Books
0 Comments

Down and out in Kensington

Miss Lottie's Christmas Protector Book Cover Miss Lottie's Christmas Protector
(Secrets of a Victorian Household, Book 1)
Sophia James
Fiction, (Mills & Boon Historical)
HarperCollins UK
October 31, 2019
368

A Christmas mission... ...with the scarred and brooding gentleman! Part of Secrets of a Victorian Household: Working in her family’s charity foundation for destitute women, caring but impulsive Miss Lottie Fairclough is desperately trying to find a missing woman. She’s roped in family acquaintance Mr Jasper King to help her, equally impressed and annoyed when he rescues her from perilous danger! As she gets to know the injured entrepreneur, it seems he needs her just as much…

This is an historical novel that has the normal features of the genre with the added benefit of a discussion of some of the social ills of the time. I always think that this adds an extra element of interest as I enjoy reading about social or political history.

Set in London and around Kensington, which is of course, one of the most expensive and poshest areas of London, it was also notorious in the late 19th century for the Jennings Buildings.

Just FYI Magpie is slang for a thief – as we all know what magpies do, and magpies lived in the Jennings Buildings, hance the name Old Pye Street.  Jennings built 81 two storey wooden tenements grouped over 5 courts, meant for 200 or so inhabitants. He built 49 toilets to serve the 5 courts.

At the time this story was set there were probably over 1000 people living in the Irish Rookery as the Jennings Buildings became known. At least 800 of the inhabitants were known to be Irish. The Irish peasants and labourers and their families had emigrated to London in vast numbers over the 19th century due to poverty, illness and famine and crowded into what accommodation they could get however unsanitary. The men tended to be construction workers and fruit pickers and the women worked the laundries.

Here’s an interesting historical note to add to this, in the early 20th century the Irish immigrated a little further afield many into Kilburn, North London, which became known as Little Ireland and were supporters of the IRA. But the men were still labourers and ‘bogtrotters’ ie from farm land, and the  women who emigrated tended to go into the care and nursing industries and wouldn’t marry them! Too poorly educated and bad tempered. I know this from my Irish friends in that area…

As for the Jennings Buildings they were so notorious they were demolished in 1873 and a very large house was built on the many acres, by a gentleman called Grant . Grant was riding high and generally enjoyed public confidence. In this period he resolved to build a vast house in its own grounds close to Kensington Palace, on the combined sites of the previous Kensington House, Colby House, the slums of Jennings Buildings and associated plots. In 1872 he proceeded to buy the freeholds of Kensington House and Colby House and to demolish them. (British History Online.)

 Next year he purchased the freeholds of Jennings Buildings and other properties on and behind the east side of Kensington Square. Here the prices are known: £14,000 for one tract including Nos. 2 and 3 Kensington Square, £11,000 for another, and £2,000 for a ragged school run by the parish.  Commentators of the time marvelled that Grant did not resort to law to eject the tenants of Jennings Buildings. He simply paid them off as necessary and let them carry off any woodwork they wanted, so accelerating the work of destruction. 


Grant’s expenditure on buying the land and building his new Kensington House was estimated to have been about £300,000 but by 1882 the house was up for sale by Grant’s creditors as he owed so much and In June the first sale of materials occurred; portions of the marble stairs were acquired for installation at Madame Tussaud’s,

So after the history lesson, did I enjoy the book? Yes, not only because it enabled me to delve into some social history, but also because it was true to life and well written.

Share This:

Books
0 Comments

How to kill successfully

Perfect Kill Book Cover Perfect Kill
DCI Luc Callanach
Helen Fields
Fiction
HarperCollins UK, Avon
February 6, 2020
416

He had never heard himself scream before. It was terrifying.

Drugged and kidnapped, the realisation soon dawns that he’s been locked inside a shipping container far from his Edinburgh home. But what Bart doesn’t yet know is that he’s now heading for France where his unspeakable fate is already sealed…

DCI Ava Turner and DI Luc Callanach are working on separate cases that soon collide as it becomes clear that the men and women being shipped to France are being traded for women trafficked into Scotland.

With so many lives at stake, they face an impossible task – but there’s no option of failure when Bart and so many others will soon be dead…

Get ready for a rollercoaster ride like no other, with the next gripping thriller from the number one bestselling crime author, Helen Fields. The perfect read for fans of M. J. Arlidge and Karin Slaughter.

Ah yes, the Frenchman and the Scotswoman and their on again off again romance.

Luc is back in France helping Interpol  with some PT distress about his sex life. His case involves a Scottish lad who turns up dead after all his organs have been removed! And Ava gets a shot victim after a trafficked Romanian girl attempts to escape from her captors. And this case winds up and up and up.. Two disparate cases you think but a twist of course.

Now a word to the author please. Helen, you either have a very sick imagination of you have been researching some very sick criminals. I hope it is the latter!

The twists and turns of these cases and crimes make for nail biting reading. Well plotted, well planned and well written.

Share This:

Books
0 Comments

Don’t Wake Up

Awakening Book Cover Awakening
8th Dimension
Carissa Andrews
Science Fiction, Thriller, Urban Fantasy
Independently published
Nov 12th

The final five angels have been located and averting the apocalypse means somehow recreating the birth of Christ. 

Morgan never expected total annihilation would come down to the actions of five misfit angels. But as each one’s hidden angelic power unfolds, so does the sinister truth… the entire Jesus storyline has been wiped from the collective consciousness, leaving a tear in the fabric of reality.

The final five need to figure out how their gifts are meant to fit together in order to set things right. However, coming to terms with the responsibility resting on their shoulders doesn’t come easy. To make matters worse, the demons have found them and unless they get on the same page quickly, the darkness will consume them all. But how can they make things right when the thing that’s missing happened more than 2000 years ago?

One thing’s for sure. If they fail, existence ceases.

 Before I read this book for the BlogTour I read the 2 previous novels in the series and quite enjoyed them. Awakening, not so much.

For me I found the story dragged rather. The writing is competent but when changing characters for each chapter the writing voice remained the same. There was no variation in tone, thinking or sentence/paragraph construction.

And then the story turned into Christian proselytizing. That is, the reality they wanted didn’t work without Christianity.

I carried on reading just in case and initially thought OK, just adding one more religion to the mix, but then there was the single entity over all and clearly we are heading for the Second Coming in the next book.

So for me – how to spoil a book – and series.

Share This:

Books
0 Comments

Puppies and more

A Puppy And A Christmas Proposal Book Cover A Puppy And A Christmas Proposal
(Mills & Boon Medical)
Louisa George
Fiction. Romance
HarperCollins UK
November 28, 2019
192

Her ex-fiancé... ...is giving her paws for thought! Alex Norton devastated Beth Masters when he told her he could no longer marry her. The last thing she wants this Christmas is to come face-to-face with him, clutching an adorable puppy! Warm-hearted vet Beth can’t say no to a four-legged patient in need but she’ll need to guard her damaged heart from delicious doc Alex. Which becomes impossible when he finally reveals the reason why he left…

A nicely written romance with the twist of testicular cancer which affected the menfolk of a certain family and the impact that it would have on their future life – assuming that they survived. But it is worth noting that the general 5-year survival rate for men with testicular cancer is 95%. This means that 95 men out of every 100 men diagnosed with testicular cancer will live at least 5 years after diagnosis. The survival rate is higher for men diagnosed with early-stage cancer and lower for men with later-stage cancer. Unfortunately it can spread to the lymph nodes if not caught quickly and this makes it more dangerous. It most commonly diagnosed between 15 and 40 years of age.

Without this sub story we have a more normal romance which could have become rather sickly as puppies are rather Xmas obvious.

Share This:

Books
0 Comments

What happens at Winter’s height

Solstice Surrender
Short Paranormals Series #1
Tracy Cooper-Posey
fantasy, erotic, romance, witch
Tracy Cooper-Posey
(14 Oct. 2012)

A man of mysterious powers. A woman who fights her destiny. On mid-winter’s eve she must decide. When her SIA partner and lover is killed on assignment, Jenna hides away in Banff, Canada for the Christmas season to lick her wounds in private. When she forces a rude stranger to dump coffee in his own lap just by thinking about it, Jenna is tipped into a shadowy world hidden to most humans. Rhys Cellyn knows that dangerous, powerful world intimately. He helps Jenna avoid the many enemies who now want her for her fast-developing powers, while Jenna struggles to accept the truth about her true fate, her growing feelings for Rhys and their twined destinies. Time is against her, for she must make a choice and the future of the world is at stake…if she can only keep Rhys and herself alive until the moment of the winter solstice. ___________ Solstice Surrender was first published as a novella included in the Winter Warriors anthology, then re-released in December 2009 by Ellora’s Cave as a ebook-only single title novella. It has now been extended and re-edited, and repackaged with new front and end matter, and re-released as the Author’s Edition. The additional text has lengthened the story enough to also allow a print edition to be released. Warning: This book is an erotic paranormal romance. It contains frequent graphic sexual scenes and sexual language. Do not proceed if sexy heroes receiving their due reward offends you. Lots of bad guys were harmed during the making of this novel.

A short story or novella with an a witch coming into her power unexpectedly and rather late in life.

To be saved by the proverbial hero and fated mate, who is also hunky etc etc.

A fantasy story with goodies and baddies and…

The winter solstice occurs in December, and in the northern hemisphere the date marks the 24-hour period with the fewest daylight hours of the year. That is why it is known as the shortest day of the year, or the longest night of the year.

The term ‘solstice’ derives from the Latin word ‘solstitium’, meaning ‘Sun standing still’. On this day the Sun seems to stand still at the Tropic of Capricorn and then reverses its direction as it reaches its southernmost position as seen from the Earth.

Pagan and druid communities, celebrate the first sunrise after the astronomical event and the winter solstice festival Saturnalia began on December 17 and lasted for seven days in Ancient Rome.

These Saturnalian banquets were held from as far back as around 217 BCE to honour Saturn, the father of the gods.

See also:

Yalda or Shab-e Chelleh (‘night of forty’) which is an Iranian festival celebrated on the “longest and darkest night of the year,” i.e. the night of the Northern Hemisphere’s winter solstice.

Every year, on the date of the Winter solstice, Iranians celebrate the arrival of winter, the renewal of the sun and the victory of light over darkness on Yalda Night.

Ancient Iranians believed that the dawning of each year is marked with the re-emergence or rebirth of the sun, an event which falls on the first day of the month of Dey in the Iranian calendar (December 21).

On this day, the sun was salvaged from the claws of the devil, which is represented by darkness, and gradually spread its rays all over the world to symbolise the triumph of good over evil. 

And then there is:

The Feast of Juul (where we get the term ‘Yule’ from at this time of year) was a pre-Christian festival observed in Scandinavia at the time of the December solstice.

People would light fires to symbolise the heat and light of the returning sun and a Juul (or Yule) log was brought in and dropped in the hearth as a tribute the Norse god Thor.

So basically, a time for celebration for the returning of the light from the dark and good from evil in many cultures and thus a symbolic time for this storyline.

A fairly normal storyline but nicely done and easy to read, with some extra elements.

Author Bio

I have been writing and publishing romances since 1999 when I sold my first two books in the same week (after six years of flogging my work to editors who didn’t recognize the staggering genius within).  Many of the books I’ve released so far have been romantic suspense.  I’ve also squeezed in the odd contemporary and historical romance or two.  I also write erotic paranormal and erotic urban fantasy romances. Just lately, I’ve been trying my hand at my very favorite — science fiction romance.

On March 8, 2011, I went indie.  After thirty-five novels published with legacy publishers, I turned to self-publishing, and released the paranormal/urban fantasy romance, Blood Knot.

In the future, I will write a lot more science fiction romances, as well as paranormal romances and urban fantasy romances, and quite a few more romantic suspense novels. I really hope you’ll come along for the ride.


If you like audio and/or video documentaries, then you may like to listen to the podcasts I have been interviewed for.  They are mostly writing related, but I do spend some time in each of them talking about me and my writing…and you get to see/hear what I look/sound like.  🙂  

Click here for a list of podcasts.


When I tell people I’ve been writing since I was 14 they tend to look at me a little oddly, but it’s quite true. I fell in love with Harrison Ford and Star Wars at the exact same moment, and wrote the unofficial sequel in the following year. Of course, I had Han Solo and Leia falling in love long before the sequel came along, and in much more satisfying fashion than George Lucas ever managed.

What I didn’t realize at the time, and not for another twenty years or so, was that I had been writing fanfic, possibly the first of its kind.

On a completely off-topic side-note, I used to lie awake at night, listening to the Star Wars soundtrack on my record player, and re-playing the movie in my head, fantasizing about how wonderful it would be to somehow be able to play the movie at home, whenever I wanted. Eight years later I saw my first Beta cassette player. It was the size of a small suitcase and weighed 45 pounds. A few years after that I got to buy my first VHS movie – Star Wars. That was a reflective moment in my life.

However, while things have clearly changed over the years since my first bad attempt at getting a hero and heroine together on paper, two things have not. I’m still writing romances, and I’m still throwing my hero and heroine through a fair imitation of hell while they’re sorting their feelings for each other out — the essence of romantic suspense.

But hey, here’s the boring stuff:  I’m Australian, although I live in Canada. I still have the accent, although I’ve been here almost two decades now. And I still have trouble remembering it’s a hood, not a bonnet and stuff like that — you’d be amazed how hard-wired culture really is. It calcifies internally, I think. But the mountains here are stupendous, so I think I’ll stick around. Besides, my husband is kinda cute. Oh yeah, did I forget to mention? I met him on the Internet back when it was a few HTML pages and a couple of bulletin boards or two, and me and the kids (three of us) packed up and moved here.

The kids are no longer really kids any more. They’re both taller than me now, but I didn’t say that aloud, okay? I’d still like them to think I’m the boss for a while longer, at least.

Share This:

Social Media Auto Publish Powered By : XYZScripts.com