Tuesday, December 09, 2014

The Light in the Labyrinth by Wendy J. Dunn ~ Review & Giveaway

Title: The Light in the Labyrinth
Author: Wendy J. Dunn
Genre: YA Historical Fiction
Publication Date: 7th September 2014
Pages: 338
ISBN: 098072192X
Book Source: Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

A Queen fights for her life.
A King denies his heart and soul.
A girl faces her true identity.
All things must come to an end—all things but love.

The Light in the Labyrinth, a young adult novel, depicts the lives of women in the patriarchal society of the Tudors, a time when aristocratic families commonly traded them for favour and status. Told from the perspective of a teenage Katherine Carey, niece of Anne Boleyn, this is a story of a girl who becomes a woman in the court of Henry VIII, the bloody tyrant remembered so well by history.

Unhappy at home with her mother, who has remarried, Kate receives permission to go to court to attend her royal aunt. In the past, Kate idolized her aunt from a distance; now given a place amongst her aunt’s trusted women, she becomes an eyewitness to the intrigue and heartache of Anne Boleyn’s final months as queen.

My Thoughts:
Most of you know I'm a huge Tudor fan and having just walked many of the places I've been reading about in historical fiction for years it gives a new level of 'feeling' to my reading. I found The Light in the Labyrinth to be a well written blending of historical fact and imagination and I think the author's notes clarify that Wendy Dunn's imaginings are indeed plausible. 

We follow Catherine (Kate) Carey, daughter of Mary Boleyn and niece of Anne Boleyn, Henry VIII's 2nd wife as she joins her Aunt Nan at court. Whilst the painting of Anne Boleyn may not be as many of us view her, I found it quite sweet to see her through Kate's adoring and naive eyes. 

Kate quickly matures as she's confronted with not only the reality of her birth but her Aunt's fall from favour, as powerful men like Thomas Cromwell conspire to bring about the Queen's downfall. I love and crave more detail but remembering the target audience, there's enough political intrigue and court treachery to satisfy a Tudor enthusiast without overwhelming someone new to the period.  

The Light in the Labyrinth only covers the last few months of Anne Boleyn's life and not a lot happens as such but I found it a quick, enjoyable read. What surprised me, given how much Tudor fiction I've read, was the emotion of the Queen's final days in the tower, accompanied by loyal Kate and the 'care' of Anne Boleyn following her execution.  

03_Wendy J. Dunn AuthorAbout the Author:

Wendy J. Dunn is an Australian writer who has been obsessed by Anne Boleyn and Tudor History since she was ten-years-old. She is the author of two Tudor novels: Dear Heart, How Like You This?, the winner of the 2003 Glyph Fiction Award and 2004 runner up in the Eric Hoffer Award for Commercial Fiction, and The Light in the Labyrinth, her first young adult novel.

Born in Melbourne, Australia, Wendy is married and the mother of three sons and one daughter—named after a certain Tudor queen, surprisingly, not Anne.

Wendy tutors at Swinburne University in their Master of Arts (Writing) program. She also works as a literature support teacher at a primary school.

Connect with Wendy J. Dunn

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Purchase the Book

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Tour Hashtag: #LightintheLabyrinthBlogTour
Twitter Tags: @hfvbt @wendyjdunn

I'm thrilled to offer readers the chance to win an eBook copy of THE LIGHT IN THE LABYRINTH. Just leave a comment or question for Wendy. It's International!

Extra Entries: 
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Giveaway ends 16th December and winner will be announced on my blog. Good luck everyone!

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Monday, December 08, 2014

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

A weekly event hosted by Sheila from Book Journey to discuss your reading week ~ the books you've read and those you plan on reading in the coming week. I love this meme, it helps me stay on track ... well, most of the time. Thanks Sheila! 

On the home front: 
Busy week with lots of running around but not a whole lot accomplished. Anyone else feel like that? 

Had Mia for a sleepover which was just lovely (I'm a lucky nonna) ... she's getting her first tooth and is very cuddly. She's also loving the jolly jumper :)


On the weekend we started Christmas shopping, had my lovely in-laws stay overnight and my youngest son and his girlfriend came for dinner and we put the Christmas tree up. A bit of a scare with the lights on the tree ... an hour or so after the kids went home I was readjusting the star and put my hand on very hot tree lights and found smoking, scorched and melting tinsel. Check your lights ... we were very lucky. Time to check out the new LED lights. 

#bookblogwalkers update #39: Felicia's Book Blog Walkers: love that so many of my friends are doing Felicia's challenge to move and get healthy. Very excited that Book Blog Walkers is happening again in 2015. If you also have a fitbit and want to add me, let me know :)

No walks with Bella, poor sweetie has an ulcer on her eye so we've kept her out of the wind and dust while it heals. She's looking better but back to the vet this week to check. 

Mon: 11,561 steps walking
Tue: 6049 steps  
Wed: 8084 steps 
Thurs: 7924 steps
Fri: 5117 steps
Sat: 11,272 steps ~ nice breakfast and walk along Redcliffe beach esplanade while my camera was being cleaned. Then a little Christmas shopping ... I'm sure that counts as a workout??
Sun: 5164 steps


I'm doing Sheila's First Book of the Year 2015 (sign up here) but I'm torn between FIRST FROST Sarah Addison Allen's new book which I'm really excited about. I love her writing! and the final book in the Muskoka trilogy, UNDER THE MOON by Gabriel Wills, which has been on TBR shelf since reading and loving books 1 and 2. Both will be very special reads, I'm sure, which is exactly what you want for your first read of the New Year. I just can't decide which one :)



SELDOM COME BY by Sherryl Caulfield ~ Book 1 of the epic Iceberg Trilogy. 5 autographed copies and 1 eBook copy. INTERNATIONAL, ends 13th Dec. Enter here.


Reviews & Posts: (click on title)

Guest Post & Giveaway with Sherryl Caulfield author of Seldom Come By ~ how Seldom Come By came to be, with beautiful photos. Can't recommend this book highly enough! 


Finished last week:

THE LIGHT IN THE LABRYINTH by  Wendy J. Dunn ~ book tour review & giveaway tomorrow


This Week's Reading List: 

OUR KIND OF LOVE by Victoria Purman (Boys of Summer #3) 

THIS SHATTERED WORLD by Amie Kaufman & Meaghan Spooner (Starbound #2)

THE WINTER CROWN by Elizabeth Chadwick (Eleanor of Aquitaine #2) ~ (audiobook) 50% done and loving it, didn't get it finished while in the UK but it's fabulous. 


Reviews Coming:

THE SILENT SISTER by Diane Chamberlain ~ page turner but ending a little anticlimactic

THE TUDOR VENDETTA by C.W. Gortner (The Spymaster Chronicles #3) ~ enjoyed it and surreal to be visiting Westminster, walking London and Southwalk while reading this one. 

Thursday, December 04, 2014

Guest Post & Giveaway with Sherryl Caulfield author of Seldom Come By

I'm very excited to welcome Sherryl Caulfield, author of Seldom Come By to my blog today. I fell in love with Sherryl's beautiful writing when I read Seldom Come By earlier this year and that love affair with the Iceberg Trilogy continued with Come What May. Now I wait impatiently for the final installment, Come Full Circle. Here's a little taste of what to expect :)

Rebecca and Samuel's love story spans continents, the Great War, triumph and adversity ... it's a love that endures.  

There's so much to love; the scenery and icebergs of Newfoundland ... harsh, unforgiving, stark beauty. The severity of the Crowe family's life in sharp contrast to Rebecca's thirst for knowledge and enthusiasm for life. A wonderful blending of historical fact and mesmerising tale; lyrical prose, characters to love and loathe, with a tangible sense of hope throughout. 

To be so completely transported and immersed in characters' lives is testament to an author's care and skill, and despite the heartache I loved every minute. 
(excerpt from my review ... a 5 star read)

Hope you enjoy Sherryl's guest post about how Seldom Come By came to be. Take it away Sherryl ...

I loved following Teddyree’s recent travel updates and photos of her time in the United Kingdom. They reminded me of so many great novels and movies: Pride and Prejudice, The Pillars of the Earth, The Stonor Eagles, Outlander, Braveheart. The list goes on.

Newfoundland sunset

Travel has been very important to my life also – for many reasons – not least for providing me with the inspiration to write my debut novel, Seldom Come By, and its two sequels that make up The Iceberg Trilogy.

As you most likely know, Seldom Come By is set in Newfoundland, the most easterly Canadian province, home to St John’s, the oldest English-founded city in northern America (settled in 1583), and the best place in the world to view the stunning seascape that is Iceberg Alley.

However the inspiration for Seldom Come By didn’t start there. Oddly it started 7,500 km west, in British Columbia. This is the story of how that one fateful trip took my life in a totally new direction.

My partner Mark and I flew to Canada late one July, in the northern summer, after working 18 days straight at computer industry events that ran over two consecutive week-ends. Our well-earned break was to be for 52 days straight! Oh, how I love long holidays. We flew Sydney to Honolulu (business class!) having been upgraded (much to the surprise of the check-in attendant and Mark and much to my delight. Michael, a colleague, and his Qantas contact had come through. Mwah Michael.) In Hawaii we changed and flew Air Canada direct to Vancouver.

Now I don’t know about you but a country’s international airport says so much about a country, don’t you think?

Five seconds after we disembarked I had this overwhelming sense we had arrived somewhere elemental and majestic. The walkways were adorned with Haida art from the northwest: whales and fishes and birds. As we headed towards customs we came down an escalator and there to our left was a pounding waterfall, something out of the wilds of Yukon. The water pristine, crashing over a life-like rock wall nearly ten-metres high draped with small native ferns bathed in the faintest freshest mist. Clean fresh moist Canadian air – after the dry and closed-in cabin a welcome like no other. Towering either side of the natural spectacle were two imposing totem poles, their eagle beaks and eager eyes studying all who passed underneath. My heart sighed. Oh Canada.

A Four Host Nations totem pole at the YVR International Airport terminal

In Vancouver we walked around Stanley Park and admired more striking totem poles and took photo after photo (well not quite, as this was pre-digital). We went to their stunning aquarium to see orcas and other sea creatures. We went through Chinatown, Gastown, up to Grouse Mountain, all of which feature in my third novel. We had delicious barbecued salmon with New Zealand friends, and then the Murphy’s Law of holidays kicked in. Mark got really sick and fainted in the bathroom. He had fever and chills. We suspected he’d picked up a flu bug on the plane. His rest day was spent travelling to Victoria on Vancouver Island and laying low while I toured around this beautiful town and their stunning gardens with their butterfly arboretum.

Two days later we travelled north on our way to Tofino on the west coast of the island. But soon I was burning up. We had to stop at Nanaimo and, as it was Sunday, go to a hospital emergency department. I don’t think I’d ever been so hot before or since. I wasn’t allowed to leave until my temperature came down. Three hours later, drugged up, we continued on our way, finding a very accommodating taxidermist come B&B owner who let me crash in her one remaining fanned room. Later, on the settee in her large glassy living room, hawks and kestrals and peregrine falcons circled above me. I had to close my eyes and shake my head. On opening, they were still there. I wasn’t hallucinating. Those birds have flown into Come Full Circle.

We recovered. We travelled into the wilderness, winding through tree-clad mountain passes full of legions of grand firs. The Christmas tree of Christmas trees. The vistas in the late afternoon were breathtaking: an ocean of trees shimmering in the mid-summer light. Eventually we left our hire car behind and caught the ferry at Port Hardy, bound for Prince Rupert. For the first few hours I read Pat Conroy’s Beach Music and cried.

We glided through the Inside Passage, past rugged coastlines that plunged to the tideline, past humpback whales breaching and log barges dumping, while my fingers clicked away on my Pentax, till I was at 37 on my dial and had to change my roll of film. It was then I discovered that I had never loaded any film in the first place. ‘That’s a lesson for us,’ said Mark, full of sympathy. Thirty minutes later he went to change his roll, only to discover he’d made the same silly mistake. A lesson indeed. No shots of the first 10 days of our holiday.

this could have been us had we put film in our camera

British Columbia beach - photo by Jennifer Dunn

We docked in Prince Rupert, then a few days later, in remote British Columbia, we were walking down a street, ten paces behind a person, a woman it appeared, wearing jeans, workmen’s boots, no high-vis vest in sight, but that didn’t matter because what she was wearing was hard to miss. On her head was a nun’s wimple and veil. A head, by the way, that she kept nervously turning to check if we were following her. Which we were. But only because we were going in the same direction.

I had never encountered such a woman. We saw her three times that day. Each time she was striding out yet constantly peering over her shoulder. We continued our travels but returned to this same town a few days later. As we opened the door to the place where we were staying there was no escaping the woman staring at us with her intense blue green eyes, blowing her cigarette smoke forcefully out the corner of her mouth. There was no mistaking her wimple. It was her.

Upstairs in our room, I said to Mark, ‘What is her story?’

‘Make it up,’ he replied.

And so I did, though it took me many years to do so. She became Gene, the wimple woman. The mystery of this thin flighty character is fully revealed in my third story, Come Full Circle. But in trying to unravel Gene’s story, I went back to her childhood, which for some reason I saw happening out east, in Newfoundland and Ontario. I saw her wonderful family and her parents who had a special, all-encompassing love. And those parents were Samuel and Rebecca and their story is Seldom Come By.

To celebrate the first anniversary of Seldom Come By, I am giving away 5 signed copies of this novel. Enter via the Rafflecopter link below.

03_Seldom Come By (Iceberg Trilogy Book One) Cover
Publication Date: December 10, 2013
Cedar Pocket Publishing
Formats: eBook, Paperback
Pages: 490

Series: Iceberg Trilogy
Genre: Historical Fiction

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Two years after the sinking of the Titanic, fifteen year-old Rebecca Crowe’s fascination with icebergs leads her to save a shipwrecked survivor, Samuel Dalton, the nineteen-year old son of a Toronto medical family.

Love sparks in the crystal cave of an iceberg but is thwarted by an unreasonable father and the Great War that drags Samuel and his brother, Matthew, to the Western Front as medical officers. Knowing Rebecca is home and safe in Newfoundland brings Samuel great comfort. But as the war moves towards its final harrowing days, they both discover that tragedy and terror can strike anywhere, setting their love on an unforeseen path.

Only when Samuel and Rebecca can fully come to terms with such devastating loss and their impossible choices can their love soar. With an emotional intensity reminiscent of The Bronze Horseman, Seldom Come By, named after an actual place in Newfoundland, is an unforgettable journey across waves and time and the full spectrum of human emotions.

Buy the Book:




Barnes & Noble
Book Depository

02_Sherryl Caulfield Author

About the Author:
Australian-born Sherryl Caulfield is a marketer, writer and traveller. After twenty years working for some of the world’s leading technology brands and a stint with Outward Bound, she longed to write about the human experience and the redemptive qualities of nature.

In 2006, haunted by an encounter with a woman she met in Canada, Sherryl started what has now become known as The Iceberg Trilogy. From her home in the Marlborough Sounds, New Zealand, she distilled the lives of three generations of women – Rebecca, Evangeline and Lindsay – over the course of a century. In the telling of their stories she crafted a series rich in landscapes – of sea, land and the human soul.

Connect with Sherryl Caulfield

Tour Hashtag #SeldomComeByBlogTour
Twitter Tags: @hfvbt @ShezCaulfield


To enter to win one of 5 Autographed copies of Seldom Come By, please complete the Rafflecopter giveaway form below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  • Giveaway ends at 11:59pm on December 13th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
  • Giveaway is open internationally.
  • Only one entry per household.
  • All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
  • Winner have 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

Bonus eBook Giveaway ~ 1 eBook copy of Seldom Come By ... just leave a comment or question for Sherryl. International. Ends Dec 13th

Extra Entries: 
+2 tweet giveaway and leave a link
+2 comment on SELDOM COME BY and let me know

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Monday, December 01, 2014

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

A weekly event hosted by Sheila from Book Journey to discuss your reading week ~ the books you've read and those you plan on reading in the coming week. I love this meme, it helps me stay on track ... well, most of the time. Thanks Sheila! 

On the home front: Over the moon to be home with my family. Last week was all about loving on them and recovering from jetlag. Slowly getting back into the swing of things with book reviews and tours due this week and a few thousand photos to organise lol. Here it is the 1st of December and Christmas is just around the corner ... eek! 

Can't wait to visit your blogs and see what you've been up to :)

Stonehenge at sunset ... totally surreal

Tower of London Poppies 

my gorgeous little granddaughter Mia is 5 months old 
and she's my most favourite little person to photograph xx

#bookblogwalkers update #39: Felicia's Book Blog Walkers: love that so many of my friends are doing Felicia's challenge to move and get healthy. If you also have a fitbit and want to add me, let me know :) 

My fitbit went with me to the UK and boy did it do some work. 15,000 to 20,000 steps per day unless we were in the car travelling. Castles and cathedrals offer a bootcamp unlike any other ;) This week, back home and recovering from jetlag things have been a little slower but I have leg muscles HA and I'm the fittest I've been in a long time :)

Mon:  8449 steps
Tue: 8256 steps
Wed: 5205 steps 
Thurs: 6595 steps
Fri: shopping and walk with Bella 14,005 steps
Sat: 5600 steps
Sun: beach walk and swim with Bella 6103 steps


Reviews & Posts: (click on title)

LOVING UK ~ Travel Update - historical and photography porn!! For those that don't follow me on facebook and missed the photos I've got another post (or three) to get up in the next week or two. Thanks for all your lovely comments :)


Finished in UK:

THE TUDOR VENDETTA by C.W. Gortner (The Spymaster Chronicles #3) ~ enjoyed it and surreal to be visiting Westminster, walking London and Southwalk while reading this one. 

THE FIRST LIE by Diane Chamberlain ~ short story prequel. Now looking forward to Necessary Lies.


This Week's Reading List: 


OUR KIND OF LOVE by Victoria Purman (Boys of Summer #3) 

THE WINTER CROWN by Elizabeth Chadwick (Eleanor of Aquitaine #2) ~ (audiobook) 50% done and loving it, didn't get it finished while in the UK but it's fabulous. 


What's Up Next:

Fabulous guest post and giveaway by Sherryl Caulfield author of SELDOM COME BY (book 1 of the Iceberg Trilogy) ... you know how much I loved and raved about this one. (check out my review) Make sure you stop by on Thursday!  

Monday, November 03, 2014

Loving UK ~ travel update

Anne Hathaway's Cottage

We've got good wifi connection tonight and it's free, so thought I'd post a few photos of our UK trip. Being here is still quite surreal ... it's historical and photography porn, seriously can't get enough and I already want to return with Mike.

 Chatsworth House ~ home of dear Mr Darcy

York Minster ... absolutely stunning. Climbed the 275 stairs, most physically exhausting thing I've done in a very long time but view was spectacular. It was also spectacularly cold!

Fountains Abbey ... such a beautiful, spiritual place.
I could have spent all day here, a favourite of the trip so far

Fountains Abbey was founded in 1132 and operated for over 400 years, until 1539, when Henry VIII ordered the Dissolution of the Monasteries.

beautiful Melrose Abbey ~ burial place of Robert the Bruce's heart

Wallace Monument ~ Stirling

Culloden Battlefield ~ what a haunting, emotional experience, it will stay with me forever. 1500 Jacobites and 50 loyalist troops died on 16th April 1746

 Dunrobin Castle, Golspie ... straight out of a fairytale

 Urquhart Castle on Loch Ness, Drumnadrochit 

Eilean Donan Castle. Bucket list ... woohoo!!  So excited to finally visit, sadly the castle was closed but still got some beautiful photos.

the stunning clifftop Mealt waterfall at Kilt Rock, Isle of Skye ... staying in Portree. Coldest, rainiest days so far. Froze our asses off here but so worth it!

'til next time xx