Anne Bonny Top 5 #TravelWithBooks pick from the TBR pile @natashasolomons @thesailorsgirl @brazil_thriller @C_E_Lawrence @DominickGDonald @WindmillBooks @HarperCollinsUK @unbounders @amazonpublishing @HodderBooks

house of gold - Vienna
House Of Gold by Natasha Solomons ~ Location = Vienna
Available in HB/Ebook/PB
Synopsis ~

The start of a war. The end of a dynasty.

VIENNA, 1911. Greta Goldbaum has always dreamed of being free to choose her own life’s path, but the Goldbaum family, one of the wealthiest in the world, has different expectations. United across Europe, Goldbaum men are bankers, while Goldbaum women marry Goldbaum men to produce Goldbaum children.

So when Greta is sent to England to marry Albert, a distant cousin she has never met, the two form an instant dislike for one another. Defiant and lonely, Greta longs for a connection and a place to call her own. When Albert’s mother gives Greta a garden, things begin to change.

But just as she begins to taste an unexpected happiness, the Great War breaks out, threatening to tear everything away. For the first time in two hundred years, the family will find themselves on opposing sides. How will Greta choose between the family she’s created and the one she was forced to leave behind?

Black mamba boy - Africa
Black Mamba Boy by Nadifa Mohamed ~ Location = Africa 
Available in PB/Ebook
Synopsis ~


For fans of Half of a Yellow Sun, a stunning novel set in 1930s Somalia spanning a decade of war and upheaval, all seen through the eyes of a small boy alone in the world.

Aden,1935; a city vibrant, alive, and full of hidden dangers. And home to Jama, a ten year-old boy. But then his mother dies unexpectedly and he finds himself alone in the world.

Jama is forced home to his native Somalia, the land of his nomadic ancestors. War is on the horizon and the fascist Italian forces who control parts of east Africa are preparing for battle. Yet Jama cannot rest until he discovers whether his father, who has been absent from his life since he was a baby, is alive somewhere.

And so begins an epic journey which will take Jama north through Djibouti, war-torn Eritrea and Sudan, to Egypt. And from there, aboard a ship transporting Jewish refugees just released from German concentration camp, across the seas to Britain and freedom.

This story of one boy’s long walk to freedom is also the story of how the Second World War affected Africa and its people; a story of displacement and family.

the burning hill - Brazil
The Burning Hill by A.D Flint ~ Location = Brazil
Available in PB/Ebook
Synopsis ~

On the run from unjust court-martial back home, a young British soldier gets robbed and shot on Copacabana Beach. The bullet in Jake’s head should have been fatal, but miraculously, it saves him from a previously undetected condition that soon would have killed him.

Jake doesn’t believe in fate, nor does he feel he owes anything to anybody, but he does hate injustice. Vilson, the teenage favela kid who fired the bullet, is a victim of injustice, in a corner with a corrupt cop and a sadistic drug-lord after his blood.

With a turf war erupting in Vilson’s favela, fear stalks every narrow alleyway, and anyone dragged up to the notorious Burning Hill had better hope they’re dead before they get there. But it’s not just fear that shapes life in the favela, belief is also powerful, able to both save and destroy.

The Burning Hill is about the power of belief and one man’s desire for justice at any cost.

Edinburgh twilight - Scotland
Edinburgh Twilight by Carole Lawrence ~ Location = Scotland
Available in PB/Ebook/Audible & on Kindle Unlimited
Synopsis ~

As a new century approaches, Edinburgh is a city divided. The wealthy residents of New Town live in comfort, while Old Town’s cobblestone streets are clotted with criminals, prostitution, and poverty.

Detective Inspector Ian Hamilton is no stranger to Edinburgh’s darkest crimes. Scarred by the mysterious fire that killed his parents, he faces his toughest case yet when a young man is found strangled in Holyrood Park.

With little evidence aside from a strange playing card found on the body, Hamilton engages the help of his aunt, a gifted photographer, and George Pearson, a librarian with a shared interest in the criminal mind. But the body count is rising. As newspapers spin tales of the “Holyrood Strangler,” panic sets in across the city. And with each victim, the murderer is getting closer to Hamilton, the one man who dares to stop him.

breathe - London
Breathe by Dominick Donald ~ Location =London
Available in HB/Ebook/Audible/PB
Synopsis ~

A stunning debut crime novel for fans of Robert Harris, Philip Kerr and C.J. Sansom’s Dominion.

London, 1952. Dick Bourton is not like the other probationer policemen in Notting Hill. He’s older, having fought in Europe and then Korea. And he’s no Londoner, being from Cotswold farming stock. Then there’s Anna, the exotically beautiful White Russian fiancée he has brought back to these drab streets and empty bombsites. She may as well come from a different planet.

The new copper also has a mind of his own. After an older colleague is shot by a small-time gangster they are chasing in a pea-souper fog, something nags at Bourton’s memory. He begins to make connections which his superiors don’t want to see, linking a whole series of deaths and the fogs that stop the city in its tracks.

Desperate to prove himself and his theories, Bourton fails to notice the fear which his mysterious bride is doing her best to conceal – and overcome.

Soon both Anna and Bourton are taking dangerous paths into the worst fog London has ever known…

Anne Bonny #BlogTour #Extract Stasi 77 by @djy_writer #NewRelease #HistFic #ww2 #Stasi @ZaffreBooks #Historical #Thriller #Stasi77

Stasi 77 by David Young
Currently Reading ~ Review To Follow Soon

Synopsis ~

A secret State. A dark conspiracy. A terrible crime.

Karin Müller of the German Democratic Republic’s People’s Police is called to a factory in the east of the country. A man has been murdered – bound and trapped as a fire burned nearby, slowly suffocating him. But who is he? Why was he targeted? Could his murderer simply be someone with a grudge against the factory’s nationalisation, as Müller’s Stasi colleagues insist? Why too is her deputy Werner Tilsner behaving so strangely?

As more victims surface, it becomes clear that there is a cold-blooded killer out there taking their revenge. Soon Müller begins to realise that in order to solve these terrible crimes, she will need to delve into the region’s dark past. But are the Stasi really working with her on this case? Or against her?

For those who really run this Republic have secrets they would rather remain uncovered. And they will stop at nothing to keep them that way . . .

A gripping and evocative crime thriller, moving between the devastating closing weeks of the Second World War and the Stasi-controlled 1970s, STASI 77 is David Young’s most compelling and powerful novel yet.

Extract ~

April 1977

His heart started pounding, and his throat constricting, even before he reached the crossing point.
Checkpoint C.
C for Charlie.
A place where the glitz and decadence of West Berlin gave way to the colourless grey of the East. The contrast was always striking, no matter how often he crossed the border.
He’d done this journey countless times for work. Always driving – through France, Belgium, West Germany. And then the motorway corridor into West Berlin.
Each business trip was ostensibly about making money, making connections. Doing deals with the Deutsche Demo- kratische Republik, with its voracious appetite for foreign hard currency.
But his real reason for these trips was something quite different.
It was to investigate.
To collect information. To identify people. And now he knew enough. Now he was ready to begin.

As the guard checked his papers, a deep wracking cough started, and he couldn’t stop it. His body convulsed like a beached fish. The guard stared hard at him.
It was all going to go wrong now, he sensed it. He managed to control the cough – a permanent legacy of a day he wished he could forget, the day that this was all about – but beads of sweat formed on his brow, and his breathing was laboured and panicked. He climbed out of the Citroén, obeying the guard’s gestures and shouts.
The guard circled the vehicle, opened its gently sloping hatched back, and pulled out the businessman’s leather workbag.
‘Open it, please.’
He flipped the catch. There was nothing in the bag that didn’t match the stated purpose of his visit: all was as it should be, except for the one thing he wanted to be found. But the busi- nessman still felt his face begin to colour up, to feel the guilt, even though he was guilty of nothing. The tension felt like it was intensifying in every sinew in his body, each second causing another twist to course through him.
The guard pulled out a plastic bottle of colourless liquid. He unscrewed the top, and immediately pulled his head back as he smelt the fumes, almost as though he’d been given a small electric shock.
“What’s this?’ he asked, grimacing.
The businessman didn’t trust his voice to answer, and instead opened his papers, lightly running his finger over the entry which corresponded to the one litre of fire accelerant – approved for temporary import into the Republic as part of his business. The business of fire prevention. The Republic was developing fire resistant materials as an offshoot of its chemi- cals industry. His job was to test them so that they matched the standards of the West before sealing any import-export deal. In effect, he needed to be a fire-starter, in order to be an effective fire-preventer. It was a career he’d chosen for a reason. Part of that reason was this visit to East Germany via its capital, even though his destination lay hundreds of kilometres back towards the West. It was a circuitous route, designed to deflect attention. He didn’t want some twitchy East German border guard ruin- ing his plan.
‘The guard glanced over to his guardhouse, as though he was about to summon a superior. But then his attention turned back to the leather bag. He rummaged around again, and pulled out the multi pack of Gauloises cigarettes the businessman had deliberately left there – he knew it flouted customs regulations.
Waving the cigarette packets in one hand, and the bottle of liquid in the other, the guard shook his head, a theatrically severe look on his face. It was a young face, an inexperienced face —- even though the businessman knew most of these officers in border guard uniforms were actually agents of the Ministry for State Security.
The Stasi.
“These don’t mix well together; said the guard. “You might have permission for this…’ He waved the bottle around again with one hand. Then the cigarettes with the other, as though he was making secret semaphore signals to his colleagues. “But importing these…’
Tm sorry. I must have forgotten to take them out, said the businessman. He tried to give a calm, unflustered outward appearance. Inside he was churning up. He needed the guard to want to confiscate the cigarettes, and relish the thought of quietly smoking them, or sharing them with his fellow officers.
The guard’s semaphore-like waving paused mid-air. ‘This interaction had reached a critical point. The businessman held his breath – his heart tapping a steady drum beat. The guard placed both objects on top of the Citroén’s roof, then glanced at his watch. He shrugged, picked up the bottle and placed it back in the bag, along with the man’s passport and documents. ‘Then he waved the businessman back into the driver’s side, and picked up the cigarette multi pack.
If he knew the businessman had left them there deliberately – that it was an unofficial ‘trade’ – it didn’t show in his deadpan face. “We will be impounding these; he said. ‘Importing them is illegal. Do not do it again.’
He waved the Citroén past, while shouting through the open driver’s window.
‘Enjoy your stay in our Socialist Republic, Herr Verbier.’

David Young

***Don’t miss the other bloggers on the blog tour***
Stasi Blog Tour Graphic

Anne Bonny Rose Villa by @sampriestley #Extract #RoseVilla #HistFic #HistoricalThriller #NewRelease

Rose Villa by Sam Priestley

Synopsis ~

Rose Villa has held a curse in its bricks since 1843, and the Yorkshire village has held the secret of a murder since 1987. In 2007, Jonathan and Kirsty meet on Facebook twenty years after they last saw each other and Kirsty visits Jonathan in his home, Rose Villa, only to find the house has affected him and he’s no longer the person she once knew.

In 1843 in a Yorkshire village two gypsy women are evicted from their home by men planning to build new houses. The youngest gypsy, Matilda, curses the land, anything built on it, and those who live there.

In 2007 Jonathan is coming to terms with his girlfriend leaving him and Kirsty is facing the break-up of her marriage. Old school friends, and former boyfriend and girlfriend, the two meet again on Facebook and Jonathan invites Kirsty to his house, Rose Villa. Rose Villa was built on the cursed land and has caused its inhabitants over the years to go mad and become violent.

When Kirsty goes to Jonathan’s house he talks about his girlfriend in an increasingly resentful way. Kirsty begins to remember the last time she was in this village, 20 years ago, when she came to find her grandmother’s grave. That day she saw a girl crying over a letter down behind the church, and she met an older woman in the graveyard who seemed to know Kirsty.

Kirsty is finding Jonathan’s behaviour more and more erratic and he doesn’t seem like the same person she knew twenty years ago. She asks his neighbour, Mrs Daniels, what she knows about Kirsty’s family, and she receives a shock, and a warning.

Back in 1987 violence lay beneath the surface in Rose Villa and on the day Kirsty was in the village all those years ago, it finally found its way out.

Jonathan is getting more unstable and as Rose Villa takes over completely, dark secrets emerge from its walls and from Jonathan.

Extract ~


The church sat proudly on the brow of the hill above them, its pale sandstone the colour of the skin the people wore here in the north of England, its tower high in the sky like they held their heads. The wind had blown the small back door at the church open and shut five times that morning already. The little green gate that led to the drop of steps on the land behind the church, steep as a leaned ladder, rattled on its hinges. The land in this northern village was as unpredictable as a cliff face. It swooped around houses, a school, an inn, like the buildings were here first and the earth moulded itself around them. And down here, behind the church, it bobbed in the shape of sand dunes and then fell away dramatically where the line of steps led precariously down to the bottom lane. The patch of land between the church and the steps was where Matilda and her mother lived.

Matilda didn’t know how long they’d been living here in this run-down old barn on this piece of land down behind the church, but she knew her mother didn’t want to leave. Matilda’s mother said that she had found a place she would die in. Her mother was old now, the skin on her dark face loose and deeply lined, her small pebble eyes often closed and most of her teeth long gone. She insisted she would die soon, and who was Matilda to argue?

The men had left. Matilda didn’t know how long since. Her father had gone first, years ago, saying he couldn’t stay, it wasn’t right, it wasn’t what they did, it wasn’t the way his heart lay. And the women didn’t know where he was now. Though Matilda’s mother swore he would be there at the end and she would see him again. Then Matilda’s own husband had gone. She felt the lack of a child keenly and, so her mother said, this was something to make him wander. But truth be told, Matilda knew he would go anyway. There was no reason for him to stay.

So the two women lived in the old barn alone. They made and sold things and kept a few chickens they’d received in payment for telling fortunes, their bony fingers travelling the lines on palms and their dark eyes gazing into the mystery of left behind tea leaves in chipped china cups. The minister in the church encouraged them to stay and brought them food when they had none, a spare lump of bread as big as a rock, cheese and if they were lucky, cooked meat they had to chew on with their worn-out teeth. Matilda heard people in the village call them his pets and it stung her more than when the people turned their eyes away from them or crossed the path to avoid them. But even he couldn’t help them when the man from Hawthorne Lodge came and knocked at the door of the old barn.

On the days the man from Hawthorne Lodge, flanked by other smart men from the village, started coming to the barn to speak to the two women, Matilda’s mother had the beginning of a sickness. Matilda told the men and they looked at her with a mixture of fear and cold suspicion, and they went away. But they came back.

“I’m sorry your mother is sick,” the man from Hawthorne Lodge said. “But we do need to speak with you both as a matter of urgency.”

“What’s it about?”

“It’s about the land, Mrs Boswell,” the man said. “This land does not belong to you, nor this barn you live in. We understand you have lived here for some time, but it is not yours and…”

Matilda had folded her arms over and frowned at the man. “And?” she said.
“And now we need this land.”

“What are you saying?”

“We are saying you and your mother must leave, Mrs. Boswell. Perhaps you could join your husbands at their new places of living.”

“My mother has a sickness.”

“Of course,” the man said. “We understand that and there will be time enough for your mother to recover from her current illness, but…”


“But then you must leave.”

Matilda had gone back inside that day and thought about what could be done. She told her mother and received the answer she expected. “We shan’t leave.”

Matilda had breathed sharply. “Perhaps we could go to father.”

Her mother shook her old head. “I won’t go anywhere. I’ll die here, Matilda. Your father is coming back, I know he is, I feel it my bones. I’ll wait for him and I’ll die on this spot. I won’t be moved now.”

It was a situation Matilda had never thought to find herself in. It was in their blood to move, to travel. They purposefully moved. And now she and her mother were purposefully not moving. She knew her father wasn’t coming back, no matter how much her mother insisted she could feel his presence getting closer on the wind. But she couldn’t tell her mother. You can’t change the way things will be. That’s what she believed.

The man from Hawthorne Lodge came back to the barn. The people in this village had held their suspicion of the gypsy family close to their chests. They had always been civil and never invited argument, preferring to let the family live here like they would let a stray cat sleep in their outhouses, but the difference between them and the gypsies was always felt. Matilda had always felt it. Something unspoken. Something loosely caged.
Matilda stood and looked at the men at the barn door and knew she would never be more than something they tolerated here.

“Why do you want this?” Matilda asked.

“We will build houses here,” the man said. “We need more houses in the village now and this is a good place to build.”

“But this is where we live. You don’t need to build anything new, we already live here.”

“This doesn’t belong to you,” the man insisted. “You can’t stay. Besides,” he looked around at the old barn with its holes in the roof and its broken timber, the rat nibbled corners and the damp floor where the rain had dripped in. “it’s not safe to live in.”

“It’s safe enough. We live here.”

Matilda’s mother said the men couldn’t make them move. But of course, they could. It was easy enough to make anybody move, but them, the gypsies, the outcasts who no one spoke to and everyone was suspicious of, were even easier to move.

The day it happened, Matilda thought, was the day that finally finished her mother. She didn’t die on that day, but Matilda knew that was the day she had decided she would die.
The men dismantled the barn around Matilda’s mother. Matilda had stayed by her side for as long as she could, but the timber fell on to her and made her fear for her own life. She grabbed her things, a few items of clothing, what food she had, and she tried to make her mother move. She watched in amazement as her mother held fast and sat it out amongst the debris and the dust.

When it was over and their home was gone, Matilda stood on the land and closed her eyes. She didn’t care who heard her and who didn’t. She felt the anger rise inside her body and a bitterness take over all other feelings. It was the fact that they thought they could just do this. They thought they could just turn them out, onto the land, with no help and no kindness. They thought they were only as good as animals and should be treated the same. They thought there was nothing these two wandering women could do about it. Matilda would make them think again. Matilda would do something about it. These men who had done this, she knew, sought only to make money for themselves. Matilda would do something about that. But as she stood there and closed her eyes and felt the words untangle in her brain and appear in her throat, she didn’t say it for the men who’d done this or for the villagers who had gathered to watch the spectacle. She said it for her mother who was dying and wanted nothing more than to die in the place she now called home. A wandering woman who had paused her journey to let death take her.

“Let all who dwell here suffer ill tempers and find no happiness. Let the building on this land be full of anger and never see calm.”

Samantha Priestley