Monday, 22 June 2015

5 Question with Author Antonia Hodgson


Today I am very excited to welcome Historical author Antonia Hodgson to the blog, sharing her inspiration behind the delightful 'The Last Confession of Thomas Hawkins, for which you can check out my review here and who she would meet if she could go back in time. Grab your time machine and lets go... 

1) What is it you like about writing Historical fiction?

One of the things I love about all fiction is the chance to visit somewhere I've never been. I love being immersed in other worlds - past, present or future. There's the pleasure of escape, but also the surprising connections. How much we've changed, and how much we have remained the same. I'm also particularly drawn to my period - the early 1700s - because it's so neglected. It makes my research a true voyage of discovery! 


2) How much goes into your research process?
A great deal, which I'm more than happy about. Having access to all the books in the British Library is a true privilege. Sometimes I'll order up an old, half-forgotten pamphlet and will be struck by the fact that someone from the 1720s made this physical object, held it and read it almost three hundred years before me. It feels extraordinary. For my third novel I've been reading a lot of private estate papers and family letters, and that feeling is even more palpable. Beyond that, of course there are a lot of fantastic historians, and text books on clothing, etc., to read. And visits to National Trust houses, which inevitably lead to a tea room, and most importantly to a fruit scone. 



3) What drew you to Henrietta's story?
Henrietta was George II's mistress, but that wasn't particularly what drew me to her. It was why she became his mistress. In essence, she was seeking protection from her violent, abusive husband, Charles Howard. As mistress to the king, and servant to the queen, Henrietta was afforded some protection. But for a few months in 1728 she ended up trapped in St James's palace, while Howard threatened to drag her home with him. (He didn't want her back - he just wanted to be paid off. Unfortunately George II was notoriously stingy and refused to pay.) She was absolutely terrified of her husband - and rightly so. Eventually Howard got his annuity and Henrietta was able to leave her rooms. But for those few months, she was basically a prisoner. Most of the women in the book are fighting for choice and independence and freedom, one way or another. Henrietta's story is just the most extreme, and it's also true. There's a very good biography about her by Tracy Borman, if people are interested in reading further. 


4) Who was your favourite character to write?


I loved writing the scenes between Tom and Queen Caroline. I first read about Caroline in Lord Hervey's memoirs. He absolutely adored her, and they would sit for hours gossiping about the rest of the court. She was a supremely clever woman - politically astute, very witty and fascinated by both the arts and scientific developments. On the whole I'm more interested in exploring the dark streets of London, but Caroline was clearly an exceptional woman, monarch or otherwise. In terms of personality, I was most drawn to young Sam (nephew to Samuel Fleet, Tom's cellmate in The Devil in the Marshalsea). Caroline was fun to write, but Sam was the most interesting to explore, for me. 


5) If you could go back and meet any historical character who would it be and why?


Well, all sorts of people. But what if I accidentally created a paradox in the space-time continuum? There's me, meeting Shakespeare, and the next thing you know the entire universe is winked out of existence. Thanks for the offer, though. 


The Last Confession of Thomas Hawkins is out now...check it out and let us know what you think!

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Monday, 15 June 2015

Book Review: The Accident Season by Moira Fowley-Doyle


Title: The Accident Season
Author: Moira Fowley-Doyle
Publisher: Corgi
Release Date: August 18th 2015
Synopsis: The accident season has been part of seventeen-year-old Cara's life for as long as she can remember. Towards the end of October, foreshadowed by the deaths of many relatives before them, Cara's family becomes inexplicably accident-prone. They banish knives to locked drawers, cover sharp table edges with padding, switch off electrical items - but injuries follow wherever they go, and the accident season becomes an ever-growing obsession and fear.
But why are they so cursed? And how can they break free?


Review: Secret's are a powerful thing, we all have them, we share them, we keep them, we let them grow and grow into something we never thought it could become. Secrets play an important part in all our lives, and this was one of the reasons that the book really spoke to me. The idea of a secret's box, where we could all deposit the things we couldn't say, felt so real, and touched a nerve. What would I say, and what would I do with that knowledge. That's what is still sitting with me having finished this book earlier. But this book isn't just about secrets, it's about a lot of thing and in the way the cover has that haunting flowing feeling, so does the book as it flows between the storylines, interwoven with fantastical elements, that added a darker edge to proceedings.

I liked this added depth, it gave what was already a good story some oomph without really taking away from what was happening, more feeding into it, so that you were getting a little something extra added ever other page as the book flowed on. This kept you guessing, and whilst I was guessing I wanted to see if what I was guessing was right ( I was-ish, but it wasn't what I expected!). The book wasn't what I thought it was going to be from what I was seeing, it took me in a totally different direction and to a party, which is always a good thing. And it was definitely a party to remember, one I wish I could have gone too!!

I was also really drawn to Bea and the Tarot elements of the story, Though I've never had a reading myself,I find the idea of the cards and the meaning behind them fantastic, and it's something I'd love to know more about.

With all its different elements I think this book will say something different to each person who reads it and that's the great thing about it.

If you're also a little accident prone, maybe don't read this book as it might heighten apprehension and you'll be hiding kettles left right and centre !





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Saturday, 13 June 2015

BOOK REVIEW: The Song of David by Amy Harmon + Giveaway!!



The Song of David

By: Amy Harmon
Available: June 13, 2015
Cover by: Hang Le

Synopsis:

She said I was like a song. Her favorite song. A song isn’t something you can see. It’s something you feel, something you move to, something that disappears after the last note is played.




I won my first fight when I was eleven years old, and I’ve been throwing punches ever since. Fighting is the purest, truest, most elemental thing there is. Some people describe heaven as a sea of unending white. Where choirs sing and loved ones await. But for me, heaven was something else. It sounded like the bell at the beginning of a round, it tasted like adrenaline, it burned like sweat in my eyes and fire in my belly. It looked like the blur of screaming crowds and an opponent who wanted my blood. 

For me, heaven was the octagon.

Until I met Millie, and heaven became something different. I became something different. I knew I loved her when I watched her stand perfectly still in the middle of a crowded room, people swarming, buzzing, slipping around her, her straight dancer’s posture unyielding, her chin high, her hands loose at her sides. No one seemed to see her at all, except for the few who squeezed past her, tossing exasperated looks at her unsmiling face. When they realized she wasn’t normal, they hurried away. Why was it that no one saw her, yet she was the first thing I saw?

      


If heaven was the octagon, then she was my angel at the center of it all, the girl with the power to take me down and lift me up again. The girl I wanted to fight for, the girl I wanted to claim. The girl who taught me that sometimes the biggest heroes go unsung and the most important battles are the ones we don’t think we can win.




**This is David ‘Tag’ Taggert's book, a supporting character introduced in The Law of Moses. This is a stand-alone story.


                    
                    VIDEO REVIEW!  ⬇⬇⬇




Excerpt
I stopped a foot from her and reached out, taking one of her hands in mine. “Do you like this song?” I asked. Obviously she did and obviously I was stupid.
 “I love this song.”
 “Me too,” I whispered. I reached for her other hand.
 “Accidental Babies.”
 “What?” I tugged her hands gently, and she took a step. I was so close now that the top of her head provided a shelf for my chin, and Damien’s song was being drowned out by the sound of my heart.
 “It’s another one of his songs. . . and I think I love it even more,” she whispered back.
 “But that song is so sad,” I breathed, and laid my cheek against her hair.
 “That’s what makes it beautiful. It’s devastating. I love it when a song devastates me.” Her voice was thready, as if she was struggling to breathe.
 “Ah, the sweet kind of suffering.” I dropped her hands and wrapped my arms around her.
 “The best kind.” Her voice hitched as our bodies aligned.
 “I’ve been suffering for a while now, Millie.”
 “You have?” she asked, clearly amazed.
 “Since the moment I saw you. It devastated me. And I love when a girl devastates me.” I was using her definition of the word, but the truth was, my sister was the only girl who had ever devastated me, and it hadn’t been sweet agony.  
 “I’ve never devastated anyone before,” Millie said faintly, shock and pleasure coloring her words. She still stood with her arms at her sides, almost like she couldn’t believe what was happening. But her lips hovered close to my jaw, as if she was enjoying the tension between almost and not quite.
 “I’m guessing you’ve left a wake of destruction,” I whispered. “You just don’t know.”
 Finally, as if she couldn’t resist any longer, she raised her hands to my waist. Trembling fingers and flat palms slid across my abdomen, up my chest, past my shoulders, progressing slowly as if she memorized as she moved. Then she touched my face and her thumbs found the cleft in my chin, the way they’d done the first time she’d traced my smile. Hesitantly, she urged my face down toward hers. A heartbeat before our mouths touched she spoke, and the soft words fluttered against my lips.
 “Are you going to devastate me, David?” she asked.
 “God, I hope not,” I prayed aloud.
 Anticipation dissolved the lingering space between us, and I pressed needy lips to her seeking mouth. And then we melded together, hands clinging, bodies surging, music moaning, dancing in the wreckage. Sweet, sweet, devastation.
 “Too late . . .” I thought I heard her whisper.     


               

Giveaway- $50 Amazon Gift Card
  Rafflecopter code: a Rafflecopter giveaway




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iTunes

About Amy:

Amy Harmon is a USA Today and New York Times Bestselling author. Amy knew at an early age that writing was something she wanted to do, and she divided her time between writing songs and stories as she grew. Having grown up in the middle of wheat fields without a television, with only her books and her siblings to entertain her, she developed a strong sense of what made a good story. Her books are now being published in several countries, truly a dream come true for a little country girl from Levan, Utah.

Amy Harmon has written seven novels - the USA Today Bestsellers, Making Faces and Running Barefoot, as well as Slow Dance in Purgatory, Prom Night in Purgatory, Infinity + One and the New York Times Bestseller, A Different Blue. Her newest release, The Law of Moses, is now available. For updates on upcoming book releases, author posts and more, join Amy at 
www.authoramyharmon.com

Website • Blog • Twitter • Facebook • Goodreads

Purchase links

The Song of David: Amazon US – Amazon UK – Amazon CA – Amazon AU – Barnes & Noble – Kobo – iTunes


Buy the song on iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/song-of-david-single/id998774568

Music & Lyrics by Amy Harmon and Paul Travis – Song of David: iTunes

Music Video:



Video teasers, music video and playlist links
· Teaser 1


 · Teaser 2

· Music video



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