Review: The Gates of Rome

The Gates of Rome
The Gates of Rome by Conn Iggulden

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Action-packed historical drama

Conn Iggulden seemed to like my review of his “quick read,” Blackwater, almost as much as I enjoyed reading that book. Being in a one-to-one conversation gave me the opportunity to ask him if he would recommend his Emperor series to anyone who had enjoyed the shorter story. He was very honest in admitting that he didn’t know but advised me to walk into a bookshop, pick up The Gates of Rome, read the first chapter then decide whether to replace it on the shelf or buy it.

That’s almost exactly what I did. In fact, what I actually did was to buy the whole series and read the books back-to-back.

This is the first of a series of four historical that describe the life of Julius Caesar and his best friend, Brutus, from boyhood through to his violent death. Knowing what happens in the final pages of the final book does nothing to damage the reader’s enjoyment of the set. The action starts in the opening pages as Gaius, as Julius is known in his youth, and his friend Marcus, later known as Brutus, are captured and bullied by older boys from the neighbouring property.

As Gaius grows up, he has an early introduction to the Roman Senate and shares some very tough training for his military manhood with Brutus. His mentor is his father’s estate manager and his trainer is an even tougher ex-gladiator. These men follow and support Julius and Brutus through most of their lives.

Violence, death and political treachery abound and the first book ends with Julius embarking on a voyage as a junior officer on a Roman military ship in North Africa as Brutus heads off to the colonised lands of Greece.

After reading the first chapter in the bookshop, I bought the book. Before I’d finished The Gates of Rome, I’d bought all three remaining books in the series and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend the same course of action to any friend.

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#JoytotheWorld Christingle Church Service

I could almost feel the power and energy as I read this. I certainly know what it feels like and Christingle sounds wonderful to me!


It may surprise you to read about my visit to our local church, since this is the blog of the pagan housewife. There are people in our communities who identify as pagan Christians, however, since paganism was simply an ancient form of worship before Christianity came to the UK all those centuries ago. Indeed, Christianity and paganism mingled and wove together many of the popular festivals that we are familiar with today, and now we are fortunate in that we can openly celebrate those that feel right to the individual.


So it was that last weekend I accompanied my elder daughter and our young neighbour to our local CofE church, St Michael and All Angels church in Middlewich. I love the congregation in this church, and indeed, many of them are my friends from the school yard and various parent/child groups that I have attended in recent years…

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Do we need Alien invasion to bring us to our senses? I hope not.

There is only one race: the human race.

Lucie Muses

I have just come back from my birth country, Czech Republic. I like going there, Prague is beautiful, and I have many good friends there.


However, I can see the same nationalistic shift there as in other countries. Far right parties- small but growing, people constantly talking about the Islamist threat, the racism towards Roma, or, as most Czechs call them, Gypsies. The generalisations, the fear.

There is an old competition where Czech people vote for the most popular pop and rock musicians. It is called Zlaty Slavik- Gold Nightingale. This year, an obviously fascist group called Ortel got the Silver. I looked at you tube, listened to their songs. It was shocking. The lyrics are clever, just skirting the boundary of legality. Manipulating people’s frustration and fear. The disaffected, unsuccessful people who want change. People who don’t feel part of the society. It seems to be happening everywhere, Brexit…

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Just needed to share these wonderful photos a bit wider. Enjoy!

Welcome to Tofino Photography


He really is lazy.He likes to lay down & munch on the grass close to him. When he can’t find anymore close by,he gets up,moves over & lays down again. He’s a funny but lazy Bruin.

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Your Bigotry Makes Me Stronger.

This is a very well written piece. The author uses it to open the pressure valve on her personal pressure cooker, but she tells us a lot about herself and the cruel world that she encountered. Her last line tells me that she will stand strong against the winds of hatred and she will thrive on the nourishing beauty of our planet.

My followers already know my views on prejudice.

Of Tales & Dreams

“For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.” —Long Walk to Freedom: The Autobiography of Nelson Mandela

Today I was pushed to write this. I grew up in South Africa and watched the seeds of change flourish whilst multiculturalism spread its arms around every skin color we gave birth to. It was a truly unique and precious gift. But somewhere along the way things went horribly wrong. Nelson Mandela fought for peace and freedom. Not for one race, but all races. Color was inconsequential. As it should be. If you punch me in the face, it hurts. If you cut me with your blade, I bleed. My color, your color…makes no difference to the fact that we bleed the same, we need the same things to survive and we all die…

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Review: When Pleasure Blooms

When Pleasure Blooms
When Pleasure Blooms by Lance Greenfield

I cannot review or rate this book, as I wrote it, but here is a bit of background information on where some of the stories came from.

The signature story, When Pleasure Blooms, just sprang into my head one day as I looked at an almost perfect flower, and thought how sensual it was. I challenged myself to expand that thought, to make it bloom, into an extraordinary story about a rare plant which is truly sensual and is capable of exuding pleasure.

Many parts of Mary Had A Naval Virgin are based upon events in my own life. I actually was a naval officer cadet, and I did hitch down to my shipmate’s home in Kent. And we really did hitch a ride with a man who was almost exactly as I describe him. The events up to a point in the story which you’ll easily discern when you read it, even the dialogue, actually happened! And it really was hilarious at the time.

I suppose I could’ve taken An African Massage a lot further than the short story that it is.
[It would have been nice to have Natalie visit Tony in London and see the sights, plus a little bit more.]

Highland Roots
expanded as I wrote, and I started to fall in love with both of the principle characters, Fiona and Bruce. There is so much of me and my own roots in this story too. It could easily have become a novel, but I decided to leave it there and move on.

As for On The Altar, it is absolutely NOT a male fantasy, as some have suggested. This was based on a recurring dream which was described to me in about three lines by a Goodreads friend in North America. She told me that she used to wake up from this dream at exactly the same point every night. That point will be easy to find when you read the story. She’d wake up feeling both very scared and very aroused. She never told me exactly what she imagined would happen next, but she was delighted with the way that I finished the story off for her. So this is actually a female fantasy from a professional woman.
[There’s an epilogue to that story. When I sent her my first draft, she read it at her desk and had to run off to the ladies half way through and finish reading it in a cubicle! That made me laugh! I can just imagine the scene in a legal company’s office!]

I created the book covers for each of the stories myself. I know that they are not up to top-of-the-market standards, but I can’t help feeling rather pleased with them.

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Review: Fierce & Fabulous: An Erotic Short Story Collection Of Leah’s Lustful Adventures

Fierce & Fabulous: An Erotic Short Story Collection Of Leah's Lustful Adventures
Fierce & Fabulous: An Erotic Short Story Collection Of Leah’s Lustful Adventures by Kitty Mulholland

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Three very different short stories. I found all three are arousing. The connection is the main protagonist, the leading lady if you like, Leah.

The first is about a couple on holiday who get caught in the act on the beach by their neighbouring, Dutch couple, who then join in the action, much to the titilation of all concerned. I enjoyed it and felt as if I were a voyeur watching the scene unfold in front of me. Quite a turn on!

The second is a about “the inbetweener,” a man who Leah has on speed-dial to fill the gap between realtionships with wall-to-wall, no-strings-attached sex. It is fun and totally unrealistic, which makes for a high amusement value.

The final story is easily my favourite. Leah observes a hot, younger hunk as she completes her lap in the pool. She retires to the sauna to chill out and who should join her there but the hunk. As the sauna heats up, so does their passion. This is one that is bound to connect with many people who work out in one way or another. Feeling horny after a run or workout is not uncommon so this story could spark fantasies of steamy encounters in the sauna or communal shower area for many of its readers.

It’s all a lot of fun and well worth a read. I recommend it.

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