von Bora was a feminist because such a concept did not exist in the 16th Century. She was, however, a strong, well-educated woman living in a patriarchal and authoritarian society.  When she first experienced the secular world she would have been taken aback at the hostility men showed against her sex. This hostility was, if anything, even worse if that woman happened to be a former nun. Former monks were mocked and reviled as well. Ironically, though, the very fact that she had attended a convent school and been raised with the rigorous discipline and training required for a monastic life, gave her spiritual, mental and physical strength. She needed these qualities to adapt to the change in her circumstances on leaving the security of the convent walls.

Common men were lewd, aggressive, mocking. Other women were suspicious because they found the ex nuns rather threatening. As convent pupils, novices and nuns they had received an excellent education. They were literate in Latin and German. Latin was the language of the powerful, the ruling class and of men. And few women at that time, even of good family, could write well, even though they might be able to read. As nuns they had acquired many other skills: illumination of texts; stitching tapestries; sowing, weaving, spinning; gardening and a knowledge of herbal remedies; music, and singing. And of course, the discipline of regular worship throughout each day.

Moreover, living in a silent order of women required the ability to communicate without words. They used sign language, of course, but much more can be conveyed than we, in a very verbal society, can ever imagine, by the eyes, or subtle body language. A nod of assent, a wink, a slight shrug of the shoulder, a turning away, the shadow of a frown or smile, can speak volumes in the absence of speech. And with such daily silent communication they would have developed a high degree of empathy; an ability to avert, where possible, flash points of irritation or strife. More than anything, there was a need to maintain, where possible, peace and harmony among the women. It can’t have been easy!

So if you ask me, was she one of the first feminists? I would say this: she came out of that convent well equipped to weather a world in turmoil. Where the peasants were breaking out of their bondage, the ruling classes were at odds with each other and mustering armies, and the Church was about to split into several factions because they could not agree on fundamental matters of doctrine. Society was divided. So it was, that maids were forbidden to discuss religion while filling their pails at the Wittenberg wells.

Katharina had a strong faith, which was mediated through the Virgin Mary. But she was adaptable, able to bend like a reed in the wind and accept  Martin Luther’s fresh, more direct path to God, believing in justification through faith. From the monastic discipline she was also schooled in hygiene and herbal remedies, so knew how best to take precautions against the plague, which came sweeping across the land every fifteen or so years.

When she married Martin Luther and took over the running of his large and busy household she brought all these qualities to bear on her work and also on her irascible husband. She kept him healthy, curbing his excessive appetite; she kept him calm, mitigating his bad temper and disturbed sleep; she made sure he respected her and other women. And as he was a man filled with doubts and fears, she gave him courage and confidence, and calmed his feelings of guilt and remorse for the unrest he had unleashed on the world. She also gave him children, who would have kept his feet on the ground, because children tell the truth. He was a devoted father.

Dr. Martin Luther played a hugely significant role in the shaping of modern Germany, one might say Europe. Katharina, as his wife, helped shape him, making him more humane and down to earth than he would have been had he remained a lonely, celibate, childless monk.  Therefore, though we can’t really call her a feminist, we can say that she did shape history, simply by being at his side, his helpmeet, companion and wife.

 

About the Author:

Anne Boileau (also known as Polly Clarke) lives in Essex. She studied German in Munich and worked as interpreter and translator before turning to language-teaching in England. She also holds a degree in Conservation and Land Management from Anglia University and has written and given talks on various aspects of conservation. Now she shares, writes and enjoys poetry; her work has appeared in a number of anthologies and magazines; she has also won some awards, including First Prize with Grey Hen Press, 2016. She translates modern German poetry into English with Camden Mews Translators and was Chair of Suffolk Poetry Society from 2011 to 2014.

 

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