Katharina Luther: Nun, Rebel, Wife by Anne Boileau

I have received a free e-copy of the book “Katharina Luther: Nun, Rebel, Wife” by Anne Boileau to review. Being asked to review this brought back a memory from my childhood that I will share with you. I muddled up Martin Luther and Martin Luther King in my schoolwork. Two famous figures with similar names, but that is as close as it gets. Anyhow, on with the book review.

Katharine Luther by Anne Boileau

Here is the book blurb.

On 31st October 1517 Martin Luther pinned ninety-five theses on the Castle Church door, Wittenberg, criticising the Church of Rome; they were printed and published by Lucas Cranach and caused a storm. Nine young nuns, intoxicated by Luther’s subversive writings, became restless and longed to leave their convent. On Good Friday 1523 a haulier smuggled them out hidden in empty herring barrels. Five of them settled in Wittenberg, the very eye of the storm, and one of them – Katharina von Bora – scandalised the world by marrying the revolutionary former monk. Following a near miscarriage, she is confined to her bed to await the birth of their first child; during this time of enforced rest, she sets down her own story. Against a backdrop of 16th Century Europe this strikingly realised account of the early life of Katharina von Bora brings to the spotlight this spirited and courageous woman.

A timely and compelling new study of a woman whose story is not widely known in the English-speaking world,Katharina Luther: Nun, Rebel, Wife will captivate fans of the likes of Philippa Gregory and Hilary Mantel, and is set to fascinate, enlighten and leave readers hooked until the very last page.

This book is set in Germany in the 16th century at the time of the Protestant Reformation which was initiated by Martin Luther. The book is in the format of a diary by Katharina Luther, written whilst she is confined to her room in the last weeks of her pregnancy. Her journal begins with her childhood, sent to a convent at age 9 and soon afterwards, one of the sisters confiscates her stuffed mole. At age 15, Katharina becomes a novice.

One of the nuns then received an illicit copy of Luther’s translation of the Bible which a few of the younger nuns including Katharina took turns to read in secret for 4 weeks until sister Charity discovered them reading in German rather than Latin. Over 6 years after becoming a nun, Katharina realises she wants to escape the convent and see what is happening outside.

There are a small group of young nuns who feel the same and they write a letter to Dr Luther for help, as it is his writing which has said monks and nuns should be allowed to forsake their vows. 6 weeks later they get a reply, instructing them to get in the empty herring barrels on Good Friday. And thus they escape, some returning to their families but the other five including Katharina carrying on to Dr Luther in Wittenberg.

There Frau Reichenbach helps them adapt to the noisy secular world. Herr and Frau Cranach take in Ave and Katharina as house daughters. Ave leaves to marry Basilius. In due course, Katharina has a suitor, Hieronymous Baumgartner but as a runaway nun she is not considered suitable by his parents. She next receives a marriage proposal from an elderly pastor, Dr Glatz whom she turns down.

Then she receives another marriage proposal by proxy from Dr Luther via Herr Cranach. She meets him (see extract below) and agrees to marry. An ex-monk and an ex-nun. After her marriage, she tries unsuccessfully to reconcile with her father and step-mother. However her Aunt Lena comes to live with her following the closure of the convent. And her diary ends with the birth of her son.

I used to read a lot of historical fiction and really enjoyed revisiting this genre. A nice read.


Here’s an extract to give you a taster of the story.

From Chapter 13 ­– The Storks’ Nest
Dr Luther asked Lucas Cranach to convey a proposal of marriage to Katharina on his behalf. It seems he did not have the courage to ask her himself. Katharina is now going to see him, having written him a note, and he then invited her to come up to his study.

I counted the steps as I went up, stopping now and then to catch my breath. Sixty three. I tip-toed along the corridor carrying my shoes so he wouldn’t hear my footsteps. Though he must surely hear my thumping heart! The door to his study was shut. I stood still before it and tried to steady my breathing, to slow down my heart. My bodice was too tight, the laces cutting into my chest. My armpits were damp and prickling. I got a hanky out of my pocket and wiped my sweaty face. ‘Come on, you stupid girl, what are you waiting for?’ I raised my right fist and rapped on the door.

“Come in.”

He stands up as I enter and walks towards me, his hands outstretched. He takes my hands in his and we stand facing each other in silence for what seems like several minutes. Then he leads me to a chair and I sit down. I tell my heart to slow down. My breathing is steadier now.

The great man seems rather shy. Can he really be nervous of me, a young woman of no consequence? He sits down behind the desk and runs his fingers through his hair. Then he twists away from me and points out of the window at a heap of sticks on a chimney.

“You see the stork? She’s sitting on a clutch. That bodes well, you know, for the coming year.”

“Yes, we have a pair at the Cranach House too, though we can’t see the nest so close.”

“Lovely birds. Where do they disappear to in winter do you suppose?”

“I really wouldn’t know, Herr Doktor. Somewhere warmer, I should think.”

“Yes, no doubt. They fly south, that much we know.”

He turned back to look at me, then looked away again, cleared his throat and shifted some papers about on his desk. Eventually, with averted eyes, he said:
“Fräulein von Bora, you received my message, from Herr Cranach?”

“I did.”

“And might I ask if you have had a chance to think about it?”

I looked past him through the window at the birds’ nest, and just then the other stork arrived, landing awkwardly on the heap of sticks. It was change of shift for the brooding pair. I thought about my prayers to Jesus, about my asking him for a sign. Was this His sign to me that it was all right? A pair of birds, raising their chicks, living and working together, in harmony and mutual affection. Yes, Jesus couldn’t have sent a clearer sign, a more apt way of telling me that this was the road for me to take. That I should indeed accept his proposal and build a nest with him, on our metaphorical chimney, like those long legged birds outside his window.

“I have thought about it. I have prayed too.”

“We can make no decision without the help of Our Lord. So let me ask you again, Fräulein, after your thoughts and sleep, after your prayers and supplications, what decision have you come to? Would this young beautiful one-time nun be prepared to marry this middle-aged ugly, difficult one-time monk?”

“I think so. Yes, I think she might be. Be prepared to, I mean.”

“But you’re not sure. I’m not an easy man. I think you know that already.”

He looks at me with such anxiety and tenderness, I see a yearning in his eyes which I have never seen before. And all of a sudden I hear myself talking with a fluency quite new to me, I hear words spilling out of my mouth almost before they take shape in my head.

“Herr Doktor. I have had reservations, I must admit. I have been wrestling with my conscience. After all, as you know, I took my vows when I was fifteen, I became a Bride of Christ. Then I became disillusioned, partly because of reading your sermons and letters. So with eight other nuns I abandoned my husband, the dear Lord Christ, and we ran away from the convent. I broke my vow of Obedience. I have suffered a heavy conscience about that for two whole years. Now, I find myself weighing up the possibility of yet another betrayal of our Lord, by promising to marry you. That would entail my breaking a second vow made to Christ, the vow of chastity. And you, Dr Luther, you were a monk and you have broken your vows. Is it not sinful for a monk to marry a nun? I’ve heard it said that any children born of such a union are evil, cursed, even monsters. You asked me about my reservations. I have done my best to explain.”

“Dear Fräulein von Bora, I understand entirely what you feel and I would worry if you didn’t find it necessary to examine your conscience on such a grave matter. But let me explain about celibacy and what I see as God’s attitude to our sexuality. God made women in such a way that they are able to bear children and give them milk to suck. He also made men long for the comfort and company of women. This is natural. God wants what is natural. As I said, He created men and women to be together in marriage, and what happens in the marriage bed is as natural as eating and drinking….”


About Anne Boileau

Anne Boileau (also known as Polly Clarke) lives in Essex. She studied German in Munich and worked as interpreter and translator before turning to language-teaching in England. She also holds a degree in Conservation and Land Management from Anglia University and has written and given talks on various aspects of conservation. Now she shares, writes and enjoys poetry; her work has appeared in a number of anthologies and magazines; she has also won some awards, including First Prize with Grey Hen Press, 2016. She translates modern German poetry into English with Camden Mews Translators and was Chair of Suffolk Poetry Society from 2011 to 2014.

This book will be published on 4th October and you may purchase on Amazon.


I’m participating in the book tour and you may like to check out some of the other blog stops on the tour.

Katharine Luther by Anne Boileau

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Disclosure.  This post is a review of an e-book I was sent for free.  All opinions are my own.

A trio of Italian starters

To Tuscany Villas have challenged bloggers to come up with a Tuscan-inspired recipe, using typical flavours and influences from Italy. Regular readers of my blog will know that I love a recipe challenge and Facebook memories have just reminded me this week that it is a year since I was at the Dorchester receiving my award for British Turkey 2015 best blogger recipe.

Although I’ve never visited Tuscany yet, I’ve enjoyed plenty of tasty Tuscan food at Italian restaurants. Some of its food and drink are irresistible. Just imagine a delicious Tuscan bean soup, followed by wild boar sausages and then gelato. Of course, served with a bottle of Chianti. Yummy.

However I only got invited to participate in this challenge yesterday, just one day before the closing date, with not a lot of time to come up with my recipe or to source my ingredients. So I’ve passed on pasta, beans, Chianti, olives and ice cream. Instead I’ve opted for a trio of Italian starters using tomatoes, peppers, olive oil, mozzarella, basil and ciabatta.

Italian starters


My first dish is an Italian Tomato and Bread Salad. Although I have blogged my Chinese variant on this previously, I hadn’t shared my Italian version. This recipe is my competition entry, but keep reading for two more recipes to compliment the theme.

Tomato and Bread Salad

Tomato and Bread Salad

Ingredients (serves 4 – 6)

600g mixed tomatoes
200g ciabatta bread, preferably stale
6 tbsp olive oil
salt
pepper
5g fresh basil

Method

Cut the ciabatta into pieces and put aside to dry out. If necessary, toast slightly in the oven.
Chop the tomatoes into pieces and put in a large serving bowl.
Season with salt and pepper.
Add the bread and mix together.
Stir in the olive oil. Add extra if necessary.
Shred the basil and stir in.
Serve and enjoy.

Tomato and Bread Salad

Secondly, I decided to do a twist on the stuffed olives you see in every supermarket deli. Instead I have made my own stuffed peppers. I grilled the peppers to bring out the best flavour, but alternatively you could make this using raw mini peppers.
Cheese Stuffed Peppers

Cheese Stuffed Mini Peppers

Ingredients (serves 3 – 4)

250g mini sweet peppers
150g cream cheese

Method

Cut the ends off the peppers and remove the seeds.
Place on grill pan rack and cook under a pre-heated moderate grill for about 5 minutes until starting to soften.
Turn and grill on other side, again for about 5 minutes until starting to soften.
Allow to cool.
Using a teaspoon, fill peppers with cream cheese.
Serve and enjoy.

Cheese Stuffed Peppers


And lastly, although I had half an unused ciabatta loaf left, I thought one bread dish would be sufficient, but if you’re keen to know how to make bruschetta, you may see my recipe here. However you can never have too many tomatoes in Italian cooking, so I made a Tomato and Mozzarella Salad.
Tomato and Mozzarella Salad

Tomato and Mozzarella Salad

Ingredients (serves 2 – 3)

125g mozzarella
100g tomatoes
fresh basil leaves to garnish

Method

Cut the mozzarella into slices.
Slice the tomato.
Arrange mozzarella and tomato on a plate in an alternating pattern.
Garnish with basil leaves.
Serve and enjoy.

Mozzarella and Tomato Salad

It was just too Autumnal to eat al fresco today, but I am imagining enjoying these dishes along with a glass of Chianti outside one of the gorgeous villas in Tuscany, a region I would love to visit.

I’d love to hear your favourite Italian recipes.

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Disclosure: This is my entry for the To Tuscany Blogger Recipe Competition and I want to win a week in one of your Tuscany villas! Participants will have a one in ten chance of winning. Other entrants will receive a hamper of Chianti goodies.

Animated Videos including giveaway

Three years ago after his leukaemia diagnosis, whilst son1 was an in-patient at hospital, he attended the school-room there when he felt up to it. One of the things he got to do, was to make a short animated video on their iPad. He found this great fun, so was very pleased when we recently got the opportunity to review something fairly similar for free, namely the stop motion video HUE Animation Studio kit.

HUE Animation Studio

The animation studio kit includes a HUE HD camera, which you can choose to purchase in either red, green or blue. There is also the HUE Book of Animation, a HUE Animation software cd, USB cable plus the box converts into a background for your films if you wish.

Even with the instructions in the book, I did experience some technical difficulties installing the software on my son’s pc. However the support team at HUE were very helpful in getting us up and running.

HUE Animation Studio

Son1 decided he wanted to make a Lego video first. Although he took loads of images, it’s very short, so don’t blink otherwise you may miss it.

Okay it is a bit out of focus, but this was his first attempt. He’s off to read the book before making his next video, to find out tips on how to add sound, since the camera also includes a microphone.

HUE Animation Studio

If you wish to see a clearer promotional video, take a look here.

The HUE Animation Studio kit currently retails at £49.95 and is aimed at children age 6-13. It would make a great Christmas gift in my opinion as it is both fun and educational. And son1 says it is awesome.

And I’m hosting a rafflecopter competition to giveaway a HUE Animation Studio kit to 1 lucky winner. comper friendly badge

a Rafflecopter giveaway – Please click on the link to enter.

And you may see my other giveaways here.

I’d love to hear your favourite animated film or cartoon.

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Disclosure. This post is a review of a product I was sent for free. All opinions are my own.

For the Love of Grace by Andy Blackman

I have received a free e-copy of the book “For The Love of Grace” by Andy Blackman to review.

For The Love of Grace by Andy Blackman

Here is the book blurb.

Grace Backer had a life full of tragedy. But despite everything, she raised her son, Tom, with her secret intact. Tom is a prodigal child, destined to escape the slums of the East End of London for a better life; circumstances will make him flee his loving mother and their home much sooner than expected. Tom starts a new life in Odessa, Russia, and with the help of new-found friends starts a business. At last, he is finally accepted into a new and loving family, but one which holds its own dark secrets. A chance meeting with the son of a duke of the realm leads to close friendship and a new business partnership. When Tom decides to move his company to London and have his regal new friend run it, the firm thrives. However, not everything is as it seems, and Tom’s business soon conceals dangerous secrets of its own. Years later, when Tom finally decides to return to London, he is a wanted man, one hunted by the intelligence agencies. If he is finally to be reunited with his beloved mother and his best friend, he must fight to put the past behind him. But keeping secrets is never easy.

A nurse during World War Two, Grace Backer had an early life full of tragedy. But despite everything, she had her young son Tom whom she raised with her dark secrets intact. So when the police come knocking on her door, telling her that Tom has been accused of murder, she refuses to believe it and instead helps her teenage boy escape from East London on a cargo ship bound for Russia. Heartbroken, Grace fears she will never see her son again, but she knows that she’s done all she can to help him embark on a new and prosperous life.

After meeting an ambitious Russian called Sebastian on the journey East, Tom quickly becomes embroiled in his new friend’s family haulage business, even falling for the charms of his sister Natasha. As years pass, and with memories of his mother and childhood fading, Tom feels like he’s finally building a secure new life in Odessa, enjoying success, marriage and even welcoming a young daughter. But all that comes crashing down after a bomb explosion at one of their factories which sets of a sequence of events that expose Tom to the unscrupulous side of the “family business”. Under the guidance of Uncle Vlad, Tom is dragged down a violent path of revenge which has devastating consequences; after an assassination goes wrong his family become the unintended, tragic victims.

From Odessa to Belize, Tom’s thirst for revenge cannot be quenched, and he gains a reputation amongst top intelligence agencies as a cold-blooded assassin. Only through an unlikely new friendship is he able to slip back into London to carry out his last hit, reunite with his mother and fight to put the past behind him. But keeping secrets has never been easy.

Explosive, fast-paced and with vivid and complex characters, the first in Blackman’s series, For the Love of Grace, is the perfect next read for modern crime thriller fans.

The book starts by introducing Tom in the current time. We then move back to his school days and then further back to introduce his parents in WW2. Tom’s mum, Grace was a nurse and she helped a Russian sailor Ivor on the road to recovery after a stabbing, befriending him and teaching him English over a few weeks before he returned to Russia. Tragedy strikes twice with Grace losing her unborn child in an air-raid and then her husband was killed in the war.

Meanwhile, Tom age 14, is wrongly suspected of murder, so Grace calls in a favour from Ivor who is port and Tom flees aboard Ivor’s ship to start a new life in Russia. But tragedy strikes again firstly when Tom’s best friend is killed by a bomb and secondly when Tom’s wife and 4yr old daughter are killed in a car accident involving gunmen.

Tom wants revenge. He follows the trail of the gunmen to Belize. There he makes a new best friend, Duke. Over the next few years the trail takes him via America, eliminating the chain as he goes, eventually to London, where a twist awaits, plus he finally gets to see his mum again.

I loved this story and highly recommend it. A real page turner.


Here is an extract from the book to whet your appetite.

This is where Tom meets Grenville for the first time, and decided to intervene changing their lives forever:

All of a sudden Tom heard a plea for help, from a voice of impeccable English. It had been years since Tom had heard such well-spoken English, and for some reason, even to this day unknown to himself, decided to interact, and break a golden rule: ‘never get involved unless you are involved’.

Tom moved with lightning speed, smashing the bottle in his hand over the aggressor with the knife’s head, who went down like a dropped sack. Tom moved with the fluency of years of training and had rendered the other assailant harmless even before he knew what had hit him. Tom quickly looked at the two friends, who looked stunned with what had just gone on in a split second.

Tom said, “Grab your stuff and follow me if you want to live.” He walked towards the door and down the road; the two recently sobered friends grabbed their belongings and staggered in his wake.

After reaching the harbour Tom jumped onto his boat, and told the friends to jump aboard. Running to the cabin he quickly switched on the engine and it roared into life. He shouted for one of them to cast off the jetty. Just as they were pulling away from the jetty, a stream of screaming locals were running towards them, stopping short on the jetty as by now they were far into the fast flowing river, quickly disappearing from view.

After about an hour Tom made sure they were not being followed, throttled back the engines until they were on idle and let the river’s current take them along. He then moved to the back of the boat to greet his guests. The two friends were huddled in the bow of the boat, both looking shell-shocked by recent events; an hour ago they were having a fun game of darts in a local bar whilst having a few beers with the locals, now they were on a tug boat heading up a river to god knows where, with a complete stranger.

Tom introduced himself to them both and asked if he could look at the cut, and explained in these parts an untreated wound could fester and can go gangrenous in hours if not treated. Tom held out his hand in friendship, which the other man took, and said, “Grenville St Louis, eleventh Duke of Hampshire, second son.”

“Blimey,” Tom said, “that’s a mouthful, I will call you Duke,” to which they both laughed.


About Andy Blackman

After serving in the British Army for over twenty-five years in the Parachute Regiment, Andy Blackman today lives in Bedworth, Warwickshire and works within in the IT sector. In his spare time he can be found visiting his three daughters and grandchildren.

This book can be purchased via Amazon.


I’m participating in the book tour and you may like to check out some of the other blog stops on the tour.

For The Love of Grace by Andy Blackman

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Disclosure.  This post is a review of an e-book I was sent for free.  All opinions are my own.

Welsh Cakes

Time to share one of my favourite teatime treats.

Welsh Cakes

Welsh Cakes

Ingredients (makes 15)

225g self raising flour
1/2 teasp mixed spice
85g granulated sugar
100g margarine
50g currants
1 large egg
lard (for frying)
extra sugar

Method

Add mixed spice and sugar to a large mixing bowl.
Rub in the margarine.
Sieve in the flour.
Mix in the egg.
Add the currants.
Draw the mixture into 2 balls.
Flatten to about 5mm on a floured board.
Cut out fluted rounds.
Meanwhile melt knob of lard in frying pan.
Add 5 rounds to the pan.
Cook for about 3 minutes until golden brown on underneath.
Turn and cook for about a further 3 minutes.
Place a layer of kitchen roll on a cooling rack.
Turn out the welsh cakes onto the cooling rack.
Dust with extra sugar.
Turn and dust on the reverse.
Melt additional lard in the frying pan if required and repeat twice until all welsh cakes are cooked.
Allow to cool.
Serve and enjoy.

Welsh Cakes

I’d love to hear your favourite baking treats?

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What are Diamonds, and how do they form? by Judith Hubbard

I have received a free e-copy of the book “What are Diamonds, and how do they form?” by Judith Hubbard for son1 to review. To find out more about the author and other books in the series, you may visit her website.

Son1 chose this one to review over and above the other science titles in the series because he has an interest in diamonds, particularly diamond swords, from playing minecraft.

What are Diamonds and how do they form by Judith Hubbard

Here is the book blurb.

Have you ever seen a diamond? Have you ever wondered where it came from? The story of how diamonds form will take you on a tour of the Earth. Zoom in to the atomic scale to see how atoms bond, dive into the Earth’s mantle to explore how temperature and pressure change, and get carried back up to the surface in a special volcanic eruption. All of this is real, cutting-edge science, written at a level that kids can read and understand. At the end of the book, you will find a self-quiz to test your new knowledge and fun hands-on activities that build on the science.

What are Diamonds and how do they form? by Judith Hubbard

This non-fiction book starts by talking about diamonds before moving onto to other forms of carbon, such as graphite. It then covers all the geological aspects, before ending with a quiz and activities that children can try out at home.

Here is son1’s video review.

“What are Diamonds, and how do they form?” is available on Amazon, currently priced at £9.82 in paperback or £3.04 on Kindle. It is targeted at children, age 8 upwards. Son1 particularly enjoyed testing me with the quiz, before I had a chance to read the book. A good book for children to engage with science.

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Disclosure.  This post is a review of an e-book I was sent for free.  All opinions are my own.

Bigfoot Trails Pacific Northwest by S A Jeffers

I have received a free e-copy of the book “Bigfoot Trails Pacific Northwest” by S A Jeffers for son1 to review. S.A. Jeffers is the name for husband and wife children’s book authors, Sara and Adam Jeffers. You can find out more about the authors on their website.

Son1 was really looking forward to doing this review as the very first book that he reviewed on my blog back in 2013 was The Bigfoot Escape. We both have fond memories of Bigfoot.

Bigfoot Trails by S A Jeffers

Here is the book blurb.

Bigfoot Trails: Pacific Northwest is a children’s reading and activity book. Play hide and seek with the reigning champion and experience the thrill of locating the mysterious Bigfoot! Visit the captivating landscapes of the Pacific Northwest habitat, where the search is on for the elusive creature. Through each of this interactive story’s pages, the reader is tasked with finding Bigfoot, where he is cleverly hidden. Both child and adult are sure to feel the magic and excitement of a legend as old as time!

Bigfoot Trails Pacific Northwest by S A Jeffers

This is a beautifully illustrated book where you have to search the 10 double-spread pages carefully to spot Bigfoot. There is a rhyme on each page to help you, but he is incredibly well hidden. I had a look too, along with son1 as a team effort. And when you get to the end, there is a list of other clues to find such as footprints and knocked over trees, so back you go again for a second time. I have to say we still haven’t found Bigfoot on every page, let alone all the other clues. Loads and loads of fun, time after time. We were looking at the book on the computer, but I have to say that I think that it would be even better in paperback.

Here is son1’s video review, in which he makes a comparison with Where’s Wally books.

Bigfoot Trails Pacific Northwest is available on Amazon, currently priced at £2.67 in Kindle format or £8.27 in paperback. Son1 loved this book and I am pleased to say that it is the first in the “Bigfoot Trails” series, so watch out for more to come.

And you can see the book trailer here.

So do you believe in Bigfoot or the Yeti?

I’m not sure why but we did experience some technical difficulties with this e-book. On both iPad and iPhone, it would only display the front cover. The rest of the pages were blank. I haven’t encountered this issue before. However luckily we were able to download it successfully onto my computer and read it there.

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Disclosure. This post is a review of an e-book I was sent for free. All opinions are my own.

The Mine by John A Heldt

I have received free e-copies of two books by John Heldt to review. The first one up is The Mine, which is book one in the five-volume Northwest Passage time-travel series. To find out more about the author you may visit his website.

The Mine by John A Heldt

Here is the book blurb.

In May 2000, Joel Smith is a cocky, adventurous young man who sees the world as his playground. But when the college senior, days from graduation, enters an abandoned Montana mine, he discovers the price of reckless curiosity. He emerges in May 1941 with a cell phone he can’t use, money he can’t spend, and little but his wits to guide his way. Stuck in the age of swing dancing and a peacetime draft, Joel begins a new life as the nation drifts toward war. With the help of his 21-year-old trailblazing grandmother and her friends, he finds his place in a world he knew only from movies and books. But when an opportunity comes to return to the present, Joel must decide whether to leave his new love in the past or choose a course that will alter their lives forever. THE MINE follows a humbled man through a critical time in history as he adjusts to new surroundings and wrestles with the knowledge of things to come.

I wasn’t entirely convinced by this book in the first few chapters set in modern-day, but once Joel time-travelled back to 1941, I started enjoying it more and was hooked by the point Joel relocated to Seattle and helped Tom, who was being attacked. One favour deserves another, so destitute Joel (since modern credit cards are no use at all) gets to stay in the trailer outside Tom’s house. From there he progresses to a job as a salesman working for Tom’s Dad and gets to meet Tom’s circle of close friends. This includes Tom’s girlfriend Ginny, who Joel soon realises is his own Grandma.

From this point on, the reader is constantly wondering whether the course of history is going to be permanently changed, as Tom is obviously not Joel’s Grandpa Joe. And will Joel ever get back to his own time?

Meanwhile Joel falls in love with one of Ginny’s house-mates Grace. And in wartime 1941 he is very conscious of pending historical events. When a chance arises to potentially return to the present day, what should Joel do? Leave Grace or risk changing the timeline for ever? You’ll have to read the book to find out what happens.

The Mine is available on Amazon, currently priced at £3 in Kindle format. Reading this story has definitely whet my appetite for the rest of the series. Highly recommended. I also enjoyed Joel’s humorous personal thoughts interspersed throughout the book. I’m certainly looking forward to reading Indiana Belle, the other John Heldt novel that I received. Watch out for my review of that sometime next month.

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Disclosure.  This post is a review of an e-book I was sent for free.  All opinions are my own.

If I Forget You by T C Greene – book review and giveaway

Always a nice surprise when you receive an unexpected parcel. This time it was a free copy of the book “If I Forget You” by T C Greene.

If I Forget You by T C Greene

This is what it says inside the front cover.

When Margot and Henry meet, they fall deeply in love.

And then they lose each other.

But Henry can’t forget Margot and Margot is haunted by her memories of Henry. They live in each other’s minds.

Twenty-one years later, they meet, by chance, on a Manhattan street. And that’s where their story truly begins…

If I Forget You is a beautiful exploration of what it means to find the person you are destined to be with, but then spend a lifetime apart.

And on the back cover it says.

For a time that feels like forever, their eyes meet. There is no question now. It is Margot. And in her face Henry sees that she recognises him too. Henry starts to walk toward her and as soon as he does she gets to her feet and moves into the roiling rush-hour crowd.

“Margot” he shouts, but she doesn’t stop.

This book starts in 2012 when by chance Henry spots Margot in New York. She sees him too, but not knowing what else to do, she jumps into a taxi before he reaches her. When she gets home, we see her look at Henry’s online profile and reminisce about his poems hidden in her closet. The book moves back to 1991 when Henry and Margot both start at Bannister College, Henry from a working class background and Margot from the upper class. The book continues throughout to swap back and forth between 1991 and 2012 and also to swap between Henry’s perspective and Margot’s. We discover how they fell in love, how they parted and the memories they are carrying.

Although she fled initially, the chance encounter prompts Margot to discover where Henry lives. She watches his apartment block and follows Henry and his young daughter at a distance. When Henry spots her outside the burger restaurant, this time she waves and waits.

A couple of days later they meet for dinner and the following day for lunch. Henry asks Margot to come with him to his Vermont cabin for a few days, but whilst there, a hurtful secret is revealed. To avoid spoilers, that is all I’m going to say.

if I Forget You is currently retailing on Amazon at £9.99 in paperback and is also available in hardback and Kindle formats. It is published by Corvus, an imprint of Atlantic Books. I really enjoyed this book. A touching love story. Highly recommended.

I certainly plan to add some of T C Greene’s previous titles to my wishlist.

I had to look up the word loon which crops up several times and found out it is an aquatic bird, not too dissimilar to a duck or goose.

And I’m hosting a rafflecopter competition to giveaway a copy of “If I Forget You” to 3 lucky winners.
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a Rafflecopter giveaway – Please click on the link to enter.

And you may see my other giveaways here.
E:1/10 Win a bundle of footcare products
E:24/9 Win a box of cupcakes
E:21/9 Win books (various titles for 16 prizewinners) – open worldwide
E:14/9 Win membership to HomeExchange.com worth £100 for a year’s worth of free holidays – open worldwide

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Disclosure.  This post is a review of a product I was sent for free.  All opinions are my own.

Guest post: Luxury pyjamas worth getting out of bed for!

The Reach London – Luxury pyjamas worth getting out of bed for!

Nightwear has recently had a serious upgrade and yet it is still difficult to find stylish cotton pyjamas that match silk ones in terms of quality and design, but without the high price tag and expensive dry cleaning bills.

At The Reach London, we have just launched, via a Kickstarter Campaign, a collection of beautifully tailored, luxury cotton pyjamas for both him and her.

Luxury Pyjamas from The Reach London

Designed and made in London by the same manufacturer who supplies leading luxury brands, including Gieves & Hawkes, Paul Smith, Burberry and Victoria Beckham, our pyjamas are way too chic only for bed!

The quality of craftsmanship is clearly evident in our pyjamas with their French seams, piped trims and hand tailoring.
We have also sourced the finest and most luxurious cottons and all our pyjamas are finished with ethically sourced mother-of-pearl buttons.
And, in addition to being effortlessly chic, our pyjamas are still practical in that they are all machine washable.

Luxury Pyjamas from The Reach London

Style Notes

Our pyjamas are designed to feel both classic and contemporary, cut for a relaxed yet tailored fit and sufficiently stylish to be seen both in and outside the bedroom and who doesn’t want an excuse to stay in their pyjamas all day!
And to tap into the trend of pyjama-chic, our women’s pyjama shirts are designed to also be paired with jeans. The gorgeous prints we have chosen further complement this look.

Luxury Pyjamas from The Reach London

Unique Size Combinations

A UNIQUE feature of our women’s pyjama collection is that because some of us maybe one size on top and a different size from the waist down, when purchasing our pyjama set, a different size pyjama shirt to the size of the trouser can be selected to make up the set.
We also know that some women will prefer to wear the pyjama trouser with their own choice of top, or to wear the pyjama shirt with jeans or as a nightshirt, so we are also offering the shirt and trouser as individual pieces to enable our customers to achieve the fashion look they want.
The men’s pyjama trouser are also available in two leg lengths to cater for those men who are over 6ft tall and who struggle to find stylish pyjama trouser of the correct length.

Special Discount

The GREAT NEWS for any of our backers on Kickstarter is that during our Kickstarter Campaign (which ends on 1st October) they will be able to purchase our new pyjama collection at a fantastic discount. Once our Kickstarter Campaign is over our new collection will only be available on our Company website at its normal RRP.
Please note during our Kickstarter Campaign we will ship all our pyjamas (and cashmere bed socks) FREE to anywhere in the world in time for Xmas!
So please see the link below to view our new collection:

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/thereachlondon/luxury-pyjamas-worth-getting-out-of-bed-for

Any questions regarding our Kickstarter Campaign or new Pyjama Collection please email us at kickstarter@thereachlondon.com

Please also share this with your friends, family & anyone you think may be interested in our new Pyjama Collection, we would really appreciate it!

Thank you for your time.

Guest post by Olivia, Helen & Will
The team at The Reach London