Hispania, 704 AD. When young Pelayo, the rebellious illegitimate son of the Duke of Asturias, is tasked with hunting down a party of Saracens raiders, he seizes on the chance to escape the city and the scandals that have swirled around him for years. As he follows the trail of devastation left by the raiders, he learns that Valentina, the headstrong daughter of his father’s closest ally and his hated half-brother’s betrothed has been taken captive.
As Pelayo leads his cohort toward the eastern coast, the sudden death of the king in Toledo unravels old alliances and sparks a fierce competition for the throne. As the kingdom descends into civil war, the ambitious Saracen governor, Musa Ibn Nosseyr, sees the Iberian nation’s troubles as the perfect opportunity to expand the reach of the caliphate into the underbelly of Europe.
Based on historical figures and events, The Saracen Storm is the sweeping saga of one of Spain’s best-loved heroes and the role he played during the nation’s darkest period: the Moorish invasion of its lands in 711 AD.
Jose Nunez resides in Montreal, Canada, with his wife and two daughters. After running a small, software development company for a few years, he turned his hand to freelance writing. A chance sighting of a bronze statue of an ancient warrior called Pelayo in the town of Cangas de Onis, Spain, gave rise to his first novel, The Saracen Storm.
It’s been fifteen years since Aggie’s friendship with Rosie Hughes ended abruptly. But now she’s heard from the village rumour mill that Rosie is off to war, she knows her best friend needs her more than ever – despite what’s happened between them in the past.
As Rosie faces a desert full of danger and Aggie falls further from the path to love she’ so wants, the two friends write each other letters.
The comfort in their shared words is an anchor to the life they knew before…and the only constant in a world as increasingly unpredictable as the wind.
I received a copy of this book from Harper Impulse via NetGalley in return for an honest review
It’s the authenticity and warmth of this story that kept me reading. Cleverly constructed as electronic letters and emails between Rosie, stationed in the Middle East, on the eve of the Iraq War in 2003 and Aggie, her estranged childhood friend. The two women, now in their mid-thirties rekindle a friendship that they both need at this pivotal time in their lives.
Mixed in with family letters and letters from friends both past and present, they tell the story of the women’s lives, their feelings, and let the reader travel on their journey of self-discovery in two vastly different settings.
This is a poignant story. It’s easy to imagine how Rosie feels so far from home and empathise.
The plot is well-paced, original. Every letter reveals another clue to women’s past lives and their state of mind. The characters are believable and flawed but you want them to be happy.
The ending is beautifully drawn together with a twist that resonates. One of my favourite stories so far this year and I’ve already read forty books.
When Aleksandra Dimitriou is revealed as the secret daughter of Akathinia’s former king, she’s torn from her comfortable existence and thrust into the royal world…under the protection of Aristos Nicolades.
Aristos has orders not to touch the innocent princess, but beautiful Aleksandra calls to the rebellious urges that the self-made Greek tycoon thought he overcame long ago.
As the heat of their desire rises, the rules begin to evaporate. It’s soon clear that the person Aristos should be protecting Aleksandra from is himself!
The second in the ‘Kingdoms and Crowns series, this is Aleksandra’s story. The world building in this modern day fairytale is intricate and realistic. It’s easy to imagine the royal ball, which Aleksandra gatecrashes to find out the truth about her family. Aristos is arrogant, brooding and determined to find out why Aleksandra is prepared to lie to gain entrance to the glamorous party. Thrown together by the threat of war and royal decree Aristos is duty bound to protect Aleksandra, or risk losing a lucrative business deal. Proximity and chemistry build the sexual tension between the naive princess and the cynical, reluctant bodyguard perfectly. The inevitable flash points between them are steamy and emotional; giving this sweet, forbidden romance a delicious twist. Aleksandra and Aristos avoid becoming stereotypical by their verbal interaction. The dialogue is a clever balance of angst and wit, and moves the story along nicely, whilst illustrating their complex and developing emotional journeys. This story is pure escapism for lovers of modern fairytale romance, with enough realism to make it work. It reads well as a standalone but I’m definitely going to read the first book in the series and look forward to book three, the final chapter of the Akathinian Royals. I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review