Smorgasbord Book Reviews – Vikings: Taken (The Great Heathen Army series Book 1 by Ceri Bladen

I would like to share my review for the first book in The Great Heathen Army Series: Taken by Ceri Bladen. I enjoyed the first book and have ordered the other four books in the series and I am looking forward to reading very much.

About the book

Rosfrith’s childhood changes forever after war-loving Vikings capture her home. Frightened by the axe-wielding barbarians, and torn from everything she knows and loves, she is forced to forget her privileged life. When she is abandoned by her parents and her life is threatened, is there anyone that she can trust to turn to for help?

Ubba, who dutifully followed his brother to Britain to avenge his father’s death is a strong warrior, hardened to life. He finds himself conflicted when Rosfrith awakens a protective streak he didn’t know he had. And, when he finally notices that Rosfrith is no longer a child, other feelings stir. But, will he risk everything for a mere slave?

My review for the book

As a fan of Vikings the television series, and also the books of Bernard Cornwell, I was intrigued as to how Ceri Bladen would portray this time in history and the invaders who left their mark on the landscape and history of many of our countries. Which means that those of us within sailing distance of the Norselands have a touch of Viking in our DNA including me.

This is the first book in the series The Great Heathen Army and it makes sense that one of the central characters was a child. However at that time even children rarely escaped the violence and devastation brought upon the land or their homes. Rosfrith’s short life has been privileged, but all that is about to change as the Vikings swept through the land and captured her father’s castle.

Enter Ubba one of the famed Ragnar Lothbrok’s sons, who with his brothers is seeking revenge for his father’s death. Over the period of the next six years the story follows the progress of this thirst for revenge, but also the growing relationship between a child and Ubba as she develops into womanhood.

I found the characters well developed for a first book in a series and the plot was fast paced from the beginning, but became more measured towards the end when the personal relationship between Ubba and his slave (thrall) is the focus.

It is action packed and was true to the period and the ferocity of the invaders, and it kept my interest from start to finish. I enjoyed the book and will be buying and reading the next four books in the series in coming weeks. Recommended.

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon US

And: Amazon UK

A selection of other books by Ceri Bladen

Read the reviews and buy the books:Amazon US

and: Amazon UK

Follow Ceri Bladen on: Goodreads

About Ceri Bladen

Ceri Bladen is a Welsh girl currently living in Turkey.

In between looking after a husband, three children, street dogs, and a kindle of street cats she manages to squeeze in time to write.

She loves romance, so most of her books contain elements of it, whether in the form of historical, contemporary, or fantasy.

Connect to Ceri Bladen


I hope you have enjoyed my review and will head over to explore this book and Ceri Bladen’s other work more – thanks Sally.




Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – New on the Shelves – Condemned by Fate – The Ambition & Destiny Series by V.L. McBeath

Welcome to V.L. McBeath and her books to the shelves of the Cafe and Bookstore. As a prequel to The Ambition & Destiny Series here is the short story, Condemned by Fate.

About Condemned by Fate

As Charles fights to clear his name, will it be enough to give him a future with the girl he loves?

Farm labourer Charles Jackson doesn’t expect much from life. For the price of a few pints of ale and enough food on the table, he’s happy to take work where he can get it. But when he finds himself at Chadwick’s farm, all that changes…

Falling in love with the farmer’s daughter wasn’t part of his plans. But when they’re found in an intimate embrace, his troubles are only just beginning…

Framed and imprisoned for a crime he didn’t commit, Charles must clear his name. But sometimes it’s the threats you can’t see that turn out to be the most dangerous…

Condemned by Fate is a short story prequel to The Ambition & Destiny Series, a Victorian Era family saga. If you like love stories that are more than just a romance, then you’ll love the prequel to VL McBeath’s engaging series.

One of the excellent reviews for Condemned by Fate.

An Emotional Read!  on February 17, 2017

I read Condemned by Fate at the end of January. I read it on the plane on my way to California. I have to say when I was finished I was pretty upset with the ending. It has taken me some time to put up a review because I wasn’t sure what I felt about the story. I can tell you that for some reason this book crosses my mind a few times during the week. Tonight I have found it easing it’s way back into my thoughts. When an author’s writing can touch on your emotions like that and breath life so well into the characters that you think about them I have to give it 5 stars.

Read the reviews and buy the book:

Book one and two in The Ambition & Destiny Series

One of the recent reviews for Less Than Equals – Part Two of The Ambition & Destiny Series.

I was very shocked by the way Harriet was treated by her uncle as she grew up. My goodness she wasn’t allowed to read, do arithmetic, etc. all she was encouraged to do was embroider, sew, knit, crochet, how to run a home, etc. why were women treated like that back then? It’s no wonder they rebelled.

This story was definitely an eye opener. I enjoyed it very much. Harriet was a very strong determined woman, she deserved a pat on the back. I’m sure others would enjoy this book too if they got it, it’s well worth the time to read it.

Read all the reviews and buy the books:

Read more reviews and follow V.L. McBeath on Goodreads:

About V.L. McBeath

The ‘Ambition & Destiny’ Series was inspired by VL McBeath’s interest in family history. When she started her research she had no idea what she would find or where it would lead. A couple of years later, however, she felt compelled to turn the unfolding story into a novel.

The story is an epic family saga of love, loss and betrayal set against the backdrop of Victorian Era England. It starts in 1839 with a short story prequel ‘Condemned by Fate’, before moving into the main series which is told in five parts, spanning 1846 to 1911.

Born and raised in Liverpool (UK), Val trained as a scientist and has worked in the pharmaceutical industry for many years. She now lives in Cheshire with her husband, youngest daughter, and cat. In addition to family history, her interests include rock music and Premier League Football.

Connect to V.L Mcbeath

Thank you for dropping in today and I hope you will extend a warm welcome by spreading news of her books around the usual haunts.. Thanks Sally


Smorgasbord Book Promotion – Air your Reviews – Jason B. Ladd and William Savage

Welcome to the Thursday edition of Air your Reviews which offers authors the chance to share their most recent reviews for any of their books new or previously published. Let me know if you have one you would like to share

The first review is one that I have just posted to Amazon and Goodreads for Jason B. Ladd’s new book published on 7th June. A non-fiction guide to substantially increasing book reviews, Book Review Banzai – The unknown Author’s Ultimate Guide to Getting Amazon Reviews

About the book

Indie author and book review expert Jason B. Ladd reveals the secret to scoring book reviews on Amazon as an unknown author.Using a strategic mix of automation and personalization, Book Review Banzai is helping authors get the reviews they so desperately need in today’s crowded publishing market-place.This high integrity system is a laser-focused approach that teaches authors not only how to effectively get book reviews on Amazon, but how to get them in quantities that matter.Using a combination of free web tools and effective marketing tactics, this 5-step technique saves authors time and frustration by walking them through a process that begins with a Google Search and ends with an Amazon ebook page full of reviews.If you’re publishing a book on Amazon, you must learn how to market your book. Specifically, you must learn how to get book reviews on Amazon.If you’re serious about getting your published work into the hands of reviewers and readers, if you want to finally book that BookBub slot, if you’re ready to unlock your book’s full potential, then you need this concise, competent guide on how to get book reviews on Amazon

My review of the book on June 14th and I rated it 4 Stars.

I was asked to read this book pre-publication by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Reviews are marketing tools that are necessary if your books are to sell and extend their shelf life beyond a few weeks. As an Indie author I am well aware of the challenges that we all face in a competitive market place without a substantial budget. There was barely any Internet book marketing when I started 18 years ago with my first book; but thankfully today there is as much opportunity for exposure as any mainstream author, and it does not have to cost you any money, just time.

There are two factors about this book which I feel are important to comment on. The first is the identification that time and effort spent on marketing your book is key. Also within that is the necessity to persevere with the focus on the book for an extended period of time not just for the few weeks pre and post publication. In the book Jason Ladd shares the various strategies you can employ to keep your book in the spotlight as long as possible, and across as wide an audience as possible.

This leads me onto the second factor that I feel should be highlighted. There are some technical aspects to these strategies that not all of us are going to be entirely comfortable with. However, if you as an Indie author have completed the self-publishing processes that have enabled you to upload your book to Amazon in the first place, you should not find installing and utilising the suggested applications a problem. For those of you who are not as technically inclined, then you can still apply most of the suggested marketing programmes manually, by spending additional time and effort on the process.

The main concept of the book is identifying and contacting book reviewers for your particular genre in substantial numbers. Without, I might add, spamming or contravening the various website’s code of ethics. Jason Ladd walks you through how to accomplish this in detail.

If you feel that the book itself has not given you sufficient confidence to tackle the project of obtaining substantial reviews for your book, you can sign up for an E-course that will take you through it step by step.

It is a short read at 50 pages, but I do think that every Indie author will take away something positive that they can apply to their own book marketing. The main one being that a shotgun approach to marketing is not effective and that it needs to be a well-planned and genre focused extended process.

Personally having read the book, I will be starting my mailing list for book reviewers for the genres my books fall into and will apply the strategies for my next book. At the end of the day it will only cost me time and effort and might yield far greater rewards than I have so far encountered.

Buy the book:

Also by Jason B. Ladd

The latest review out of 168 for the book which lends weight to Jason’s strategies for obtaining reviews.

We all have “life questions” and seek a path to follow. In One of the Few, author Jason B. Ladd documents his journey to finding the path his life should take. Throughout the book, Ladd uses his military experience to connect with the experience of soul searching. During this journey, Ladd takes a look at many issues we encounter (marriage, sex, alcohol, pornography) and compares the stances taken by many different believe systems.

Although I found the format hard to follow sometimes, I still appreciated the author’s honest look at these issues through the eyes of these belief systems. Ladd understands that truth seekers need knowledge about the many belief systems in the world, and he spoke of them accurately and professionally. I recommend this book for those who are seeking truth in their own lives, for those who are wanting to lead and guide others to find the righteous path, and for those who want a better understanding of why many are called and few are chosen.

I was given a free copy of this book for the purpose of an honest review.

Read all the reviews and buy the book:

Connect to Jason via his website:

The next review is for the latest book This Parody of Death (The Ashmole Foxe Georgian Mysteries Book 3) by William Savage who incidentally is my guest on the Book Reading at the Cafe this Saturday. This review is by Noelle Granger on behalf of the Rosie Amber Review Team:

About the book

Ashmole Foxe, bookseller and man about town, moves through Georgian Norwich with the ease of a native and the cunning of a born hunter. So when a bellringer is found with his throat cut, who better to find the killer? Yet Foxe soon scents more than murder. Complications come thick and fast. A family torn apart. A group committed to a secret heresy. A son who betrayed his father. And a woman determined to protect her life’s greatest passion — even if that costs one life or more.

Fighting through a tangle of lies and deceit going back decades will push Foxe to the limit. By the end, no one will escape unscathed.

Noelle Granger’s Review for the Rosie Amber Review Team.

This is the third book in the Ashmole Foxe series, about a Georgian dandy, bookseller, and occasional unofficial investigator. I reviewed both of the previous books and like this character. Of the three, this book is my favorite.

Ashmole Foxe, a man about town and known for his foppish ways, moves easily through Georgian Norwich because of his ownership of a popular bookstore. He has also developed something of a nose for investigation. When a miserly, curmudgeonly undertaker and bell ringer is found with his throat cut, Foxe is sought out by the local grocer, Foxe’s friend Captain Brock, and Alderman Halloran to find the killer. There are more tracks to follow in the investigation than a dog has fleas: a group committed to a secret heresy, a son who betrayed his father, a house with deep and deadly secrets, a woman determined to protect the great passion of her life, a daughter scorned, and a group of bell ringers with axes to grind. Foxe has to unwind a web of lies, false leads, and decades-old deceits to find the killer.

There were no giveaway hints in this book, and I was kept guessing almost to the end. The characters are wonderfully individual, from the urchin whom Foxe befriended, with his own army of street minions, the widow who runs his store, to the seafaring Captain Brock, who may soon be landlocked by a woman. The Georgian world created by the author is authentic to minuscule details, and the reader is immediately immersed in its colorful activity. What I liked most about This Parody of Death was the growth of Foxe. He engages in serious self-examination about the nature of his life, his over-the-top fashion, and possible goals for the future. This character is truly three dimensional and real.

There are a few drawbacks I have noted before: some repetition, over-long discussions between characters and Foxe’s lengthy considerations. However, these are minor compared to the enjoyment of this read. Who knew I would learn about the mathematical patterns of the change-ringing of church bells?

I recommend this book as a great read, as are all of William Savage’s books.

Read the other reviews and buy the book:

Also by William Savage

One of the reviews for Dark Threads of Vengeance Book Two of the series

I have a picture in my mind of Mr Ashmole Foxe: a cross between Percy Blakeney (Scarlet Pimpernel) and Sidney Chambers (Grantchester) – an inquisitive dandy, also a bit of a libertine, but with a strong moral sense. Joseph Morrow, a thoroughly unpleasant Norwich merchant, has been murdered and Foxe is dragooned into finding the murderer. Through many red herrings, wrong turns and with the help of streetwise children, not to mention the redoubtable Mrs Crombie, he eventually solves the conundrum which turned out to be rather nasty in its unfolding.

He is still smarting from the departure to the delights of the London scene of his two inamoratas, the Catt sisters, but being Foxe he soon finds comfort elsewhere – no spoilers from me.

Altogether a delightful read and I look forward to Foxe’s next adventure. Well done Mr Savage. How refreshing to have the tale based in Norwich – a great city.

Read all the reviews and buy the books:

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Connect to William Savage via his website:

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