Thursday, 30 April 2020

On Wilder Seas: The Woman on the Golden Hind by Nikki Marmery


On Wilder Seas: The Woman on the Golden Hind by Nikki Marmery
Published by Legend Press on the 16th March 2020.

How I got this book:
Received a review copy from the publisher via NetGalley

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


April 1579: When two ships meet off the Pacific coast of New Spain, an enslaved woman seizes the chance to escape.

But Maria has unwittingly joined Francis Drake’s circumnavigation voyage as he sets sail on a secret detour into the far north.

Sailing into the unknown on the Golden Hind, a lone woman among eighty men, Maria will be tested to the very limits of her endurance. It will take all her wits to survive – and courage to cut the ties that bind her to Drake to pursue her own journey.

How far will Maria go to be truly free?

Inspired by a true story, this is the tale of one woman’s uncharted voyage to freedom.

I visited a replica of Drake's Golden Hind galleon in Brixham and was amazed at how small this famous vessel actually was. I wouldn't want to cross the Channel in it let alone circumnavigate the globe, yet Drake did just that and even managed to bring some of his crew back home alive. I don't remember ever seeing mention of a woman on board though. I had always been told that everybody was male, but now I discover that historical records do actually place 'Maria' in the crew for nine months of the voyage. Overlooked and ignored for over 440 years, Nikki Marmery has now imagined what Maria's life and nautical experience could have been in this vivid retelling of the Golden Hind's circumnavigation, narrated from Maria's perspective.

I love speculative fiction especially when it is solidly rooted in fact as is On Wilder Seas. Marmery describes the fantastic sights, scents and sounds that the English sailors discovered, and the various peoples they encountered in Africa and the Americas. I felt as though I was travelling with them as an Elizabethan explorer myself. I also learned on the hardships and claustrophobia of life on board the Golden Hind including the strict demarcation of privileges and the precarious existence of a sailor's life. What shocked me the most though was how the men could so easily commit horrific violence on pretty much a daily basis, yet still seem to fervently believe that they were true Christians doing God's work. Rape, robbery, enslavement and murder aren't sins? Seen through Maria's testimony - the unusual perspective of a woman's viewpoint - the vicious hypocrisy of this masculine world is breathtaking!

I really liked Maria. She is a nobody in this world, an escaped black slave with a stolen jewel, but she has such a strong determination to survive and, as far as is possible, to live on her own terms. She isn't always nice or kind, but she's wonderfully strong and always alert to opportunities. I know, from reading about On Wilder Seas, that pretty much all the evidence Marmery had for this character was the Christian name the English used for her, but throughout the story I felt she fitted perfectly. I frequently had to remind myself that this is actually historical fiction, but the novel has such a convincing ring of truth to it. The real Maria probably didn't live this exact life but I am sure dozens of now-forgotten Marias would recognise moments of their lives in her story.


Etsy Find!
by MVF Music in
Tamworth, England

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Books by Nikki Marmery / Historical fiction / Books from England

Wednesday, 29 April 2020

Bury Him: A Memoir of the Viet Nam War by Captain Doug Chamberlain + #Giveaway


Bury Him: A Memoir of the Viet Nam War by Captain Doug Chamberlain
Published in America by Love the West Publications LLC in November 2019.



In this frank, engaging memoir, Captain Chamberlain chronicles the missions, personal courage and sacrifice of the Marines he was privileged to command; painfully recalls the unspeakable order he and his Marines were forced to obey; and the cover-up which followed. Nearly four decades later, Captain Chamberlain makes right what was wrong; brings closure to the family of a fallen and abandoned warrior; and attempts to put to rest the guilt which plagued his military career and life. Unlike most books on the Viet Nam War, this book is written at a tactical level by a Marine Company Commander who was there.



Meet the author:
Doug Chamberlain, the grandson of homesteaders in eastern Wyoming and western Nebraska, grew up with the "country values" instilled in him in the rural environment of a very small community. Even though there were only 10 students in his high school graduating class, several of his classmates pursued careers, public service, and military service that took them to various locations around the world. His rural values and the foundational reinforcement of those values at the University of Wyoming and John Brown University proved to be tested in their entirety when he became a Marine Infantry Officer in the Viet Nam War. His life changing experiences in that war proved to haunt him during his search to solve a mystery that spanned 50 years...and Bury Him details the sordid facts and the horrible truth that had eluded him.

Connect with the author:
Website  ~ Facebook


Enter the Giveaway!  

One of Four $25 Amazon Gift Cards courtesy of Capt. Doug Chamberlain, author of BURY HIM
(Open Internationally) (4 winners) (ends May 8)

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Etsy Find!
by Tony Atlanta in
the USA

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Books by Captain Doug Chamberlain / Biography and memoirs / Books from America

Tuesday, 28 April 2020

State Of The ARC - April 2020

I saw this State of the ARC meme over at Avalinah's Books blog in January 2018 and thought it would be fun to join in. It's temporarily being hosted at All The Book Blog Names Are Taken.

The idea is to keep track of all the ARC (Advanced Reader Copy) books I've got awaiting reading and reviewing, and to make headway through the overdue pile. For my State of the ARC, I am including all books sent to me for review whether they are pre-publication copies (as ARCs should be) or simply review copies of books already available publicly. I don't include books that I have purchased myself, book exchange swaps, or free downloads.

In April I blogged my reviews of these ARCs:
(Click the cover images to visit their reviews)





(My On Wilder Seas review will be blogged on the 30th)

Here's my State of the ARC numbers as of today:

Awaiting Reading

Read / Reviewed / Blogged

Overdue

NetGalley

13

4 RRB

2

From Authors

5

0

0

Blog Tours

2

0

0

From Publishers

2

0

0


RRB (Read, Reviewed and Blogged) essentially means those book reviews are completed and I'm just waiting for their scheduled blog post date. That red 5 overdue isn't good.

No State Of The ARC would be complete without checking out the additions to my ARC stash: 11 new books this month which almost equals the number of ARCs I've read so I'm pleased with that. Plus, the overdues have dropped from 5 to 2.

Here are April's new arrivals






If you want to join this State of the ARC meme check out This Page at Avalinah's Books.

Monday, 27 April 2020

A Child Lost by Michelle Cox + #Giveaway


A Child Lost by Michelle Cox
Published in America by She Writes Press on the 28th April 2020.



A spiritualist, an insane asylum, a lost little girl . . .

When Clive, anxious to distract a depressed Henrietta, begs Sergeant Frank Davis for a case, he is assigned to investigating a seemingly boring affair: a spiritualist woman operating in an abandoned schoolhouse on the edge of town who is suspected of robbing people of their valuables. What begins as an open and shut case becomes more complicated, however, when Henrietta―much to Clive’s dismay―begins to believe the spiritualist's strange ramblings.

Meanwhile, Elsie begs Clive and Henrietta to help her and the object of her budding love, Gunther, locate the whereabouts of one Liesel Klinkhammer, the German woman Gunther has traveled to America to find and the mother of the little girl, Anna, whom he has brought along with him. The search leads them to Dunning Asylum, where they discover some terrible truths about Liesel. When the child, Anna, is herself mistakenly admitted to the asylum after an epileptic fit, Clive and Henrietta return to Dunning to retrieve her. This time, however, Henrietta begins to suspect that something darker may be happening. When Clive doesn’t believe her, she decides to take matters into her own hands . . . with horrifying results.



Meet the author:
Michelle Cox is the author of the multiple award-winning Henrietta and Inspector Howard series as well as "Novel Notes of Local Lore," a weekly blog dedicated to Chicago's forgotten residents. She suspects she may have once lived in the 1930s and, having yet to discover a handy time machine lying around, has resorted to writing about the era as a way of getting herself back there. Coincidentally, her books have been praised by Kirkus, Library Journal, Publishers Weekly, Booklist and many others, so she might be on to something. Unbeknownst to most, Michelle hoards board games she doesn't have time to play and is, not surprisingly, addicted to period dramas and big band music. Also marmalade.

Connect with the author:
Website  ~ Facebook ~ Twitter ~ Instagram ~ Goodreads

Enter the Giveaway!  

Win a $100 Amazon Gift Card
(Open internationally) (1 winner) (ends May 18)

a Rafflecopter giveaway




Etsy Find!
by Florian Oscar Artist in
Bristol, England

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Books by Michelle Cox / Mystery fiction / Books from America