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

Monday 15 November 2021

Welcoming Kinley Bryan and her book - Sisters of the Sweetwater Fury - to my blog

 Today I'm welcoming Kinley Bryan and her book - Sisters of the Sweetwater Fury - to my blog as part of the blog tour hosted by The Coffee Pot Book Club (founded by Mary Anne Yarde)

Delighted to share an excerpt with you all, but first I will introduce the book.

Sisters of the Sweetwater Fury

Three sisters. Two Great Lakes. One furious storm.

Based on actual events...

It's 1913 and Great Lakes galley cook Sunny Colvin has her hands full feeding a freighter crew seven days a week, nine months a year. She also has a dream—to open a restaurant back home—but knows she'd never convince her husband, the steward, to leave the seafaring life he loves.

In Sunny’s Lake Huron hometown, her sister Agnes Inby mourns her husband, a U.S. Life-Saving Serviceman who died in an accident she believes she could have prevented. Burdened with regret and longing for more than her job at the dry goods store, she looks for comfort in a secret infatuation.

Two hundred miles away in Cleveland, youngest sister Cordelia Blythe has pinned her hopes for adventure on her marriage to a lake freighter captain. Finding herself alone and restless in her new town, she joins him on the season’s last trip up the lakes.

On November 8, 1913, a deadly storm descends on the Great Lakes, bringing hurricane-force winds, whiteout blizzard conditions, and mountainous thirty-five-foot waves that last for days. Amidst the chaos, the women are offered a glimpse of the clarity they seek, if only they dare to perceive it. 

Publication Date: 12th October 2021

Publisher: Blue Mug Press

Page Length: 324 Pages

Genre: Historical Fiction

You can purchase a copy of the book via this link -

Universal Link:

Now for the excerpt -

Cordelia and the crew of the Marguerite had been waiting almost twenty-four hours since dropping anchor Saturday night. They were far from alone. The twenty-five-mile-wide Whitefish Bay was dotted with anchored ships, an argosy sandwiched between gray flannel sky and dark choppy water. The snow fell and the wind gusted near forty miles an hour, and because whatever lay beyond the Whitefish Point Lighthouse was surely worse, they had waited. Most storms blew themselves out in three days, and so by Sunday afternoon Edmund expected the weather to improve at any moment. He was intent on leaving the bay for the open water of Lake Superior before nightfall.

So that the officers would be ready as soon as there was a break in the weather he had requested an early supper. The steward served beef hash and creamed carrots in the officers’ dining room. Edmund ate quickly, his mood soured. This trip had taken on an element of desperation; clearly he was anxious to avoid yet another late arrival. Cordelia had given up any pretense that this was a honeymoon, a chance to get to know her husband better. This was her husband’s job. His work was difficult to begin with, and the storm made it immeasurably harder. Edmund, never effusive, had no time for long conversations with his new wife.

It was her fault. Despite never having set foot on a straight decker, she’d assumed Great Lakes sailing, even on a bulk freighter in early November, would be a romantic endeavor. The daughter of a life-saving station keeper ought to know better! And now she found herself in a dark, vast bay at the eastern tip of the continent’s largest body of freshwater, waiting for a storm to end.

As they left the dining room at the ship’s stern, Edmund looked to the sky. Somewhere beyond the heavy cloud cover the sun was setting. The snowfall had ceased at last, the winds lessened. The storm’s worst had passed, he said, and it was time to leave Whitefish Bay. The snow had already put him a day behind schedule, and the owners wouldn’t be happy about that.

Cordelia was eager to cross Lake Superior, too, if only to hasten the trip’s end. She couldn’t rid her mind of those iced-over ships locking down at the Soo in a ghostly procession. She shivered despite her overcoat and gloves, despite Edmund’s arm around her as she held the lifeline. The gray sky darkened to charcoal, and the other waiting ships’ lights grew more distinct, points of yellow-white scattered across the bay.

In watching that expanse of dark water stippled with whitecaps, it wasn’t hard to imagine a fantastical sea creature like Mishipeshu rising up and thrashing ships with its gigantic tail. She’d read too many novels, as her mother would say, and they’d poisoned her mind. Be that as it may, Cordelia found a penny in her coat pocket and tossed it furtively into the water, an offering to the copper-loving Great Lynx.

Kinley Bryan

Kinley Bryan is an Ohio native who counts numerous Great Lakes captains among her ancestors. Her great-grandfather Walter Stalker was captain of the four-masted schooner Golden Age, the largest sailing vessel in the world when it launched in 1883. Kinley’s love for the inland seas swelled during the years she spent in an old cottage on Lake Erie. She now lives with her husband and children on the Atlantic Coast, where she prefers not to lose sight of the shore. Sisters of the Sweetwater Fury is her first novel.

You can connect with Kinley Bryan 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




Monday 11 October 2021

Welcoming Liz Harris and her book - Darjeeling Inheritance - to my blog

Today I'm welcoming Liz Harris and her book - Darjeeling Inheritance - 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.

Darjeeling Inheritance

Darjeeling, 1930

After eleven years in school in England, Charlotte Lawrence returns to Sundar, the tea plantation owned by her family, and finds an empty house. She learns that her beloved father died a couple of days earlier and that he left her his estate. She learns also that it was his wish that she marry Andrew McAllister, the good-looking younger son from a neighbouring plantation. 

Unwilling to commit to a wedding for which she doesn’t feel ready, Charlotte pleads with Dan Fitzgerald, the assistant manager of Sundar, to teach her how to run the plantation while she gets to know Andrew. Although reluctant as he knew that a woman would never be accepted as manager by the local merchants and workers, Dan agrees.

Charlotte’s chaperone on the journey from England, Ada Eastman, who during the long voyage, has become a friend, has journeyed to Darjeeling to marry Harry Banning, the owner of a neighbouring tea garden.

When Ada marries Harry, she’s determined to be a loyal and faithful wife. And to be a good friend to Charlotte. And nothing, but nothing, was going to stand in the way of that.

Publication Date: 1st October 2021

Publisher: Heywood Press

Page Length: 365 pages

Genre: Historical Romance 

You can purchase a copy of the book via -

Amazon UK:

Amazon US:

Amazon CA:

Amazon AU:

Now for the excerpt - 


Ada lay still in her bed beneath the mosquito net and listened to the muffled sound of the conversation below.

Charlotte and Mrs Lawrence had been talking downstairs for some time, their voices raised occasionally in sharpness. She hadn’t been able to discern any words, but it wasn’t difficult to guess the subject of the conversation—Mrs Lawrence wanted to go back to England as soon as possible, and Charlotte, in a state of insanity borne out of grief, was determined to learn about estate management before she got married.

But whatever either said, the reality was that Winifred would have to remain at Sundar until Charlotte came to her senses.

Finally, she heard footsteps coming up the stairs, first Winifred’s slower steps, and then Charlotte’s lighter tread, and then she heard their doors close.

Silence fell upon the house.

She turned restlessly on to her side. If only she could lose herself in sleep!

She’d been longing to do so since the moment she’d come to bed, but sleep had eluded her—frustratingly so, as she’d wanted to dazzle them all at her wedding.

Winifred Lawrence and Charlotte weren’t the only people on the brink of change—she, too, was. In the morning, she’d be casting aside the last vestige of her past life and taking on the role that she’d had the greatest good fortune to be given, and she wanted to look her very best on the first day of that new life.

Although, perhaps in a way, her new life had begun the moment she’d been introduced to Charlotte on the platform and they’d boarded the train for Southampton together, the arrangements for her to chaperone Charlotte back to India having been made in advance by Harry and Charles.

As she’d sat in the train across from Charlotte, she’d inwardly resolved that despite their slight difference in years, and the obvious naïvety of Charlotte, she’d make sure that they became good friends. And she’d promptly buried the old Ada Eastman and become the woman who was travelling to India to marry Harry Banning.

A woman without a past.

From the moment she’d accepted Harry’s written proposal, she’d sworn to herself that she’d never again let herself think back to the sheer exhilaration of being with George Kendall, and to the passion she’d felt for him, a passion she’d had no right to feel, being in a position of trust as governess to his daughter, Julia, and sitting down daily with George and his whey-faced wife.

She turned on to her back and stared up at the mosquito net. Who’d have thought that the governess job she’d been so unwilling to do would have opened the door to so much unexpected pleasure?

Becoming a governess had been the only suitable position she could undertake, given her circumstances. Although her father had been a High Sheriff, her family had little money, and with a dearth of prospective husbands in the small town in which they lived, she’d been obliged to seek paid employment.

Being respectable and educated, she’d been hired as a governess by a local family who lived in a nearby hamlet, but she’d found it so stifling to be in so small a community, with virtually no hope of meeting any eligible men, that when the opportunity to move to London and take up the post of governess to George’s daughter had presented itself, she’d jumped at it.

She’d never forget the day she first saw George.

Upon arriving at the house, she’d been ushered into the front hall by the housekeeper just as George had been coming down the stairs. While the housekeeper had been telling him her name and that she’d been appointed by his wife, she’d stood beside her travel bag, her eyes cast down with a modesty appropriate for a governess. When the housekeeper had finished talking, a rush of air told her that he’d turned towards her, and she’d sensed his gaze run down the length of her body.

Unable to resist seeing what he looked like, she’d glanced quickly up at his face, and had almost gasped out loud—he was quite the most handsome man she’d ever seen.

Tall and lean, he had glossy black hair that was longer at the sides than was commonly worn. A lock of hair had fallen across his high forehead, giving him a somewhat rakish look. And his eyes! From beneath dark brows, his ice-blue eyes burned into her face, the initial curiosity in them giving way to open desire.

She’d felt a strong sensation deep in her stomach.

The sound of a woman’s footsteps hurrying down the stairs had broken the mood of the moment, and she’d quickly returned her gaze to the pine floorboards, her heart still beating fast. George had said a hasty goodbye to his wife and left the house, his musky scent clinging to the air in his wake.

From that day on, she seemed to be forever meeting him in the corridors, in the hall, on the stairs, at dinner, and with each passing day, her hunger grew for what his every glance promised.

By the time the longed-for day arrived that she and George were completely alone in the house, they’d stood facing each other across the bedroom. An expectant silence weighted the air between them. And then, at the same instant, they’d fallen into each other’s arms and given in to a passion that overwhelmed them and left them gasping for breath.

In the weeks that had followed, she’d willingly yielded to that passion again and again—she, who’d read countless novels in which a young woman had fallen into destitution after her married lover, despite his many declarations of undying love, had rejected her upon the discovery of their illicit affair.

Within her head, she’d known the risk she was taking. But in her heart, she’d been firmly convinced that the intensity of their love was so great that neither would ever be able to part from the other, and she’d eagerly welcomed his attentions at every possible opportunity, longing for the day when they could be together forever.

Those weeks with George had been the most thrilling, most exciting weeks of her life. For every single minute of every single intoxicating day she’d felt nerve-tinglingly alive.

Until that terrible morning.

Liz Harris

Born in London, Liz Harris graduated from university with a Law degree, and then moved to California, where she led a varied life, from waitressing on Sunset Strip to working as secretary to the CEO of a large Japanese trading company.

Six years later, she returned to London and completed a degree in English, after which she taught secondary school pupils, first in Berkshire, and then in Cheshire.

In addition to the ten novels she’s had published, she’s had several short stories in anthologies and magazines.

Liz now lives in Oxfordshire. An active member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and the Historical Novel Society, her interests are travel, the theatre, reading and cryptic crosswords. To find out more about Liz, visit her website at: 

You can connect with Liz Harris via these platforms -






Amazon Author Page:

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


That's it for now.

Till the next time.

Take care Zoe




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