CHARLOCK’S SECRET by LEAH MOYES BOOK BLITZ





Leah Moyes is from the sunny state of Arizona. She is a wife and a mother, a former teacher, and a coach with a background in Archaeology. She loves popcorn and seafood (though not together) and is slowly checking off her very long bucket list.  




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Desperate to hide, Kat flees. Now, trapped in time, her survival and return are threatened by her tortured heart.
Ensnared by hopelessness and grief, twenty-four-year-old Kat Shelton accepts a position as the curator of an old English estate with the sole purpose of running away from her memories and to bury life’s pain.

What she finds on her journey is much more than she bargained for—an arrogant employer, patronizing staff, and a chaotic system to name a few. Then to top it all off, an unforeseen tumble down the antiquated cellar steps brings her to a sudden halt.

Waking up in the year 1878, and mistaken for the children’s new governess, Kat scrambles to navigate nineteenth-century British lifestyle and culture. An impossible feat if it weren’t for the help of the Gilford girls and their charming and handsome brother, Merritt.


Will Kat find the strength, love and forgiveness she yearns for in the past? Or will her path bring her back to the reality she fears?

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Snippet:

“Katharine,” Lizzy continued, “these are a few of Merritt’s former classmates from Oxford. Each one has agreed to be your escort for a set.”
A cough camouflaged my gasps as I reached for her wrist, followed by a pathetic “excuse me” before I towed her away. Through the hall, we ended in the quiet solitude of the library. Fortunately, we were alone.
“What is the cause of this inconvenience?” She cried. Anger formed on her brow, possibly mixed with the heat of humiliation.
“Lizzy!” I wrung my hands together. “I—I . . .”
“What?” She demanded.
“I don’t know if I can do this . . .”
“Do what?” She shouted with frustration. I met her eyes pleadingly but struggled to share the actual reason for my panic. “What Katharine?” She repeated indignantly.
I bit the inside of my cheek and forced the tears to stop.
“Katharine!”
“I don’t know how to dance!”
The room fell silent. The red in her face vanished as she chuckled.
“Are you jesting?” She waited for me to confirm the joke.
“No.” I put my hands to my cheeks and dropped to the nearest sofa, defeated. 



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THE HOUSE OF BLOODSTEIN: MENTRALYSIS by REN GARCIA BOOK YOUTUBE READING BLITZ


There is a treasure hunt with the prizes being a $100 and $25 giveaway!
The Treasure Hunt Questions will be based on the videos on the Author’s YouTube Channel and you can answer the questions and find the YouTube links in the Rafflecopter at the bottom of this post.


Ren Garcia is a Science Fiction/Fantasy author and Texas native who grew up in western Ohio. He has been writing since before he could write, often scribbling alien lingo on any available wall or floor with assorted crayons. He attended The Ohio State University and majored in English Literature. 

Ren has been an avid lover of anything surreal since childhood. He also has a passion for caving, urban archaeology, taking pictures of clouds, and architecture. He currently lives in Columbus, Ohio with his wife, and their four dogs.


~ Website ~ YouTube ~
~ Amazon ~ 




They thought the episode with their cousin to the east, Lady Bloodstein, was over. They thought it was something to laugh about at the grand table in fond nostalgia. But they were wrong. They were so wrong. And Castle Blanchefort has fallen!

Lord Kabyl has lost everything: his wife, his kin, his family fortune, and his home. Castle Blanchefort, once a safe haven, is overrun with enemies seeking his blood.

In what follows, he must join forces with ancient enemies and with people who do not exist. He must treat with sinister, possibly untrustworthy gods and barter away his soul for urgently needed arcane help or face certain death at the hands of forgotten tyrants and their machinations from a bygone age.

And, how can a strange science known as Mentralysis, practiced in secret in the hidden places of the League, hold the key to ultimate victory?

What should have been obvious to Lord Kabyl from the start, at last, becomes crystal clear: Foolish is he who dares possess the Ultimate Object, for misery shall be his only reward.


YouTube Clip:



The answer to Treasure Hunt Question #1 and #2 are in the video above.
———————————————————————————-
Treasure Hunt Questions Chapter 5 – 6: 
(put your answers in the rafflecopter below)
( The $100 and $25 Rafflecopter Prizes are specifically for the Treasure Hunt Winner )

Chapter 5:–The Cult of Roethaba – https://youtu.be/URKs8cqt3s0
1: What branch of the Hospitalers does Jana del Lavi belong to?
A)—The Hopkins
B)—The Boblytes
C)—The Knickerbaums
D)—The Ephysians
E)—The Jones

2: Who invented “Mentralysis”?
A)—Vehelm of Waam
B)—Wilmer of Sorrander
C)—Queen Ghome of Trimble
D)—Lady Chrysania of Bloodstein
E)—Roethaba of George


Chapter 6:–The Infirmary  – https://youtu.be/5CZsC9G7aD8
1: Who’s stasis capsule display reads: ‘Feelin’ Fine’?
A)—Sam’s
B)—Lady Sarah’s
C)—Sebastian’s
D)—A Staff member

2: After speaking to Sam via Mentralysis, what did Kay do?
A)—He got angry
B)—He laughed
C)—He wept
D)—He passed out

See our Official Event Page for links to where you can find the rest of the Treasure Hunt Questions.


  
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GREAT SUMMER READS 2020, DAY 14, FEATURING AUTHOR ZINA ABBOTT #zinaabbott #lovingthebook



My name is Robyn Echols. Zina Abbott is the pen name I use for my American historical romance novels. I’m a member of Women Writing the West and Western Writers of America, and American Night Writers Association. I currently live with my husband in California’s central valley near the “Gateway to Yosemite.”
I love to read, quilt, work with digital images on my photo editing program, and work on my own family history.
I am a blogger. In addition to my own blog, I blog for several group blogs including the Sweet Americana Sweethearts blog, which I started and administer.


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Pinterest ~ Goodreads
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Roslyn Welsh is sent by stagecoach to Junction City to marry a man with whom her aunt and guardian, without Roslyn’s knowledge, had been corresponding. His requirements for a wife were that she must be at least twenty-one years of age with a family Bible for proof, and she must have no children. Only, Roslyn is not quite twenty-one, she has a baby, and her aunt has no intention of sending the family Bible with her. The marriage prospect turns into a disaster. Stuck in a strange town with no money, she is told there is no work for a decent woman with a baby. To allow herself time to figure what to do with her future, Roslyn accepts an offer to ride the stagecoach to the Ellsworth B.O.D. Stagecoach station to help the stationmaster’s wife.
        Elam Stewart survived the American Civil War, but his left leg from above the knee down did not. With no home to return to and realizing there are very few people willing to hire a man with only one good leg, he’s convinced he has no future. While working as a day laborer in the local Junction City livery, he becomes intrigued by a visitor named Ross who is anxious to spend time with the horses. Elam discovers Ross’s secret. Then he learns where Ross intends to seek work. Even though he does not have a future, he does have a Spencer repeating rifle. He can have a purpose.
        Roslyn and Elam ride the same stagecoach to the Ellsworth Station on the Kansas frontier. Between resentments among the stock tenders, difficulties with animals that pass through the station, and the threat of attacks by the Cheyenne Native Americans, is there a future for Roslyn and Elam at the station? Or will their future take them on another stagecoach ride away from Ellsworth?
        Please look for my other two books in the Widows, Brides & Secret Babies series, Mail Order Lorena and Mail Order Penelope, that will be published this summer. The three stories are related and part or all of them involve  the stagecoaches and stations on the Kansas frontier in the late 1860s.


~ Universal Amazon Link
     




Top Ten List:

1.  My faith and attending Church
2.  My family
3.  Writing
4.  Reading books
5.  Dark chocolate (There is a symbiotic relationship between 3, 4, & 5)
6.  Road trips with my husband
7.  Attending writing conventions (6 & 7 are also related)
8.  Quilting
9.  Digital photo-editing
10.  Genealogy




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GREAT SUMMER READS 2020, DAY 13, FEATURING AUTHOR NICHOLE GILES #nicholegiles #lovingthebook




Nichole Giles, author of the Descendant trilogy, and the Water So Deep series, has lived in Nevada, Arizona, Utah, and Texas. 

She is a fan of all things paranormal and magical, and her dreams include raising a garden full of fairies, riding a unicorn, and taming the pet dragon she adopted at a local Convention. 

She loves to spend time with her grown children and two grand-babies, travel to tropical and exotic destinations, drive with her convertible top down—even when it rains—and play music at full volume so she can sing along.





Caspian is looking for his mother. Snatched from the beach as a child and raised as a half-breed Mer-Prince in the long-lost city of Atlantis, his turn to rule is coming fast. Caspian learns that the Mer in Oceania have found a method to visit land—a practice forbidden in Atlantis—and later return to the sea. Unfortunately, the “magic” method involves poison so potent that only half-breeds with undamaged lungs can survive it. When his Sea King father forces Caspian’s engagement to a mermaid he can’t stand, Caspian decides it’s time to go in search of his human roots, and the woman who gave him life.

Elise has nothing left to lose, except the house she grew up in and a beat-up classic car her father had intended to restore. While her friends leave home for college and abroad, she’s stuck waitressing at The Sea Turtle, begging for enough hours to pay her power bill, and using her lunch breaks to place flowers on her parents’ graves. Not only is she not looking for love—she’s not even looking for friendship. Loss is something she knows too much of, and she can’t survive any more. But when she finds a mysterious stranger wandering the cemetery, she takes pity on the pathetic soul and brings him to her work where she can feed him a solid meal.

The innocent meeting turns into an unbreakable bond, and sets off a chain of events that leaves them both questioning their place in the world—be it land or sea—and discovering just how essential love and family can be.  

~ Universal Amazon Link
     




Top Ten List:

10 Random Facts about Nichole Giles

1.I am the oldest of eleven children: two biological sisters, four biological brothers, and four step-brothers. 
2.I don’t like to read books that don’t involve some kind of romance, kissing scenes included.
3.I must have lived during the regency period in a past life, because I love corset-style dresses and costumes. For Halloween, I’ll probably dress up, even though my kids won’t. 
4.My favorite food in the world is steamed snow crab. Even better if it’s Cajun spiced!
5.Whenever I struggle with creating or writing, I like to go for a drive with my convertible top down. I’ve even been known to do this with snow flurries in the air. 
6.Nichole’s ultimate dream house: on a white-sand beach, with lots of windows, palm trees in the yard, a huge patio, and within walking distance to a number of friends’ homes. Also near great shopping. It should also have a dedicated library where I can write.
7.I have a growing collection of fairies and mermaids. Statues, paintings, miniatures, etc. I love to be surrounded by fantastical creatures.
8.When I was in high school in Arizona, my friends and I haunted a local hangout, where I became highly proficient at playing, and winning, air hockey. 
9.During my junior year, I had the opportunity to go to New York with my choir, where we sang in Carnegie Hall. We also toured the city, largely without supervision. #shenanigans
10.I have kissed a stingray, petted a shark, high-fived a sea otter, and hugged a dolphin, and spied seahorses and lobsters in the wild, but I have never wrestled an alligator or tried to housebreak a lion—and I don’t think I ever will. 
Thanks for hanging out with me for ten random facts. You can learn more about me and my books at www.nicholegiles.blogspot.com




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GREAT SUMMER READS 2020, DAY 12, FEATURING AUTHOR DONNA HATCH #donnahatch #lovingthebook




Multi-award-winning author of 25 best-selling Regency Historical Romances, Donna Hatch is a hopeful romantic and an adventurer at heart. Each book she writes is filled with wit and heart and plenty of swoon-worthy romance. Donna sings, plays the harp, and loves to ballroom dance. Her family, including six children and two cats, recently left their native Arizona for the Pacific coast of the US. No matter where they live, she and her husband of over twenty years are proof that there truly is a happily ever after.



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The widowed Elise is a perfect English lady living within the confines of society for the sake of her impressionable young son. Her quiet world is shattered when she meets the impulsive and scandalous Jared Amesbury. His roguish charm awakens her yearning for adventure. But his irrepressible grin and sea-green eyes hide a secret.

A gentleman by day, a pirate by night, Jared must complete one last assignment from the Secret Service before he can be truly free. Elise gives him hope that he, too, can find love and belonging. His hopes are crushed when his best laid plans go awry and Elise is dragged into his world of violence and deceit. She may not survive the revelation of Jared’s past…or still love him when the truth is revealed.

The Guise of a Gentleman is a wholesome Regency Romance, a.k.a. “clean” that explores finding one’s true self, loyalty, honor, and trusting loved ones. With plenty of swashbuckling action, it provides a several good twists that play off of familiar situations and proudly proclaims the redemptive power of love. 



Top Ten List:

Donna’s Top 10 Favorite Things to do in the Summer
1. Go for long walks with a friend
2. Have a tea party
3. Go to the beach
4. Build sandcastles
5. Watch the sunset
6. Visit gardens
7. Make ice cream
8. Hike with my family
9. Play miniature golf
10. Read a good book
 (Actually, I love doing most of these in the winter, too.)





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GREAT SUMMER READS 2020, DAY 11, FEATURING AUTHOR KARLIE LUCAS #karlielucas #lovingthebook




Karlie Lucas is a school crossing guard by day and a writer/artist by night. 

A graduate of Southern Utah University, Karlie received a B.A. in Creative Writing, with a minor in art. She is a member of Sigma Tau Delta, The International English Honor Society, SCBWI, as well as ANWA, the American Night Writers Association.
Karlie is interested in all things magical and mysterious, especially elves and dragons. She is an avid fan of J.R.R. Tolkien and J.K. Rowling.

When not writing, Karlie can often be found drawing, baking, watching her favorite old school shows, or just spending time with her family.

She currently resides in Dallas, Texas with her husband and a cat named Kally. 

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 For hundreds of years, the gates of Tarragon have been sealed from the outside. Prophecy speaks of the day the last Key Keeper will return and wake the dragons from their spell-cast slumber, returning them to their rightful home.


Seeking to fulfill her father’s dying wish, Anwen Porter travels to the Drakonii Mountains where she meets Tyler, a mysterious local with a secret. With his help, she learns more about her clouded past and her own abilities. But when Courtney, a lovesick mage, tries to insert herself into their plans, things begin to go horribly wrong.
With death threatening at every turn, Anwen must learn to rely on her newfound friends to survive. 

~ Universal Amazon Link
     




Top Ten List:

Top Ten People I would like to meet.
1. J.R.R. Tolkien. I mean, who wouldn’t want to meet the “father” of fantasy?
2. J.K. Rowling. If she can make it with an oddball fantasy series, surely I can too, and I’d love to pick her brain about that.
3. Joan of Ark – I think her life story is just fascinating.
4. C.S. Lewis – He was an amazing writer. Can’t imagine what life would be like without Narnia.
5. Robin McKinley – She’s always been one of my fave fantasy authors. I have a few bones to pick though, about hinted stories that never got written.
6. Mark Twain – He seems like he’d have been a great guy to know.
7. Albert Einstein – Would love to meet the man who contributed so much to how we see the world.
8. King Charlemagne – An ancestor on both sides of the family, I understand he was one of the first people to instigate a public education system for his people. That, and he had some really cool things happen in his life. 
9. Harrison Ford – He’s one of my fave actors of all time. He’s just awesome.
10. Danny Kaye – Another childhood favorite actor, I think Danny and I would have gotten along swimmingly. That, and the fact that he sang like a dream, even though he couldn’t read a note of music.




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GREAT SUMMER READS 2020, DAY 10, FEATURING AUTHOR BECCA MCCULLOCH #beccamcculloch #lovingthebook




Becca McCulloch is a wife, mother, professor, and writer but rarely in that order (if in any order at all). At night, she transitions from mild-mannered educator into mild-mannered artist, writing about LDS (Mormon) issues in a modern and complex world. In 2016, she won the Storymakers’ First Chapter Contest/General Fiction category. In 2019, her novel, Hermana, was named the General Fiction category winner for the LDS Publishers Media Association.


Becca resides in Utah with her husband, 2 children, Great Dane, two cats, and a pesky, yet friendly raccoon that won’t leave the outdoor shed.




WINNER! 2019 general fiction book of the year from the LDS Publishers Media Association.


Bookish and street-smart Lannie Lewis wants to be more than the child of a broken home who flunked out of music school. Full-time mission service will carry her away from the problems with her dad and immerse her hands in the work of God, or, it would if she’d stop hiding in the bathroom and wishing the island had better bug spray. When a disaster transforms her mission into a world of peril and overwhelming need, she will have to learn to hear the Lord’s voice for herself, even if it means she stands against the crowd. 

~ Universal Amazon Link
     




Top Ten List:

1. I won my first writing award at age 17 for a fictional letter Eliza Hamilton wrote her husband.
2. I kissed a senior boy under the mistletoe when I was a freshman. It was my first kiss.
3. I’m a foster mom (and I love it). I’ve mothered 9 children, though most don’t live with me anymore.
4. I was friends with a man later killed by the CIA (true, I promise)
5. I worked for nearly a decade as a dietitian at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.
6. I’ve always been politically active. In 1984, I refused to go to bed until the election for President was decided.
7. I have a lot of pets. We are one bunny away from being a petting zoo.
8. I can’t grow plants. Indoor, outdoor, annual, perennial – I’ve killed them all.
9. I met my husband on an LDS dating site.
10. Like Lannie in Hermana, my mission was interrupted by a natural disaster (a hurricane).




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GREAT SUMMER READS 2020, DAY 9, FEATURING AUTHOR REN GARCIA #rengarcia #lovingthebook






REN GARCIA, is a Science Fiction/Fantasy author and Texas native who grew up in western Ohio. He has been writing since before he could write, often scribbling alien lingo on any available wall or floor with assorted crayons.

He attended The Ohio State University and majored in English Literature. Ren has been an avid lover of anything surreal since childhood, he also has a passion for caving, urban archeology and architecture.

His books are published by Loconeal Publishing and include: The League of Elder: Sygillis of Metatron, The Hazards of the Old Ones, The Dead Held Hands, The Machine, and The Temple of the Exploding Head. LoE Book VI: Sands of the Solar Empire was released in July, 2012 and Book VII: “Against the Druries” was released in 2013. His next set of books,  “The Shadow tech Goddess” was released in 2014 with the most recent book, Stenibelle, released in June 2015.

 He currently lives in Columbus, Ohio with his wife, and their three dogs.


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Starfarers and explorers, the League settled on Kana thousands of years ago. They found it to be a paradise, a perfect, virtually uninhabited planet waiting just for them in the cradle of space.

Lovely Kana … it was too good to be true …
But, all was not as it seemed. Simmering beneath the ground was a demented god who had soaked Kana in blood for untold ages, luring in victims, lying to them, and rejoicing in their suffering as they died at the hands of his dark angels.
And there will be blood again … From his Temple in the ground, the Horned God stirs.
When Lord Kabyl of Blanchefort, a young man troubled by the weight of the world, dares give his heart to a girl from a mysterious ancient household, one that pre-dates the League itself, he comes to know the shadows of the past that hover over her.

He comes to know of the Horned God, and for love he is destined to face him. All roads lead to the Temple of the Exploding Head, a place of evil and death, rooted in the ancient past, but also tied to the distant future.   




Top Ten List:

10:  Ren was once engaged to a woman 25 years his elder.
9:    Ren visited New York City and admired the World Trade Center towers just a month or so before the tragedy of 9/11.
8:    The FBI once put a gun in Ren’s face.
7:    Bad hearts run in Ren’s family. He’s already outlived most of his paternal grandfathers, all of whom died in their 30’s.
6:    Ren’s poor eyesight went undiagnosed until he was in the 3rd grade. Up until that point, he was considered “mentally challenged”.
5:    Ren broke his neck playing volleyball in college.
4:    Ren often sleeps on the floor, finding it more comfortable than the bed.
3:    Ren was once held at gunpoint and frisked by the guards of the Prince of Saudi Arabia.
2:    Ren was introduced to his wife via Match Makers International.
1:    In a vast extended family of exclusively brown-eyed people, Ren somehow managed to get blue eyes.   




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GREAT SUMMER READS 2020, DAY 8, FEATURING AUTHOR CAS PEACE #caspeace #lovingthebook




Cas lives in the lovely county of Hampshire, southern UK, where she was born. On leaving school she trained for two years before qualifying as horse-riding instructor. During this time she also learned to carriage-drive. She spent thirteen years in the British Civil Service before moving to Rome, Italy, where she and her husband, Dave, lived for three years. They enjoy returning whenever they can. Cas supports many animal charities and owns two rescue dogs. She has a large collection of cacti and loves gardening. She is also a folk singer/songwriter and is currently writing and recording nine folk-style songs to accompany each of her fantasy books. You can listen to and download all the songs from her website: www.caspeace.com 

See the video of her performing live at the King’s Envoy book launch here: http://www.caspeace.com/cas-peace/the-wheel-will-turn



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Taran Elijah’s quest for knowledge uncovers a plot that threatens the world…

Desperate to learn how to control his innate Artesan powers, Taran embarks on a foolhardy plan to acquire the teaching he craves. The military backlash his action unleashes forces Albia’s High King to send Major Sullyan as an envoy to the Fifth Realm. But a dark and treacherous power is moving through the realms and all will feel its influence.

Captured and tortured by the power-hungry Lord Rykan, Sullyan is trapped in Andaryon. Aided by the unlikeliest sources, the major formulates a plan to defeat Rykan and end his quest for the throne. But Sullyan’s strength is fading fast and time is running out. The only thing that can save her is Rykan’s mysterious Staff, which lies buried in the ruins of Taran’s cellar.

Sullyan’s lover, Robin Tamsen, sets out to recover the artefact, but the enemy is two steps ahead of him. If Robin fails to secure the Staff, Sullyan’s life, the Artesan craft, and the very existence of their world is under threat.


Review:
“Cas Peace’s Artesans of Albia trilogy immediately sweeps you away:  the drama starts with King’s Envoy, continues unabated in King’s Champion, and climaxes in King’s Artesan, yet each volume is complete, satisfying.  The Artesan series  propels you into a world so deftly written that you see, feel, touch, and even smell each twist and turn. These nesting novels are evocative, hauntingly real. Smart. Powerful. Compelling. The trilogy teems with finely drawn characters, heroes and villains and societies worth knowing; with stories so organic and yet iconic you know you’ve found another home—in Albia. So start reading now. I, for one, can’t wait to find out what will happen next.

Janet E Morris: Bestselling Author of The Sacred Band of Stepsons seriesthe Dream Dancer series; I, the Sun; Outpassage; The Silistra Quartet;and editor of the Bangsian In Hell seriesFamed contributor to the shared universe fantasy series, Thieves World.


  
~ Universal Amazon Link
     

  


Top Ten List:

1) Anthing to do with animals, especially dogs and horses. My favorite horse breed is the Friesian, which is why I put one in my novels. I also own two rescue dogs and support many animal charities.
2) Singing, especially folk-style songs. I also sing in my local church choir.
3) Chocolate!!
4) Dragons and (I have to admit!) unicorns. I have collected figurines and statues of dragons and unicorns since I was small and have a vast collection, some of which live outdoors. But I don’t like “twee”, only ones that look like they could be real.
5) Reading, especially fantasy and sci-fi.
6) Country walks.
7)All wildlife, especially butterflies. I used to breed and release UK varieties, and belong to the Butterfly Conservation Society.
8) Did I mention chocolate?
9) Spending time with family members.
10) Playing my bodhran (Irish drum). I can’t read music so decided to take up drumming instead! It’s fun and very theraputic.





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GREAT SUMMER READS 2020, DAY 7, FEATURING AUTHOR WENDY LEIGHTON-PORTER #WLP_author #lovingthebook



A graduate of Exeter University in the early 1980s, I spent 20 years as a teacher of French, Latin and Classical studies, before a change of career led me to writing children’s fiction. Currently residing in Abu Dhabi, I live with my husband and our beautiful Tonkinese cat.

The Shadow of Atlantis is the first in a series of time-travel adventures, featuring 3 children and a rather special cat called Max. I’m now working on the 17th book, The Shadow of the Great Fire. The series also includes several novellas that feature Max the talking Tonkinese cat undertaking solo adventures. As I take my young readers on a magical mystery tour through the past, I’m hoping that my love of history, myth and legend will rub off on them too. 


Book 16 of the Shadows from the Past is a solo adventure for the feline hero of the series, Max the talking Tonkinese cat. The story is set in 1651, during the English Civil War:

The rightful King of England is on the run. With a price on his head and in fear for his life, Charles Stuart is desperate to escape his pursuers, the Parliamentarians who executed his father. A rich reward has been offered for his capture and everyone is on the lookout for the young man. Nowhere is safe. How will he ever manage to flee the country without help?
Never fear – the Guardians of Time have a Special Agent lined up for the job … but he just so happens to be a cat!



~ Universal Amazon Link
     

This book is FREE on Amazon today 9 June 2020


Top Ten List:

TOP 10 FAVOURITE BOOKS (in no particular order)
1. The Wind in the Willows – Kenneth Grahame. This is my all-time favourite book from my childhood. Mr Toad was my hero!
2. The Jeeves and Wooster complete series – P. G. Wodehouse. The master  of comedy, Wodehouse’s lightness of touch appears effortless and these books are wonderfully funny. I love them so much that I even named one of my cats after the character of Bertie Wooster!
3. Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen. As relevant today as it was when it was written, this has to be one of the greatest classics ever. Austen’s incisive observations and witty dialogue are timeless… and who wouldn’t love Mr Darcy?
4. The Silver Pigs – Lindsey Davies. The first book in an entertaining detective series set in Ancient Rome, featuring the amiable private investigator Marcus Didius Falco. This was my favourite in the series.
5. The Daughter of Time – Josephine Tey. I first read this as a teenager and it remains one of my favourite mystery stories of all time. It also introduced me to the story of Richard III and the fate of the princes in the Tower – the subject of one of my own books, The Shadow of the Two Princes.
6. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone – J. K. Rowling. I remember when this book first came out – there was so much marketing and hype before it even appeared in the shops that I was intrigued to find out what all the fuss was about. I was bowled over by the great story, but also because all the little details are so clever.
7. The Winter King – Thomas Penn. A non-fiction masterpiece that is a must for all history buffs, this account of the reign of King Henry VII won the accolade of History Book of the Year when it was published. I love this author’s work. Thomas Penn presents history in such an engaging way that I find his books difficult to put down.
8. The Brothers York – Thomas Penn. By the same author as above, this compelling historical documentary recounts the lives of King Edward IV, the Duke of Clarence and the infamous Richard III, three brothers of the House of York, one of the two rival factions during the Wars of the Roses.
9. Sovereign – C. J. Sansom. I have read all of C. J. Sansom’s historical novels featuring the sleuthing lawyer, Matthew Shardlake. This book is the third in the series, but it was the first one I read and maybe that’s why it remains my favourite. Set during the reign of the notoriously cruel Henry VIII, the narrative is gripping but also terrifying – so much so that it actually gave me nightmares after reading it. However, the intelligent and compassionate humanity of the protagonist lifts the story out of the mire of Tudor brutality. Being a fast reader, I love novels that I can lose myself in for a long time and, at 688 pages, this is a satisfyingly big, fat wedge of a book!
10. The Odyssey – Homer. From the father of Greek storytelling, this epic is the ultimate adventure –  even though the tale is thousands of years old, it remains fresh and exciting.





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