#JojoRecommends: The One For Me by Chris Miller @cmillermusic_au #TheOneForMe #ChrisMiller #SingerSongwriter #TwitchStreamer #NewMusic

Good afternoon everyone and welcome to another edition of JoJo Recommends. Today I’m featuring Chris Miller and his new song The One For Me.

Chris is a singer songwriter from Australian who I first discovered on twitch. His streams are always great fun to be on and never fail to help lift my spirits as Chris has a wicked sense of humour. He’s a dad of three and his kids sometimes make guest appearances on his streams which are always very heartwarming to watch.

He’s currently taking part in bit fest on twitch where viewers can donate to make Chris do fun challenges including singing with marshmallows in his mouth to mashing two songs together which he always does amazingly.

If you would like to follow Chris on twitch or social media you can do so by following the links below.

How To Listen:

The One For Me is Chris’s latest single and possibly my favourite from him, though it’s hard to choose! It’s one of those songs that sent a shiver down my spine when I first listened to it as I knew instantly that I liked it. Chris’s music is available on all of the streaming platforms and you can listen via his link tree below. I’ve included the music videos for The One For Me and Roadtrip To Mars below.

JoJo Recommends on Island Vibing Presents:

Jojo Recommends is now featured on the fantastic Island Vibing Presents twitch stream which is hugely exciting. I’m getting loads more confident with filming myself. I recently featured Chris on there and you can watch the feature via the link below.

JoJo Recommends Playlist:

You can now listen to Chris and all previously featured artists on a special playlist I’ve created on Spotify.

Thanks for reading and happy listening!

#BlogTour: God An Anatomy by Francesca Stravrakopoulou @ProfFrancesca @picadorbooks @midaspr @WolfsonHistory#GodAnAnatomy #FrancescaStravrakopoulou #WolfsonHistoryPrize

Good afternoon everyone I’m on a special blog tour today to celebrate the short list for the Wolfson History Prize today. As part of the tour I have an extract from God An Anatomy to share with you.

God An Anatomy is available in all formats now. You can get your copy using the links below.

Book Synopsis:

‘Rivetingly fresh and stunning’ – Sunday Times’One of the most remarkable historians and communicators working today’ – Dan Snow

Three thousand years ago, in the Southwest Asian lands we now call Israel and Palestine, a group of people worshipped a complex pantheon of deities, led by a father god called El. El had seventy children, who were gods in their own right. One of them was a minor storm deity, known as Yahweh. Yahweh had a body, a wife, offspring and colleagues. He fought monsters and mortals. He gorged on food and wine, wrote books, and took walks and naps. But he would become something far larger and far more abstract: the God of the great monotheistic religions.

But as Professor Francesca Stavrakopoulou reveals, God’s cultural DNA stretches back centuries before the Bible was written, and persists in the tics and twitches of our own society, whether we are believers or not. The Bible has shaped our ideas about God and religion, but also our cultural preferences about human existence and experience; our concept of life and death; our attitude to sex and gender; our habits of eating and drinking; our understanding of history. Examining God’s body, from his head to his hands, feet and genitals, she shows how the Western idea of God developed. She explores the places and artefacts that shaped our view of this singular God and the ancient religions and societies of the biblical world. And in doing so she analyses not only the origins of our oldest monotheistic religions, but also the origins of Western culture.

Beautifully written, passionately argued and frequently controversial, God: An Anatomy is cultural history on a grand scale.

Extract:

Introduction: Dissecting The Divine


In June 2018, news platforms across much of the world published a photograph of God. ‘Does THIS photograph show the true face of God?’ shouted one click- bait headline. ‘Science reveals the face of God and it looks like Elon Musk’, teased another. Others, including NBC’s website, were rather less sensationalist in their headlines: ‘The face of God is in the eye of the beholder’. The photograph in question showed a fuzzy black- and-white image of a middle- aged, beardless Caucasian male, with a soft, rounded face and just a hint of a smile (fig. 1). The image was produced by researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, who showed a demographically representative sample of US Christians a series of computer- generated faces embodying certain cultural stereotypes of emotional, ethical, social and spiritual values, and asked them to select those faces perceived to best reflect their mental image of God. Some of the faces were androgynous in appearance, while some were more feminine, and some more masculine. All the faces were grey, like a black- and- white photocopy, but some were lighter skinned and some were darker skinned. Some faces were expressive, some were seemingly blank. But each face was a canvas onto which the experiment’s
participants were free to project their own assumptions. The results were averaged out and used to create God’s e- fit. Unsurprisingly, the study revealed that in the US, God is made in the image of a white American man.

Fig. 1. The face of God, as imagined by a representative sample of US
Christians in a recent study. The fuzzy quality of this computer-generated image reflects the composite process of the experiment. The study
concluded that those surveyed envisaged God as similar to themselves in terms of physical appearance, age and race.


Psychologists and social anthropologists have long understood that
a very heavy dose of cognitive bias underlies the construction of the divine in human societies. But while modern studies like those conducted at Chapel Hill can tell us something of the psychological and social processes underlying this tendency, this is hardly news. Over two and a half thousand years ago, in the late sixth or early fifth century bce, the Greek intellectual and adventurer Xenophanes of Colophon had already arrived at a similar conclusion: ‘If cattle and horses or lions had hands, or were able to draw with their hands and do the works that men can do, horses would draw the forms of the gods like horses, and cattle like cattle, and they would make their bodies such as they each had themselves’. For Xenophanes, the human tendency to make gods in our own image was as much about local cultural preferences as overarching, lofty ideals, as the diversity of deities in his world attested: ‘The Ethiopians say that their gods are broad- nosed and dark- skinned, the Thracians that theirs have blue eyes and red hair’. As far as Xenophanes was concerned, the widespread assumption that the gods had bodies like those of their worshippers was inextricably linked to the notion that deities behaved very much like humans – and this was deeply problematic, for it inevitably cheapened the moral nature of the divine. Proof could be found in the Greek myths themselves: ‘Homer and Hesiod have attributed to the gods everything that leads to blame and abuse among men – stealing, committing adultery, and deceiving each other’, Xenophanes complained. It was an objection rooted in his philosophically driven insistence that a god was inherently and necessarily a being ‘in no way like mortals either in body or thought’.2
Similar ideas were soon championed by other Greek thinkers, most notably Plato (c. 429– 347 bce), his student Aristotle (c. 384– 322 bce) and subsequent generations of their elitist, learned adherents in the Graeco- Roman world, who theorized that the divine power ultimately undergirding the universe and everything in it was necessarily without a body – an incorporeal, invisible, abstract principle, force or intellect, wholly beyond and distinct from the material world. Not that these rarefied views made much of an impact on the religious lives of ordinary folk. Whether they were schooled in philosophy or not, and no matter the deities they worshipped, most people living in the Graeco- Roman world continued to envisage their gods as corporeal beings with bodies shaped like their own – much as they always had.
But towards the close of the first millennium bce, and into the early centuries of the Common Era, these erudite philosophical ideas would gradually come to shape the thinking of certain Jewish and Christian intellectuals, so that they began to re- imagine their deity in increasingly incorporeal, immaterial terms, drawing ever- sharper distinctions between the heavenly and the earthly, the divine and the human, and the spiritual and the bodily. It is the broadly Platonic notion of the otherness and unlikeness of the divine to anything in or beyond the universe that has shaped the more formal theological constructions of God in the Western religious imagination. And yet these constructions are built on a conceptual framework very much at odds with the Bible itself, for in these ancient texts, God is presented in startlingly anthropomorphic ways. This is a deity with a body.

About The Author:

Professor Francesca Stavrakopoulou studied theology at Oxford and is currently Professor of Hebrew Bible and Ancient Religion at the University of Exeter. The author of a number of academic works, she also presented the BBC 2 documentary series The Bible’s Buried Secrets. She regularly appears on BBC1’s The Big Questions and Sunday Morning Live, and has appeared on several Radio 4 shows, including Woman’s Hour, The Infinite Monkey Cage and The Museum of Curiosity. She writes for The Guardian, The Mail on Sunday, and the Times Literary Supplement, and has spoken about the Bible, religion, and atheism at numerous public events, including the Cheltenham Science Festival, the World Humanist Congress, and Conway Hall’s annual London Thinks festival. Her contribution (on the same subject as the book) to Dan Snow’s History Hits podcast is currently its most popular ever episode.

#BlogTour: The Other Guest by Helen Cooper @HelenCooper85 @HodderBooks @ollie__martin @VeroNorton #TheOtherGuest #HelenCooper

Book Synopsis:

One year ago, Leah’s twenty-one-year-old niece, Amy, mysteriously drowned near her family-owned luxury resort on the shores of Lake Garda.

Now, returning to Italy for the first time since Amy’s death, Leah is shocked to find her family seem to have erased all reminders of Amy. Despite the murky circumstances, they insist her death was an accident but Leah knows she must look deeper if she is to uncover the truth.

Meanwhile, in Derby, university counsellor Joanna is recovering from a surprising break-up when she is swept off her feet by a handsome bartender. But after she invites him into her home, Joanna is forced to accept that she doesn’t know him as well as she thought.

What follows is a propulsive game of cat-and mouse as both women begin to realise that appearances can be deceptive – and that the darkest secrets often lie closest to home.

My Review:

The other guest is a fascinating, gripping mystery thriller that I really enjoyed.

The story is told in two different time lines which are seemingly unconnected and I found both of them as interesting as each other. The author slowly reveals the connection between the two which I thought was very clever. The connection was very surprising and quite shocking which I always enjoy.

The setting in Italy was vividly described and I felt like I was actually there watching everything unfold. There were times when I felt I could actually feel the heat the author describes. I especially liked the way the author uses the holiday village setting in the plot which made the story seem very plausible.

The book starts of slow as the author sets the scene but I felt there was always enough happening to keep my interest. About half way through the pace picks up and becomes very difficult to put down. I warmed to the characters quickly and found myself wanting to keep reading so I could find out what happens to them. The ending was brilliant and I think I read the last quarter of the book without stopping as it was so gripping.

Huge thanks to Ollie from Hodder and Stoughton for inviting me onto the blog tour and for my copy of this book.

About The Author:

Helen Cooper is from Derby. She has taught English and Academic Writing in both Further and Higher Education and was Head of Learning Enhancement at the University of Birmingham. She has a MA in Creative Writing from Nottingham Trent University and has been published in Writers’ Forum, Mslexia, the Bath Short Story Prize Anthology (2014) and the Leicester Writes Short Story Prize Anthology (2018). The Downstairs Neighbour was her first novel – her second, The Other Guest publishes in 2022.

#BlogTour: The Fire Killer by Ross Greenwood @greenwoodross @BoldwoodBooks @rararesources #TheFireKiller #RossGreenwood #RachelsRandomResources #5Stars

Book Synopsis:

When DI Barton is asked to investigate a seemingly innocuous fire that kills, he believes it’s either children fooling around or a worrying racially-motivated crime.As he delves deeper into the case, he soon realises that there is a history of similar blazes spread out over many years, all within a close area. An idea suggested by pathologist Mortis makes Barton suspect he has the arsonist’s motives wrong.When a night worker comes forward with a tip, Barton narrows down the suspects. But with all of them acting suspiciously, he knows for sure that one or more of them must be lying. And when a huge house blaze shocks everyone, Barton fears the killer has lost all control.Who is The Fire Killer? What will be next to burn?DI Barton is back as Ross Greenwood continues with his bestselling series, perfect for fans of Mark Billingham and Ian Rankin.

My Review:

I’m a big fan of this author so a new book from him is always very exciting. Once again the author has written a fast pace, intriguing read which I struggled to put down.

I was instantly drawn into the story with the fantastic, fast pace opening which I found very intriguing and made me want to keep reading so I could find out what was going to happen. One of the things I’ve always liked about this series is how the author tells the story both from the police investigation and from the killer’s point of view. This is really interesting and helps the readers get to know the killer too and realise why they are doing what they are doing. In this book the killer has a very emotional reason for doing what he’s doing which actually made me feel a bit sorry for him at times which I thought was clever.

It was great being back with Barton and DS Zander solving a mystery along side them. They are such a great team and I feel that they work together well, each of them complementing the other. The banter between them is always hilarious and helps break some of the tension in the book. I loved the inclusion of the two female officers in this book too as I felt they helped bring some new life into the investigation and it was great to see them having such a strong role in the investigation.

The case seemed very real at times and I liked how it seemed to unfold in real time with slower moments where the case stalled due to lack of clues. This also helped the threat of the fire killer seem more real too though which added to the tension as his obsession with fire meant I wasn’t too sure what he was going to do next.

The ending was brilliant! I had managed to guess how it would end but that didn’t make it less shocking. The tension becomes almost unbearable towards the end and I felt a mix of emotions as the case comes to a close. I can’t wait to read more in the future.

Huge thanks to Rachel from Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me onto the blog tour and to Boldwood for my copy of this book via netgalley.

About The Author:

Ross Greenwood is the author of crime thrillers. Before becoming a full-time writer he was most recently a prison officer and so worked everyday with murderers, rapists and thieves for four years. He lives in Peterborough.

#BlogTour: Wolf Of Mercia by M. J. Porter @coloursofunison @BoldwoodBooks @rararesources #WolvesOfMercia #MJPorter

Book Synopsis:

As a lone wolf inside a Wessex stronghold, Icel must ensure his own and Mercia’s triumph.Icel is becoming a warrior of Mercia, but King Ecgberht of Wessex still holds the Mercian settlement of Londonia and its valuable mint.King Wiglaf of Mercia is determined that the last bulwark be reclaimed from his sworn enemy to complete his rehabilitation as Mercia’s rightful ruler.In the heart of the shield wall, Icel suddenly finds himself on the wrong side of the battle and thrust into the retreating enemy stronghold where he must take on the pretence of a Wessex warrior to survive and exact a cunning plan to bring down the Wessex force cowering behind the ancient walls.His allegiances are tested and the temptation to make new allies is overwhelming but Icel must succeed if he’s ever to see Tamworth again and bring about King Wiglaf’s victory, or will he be forced to join the enemy?

My Review:

I’m a huge fan of this author and this series which just keeps getting better and better.

It was great to back with the amazing Icel who is one of my favourite characters and see how he develops into Coelwif’s closest companion. I found it very interesting to see Icel still struggling with hurting others, which goes against his childhood of learning to heal and treat people. I thought the author did great character development in this area though as we see him slowly accept his destiny and learn to accept that sometimes he has to hurt others in the line of duty. There were some great new characters introduced in this book too which I really enjoyed getting to know, especially King Waglaf. The relationships between the characters were great to read about and to see the interaction between them. The banter was brilliant,as always, and helped provide some of the funny moments in the book.

The author does a great job of setting the scene and I felt like I was really there watching all the action unfold. I felt like I was actually in some of the battle scenes which was very exciting and had me on the edge of my seat. The action was very dramatic and I found the book very hard to put down because of this. The tension in the book was very intense at time and I found some of the scenes very hard to read as I had wondered how he would get out of it this time.

This is the second book in the series and I can’t wait to read more from this talented author. Huge thanks to Rachel from Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me onto the blog tour and to Boldwood for my copy of this book via Netgalley.

About The Author:

MJ Porter is the author of many historical novels set predominantly in Seventh toEleventh-Century England, and in Viking Age Denmark. Raised in the shadow of abuilding that was believed to house the bones of long-dead Kings of Mercia, meantthat the author’s writing destiny was set.

#BlogTour: Wake by Shelley Burr @ByssheShelley @HodderBooks @Stevie_Coops #WAKEBook #ShelleyBurr #5Stars #recommended

Book Synopsis:


EVERYBODY THINKS THEY KNOW MINA McCREERY.
EVERYONE HAS A THEORY ON WHAT HAPPENED TO HER SISTER.
NOW IT’S TIME TO FIND OUT THE TRUTH…

Mina McCreery’s sister Evelyn disappeared nineteen years ago. Her life has been defined by the intense public interest in the case. Now an anxious and reclusive adult, she lives alone on her family’s destocked sheep farm.

When Lane, a private investigator, approaches her with an offer to reinvestigate the case, she rejects him. The attention has had nothing but negative consequences for her and her family, and never brought them closer to an answer.

Lane wins her trust when his unconventional methods show promise, but he has his own motivations for wanting to solve the case, and his obsession with the answer will ultimately risk both their lives.

Superbly written, taut and compassionate, Wake looks at what can happen when people’s private tragedies become public property, and the ripples of trauma that follow violent crimes. Wake won the CWA Debut Dagger in 2019.

My Review:

Wake is a gripping, atmospheric read that’s hard to believe is a debut novel.

I’m a huge fan of books set in Australia so this book instantly appealed to me. The author does a great job of setting the scene with her vivid descriptions making it easy to visualise life in the Australian Outback. I felt like I could feel the heat of it sometimes which helped add to the tension and atmosphere in the book. This is especially true when it came to the descriptions of the vastness of the outback and how lonely it can be there. It made me feel even more suspicious about Evie’s disappearance as there didn’t seem to be many suspects or opportunities for someone to take Evie which made me very intrigued.

Mina and Lane were vey interesting main characters who I enjoyed getting to know throughout the book. I didn’t particularly warm to either of them when I first met them as they both seem highly suspicious and unlikeable. It was interesting getting to know a bit more about their back story and their complex past. Mina always seemed to know more about what happened then she let on and Lane seemed obsessed with trying to solve things which I sparked my curiousity.

Overall I loved this book and would easily rate it as one of my books of the year. The gradual reveal was tantalisingly good and I loved hearing everyone’s different opinions on what happened which helped keep me guessing until the end.

Huge thanks to Steven Cooper from Hodder books for inviting me onto the blog tour and for my copy of this book.

About The Author:

Shelley Burr is the winner of the CWA Debut Dagger award with Wake, an alumni of the ACT Writer’s Centre Hardcopy program (2018) and a Varuna fellow. When not writing she works at the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment. She lives in Canberra, but grew up splitting her time between Newcastle and Glenrowan, where her father’s family are all sheep farmers. WAKE is Shelley’s first novel.

#BlogTour: The Girl On The 88 Bus by Freya Sampson @SampsonF @ZaffreBooks @Tr4cyF3nt0n #TheGirlOnThe88Bus #ZaffreBooks #CompulsiveReaders

Book Synopsis:


When Libby Nicholls arrives in London, broken-hearted and with her life in tatters, the first person she meets on the bus is elderly pensioner Frank. He tells her about the time in 1962 he met a girl on the number 88 bus with beautiful red hair just like her own. They made plans for a date, but Frank lost the ticket with her number written on it. For the past sixty years, he’s ridden the same bus trying to find her.

Libby is inspired by the story and, with the help of an unlikely companion, she makes it her mission to continue Frank’s search. As she begins to open her guarded heart to strangers and new connections, Libby’s tightly controlled world expands. But with Frank’s dementia progressing quickly, their chance of finding the girl on the 88 bus is slipping away . . .

More than anything, Libby wants Frank to see his lost love one more time. But their quest also shows Libby just how important it is to embrace her own chance for happiness – before it’s too late.

The author of The Last Library brings us this beautifully uplifting novel about how one chance meeting can change the course of your life forever.

My Review:

I thought this was an absolutely gorgeous, heartwarming, feel good story of friendship and love.

Firstly I love feel good stories like this where friendship and love bloom out of everyday scenarios like this so this book instantly appealed. It was great to follow Frank and Libby’s relationship as they grow closer. I liked how they all seemed so real, each having their own problems but still managing to complement and help each other. It was also fun to follow them on their search for the girl on the bus and see where the journey took them.

I think I went through every emotion whilst I read this book. There were some really funny moments that had me laughing out loud but also some sad, poignant moments that made me think. I found this book hard to put down at times as I was so engrossed in the story and wanted to find out what happens and if they ever find the girl on the bus. It’s one of those books I’d love to get the opportunity to read for the first time again.

Huge thanks to Tracy Fenton from Compulsive Readers for inviting me onto the blog tour and to Zaffre for my copy of this book.

About The Author:

Freya Sampson worked in TV and was the executive producer of Channel 4’s Four in a Bed and Gogglesprogs.She studied History at Cambridge University and is a graduate of the Faber Academy. She lives in London with her husband, two young children and an antisocial cat.Her debut novel, The Last Library, was published in 2021, The Girl on the 88 Bus is her second novel.

#BookReview: The Slow Lane Walkers Club by Rosa Temple @RosaT_Author @simonschusterUK @BookMinxSJV #SlowLaneWalkersClub #RosaTemple #5Stars

Book Synopsis:

A feel-good tale of unlikely friendship, community and learning to live life in the slow lane, perfect for fans of Clare Pooley and Hazel Prior
 
Daniel isn’t used to living life in the slow lane. So when he finds himself unexpectedly jobless and back in his old Cornish hometown, he can’t sit still.
 
Hazel used to be adventurous too. But now widowed and in her eighties, she barely leaves the house. When she sees an advert for Daniel’s new walking club, she grabs at the chance of some excitement.
 
Daniel’s heart sinks when he sees that the only person who’s turned up for his walking club is the crazy old lady from two doors down. But what he doesn’t expect is to discover that Hazel is one of the most fascinating people he’s ever met . . .

A gorgeous, warm and uplifting story about friendship, community, adventure and the joy of walking. 

The Slow Lane Walkers Club is available in ebook and paperback now. You can purchase your copy using the links below.

My Review:

This was a wonderfully uplifting and heartwarming read which I thought was actually very inspiration.

Firstly I loved the beautiful Cornish setting and the lovely community that Daniel discovers. The descriptions were really vivid and made me want to move to Cornwall myself. I always like books that feature new beginning so it was fun following Daniel as he rediscovers his old hometown.

The characters or Daniel and Hazel are fantastic creations who I really enjoyed getting to know. They seemed so real that I felt that they became old friends and I soon became very invested in the story. Hazel is someone I’d like to be when I’m older. She’s got an amazing spirit and a lot of courage which I couldn’t help but admire. I really enjoyed learning more about her adventures when she was younger. I thought there was a great message there to not discount people because they’re older.

Overall I really enjoyed this book which I think will make a great beach or garden read this summer. The book had a great pace to it and I felt there was always something happening to keep my interest and when the story was s bit slower I found I didn’t mind as I was so enjoying being in the characters world.

Huge thanks to the lovely Sara-Jade from Simon and Schuster for my copy of this book.

About The Author:

Rosa Temple began her career writing romantic comedy and chick lit novellas, short stories and books because of her passion for what she calls the ‘early chick lit films’, like: Sabrina, Barefoot In the Park and Breakfast at Tiffany’s. She honed her skills as a ghost writer, gaining experience writing romance novellas and book series, with sweet themes as well as steamy novels for adult readers. She now specialises in contemporary romance and romantic comedies. Rosa is the author of four novels; Playing By the Rules, Playing Her Cards Right and Playing for Keeps as well as The Slow Lane Walkers Club. Rosa Temple is a Londoner who recently moved to the beautiful countryside of Ross-On-Wye in Herefordshire. She is married to a musician and has two sons.

#BlogTour #BookReview: The Memory Keeper Of Kyiv by Erin Litteken @ErinLitteken @BoldwoodBooks @rararesources #TheMemoryKeeperOfKyiv #ErinLitteken #dualtimeline #historicalfiction #mustread

Book Synopsis:

In the 1930s, Stalin’s activists marched through the Soviet Union, espousing the greatness of collective farming. It was the first step in creating a man-made famine that, in Ukraine, stole almost 4 million lives. Inspired by the history the world forgot, and the Russian government denies, Erin Litteken reimagines their story.In 1929, Katya is 16 years old, surrounded by family and in love with the boy next door. When Stalin’s activists arrive in her village, it’s just a few, a little pressure to join the collective. But soon neighbors disappear, those who speak out are never seen again and every new day is uncertain.Resistance has a price, and as desperate hunger grips the countryside, survival seems more a dream than a possibility. But, even in the darkest times, love beckons.Seventy years later, a young widow discovers her grandmother’s journal, one that will reveal the long-buried secrets of her family’s haunted past.This is a story of the resilience of the human spirit, the love that sees us through our darkest hours and the true horror of what happened during the Holodomor.

My Review:

The Memory Keeper of Kyiv is a captivating, thought provoking read which manages to be heartbreaking but hopeful at the same time. It’s sadly a timely book as it helps give some background to the current conflict in Ukraine.

The story is told in two time lines, one following Katya and her family in 1932 as they struggle to survive through the Holodomor famine. The other is set in 2004 and follows Cassie who returns home after the loss of her husband and finds an old diary written in Ukrainian. I thought both timelines were well written though I did find the later timeline to be a little bit more interesting. I had heard of the Holodomor before as we studied it in a little bit in GCSE History but I had never read such an intense, harrowing account of what the victims must have gone through. It’s a tough read at times as the author doesn’t shy away from any of the Brutality and my heart broke as I learned about all they must have suffered. How humans can do this to each other is beyond me! Cassie’s story was interesting to read about too and I enjoyed trying to solve her family mysteries with her. It was especially nice to see how her investigations helped heal her own pain.

The author does a great job setting the scene so you feel like you are actually there watching everything unfold. I loved learning a little bit more about Ukranian traditions and the way of life there. Some of the food sounds delicious and it was interesting to learn more about Pysanky eggs and the beautiful embroidery and flowers there.

Overall I really enjoyed this fantastic book which I’ve continued to think about long after reading. I thought the book had a great pace to it and there was always something happening to keep my glued to the page Some of the action had me a the edge of my seat as I watched the horrors unfold and other parts had me in tears. It’s an especially poignant read as there’s an element of history repeating itself with the current Ukrainian invasion by Russian. The ending was brilliant and I liked how the author managed to end it in such hopeful way.

I’d definitely recommend it to other historical fiction fans, especially as part of the proceeds for this book go towards DEC Ukraine.

Huge thanks to Rachel from Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me onto the blog tour and to Boldwood for my copy of this book.

About The Author:

Erin Litteken is a debut novelist with a degree in history and a passion for research. At a young age, she was enthralled by stories of her family’s harrowing experiences in Ukraine before, during and after World War II. She lives in Illinois, USA with her husband and children.

#BlogTour: The Storm Girl by Kathleen McGurl @KathMcGurl @HQstories @rararesources #TheStormGirl #KathleenMcGurl #Dualtimeline

Book Synopsis:

A heartbreaking choice. A secret kept for centuries.1784. When Esther Harris’s father hurts his back, she takes over his role helping smugglers hide contraband in the secret cellar in their pub. But when the free traders’ ships are trapped in the harbour, a battle between the smugglers and the revenue officers leads to murder and betrayal – and Esther is forced to choose between the love of her life and protecting her family…Present day. Fresh from her divorce, Millie Galton moves into a former inn overlooking the harbour in Mudeford and plans to create her dream home. When a chance discovery behind an old fireplace reveals the house’s secret history as a haven for smugglers and the devastating story of its former residents, could the mystery of a disappearance from centuries ago finally be solved?Sweeping historical fiction perfect for fans of Lucinda Riley, Kathryn Hughes and Tracy Rees.

The Storm Girl is available in ebook now, for the amazing price of 99p and out in paperback on the 7th July 2022. You can purchase or pre-order your copy using the links below.

My Review:

Katherine McGurl is one of my all time favourite dual timeline authors so I was very excited to be invited onto the blog tour for this book. Once again the author has written an extremely captivating and gripping read that I really enjoyed.

Firstly I’ve visited Dorset many times on holiday so the author’s vivid descriptions help me perfectly picture the setting in this book. I loved learning more about life in the 18th century and more about the smuggling trade which I didn’t know much about prior to reading this book. It was difficult to read about how hard life was for everyone, particularly the poor, in this time though and how dangerous some of the work they had to do was.

The story is told in two time lines one following Millie in the present day and the other following Esther as she helps in her dad’s smuggling business. If I had to be completely honest I did prefer the later timeline more as I enjoyed learning more about the time as there was so much danger and excitement in the story. That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy Millie’s story though as it was fun to follow her as she unravelled the mystery to her farm house. Plus she was renovating a farm house which is always a bit of a dream of mine.

Overall i really enjoyed this book. The gripping drama of the smugglers was fun to follow and I enjoyed trying to solve the mystery alongside Millie. I thought the two timelines complemented each other perfectly with some clues being dropped in one timeline to help the reader make sense of what happens in the other which I thought was very clever. The ending was brilliant and I especially liked reading the author’s notes at the end explaining more about her research. I was fascinated to discover that some of the characters were real people!

Huge thanks to Rachel from Rachel’s Random Resources for my inviting me onto the blog tour and to HQ for my copy of this book via netgalley.

About The Author:

Kathleen McGurl lives in Bournemouth with her husband. She has two sons who have both now left home. She always wanted to write, and for many years was waiting until she had the time. Eventually she came to the bitter realisation that no one would pay her for a year off work to write a book, so she sat down and started to write one anyway. Since then she has published several novels with HQ and self-published another. She has also sold dozens of short stories to women’s magazines, and written three How To books for writers. After a long career in the IT industry she became a full-time writer in 2019. When she’s not writing, she’s often out running, slowly.