Tuesday, 17 July 2018

Family Tree...myth busting family folklore!

As a small child, I remember been told my great-great-great-great-great grandfather was once a Lord Mayor of my home city of Kingston upon Hull. His name was Thomas Wallis, a descendant of my maternal grandmother's side of the family. He was a woodcarver by trade and his self-portrait and a carved chair he crafted were exhibited at the house of William Wilberforce's birthplace when I was a little girl. I remember visiting along with my mum and grandmother, climbing up the staircase of the old house, looking up at the painting placed on the wall of the landing. Underneath was the chair he'd carved. I was in awe. I remember been told about other family members visiting too...many commenting on the likeness of our ancestor to familiar faces in our family...a definite likeness to some. I felt proud of my heritage in the way any little girl would.

About twenty years later, I remember visiting the now renamed Wilberforce House Museum with my mum. After wandering around, we noticed the painting of Thomas Wallis and his chair were no longer exhibited. Curious about the whereabouts of these items, we asked a member of staff about them and mentioned Thomas Wallis was once a Lord Mayor of Hull. We were told it was likely his portrait was on display at the Hull Guildhall; where other portraits of Lord Mayors are displayed. Disappointed but satisfied with the response, we left and I never thought much about my "famous" descendant even after I began researching my family tree many years later. A project that is still very much a work in progress.

Fast forward to now; a time with information at our fingertips, thanks to the internet. Recently I was trying to find some information about the children evacuated from Hull during World War Two. My late uncle was an evacuee and I wanted to know the criteria for children been sent away from their families. Whilst looking around the web page, I saw a link for Lord Mayors of Hull and clicked. There is a list of all who have held the position. Not knowing when Thomas Wallis held this civic role, I scrolled through the list of names and the monarchs who were on the throne during the span of the records.  After scanning the list and double checking I found out the only Lord Mayor with the surname Wallis was Towers Wallis who held this office in 1710...too early to be my 5 x grandfather and the first name isn't a match either. No likely relative of mine called Wallis had been Lord Mayor. As I was in an investigative move, I decided to let Google help me out to find out the importance of Thomas Wallis to my family.

I searched for self-portraits of Thomas Wallis and came up trumps on Art UK I wanted to know more about this gentleman and I was happy to discover there are more than one self-portraits...one is held by Wilberforce House Museum...BINGO!! The others by Louth Museum. I also now know his full name was Thomas Wilkinson Wallis...something I was unaware of as I can't remember how his name was displayed when I originally saw the painting in Wilberforce House when I was small.

The Louth Museum's biography of Thomas W Wallis is enlightening with its information. He was born in Hull and raised around the village of Roos...information that could fit within my family tree, even though he was born in 1821...a little late for him to be who my family claimed him to be. However, I continued regardless. I found he spent his adult life in Louth, Lincolnshire...a point which heavily cast a shadow on him being a close relative. The deciding factor to dispell any family connection comes from a link within his museum biography. It sent me to his autobiography, a book he published which not only catalogues his work over sixty years but includes information about his family tree.  Once I read that part, I knew he wasn't who my family claimed. He was neither a Lord Mayor or a direct descendant. He was an acclaimed woodcarver. 

Am I disappointed? Not really. It is easy to see how a self-portrait in a local museum by an artist with the same family name could cause people to put two and two together and come up with the wrong conclusion, at least when it comes to a family connection. As for the Lord Mayor connection, I have no idea where that came from? I'm happy to have solved that mystery. For me, reading extracts from Thomas Wilkinson Wallis' autobiography made the search worthwhile..it's fascinating reading.  With the information I know about him, I'll one day pick up researching my family tree to see if I appear as a twig somewhere on his. I don't know how many Wallis' lived in Hull during the early part of nineteen century but you never know, my family and his may be connected somewhere?

Monday, 9 May 2016

It's Monday, What Are You Reading?

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week.  It's a great post to organise yourself. It's an opportunity to visit and comment, and er... add to that ever growing TBR pile! So welcome in everyone. This meme started with J Kaye's Blog   and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at the Book Date. And here we are!

The temperatures are starting to warm-up here in Southern Norway and the daffodils are still going strong due to the kind weather we are now having. Spring is finally beginning, as the trees are beginning to blossom.

On the personal front it's been a quieter week for me as I've had the flu! Yeah, exactly!   Who has the flu in May? Apparently I do!  I'm on the road to recovering now and should be fighting fit again within the next couple of days, so my reading this past week has been a bit lighter. Just for a change, I'm actually mid-book right now.  So, the book I am reading is : 

Lessons In Gravity, Study Abroad #2 by Jessica Peterson
Blurb: Maddie Lucas is only looking for a one night stand…

While studying in Spain for her semester abroad, Maddie hopes to escape the drama surrounding her parents’ divorce—a divorce she may or may not have caused—while researching Spanish architecture for her thesis. And if she hooks up with hot Madrileños along the way? All the better.

But handsome Spaniard Javier Montoya wants so much more

Guitarist Javier is ready to set aside his rock star ways and settle down for good with his gorgeous ex-girlfriend. But after a one night stand with sexy, passionate Maddie blossoms into genuine friendship, he begins to wonder if Maddie might be the forever girl he’s looking for.

Too bad Maddie believes forever is more fiction than fairy tale. Can Javier prove to her that fairy tales exist? Or is Maddie right to think she doesn’t deserve happily ever after? 

My review for book one in the series, Spanish Lessons can be found here

Other books I have read this past week are:

Good Girl by Lauren Layne:

Blurb: Jenny Dawson moved to Nashville to write music, not get famous. But when her latest record goes double platinum, Jenny’s suddenly one of the town’s biggest stars—and the center of a tabloid scandal connecting her with a pop star she’s barely even met. With paparazzi tracking her every move, Jenny flees to a remote mansion in Louisiana to write her next album. The only hiccup is the unexpected presence of a brooding young caretaker named Noah, whose foul mouth and snap judgments lead to constant bickering—and serious heat.

Noah really should tell Jenny that he’s Preston Noah Maxwell Walcott, the owner of the estate where the feisty country singer has made her spoiled self at home. But the charade gives Noah a much-needed break from his own troubles, and before long, their verbal sparring is indistinguishable from foreplay. But as sizzling nights give way to quiet pillow talk, Noah begins to realize that Jenny’s almost as complicated as he is. To fit into each other’s lives, they’ll need the courage to face their problems together—before the outside world catches up to them.

The Empty Jar by M. Leighton:

Blurb: Three months touring Europe.
Romantic. Dazzling. Unforgettable.
The trip of a lifetime.

But some lifetimes are shorter…

We couldn’t have known it would work out this way. No one could. No one could’ve guessed that something so beautiful could be so tragic.

But it is tragic.

Yet so, so beautiful.

That’s what sacrifice is—beauty and tragedy.
It’s pain and suffering for something or someone you love.

And this is the ultimate sacrifice.
One stunning act of true love.

This is our story.
Our true love story.

My Review for The Empty Jar is here

Books I'm planning on reading this coming week include:

Big Girls Do It Running by Jasinda Wilder

Deep Dark by Laura Griffin

Inseverable by Cecy Robson

Want to know what others are reading today?  Head over to Book Date to find out.

Monday, 2 May 2016

It's Monday. What Are You Reading?

This Monday means a brand new book to start the week and the new month and it's:

One Night With The CEO by Mia SosaAfter some disappointing dates, Karen Ramirez has concluded that great sex is for other people. Especially since medical school won’t leave her much time for romance anyway. Then she runs into tall, dark, charming, and ridiculously wealthy Mark Lansing—and quickly reconsiders celibacy. Adding to temptation? Mark will be the best man at her sister’s wedding and the nuptial destination is sultry Puerto Rico. Now this trip might just be sensory overload—or the perfect chance for Karen to find the groove she’s never had.

For CEO Mark Lansing, his perfect match would be smart, sweet, and funny, with long legs and silky hair the color of dark chocolate. In short, someone a lot like Karen. But Mark’s looking to settle down, while a relationship is the last thing on Karen’s mind. So Mark proposes a plan: he and Karen will use their weekend in paradise to sizzling advantage—before downshifting to friendship. The only problem? Karen is all Mark can think of when he gets home. Now his most challenging negotiation will be for the one thing money can’t buy . . .

This past week has been crazy with one thing or another and that includes the books I have read too. Due to biting off a bit more than I can chew, I overcommitted myself to too many arc's in April and it has been a rush this past week to meet my deadlines...thankfully I haven't missed any. May is going to be a month where I begin to show some love to my ever expanding list of TNR's waiting patiently to be read and loved.

Here are the books I've read this past week:

Over The Lines by Lisa Desrochers: Lee Delgado never planned on falling in love with the irresistible Oliver Savoca, son of a Chicago crime lord. Considering that their families are rivals, she knew it could never work. And now that both their fathers have been nabbed on racketeering charges, any real chance at a future with the man she loves has been shot to hell. But a greater blow is yet to come.
Not only does Lee learn that a contract is out on her life, she has reason to believe that Oliver is behind the devastating betrayal. Now she’s working closely—very closely—with Federal Agent Sean Callahan to help bring her man down. But however she’s come to feel about Callahan, Lee is still deeply, hopelessly, unabashedly in love with Oliver.
Where that fearless love takes Lee next is beyond her control—but the risk is worth every beat of her heart.

Kabana Wild by Josie Jax: Three people...three depraved plans...one inferno of scandalous pleasures. 
Movie star Mitch Wulfrum is tired of deflecting the gay rumors buzzing around him. It's time for drastic measures to suppress them once and for all--even if it means marriage in name only to the first trophy wife he can get his hands on. And beautiful sugar-cane princess Kiona 'Alohi fits right into his plan.

Kiona can't believe her luck when she's presented with Mitch's proposition. Her overbearing father is dangling her trust fund over her head as an enticement to dump her oh-so-sexy, but oh-so-unsuitable lover, Nakolo. A bogus marriage to Mitch will net her everything she wants--money and love, even if she can only have Kol on the sly.

What she doesn't expect are the sexual sparks that fly between her and Mitch, or, when Kol catches them together, the heat that flares between the two men. One scandalously pleasurable encounter after another fans the flames of attraction, until they begin to dream that all three of them could have everything they ever wanted--and more than they ever expected.

An intricate, fragile web of lies and deceit are all that keep their wanton secrets from erupting into the public eye. Trouble is, one scheming photographer named Anjelee has already clicked the shutter that could ruin all their lives.

Someone Like You by Jennifer Gracen: Pierce Harrison—yes, that Pierce Harrison, black sheep of the wealthy Harrison clan—has come home to his family’s luxurious Long Island compound. The big question is why the dangerously sexy soccer star agreed to coach a kids’ soccer team. His co-coach Abby McCord should be grateful. Instead she’s fending off some seriously smoldering advances from the scandal-ridden athlete. Good thing bad boys are so not her type . . .

Abby is definitely not lacking in passion, but the sweet-faced beauty needs to learn a thing or two about taking a team to the championship—and a whole lot about how to let a man into her once-broken heart. Pierce definitely knows how to make the moves, but will Abby trust that the bachelor the world has condemned as a scoundrel can settle down with the one woman who has taken hold of his heart?
My review here: in progress

The Change Up by Ellie Arden: Commercial real estate mogul Rachel Reed followed her workaholic father’s footsteps to success, so when he’s diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, she vows to rise to the occasion. She’ll help her father get the Arlington Aces independent professional baseball team up and running, then sell the franchise off to recoup their investment. It’s a tall order, but Rachel knows one thing for sure: a few acres of trees aren’t going to stand in her way of building the facility they need.

Landscaper Sam Sutter is surprised to find his brother’s high school girlfriend lurking in the woods behind his secluded log house. This former minor leaguer’s even more upset to learn “his” trees are on her chopping block. There’s no way he’ll help her erect a painful reminder to his failed career in his backyard. But butting heads with the beautiful businesswoman proves to be a tricky task, and before long, he finds himself heading up the grounds keeping crew at her father’s stadium.

Working under Rachel’s watchful—smoldering—eyes might be Sam’s undoing. Can he cut into her plans without felling their chances at a home run in love?

The Grass Was Always Browner by Sacha Jones: The Grass Was Alway Browner by Sacha Jones is the story of a strong-willed, smart yet often less than sensible, curious and questioning girl growing up as the middle-child of three children. Her parents are old, and old-fashioned, deeply impractical, idealistic and naive, not best suited to negotiating the rough and rugged terrain of suburban Sydney in the 1970s-80s.

Sacha is not only the middle child, but she is stuck in the middle of the muddle and mess of her family’s situation. She sees and suffers more than her siblings do – or so she feels. However, one advantage of her position is that she is sent to study ballet to treat her asthma, and through ballet she finds a way out of her predicament.

Sacha’s determination to escape her humdrum existence and ‘become Russian’ saw her push through and succeed against the odds (wrong-shaped head, wrong feet, overall wrong build) and a father who is strongly against her becoming a ballet dancer. He describes ballet as ‘a frivolous and selfish pursuit, too focused on appearances.’ His own dreams are focused on a desire to save the Third World. However, in their very different ways, Sacha and her father are more alike than either would care to admit.

In becoming a dancing star, Sacha surprises no-one more than her legendary dance teacher – an actual Russian – Mrs P, Tanya Pearson. However, her father was right about ballet.

Although it gives Sacha the escape she desires, there is a heavy price to pay. And when she sets off for London to further her dance career, it is in part because the Australian dance scene betrayed her trust. 
Award-winning playwright, poet and novelist Stephanie Johnson says of The Grass Was Always Browner, “Nineteen seventies suburban Sydney comes winningly alive in Sacha’s light-hearted girlhood memoir of boundless optimism, pink milk, tutus, triumph at the Eisteddfod and a horse in the back garden.”

The Grass Was Always Browner is a laugh-out-loud memoir and a cautionary reminder that the grass is not always greener on the other side of the fence.

My review here: in progress

Monday, 25 January 2016

It's Monday. What are you reading?

For some reason, I always seem to finish reading a book on a Sunday, so Monday tends to be a new book day for me. Today, I'll be starting To The Stars by Molly McAdams and I'm really excited about reading this because it is my very first paperback arc! Living where I do, an opportunity like this doesn't happen often due to high postal charges. I was lucky to win this in a competition back in December.

This is a standalone and the 2nd Thatch novel by this author. I've not read the first book in the series. But understand it was a real tearjerker. The synopsis sounds intriguing, so I can't wait to get reading!

To The Stars
by Molly McAdams
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks (February 9, 2016)
In the second book in New York Times  and USA Today  best-selling author Molly McAdams’ Thatch series, Knox Alexander must convince his long-time love Harlow Evans that they’re meant to be together.

He promised to wait for her.
She told him he was wasting his time.
Not waiting for him ended up being the biggest mistake of her life.

When they were younger, Knox Alexander swore to Harlow Evans that he would wait for her to turn eighteen so they could be together. But that was three and a half years away, and Harlow couldn’t ask him to give up all the fun and thrills of going away to college for her. As the years passed, Knox remained a constant in her life—whether she liked it or not—but when her eighteenth birthday came around, Harlow’s heart belonged to someone else.

Every day for the last four years, Harlow has been haunted by that fateful choice. And though he may appear unaffected by what happened in their past, Knox has always tried to fill the void Harlow left. But when he comes stumbling back into her life and refuses to leave, will Harlow finally let him into her heart…?

Want to know what others are reading today?  Head over to Book Date to find out.

Thursday, 31 December 2015

Favourite New Authors (to me) in 2015!

It's the end of the year and time to reflect back and remember favourite reading highlights.

2015 has been a fabulous year for introducing me to new writers who's work I will now pick up without a hesitation in the future.  I don't have an ultimate No.1 for my list, so here are some of books and writers who I've awarded 5 stars to during 2015:

Untrue Colors & True Deceptions. If you like romantic suspense, you'll love these fast paced plots filled with lies, deception, intrigue, lust, suspense and espionage.

Before We Were Strangers. Packed full of emotion, this book made me cry!


Nobody's Angel & Nobody's Fool.  The Hunter brothers will make you swoon!  I love male protagonists to be intelligent... Richard & Josh Hunter are not only clever, but thoughtful, compassionate and incredibly sexy!

Blurred Lines, a friends to lovers story. Parker and Ben have been friends for six years, spending most of the time convincing friends that their relationship is purely platonic!   Steal Me, New York's Finest #2. The Moretti brothers are all NY cops and eldest brother Anthony certainly caught my attention!

Worth The Risk, Just when you've fallen in love with a McKinney man, another comes along.  Stephen McKinney is a complex man but incredibly caring, thoughtful and sexy...just like his other brothers.

Call Sign Karma, this was the first book I read in 2015 and has stayed with me all year. Who doesn't love a sexy British pilot and a kick-ass heroine?

Confessions Of A Reformed Tom Cat, I was drawn instantly to the title. This humorous book was memorable not only for the highly entertaining protagonists, but for the Pacific Northwest setting.

Best Laid Plans and Out Of Plans, Gritty, sexy and violent.  A suprisingly enjoyable duet.  I loved the lightening paced adventures across Western Africa and South America.  Two sexy, dangerous guys and one tough heroine.

Monday, 2 November 2015

It's Monday. What Are You Reading?

I'm actually between books right now after finishing an arc for Cooper (Wild Boys) by Melissa Foster late last night. Cooper is due for release on 1st December and is book 4 of a hot, sexy new series featuring the Wild brothers. (Heath, Jackson, Logan) If you are a fan of Melissa Foster and looking for something a little hotter than her usual books I highly recommend these four novellas.

At the moment my main reading focus is advance reader copies as my personal TBR is getting bigger, although I've been better at NOT one-clicking recently!

My current (ever increasing) reading list

The book I will pick up later today is the long awaited final episode in the Rising Storm series Thunder Rolls by Dee Davis. Each novella is being released weekly, with a different author writing each episode.  Formatted like a soap opera, this tale of life in Storm, Texas has been such fun and really addictive.  It will be bittersweet finishing this series, although a new one is scheduled for 2016 along with a couple of specials too. Yay!

Welcome to Storm, Texas…

A town nestled among rolling hill​s and painted with vibrant wildflowers, ​where everything ​seems like perfection.

But there are secrets beneath the facade.

Dark and ​powerful secrets. The kind that can destroy lives and tear families apart. ​That can cut through a town like a tempest, leaving jealousy and destruction in its wake, along with shattered hopes and broken dreams.

Rising Storm is an ongoing drama. A powerful series conceived by Julie Kenner and Dee Davis, full of scandal, deceit, romance, passion, and secrets.

get caught in the storm!

Episode 8 - Thunder Rolls

Secrets, Sex and Scandals … 

Welcome to Storm, Texas, where passion runs hot, desire runs deep, and secrets have the power to destroy… Get ready. The storm is coming. 

As Hannah Grossman grapples with the very real possibility that she is dating one Johnson brother while secretly in love with another, the entire town prepares for Founders Day. The building tempest threatens not just Hannah’s relationship with Tucker and Tate, but everyone in Storm as dire revelations threaten to tear the town apart.

Want to know what others are reading today?  Head over to Book Date.

Thursday, 19 June 2014

Feeling thankful - #100happydays

Day 3 #100happydays

Today I am feeling thankful that our prehistoric dinosaur of a lawnmower still works.  It is over 30 years old and it is getting incredibly difficult to source parts for it when it has a breakdown.  We were lucky this year that my husband was able to find substitute parts to fix it. In the future we may not be so lucky.

To replace this beast will require a lot of money - somewhere in the region of NOK 50K .  So, as you can imagine, we'd rather not be burdened with that expense any time soon.

To cut the lawn (tamed meadow) takes over 2 hours, so this isn't a luxury garden toy, but an essential one. Here's hoping we have have a couple more, trouble free years of grass cutting.