Leo’s War by Patricia Murphy blogtour extract

 

Leo's War - Poolbeg cover - FOR PRINT

Leo’s War written by Patricia Murphy, publisher Poolbeg Press, is available NOW in ebook and paperback format.  The ebook is also included in the kindleunlimited scheme.

To buy link (amazon UK):  https://amzn.to/2MBOPhj

To buy link (Direct from Poolbeg Press):  https://bit.ly/2BAJdjl

Product Details

It’s 1943 and young Leo tries to protect his disabled sister Ruby as the Nazis invade Italy. After his mother is arrested, he turns to Monsignor Hugh O’Flaherty to save them. But he is no ordinary priest. Known as ‘The Pimpernel of the Vatican’, the Monsignor is the legendary organizer of the Rome Escape Line. Soon Leo is helping out with this secret network dedicated to saving the lives of escaped prisoners of war, partisans and Jews. But as the sinister Nazi leader Kappler closes in on the network, can Leo and his sister stay out of his evil clutches?

Leo's War Full Tour Banner

I am so pleased to be involved in the blogtour celebrating and promoting the launch of Patricia Murphy’s latest novel: Leo’s War.  The book is aimed for young adults but I think it sounds equally fascinating for adults too.

The author has kindly offered to share an extract with you all today:

In this extract from Chapter 4, Leo and his disabled younger sister Ruby escape at night to Rome to seek help from Monsignor Hugh O’Flaherty, after their mother is arrested as a member of the Resistance. Deep in the forest they bump into a group of young partisans led by Roberto, the older brother of a nasty classmate, who used to be an enthusiastic fascist. But after Mussolini joined Hitler in the ill-fated invasion of the Soviet Union, many Italian troops who were ill-equipped to deal with the Russian winter, deserted and joined the partisans on the side of the Allies. Many of these partisan groups were astonishingly brave, fighting the Germans with ill-assorted weapons and relying on their knowledge of the local terrain. Often too, they were little more than teenagers.

* * * * * * *

Halfway in, we came upon a tiny clearing where there
was a rough stone hut, the kind used by shepherds,
underneath a canopy of branches. But apart from the
remains of a recent fire, there was no sign of life. I wondered
if it would be a good place to have a little rest. But as I
hesitated there was a sudden whoosh in the trees. I sensed
a darkness closing in behind.
And then a shape dropped from the tree in front.
“Fermati! Basta!” Halt! That’s enough!
The donkey brayed and kicked up its legs. I lifted up my
hurley.
Before me stood a youth by the slenderness of him,
dressed in ragged clothes with a cloth over his face. He had
a mass of black curly hair and his dark eyes bored into me.
He was cradling a rifle in his arms.
“Don’t hurt us!” I cried out in Italian.
But the youth tore off his kerchief and laughed.
“Englishman! What are you doing here?’
Ruby popped her head out of the cart, her hair covered
in straw. Two other equally ragged boys emerged out of the
trees and burst into laughter.
“Roberto!” I cried. He was the older brother of Filippo,
my sworn enemy. A Blackshirt. He joined up even though
he was too young and was sent to the Russian front. He
sang the songs in praise of Mussolini with such gusto I used
to think his lungs would burst. But he didn’t look like a
Blackshirt now. He was the opposite – the spit of a bandit.
I stood stock still, staring hard at him.
“We are partisans now fighting for freedom from
Mussolini!” he exclaimed proudly. “I am the leader of our
band. ‘Lucky’ they call me. Because I got us all back from the
Russian front.” He puffed out his chest with pride even
though his little band of fighters looked like ragamuffins or
the Lost Boys from the story Peter Pan that my mother used to
read. And there only seemed to be two of them. Some band!
“This is Carpo, our sharpshooter,” he said. “And cook.”
He nodded towards a skinny little boy of about fifteen
with tufts of blond hair peeking out of a cap. He wore a
rough burlap sack tied at the waist instead of a jacket and
his trousers were in flitters. On his feet were two left boots
with twine instead of laces. But at least he had shoes. The
other one, a tall skinny boy with glasses called Primo, had
pieces of leather on his feet tied with string like some
peasants wore. Roberto referred to him grandly as their
“munitions expert”.
“Gigi is sleeping in the hut. She’s a refugee from the
south and she’s joined our partisan group,” he said,
swaggering as if he were a battle commander. “The rat we
roasted last night didn’t agree with her.”
While I gaped at this, the others laughed and Carpo
patted his belly, saying, “Yum, yum! More for us.”
I pushed the image of the rat out of my head and eyed
the group suspiciously. “I thought you loved Mussolini,” I
said to Roberto. “You beat me up when I sang that song
about him and you didn’t even know what it was about.”
“I knew it was disrespectful with those farting noises
you made at the end!” He laughed then. His face
brightened. “Sing it for us, eh?”
So I did! I puffed out my chest and sang at the top of my
voice.
“Oh Mussolini, what have you done?
You have a fat head like a baby’s bum,
You are the Duce but you’re just a fool,
Everyone knows you are Hitler’s tool!
Oh Mussolini, with your face like a bum,
If ever I see you, I’ll tell you you’re scum!
Then away I will run, run, run, run, run!
And one of these days you’ll be shot by a gun!”
They listened, grinning, and cheered when I translated
for them as best I could.
“You sing well for an Englishman,” the string-of-beans
boy, Primo, said.
Roberto looked around at his little band and smiled like
I was his long-lost brother. He winked at me and cuffed me
around the head. “You were right, Englishman! We have seen
what a mess he made of his lousy stinking army by following
those other German fatheads and we fight for Italy now!”

About the Author

Patricia Murphy Leo's WarPatricia Murphy is the bestselling author of The Easter Rising 1916 – Molly’s Diary and Dan’s Diary – the War of Independence 1920-22 published by Poolbeg.
She has also written the prize-winning “The Chingles” trilogy of children’s Celtic fantasy novels. Patricia is also an award winning Producer/Director of documentaries including Children of Helen House, the BBC series on a children’s hospice and Born to Be Different Channel 4’s flagship series following children born with disabilities. Many of her groundbreaking programmes are about children’s rights and topics such as growing up in care, crime and the criminal justice system. She has also made a number of history programmes including Worst Jobs in History with Tony Robinson for Channel 4 and has produced and directed films for the Open University.

Patricia grew up in Dublin and is a graduate in English and History from Trinity College Dublin and of Journalism at Dublin City University. She now lives in Oxford with her husband and young daughter.

Social Media Links
Website: https://www.patriciamurphyonline.com
Twitter: @_PatriciaMurphy
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/Leos-War-Irelands-Secret-World-War-2-Hero-714055598929732
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/Mollys-Diary-The-1916-Rising-277254289106782/

Giveaway to win a £30 Amazon Gift Voucher (Open to UK Only)
*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome. Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

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The Promise by Michelle Vernal blogtour book review

 

The Promise Cover

The Promise written and self-published by Michelle Vernal is available NOW in ebook and paperback format. The ebook is also included in the kindleunlimited scheme.

To buy link (amazon UK):  https://amzn.to/2O4FrzP

Product Details (as per amazon page)

Two women from different generations brought together by another’s wrongdoing.

When British backpacker, Isabel Stark happens across a car accident on a lonely stretch of road in the South Island of New Zealand her life changes forever. The sole passenger, Ginny Havelock asks her to make a promise before she passes away—to find Constance and to say she’s sorry.
Isabel’s a lost soul who’s been drifting through life unsure of where she fits, and the promise she made in New Zealand haunts her upon her return to the United Kingdom. Her only clue as to finding Constance lies within a conversation held at Ginny’s funeral. It takes her to the Isle of Wight.
In the 1940’s sixteen-year-old Constance’s life on her island is sheltered until the death of her brother; Ted brings the reality of war crashing down around her. He leaves behind his pregnant young widow Ginny. When Constance meets a handsome Canadian Airforce man, she’s eager to escape her grief and be swept up by first love. It’s a love which has ramifications she could never envisage.
When Isabel and Constance’s paths finally cross will Ginny’s last words be enough for Constance to make peace with her past? And in fulfilling her promise will Isabel find a place she can call home?

The Promise Full Tour Banner

I voluntarily reviewed an arc of this book. All opinions are my own and no content may be copied. However, authors and publishers may use elements of my reviews for quotes.

I am so pleased to be involved in the blogtour celebrating and promoting the launch of Michelle Vernal’s latest novel: The Promise.

The Promise is the author’s sixth novel and is another of her time-slip historical romances.  Michelle Vernal writes in both the historical time-slip romance genre and also the romantic comedy genre and her writing smoothly moves from one genre to the other producing enjoyable, relatable reads.

A chance encounter witnessing the after effects of a crash on a country road in New Zealand starts a surprising adventure for British backpacker Isabel Stark.

Heartbroken Isabel decided to take a gap year to New Zealand and give her heart a chance to heal.  Towards the end of her year Isabel is the first bystander to a car accident and offers comfort to the old lady trapped in the car.  Sadly Isabel was to be the last person to see the old lady alive and these last few minutes of comfort that a stranger gave to dear old Ginny was enough for her to pass on a very heartfelt message.  A message that had been laying heavily on Ginny’s mind for seventy years.  Feeling shaken by the emotion of the sadness of Ginny’s death Isabel attended her funeral and was to learn that Ginny was born in the UK and lived on the Isle of Wight just a short ferry ride from her hometown.  Isabel felt like fate had played a hand at putting her in the right place for dear old Ginny.

With Isabel’s gap year coming to an end she returned home with Ginny’s last thoughts and wishes on her mind.  With only a few clues as to Ginny’s last known UK residence Isabel sets off on a journey of discovery.  This journey would take her on an emotive tale travelling back to WWII and to a love story that life so cruelly snatched away.  The journey would also be a time for self-discovery for Isabel herself for her own personal and professional enlightenment.

I was captivated by this time-slip historical romance from Michelle Vernal.  Reading about the tragic love story in WWII was so touching.  I also loved the journey of self-discovery for Isabel, she was learning so much about herself that she had either kept hidden or hadn’t realised her true potential.  A lovely story filled with emotion but interlaced lovingly with warmth and charm with a whole host of great sub-characters.  I didn’t want the story to end as I wanted to know how the characters were progressing with the next instalments in their lives.

A touching, heart warming historical time-slip romance.

About the Author

btyMichelle Vernal is a Harper Collins author who loves a happy ending. She lives with her husband, their two boys and a needy three-legged black cat in Christchurch, New Zealand. She’s partial to a glass of wine, loves a cheese scone and has recently taken up yoga—a sight to behold indeed. She is a freelance writer for a Canterbury lifestyle magazine who is currently working on her seventh novel. Michelle’s a firm believer in happy endings, and all of her stories are written with humour and warmth.

 

Social Media Links
https://www.michellevernalbooks.com/
https://www.facebook.com/michellevernalnovelist/
http://www.twitter.com/michellevernal

 

 

Call of the Curlew by Elizabeth Brooks blogtour book review

call of the curlew

Call of the Curlew written by Elizabeth Brooks, publisher Doubleday (an imprint of Transworld) is available NOW in ebook and hardcover format.

To buy link:

amazon UK:  https://amzn.to/2KRXQip

Waterstones:  https://bit.ly/2zaWei2

Product Details (as per amazon page)

Virginia Wrathmell has always known she will meet her death on the marsh.

One snowy New Year’s Eve, at the age of eighty-six, Virginia feels the time has finally come.

New Year’s Eve, 1939. Virginia is ten, an orphan arriving to meet her new parents at their mysterious house, Salt Winds. Her new home sits on the edge of a vast marsh, a beautiful but dangerous place. War feels far away out here amongst the birds and shifting sands – until the day a German fighter plane crashes into the marsh. The people at Salt Winds are the only ones to see it.

What happens next is something Virginia will regret for the next seventy-five years, and which will change the whole course of her life.

Call of the Curlew Blog Tour Poster

I voluntarily reviewed an arc of this book. All opinions are my own and no content may be copied. However, authors and publishers may use elements of my reviews for quotes.

I am so pleased to be involved in the blogtour celebrating and promoting the launch of this debut novel by Elizabeth Brooks; Call of the Curlew.  This is an outstanding debut and I look forward to lots more from this author who I believe is one to watch.

This is a sweeping story spanning two periods.  The story starts off in the present time, a bleak December 2015 when 86 year old Virginia Wrathmell is preparing to say her goodbyes to the house and it’s memories that she’s shared and have haunted her soul for seventy-five years.  We then travel back to December 1939 when eleven year old Virginia takes her first steps down the lane towards her new home with her adoptive parents Clem and Lorna.  Her new home, Salt Winds, was on the edge of the marshes of Tollbury Point and Virginia was warned about the danger of the uncertainty of the land.

From the dark, quite striking cover with glimpses of light and warmth which perfectly sets the scene for the story within it’s pages.  The author’s style of writing kept me fully engaged with the storyline and I was quite captivated.  This area of land surrounding Salt Winds had almost two personalities.  There was a calm, stillness to the vista and with the vast array of bird species it must have been a joy to just take time out to just watch the natural beauty and it’s wildlife.  However, the eeriness that the marshes held sent chills threw me and that ever presence of danger was always there lurking behind the shadows.

There was a strange complexity to the relationship between Virginia’s adoptive parents and young Virginia became a different child to each respective parent.  She adored her father Clem and was a little perplexed by her mother Lorna.

Salt Winds was quite isolated but when the conflict of war disturbed their lives one fateful New Year’s Eve 1939 Virginia’s new life was to change dramatically.  Fears of loss, betrayal, anguish and fear for her own life during this period were to stay with her.

Fast forward to 2015 when a mysterious visitor to Salt Winds provokes many emotions in Virginia that she tried to keep hidden within the walls of the grand house that now feels so cold and desolate.

I was totally transfixed with this evocative tale spanning two lifetimes.  I loved the time back in 1939 with young Virginia but the darkness that Virginia experienced was heart-breaking and left me quite angry at times.  I wanted to scream and shout but I think that a particular character had a rather unhealthy strong control over them.  There is darkness to the story but there is much, much more.  There is a joy and warmth woven within the storyline and you feel a sense of hope emerging.

A deeply captivating debut novel.

To learn more about the author please do visit the following pages:

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/ManxWriter

 

 

 

Tapestry of War by Jane MacKenzie blogtour book review

tapestry of war

Tapestry of War written by Jane MacKenzie, publisher Allison & Busby, is available NOW in ebook and paperback format.

To buy link:

Amazon UK:  https://www.amazon.co.uk/Tapestry-War-Jane-Mackenzie/dp/074902299X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1524565321&sr=8-1&keywords=tapestry+of+war

Publisher’s Website:  http://www.allisonandbusby.com/book/tapestry-of-war-trade-paperback

Product Details (as per amazon page)

From the deserts of North Africa, to the waters of Scotland, the Second World War touches the lives of two women from two very different worlds. In Alexandria, Fran finds her world turned upside down as Rommel’s forces advance on the idyllic shores of Egypt. The life of luxury and stability that she is used to is taken away as she finds herself having to deal with loss, heartache and political uncertainty. Meanwhile, in the Firth of Clyde, Catriona works day in, day out nursing injured servicemen. Both have their lives challenged, and both dream of a more certain future with the men they come to love. Their heart-warming story takes them through tragedy to a quiet, hopeful triumph. Tapestry of War is a sweeping, evocative novel which brilliantly captures the second world war period of colonial Alexandria and the west of Scotland and will appeal to readers of Dinah Jeffries, Victoria Hislop and Rosie Thomas.

tapestry of war tour poster

I voluntarily reviewed an arc of this book. All opinions are my own and no content may be copied. However, authors and publishers may use elements of my reviews for quotes.

I am so pleased to be involved in the blogtour promoting and celebrating the launch of Jane MacKenzie’s latest novel: Tapestry of War.  This is my first introduction to the work of Jane MacKenzie, Tapestry of War is her fourth novel.

Tapestry of War is a compelling story of people from different continents, cultures, backgrounds brought together by one denominating factor: war.  War wherever it was scarring the landscape is the same all over the world.  It affected people all the same whatever background they came from.  Lives, livelihoods, hearts, minds and bodies were shattered.  Tapestry of War is a story of two women; Fran and Catriona, living thousands of miles apart from very different backgrounds and worlds, are united in friendship, in a shared love and a comradeship for the love of a man that has felt the scars of the war the most.

I haven’t read much about this side of WWII, the conflict in Egypt with Rommel advancing.  The story also takes us to the most northern isles of Scotland with their own part in the WWII efforts with medical facilities for the wounded and also ports for the carriers of troops.

Fran was a journalist for a paper in Alexandria, she was limited to what she could report with a fear of political backlash.  Alexandria was full of foreign troops and Fran soon built up a friendship with many, in particular a shy Scotsman serving in the Navy Jim MacNeill.

Catriona thousands of miles away in Scotland had just finished her nursing qualification and was keen to help with the war wounded. Her father was struggling with grief of his wife and now with his son in the Navy, goodness knows where, he wasn’t keen on his daughter working on the front line.  Catriona felt like she had to make a compromise with her father as she was so keen to be involved with the war help.

With war came great hardship, fear, anguish and many casualties.  Casualties that would alter the lives of many.

Jane MacKenzie took us to the heat of Alexandria, Egypt to the British people that were living in quite a privileged lifestyle before the war and she then took us to a small community in Scotland with very differing lifestyles to the British occupancy in Egypt.  These two communities were very different and the impact of the war on food and livelihoods was felt the keenest in Scotland but the emotional impact was very much the same.

A fascinating, compelling, beautiful and real story, full of hope for a new life, peace and love.

To learn more about Jane MacKenzie please visit the following pages:

Website:  http://janemackenzie.co.uk/

Twitter:  http://www.twitter.com/@JaneFMackenzie

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/jane.mackenzie.co.uk