Wednesday, 21 June 2017

K is for ...?

This time it's back to Greece again - and to the island of Kefalonia. Made famous by Captain Corelli's Mandolin, it is the largest island in the Ionian sea and one that remains on my 'must visit' list. With its beautiful white sandy beaches and rugged scenery, medieval castles and hidden villages, what's not to like? Paul Dillon manages to capture all this and more in his book The magic of the receiver. The description of the catastrophic earthquake is very moving and I liked the way in which the book links the past and the present through the boyhood memories of a man and the eyes of his daughter as she visits the island. Great summer escapism!

Product Details

Set on the beautiful Greek island of Kefalonia, this vivid family saga is lit with memorable characters: a man revisiting the haunting site of a childhood earthquake, and his American-born daughter who faces a decision that could change her life.

Paul Dillon is a British author living in Los Angeles, California. His first novel, THE MAGIC IN THE RECEIVER, was published in July 2012.

Julie Ryan is the author of the Greek Island mystery series, Jenna's Journey, Sophia's Secret and Pandora's Prophecy. You can find out more about her here

Saturday, 6 May 2017

We're off to J

No surprises if you guessed that J on our world tour takes us to Jersey, courtesy of Alison Golden's 'The case of the hidden flame'. This cosy mystery is the second in the series and although I hadn't read the first, it works well as a standalone and being novella length is a quick read. The setting of Jersey and the hotel in particular really add to the book but more could have been made of the location instead of simply using it as a backdrop. The characters have great potential but could have been fleshed out more and the style is quite simple but enjoyable. It is a combination of Agatha Christie and midsummer murders and although it is contemporary there is an older feel to the story. Great if you are looking for an easy summer read. Maybe I'm missing something but I still don't see the relevance of the title to the story but that could just be me.


A new cop. A murdered lover. An eccentric community.  
Detective Inspector David Graham has just arrived on the island of Jersey, taking over a rag tag team of questionable commitment and skill at the Gorey Constabulary, a team that he is supposed to lead and develop into a cohesive investigative unit. 

Within minutes, his first challenge presents itself when ex-soldier, Colonel Graves, finds a dead body on the beach. As the military man kneels down, he discovers it is his soon-to-be fiancĂ© half buried in the sand… 

In a small resort like Gorey, this event is monumental, and almost unheard of. The rumors swirl yet it is the new Detective Inspector’s job, with a bag still packed and travel dust on his shoes, to ferret out the clues and solve the case…while bringing his team along to assist. 

With a Sherlock soul, The Case of the Hidden Flame packs humor and intrigue onto a small island of eccentric characters, roiling sea undercurrents, and deceptive coincidences – all accompanied by a fine cup of tea. 

Alison Golden

Alison Golden was born and raised in Bedfordshire, England. She writes cozy mysteries and suspense novels, along with the occasional witty blog post, all of which are designed to entertain, amuse, and calm. Her approach is to combine creative ideas with excellent writing and edit, edit, edit. 

She is the creator of the Reverend Annabelle Dixon cozy mysteries, a charming, fun series featuring a female vicar ministering in the beautiful county of Cornwall, England. She also produces a Jersey-based detective series featuring Inspector David Graham and the Diana Hunter series, set in Vancouver. 

Her books' themes range from the humorous and sweet to harder hitting suspense. They are recommended for readers who like to relax and unwind with their books, who enjoy getting to know the characters, and who prefer the tougher side of life implied.

She is based in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and twin sons. She splits her time traveling between London and San Francisco.

Julie Ryan is the author of the Greek Island mystery series, Jenna's Journey, Sophia's Secret and Pandora's Prophecy. You can find out more about her here

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

I takes us to ...?

Before the Rains by [Jefferies, Dinah]

This time we're off to India no less. Be prepared for a magical journey.

A romantic, heart-wrenching tale of love against the odds from the Number One Sunday Times bestselling author
1930, Rajputana, India. Since her husband's death, 28-year-old photojournalist Eliza's only companion has been her camera. When the British Government send her to an Indian princely state to photograph the royal family, she's determined to make a name for herself.
But when Eliza arrives at the palace she meets Jay, the Prince's handsome, brooding brother. While Eliza awakens Jay to the poverty of his people, he awakens her to the injustices of British rule. Soon Jay and Eliza find they have more in common than they think. But their families - and society - think otherwise. Eventually they will have to make a choice between doing what's expected, or following their hearts. . .

Dinah Jefferies has truly mastered the skill of transporting the reader, both in time and place, in this case to Rajputana in India in the years before India gained her independence from Britain. In a few paragraphs the reader experiences the cultural differences between the two societies through the burgeoning relationship of Eliza, a photographer, and Jay, a member of the Indian Royal family.
I enjoyed watching the relationship develop and wondering if they would be able to overcome the barriers. Jay's brother provided an added threat and I found his mother intriguing. The book deals with some controversial topics such as the position of women, the custom of burning a husband's widow (as a punishment for 'allowing' him to die) as well as the political situation of the time. I found Eliza to be a strong and courageous woman in what was essentially a man's world - both the society she escaped from and the one she escaped to. All in all an engaging read that offers pure escapism.

Julie Ryan is the author of the Greek Island mystery series, Jenna's Journey, Sophia's Secret and Pandora's Prophecy. You can find out more about her here

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

H - and we're off to ...?

I've had this book on my shelves for a long time - almost twenty years so thought it was about time we head over to Hong Kong. This book is set just before the handing back of Hong Kong to the Chinese and needs to be read in context. It gives a great insight into both the British and Chinese hopes and fears as well as prejudice and inherent racism on both sides. I found it a fascinating read despite the fact, or even because of the fact, that none of the main characters are particularly likeable. It is a novel of its time and does a good job describing the period.


Ninety-nine years of colonial rule are ending as the British prepare to hand over Hong Kong to China. For Betty Mullard and her son, Bunt, it doesn't concern them - until the mysterious Mr. Hung from the mainland offers them a large sum for their family business. They refuse, yet fail to realize Mr. Hung is unlike the Chinese they've known: he will accept no refusals. When a young female employee whom Bunt has been dating vanishes, he is forced to make important decisions for the first time in his life - but his good intentions are pitted against the will of Mr. Hung and the threat of the ultimate betrayal.

Julie Ryan is the author of the Greek Island mystery series, Jenna's Journey, Sophia's Secret and Pandora's Prophecy. You can find out more about her here

Thursday, 23 March 2017

G is for .... well where else would I be?

A Self Effacing Man (The Greek Village Collection Book 19) by [Alexi, Sara]

If it is in your nature to put others before yourself, what do you do when someone makes a play for the person you have secretly loved for years? 

Maria is illiterate, and Cosmo, the village postman, is obliged to read the love letters he delivers to her. He stammers over the words and blushes at the feelings he cannot bring himself to voice. 

However life is not always predictable and a sudden twist in events throws him in the role of village hero. 

But will this change be enough to enable him to overcome his shyness and declare his feelings to the woman he has loved all his life, and will she even be interested after all these years?

Where else would our travels take us this time but Greece? I've been a fan of Sara Alexi since stumbling across her first book 'The illegal gardener'. She blends her knowledge of Greece with an insight into the Greek psyche. Beneath the apparent simplistic style lies a deeper layer that the reader can relate to on a personal level, revealing as it does human nature with all its foibles. As well as telling a darned good story there is inevitably a dilemma involved which will reveal the true mettle of the protagonist. I particularly enjoyed the story of Maria and Cosmo and look forward to the next book in the series.

Sara Alexi

Best selling author Sara Alexi was born in Oxford, England. After travelling widely she now splits her time between England and a tiny rural village in the Peloponnese, in Greece, where she has renovated a stone farmhouse, whilst observing the Greek way of life and absorbing the culture.

As a qualified as a psychotherapist Sara ran her own practice for years. Her artistic nature was, during that time, confined to painting and she exhibited widely. Her move to Greece was the catalyst that began her writing.

Her 'Greek Village Series' has been very well received and provides a keenly observed, compassionate insight into the Greek people and culture, and the human condition in general.

Julie Ryan is the author of the Greek Island mystery series, Jenna's Journey, Sophia's Secret and Pandora's Prophecy. You can find out more about her here

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

F is for ...?


On my travels this week. it's off to France we go, or rather France, Tasmania and England. 'The French Promise' not only takes us round the world on an adventure in its own right but also deals with the Second World War and its repercussions in Europe afterwards. Throughout runs the thread of romance, buried secrets, tragedy, love and lavender fields. Multi-layered, it was difficult at first to work out the connections between the different families but the ending had me gasping. It didn't work out as I thought it would but then that's the beauty of fiction.

Luc and Lisette Ravens – a former French resistance fighter and a one-time British spy – have somehow survived the war, but recovering from the horrors of those years is a challenge they're yet to overcome. Casting their fate to the winds, they sail to Tasmania, hoping to rebuild their lives and plant new lavender fields in a land that's full of promise.

In his darkest hour, Swiss law student Max Vogel learns a confronting truth. A long-held family secret links him to the Ravens on the other side of the world, and he finds himself holding the key to his own future and to Luc's troubled past.

Together they return to Provence, so Luc can fulfil the promises by which he has been bound – to his beloved Lisette, to his Jewish family, and to the one man responsible for ripping so much from his life. With the future generation of lavender keepers in his care, Luc must lay to rest the ghosts of years gone by so that they all might live and love again.

From the south coast of England to the rugged farmland of northern Tasmania and the lively streets of postwar Paris, this is an extraordinary story of courage, determination and everlasting love from an internationally bestselling author.

Fiona McIntosh 

Fiona writes best selling historical adventure-romance alongside the heroic-romantic, often brutal, fantasy she built her career upon. She lives in Australia but frequently roams the world meticulously researching the locations and gathering material for her historical novels that have international settings. Her books are published worldwide and in various languages. 
Her most recent historical fiction has gathered such a following that she is now hosting a tour in 2014 to Paris and Provence so eager readers can walk in the footsteps of her characters.

Julie Ryan is the author of the Greek Island mystery series, Jenna's Journey, Sophia's Secret and Pandora's Prophecy. You can find out more about her here

If you want to come with me on my journey round the world, then leave a comment with a book suggestion for a location beginning with K or L.

Monday, 27 February 2017

E takes us to...?


In a mysterious village deep in the mountainous desert of Upper Egypt, a handful of men jealously guards some of the most precious secrets of the Pharaohs. And the most fabulous of these is the Stone of Light. 

This time we're exploring Ancient Egypt as Christian Jacq evokes a fascinating period in history. As a child I loved reading about the achievements of this civilisation. Christian Jacq goes one step further however, initiating us into the minutiae of everyday life. If you love history or Egypt then you'll love this book. Wonderful setting, superb characters and a real flavour of the time.

Christian Jacq

Born in Paris in 1947, Christian Jacq is one of the world's leading Egyptologists. He is the author of many novels on Ancient Egypt, including the bestselling RAMSES series and THE MYSTERIES OF OSIRIS series. His novels have sold more than 27 million copies worldwide and have been translated into 30 languages. Christian Jacq lives in Switzerland.

Julie Ryan is the author of the Greek Island mystery series, Jenna's Journey, Sophia's Secret and Pandora's Prophecy. You can find out more about her here