Mrs Preston’s Kitchen

Thank you to Michael Chrobak for inviting me to write a guest post for his blog.

Please visit his link below.

https://eatingwrite.weebly.com/guest-blogs/mrs-prestons-kitchen

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Merry Christmas and Season’s Greetings to Everyone

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You may wonder why I have a wombat in my photo. This is Waddles. I bought him in Daylesford when I was researching my next book. So what does a wombat have to do with a cozy murder mystery?

My next book, the second in The Thornton Mysteries is set in Daylesford, Victoria, Australia, where the Thorntons have a holiday home. It isn’t as grand as Thornton Park but it’s a large house set into the side of Wombat Hill. There’s the clue. Daylesford, in its gold mining days, was called Wombat.

I first went to Daylesford about ten years ago. It’s set in the Macedon Ranges and is a favourite spa town. The area is known for its mineral springs. Mt Franklin, which most Australians know of, is about a twenty minute drive away.

The Thornton’s home is Wombat Hill Manor, and just as I did with Thornton Park, I based Wombat Hill Manor on a real building. It was initially built as a private residence and later sold to the Catholic Church as a Convent.

It’s now The Convent Gallery, beautifully restored as an art gallery and restaurant/cafe. If you go to Daylesford, I recommend going there. It’s about a one hour drive from Melbourne and worth the trip.

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I’ve been to Daylesford twice this year, the first time to do research for my book. The second time was after I finished my first draft and I wanted to check on some details.

This year has been a busy one. The two trips to Daylesford. A trip to Adelaide and the Barossa Valley, which besides being a wonderful holiday, was also research for book three. For those who don’t know, the Barossa Valley in South Australia is famous for it’s wineries. I’ll be starting book 3 early in the new year. You’ll remember from reading The Dragon Sleeps that Benedict’s family own a vineyard in South Australia. There’s a hint about book three.

I’ve not long returned from a trip to Hawaii. It was another fabulous holiday with my family. I thought I can’t go to such a location and not write a book set there. I didn’t have any ideas for a story when I arrived but I had the start of Book 4 before I left. My dilemma was why would the Thorntons want to go to Hawaii. Book two is set in 1928. Book three in 1928 also. So why in 1929 would they want to travel so far? The reason came to me. I was so pleased! Originally, I intended writing three books but now book four is on the schedule.

I hope you have a wonderful Christmas with your family and friends and I wish you a Happy New Year.

REVIEW: Wardens of Archos

Wardens of Archos

Wardens of Archos is the second book in Sarina Langer’s Relics of Ar’Zac fantasy series.

I was so pleased to be back in Rifarne with Rachael and her colleagues. It was great to pick up the story from where it finished in the first book. New characters were introduced and joined Rachael on her journey to new lands in an attempt to find the answers to what is hidden beneath the ancient Krymistian ruins of Archos.

The story moves at a good pace and always left me wanting to turn the page. Sarina Langer’s world building is excellent, with plenty of description but nothing to slow the pace down. The new worlds came to life.

I loved the dynamic between Rachael and Cale. Their story develops further.
Thank you to the author for providing a free ARC in exchange for an honest review.

If you enjoy fantasy, you’ll love this book.

REVIEW: Beauty in Thorns – Kate Forsyth

Beauty in Thorns

 

Beauty in Thorns – Kate Forsyth

 I love Kate Forsyth’s writing and when Beauty in Thorns was released I couldn’t wait to read it.

It is a story set around the Pre-Raphaelite circle of artists and poets, including William Morris, Edward Burne-Jones and Dante Gabriel Rossetti.

For many years, I’ve adored their wonderful paintings, so I knew I’d love getting lost in their tumultuous world. I discovered there was so much I hadn’t known about their work and their relationships. Kate Forsyth brings to life their story of love and heartbreak with such care and beauty.

I also loved learning about the women in this circle. Lizzie Siddal, Georgie (Georgiana) Burne-Jones nee Macdonald, Jane Morris nee Burden, and later in the novel Margot Burne-Jones the daughter of Georgie and Ned (Edward)Burne-Jones. I was especially moved by Lizzie Siddal’s tragic life. I think I admired Georgie’s stoicism the most.

Kate Forsyth’s research is excellent and her story telling is superb. If you haven’t read Beauty in Thorns as yet, I highly recommend it.

If you’re unfamiliar with the art of the Pre-Raphaelites, it will add to your appreciation of this book if you look up some of their paintings.

A Cup of Conversation: Soulla Christodoulou talks with Ellen Read author of The Dragon Sleeps

I was recently asked to do an interview for Soulla Christodoulou’s new series, A Cup of Conversation.

Thank you so much, Soulla.

You can read it here

 

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The House That Inspired Me.

 

Thornton Park is the Thornton family home and is where the mystery takes place in my book The Dragon Sleeps.

It’s a murder mystery set in the late 1920s.

A Dragon statue. An ancient sword. What treasure is worth killing for?

Alexandra Thornton is determined to discover how these things are connected to the antiques her great-grandfather brought with him from Hong Kong so many years ago. What secret has remained hidden for the last eighty years?

Photos:
Top left is the main hall, the others are of the drawing room. Far right is my book.

These photos are of the real house that inspired me – Werribee Mansion in Victoria.

You can go through the mansion if you’re visiting Melbourne or Victoria. It’s definitely a worthwhile day.

Review: The Dragon Sleeps by Ellen Read — Cookie Break

I was so thrilled to receive this wonderful review. Please read on!

“A Dragon statue. An ancient sword. What treasure is worth killing for? It’s 1927 in Victoria, Australia. A hedonistic time after the Great War when young people knew they could enjoy life without the threat of war hanging over them. A time when women have more options opened to them. There is a weekend house…

via Review: The Dragon Sleeps by Ellen Read — Cookie Break

REVIEW: CHAINS OF GAIA – 5 STARS

 

Chains of Gaia

Chains of Gaia by James Fahy

(Book Three of The Changeling Series.)

With each book, I love returning to Erkling and the Netherworlde, to catch up with Robin, Henry, Karya, Woad and the other Erklingers.

This time, Robin and his friends have to retrieve the Shard of Earth from the heart of the Everhart Forest. A scourge lies over the great forest, as a rampaging beast lays waste to it, and to villages that border it.

Their journey is fraught with danger as they encounter centaurs, a minotaur in an ancient labyrinth, and let’s not forget the Grimms and Redcaps.

We meet new characters including Ffoulkes (with his affectations), a population of gentle green Dryads and a new Fae.

It’s wonderful to see Robin maturing and learning to be his true self. Henry and Karya are also growing up and there’s a lot more to learn yet about them, I’m certain. Woad keeps being Woad, which is just what I hoped.

James Fahy creates a very believable fantasy world. His writing is concise and his imagery is magical. I felt totally immersed in it. The characters are all well written and well rounded. The author’s wit shines through them.

I feel like I want to say more and more. The book has such depth but moved along at a cracking pace. I thoroughly enjoyed Chains of Gaia and can’t wait for the next instalment.

I’m sure you’ll enjoy it too.

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REVIEW: THE DROWNED TOMB by James Fahy

The Drowned Tomb

 

This is a fantastic second book in The Changeling Series. I loved the Isle of Winds, the first book, and I wasn’t disappointed with The Drowned Tomb.

I was excited to get back to Erkling Hall and the Netherworlde to meet favourite characters once again. Robin is as amazing as ever. Henry is a real favourite of mine, with his humour and easy-going manner, as is Woad and his new pet. Karya retains her aura of mystery but we are teased with some hints about her past. 

New characters are added seamlessly into the story. Some intriguing, some evil, some filled with menace. New and old, all are brilliantly written, well-rounded and believable, even the antiheroes.

The development of the story and the world building are superb. When I think of The Drowned Tomb, I think of Lords of the Rings, Harry Potter and The Chronicles of Narnia. Like these timeless favourites, The Changeling Series is for all ages.

James Fahy’s writing is witty, sincere, and concise, with a narrative that takes you on a fast and exciting ride, while at other times immerses you in scenes of beauty and magical wonder.

If you haven’t read it yet, I’d highly recommend you plunge into The Drowned Tomb soon, ready for Fahy’s third book, which is to be released on 12th June.

 

 

The Dragon Sleeps – Another 5 Star review

I was thrilled this week to receive a 5 Star Review from English Author James Fahy. If you haven’t read Fahy’s books, you should hurry and read them. His third book in The Changeling Series is due to be released on 12 June 2017.

Review of TDS by James Fahy

Repost from @jamesfahyauthor – The Dragon Sleeps by the wonderful @ellenreadauthor was my Bank Holiday weekend read. What better way to spend a long weekend than with a pot of tea and a period murder? I love the time period this novel is set in. If I had a time machine, the 1920’s is the first place I would go, so this was an indulgent treat for me. Ellen’s story is steeped in carefully and lovingly researched detail, from the music playing, to the fashions, art, etiquette and antiques, I came away feeling like I’d attended the garden party at Thornton myself, and was surprised to find I was not wearing spats. If you’re a lover of Agatha Christie, and a good murder-mystery with a side order of love, sprinkled with some far-east exoticism, I would urge you to give this a try. You won’t be disappointed. Check my full review on Amazon.com/co.uk

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️    🐲🐉💕

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