Book Reviews

Blog Tour: Bloomsbury Affair by Anita Davison

I’m super delighted to be taking part of this blog tour and to share my review about the book.

Book Title : Bloomsbury Affair
Book Author :
Anita Davison
My Rating :
⭐️⭐️⭐️/5
Publication Date : 
November 20th 2018


About The Bloomsbury Affair

1905 London is a heady mix of unimaginable wealth and simmering political tensions, and with war looming Flora Maguire wants to keep her family safe.

So when her beloved charge Viscount Edward Trent is accused of murder, she’s determined not to leave the investigation to the police. Flora has trodden the path of amateur sleuth before, but with so much at stake, this time it’s personal.

Slowly the body of the victim found stabbed on a train bound for Paddington starts giving up its secrets, and Flora and her husband Bunny become mired in a murky world of spies, communists and fraudsters. And with the police more sure than ever that Edward is their murderer, Flora must work fast to keep him safe.

Anita Davison’s compulsive story-telling, combined with the irresistible mix of historical drama and gripping mystery, make this unputdownable.

Goodreads | Amazon | Kobo | iBooks | Google Play


My Review

It was a delight to be introduced to Flora’s world as this is my first of hers.

I couldn’t say no to a mystery and as a big historical fiction fan, I was sure this was the book for me.

It wasn’t easy for me to get into the book at first, felt there were so many characters and names which I’m sure were introduced in the first books of the series and I felt I am missing out on some traits of them.

But still, I was told this could be read as a standalone and it is certainly so.

Set in 1900’s, a murder investigation where our Protagonist Flora have set to make things right and assist her friend, Viscount Edward who was accused of this murder.

Well written with relatable characters. I find that I have I loved Bunny’s character the most, who was Flora’s husband, as he made the book quite enjoyable as a sidekick. My issue was it was a bit slow at times or maybe I was just impatient to know what just happened.

I certainly do recommend reading it and I feel like I need to get and check out the rest of the series.

I received a copy of this book from Aria Fiction via NetGalley in return for an honest review


An excerpt from The Bloomsbury Affair, courtesy of Aria

Chapter 1

Eaton Place, London, April 1905

‘Good evening, Stokes.’ Bunny’s voice from the hall brought Flora to her feet.

Issuing a brief apology to her two dinner guests, she left the dining room, shivering in the blast of cold air that rushed through the open front door.

Tall and muscular with slightly boyish looks which sent females of all ages checking their hair in nearby mirrors, Bunny’s pale skin was flushed from the cool night air, his blue eyes bright behind rimless spectacles.

‘I’m horribly latefor dinner, Stokes. Is your mistress very angry?

He handed the butler his hat and then shrugged out of his overcoat.

‘I would rather not speculate, sir.’ Stokes placed the hat on a hook, took his coat and gave it a shake, scattering raindrops over the tiled floor. ‘I’ve laid out your dinner suit in your dressing room. Would you require my assistance to change?’

‘Not necessary, thank you, Stokes. I’ll manage. If you could just tell my wife I’ll

be down as quickly as I can.’

Flora stepped from the cover of the archway from where she had observed them.

The butler froze, the overcoat held out in front of him.

‘Ah, there you are, Flora.’ Bunny cleared his throat before summoning a

conciliatory smile. ‘I intended to be here on time, but it couldn’t be avoided, sor

ry.’ He lifted his arms intent on a hug, but she sidestepped him. ‘Ah, I’m not forgiven,

then?’

‘What kept you?’ Her fierce whisper held the mounting irritation she had nursed

all evening. ‘You’ve almost missed dinner.’

‘If you’ll excuse me, sir, madam. I must see to my duties.’ Stokes divested himself

of the coat and, head down, fled in the direction of the kitchens.

‘How’s the reunion going?’ Bunny fingered an arm of his spectacles nervously, his

gaze going to the closed dining room door.

‘Don’t change the subject.’ Flora brushed a hank of damp hair from his forehead.

‘Better than I could have imagined, actually.’ Her attempt to stay cross was ruined as

his cologne stirred her senses. ‘It’s as if they have never been apart. I doubt they’ll

even notice I’m gone.’

As if on cue, a baritone chuckle drifted into the hall, followed by a gale of relaxed

feminine laughter.

‘Why the sad face?’ Bunny ran a finger along her cheek. ‘Sounds to me like your

parents are getting along splendidly.’

‘They are, and I’m delighted, of course. It’s just– oh, never mind, we’ll talk later. I

should get back to our guests.’

How could she explain? William and Alice might have put the past behind them,

but theirs weren’t the only lives disrupted by twenty years of lies and secrets.

‘Your guests, this was all your idea, remember?’ Bunny planted a swift kiss on her

forehead and headed for the stairs. ‘By the way,’ he halted halfway up and leaned

over the handrail, ‘your trip to Harvey Nichols was very much worth it. The gown is

magnificent. I love that shade of blue on you.’

She waved him off impatiently, but her steps lightened as she returned to the

dining room, relieved he was home and the weight of the dinner party no longer lay

entirely on her shoulders. ‘I’m sorry about that.’ Flora resumed her seat in a room where soft golden light reflected off crystal and gilt, the crackle of flames and shift of coals in the Adam fireplace completing the cosy ambience. ‘

Bunny promises to be with us shortly.’

‘You’ve no need to apologize, my darling,’ William patted her hand. ‘I haven’t

enjoyed a dinner this much for a long time.’ His gaze shifted from Flora to the lady

opposite. ‘Although Flora did insist under no circumstances was I to cry off—

‘Which you have done on two previous occasions,’ Flora added.

He had retained a muscular physique into his mid-forties, honed from years spent

in the saddle on the horse ranches of far-flung continents. Tiny lines carved into his

tanned skin beside intelligent dark eyes that sparkled with private amusemen

t, hisdark hair sporting half-inch wide silver wings at his temples.

‘It’s been a wonderful surprise.’ Alice’s cheeks warmed to a becoming pink. ‘I had

reconciled myself long ago to never seeing William again.’ She tore her gaze away

from him only long enough to rearrange her napkin on her lap. ‘He was a secret I

imagined keeping forever. I could hardly believe it when Flora told me you lived in

London and she saw you regularly.’

Alice too wore the years lightly, with her girlish slenderness, unblemished

porcelain skin and the same wide, hazel eyes Flora saw in her own mirror every

morning. When Stokes had shown William into the room where Alice waited, his soft murmur of her original name, Lily, followed by Alice’s sharp exhalation of breath, spared Flora the task of having to explain her reasons for deceiving them.

Silent, awestruck seconds passed in which, had they been alone, Flora had been

convinced they would have rushed into each other’s arms, and only kept a respectable distance between them for form’s sake.

‘Had I known what you had planned, Flora,’ William said, ‘I would have cancelled

my trip to Moscow and told Balfour to go to blazes.’

‘How would you have explained that to the Prime Minister?’ Flora laughed as she

set down her wine glass, belatedly realizing what he had said. ‘Russia? When you

said you were taking a northern holiday, I imagined Scotland, or Belgium. Not

Russia.’

‘Oh, you know me, my love.’ He adjusted his tie avoiding her gaze. ‘I’ve always

had a yen for exotic locations.’

During Flora’s childhood, ‘Uncle’ William descended with no warning on Lord

Trent’s family at Cleeve Abbey several times a year laden with gifts for his nieces and nephew. There was always something for Flora; the butler’s daughter, as well when she was invited to join them on cold evenings in front of the fire to listen as he

recounted his adventures. He would stay a few memorable weeks, then disappear

again as quickly as he had come. Her discovery three years before that William was

her natural father was something she was still coming to terms with. This evening

meant such a lot to her, in that she had recently discovered her mother was also alive and bringing them together at her dining table for the first time in twenty years was a huge gamble; one she hadnot told either of them in advance. Was matchmaking your parents socially acceptable, or would she forever be a pariah for interfering?

‘What’s Russia really like?’ she asked carefully, conscious of the secrecy connected to William’s work with the Foreign Office. ‘We see the newspapers, but

it’s hard to form a true picture.’

The fact William could summon several armed men at a moment’s notice and his

driver was a burly six feet four who sat in the lobby of his apartment at night

contradicted his claim of being, ‘merely a lowly diplomat’.

‘Colder than anywhere on earth.’ William accompanied his broad smile with a

contrived shiver. ‘St Petersburg lay under several feet of snow when I left, and

—’ he broke off as the door clicked open to admit Bunny.


About The Author

https://katherinesbookuniverse.files.wordpress.com/2018/11/img_1260-1.jpg?w=297&h=297

Born in London, Anita has always had a penchant for all things historical. She now lives in the beautiful Cotswolds, the backdrop for her Flora Maguire mysteries.

Any Blogs/Website: @AnitaSDavison
Twitter: @AnitaSDavison


You can check out the rest of the tour here:

The Bloomsbury Affair blog tour poster (1).png

Book Blog

How to get free books from Publishers and Authors

Do you want to get free books from authors/publishers?

Processed with VSCO with v6 presetOf course, you do.

Who doesn’t love free books?

It’s no secret how to and it’s no rocket science

BUT what you’re about to read is based on my own experience.

It could be different for you and it’s certainly different for other peeps, as there could be certain factors that affect what kind of books you get or from where you could get them.

Anyhoo, without further a due, my first tip is to:

1. Understand that they are not “free” books.

I’ve seen a lot wish and moan that they want those free books to expand their libraries or to just simply read them. BUT what exactly are YOU offering back?

Read any email sent to you, or those book reviews, posted by peeps who got those free books and the keyword is there.

“Free book in an exchange for an honest review”

Yep! The keyword is exchange! Exchange for what? A review.

So trust me, it’s not a free book. You are expected to give something back and some require it within a certain time.


2. Be Committed and show it!

If you are doing it through Instagram or any other platform, it would really help to have a clear, precise profile. Add that “book blogger” to your bio and mean it. Mention what is it that you do, which I’m secretly hoping that it’s reviewing books.

img_4829
Advanced Copy of Stranger by David Bergen by Duckworth books

Myth: You need to have an xxx amount of followers and perfect pictures.

No, you don’t!

I had a merely 3k account when I got approached to review a book and my pictures weren’t exactly art gallery material.

But I made it work.

And so can you.


3. Know your stuff (?)

Understand the terms that are used in a book blogging environment.

Words such as:

  • Book Cover Reveal
  • Book Tour
  • Book Review

I will admit that I had no idea what they were but the Bookstagram community is amazing. Ask a question and everyone would be jumping in to help.

You can do the same. Ask before jumping into things so you would know exactly what is expected of you.


4. Set up your rules!

It’s totally awesome that you are getting a free book, and you’re over the moon that they chose you.

Well, guess what? They should be over the moon as well that you have accepted their book, took the time to read and review it.

Processed with VSCO with v6 preset
Advanced copy of The One by John Marrs (Penguin UK Books)

I have learned that it’s ok to be picky about what books to accept as my time has become very limited and I want to be able to read the books that I want to enjoy as well.

It’s totally ok to say no, once in a while.

I have also put up a review policy on my blog where I clearly defined what is it that I’m looking for.

For example, I don’t read or review erotica and I made certain to emphasize this.

You can check up my review policy here.

Another point I want to mention is that you have to be clear about where you will post your reviews, when you would post it and you need to make sure you stick to that agreement.


5. Be Honest.

I think this is the most important thing.

You being real.

Note that there are a lot of other readers checking up your reviews and trusting your every word.

Don’t be afraid to speak your mind about the book but bear in mind to offer good criticism if you don’t like it.

There is no need to be harsh or mean. You can still get your point across without offending the authors and the readers along with it.

Agreed?


6. Do Something about it.

Sure you can do all those five steps that I  have mentioned, sit and wait to be approached but slowly your patience runs out and you get frustrated.

So why not approach them?

You can send an email to the publisher but before you do make sure:

  • To know your publisher. What kind of books do they publish, would they interest you? It’s also good to know the region of your publisher. If your publisher is in the US and you are in Australia, approach them instead. That could help with your chances.
  • To include your full name, about yourself – mainly what your blog is, your IG account, number of followers, etc.
  • To include your address in that email. That way, they won’t have to reply back asking for it.
  • To be nice in that email, and straight to the point. Keep it short.

You will be rejected many times and that’s ok. Don’t give up!


7. Focus on YOU!

Processed with VSCO with v6 preset
Advanced Copy of Exit West by Mohsin Hamid (Penguin Uk books)

Focus on building up your account, don’t stress.

Read the books that you already have and tag its author, publisher..etc.

You will get noticed eventually!

And I truly believe when a publisher or author sees how much fun you’re having, they would love to add you to their list of book reviewers.

In the end, its all about having fun!

Are you having fun?

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to add it in the comments below. I would love to offer as much help as I can.

Book Blog

Book Review : I Love I Hate I Miss My Sister

Book Title : I Love I Hate I Miss My Sister
Book Author :
Amélie Sarn
My Rating :
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5
Publication Date : 
August 5th 2014


Have you ever regretted not picking up a book sooner?

This is the case for me now!

I can’t believe this book has been lying on my TBR shelf for so long and I only picked it up because I was in dire need of a short read to meet my reading goals before years end.

It’s a story about two close sisters, Sohane and Djelila, and how they have kind of drifted apart.

Algerians, born and raised in France, Sohane was in a love/hate relationship with her sister, Djelila, who have started to spend her days with her friends, partying and hanging out with boys, while she had become more religious.

Without saying anymore, this less than a 200 pages book spoke volumes. I was totally taken aback by how much I have loved it.

It’s about religion, it’s about choices, feminist, and the right to fight for what you believe in.

It doesn’t have that great of a plot or writing but it perfectly portrayed to what a lot could relate to.

I totally recommend to all readers and I would especially recommend it to those who are looking to their first English book. This would be a great read to start with.

Book Blog

Book Review : Slammed / Point of Retreat

Book Title : Slammed / Point of Retreat
Book Author :
Collen Hoover
My Rating :
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5 and ⭐️⭐️⭐️/5
Publication Date : 
January 4th 2012 and February 25th 2012


Colleen Hoover is my go to whenever I feel like I’m in a reading slump. My love for her books immediately reminds me why I love to read and why I should pick up a book right now!

Her books always have a way to grip you from the start, gets you connected to her characters and you can’t help but root for each and every one of them. And that was the case with Slammed.

Slammed follows the story of Layke, who after her father’s death had to move from Texas to Michigan with her Mom and brother. Upon arriving there, she immediately hits it off with their neighbor, Will, and had an incredible first date that involved slam poetry.

I seriously had no idea what Slam poetry was, but after reading this book, I think I would love to attend one.

Anyway, even though they have it hit off and they have an amazing connection and of course attraction, a shocking revelation affects their relationship and they must find a way to get past that.

It’s hard to talk about the book without posting some spoiler so I’m just going to be vague about it and just urge you to pick it up. Especially if you love poetry.

I have also read the second book of the series but have found it lacked the emotional intensity of the first one. Would I read the third book of the series?

Naah, I don’t think so. I was truly satisfied with just Slammed.

Book Blog

Book Review : He Said / She Said

Book Title : He Said / She Said
Book Author :
Erin Kelly
My Rating :
⭐️⭐️⭐️/5
Publication Date : 
April 20th 2017


As a thriller fan, it’s no surprise I’d pick this one up. I mean, the title itself is intriguing. Right?

Maybe I had such high hopes for this one, or maybe I read so many thrillers that I’m starting to get picky as to which to put on my favorites shelf.

The mains story revolves around Kit and Laura who are all about eclipses where one day, they set to attend a festival to experience one. During that festival, Laura witnesses a brutal attack of a woman being raped by a guy and calls the police on him.

The woman, Beth, is grateful – maybe way to grateful and plays the perfect victim while her attacker is pleading innocence. Now, whose story are we to believe?

The book alternates POV between Kit and Laura while also alternating between the past and present. We are giving pieces of the plots till in the end, we get the full story.

I kind of liked it. It was slow sometimes. It did have lots of twists.  I was extremely awed by the plot and think it’s really clever.

Did I love it so much? Would I remember it in the long run? I don’t think so.

I do, though, recommend it to thrillers fan and especially those who are into eclipses and astronomy as there is lots of information about that.

Book Blog

Book Review : Weave a Murderous Web

Book Title : Weave a Murderous Web
Book Author :
Anne Rothman-Hicks, Kenneth Hicks
My Rating :
⭐️⭐️⭐️/5
Exptected Publication Date :
February 6th 2016


Thriller, mystery and add some romance to this! What’s not to like about this?

I honestly didn’t think I’d enjoy reading this book and was quite surprised by how much I loved it. I especially loved it when it kept me guessing right up to the end.

I swear, I thought I had it all figured out, and honestly, was feeling a little smug about it when Bam! The unexpected!

Jane Larson, a lawyer in a large law firm in New York, takes up a case as a favor for a friend, thinking it would be a matter of a divorce and child support one. Soon after, she discovers things are much more complicated than that. Lies, drugs, and even a murder case.

It took me a while to get into it, and to get used to Jane’s character, who I found to be super awesome! And there were multiple characters that got me a bit confused as to whom is whom.

All in all, I’d totally recommend this book for fans of thrillers and crime fiction.

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

https://www.amazon.com/Weave-Murderous-Web-Anne-Rothmanhicks/dp/1680462520