#Interview #QA By Lou with @kathylwheeler, an author of Gaming Hell Christmas Vol 2 @rararesources #BlogTour #Regency #HistoricalRomance #HistoricalFiction #Christmas #ChristmasRead

Interview/Q&A with Kathy L. Wheeler about her and Amanda Cabe’s book Gaming Hell Christmas (vol.2)
Conducted by Louise Cannon (Lou) – Bookmarks and Stages 

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Recently I had the great pleasure of conducting an interview/Q&A session with Kathy L. Wheeler, an author of Gaming Hell Christmas, volume two. There are 2 mysteries set in fashionable Regency, London, one by Amanda Cabe, the other by Kathy L. Wheeler.
Readers, after discovering the blurb, can find out from Kathy herself, what to expect from the book, her inspiration and find out whether she would live in the regency period or not, rule breaking and Christmas, all in 6 questions and answers. Her answers are illuminating and there’s no holding back…
Thanks first to Kathy L. Wheeler for taking part and allowing me to interview you for my blog and as part of Rachel’s Random Resources blog tour, to whom I thank for inviting me on to close the blog tour.
Without further ado, onto discover the delights of the book and what was said by the author…

GAMING HELL CHRISTMAS – VOLUME 2: Mysteries abound at London’s most fashionable Hell.

The Thief Who Stole Christmas – Amanda McCabe
A man who has never broken the rules, and a woman who just might break his heart! But Christmas is always a time for second chances…

As one of Miss Greensley’s Girls, a member of the exclusive club la Sous Rose, and famous author Lady L, Victoria Lanford moves easily through Society ballrooms. Few people know how her unhappy childhood and anxiety led her to pickpocketing (yet, she did return the jewels)! When she comes face-to-face with old flame Rhys Neville, Earl of Hammond, she knows the kind-hearted, straight-laced, devilishly handsome lord is not for her—especially once the past comes back to haunt them. Why, then, can’t she stop thinking about their kisses?

The Kerse Who Saved Christmas – Kathy L Wheeler
Kerse: He, of the no nonsense approach, is stymied by She, a woman considered long past prime marriageability who needs a keeper more than he requires a wife. Yet the dreamy-eyed, impractical, and much too optimistic Philomena still manages to steal his heart despite her unrealistic beliefs and trust in fortune tellers.

  1. What can readers expect from your book?

         Readers can expect a fun group of characters who attended school together from a young age.
Each young woman is her own person and craves their own independence and love story, which Amanda and I strive to provide.

 

  1. You have a man who has never broken the rules before. If you were to break a rule, what would it be and why?

    This is an easy question for us in the twenty-first century compared to the 18th and 19th centuries where things were much more stringent for women. Even men were held to a higher standard. I think those of us who write historical romance are always having our characters “break the rules”. It’s just a matter of degree and what they do when they get caught.

 

  1. Your book is historical romance? What is your favourite time period to write about it and would you want to live in it yourself?

    I love writing the Regency era romance. Would I want to live in that period? Hell, no. Not without a ton of money and great resources to good water and decent medical care.

 

  1. Who inspired you to write?

    I think I was mostly inspired to write by Susan Elizabeth Phillips. I’m a huge NFL fan and she wrote the Chicago Stars series. I once met her and asked if she watched (like me). Her answer was a resounding no! I was shocked! And thought, yeah, I could write. Of course, she is miles beyond me, above me, etc. etc.

5.    What research into historical exclusive clubs did you need to do and have you ever been to one in present times?

Mostly, it comes from reading the period. It was a fun idea we came up with. Nothing about La Sous Rose would be legit in the period, but it was still fun.

6.      How do you like to celebrate Christmas?

My husband and I moved to Western Washington about six years ago. We would spend Christmas at his family’s, but they were real big on my family attending when they were in town—sad but true. Since we’ve moved to Washington, we spend the holidays with my family where there are always extra people to be found.

Happy Holidays!

Kathy L Wheeler

 

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#Review by Lou of An Indiscreet Princess By Georgie Blalock @Harper360UK #GeorgieBlalock #HistoricalFiction #RandomTTours #AnIndiscreetPrincess #RoyalFiction

An Indiscreet Princess
By Georgie Blalock

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Today I am on the blog tour for a historical fiction book that takes facts of a time and princess from historical times and fictionalises it, but gives some detail about the rebellious and artistically talented daughter of Queen Victoria – Princess Louise. How could I pass up such a book, when there’s my namesake right there? Except, I have no blue blood that I am aware of running through my veins, but I do have a care for and interest in the Royal family.
Discover more about the princess in the blurb and my thoughts of the book in my review. I also thank RandomTTours, Compulsive Readers and Harper Collins UK for the invite to review and a copy of the book.

Blurb

Before Princess Margaret, before Duchess Meghan, there was Princess Louise: royal rebel.

As the fourth daughter of the perpetually in-mourning Queen Victoria, Princess Louise’s life is more a gilded prison than a fairy tale. Expected to sit quietly next to her mother with down-cast eyes, Louise vows to escape the stultifying royal court. Blessed with beauty, artistic talent, and a common touch, she creates a life outside the walled-in existence of the palace grounds by attending the National Art Training School—where she shockingly learns to sculpt nude models while falling passionately in love with famed sculptor Joseph Edgar Boehm.

But even as Louise cultivates a life outside the palace, she is constantly reminded that even royal rebels must heed the call of duty—and for a princess that means marriage. Refusing to leave England, she agrees to a match with the Duke of Argyll, and although her heart belongs to another, she is determined to act out her public role perfectly, even if her private life teeters on the brink of scandal. But when a near fatal accident forces Louise back under her mother’s iron rule, she realizes she must choose: give in to the grief of lost love or find the strength to fight for her unconventional life.

Review

There have often been royals who have a rebellious side and Princess Louise was, as well as being a bit flighty when younger. To put her life in even more context of time, she also  lived at the same time as Bertie, someone perhaps a bit more known than she.
She, interestingly had a love of art, whilst in a way so did Queen Victoria enjoy the arts, but preferring Mr Browning and his writings, rather than the National Art Training School and all that’s as taught there, which was an interest of Princess Louise, who needs to convince the Queen to let her go and then let her stay for another term, urged by her professor who was constructing a memorial for Lord Holland in Holland Park. This again adds context as well as shows her path in life that she is going down.

What is also interesting is how far in history, Balmoral goes as it is mentioned here in this book. The novel has interesting bits of places that play a role in both today’s society and monarchy and of yesteryear. It gives it another hook, especially since it crosses borders and shows the monarchy, even way back then was for all of the UK, as it is now.

There’s the question of romance,marriage and a wedding and all her emotions as well as the UK coming together, but with Princess Louise’s feelings not being quite as you’d expect from a marriage, nor her actions, partly this is because of the times, partly her personality and her desires being different from the Crown.

It is clear to see that Princess Louise does try to balance her passion for art and her beliefs and her duties, but also that of Queen Victoria trying to steer her away from scandal. This book shows appreciation and royals doing their best, especially that of the Queen and eventually an appreciation of the senior royals and what it means to have the crown. It has a surprisingly good and poignant ending.

The book certainly glides along and the author certainly found a story to tell.

#Review by Lou of An Indiscreet Princess By Georgie Blalock @Harper360UK #GeorgieBlalock #HistoricalFiction #RandomTTours #AnIndiscreetPrincess #RoyalFiction

An Indiscreet Princess
By Georgie Blalock

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Today I am on the blog tour for a historical fiction book that takes facts of a time and princess from historical times and fictionalises it, but gives some detail about the rebellious and artistically talented daughter of Queen Victoria – Princess Louise. How could I pass up such a book, when there’s my namesake right there? Except, I have no blue blood that I am aware of running through my veins, but I do have a care for and interest in the Royal family.
Discover more about the princess in the blurb and my thoughts of the book in my review. I also thank RandomTTours, Compulsive Readers and Harper Collins UK for the invite to review and a copy of the book.

Blurb

Before Princess Margaret, before Duchess Meghan, there was Princess Louise: royal rebel.

As the fourth daughter of the perpetually in-mourning Queen Victoria, Princess Louise’s life is more a gilded prison than a fairy tale. Expected to sit quietly next to her mother with down-cast eyes, Louise vows to escape the stultifying royal court. Blessed with beauty, artistic talent, and a common touch, she creates a life outside the walled-in existence of the palace grounds by attending the National Art Training School—where she shockingly learns to sculpt nude models while falling passionately in love with famed sculptor Joseph Edgar Boehm.

But even as Louise cultivates a life outside the palace, she is constantly reminded that even royal rebels must heed the call of duty—and for a princess that means marriage. Refusing to leave England, she agrees to a match with the Duke of Argyll, and although her heart belongs to another, she is determined to act out her public role perfectly, even if her private life teeters on the brink of scandal. But when a near fatal accident forces Louise back under her mother’s iron rule, she realizes she must choose: give in to the grief of lost love or find the strength to fight for her unconventional life.

Review

There have often been royals who have a rebellious side and Princess Louise was, as well as being a bit flighty when younger. To put her life in even more context of time, she also  lived at the same time as Bertie, someone perhaps a bit more known than she.
She, interestingly had a love of art, whilst in a way so did Queen Victoria enjoy the arts, but preferring Mr Browning and his writings, rather than the National Art Training School and all that’s as taught there, which was an interest of Princess Louise, who needs to convince the Queen to let her go and then let her stay for another term, urged by her professor who was constructing a memorial for Lord Holland in Holland Park. This again adds context as well as shows her path in life that she is going down.

What is also interesting is how far in history, Balmoral goes as it is mentioned here in this book. The novel has interesting bits of places that play a role in both today’s society and monarchy and of yesteryear. It gives it another hook, especially since it crosses borders and shows the monarchy, even way back then was for all of the UK, as it is now.

There’s the question of romance,marriage and a wedding and all her emotions as well as the UK coming together, but with Princess Louise’s feelings not being quite as you’d expect from a marriage, nor her actions, partly this is because of the times, partly her personality and her desires being different from the Crown.

It is clear to see that Princess Louise does try to balance her passion for art and her beliefs and her duties, but also that of Queen Victoria trying to steer her away from scandal. This book shows appreciation and royals doing their best, especially that of the Queen and eventually an appreciation of the senior royals and what it means to have the crown. It has a surprisingly good and poignant ending.

The book certainly glides along and the author certainly found a story to tell.

1922 – Scenes From a Turbulent Year By Nick Rennison #NickRennison @OldcastleBooks #NonFiction #History #1920s #1922 #TheRoaringTwenties

1922
Scenes From A Turbulent Year
By Nick Rennison

Rating: 4 out of 5.

1920’s or the The Roaring Twenties is a prominent decade. 1922, especially, was a period of a lot of change, musically, film making, politically, prominent people coming to light and some reaching the end of their lives and much more in this interesting look into 1 busy year. Thanks to Old Castle Books for gifting me the book. Check out the blurb and then my review to find out about the book of the year, 1922.

1922 cover1922 was a year of great turbulence and upheaval. Its events reverberated throughout the rest of the twentieth century and still affect us today, 100 years later.

Empires fell. The Ottoman Empire collapsed after more than six centuries. The British Empire had reached its greatest extent but its heyday was over. The Irish Free State was declared and demands for independence in India grew. New nations and new politics came into existence. The Soviet Union was officially created and Mussolini’s Italy became the first Fascist state.

In the USA, Prohibition was at its height. The Hollywood film industry, although rocked by a series of scandals, continued to grow. A new mass medium – radio – was making its presence felt and, in Britain, the BBC was founded. In literature it was the year of peak modernism. Both T. S. Eliot’s The Waste Land and James Joyce’s Ulysses were first published in full.

In society, already changed by the trauma of war and pandemic, the morals of the past seemed increasingly outmoded; new ways of behaving were making their appearance. The Roaring Twenties had begun to roar and the Jazz Age had arrived.

1922 also saw the discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb, the arrest of Mahatma Gandhi, the death of Marcel Proust, the election of a new pope, the release of the first major vampire movie, and the brief imprisonment in Munich of an obscure right-wing demagogue named Adolf Hitler.

In a sequence of vividly written sketches, Nick Rennison conjures up all the drama and diversity of an extraordinary year.

Review

1922 was a busy year. Nothing stood still. Great change was on the horizon and new ways of thinking, new art and music forms were breaking through, the film industry was pushing through its scandals and experiencing growth. It wasn’t only in the arts that things were changing, the shape of countries was also changing as well as their politics as well as leaders who had ideals, inspired from the past and their 1922 present. Nick Rennison in his book about this year informs in an interesting snippets that make me think of newsreel articles in some ways. Each part isn’t overly long and yet has enough depth to pique interest and there are many events that occurred that readers may not know about this period of history. Each part, as well as being short is split into each month of the year.
This is a book that people ought to read as the impact is everlasting. By impact I don’t mean it is all negative, there’s positives too. It shows more that each year doesn’t live in isolation of the year previous or what comes after.

There is clearly a lot of research in documenting a lot of what happened in 1922 and then to write it in a way that doesn’t feel too text book like and is actually interesting enough to make you continue reading past the first pages to find out what else happened from the well-known and the perhaps lesser-known.

The book tells a bit of The Spanish Flu and its effects, which no doubt will bring people to think about the present times (at time of writing this blog post). It also documents the deaths for many reasons – from illness to assassination, of prominent people such as Shackleton, Alexander Graham Bell and more. There are people who I certainly haven’t heard of and yet made an impact on the world and there are many people who I have heard of who also have made a lasting impact on the world. The book respectfully tells the truth about them and means people aren’t forever forgotten about, whether they were good people or not.

There are a number of murders woven into months where there was better news such as the emergence of people who were to become sportstars and film stars of their time and their achievements as well as all the above in the blurb and so much more…

There is also political turmoil in a few countries in the world, including Russia, China, Italy as Fascist (far right) and Communist (far left) had emerged and getting stronger, especially Communism. It’s interesting for those who don’t know some of the smaller details that had a huge impact and both exist today, sometimes strong and powerful, some politicians on the edges and getting closer to far right or far left politics in the world. The countries still don’t stand still as the fall of empires occur and near the end of the year, the formation of the USSR.

Jazz had emerged and the Roaring Twenties was starting to really flow and The Jazz Age had well and truly arrived and the changing dancing styles as older figurations of dancing started to completely transform into something more energetic and, considered by some, quite outrageous.

This is a book that will interest people who like history, are interested in the 1920’s or just wondering what was happening in 1922 to expand their knowledge. There’s something in it for all adults as so much was happening that lots of wider topics such as music, film, politics, famous people are covered and so much more… There is much people of any age can learn about.

#Review by Lou – A Ration Book Daughter by Jean Fullerton @JeanFullerton_ @rararesources @CorvusBooks #HistoricalFiction #FamilySaga

The Ration Book Daughter
By Jean Fullerton

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

This book is charmingly written, showing the juxtopositions of love and war. It is a page-turner and shows great strength over adversity. Discover more in my blog and review. Then find puchase links and social media links below.

About the Author

Portrait_Jean-1022 RNA resized (1)Author Bio – Born and bred in East London Jean is a District Nurse by trade and has worked as a NHS manager and as a senior lecture in Health and Nursing Studies. She left her day job to become a full-time writer in 2015 and has never looked back.

In 2006 she won the Harry Bowling Prize and now has seventeen sagas published over three series with both Orion and Atlantic all of which are set in East London.

She is an experienced public speaker with hundreds of WI and women’s club talks under her belt, plus for the past fifteen years she has sailed all over the world as an enrichment speaker and writing workshop leader on cruise ships.

Blurb

ARBDaughter coverNot even the Blitz can shake a mother’s love.

Cathy was a happy, blushing bride when Britain went to war with Germany three years ago. But her youthful dreams were crushed by her violent husband Stanley’s involvement with the fascist black-shirts, and even when he’s conscripted to fight she knows it’s only a brief respite – divorce is not an option. Cathy, a true Brogan daughter, stays strong for her beloved little son Peter.

When a telegram arrives declaring that her husband is missing in action, Cathy can finally allow herself to hope – she only has to wait 6 months before she is legally a widow and can move on with her life. In the meantime, she has to keep Peter safe and fed. So she advertises for a lodger, and Sergeant Archie McIntosh of the Royal Engineers’ Bomb Disposal Squad turns up. He is kind, clever and thoughtful; their mutual attraction is instant. But with Stanley’s fate still unclear, and the Blitz raging on over London’s East End, will Cathy ever have the love she deserves?

ARBDaughter cover

Review

A Ration Book Daughter tells it how it was for some families and the soldiers in the middle of the times of the blitz. Although the book deals with the hardest of times of the war, it is easy to find some escapism within the book as the easy to follow plot is absorbing and has great characters within it. There are also some controversial characters too as one of them, even though declared a hero, is also accused by some people of loving the Nazis. This puts rather an intriguing spin on things.

Other main characters are Cathy and Vi who don’t always see eye-to-eye and have some heated exchanges.
There’s also Sergeant McIntosh of The Royal Engineer’s Bomb Disposal Squad, who is charming and who she gets to know very well indeed.

There are the hardships and darkness that war brings, but there are also glimmers of hope and bravery, that is unique to only the harshest of times. It tells things how they were and that gives the book strenghth and people’s learning a bit of strength and a bit of prodding in a sense, as they can see that no matter how bad things get, there are times that can actually be surprisingly uplifting.

This book shows love over adversity and strength of character in even the most troubling of times and when life and death hang in the balance. It shows that when there’s an enemy and also certain predjudices are around; that life goes on and nothing can stop the love of your child or romance from blossoming.

Purchase Links

Amazon    Bookshop.org

Social Media Links 

Website: http://jeanfullerton.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Jean-Fullerton

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/JeanFullerton_

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#BookReview by Lou of #NonFiction – Rowntrees by Paul Chrystal @penswordbooks #PaulChrystal

Rowntrees
By Paul Chrystal
Rated: 5 stars *****

 There is more to just eating confections than meets the eye! This is delectable book for history and confectionery lovers the world over!
This book, as much as it looks into the very being of Rowntrees and other companies, with them at the centre, it has more to it than meets the eye!
Thanks to Pen & Sword for accepting my request to review this wonderfully interesting book, which goes into little known corners of the confectionary world with its very interesting insights.
Please follow through the blurb and then onto my review to discover more…

Blurb

Rowntrees coverThe Rowntree family, especially Henry and the younger Joseph Rowntree are, along with the Fry’s, Cadbury’s, Mars and Terry’s, synonymous with the birth and growth of the chocolate industry in Britain. Between them, they were the chocolate industry in Britain.

This book charts the fascinating story behind the birth and development of the chocolate empire that was Rowntrees. Background information to this astonishing business comes by way of chapters on the early history of the Rowntrees, contemporary York, the relationship between Quakers and chocolate, and the Tuke family – without whom there would have been no Rowntrees, and no Kit Kats.

Henry, it is usually forgotten, was the founder of Rowntree’s – he made the momentous decision to sign the deal with the Tukes and we join him in those very early days of the fledgling company and watch how he helped it through some very dark, and sometimes humorous, times in what was then a very shambolic set up – cash strapped and making it up as the company lurched from crisis to crisis. Joseph, his elder brother, it was, who became the driving force to eventual global success, mixing his hectic business life with acts of compassion and a benevolent management model, all of which paved the way for decent wages, pensions, insurance and mutual respect in the workplace. Charity work extended beyond the factories to lift workers and others out of the slums of York to a life in a healthy model village, to provide a good social life, an extensive park, swimming pool and education for children and adults. More context is given with chapters on Joseph’s relentless industrial espionage, the advancements in chocolate production and 20th century rivals in the domestic and export markets, and mergers and acquisitions.

Rowntree’s role in the two world wars is also covered along with the struggle Joseph Rowntree had accepting the importance of advertising. Altogether this book gives two fascinating biographies of two exceptional and driven brothers who came together to form one of our greatest companies – producing some of our best loved confectionery products.

Rowntrees cover

Review

Rowntrees is about that famous family, especially Henry and Joseph who are synonymous with the birth of chocolate and in how it has grown.

It charts how Henry is the founder of Rowntrees and it details about his younger brother Joseph. It’s one for the reader with a sweet-tooth and with an interest in how these companies came about, as it has other confectionary companies mentioned too. The pace is excellent for such a historical non-fiction book. It’s interesting as Henry and Joseph Rowntree weren’t just pioneering chocolate, but also in treating their staff well. It demonstrates their philanthropy and human interest and industrial relations, influenced by them being Quakers. The book has lots of context to it and mentions Lewis Fry and George Cadbury as well as The East India Tea Company and Nestle and how events influenced their ways of working and brought about meetings with Samuel Tuke, who is a key man.

There is plenty of history, even if you don’t have a sweet-tooth as it isn’t all chocolate related. It chronicles improvements to buildings and schooling and the contributions the Rowntrees made and how Joseph, especially, had been active in so many good causes.

There’s a lot to learn about the Confectionery Industry from the Mid nineteenth century onwards. It’s written in a manner as though studies have just been done and the information is unfolding for the first time. This style of writing brings some excitement to the book, especially when talking about what chocolate contains and how cacao can be consumed. The book shows differences in branding and advertising, which is a bit like an exclusive sneaky peak behind the scenes. It’s interesting what is uncovered within the book, including competition and the concerns of industrial espionage.

As the book takes readers through the years, its pace builds up some excitement as chocolate emerges and becomes established in York, England. Although there are a lot of figures and dates, it adds to the context and doesn’t detract from the rest of the facts, so even if figures aren’t your thing, the rest of the book might well be and the pace is kept-up.

In the modern day, there seems to be more discoveries and it is exquisite that there are still old traditions that still survive today. It truly is all a delightful feast for the eyes and it may just make you want to buy some of Rowntree’s confectionary as you read the rapid rise and rise of it all as it documents drinking chocolate, eating chocolate, sweets such as humbugs and pastilles, all of which still survive today.

The book nicely and respectfully concludes with The Last Will and Testament of Henry Isaac Rowntree and the heritage and suggests where to find further reading on the subject matters within the book. Beyond that, there are pictures of the Rowntrees and George Cadbury as well as some of the architecture, landscape and advertisement posters of their times, which is a delight to see.

Buy Link: Pen & Sword Books (Publishers)