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

Tuesday 20 July 2021

Welcoming David Fitz-Gerald and his book - The Curse of Conchobar - to my blog

 Today I'm welcoming David Fitz-Gerald and his book -The Curse of Conchobar―A Prequel to the Adirondack Spirit 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 share a review with you all but first I will introduce the book.

The Curse of Conchobar

Banished by one tribe. Condemned by another. Will an outcast's supernatural strengths be enough to keep him alive?

549 AD. Raised by monks, Conchobar is committed to a life of obedience and peace. But when his fishing vessel is blown off-course, the young man's relief over surviving the sea's storms is swamped by the terrors of harsh new shores. And after capture by violent natives puts him at death's door, he's stunned when he develops strange telepathic abilities.

Learning his new family's language through the mind of his mentor, Conchobar soon falls for the war chief's ferocious daughter. But when she trains him to follow in her path as a fighter, he's horrified when his uncanny misfortune twists reality, causing more disastrous deaths and making him a pariah.

Can Conchobar defeat the darkness painting his steps with blood?

The Curse of Conchobar is the richly detailed prequel to the mystical Adirondack Spirit Series of historical fiction. If you like inspiring heroes, unsettling powers, and lasting legacies, then you'll love David Fitz-Gerald's captivating tale.

Buy The Curse of Conchobar to break free from the fates today!

Trigger Warnings:


Publication Date: 20th January 2021

Publisher: Outskirts Press

Page Length: 171 Pages

Genre: Historical Fiction

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Now for the review -

Thrown into a world that he does not understand, Conchobar must learn quickly if he is to stay in the tribe that took him in when he finally reached the shore after many days lost at sea. Putting his past behind him, Conchobar learns the language of his new family and is trained as a warrior. Conchobar steps up to all the challenges he is faced with, despite his secret—he was cursed by his father. Conchobar’s curse appears the cause of the events that occur, with many of the tribe members finding their end when they are around him, not that he was in any way to blame. Conchobar is simply a spectator as people around him fall, and he can do nothing to stop it.

Conchobar is brave, there is no disputing that fact. He entered a new world when he washed ashore, and he does everything he can to fit in and prove his worth. He listens to the chief, even though he doesn’t always agree with his methods, and finds himself fighting a war that he has no part in. The ongoing battle between the two tribes was fascinating, although at times I wasn’t sure which leader I wanted to win, as neither of them were particularly nice people, worthy of victory or respect.

This story was absolutely wonderful from start to finish, and I adored meeting the characters and watching their lives unfold. Once again, David Fitz-Gerald
has written a book that I did not want to put down because of how utterly enthralling it was.

David Fitz-Gerald

David Fitz-Gerald writes fiction that is grounded in history and soars with the spirits. Dave enjoys getting lost in the settings he imagines and spending time with the characters he creates. Writing historical fiction is like making paintings of the past. He loves to weave fact and fiction together, stirring in action, adventure, romance, and a heavy dose of the supernatural with the hope of transporting the reader to another time and place. He is an Adirondack 46-er, which means he has hiked all of the highest peaks in New York State, so it should not be surprising when Dave attempts to glorify hikers as swashbuckling superheroes in his writing.

You can connect with David via -






Book Bub:

Amazon Author Page:


The Curse of Conchobar is available for free in exchange for signing up for David’s email list via BookFunnel:

You can learn more about the book and the author by visiting the other blogs on the tour

Tour Schedule Page:

That's it for now.

Till the next time.

Take care Zoe







Welcoming Siobhan Daiko and her book - The Girl From Venice - to my blog


Today I'm welcoming Siobhan Daiko and her book - The Girl From Venice - to my blog as part of the blog tour hosted by The Coffee Pot Book Club (founded by Mary Anne Yarde)

I am delighted to share a review with you all but first I will introduce the book.

The Girl From Venice

Lidia De Angelis has kept a low profile since Mussolini's racial laws wrenched her from her childhood sweetheart. But when the Germans occupy Venice in 1943, she must flee the city to save her life.

Lidia joins the partisans in the Venetian mountains, where she meets David, an English soldier fighting for the same cause. As she grows closer to him, harsh Nazi reprisals and Lidia’s own ardent anti-fascist activities threaten to tear them apart.

Decades later in London, while sorting through her grandmother’s belongings after her death, Charlotte discovers a Jewish prayer book, unopened letters written in Italian, and a fading photograph of a group of young people in front of the Doge’s Palace.

Intrigued by her grandmother’s refusal to talk about her life in Italy before and during the war, Charlotte travels to Venice in search of her roots. There, she learns not only the devastating truth about her grandmother’s past, but also some surprising truths about herself.

A heart-breaking page-turner, based on actual events in Italy during World War II

Trigger Warnings:





Publication Date: 29th June 2021


Page Length: 300 Pages

Genre: Romantic Historical/Women’s Fiction

You can purchase a copy of the book via -

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The book is also available on Kindle Unlimited.

Now for the review -

This was not a good time to be a Jew. Lidia De Angelis wants to be a doctor like her father, but the rise in antisemitism and the values of the Nazi Party means that she can no longer attend university. When the Nazis crossed into their country and the Jewish inhabitants of Venice began to leave in their droves, Lidia wants to leave as well, but her father flatly refuses to leave. Lidia has no choice but to stay with him. What happens next is a story about one woman's desperate courage in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds.

The Girl from Venice is the kind of book that really gets under your skin. It makes you stop and think about how truly awful it must have been to be living under foreign occupation, even more so if you were a Jew.

Siobhan Daiko has decided to tell the story of Lidia through two very different, but very compelling narratives. The first narrative is that of Lidia the second is with her granddaughter, Charlotte. They are both from very different times, but both characters are exceedingly likeable and their stories are desperately moving, so be sure to have some tissues at hand because you are going to need them! I enjoyed following Charlotte as she discovers the truth about her late grandmother's life. Likewise, I thought Lidia's story was really gripping and very insightful.

This is one of those books that will keep you up reading well into the night. I can honestly say that it was brilliant from start to finish. This is certainly a book I can see myself coming back to over and over again.

 Siobhan Daiko

Siobhan Daiko is an international bestselling historical romantic fiction author. A lover of all things Italian, she lives in the Veneto region of northern Italy with her husband, a Havanese puppy and two rescue cats. After a life of romance and adventure in Hong Kong, Australia and the UK, Siobhan now spends her time, when she isn't writing, enjoying the sweet life near Venice. 

You can connect with Siobhan Daiko via these platforms -



Publisher Facebook:

Author Facebook:




Book Bub:

Amazon Author Page:


You can also learn more about the book and the author by visiting the other blogs on this tour.

That's it for now.

Till the next time.

Take care Zoe





Monday 19 July 2021

Welcoming Heather Miller and her book - Tho I be Mute - to my blog

Today I'm welcoming Heather Miller and her book - Tho I Be Mute - 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 share an excerpt but first I will introduce the book as always.

Tho I Be Mute

Home. Heritage. Legacy. Legend.

In 1818, Cherokee John Ridge seeks a young man’s education at the Foreign Mission School in Cornwall, Connecticut. While there, he is overcome with sickness yet finds solace and love with Sarah, the steward’s quiet daughter. Despite a two-year separation, family disapproval, defamatory editorials, and angry mobs, the couple marries in 1824.

Sarah reconciles her new family’s spirituality and her foundational Christianity. Although, Sarah’s nature defies her new family’s indifference to slavery. She befriends Honey, half-Cherokee and half-African, who becomes Sarah’s voice during John’s extended absences.

Once arriving on Cherokee land, John argues to hold the land of the Cherokees and that of his Creek neighbors from encroaching Georgian settlers. His success hinges upon his ability to temper his Cherokee pride with his knowledge of American law. Justice is not guaranteed.

Rich with allusions to Cherokee legends, ‘Tho I Be Mute speaks aloud; some voices are heard, some are ignored, some do not speak at all, compelling readers to listen to the story of a couple who heard the pleas of the Cherokee.

Publication Date: 13th July 2021

Publisher: Defiance Press and Publishing

Page Length: 340 Pages

Genre: Historical Fiction/Romance

You can purchase a copy of the book via -

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Now for the excerpt -

Chapter 5: Laundry, Sarah Bird Northrup

Later that afternoon, against the bright light, I squinted and found a walking silhouette against the sheeted walls, fluttering, stretching their wings to the lofting wind. The dark shadow’s gait was slow but steady, rising on the left side, assisted by a single crutch. From the ground, the profile wore boots that clung to thin, tall legs. It wore a fitted, frock coat, casting the black outline of blousing sleeves and vest, whose buttons gave circular shape to adorn the torso’s front. The silhouette’s head rode atop its neck with stately grandeur, chin pronounced, and short, wavy hair brushed away from the forehead. John’s gold eyes found me between hanging sheets, which fell in dense waves like white charm peonies held aloft against firm shrubbery.

With only a glance at him, I focused on my task. “You are earlier than usual.” His shape was a few feet from me. I stretched from the waist, stepping down the line, and grabbed another peg. I avoided his gaze. His gravity made my arms heavier.

“Dr. Gold is coming by this afternoon, so I must be well,” he said with a hint of tiredness likely caused by his walk from the wagon near the yard. He often spoke of his family’s expansive farm, so I imagine him bored, sitting in class studying crop rotations when he wanted to read President Jefferson.

“Good.” It was all I managed to say, mispronouncing the word with a clothes peg between my lips. I unfurled another sheet. If Dr. Gold was coming, that explained why Jane and Mother made their premature departure from the washboard and tub. I wonder why they chose not to tell me.

I paralleled the line, and John pantomimed my movement with a momentary delay. Pulling the peg from my mouth, I sighed and trapped the right end of the sheet, frustrated with my tired arms and endless work. Jane’s mood was not the only one to sour this afternoon.

John sensed my temperament and looked at me inquisitively. “What’s troubling you, Miss Sarah?”

“Nothing, just washing day.” My impatience hid the truth. “Mother and Jane still think I am younger than I am.”

“So, you’re ready to fly the nest?” he asked with a measured pace and chuckled, thinking of something I found difficult to read from his expression.

“No, I just do not wish their constant reminders of things I do by habit.” He did not deserve my tired curtness.

He hummed a single note and replied, “Since I have been from home, I have taken care of myself a great deal. As soon as I return, it is the same for me. My mother reminds me to cork the ink and to take off my boots before falling asleep. I can hear her say it now as if she stood here among the drying.”

I stopped moving, and we saw one another in the absent space on the line. “You must miss home. Your mother and father wish for your return. Your father told me so when he was here.”

“I miss them, but Elias eases some of my loneliness for home. He is my father’s brother’s son.”

“Yes, I remember. He said so. He’s your cousin?” Surely, John knew the word.

“Yes,” he said. “We are as close as brothers, and his father is my father in many ways.

Therefore, that is a better description. He plans to leave soon to attend Andover Theology School. Here, Elias has more friends than I do, but I am a better student. He is witty and personable. He is a wonderful storyteller, a skill I do not have.”

John was saddened by Elias’ pending departure. His expression brought lonely thoughts to my mind. Affirming what I already knew to be true, “. . . and you want to make people think. Your talents are a gift from God. It is a noble weight you seek to carry.”

“It is why I was sent here: to study, to learn the ways of your lives. It is what our elders insist must happen. Jefferson warned the Cherokee to learn what it is to be American. My people must seek the education provided to us. Now, Cherokee land carries my people, but in the future, I fear we may have to learn to carry it on our backs.”

“Made any discoveries . . . about us?”

“Mostly how hurried everyone seems, except you.”

He paused mid-thought and followed me, speaking with a younger expression on his face, one more reminiscent of his age. He seemed to catch the memory of his home in the wind, squinting against the fading sun. “Light. I miss the light. I miss running my horse along the edge of the Oostanaula River in the morning’s glow. I miss green haze above acres of grass bordered by trees as far as one can see. I miss council meetings with enormous fires under starry skies in autumn. Mountains and coves pebbled with spectrums of color. . . I miss . . .”

I interrupted his musings, changing the subject. “Have you slept with your boots on, John?” My mind held to what he’d said earlier; I covered my mouth with my hand, hiding my grin.

“Only when my mother cannot see me.” He returned the smile I hid as I laughed louder than I meant to.

“Your cousin isn’t the only student that makes others laugh. You do too. Why would anyone sleep with their boots on? I cannot imagine that comfortable at all.”

Repeat: flip, flip again, pegs on the seam.

“It only happens when I’m tired from working the ferry or from the days in the orchards harvesting apples. I collapse on my bed and fall asleep. Mother wakes me and, seeing my transgression, reminds me again, ‘Take your boots off before you sleep!’” He imitated her tone with higher pitches. “Staying awake to copy English verses, I wake at my desk, face marked with paper seams. Alas, boots remain. I slept with them on several nights last summer. There was something I needed to finish.” With wit and a grin, he said, “Please, don’t tell my mother.” 

Heather Miller

As an English educator, Heather Miller has spent twenty-three years teaching her students the authors craft. Now, she is writing it herself, hearing voices from the past.

Miller’s foundation began in the theatre, through performance storytelling. She can tap dance, stage-slap someone, and sing every note from Les Misérables. Her favorite role is that of a firemans wife and mom to three: a trumpet player, a future civil engineer, and a future RN. There is only one English major in her house.

While researching, writing, and teaching, she is also working towards her M FA in Creative Writing. Heathers corndog-shaped dachshund, Sadie, deserves an honorary degree.

You can connect with the author via these platforms -








You can also learn more about the book and the author by visiting the other blogs on this tour.

That's it for now.

Till the next time.

Take care Zoe





Tuesday 13 July 2021

Welcoming Mercedes Rochelle and her book - The Usurper King - to my blog

Today I'm welcoming Mercedes Rochelle and her book - The Usurper King (The Plantagenet Legacy - book 3) - 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 share an excerpt with you all but first I will introduce the book.

The Usurper King

From Outlaw to Usurper, Henry Bolingbroke fought one rebellion after another.

First, he led his own uprising. Gathering support the day he returned from exile, Henry marched across the country and vanquished the forsaken Richard II. Little did he realize that his problems were only just beginning. How does a usurper prove his legitimacy? What to do with the deposed king? Only three months after he took the crown, Henry IV had to face a rebellion led by Richard's disgruntled favorites. Worse yet, he was harassed by rumors of Richard's return to claim the throne. His own supporters were turning against him. How to control the overweening Percies, who were already demanding more than he could give? What to do with the rebellious Welsh? After only three years, the horrific Battle of Shrewsbury nearly cost him the throne—and his life. It didn't take long for Henry to discover that that having the kingship was much less rewarding than striving for it.

Publisher: Sergeant Press

Page Length: 308 Pages

Genre: Historical Fiction

You can buy a copy of the book via -

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Now for the excerpt -

The Day after Henry Bolingbroke returned from exile

"My lord, a small band of warriors are approaching bearing Percy arms."

"Percy?" Henry whirled around, touching Erpingham who was distracted by the ship's captain. "Thomas, why would Percy be here?"

"Which Percy?" Erpingham asked.

"The younger, I believe," said the knight.

"Hotspur," Henry said to himself. "He's Warden of the East March of Scotland if I'm not mistaken." He glanced at the knight. "You say he has only a small group?"

"I counted six men."

"Not enough to attack us, unless more are in hiding."

"Let us greet him," Erpingham said. "Best to deal with him directly."

Both Henry and Thomas knew Harry Hotspur well, so-named by the Scots because he was always ready to dash into battle. Just a few years older than Henry, he had also distinguished himself at the St. Inglevert tournament. They had spent many long evenings drinking and feasting together in those heady days, but once the festivities were over they had not crossed paths since. Hotspur and his father, Henry Percy, Earl of Northumberland had their hands full keeping peace in the Marches, and their experience with the restive Scots was invaluable.

Henry was well aware that the Percies were pivotal in his upcoming struggle. They were the most powerful force in the North, by far. Their only rival was Ralph Neville, the Earl of Westmorland—a new earl, one of King Richard's derisively named duketti. He was given his new title after the Revenge Parliament that condemned the Appellants. Bolingbroke was counting on Westmorland as a potential ally because Ralph had recently married his half-sister Joan Beaufort. At the same time, Henry knew that the Percies weren't going to let Neville get ahead of them when there was a chance to grab more power. So he was relatively certain he could induce them to support him as well.

But he wasn't prepared to face them so soon! At least he only had to confront the son; the father would ride roughshod over any perceived threat. Still, Henry wasn't sure how to manage Harry yet. He was well aware that by law, Percy could use his office to arrest him as a declared outlaw. Or at least he could try.

As Hotspur and his followers entered through the gates of the priory, Henry, Arundel, and Erpingham were waiting for them in the courtyard. "My lord, what a surprise to see you here," said Henry, holding the reins of Hotspur's horse.

Dismounting, Harry brushed his hands across his legs. "Dusty out there," he said amiably. "One of your messengers rode across my land and naturally I questioned him. I was at my manor of Seamer, which is only about twelve miles away."

"What brings you so far south?" Henry asked, pretending not to be concerned. As Warden of the East March of Scotland, Hotspur spent most of his time in Northumberland—not here, in Yorkshire. Putting on his most amiable expression, Henry led the others into the priory where the good friars laid out food and drink for them.

"I came to collect payment from the exchequer for my services as warden." Hotspur accepted a mug of ale from a servant. "I think it would be more appropriate to ask what you are doing here?" He softened the remark with a smile.

It was hard to resist his grin. Harry had a certain openness about him that invited trust. Tall, bearded, brown-haired, sincere, and intense, Percy's son was well-known for his honesty and chivalry. He was the opposite of his brusque father.

Henry was not immune to Hotspur's charm. "I have come back to reclaim my patrimony, which was unjustly taken from me," he answered softly. For a moment there was silence around the table.

"I think my father received a letter from you last month."

Henry grunted. He had sent letters to both of them. "What happened to me concerns us all," he said in earnest.

Young Thomas FitzAlan walked into the room. Henry pointed to him. "Harry, this is Thomas Arundel, son of the late Earl Richard. Like me, he comes to reclaim his earldom. Thomas, meet Sir Harry Percy, son of the Earl of Northumberland." The lad came forward and bowed.

"And this is his uncle Thomas, the Archbishop of Canterbury," Henry continued. "I don't believe you ever met."

Arundel nodded. Hotspur gave him a long look; he knew the archbishop had also been outlawed. "I don't think we have," he said finally. "Well met, your Grace. I see you all have the same purpose in returning to England."

"There are injustices that need to be put to right," Henry said. "I hope to gather enough support to convince King Richard he must reverse his unlawful decisions."

"I see." Harry looked around the room. "It appears you have made a modest start."

Despite himself, Henry blushed. "I came with my closest companions, who accompanied me to France. I have faith my Lancastrian affinity will swell my ranks."

Percy nodded. Again his smile rescued an uncomfortable situation. "I have no doubt. King Richard's policies have even disturbed our stability in the North."

Was that an invitation? "You must know I have great respect for your family. Between your lordship and Lancaster—and the Nevilles, secondarily—the North is a force to be reckoned with."

Hotspur nodded, uncommitted.

"I would have you with me, Harry."

Taking a sip of his ale, Hotspur looked at the table. "You're asking for much, my lord."

"Duke Henry speaks for all the nobles in the land," interjected the archbishop. "If Richard could take away the great Lancastrian patrimony with a strike of his quill, what's to stop him from doing the same to everyone else?"

"Or declaring a loyal subject a traitor?" added Henry, unable to suppress his bitterness. "We are all at the mercy of his impulses." He sensed Hotspur's resistance was half-hearted, and his heart pounded in response.

"We've considered that, ourselves," Harry said. He turned his whole body, facing Henry. "What are your real intentions?"

Blinking, Henry drew himself up. "I have stated them. I came here to reclaim my own."

"Nothing more?"

Henry didn't know whether to be surprised or offended. But, he admitted to himself, that question was going to be asked again and again. There was no easy way to put this. "Are you wondering if I covet the throne?"

There. It was said. For the first time.

"It crossed my mind." Hotspur stared at him, trying to measure his honesty. Henry shook his head.

"I have no interest in Richard's crown. The Lancastrian inheritance is more than enough."

"How do you intend to convince the king, as you say?"

Henry pursed his lips. It was a fair question. "It won't be easy. I think, as in the past, a group of magnates," he said slowly, "if united by a common goal, can force an obstinate king to rule more wisely, with their help."

"We don't have to look any farther back than 1387," Arundel asserted. "The parliamentary Continual Council was only established for one year. It would need to be permanent this time."

"There were other examples," Percy mused. "The Council of Fifteen under Simon de Montfort. Or more lately, the Lords Ordainers against Edward II. Both ended badly for the barons if I'm not mistaken. We don't even need to talk about the Lords Appellant."

Henry squirmed uncomfortably. Percy was right. But he had to try again. "This time around, the king has no powerful supporters. Richard's new appointees have no teeth. Besides, they are with him in Ireland."

"Perhaps." Hotspur turned his cup in his hand.

"Between the Lancastrian affinity and the North, I trust, we will prove an irresistible force." Henry leaned forward. "I am prepared to pay the wages of any men who choose to follow me."

"Ah, that will be a great benefit." Percy cocked his head. "You have no intention of usurping the king?"


"Are you prepared to swear an oath?"

Without hesitation, Henry put a hand on Percy's arm. "My lord, I will do so at once."

Getting up and gesturing for everyone in the room to follow, Henry called for a monk to meet them in the chapel. They approached the altar and waited while the brother reverently unlocked a casket and produced a bible. Henry knelt, putting his hand on the precious volume.

"I swear, before this room full of witnesses and God himself, my only intent in returning to England is to reclaim my inheritance. By the grace of God, I will recover my patrimony and serve the king as a loyal subject."

He held his hand on the bible as every man crossed himself. Then he stood, a reverential glow on his face. "Are you with me, Harry?"

Percy was suitably impressed by his sincerity. Only hesitating for a moment, he extended his hand. "You may count on me. I will go at once to my father so we can gather our resources."

Mercedes Rochelle

Mercedes Rochelle is an ardent lover of medieval history, and has channeled this interest into fiction writing. Her first four books cover eleventh-century Britain and events surrounding the Norman Conquest of England. The next series is called The Plantagenet Legacy about the struggles and abdication of Richard II, leading to the troubled reigns of the Lancastrian Kings. She also writes a blog: to explore the history behind the story. Born in St. Louis, MO, she received by BA in Literature at the Univ. of Missouri St.Louis in 1979 then moved to New York in 1982 while in her mid-20s to “see the world”. The search hasn’t ended! Today she lives in Sergeantsville, NJ with her husband in a log home they had built themselves.

You can connect with the author via these platforms -





Book Bub:

Amazon Author Page:


You can also find out more about the book and the author by visiting the other blogs on this tour.

That's it for now.

Till the next time.

Take care Zoe