#CoverReveal The End of Where We Begin by Rosalind Russell @ImpressBooks1 @Ros__Russell @lovebooksgroup

Veronica is a teenager when civil war erupts in South Sudan. Lonely and friendless after the death of her father, she finds solace in her first boyfriend, and together they flee across the city when the fighting breaks out. On the same night, Daniel, the son of a colonel, also makes his escape, but finds himself stranded by the River Nile, alone and vulnerable. Lilian is a young mother, who runs for her life holding the hand of her little boy Harmony – until a bomb attack wrenches them apart, forcing her to trek on alone.

After epic journeys of endurance, their lives cross in Bidi Bidi in Uganda – the world’s largest refugee camp. There they meet James, a counsellor who helps them to find light and hope in the darkest of places.

The End of Where We Begin is a gripping and intimate true life account of three young people whose promising lives are brutally interrupted by war. It documents their heart-breaking and inspiring battle to keep moving on through the extremes of attack, injury, exile and trauma. It is a story of the bonds of community and resilience in adversity – a powerful message for our troubled times.

Author Bio

Rosalind Russell is a journalist who worked for more than a decade as a foreign correspondent for Reuters and the Independent in Africa, the Middle East and Asia. Her reporting has included the fall of the Taliban in Afghanistan, the war in Iraq and Burma’s Saffron Revolution. She lives in London with her husband and their two daughters. Burma’s Spring is her first book.

Buy Link 

https://amzn.to/34vBxK8

Book Blitz – A Painter in Penang by Clare Flynn @clarefly @lovebooksgroup #lovebookstours

Today I’m taking part in the book blitz for A Painter in Penang by Clare Flynn with the Love Books Group

Synopsis:

Sixteen-year-old Jasmine Barrington hates everything about living in Kenya and longs to return to the island of Penang in British colonial Malaya where she was born. Expulsion from her Nairobi convent school offers a welcome escape – the chance to stay with her parents’ friends, Mary and Reggie Hyde-Underwood on their Penang rubber estate.

But this is 1948 and communist insurgents are embarking on a reign of terror in what becomes the Malayan Emergency. Jasmine unearths a shocking secret as her own life is put in danger. Throughout the turmoil, her one constant is her passion for painting.

From the international best-selling and award-winning author of The Pearl of Penang, this is a dramatic coming of age story, set against the backdrop of a tropical paradise torn apart by civil war.

Buy Link 

https://amzn.to/3iyTFYD

Author Bio:

Historical novelist Clare Flynn is a former global marketing director and business owner. She now lives in Eastbourne on the south coast of England and most of her time these days is spent writing her novels – when she’s not gazing out of her windows at the sea.

Clare is the author of eleven novels and a short story collection. Her books deal with displacement – her characters are wrenched away from their comfortable existences and forced to face new challenges – often in outposts of an empire which largely disappeared after WW2.

Her latest novel, Prisoner From Penang, was published on 17th April 2020. It is set in South East Asia during the Japanese occupation in World War Two.

Clare’s novels often feature places she knows well and she does extensive research to build the period and geographic flavour of her books. A Greater World – 1920s Australia; Kurinji Flowers – pre-Independence India; Letters from a Patchwork Quilt – nineteenth century industrial England and the USA; The Green Ribbons – the turn of the nineteenth and twentieth century in rural England, The Chalky Sea – World War II England (and Canada) and its sequels The Alien Corn and The Frozen River – post WW2 Canada. She has also published a collection of short stories – both historical and contemporary, A Fine Pair of Shoes and Other Stories.

Fluent in Italian, she loves spending time in Italy. In her spare time she likes to quilt, paint and travel as often and as widely as possible. She is an active member of the Historical Novel Society, the Romantic Novelists Association, The Society of Authors, NINC and the Alliance of Independent Authors.

Get a free copy of Clare’s exclusive short story collection, A Fine Pair of Shoes, at www.clareflynn.co.uk.

The Story of Babushka – Catherine Flores

I’m pleased to be sharing my review for the gorgeous hardback book on the blog tour with the Love Book Tours.

Synopsis:

A beautifully illustrated book, with a magnificent story that children and tweens will love.

Babushka wants to find out the meaning of life so she sends her bodies out of the forest and into the world to search for answers. 

WHAT IS A BABUSHKA?

The babushka doll, also known as a matryoshka or Russian nesting doll, is a traditional Russian toy first made over 100 years ago. The doll has come to symbolise Russian folk culture, as well as the complex and beautiful layers of women. There are some babushka dolls with as many as fifty dolls nested inside. This is the story of one very special babushka doll and her five bodies. There was the outermost body, Antonia. She was pure beauty. Everyone who saw her admired her good looks. Beneath that body of beauty hid Loretta, who was richly adorned. She wore gold ornaments, and her green robe was decorated with many different gems that glittered like the ocean on a sunny day. Hidden within the rich body was Paula, the body that held all Babushka’s talents. Whatever Paula did, she was sure to succeed. She knew how to work and always did so with joy and determination. Within the talented body was Viola, the body of wisdom. Viola knew a lot about the world and learned very quickly. She was always full of brilliant ideas and had clever solutions for every problem. The last body, the smallest of all, was Mary, the embodiment of love. Mary had a warm and compassionate heart and was very helpful. She could dry tears and mend broken hearts. Together, these bodies formed the complete Babushka.

Reading this book, you will learn about:

– The value of friendship and love.

– That financial wealth alone cannot make someone happy.

– Not to judge outer appearance.

– To recognize a person’s value and much more

My thoughts:

This is a beautifully illustrated book with an important message about how we should live our lives fully, not allowing ourselves to be swayed by money, fame or to undervalue our own worth – something that in the current age of ‘celebrities’ is not always clear to young people.

We are introduced to the five bodies of the Babushka, Antonia, Loretta, Paul, Viola and Mary, who each head off into the world separately to find out the meaning of life. Mary finds that she is missing everyone else and heads off to find them. But how have they fared?

A lovely book to share with children of all ages. Do check out the website https://www.thestoryofbabushka.com, for more information about the book and the colouring book, plus downloadable colouring pages.

Author Bio:

Since quitting her full-time job at a branding communication agency in Zurich, Catherine has gone on to become a successful freelance designer and a children’s author. She spends most of her time on the small island of Madeira with her family, spending her time growing vegetables in her garden and working for clients from around the world.

She is currently working on the follow up to the 2020 release of “The Story Of Babushka”

Social Media:

Instagram:

Author: www.instagram.com/JourneytoFantastic

Book: www.instagram.com/StoryofBabushka

Twitter:

Author: www.twitter.com/AuthorFlores

Facebook:

Book: www.facebook.com/TheStoryofBabushka

Website:

Author: www.catherineflores.ch

Book: www.TheStoryofBabushka.com

Buy Link: 

YouTube Trailer – https://youtu.be/jKnDGZ2e1VY – Book Trailer

Girl Out of Place by Syl van Duyn and translated by Ernestine Hoegen @AuroraMetro @lovebooksgroup #lovebookstours

I’m pleased to be sharing my review for this historical fiction novel today as part of the blog tour organised by the Love Books Group. Thank you to the publisher (Aurora Metro Books) for a copy of the book – my thoughts are my own and not influenced by the gift.

Synopsis:

At the end of the war, Nell is released from a Japanese internment camp in Java. While searching for her father in the chaos, she meets Tim, a young man who is looking for his family too. Nell’s journey takes her first to Singapore then to a new life and new friends in Sydney, Australia. But although Tim may well be the love of her life, her father puts her on a passenger liner bound for the Netherlands. Will Nell really be able to settle in a country she’s never known – and will she ever see Tim again?

Based on the true story of Nora Valk, this is an exciting tale of courage and friendship, hope and determination, about the search for love and a place to finally call home.

My thoughts:

This was a book I devoured in a day. 15 year old Nell has experienced more in her short lifetime than many people would have in a full lifetime. As a young child she travelled to the USA, only to return to Indonesia to be imprisoned in a Japanese internment camp where her mother died. With her aunt, she flees the civil unrest in Indonesia, heading to Singapore to look for her dad who she hasn’t seen for over three years and hoping to meet Tim again, a young man who helped her on the day she left the internment camp.

This book looks at how people dealt with being imprisoned, losing their loved ones, struggling to reconnect with loved ones after a long time apart, first love and finding happiness. A thought provoking read that I’m happy to recommend.

Author Bio:

Syl van Duyn is author of four Dutch language children’s books: ‘Hallo Aarde, Hier Maan’ (2001), ‘Mijn Zus is een Flussemus’ (2002), ‘Angels’ (2008) and ‘Op zoek naar jou’ (2015), as well as an adult non-fiction book based on the columns she wrote for the Dutch magazine Margriet (‘Een kwetsbaar bestaan’ (2001). She works for the Dutch broadcasting network VPRO, selecting and purchasing documentaries, and lives in Amsterdam.

Ernestine Hoegen has translated Girl out of Place by Syl van Duyn from Dutch into English. She has also written a biography of Dutchwoman Mieke Bouman (Unieboek | Spectrum) 2020. She worked as a public prosecutor before turning to writing, translating and editing full-time in 2017. She lives near Arnhem.

Tree Slayer by Harriet Springbett @HarriSpringbett @impress_books @lovebooksgroup

Today I’m pleased to be taking part in the Love Books Tours cover reveal for Tree Slayer.

Synopsis:

Nine months after the events of Tree Magic, Rainbow is struggling to come to terms with how she’s changed. Her bond with trees has grown, but now they’re under threat from the Tree Slayer.

To save them, she’ll need to leave everything she knows and loves. It will be her greatest adventure yet – but she cannot succeed alone.

She’ll have to enlist the help of Eole, an enigmatic scientist and sceptic.

Does Rainbow have what it takes to face the Tree Slayer? And can she trust Eole, who has powers of his own?

Author Bio

Harriet Springbett’s childhood on a small farm in West Dorset gave her an early exposure to nature, which continues to inspire her writing.

She qualified as an engineer but, during a Raleigh International expedition in Chile, she realised she preferred words to numbers. She abandoned her profession, moved to France, studied French and then worked as a project manager, feature writer, translator and TEFL teacher. She now lives in Poitou-Charentes with her French partner and their teenage children.

Since her first literary success, aged 10, her short stories and poetry have been published in literary journals and placed in writing competitions, including a shortlisting in the 2017 Bath Short Story Award.

Harriet leads writing workshops, has judged the Segora international short story competition and blogs at https://harrietspringbett.wordpress.com

Sisters of Berlin by Juliet Conlin @Julietconlin @bwpublishing @lovebooksgroup #lovebookstours

Today. I’m pleased to share my review for the Sisters of Berlin by Juliet Conlin. Thank you to Black and White Publishing for a digital review copy – my thoughts are my own and not influenced by the gift.

Synopsis:

Berlin 2014. The 25th anniversary of the fall of the Wall, and the city is gearing up for

a celebration of unity and liberation. But, beneath the surface, are those for whom the

divisions and allegiances of the past remain close to home.

In her hushed and leafy corner of Berlin, Nina’s life is a comfortable, conventional one

– until her younger sister Marie, a free-spirited writer, is attacked and left for dead.

For Nina, Marie’s brutal demise – and that of her unborn child – tips her own carefully

controlled life into a nightmare. Stonewalled by official incompetence and subterfuge,

Nina begins to realise that her sister’s past and the secrets of the once-divided city

are connected in unimaginable ways. As she seeks out justice for Marie, Nina becomes

caught in a tangle of obsessions, lies and hidden truths that threatens to destroy her

marriage, her livelihood and all that she holds dear.

My thoughts:

I remember the Berlin Wall falling – I had just started University and it seemed amazing that after all the recent worries about the USSR and the USA starting a nuclear war, that suddenly Communism was being swept away and the people of Berlin were now free to travel across their city.

This book is a murder mystery and historical fiction story rolled into one. Nina has recently lost her sister (murder), is struggling to keep her medical practice solvent and to look after her mental health (eating disorder).

This well written story looks at family relationships, the difficulties of being a working mum, dealing with grief and how the past can change the future. It is not an easy read due to the topics covered but was interesting and thought provoking. A stark reminder that no one knows what secrets people hold and what goes on behind closed doors.

Author bio:

Juliet Conlin was born in London and grew up in England and Germany. She has an MA in Creative Writing from Lancaster University and a PhD in Psychology from the University of Durham. She works as a writer and translator and lives with her family in Berlin. Her novels include The Fractured Man (Cargo, 2013), The Uncommon Life of Alfred Warner in Six Days (Black & White, 2017), The Lives Before Us (Black & White, 2019).

Buy Link

http://blackandwhitepublishing.com/shop.html

Publisher

Black & White Publishing was founded in 1999 by Managing Director Campbell Brown and Publishing Director Alison McBride. Since then, the business has grown into one of Scotland’s leading independent publishers with over 300 books in print across a variety of genres. Committed to publishing the best books from the most talented writers in the UK and beyond, some of our bestselling authors include Daniela Sacerdoti,  James Robertson,  Estelle Maskame,  Nick Alexander,  Richard Gordon,  Alex Norton,  Millie Gray,  Sally Magnusson and Tony Black.  We produce an extensive range of titles, including general non-fiction,  biography,  sport and humour,  as well as selected fiction,  young adult and children’s books.

This year, we’ve started an exciting new alliance with PGUK who now provide sales representation for our titles, and GBS continues to distribute our books. Our eBooks are distributed by Faber Factory. Over recent years, our range of fiction has grown following recent eBook successes such as Daniela Sacerdoti’s Glen Avich series, which has sold nearly a million copies to date. These new alliances and our e-book successes are helping us shape and develop the list in new ways to bring more exciting new titles to both local and global markets.

the Eliza Doll by Tracey Scott – Townsend @Wildpressed @lovebooksgroup #lovebookstours

I’m pleased to share my review for the Eliza Doll by a new author to me, Tracey Scott-Townsend being republished by Wild Pressed Books this summer. Thank you to the publisher for a paperback copy and to Love Books Group for inviting me to join the book tour.

Synopsis:

Ellie can’t work out whether she’s running away from the past or towards a future she always felt she should have had. She left university and had baby after baby without even meaning to. But it was her third child she blamed for ruining her life.

Now her children have grown and Ellie is on her own. She shocks everybody by selling her home and moving into a converted van to travel the country selling handmade dolls at craft fairs.

It can be lonely on the road. Ellie has two companions: her dog, Jack, and the mysterious
Eliza who turns up in the most unexpected places. At every encounter with Eliza, Ellie feels as if she’s standing again in the aching cold of a waterfall in Iceland, the sound of crashing water filling her with dread.

Ellie can’t change the past. But is it really too late to rectify the bad thing she did when Eliza was a baby?

My thoughts:

This is the first book I’ve read by Tracey Scott-Townsend and it is being republished four years on from the original publication date.

We meet Ellie as she turns 50, hiding away from her family and friends, living in a converted van with Jack, her dog. The story travels back and forwards in time as we discover what happened to Ellie to cause her to travel the country in her van, selling handmade dolls at craft fairs and why she doesn’t want to sell the Eliza doll. We also travel to Iceland and Ireland, as Ellie looks for peace and forgiveness.

This was an interesting and thought provoking read, covering some difficult topics including child abuse. My favourite part of the book is when Ellie first joins Running Hare House and starts to work with the local community. A 4 star read for me.

Author bio:

Tracey-Scott-Townsend is the author of six novels — the most recent The Vagabond Mother (January 2020) and Sea Babies (May 2019) — all published by Wild Pressed Books and Inspired Quill Publishing. Reviews often describe her novels as poetic or painterly.

She is also a poet and a visual artist. She has a Fine Art MA and a BA (Hons) Visual Studies. She has exhibited paintings throughout the UK (as Tracey Scott). She has a long career as a workshop facilitator with community groups and in schools.

Tracey is co-director of an up-and-coming small independent publisher, Wild Pressed Books, which has a growing roster of authors and poets.

Mother of four grown-up children, Tracey spends as much time as possible travelling the UK and Europe in a camper van with her husband and two dogs, writing and editing while on the road. 

Buy Link 

http://www.wildpressedbooks.com/the-eliza-doll.html

Tree Magic by Harriet Springbett @HarriSpringbett @impress_books @lovebooksgroup #CoverReveal

Today I’m helping share the gorgeous cover of Tree Magic by Harriet Springbett.

Synopsis

Thirteen-year-old Rainbow discovers she can communicate with trees.

But that’s just the beginning. Her magic hands can shape trees at her will, but her gift is dangerous and has fatal consequences. An accident that leaves Rainbow unconscious leads her mother to make a confession that will change Rainbow’s life forever. Are her abilities a gift or a curse? Can Rainbow really trust her mother? From England to France, through secrets, fears and parallel worlds, Rainbow’s journey to understand her powers takes her beyond everything she’s ever known.

To find the truth, she must also find herself.

Author Bio

Harriet Springbett’s childhood on a small farm in West Dorset gave her an early exposure to nature, which continues to inspire her writing.

She qualified as an engineer but, during a Raleigh International expedition in Chile, she realised she preferred words to numbers. She abandoned her profession, moved to France, studied French and then worked as a project manager, feature writer, translator and TEFL teacher. She now lives in Poitou-Charentes with her French partner and their teenage children.

Since her first literary success, aged 10, her short stories and poetry have been published in literary journals and placed in writing competitions, including a shortlisting in the 2017 Bath Short Story Award.

Harriet leads writing workshops, has judged the Segora international short story competition and blogs at https://harrietspringbett.wordpress.com

Buy Link 

Hector: At Ground Level by Gary Finnan #BookBlitz

This Little Book is about being present to the wonders that exist around us At Ground Level, discovering all that we fail to see when we spend so much of our lives chasing bigger, better, faster, more, endeavouring to fly higher.

Everything else seems much more desirable around us than ourselves, or our lives and loves, after a long day at the slug farm.

When do we decide how to proceed with the life we have built thus far: Joy, Passion,

Marriage, Divorce, Suicide, Enlightenment? Choices we have made. What if you built from a place of strength rather than always feeling diminished and unfulfilled? A life built upon the life you have, rather than the elusive life you imagine, yet fear. Build a great life in balance with your best self and your nurtured relationships. Transformation is seeing the hidden gems that truly exist in plain sight.

We have all heard someone say, The grass is greener on the other side. Is it?

Most of us were 4 or 5 years old when the belief structure we made with life set in: I

am stupid, I am weak, I don’t deserve, etc. We engaged believing that we should spend

our lives proving that we are who we believe everyone else thinks we are. Breaking the

cycle of doubt is essential. Loving self is the first love.

The grass is greenest where you are!

Author Bio

Born in Scotland and raised in Zimbabwe and South Africa, Gary Finnan splits his time between Sonoma Wine country in California and his farm in Aiken South Carolina, along with his wife Eva and two daughters. Gary is an award-winning inspirational author. 

Buy Link 

https://amzn.to/3eUUSs6