When you make a conscious choice to be happy, no one can take it away from you because no one gave it to you: you gave it to yourself.

A quote from April Green's - Bloom For Yourself Journal

Wednesday 16 September 2020

Welcoming Tony Riches and his book - Drake - Tudor Corsair (The Elizabethan Series Book 1) - to my blog

 Today I'm welcoming Tony Riches and his book - Drake - Tudor Corsair (The Elizabethan Series Book 1) - to my blog as part of the blog tour hosted by The Coffee Pot Book Club (founded by Mary Anne Yarde). 

I'm delighted to be able to share a review with you, but first I'll introduce the book.

Drake - Tudor Corsair by Tony Riches


Devon sailor Francis Drake sets out on a journey of adventure.

Drake learns of routes used to transport Spanish silver and gold, and risks his life in an audacious plan to steal a fortune.

Queen Elizabeth is intrigued by Drake and secretly encourages his piracy. Her unlikely champion becomes a national hero, sailing around the world in the Golden Hind and attacking the Spanish fleet.

King Philip of Spain has enough of Drake’s plunder and orders an armada to threaten the future of England.

Publication date: 5th August 2020

Genre: Historical Fiction

Publisher: Preseli Press Ltd.

Print Length: 344 pages

You can purchase a copy of this book via the following links -

Amazon UK:

Amazon US:

Amazon CA:

Amazon AU:

Now for the review -

Sir Francis Drake – daring sea captain, defender of the realm, brave explorer and a favourite of the Queen. Drake is one of those historical figures that often appear in other people's stories, but I have never seen a historical fiction novel that was told from his perspective. When I discovered that he was the protagonist in Tony Riches new book, how could I possibly resist?

This novel starts at the very beginning of Sir Francis' sea fairing adventures. His humble beginnings are a stark contrast to the glittering jewels of the Elizabethan court, and his rise from nobody to one of the Queen's favourites is fascinating. Despite his achievements and being knighted by the Queen, Sir Francis is never quite one of them, and he is looked down upon by men who think they are his betters. The novel ends with the death of Sir Francis, and I must admit I shed a tear for this rather loveable scoundrel.

The historical detailing of this book is staggering, and the author's knowledge of not only Sir Francis’ illustrious career, but also the inner workings of the great Man-Of-War ships is evident in every page. I thought Mr Riches really captured the essence of what it must have been like to be a sailor during this time. Likewise, the various nations, and the people that lived there were also wonderfully well-drawn. The excitement, fear, and the desperate desire to make each venture profitable makes this book unputdownable.

Likewise, the tenuous relationship between the English and the Spanish is played out with remarkable accuracy. The idea that the English fought the Spanish until they agreed to buy their slaves was very telling of the time this book is set in! The back and forth between the English and the Spanish as they tried to steal each other's gold also made for some, at times shocking, but mostly very entertaining reading.

There are many characters in this book, most of which are drawn from real historical figures. I thought Mr Riches portrayal of Queen Elizabeth was marvellous, but even the Virgin Queen could not eclipse the hero of this story.

If you enjoy Tudor fiction, then you are definitely going to love this book. I cannot wait to get my hands on Book 2 and discover which historical person Mr Riches is going to write about next!

Tony Riches

Tony Riches is a full-time UK author of best-selling historical fiction. He lives in Pembrokeshire, West Wales and is a specialist in the history of the Wars of the Roses and the lives of the early Tudors. Tony’s other published historical fiction novels include: Owen – Book One Of The Tudor Trilogy, Jasper – Book Two Of The Tudor Trilogy, Henry – Book Three Of The Tudor Trilogy, Mary – Tudor Princess, Brandon – Tudor Knight and The Secret Diary Of Eleanor Cobham.

You can connect with Tony Riches via the following - 


Writing blog: 





You can follow Tony and his book - Drake - Tudor Corsair - on the blog tour. Dates and blogs detailed here - 

I hope you check out Tony Riches work.

Till the next time.

Take care Zoe


Monday 14 September 2020

Welcoming Paul Walker and his book - The Queen's Devil (William Constable Spy Thriller Book 3) - to my blog

 Today I'm welcoming Paul Walker and his book - The Queen's Devil (Book 3 of the William Constable Spy Thriller series) - to my blog as part of the blog tour hosted by The Coffee Pot Book Club (founded by Mary Anne Yarde). 

 I'm delighted to be able to share a review with you, but first I'll introduce the book.

The Queen's Devil by Paul Walker



William Constable, recently married astrologer and mathematician, has settled into routine work as a physician when he is requested to attend two prisoners in the Tower of London. Both are accused of separate acts treason, but their backgrounds suggest there may be a connection.

Sir Francis Walsingham and Lord Burghley urge William to discover further intelligence from the prisoners while tending their injuries from torture.

The agent's investigations lead him to the French Embassy, which lies at the heart of a conspiracy which threatens the nation.

Through his enquiries, an unsuspecting William becomes entangled in a perilous web of politicking and religious fervour.

The threat comes from one the most powerful men in the English court – one referred to as the Queen’s Devil.

William faces a race against time to unpick these ties, climaxing in a daring raid on the Embassy.

Praise for Paul Walker:

“Walker skilfully creates a treacherous world of half-truths, plots and duplicity... simmering with impending danger.” Michael Ward, author of Rags of Time.

"A gripping and evocative page-turner that vibrantly brings Elizabeth's London to life." Steven Veerapen, author of A Dangerous Trade.

"Full of convincing characters both historical and imagined." Peter Tonkin 

Publication date: 27 July 2020

Genre: Historical Fiction / Historical Thriller

Publisher: Sharpe’s Books

Print Length: 274 pages

You can get your copy via the following link. The book is free with Kindle Unlimited subscription.


Now for the review -

I enjoy everything Tudor, so I was really looking forward to reading Paul Walker’s fabulous new book, The Queen’s Devil. I was a little bit concerned because this is book 3 in A William Constable Spy Thriller, but I was assured that this book did stand alone, and I have heard such wonderful things about the other two books in the series that I thought, why not?

Dear Reader, I am so glad I did. This novel is filled with espionage and conspirators, secrets and lies. The fact that the men who found themselves in the Tower were based upon historical people made this book even more gripping in its delivery.

The story follows Dr William Constable, who is a physician, an astrologer and mathematician, but he is also a husband, a friend and a son. William is a likeable character, and I immediately connected with him. But oh my, the things he goes through! He certainly does not have an easy time.

There are many historical characters in this book, and I was really fascinated by how Mr Walker approached each one. They were so well fleshed and authentic in the telling, as is the historical backdrop of this story. This is a book that screams Elizabethan England, the history oozes from the pages.

The one thing that really fascinated me with this book is the depiction of Scoliosis and how it was viewed in the Elizabethan era and how it was treated. Robert Cecil is in a great deal of pain, he has trouble breathing, but is helped by William who has devised a brace for him to wear, which in itself causes pain from rubbing. I thought Mr Walker approached Robert Cecil depiction with a great deal of care and knowledge for the condition.

If you love historical thrillers, then I can assure you that you will enjoy this book. If this book is anything to go by, then I will certainly be adding the rest of the series to my to-read list.

Paul Walker

Paul is married and lives in a village 30 miles north of London. Having worked in universities and run his own business, he is now a full-time writer of fiction and part-time director of an education trust. His writing in a garden shed is regularly disrupted by children and a growing number of grandchildren and dogs.

Paul writes historical fiction. He inherited his love of British history and historical fiction from his mother, who was an avid member of Richard III Society. The William Constable series of historical thrillers is based around real characters and events in the late sixteenth century. The first two books in the series - State of Treason and A Necessary Killing - were published in 2019. The third book, titled The Queen's Devil, was published in the summer of 2020.

You can connect with Paul Walker via - 



Amazon Author Page:


I hope you will check out Paul Walker's work.

Till the next time.

Take care Zoe

Monday 7 September 2020

Welcoming Kathleen Harryman and her book - The Promise - to my blog

Today I'm welcoming Kathleen Harryman/Lucy Marshall and their book - The Promise (A world war Two historical romance) - to my blog as part of the blog tour hosted by The Coffee Pot Book Club (founded by Mary Anne Yarde).

I'm delighted to be able to share an excerpt with you which I will do after I've introduced the book.  

The Promise By Kathleen Harryman and Lucy Marshall

How far would you go to keep a promise?
In the heat of battle, one man's promise to another will be tested.

September 1939

As Britain is gripped by the fear and uncertainty of war, Tom Armitage stands to gain the one thing that he never thought possible - his freedom.

Rosie Elliot sees her future crumbling to dust as Will Aarons leaves Whitby with Jimmy Chappell to fight in the war. As she begins work at The Turnstone Convalescent Home, Rosie finds something she thought she had lost. Friendship. But friendship soon turns to love. Can this new love replace Will?

This is not an ordinary love story.

It's a story of love, loss, courage, and honour.
Of promises that must be kept or risk losing everything you've ever held dear.

 Publication date: 28th February 2019

Genre: Historical Romance

Publisher: Kathleen Harryman and Lucy Marshall

Print Length: 328 pages (paperback) 330 pages (kindle)

YouTube Book Trailer Link:

You can purchase the book via -

Now for the excerpt -

Chapter 5

Tom Armitage
Whitby, England

A thundering noise echoed through my despair. I lifted my head suddenly aware that the sky above me was turning dark. My eyebrows drew together. I wiped at the tears, rubbing at my eyes. What the hell was going on? The noise got louder, roaring in my ears, until it was the only thing I could hear. My pulse sped up. Slowly, I turned around and looked up. My breath caught in my throat; my eyes wide in disbelief. I became glued to the spot as fear slid along my spine. Approximately 8,220 kilograms of grey mass of a Heinkel He bomber came heading my way.

Oh, hell! This was it.

The Heinkel He propellers spun as smoke billowed from the right propeller, casting a stream of dark angry grey fog behind it. This wasn’t good, not good at all. Gravity pulled at the German bomber. Its speed in- creased as it got nearer to the ground, and me. My legs seemed incapable of moving as I watched the large grey mass of the plane come charging towards me. It coughed and sputtered. The left propeller cut out, and it now sat idle like the right one. Suddenly, my brain came to life at an accelerated pace. I frantically looked around me. There was nowhere for me to hide in the open field. The plane dived downward, nose first, spiralling out of control, coming at me faster and faster. It was as if it had me in its sight and wasn’t about to let me go – and live.

Run, run, run! My brain screamed at me repeatedly. I looked at Red. The tractor was the only cover available. I dived beneath it, my fingers digging into the ground as I pulled myself under the dirty green body. I prayed liked I’d never prayed before. Please God, please, not like this... not like this! All the time, my heart hammered against my ribs. I felt the impact of the bomber as it hit Red. The field disappeared from view, replaced with a net of black grey smoke.

The tractor shook and screeched. Metal ground on metal. I was conscious of Red moving under the force of the plane’s impact. I tried to roll with it. Metal flew around me, banging down on Red like huge hailstones. I cried out as the air shifted over me and I became aware that Red no longer protected me. I looked over my shoulder to see what was happening. What was left of the bomber was coming for me. Red lay on its side, as though it had given up and admitted defeat.

I closed my eyes briefly, thinking that if I couldn’t see, it wouldn’t hurt when it hit me. My brain couldn’t take it. My need to see what was happening was too great. My eyes flew open and widened in disbelief and fear. I fought against my brain’s new command, and its incessant screams for me to get up and run. There was no way I could make it out of the bomber’s way in time. Where would I run to? The wheat offered no resistance. I’d never reach a safe place in time.

My heart pounded against my chest. My only option was to hope that by remaining on the ground, the impact wouldn’t be so great. I could survive this. I watched as pieces of the plane rained down around me. I rolled as a large piece of metal came flying my way. It missed me, but not by much. I flipped onto my stomach, pressing myself into the dirt beneath me. My hands wrapped over my head for protection. I felt the impact, as something hit me on the head and ripped the skin on my arms. Panic set in. I stood up and started running, my heart wildly beating against my ribs. Blood drip- ping down my arms.

Something hit me in the legs. The impact brought me down, pressing my face into the earth and wheat. I fell awkwardly and felt my bone snap. Rolling in pain, I saw part of the Heinkel He wing hurtling towards me. My mouth opened but no sound came out. It landed along my legs and chest. I screamed and screamed. Pain shot throughout my entire body. I couldn’t move. I tried shoving at the metal but there was no strength left in my bloody arms to move it. I had become a prisoner. My chest hurt, weighted down by the bomber’s wing. I was being crushed by the sheer weight of it. My ribs hurt. I was finding it difficult to breathe. Sweat broke out on my forehead. I couldn’t feel my right leg. I was aware that at some point, something had pierced the skin along my calf and sunk deep inside my flesh.

Somewhere, I thought I heard someone shout my name. My head was ringing. I wasn’t sure if what I was hearing was a human voice, or just the ringing in my head. It could even be my brain playing tricks on me. Its desire for human contact, for someone to save me.

Darkness kept pushing at me. I knew I should stay awake, keep my eyes open. As the seconds ticked into minutes, I couldn’t remember why closing them was a bad idea. They felt so heavy. Suddenly, closing them seemed to be the right thing to do. My eyes had long since stopped seeing or focusing on anything. There was a bright light. Maybe it was the sun? Everything was beginning to hurt, and I was starting to feel really cold. A shiver ran along my body. I twitched, as pain like a hot iron crawled along my skin. I cried out. My eyes opened momentarily. The pain seemed to heighten. I closed my eyes again and the pain went away a bit.

I thought I heard someone speak again. It sounded like my name. Everything seemed unreal, as though all of this was happening to someone else. Dad’s face came floating in front of my closed eyes. I thought about let- ting go, like he had. Leaving the responsibility of the farm, of mum and Becky, to someone else. I’d be free. Free to fly with the birds high in the sky. Free to not feel. It sounded good. My thoughts hesitated. Who would be that someone I could trust to look after mum and Becky? To care for them and the farm? I tried to think. There must be someone. My brain hurt. Too tired to think.

Free, be free like a bird. My brain called. I raised my arms. I flapped them at my sides, like they were wings. I wasn’t sure at this stage if the lifting of my arms was a hypothetical thing, or if I really was flapping them. I looked at my arms. They weren’t arms, they were feathers. Free. Free to fly. I smiled. The more I thought about it, the more I liked the idea. Had this been what dad had done? Had he planned to kill himself, days, weeks, months before he did so? All the while acting like the loving husband, and doting dad. Had he carefully planned it, thought about how it would feel to be free of the torment that sat heavy upon his soul?

Yeah, at last I think I got it. To be free. To never feel. Was dying giving up? I began to wonder if it did bring peace, or if your soul would be forever tortured by the decision that you made. Did dad look down on us and think that he had made the worst mistake ever when he’d tied that rope around his neck? I groaned, even now with my body shaking in pain and the coldness set- ting in, I could still feel the weight of my responsibility to the farm, to mum, to Becky, pulling at me. It made me realise that I still had a choice. That I could fight this.

I had to concentrate. I had to think of mum and Becky. It would be wrong to give up now, like dad had done. To entrust them to someone, not knowing who that someone would be. I screamed, hoping that some- one would hear me, even out here.

That I hadn’t been delusional

That I had heard someone shouting my name. Suddenly, the warmth of the sun hit the right side of my face. I blinked. It was so bright. Too bright. Regardless of the intensity of the light, my eyes flew open as a hand gently touched my face. Brown eyes met mine. Tears swam within their deep brown depths. I looked upon her face and thought I had never seen something so wonderful as the soft smile that played upon her lips. The relief that filled her eyes with light. Someone cared. Cared about the loner. Cared about me. And that someone wasn’t mum or Becky. And that someone was looking at me. And she had the most beautiful smile I had ever seen.

“Don’t you dare die, Tom Armitage!” Rosie gently touched my brow.

A tear fell from her eyes. I longed to wipe it away. My arms felt too heavy, so I smiled back at her. At least that’s what I tried to do. Pain was everywhere. Oh, God, I hurt.

I closed my eyes and gave in to the darkness, and the pain disappeared. I felt something wet touch my cheek. It felt good that someone cared about me. That if I died, my death would mean something to someone. For the first time in such a long time, I felt at peace.

I hoped that dad had felt peace when he had stepped off the ladder, and the rope had tightened about his neck...before death claimed him.

Kathleen Harryman

Kathleen Harryman is a storyteller and poet in the historically rich city of York, North Yorkshire, England, with her husband, children and pet dog and cat. 

Kathleen was first published in 2015, a romantic suspense entitled The Other Side of the Looking Glass. Since then, Kathleen has developed a unique writing style which readers have enjoyed, and she became a multi-genre author of suspense, psychological thrillers, poetry and historical romance. 

You can connect with Kathleen Harryman via -







I hope you will check out Kathleen's work.

Till the next time.

Take care Zoe