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 29 September 2021

Welcoming Paulette Mahurin and her book - Over The Hedge - to my blog

 Today I'm welcoming Paulette Mahurin and her book - Over The Hedge - to my blog as part of the blog tour hosted by The Coffee Pot Book Club (founded by Mary Anne Yarde)

Delighted to introduce and spotlight this book for you all.

Over The Hedge

During one of the darkest times in history, at the height of the German occupation of the Netherlands in 1943, members of the Dutch resistance began a mission to rescue Jewish children from the deportation center in Amsterdam. Heading the mission were Walter Süskind, a German Jew living in the Netherlands, Henriëtte Pimentel, a Sephardic Jew, and Johan van Hulst, principal of a Christian college. As Nazis rounded up Jewish families at gunpoint, the three discreetly moved children from the deportation center to the daycare across the street and over the backyard hedge to the college next door. From the college, the children were transported to live with Dutch families. Working against irate orders from Hitler to rid the Netherlands of all Jews and increasing Nazi hostilities on the Resistance, the trio worked tirelessly to overcome barriers. Ingenious plans were implemented to remove children’s names from the registry of captured Jews. To sneak them out of the college undetected past guards patrolling the deportation center. To meld them in with their new families to avoid detection. Based on actual events, Over the Hedge is the story of how against escalating Nazi brutality when millions of Jews were disposed of in camps, Walter Süskind, Henriëtte Pimentel, and Johan van Hulst worked heroically with the Dutch resistance to save Jewish children. But it is not just a story of their courageous endeavors. It is a story of the resilience of the human spirit. Of friendship and selfless love. The love that continues on in the hearts of over six hundred Dutch Jewish children.

Publication Date: July 31, 2021

Publisher: Independently Published

Page Length: 176 Pages

Genre: Historical Fiction

You can purchase the book via these platforms -

Universal Link:

The book is also available on Kindle Unlimited.

Paulette Mahurin

Paulette Mahurin is an international bestselling literary fiction and historical fiction novelist. She lives with her husband Terry and two dogs, Max and Bella, in Ventura County, California. She grew up in West Los Angeles and attended UCLA, where she received a Master’s Degree in Science.

Her first novel, The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap, made it to Amazon bestseller lists and won awards, including best historical fiction 2012 in Turning the Pages Magazine. Her second novel, His Name Was Ben, originally written as an award winning short story while she was in college and later expanded into a novel, rose to bestseller lists its second week out. Her third novel, To Live Out Loud, won international critical acclaim and made it to multiple sites as favorite read book of 2015. Her fourth book, The Seven Year Dress, made it to the bestseller lists for literary fiction and historical fiction on Amazon U.S., Amazon U.K. and Amazon Australia. Her fifth book, The Day I Saw The Hummingbird, was released in 2017 to rave reviews. Her sixth book, A Different Kind of Angel, was released in the summer of 2018 also to rave reviews. Her last four books: Irma’s Endgame, The Old Gilt Clock, Where Irises Never Grow, and Over the Hedge all made it to bestselling lists on Amazon. Her new release, Over the Hedge, was #1 in Hot New Release Amazon U.K. it’s second day out. 


You can connect with Paulette Mahrin via these platforms -






Amazon Author Page:


You can 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.




Thursday 23 September 2021

Welcoming Marian L Thorpe and her book - Empire's Heir - to my blog.

Today I'm welcoming Marian L Thorpe and her book - Empire's Heir (Empire's Legacy book VI) - 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 an excerpt with you all, but first I will introduce the book.

Empire's Heir


Some games are played for mortal stakes.

Gwenna, heir to Ésparias, is summoned by the Empress of Casil to compete for the hand of her son. Offered power and influence far beyond what her own small land can give her, Gwenna’s strategy seems clear – except she loves someone else.

Nineteen years earlier, the Empress outplayed Cillian in diplomacy and intrigue. Alone, his only living daughter has little chance to counter the Empress's experience and skill. Aging and torn by grief and worry, Cillian insists on accompanying Gwenna to Casil.

Risking a charge of treason, faced with a choice he does not want to make, Cillian must convince Gwenna her future is more important than his – while Gwenna plans her moves to keep her father safe. Both are playing a dangerous game. Which one will concede – or sacrifice?

Trigger Warnings:

Death, rape.

Publication Date: 30th August 2021

Publisher: Arboretum Press

Page Length: 438 Pages

Genre: Historical Fantasy

You can purchase a copy of the book via -

Universal Link:

The book is available on Kindle Unlimited.

Now for the excerpt -

The opening 800 words of Empire’s Heir. The novel has two alternating points of view: those of eighteen-year-old Gwenna, and her 53-year-old father, Cillian. Gwenna’ POV opens the story.

Gwenna.” Ruar sat back in his chair. “I can’t accept that.”

He is your ally, not your adversary, I told myself, facing the Teannasach of Linrathe across the table. “The tariff on fleeces must be increased,” I said firmly. “Ésparias has no shortage of sheep. We’ve dropped the fees on timber, after all.”

Timber benefits only some landholders. Fleeces bring money to almost everyone,” Ruar countered. Beside him, his young son shifted a little. Bored, perhaps; we’d been renegotiating the border tariffs for two days.

I glanced down at the figures before me. I still had room to bargain. “A reduction in the tariff on salt fish would serve the coastal torps.” I suggested a number. We needed timber, with all the new buildings being constructed, and salt fish for the ships going back and forth to Casil. The coarse wool of the hardy northern sheep was of limited value in the Eastern Empire.

Is this fair, Daragh?” Ruar asked his son. In the tradition of Linrathe, the boy was there to listen and learn. This wasn’t the first question the Teannasach had asked him over the last two days.

I think it is,” Daragh said. “If Ésparias does not want our fleeces, Varsland will. We will not lose revenue, Athàir.

Nor will we,” his father agreed. “I accept the new tariffs. Fairly done, Gwenna.”

Thank you.” Tension seeped from me. My first independent negotiation was over, and I’d got the agreement I’d been directed to produce. Granted, this was a routine process, slight adjustments made every three years, but still—I’d done it. “The agreement will be ready to sign soon, will it not, Sorley?”

“I’ll have two copies done in the morning,” Sorley said from down the table, where, in his role as scáeli, he’d been recording the session. “Will that be soon enough for you, Ruar?”

It will,” the Teannasach said. “We’ll leave tomorrow. I’ve still things to discuss with Cillian, but I shouldn’t be away from home too long. Nor should we intrude here more than we must.”

Sorley’s lips tightened. “The needs of government go on. Government and Empires.”

And lives.” Ruar put a hand on his son’s shoulder as he spoke. “Loss comes to us all, and sometimes far too soon.” His too would be a house of mourning before long; his wife, Helvi, was dying. She’d been ill for over a year, a wasting illness slowly killing her. An expected death now, unlike the sudden fever that, just over a week ago, had taken the little sister I had barely known.

We—Sorley and Druise and I—had returned home four summers past from our northern travels to my mother’s announcement that she was pregnant. The baby, she told us, was due a few weeks after mid-winter. I’d been—what? Embarrassed, I suppose, although less so than I might have been before that summer and Druise’s blunt words to me. He, I remembered, had been delighted.

But I had gone back to cadet school, and the next summer I’d only had two weeks of leave, and how well could one get to know a five-month-old baby? Lianë was sweet enough, her hair not the almost black of mine and Colm’s but a reddish-gold, and she gurgled and smiled contentedly in Mhairi’s arms.

Except for the requisite three months in the company of my classmates, taking advanced lessons in diplomacy from my father, I’d been home fewer than eight full weeks in the last four years. Not much time to become more than fondly interested in Lianë. In the months of intense study, I hadn’t been treated as a member of the family, but as another senior diplomatic cadet from Ésparias. Only in my private seminars with my father was the formality dropped, and we’d had things other than my baby sister to talk about. She hadn’t been mentioned more than once or twice, and even then, still in the context of our discussions.

Ruar stood. “I’ll see you both at dinner,” he said. “Come, Daragh; let us find the Comiádh, and discover what you are to read and study.” Daragh was twelve, and in the usual course of things he would have become a student of my father’s this year. But there would be no students at the Tiach na Cillian until at least midwinter, because in a very few weeks, mourning a dead child or not, we were travelling to Casil to witness the investiture of Alekos, son of the abdicating Empress Eudekia, as the Emperor of the East. Alekos was twenty-one, and unmarried, and the invitation had been specific. I, heir to the leadership of Ésparias, must be present.

I hadn’t needed six years of diplomatic training to decipher that message. Alekos needed a bride, and the Empress thought that bride might well be me. *

Marian L Thorpe

Essays, poetry, short stories, peer-reviewed scientific papers, curriculum documents, technical guides, grant applications, press releases if it has words, its likely Marian L Thorpe has written it, somewhere along the line. But nothing has given her more satisfaction than her novels. Combining her love of landscape and history, set in a world reminiscent of Europe after the decline of Rome, her books arise from a lifetime of reading and walking and wondering what if?Pre-pandemic, Marian divided her time between Canada and the UK, and hopes she may again, but until then, she resides in a small, very bookish, city in Canada, with her husband Brian and Pye-Cat.

You can connect with Marian L Thorpe via these platforms -







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


That's it for now.

Till the next time. 

Take care Zoe



Tuesday 14 September 2021

Welcoming Malve von Hassell and her book - The Amber Crane - to my blog

 Today I'm welcoming Malve von Hassell and her book - The Amber Crane - 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 Amber Crane

Chafing at the rules of the amber guild, Peter, an apprentice during the waning years of the Thirty Years’ War, finds and keeps a forbidden piece of amber, despite the risk of severe penalties should his secret be discovered.

Little does he know that this amber has hidden powers, transporting him into a future far beyond anything he could imagine. In dreamlike encounters, Peter witnesses the ravages of the final months of World War II in and around his home. He becomes embroiled in the troubles faced by Lioba, a girl he meets who seeks to escape from the oncoming Russian army.

Peter struggles with the consequences of his actions, endangering his family, his amber master’s reputation, and his own future. How much is Peter prepared to sacrifice to right his wrongs?

Trigger Warnings:

References to rape, Holocaust, World War II, violence

You can purchase a copy of the book via -

Universal Link:

Now for the excerpt -

Excerpt from Chapter 6 GIRL WITHOUT A NAME

Peter shivers. His bed is gone, and he is standing in a strange room.

Light comes through a small opening. The air feels cold and clammy. He rubs his eyes as he takes in his surroundings. A bed stands at a slant in the middle of the room, bare, with its mattress slashed open like a gaping wound. As his eyes adjust, he can see a chest of drawers, two of the drawers pulled out, the top one hanging crookedly in its tracks, its contents spilled onto the floor. A cast-iron stove is covered in dust, and a chipped white enamel pitcher and bowl have been upended and tossed onto the floor.

On a big chair in the corner, someone is curled up underneath a green and red-checkered woolen covering.

On the floor close to the chair sits the same beast Peter remembers from the previous dream, its head raised and growling softly. The fluffy hair around its ears, combined with its impossibly long slightly curved snout, gives it a curiously bird-like appearance, a grey raptor ready to pounce on its prey.

The sleeper is awake, staring at him and clutching the blanket with one hand, the other hidden in its folds.

You are a girl,Peter exclaims as he takes in the sleepers face and the long thick braid resting on top of the blanket. His voice sounds muffled as if he is talking through thick cloudbanks.

The girl moves her arm and pulls out an odd-looking pistol from beneath her leg. She points it directly at him, scowling furiously.

Peter gulps and takes a step backward. I am not going to hurt you.

“Don’t come any closer.Her voice is scratchy as if she has not spoken in a while. I’ll shoot, I promise you that.Then she adds with a note of puzzlement, Who are you? You dont sound Russian.

Russian? Are the Russians fighting against the Swedes?

Are you daft?She still holds on to the pistol. Where are you from? Are you a refugee?

I live in Stolpmünde.”

“Stolpmünde? Why are you here? Shouldnt you be going west?

What is here? And what do you mean going west?

Elbing, or at least somewhere nearby. I lost track.

We have not seen any refugees for a while,Peter says slowly, shaking his head. None of this makes any sense. Elbing—that is almost halfway to Königsberg. With Denmark out of the war, it has been quieter.This strange girl must be confused. Will you stop pointing that pistol at me?

Denmark?She frowns at him. What are you talking about? Denmark is occupied, and they arent fighting at all. And Swedes? Pistol? Are you serious? And why are you wearing such strange clothes?

What do you mean? And what about Russians?

I saw you the other day. You were in a ditch, watching me,the girl says accusingly. And last night, I dreamed of you. Wait.Her voice grows faint. Come back.

Malve von Hassell 


Malve von Hassell is a freelance writer, researcher, and translator. She holds a Ph.D. in anthropology from the New School for Social Research. Working as an independent scholar, she published The Struggle for Eden: Community Gardens in New York City (Bergin & Garvey 2002) and Homesteading in New York City 1978-1993: The Divided Heart of Loisaida (Bergin & Garvey 1996). She has also edited her grandfather Ulrich von Hassell's memoirs written in prison in 1944, Der Kreis schließt sich - Aufzeichnungen aus der Haft 1944 (Propylaen Verlag 1994). She has taught at Queens College, Baruch College, Pace University, and Suffolk County Community College, while continuing her work as a translator and writer. She has self-published two children’s picture books, Letters from the Tooth Fairy (2012/2020) and Turtle Crossing (2021), and her translation and annotation of a German children’s classic by Tamara Ramsay, Rennefarre: Dott’s Wonderful Travels and Adventures (Two Harbors Press, 2012). The Falconer’s Apprentice (namelos, 2015) was her first historical fiction novel for young adults. She has published Alina: A Song for the Telling (BHC Press, 2020), set in Jerusalem in the time of the crusades, and The Amber Crane (Odyssey Books, 2021), set in Germany in 1645 and 1945. She has completed a biographical work about a woman coming of age in Nazi Germany and is working on a historical fiction trilogy featuring Adela of Normandy.

You can connect with the author via these platforms -





Book Bub:

Amazon Author Page:


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

 That's it for now.

Till the next time.

Take care Zoe.