#Blogtour #Review: The Wheelwright’s Daughter by Eleanor Porter #boldwoodbooks @rararesources @elporterauthor @boldwoodbooks

Wheelwright's Daughter Blog Tour Banner

Today I’m thrilled to be taking part in the blog tour for Eleanor Porter’s debut historical fiction novel, The Wheelwright’s Daughter. Chalk full of mystery and drama, Martha and her precarious situation will draw you from the first few chapters and keep ahold of you long after the final page has turned.

Wheelwrights daughter EBOOKTitle: The Wheelwright’s Daughter

Author: Eleanor Porter

Publisher: Boldwood Books

Publication Date: April 21, 2020

Genre: Historical Fiction

Themes: Witchcraft, Love, Politics, Religion

My Rating: 4/5 


Can she save herself from a witch’s fate?

Martha is a feisty and articulate young woman, the daughter of a wheelwright, living in a Herefordshire villlage in Elizabethan England. Unusually for the time she is educated and so helps at the local school whilst longing to escape the confines and small-mindedness of a community riven by religious bigotry and poverty.

As she is able to read and is well-versed in herbal remedies she is suspected of being a witch. When a landslip occurs – opening up a huge chasm in the centre of the village – she is blamed for it and pursued remorselessly by the villagers.

But can her own wits and the love of local stablehand Jacob save her from a witch’s persecution and death…

A brilliant and accomplished novel that perfectly captures the febrile atmosphere of Elizabethan village life in an age when suspicion and superstition were rife. Perfect for fans of Tracy Chevalier.


I’ve got a soft spot in my heart for a female protagonist who knows her mind and isn’t afraid to stick it to anyone who’s trying to make her less than who she really is. Unfortunately for Martha, this particularly endearing trait runs the risk of costing her life. Set at a time when anyone could be accused of witchcraft simply because their neighbours didn’t like them, the who story is overwrought with a sense of fear. Every instance of rebellion and sass is met with rumour and degradation, even when the villagers are all to happy to ask for her help when their ailing and desperate. Trust me my friends, the hypocrisy will leave you raging!

Now add in a father who is neither a papist or a separatist, but a man of knowledge, and you have a whole other kettle of trouble brewing on the side. A priest who is not only cruel but inclined towards some sexual misconduct, and a neighbour who loves gossip more than her own life and family and you have the makings of some serious drama. And let’s not forget that tantalizingly forbidden little love story which will keep the pages turning faster than the action itself.

Porter’s writing is absolutely sublime. Not only does it give you the feel of Elizabethan England, but it’s the kind of emotional rollercoaster that’s easy to get lost in. I loved that the ambiguity in the telling, which was so well done that I caught myself questioning whether or not Martha had actually caused some of the scenarios she’d been accused of. You feel the fear, the confusion, the loss and the love so completely that you don’t even realize that you’re trucking that much closer to the end.

My only complaint was that I could have used a little more description, that creepy priest? Give me more! A moonlight walk with the feeling of someone lurking in the bush? More! That feeling of longing that Martha gets around Jacob? Mooooaaarr! But, I know that’s my preference over anything else. The upside of this is that while Porter deliver a twisty, all-encompassing read that it doesn’t take an age and a half to read (which can’t be said for all historical dramas).

If you love beautifully written historical fiction with the kind of characters that suck you and refuse to let you go, then this one might just be for you – I highly recommend it!

About the Author

_8106517Eleanor Porter has lectured at Universities in England and Hong Kong and her poetry and short fiction has been published in magazines. The Wheelwright’s Daughter is her first novel.

Social Media Links

Newsletter sign up: http://bit.ly/EleanorPorterNewsletter

Many thanks to Rachel Gilbey at Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to participate in the Blog Tour. I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinions.

The Wheelwrights Daughter




#Blogtour #Review: Separation Anxiety by Laura Zigman @LauraZigman #RandomThingsTours

Separation Anxiety BT Poster

Today I am delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for the delightfully funny and devastatingly heart wrenching Separation Anxiety by Laura Zigman. I was enticed by the premise, lulled into uproarious laughter from the constant stream of self deprecating humour, and left absolutely shattered when reality came crashing down. This touching story about (not) coping with grief and trauma and the effects that this can have on everyday life is a tour de force – I highly recommend!

Separation Anxiety CoverTitle: Separation Anxiety

Author: Laura Zigman

Publisher: Doubleday

Publication Date: April 16, 2020

Genre: Literary Fiction, Humor

Themes: Grief, Loss, Family Dynamics, Mental Health, Self Discovery

My Rating: 4.5/5 


 Life hasn’t gone according to Judy’s plan. Her career as a children’s book author offered a glimpse of success before taking an embarrassing nose dive. Teddy, now a teenager, treats her with some combination of mortification and indifference. Her best friend is dying. And her husband, Gary, has become a pot-addled professional “snackologist” who she can’t afford to divorce. On top of it all, she has a painfully ironic job writing articles for a self-help website—a poor fit for someone seemingly incapable of helping herself. 

Brilliantly tapping into the insecurities and anxieties that most of us keep under wraps, and with a voice that is at once gleefully irreverent and genuinely touching, Laura Zigman has crafted a glorious new classic for anyone taking fumbling steps toward happiness. 


Having never read anything by Laura Zigman, coming into this book I had no idea what I was in for. But when presented with a struggling author that’s taken to wearing her sheltie in a baby sling I simply couldn’t resist. And boy oh boy, was it ever a treat!

Separation Anxiety is a beautifully wrought and complicated exploration of human emotion and the ties that bind. It speaks to how our lives can get small, how we forget to listen and be attentive in our relationships, and how sometimes we just need a little bit of change in our lives to force some much needed perspective. Whether that perspective comes from a friend’s terminal illness, a failed creativity retreat, or having to host ‘people puppets’ in exchange for school tuition you never know what’s going to help shake you out of that funk. This is a story that explores both understanding and misunderstanding on so many levels, and more often than not, the miscommunications that arise when we’re too busy or preoccupied to really listen. It will make you laugh, make you cry, and make you question your own actions and relationships.

I found Judy to be a challenging and complicated character to read. She is emotionally blocked, occasionally selfish, and dealing with so much that she’s beyond overloaded. She goes on tangents, makes irrational assumptions, and gets so wrapped up in her own story that she regularly fails to see the bigger picture. But if you stick with her one enough, she’s also the kind of character that grows on you. I started this book laughing at her wild antics and ability to fumble into ridiculous situations and finished it with a deep rooted sympathy for all that she’s endured. Hers is the kind of story that sneaks up on you and catches you unaware, it’s the kind of story that distracts you with all the shiny baubles on the surface that when you finally get to the heart of the matter it leaves you lost and empty.

Do I think this book will be for everybody? Absolutely not. It tackles some serious issues beneath the antics and self deprecation – cancer, mental health, extreme anxiety, grief, failed marriages, loss of self-identity, bullying, and so much more – and I don’t expect that everyone will appreciate these heavy hitters being explored through a lens of brevity. And because Judy is a complicated character, some might find that she’s not as likeable or relatable as they want her to be. To be honest, I found Judy to be perplexing and infuriating, but she was written so well and so deeply that in the end what I thought of her didn’t matter.

If you want your next read to be both tender and thought provoking, hilarious and heartbreaking, then I would absolutely recommend giving Separation Anxiety a shot. It is beautifully written and has more layers than an onion. And just between you an me, we could all use a little ugly-cry to help us make sense of the world around us right now – Zigman’s just given us the perfect excuse.

About the Author

Author PicLaura Zigman is the author of ANIMAL HUSBANDRY, which was a bestseller and was made into the film Someone Like You, starring Hugh Jackman and Ashley Judd), Dating Big Bird, Piece of Work and Her. She has also been a contributor to the New York Times, the Washington Post and the Huffington Post. She lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts, with her husband, son and deeply human Sheltie. 

Many thanks to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours for inviting me to participate in the Blog Tour. I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinions.




#Review: We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizal #Fantasy #YAFantasy

Today I am thrilled to be sharing my review for We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizal, and oh my goodness is it ever amazing! Every sentence from the first to the last will draw you into a richly constructed world filled with magic, mystery, and magnificently complex characters.

WHTF_JKT_2p.inddTitle: We Hunt the Flame

Series Title: Sands of Arawiya

Author: Hafsah Faizal

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Publication Date: May 14, 2019

Genre: YA Fiction, YA Fantasy, Fantasy

Themes: Magic, Survival, Friendship, Romance.

Features: N/A

My Rating: 4/ 5


From Goodreads…

People lived because she killed.
People died because he lived.

Zafira is the Hunter, disguising herself as a man when she braves the cursed forest of the Arz to feed her people. Nasir is the Prince of Death, assassinating those foolish enough to defy his autocratic father, the king. If Zafira was exposed as a girl, all of her achievements would be rejected; if Nasir displayed his compassion, his father would punish him in the most brutal of ways.

Both are legends in the kingdom of Arawiya—but neither wants to be.

War is brewing, and the Arz sweeps closer with each passing day, engulfing the land in shadow. When Zafira embarks on a quest to uncover a lost artifact that can restore magic to her suffering world and stop the Arz, Nasir is sent by the king on a similar mission: retrieve the artifact and kill the Hunter. But an ancient evil stirs as their journey unfolds—and the prize they seek may pose a threat greater than either can imagine.

Set in a richly detailed world inspired by ancient Arabia, We Hunt the Flame is a gripping debut of discovery, conquering fear, and taking identity into your own hands.

Purchase links for Canada, the USA, and the UK.

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

My Review

This book came into my life at just the right time, I was going through some shiz-nazz and needed something that I open up and get completely lost in on a plane ride. Needless to say I started on chapter one and that airplane fell away. Perfection.

I really enjoyed that We Hunt the Flame brought a world that did so much more than rearrange the furniture in Tolkien’s attic. I loved the concept of the Arz and the dark magic that lurks within, especially how it can either devour people or turn them mad. I really liked to, the idea of an island turned magical prison. My only complaint is that I wanted more! The descriptive writing reeled me in hook line and sinker, and I could have let myself get lost in it all day. There were a few things that could have used a little more attention, especially on Sharr because this crazy dark island has so much potential to break away from the conventions of genre. But, this is just the first book in a very promising series, and with that ending (!) I know there is so much more to come!

When it comes to the story, sure, there a few things that we’ve seen before. Like the enemies to lovers with a slow burn romance and bad-ass woman who carries her people in secret. But I don’t hate these tropes, not one bit, in fact I often find myself craving them. Sometimes, when you’re building up to something big and new you have to start with something comfortable and familiar before going in for the kill. And please take note of my use of comfortable in describing the character dynamic – it’s the kind of story that you can slip into like your favourite pyjama pants knowing that it’s going to be good. I am here for this romance, here for the quest, and loving every drop of drama and magic that Hafsah Faizal has injected into this world. 

Now, onto the peeps that make this story as fabulous as the world building. Zafira, Nasir, and Altair. Zafira and Nasir are cut from the same cloth – two people that were forced into lives they didn’t way at a young age, and more than a little salty about it. Zafira is the  one person who can hunt the Arz and feed her struggling village, while Nasir must act as an assassin at the whim of his tyrant father. I definitely felt a lot more for the dynamic between Nasir and the King, because it was so dark and twisty that I simply couldn’t look away. And then there’s Altair. Daaaaaamn. Seriously! Because everyone else is heavy and introspective, his levity was a breath of fresh air. I adore him, and his love of coffee. Come here funny boi, you can join my zumra.

Between the beautiful writing, the world of Arawiya, and the tumultuous dynamic of the gang on their quest to restore magic in the world, I genuinely enjoyed getting lost in this book. I can’t wait to see where book two goes, especially since there were so many juicy tidbits alluding to future drama dropped along the way.

If you want a fun adventure with a little steam and set in a wonderfully original world, then give We Hunt the Flame a try!

Purchase links for Canada, the USA, and the UK.

I purchased this book as a result of blogger recommendations, all opinions are my own.

#ARC #Review: The Paris Library by Janet Skeslien Charles #WWIIFiction #HistoricalFiction @atriabooks

Today on the blog I’m getting back to my first love – WWII Fiction!

When I saw the The Paris Library on NetGalley I simply couldn’t resist. The perfect combination of headstrong girls, occupied Paris, and ‘fight-the-world’ librarians I was instantly in love. If you’re in the market for a read chalk full of historical detail, ground shaking revelations, and oodles of character development then keep this little beauty in mind!

parisTitle: The Paris Library

AuthorJanet Skeslien Charles

Publisher: Atria Books

Expected Publication Date: June 2, 2020

Genre: Historical Fiction, WWII Fiction

Themes: Family, War, Friendship, Loss

Features: N/A

My Rating: 4/ 5


From Goodreads…

Paris, 1939. Odile Souchet is obsessed with books and the Dewey Decimal System, which makes order out of chaos. She soon has it all – a handsome police officer beau, an English best friend, a beloved twin, and a job at the American Library in Paris, a thriving community of students, writers, diplomats, and book lovers. Yet when war is declared, there’s also a war on words.

Montana, 1983. Widowed and alone, Odile suffers the solitary confinement of small-town life. Though most adults are cowed by her, the neighbor girl will not let her be. Lily, a lonely teenager yearning to break free of Froid is obsessed by the older French woman who lives next door and wants to know her secrets.

As the two become friends, Odile sees herself in Lily – the same love of language, the same longings, the same lethal jealousy. The Paris Library’s dual narratives explore the relationships that make us who we are – family and friends, first loves and favorite authors – in the fairy tale setting of the City of Light. It also explores the geography of resentment, the consequences of unspeakable betrayal, and what happens when the people we count on for understanding and protection fail us.

The wit, empathy, and deep research that brings The Paris Library to life also brings to light a cast of lively historical characters and a little-known chapter of World War II history: the story of the American librarian, Miss Reeder, who created the Soldiers’ Service to deliver books to servicemen, and who later faced the Nazi ‘Book Protector’ in order to keep her library open. She and her colleagues defied the Bibliotheksschutz by delivering books to Jewish readers after they were forbidden from entering the library.

Purchase links for Canada, the U.S.A. and the UK.

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.


Normally when I read WWII fiction I’m chasing epic stories with BIG acts of resistance, but even without them The Paris Library still managed to get me right in the feels. While it doesn’t have the big action that comes with SOE operations or the French Resistance, what it does have are the everyday acts of kindness and determination that allowed humanity to prevail despite the circumstances. Libraries have always been close to the heart of activism and equality, and The Paris Library touchingly shows how even in the darkest times the services and that we’ve come to take for granted from our library systems can be a lifeline for both subscribers and staff.

I instantly fell in love with the overly emotional and taciturn Odile. Any girl who wants to buck convention to hold down a job and be able to stand on her own despite the prevailing societal norm is a sure way to win my heart. As frustrating as I found her conviction at time, I loved her passionate ad headstrong approach to life. Even when her decisions and assumptions were leading her down the exact opposite path of what she truly desired, she owned her decisions 100% and felt the implications from them so deeply. I found her romance to be sweet and naive, just as you’d expect from a young girl discovering her first love, and her friendships to be fraught with all the drama you’d expect from a teenaged girl.

Fast forward to 1983 Montana and we’re confronted with Lily, who is a little bit younger than Odile in her arc, but a young lady who is also having to grow up on the spot. Of course, the war Lily fights is much more internal than literal, but it’s a struggle none the less. Following the loss of her mother and her father’s rapid remarriage, Lily is struggling to find a place for herself in both her family and the small town of Froid that she desperately seeks to outgrow. She latches on to Odile, her next door neighbour, who provides companionship, advice, and French lessons while Lily works through the worst of her angst.

Their stories are wonderful foils for one another – one with a family intact but emotionally distant, the other falling apart but physically present, one with a young lady who knows exactly what she wants from life, and the other desperately seeking her place in the world, one with a romance that’s the thing of stories, the other whose never been kissed. This is an amazing story of opposites attracting into the challenging and companionable friendship I have read in ages.

Filled with a pleasing blend of modern realism and extensively researched historical fact, The Paris Library will take you back to Paris just before the occupation and leave you categorizing the events in your life by the Dewey Decimal system. Get ready to feel the pain of rationing, the sting of betrayal, and the subtle horrors of war from a position of protected privilege. Two beautiful stories of coming if age, and coming into one’s self, The Paris Library, is a moving and deeply emotional read.

Would I recommend this book? Absolutely!

If you like the sound of it, you can buy it here.

I was provided an ARC of this book by @NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Publication dates my be in flux due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

#Q&A with Hugo Jackson Author of The Resonance Tetralogy @phoenixtheblade @InspiredQuill

Today I have the pleasure of offering something a little different from my usual fare – an Author Q&A with YA furry fantasy writer Hugo Jackson. The third book in his series, The Resonance Tetralogy, is due to be released later this month.

Read on my friends, and then be sure to share the Book Love!


Ruin's Dawn“I want to hear everything, Osiris. All that you can tell me.”

In the desert town of Mahrae, a young fox is about to discover his power. A single bolt of crystal energy begins Aidan’s journey, one that will test him to his furthest limits and deepest loyalties. The gryphon Osiris takes Aidan under his wing and together they battle shadows and suspicion to bring warring nations to the pinnacle of invention and prosperity–the new city Nazreal. But not every creature strives for a bright and industrious future.

Conflict is an unsteady foundation for the burgeoning metropolis. The launch of a thousand incredible dreams plants the seed for an immeasurable disaster that even Aidan and his friends do not have the power to prevent. This is the story of Nazreal’s ascension… and the end of the world.

Purchase Link: https://www.inspired-quill.com/product/ruins-dawn

Q & A

Tell us about yourself.

I’m always so bad at these questions! Give me a fantasy world and I’ll dive right in, but exploring myself is always leaves me grasping for things to say. Most distinctly (from my perspective, anyway), I’m British, living in North Carolina. I have been a long-time fan of fantasy and storymaking, since even as a toddler, holding a fascination with telling tales and being crafted my own adventures by my older sister. Now I take the innocence of passion and creativity to heart as I stride through my thirties, remembering that there isn’t a limit to how long you can be emboldened or inspired by the world around you, or new ideas, and learn new things about yourself.

Give a brief description of your book.

Ruin’s Dawn is the third instalment in my series The Resonance Tetralogy, after Legacy and Fracture, and it’s a prequel to these events, set thousands of years in planet Eeres’ past. It’s a tale of an ancient cataclysm wrought by the struggle of a fair and promising world against those who wish to crush it by their own hand, emboldened by the presence of a rare, potentially infinite, power source. It follows the story of Aidan, the father of the young protagonist Faria Phiraco, from Legacy.

What other books or authors have inspired you?

My very first author inspirations were Robin Jarvis, of The Deptford Mice and Deptford History trilogies, and Diana Wynne Jones- specifically her book Dogsbody. The Deptford series had an incredible array of rich, balanced characters and what really struck me at the time was, for an ostensibly young boys’ arcane-horror-adventure, the lead was a female mouse called Audrey. Jarvis’ writing had a very profound effect on my style. Dogsbody held in it a fantastic and original story about a star who was cast down into the body of a dog. Being a child with a love of dogs and interstellar powerful beings, this was a perfect mix of suspense and creativity.

Is there a possibly unknown author or book out there that you think everyone should read? Tell us about them/ it.

I am not nearly as well-read as I would like to be, so even my ‘obscure’ book choices will be moderately mainstream! I feel like Garth Nix is underrated when compared to the likes of Neil Gaiman (whom I also very much admire, don’t get me wrong). They’re both very similar, but Nix has a style that just resonates with me a little more, and his standalone book Shade’s Children is one of terrifying action and suspense, woven in the tales of four renegade children surviving a world of disgusting and sinister creatures that have decimated the world.

What drew you to write this particular story?

The world of The Resonance Tetralogy has been with me for… probably almost twenty years now. I daydreamed constantly through high school, and eventually these characters formed their world in my head and, where I could find no book that would ever quite satisfy me, I set out to write one that I guarantee would. I wanted to see the book in the world that I needed when I was younger. I find animals enchanting, and get somewhat fed up of the fantasy tropes of different races being distinct from each other only by a sliding scale ratio of height to facial hair.

What do you love about this book? What makes this book special to you? Is there a part that makes you cry? Makes you laugh? Is there a part you’re secretly most proud of? What is it?

I love this book because it’s part of the story I’ve had in mind the longest, since I first started writing Legacy back in 2006, and having it finally in front of me is just… an immense release. While I know I have more yet to write, I feel this is the best of my writing ability so far and there are many moments I almost don’t credit myself for writing because they feel too professional. There are some specific scenes that make me cry, that I won’t spoil. Moments of loss and grieving, some reflections on regrets or soulful reconnections.

Which was your favourite character to write? Why?

Three characters in this book have been great for me: Aidan, Elysser, and Kaya. Aidan, being one of the original characters from Legacy, has evolved a lot since his inception, and being able to tie in his younger moments to what happens to him later was very rewarding. Also being able to weave the influence that Elysser and Kaya have, both as two very independent spirits who influence him in similar, distinct ways, was a nice interplay to experiment with.

What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?

For me, for a fantasy, there are the usual suspects like parts of a boat, or medieval weaponry, sections of a castle, etc. For me now, given how very different I am from when I first started writing in earnest. I take a lot of time to analyse my characters and make sure my tropes aren’t doing anything harmful. And some of this is just passive research that I have to more consciously apply later. Fantasy, particularly white fantasy, is very easy to steal or speak over or enforce tropes that harm people of colour, even unconsciously, so that’s something I’ve made a push to eliminate from my books. It’s something I hope to always be aware of and changing as I need so people can immerse themselves in my world fully and not come across things that have continually punched down onto them for years. I want my world to be an escape, not a reminder.

What did you edit out of this book?

There were two very distinct moments I changed, and that has been as a part of my listening to people talk about their life experiences. There were two separate moments where two different characters were to commit suicide, or attempt it. And while this was, to my younger mind, an acceptable mindset for those characters at the time, as I came to it now, I realised the reasons why I was having them do that were based on a poor perception of what it means, and what the specifics of the story would have done to them. And also, that at the time, I had not encountered that in my life before. A lot of things have changed since then. I want my stories to be about hope. The characters still go through the exact same events, but they no longer reach that precipice. I cannot in good conscience depict that as a romantic denouement for characters I have come to love so much, who I want to present as strong, especially in a world today where we need perseverance and hope above all else.

And finally, who else should love this book? Describe the reader who ought to know about it.

A reader who loves fantasy, loves animals, loves adventure and elemental powers used in inventive ways, loves action, and battles, massive set pieces and sprawling scenery. I love cross-referencing stories between each other so there are a lot of different hooks that latch onto each other between all three books so far; I hope that would make jumping from book to book create some fun moments of recognition when they’re seen! If a reader loves balance between characters’ dialogue and morality, and something soulful in their stories, I hope I would enkindle that through its pages. I hope, I guess, that the book doesn’t just come across as pure construction. There’s a lot of ‘me’ in this. I want it to be sincere. So if that’s something that a reader looks for also, I hope they would find that here too.

Author Information 

Ruin's Dawn - Sell SheetIn his spare time, Hugo is heavily involved with the furry fandom, standing as an advocate for LGBT+ rights, mental health awareness, inclusion, and artist/author visibility and fair treatment.

Many thanks to Sara-Jayne Slack at Inspired Quill for reaching out to arrange this Q & A and to Hugo Jackson for taking the time to provide such wonderful Q & A answers.