Monday, 11 November 2019

Blog Tour ~ A Mrs Miracle Christmas by Debbie Macomber

🎄 I'm thrilled to be one of the blog's starting off this festive Blog Tour  🎄

Arrow Books
14 November 2019

My thanks to the publisher for my copy of this book
and the invitation to be part of the blog tour

An uplifting festive novel from the Number One New York Times bestselling author Debbie Macomber.

Laurel McCullough is in desperate need of help. Her beloved grandmother has just been diagnosed with Alzheimer's and the baby she and her husband Zach have longed for now seems like an impossible dream.

So when the kind-hearted, and a little bit unbelievable, nurse Mrs Miracle appears at the door, Laurel couldn’t be more relieved. She invites the nurse into her life and it’s not long before they become the dearest of friends.

When her grandmother’s condition begins to improve, and as Laurel and Zach continue their desperate quest for a child, Laurel soon realises that there is more to Mrs Miracle than meets the eye…

What did I think about it..

I always know that Christmas has arrived when I read my first Debbie Macomber book of the season and A Mrs Miracle Christmas has to be one of my favourite stories.

Laurel and her husband Zach live with Laurel's grandmother, Helen, who is in the early stages of Alzheimer's, so when Mrs Miracle arrives from a care agency to look after Helen, it seems like the answer to their prayers. Mrs Miracle soon has Helen coping better and their shared interest in knitting and chatting makes life much more settled. With her grandmother calmer, Laurel once again turns to the sadness in her marriage as she and Zach seem to be unable to have a child of their own, and even though they have had opportunities nothing seems to have worked out.

What then follows is a lovely family story which looks at those cross generational relationships which are so important, and also the sadness and tension caused within a marriage by the burden of infertility. Whilst the story covers some thoughtful topics there is also an air of warmth and wisdom which is so reminiscent of this author's ability to deliver a good story. And really its all those little special details which make these stories so special, from Christmas baking, and mouth watering Snickerdoodles, to choosing and decorating a special Christmas tree, to spending time with a basket of yarn and a good old chat between much loved friends.

Mrs Miracle is absolutely fabulous, every home should have one, and her ability to bring comfort and sound common sense makes this such a wonderful story and it takes no time at all to become emotionally attached to all the characters. A Mrs Miracle Christmas continues the theme of the Miracle series which is now well established and the legions of fans who follow this series will be delighted with this latest novel and will, no doubt, recognise a few other well loved characters.

If you've had a stressful afternoon there is no better antidote than a huge cup of tea and a copy of A Mrs Miracle Christmas ♡ 

Debbie Macomber is a No. 1 New York Times bestselling author and one of today’s most popular writers. In addition to fiction, Debbie has also published two bestselling cookbooks; numerous inspirational and nonfiction works; and two acclaimed children’s books. The beloved and bestselling Cedar Cove series became Hallmark Channel’s first dramatic scripted television series, Debbie Macomber's Cedar Cove, which was ranked as the top program on US cable TV when it debuted in summer 2013. Hallmark has also produced many successful films based on Debbie’s bestselling Christmas novels. Debbie Macomber owns her own tea room, and a yarn store, A Good Yarn, named after the shop featured in her popular Blossom Street novels. She and her husband, Wayne, serve on the Guideposts National Advisory Cabinet, and she is World Vision’s international spokesperson for their Knit for Kids charity initiative. A devoted grandmother, Debbie and her husband Wayne live in Port Orchard, Washington (the town on which her Cedar Cove novels are based) and winter in Florida.

Twitter @debbiemacomber #MrsMiracleChristmas


Sunday, 10 November 2019

Blog Tour ~ The Rector's Daughter by Jean Fullerton

Delighted to co-host one of today's stop on this blog tour

7 November 2019

My thanks to the publishers for my ecopy of this book
and to Rachel's Random Resources for the invitation to be part of the blog tour

Charlotte, daughter of Reverend Percival Hatton, has been content to follow the path laid out for her. Charlotte has an understanding with Captain Nicolas Paget every inch the gentleman who she expects someday to marry. But then she meets Josiah Martyn, and everything changes... 

A driven and ambitious Cornish mining engineer, and the complete opposite to Captain Nicholas,Josiah has come to London to help build the first tunnel under the river Thames. When unpredictable events occur at the inauguration of the project, Josiah and Charlotte are suddenly thrown into an unexpected intimacy. 

But not everyone is happy with Charlotte and Josiah growing closer. As friends turn to foes, will they be able to rewrite the stars and find their happy ever after, although all odds seem to be stacked against them...?

What did I think about it..

Set in London in 1825 this story takes us straight into the heart of late-Georgian life as Charlotte Hatton tends to the needs of her father’s parishioners. The Reverend Percival Hatton is reliant on his daughter for much of the good work that takes place within his parish of St Mary's in the Rotherhithe district of London, and initially there’s a sense that Charlotte is rather overshadowed and content to support her father and stay in the background. She has a sort of ambiguous romantic connection with a certain Captain Nicholas Paget, who is a bit of damp squib in the romance stakes, and who doesn’t set Charlotte’s heart racing as much as the handsome Josiah Martyn, a young man who is working as an engineer building the ambitious new tunnel under the River Thames. Charlotte’s growing involvement with Josiah causes a great deal of speculation within the parish.

What then follows is a beautifully written historical saga which looks at all the social complexities which beset young women during this time. The author brings the story alive with her descriptions of Charlotte’s life, especially the restrictions placed on women whose only security came from securing a husband. The story flows well and kept my interest throughout and the many twists and turns in the plot add an interesting dimension to Charlotte's burgeoning friendship with Josiah Martyn. There’s a nice array of characters, some were far more likeable than others, but it was interesting to see how they all fitted into the wider detail of the story. I have to admit to knowing absolutely nothing about the Thames tunnel, so it has been fascinating to learn more about this event, and of the real life people who were involved with its construction.

This type of romantic historical fiction is something of a departure for this author whose previous novels have been set in a later time period, so its been interesting to see how she brings the London she knows so well alive in an altogether earlier historical setting.

The Rector's Daughter is a well researched and beautifully authentic historical saga by an author who really knows how to bring history alive in the imagination.

Jean Fullerton is the author of thirteen novels all set in East London where she wasborn. She also a retired district nurse and university lecturer. She won the Harry Bowling prise in2006 and after initially signing for two East London historical serieswith Orion she moved to Corvus,part of Atlantic Publishing and is half way through her WW2 East London series featuring the Brogan family.

Twitter @JeanFullerton


Saturday, 9 November 2019

Two New Christmas Titles From Candlestick Press..

❆❆ Ten Poems about Snow ❆❆

Candlestick Press
November 2019

Cover:Sam Cannon

My thanks to the publishers for my copy of these beautiful pamphlets 

The appeal of snow must have something to do with childhood – the excitement of waking up to a white world and placing our wellies into cold crunchiness. As adults we still feel the magic of snow’s hushed calm, which for a few days can slow down our hectic lives.

Ten Poems about Snow edited by Carole Bromley takes us on an enchanted journey through worlds of snow until we arrive, of course, in Robert Frost’s mysterious snowy woods. You’ll also find beautiful poems published here for the first time – winners and runners-up in our snow poem competition. These are poems that capture all the magic and emotion of a snowfall in deepest winter.

For every Snow pamphlet sold, Candlestick will be making a donation to the charity Shelter.

My thoughts..

I can remember as a child spending lots of happy hours outside and have so many memories of playing with feather-light powder puff snow and of walking along crackly footpaths with their cobweb lines of ice and frost. The excitement of waking to the hushed quiet of a snowy morning and the tingly pain of icy fingers from making snowmen, and the sheer joy of throwing crunchy snowballs and watching them explode into a million pieces.

In this poignantly reflective collection of ten poems we are reminded of the sheer beauty of snow and of our relationship with it. 

From the disappointment of a child being picked to play a snowflake in the nativity rather than the Virgin Mary, The Star of Bethlehem by Jill Munro is a lovely reminder of being the best we can be regardless of our role, and sometimes it is simply enough to be one of the 'fake flakes' forming 'a snow blanket on the scene'.

The Symmetry of Snow by Meda AA Stamper is a wonderful reminder of the absolute grace of snow and of the power of its transformation to make everything seem better but that we must never to forget what's underneath the snowy facade.

'But grace shows its heart like snow and changes everything
Everything even what we've made all wrong and ugly
Everything is all the same in beauty after snow..' 

It's always difficult to pick out a favourite poem as all ten are very special and conjure the beauty of a snowy landscape but I think the one that struck a chord with me was the simple beauty of  When it Snowed by Kerry Derbyshire which brought a tear to  my eye..

 ' like prayers, how snow stitches
and mends all that is broken...'

And of course no festive collection is complete without the stunning beauty of Robert Frost's Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Night 

'He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow...'

It's one of my favourites and is  a delightful way to complete the collection.

 ❆❆ Christmas Spirit ❆❆

Candlestick Press
November 2019

Cover: Louise Slater

These ten specially commissioned poems celebrate the joy of Christmas in all its variety. Some evoke the bustle of untangling fairy lights, of shopping and cooking and opening presents, while others celebrate our more ancient seasonal traditions, such as collecting holly and ivy to bring into the house. And then, of course, there’s the mistletoe.

The poems remind us that amid the inevitable hurly burly there’s always time to pause and savour quiet moments. This joyful and heart-warming selection is guaranteed to add a sprinkle of beauty and delight to every Christmas.

My thoughts..

Christmas Spirit to Warm the Heart describes this collection of poetry to perfection as there is such festive warmth within each of the poems giving us a glimpse into a very special Christmas world.

Quietly introspective, each of the poems have the ability to take you into a world of festive treats seeing Christmas 'through other people's windows' which is a poignant reminder of what the spirit of Christmas means to every one of us.

I loved the opening poem 'The Golden Bough by Rosie Jackson with its theme of mistletoe and which is a complete story in itself, perfectly proportioned, and suffused with mysticism and legend ' until her tears formed into pearls, lucent emblems of her unstoppable love'..

Christmas traditions are explored in This year like last year by Jo Brandon which reminded me of  the joy of keeping family traditions alive in the memory,

 ' I like that Christmas is always the same, someone 
on the telly said,'the best days are alwyas short'-
it could have been the vicar of Dibley,
or the Queen '...

I loved the vernacular of Mizzletow by Katrina Porteous which conjured a bleak and beautiful landscape, and that thin cold mizzly rain which is so much part of my northern climate,

'And a burning cold dragged in from the dark- the Mizzletow-
Strange , aromatic, A tang of field edges-. Mizzle, a thin rain-
Not the pearly southern berries but hoops of bitter willow..'

These two pamphlets are both wonderful collections of Christmas poetry which are just perfect for the festive season and are a great alternative to the standard Christmas card.

Candlestick Press is a small, independent press publishing sumptuously produced poetry pamphlets that serve as a wonderful alternative to a greetings card, with matching envelopes and bookmarks left blank for your message. Their subjects include Cricket, London, Puddings, Birds, Kindness, Home and Fathers. Candlestick Press pamphlets are stocked by chain and independent bookshops, galleries and garden centres nationwide and available to order online.

Friday, 8 November 2019

Review ~ Christmas at Miss Moonshine's Emporium Anthology..

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Authors on the Edge
October 2019

My thanks to the authors for my e-copy of this book

When the magic of Christmas is just what you're looking for...

There’s something magical about Miss Moonshine’s Wonderful Emporium, and at Christmas she brings an added sparkle to the inhabitants of the pretty Yorkshire town of Haven Bridge. Customers who step over her threshold find an eccentric collection of gifts, but Miss Moonshine has a rare knack for providing exactly what they need: a strange Advent calendar whose doors give a glimpse of a happy ending; a vintage typewriter that types a ghostly message from Christmas past; a mirror in a silver case that reflects the person you’d like to be.
Step inside Miss Moonshine’s quirky shop, and the thing you need most for Christmas will be right there, waiting for you.

What did I think about it..

I can think of no better place to spend the festive season than in the company of Miss Moonshine in her wonderful emporium in the pretty Yorkshire town of Haven Bridge. In this collection of nine festive short stories we get to spend time with some lovely characters as they each celebrate Christmas in their own special way.

There really is something to appeal to everyone with stories set in the present day, alongside stories set in the past, and rather than try to outdo each other the collection blends beautifully, so that each separate story becomes a real festive treat.

All of the stories have the wonderfully eccentric Miss Moonshine at the centre and yet, she doesn't dominate the individual stories, but rather sprinkles her own special brand of magic so that the people she tries to help find their own way of dealing with whatever life has thrown at them. Every conceivable emotion is covered in a lovely entertaining sort of way which makes the sad stories all the more poignant whilst the happy stories come alive with joyous expectation. Amongst the nine, I do have a couple of favourites but I'm not going to share which ones as I would really love it if you would read this collection and discover your own special stories.

Each of the nine festive stories are beautifully written by this group of talented authors who are at the top of their game in writing romantic fiction, be it current or historical, and each story is a perfect length to read over a lunch time break, or with a festive gingerbread latte in your favourite coffee shop.

This collection includes:

  • The Ghost in the Machine by Mary Jayne Baker
  • The Boy Next Door by Helen Pollard
  • My True Love Gave to Me by Sophie Clare
  • How to Save Christmas by Kate Field
  • A Raven's Gift by Angela Wren
  • Make My wish Come True by Helena Fairfax
  • Christmas Magic by Marie Laval
  • The Timepiece by Melinda Hammond
  • Miss Moonshine's Advent Calendar by Jacqui Cooper

Christmas at Miss Moonshine's Emporium is out now in E-book and Paperback

About the Authors

Helena Fairfax, Mary Jayne Baker, Sophie Claire, Jacqui Cooper, Angela Wren, Marie Laval, Kate Field, Helen Pollard, Melinda Hammond.

Christmas at Miss Moonshine's Emporium is an anthology put together by a group of romantic novelists and short story writers from Yorkshire and Lancashire in the north of England. The group meet regularly in the little town of Hebden Bridge, and this location, lying as it does on the moors near the border between the two counties, led to the group name Authors on the Edge, and to the inspiration behind this collection.

Many mince pies were consumed by these authors in the making of this anthology.

Twitter #authorsontheedge

Thursday, 7 November 2019

Publication Day ~ The Crown Agent by Stephen O'Rourke

✨✨ Happy Publication Day ✨✨

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Sandstone Press
7 November 2019

My thanks to the publishers for my copy of this book

A ship adrift, all hands dead. A lighthouse keeper murdered in the night. The Crown needs man to find the truth. Doctor Mungo Lyon, his reputation tarnished by the Burke & Hare scandal, and forbidden to practise as a surgeon, is the wrong man.

That’s exactly why the Crown chose him.

What did I think about it...

Having been caught up in the Burke and Hare scandal, Surgeon Mungo Lyon's reputation has been ruined, so when he is offered the opportunity to leave Edinburgh to undertake a clandestine political investigation of behalf of the British Crown he takes this unusual chance to redeem himself. However, this change in his circumstances is not without uncertainty, and Mungo soon discovers, to his cost, that the danger he finds himself in, as he uncovers a deadly secret, is even more devastating than being caught up in the Burke and Hare scandal.

The story flows well with enough excitement to keep you turning the pages and takes us from the dark and gloomy streets of nineteenth century Scotland, to the danger of a perilous sea voyage to the Caribbean, and throughout it all Mungo, and his rather surprising sidekick, get caught up in all sorts of political shenanigans.

The Crown Agent is a rollicking good historical adventure with more than enough twists and turns to keep you guessing, and even as Mungo gets caught further and further into a tight corner so the drama pulls ever tighter. This could easily be a series as the ending certainly lends itself to that possibility and it would be great fun to see Mungo, and his sidekick, return in further historical adventures.

Stephen O'Rourke portrait

Stephen O’Rourke is an advocate and a Member of the Institute of Chartered Arbitrators. He formerly wrote a regular column for The Scotsman and has written for The Guardian, Caledonian Mercury and Think Scotland websites. In 2012 he won a short story competition run by The Daily Telegraph, which proved to be the basis for The Crown Agent.

Twitter @sorourke_


Tuesday, 5 November 2019

Blog Tour ~ A Perfect Cornish Christmas by Phillipa Ashley

🎄🎄 Jaffareadstoo is delighted to be part of this festive Blog Tour 🎄🎄

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31 October 2019

My thanks to the publisher for my copy of this book
and the invitation to be part of this festive blog tour

Christmas in Cornwall is just around the corner…

But after last Christmas revealed a shocking family secret, Scarlett’s hardly feeling merry and bright. All she wants this Christmas is to know who her real father is.

So Scarlett heads to the little Cornish town of Porthmellow, where she believes the truth of her birth is hidden. She just didn’t bargain on being drawn into the Christmas festival preparations – or meeting Jude Penberth, whose charm threatens to complicate life further.

Everything will come to a head at Porthmellow’s Christmas Festival … But can Scarlett have the perfect Christmas this year, or are there more surprises on the way?

Curl up with this gorgeous novel and savour the world of Porthmellow Harbour.

What did I think about it..

Scarlett and her sister Ellie think they have found the perfect family Christmas present but what they don't bargain for is the way it tears their family apart. Whilst Scarlett is sure that the answer to this devastating family secret lie in the Cornish town of Porthmellow she is apprehensive of delving too deep for fear of what she might discover.

Those who have read this author's previous book The Perfect Cornish Summer will see a welcome return of some of the characters who featured in this first book in the series, however, this novel is more about Scarlett, and Ellie, who each need to find some sort of way forward. Each of them have been hurt in previous romantic relationships so neither of them are looking to find love again, but then Porthmellow starts to work its magic and both Ellie and Scarlett discover that, if they let it, life can offer some wonderful opportunities.

The family mystery at the heart of the novel is handled well and there are a few surprising twists and turns which show that in the aftermath of a shocking family secret there can be a hopeful resolution. I particularly liked the gentle Christmassy feel to the story which isn't overtly festive but which shines a light on the little town of Porthmellow, particularly their Winter Solstice festival, in wonderful heart-warming sort of way.

A Perfect Christmas Christmas is a lovely entertaining Christmas read about the power of family, and friendship, and of the distress and misunderstanding of keeping too many dangerous secrets.

About the Author

Phillipa Ashley writes warm, funny romantic fiction for a variety of international publishers. The first two books in her best-selling Cornish Café series made the Amazon Top 20 and Top 10 chart in 2016.
Phillipa lives in a Staffordshire village with her husband and has a grown-up daughter.

Twitter @PhillipaAshley #APerfectCornishChristmas


Monday, 4 November 2019

Publication Day Push ~ Christmas at Ladywell by Nicola Slade (Giveaway)

🎄🎄 Delighted to host this Christmassy Publication Day Push 🎄🎄

Crooked Cat Books
4 November 2019

97 page Novella

My thanks to the author, publisher and Rachel's Random Resources
for my ecopy of this novella and the invitation to this Publication Day Push

A time for spilling secrets...

Having refurbished her inherited house and upcycled her whole life in the process, Freya–now happily married to Patrick, and with a small child–hasto transform her tiny stone barn into a romantic hideaway for a mystery guest who is also looking for change. With Christmas only a weekaway, things don’t go according to plan...In the past old uncertainties are resolved when an elderly woman seeks the truth of a legend on Christmas Eve and confesses to a deception; a Tudor wife listens to a story that must never be repeated and is given a precious relic that must never be displayed; and in the early nineteenth century an old woman tells a younger one the story of the hares at Ladywell.Past and present are only a whisper apart when Freya learns of an astonishing discovery that will make Ladywell famous, but meanwhile her house is full of unexpected visitors, she has a turkey to cook–and a very special secret of her own that must be told.

What did I think about it..

There is such a lovely feel to this Christmassy novella that I was quite enchanted by the story about Freya, Patrick and their daughter, Violet, who all live at the house at Ladywell, which is a lovely family home steeped in the traditions and legends of the past.

The author cleverly blends past with present and takes the reader on a delightful blended journey into the deep connections which Ladywell has with all the occupants of the house over the centuries, linking the myths of days gone by with what’s happening to Freya and Patrick in the here and now.

For those who are familiar with the story from the author’s previous novel, The House at Ladywell, this novella continues the theme of interlinking past and present, and adds even more detail, sharing once again the connection with the old ones who have made this area their home for hundreds of years. I especially loved the magical significance of the rather special hares who live in the landscape around Ladywell, and who give the story a special mystical quality which really is quite magical.

Christmas at Ladywell is a beautifully written novella, with a lovely blend of past and present and is the perfect antidote to all the stresses of Christmas.

Nicola Slade is an award-winning, bestselling author of historical and contemporary mysteries and romantic fiction, all set in and around Winchester and Romsey in Hampshire–which is where she lives.The House at Ladywell–a contemporary romantic novel with historical echoes–won the Chatelaine Grand Prize for Romantic Fiction at the CIBA awards in April 2019.She is the author of the mid-Victorian Charlotte Richmond mysteries and the contemporary Harriet Quigley mysteries and The Convalescent Corpse, published November 2018, is the first in a new series, The Fyttleton Mysteries, set in 1918.

Twitter @nicolasladeuk

Giveaway to Win a .mobi or PDF of The Convalescent Corpse by Nicola Slade (Open INT)

*Terms and Conditions – Worldwide entries welcome.Please enter using the Rafflecopter boxbelow.The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will benotified by Twitter and/or email.If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s RandomResources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 orover.Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and willnot be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed tothe giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s RandomResources will delete the data.I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

Sunday, 3 November 2019

Social Media Blast ~ Murder by the Minster by Helen Cox

✨✨ Delighted to be part of this Social Media Blast ✨✨

Quercus Books
31 October 2019

#1 The Kitt Hartley Yorkshire Mysteries

My thanks to the publishers for my copy of this book and the invitation to this Social Media Blast

Kitt’s quiet life at the Vale of York University library quickly turns upside down when she begins an investigation (armed with detective knowledge absorbed over years of reading Agatha Christie and Ian Rankin) to clear her best friend Evie’s name when she is wrongfully accused of murdering her ex-boyfriend. Kitt soon discovers that the quaint streets of York hold darker secrets than she’d ever dreamed, but what she doesn’t know is that the true murderer is watching her every step.

What did I think about it...

When Kitt's friend, Evie, is arrested for murder it creates a situation in both of their lives which pretty much alters everything they think they know about each other, but one thing Kitt is sure about is that her friend Evie couldn't possibly be a murderer. 

What then follows is Kitt's attempt to exonerate her friend whilst at the same time searching for clues to the real culprit, and that's where Kitt put her detective skills to good years. Years as a librarian, and reading detective fiction, shows Kitt to be more competent than two hapless detectives who are also on the hunt for a killer.

Murder by the Minster is a gentle cozy crime mystery which has some interesting investigative detail but without any gloomy or gory details, although the MO of the killer is pretty grim. I raced through the story, warming to all of the characters, especially Kitt, and her assistant, Grace, and laughed out loud at their interaction with the local psychic, Ruby.

Setting the story in the beautiful historic city of York gave the story a quirky atmosphere and thanks to the author's lovely descriptions I could picture the narrow streets of the city really well. There's a nice old fashioned feel to the novel and whilst there were times when I had to suspend belief at some of Kitt's actions, overall, I thought this was an interesting start to a new cozy crime series and I look forward to meeting up with Kitt Hartley again in future Yorkshire mysteries. 

Helen Cox is a Yorkshire-born novelist and poet. After completing her MA in creative writing at the University of York St. John Helen wrote for a range of magazines and websites as well as for TV and radio news Helen has edited her own independent film magazine and penned three non-fiction books as well as two romance novels published by Harper Collins.  She currently hosts The Poetrygram podcast and works for City Lit, London. Helen’s new series of cosy mysteries stars librarian-turned-sleuth Kitt Hartley, and is set in York.

Twitter @helenography #MurderbytheMinster


Saturday, 2 November 2019

Blog Tour ~ The Guardian of Lies by Kate Furnivall

✴✴ Delighted to host today's stop on this exciting Blog Tour ✴✴

On Hist Fic Saturday 

Let's go back to ....1953

31 October 2019

My thanks to the publishers for my copy of this book

1953, the South of France. The fragile peace between the West and Soviet Russia hangs on a knife edge. And one family has been torn apart by secrets and conflicting allegiances. 

Eloïse Caussade is a courageous young Frenchwoman, raised on a bull farm near Arles in the Camargue. She idolises her older brother, André, and when he leaves to become an Intelligence Officer working for the CIA in Paris to help protect France, she soon follows him. Having exchanged the strict confines of her father's farm for a life of freedom in Paris, her world comes alive. But everything changes when André is injured - a direct result of Eloise's actions. Unable to work, André returns to his father’s farm, but Eloïse’s sense of guilt and responsibility for his injuries sets her on the trail of the person who attempted to kill him. Eloïse finds her hometown in a state of unrest and conflict. Those who are angry at the construction of the American airbase nearby, with its lethal nuclear armaments, confront those who support it, and anger flares into violence, stirred up by Soviet agents. Throughout all this unrest, Eloïse is still relentlessly hunting down the man who betrayed her brother and his country, and she is learning to look at those she loves and at herself with different eyes. She no longer knows who she can trust. Who is working for Soviet Intelligence and who is not? And what side do her own family lie on?

What did I think about it..

The Guardian of Lies opens in 1953, and is a dramatic look at the events in Europe in the aftermath of the Second World War, when peace was a fragile commodity and the threads of the Cold War between Russia and the world were beginning to pull ever tighter. Eloïse Caussade and her brother, André, have a close relationship however, when Eloïse inadvertently gets caught up in the dangerous game her brother is playing as an intelligence officer in post-war France, it opens up a whole series of dramatic events. Eloïse is a strong and determined young woman who sets out to discover the secrets her family are keeping from her, even though it puts those she cares for in extreme danger.

Eloïse and her family have been guardians of this land in southern France for generations, farming the Camargue landscape along the banks of the River Rhône, but when an American airbase is placed adjacent to their land it causes great unrest in the nearby town of Arles, putting Eloïse, and her family, in grave peril.

The story gets off to an exciting start and this drama continues with a set of characters and events which bring the whole story to life in a remarkably authentic way. The author writes this type of strong historical fiction very well, and with The Guardian of Lies she has given us another beautifully researched story about a troubled time in our collective history. The mystery at the heart of the novel is filled with just the right amount of tension which allows the story to evolve gradually, and as those who are caught up in this deadly game of espionage get drawn deeper and deeper, so the pressure builds towards a dramatic conclusion.

The Guardian of Lies is published by Simon&Schuster in Ebook and Paperback and is out now.

About the Author

© Kate Wright

Kate Furnivall was raised in Wales, went to university in London, and worked in advertising before becoming a bestselling writer. Her first historical novel, The Russian Concubine, was inspired by her grandmother’s real-life story – she fled the Russian Revolution and became a refugee. Kate has written ten novels since, including The Betrayal, and has been shortlisted for the RNA Historical Novel of the Year Award. She now lives in Devon with her husband. Her books are translated into over 20 languages and have been on the Sunday Times and New York Times Top Ten Bestseller lists.

Twitter @KateFurnivall #TheGuardianOfLies



Friday, 1 November 2019

Blog Tour ~ Coming Home to Winter Island by Jo Thomas

Headline Review
ebook 31 October 2019
paperback original 12 December 2019

My thanks to the author, publishers and Random Things Tours for my copy of this book
and the opportunity to take part in this blog tour

Do you need to find out where you've come from before you can know what the future holds? 

Ruby's singing career is on the verge of hitting the big time, when her voice breaks. Fearing her career is over, she signs up for a retreat in Tenerife to recover. But an unexpected call from a stranger on a remote Scottish island takes her on a short trip to sort out some family business. It's time to go and see the grandfather she's never met. City girl Ruby knows she will be happy to leave the windswept beaches behind as quickly as she can, especially as a years-old family rift means she knows she won't be welcome at Teach Mhor. But as she arrives at the big house overlooking the bay, she finds things are not as straightforward as she might have thought. There's an unexpected guest in the house and he's not planning on going anywhere any time soon ... 

What did I think about it..

The big house at Teach Mhor, on the Isle of Geamhradh, known locally as Winter Island, is as remote as its occupants and yet it has long been the home of Hector Macquarrie and his carer Lachlan, two men who are about to change Ruby Mac's life forever. Ruby has a promising singing career but she has a difficult choice to make because even though she knows that going to a remote Scottish island to help a grandfather she has never met is the right choice, she really should try harder to look after her singing voice and head to a healing retreat on Tenerife.

I was entirely captivated by this story, not just because of the beautiful remoteness of Winter Island, but also because of the strength of the characters who call this stunning place their home. It has a real island feel to it, with everyone knowing each other's business, and what they don't know for certain they make up, so there is much speculation about Ruby's mysterious visit to the island, and as the real reason for her time on the aptly named Winter Island becomes apparent so the story starts to capture your heart ♡

The author really knows how to hold the reader's attention and gives us a story which looks at some difficult topics, love, loss, and family responsibilities all vie for our attention and yet there is also hope in abundance and throughout the story there is a real sense of 'coming home'.

I loved reading Coming Home to Winter Island it made me laugh, smile and even shed a few tears. It's a really lovely warmhearted story about finding love and a sense of belonging in the most unexpected of places.

Jo Thomas worked for many years as a reporter and producer, first for BBC Radio 5, before moving on to Radio 2’s The Steve Wright Show. In 2013 Jo won the RNA Katie Fforde Bursary. Her debut novel, The Oyster Catcher, was a runaway bestseller in ebook and was awarded the 2014 RNA Joan Hessayon Award and the 2014 Festival of Romance Best Ebook Award. Jo lives in the Vale of Glamorgan with her husband and three children.

Twitter @Jo_Thomas01



Thursday, 31 October 2019

Halloween Read ~ Wakenhyrst by Michelle Paver

👻👻 Happy Halloween Publication Day 👻👻

Head of Zeus
Paperback 31 October 2019

My thanks to the publishers and ed Public Relations for my copy of this book
‘Wakenhyrst is the story I’ve wanted to write for years’ Michelle Paver

Inspired by a series of real events and fuelled by secrets from her maternal past: from Michelle’s sighting of a murmuration of starlings on a Suffolk marsh; to the discovery of a battered copy of The Book of Margery Kempe by a 15th Century mystic; to the story of the Wenhaston Doom, a medieval painting of the Last Judgement; to the real-life story of Richard Dadd, the Victorian murderer and artist; this is Michelle Paver’s most evocative and personal masterpiece to date. 

In Edwardian Suffolk, a manor house stands alone in a lost corner of the Fens; a glinting wilderness of water whose whispering reeds guard primeval secrets. Here, Maud grows up as a lonely child without a mother, ruled by her repressive and emotionally-absent historian father. When Maud’s father finds a painted medieval ‘Doom’ in a graveyard, an ancient evil is disturbed, and her battle begins. In a world steeped in witchcraft, legend and the even more nightmarish demons of her father’s past, Maud must find a way, not only to survive, but to fly free.

What did I think about it..

In the shadow of the ancient land, Maud Stearne lives with her family at Wake’s End the house which nudges the nearby water of the Suffolk fen, but which for many reasons stands apart from the landscape, for the house has too many secrets and many dark corners, where glimpses of an evil past sometimes surface.

In 1966, when the story opens, three unusual paintings have been discovered which direct public interest back to Edward Stearne, Mauds’s father, who was incarcerated in a mental asylum for many years. The reason for this curiosity in Stearne’s work becomes apparent as we move back in time to the early part of the twentieth century when Maud was growing up in the shadow of her dictatorial father and beautiful, but totally compliant, mother.

Filled with a wealth of supernatural imaginings and with more than a hint towards the gothic gloom of the Edwardian era, Wakenhyrst is an incredibly detailed story, with a wonderful dark imagery, which immediately places the reader right in the centre of the action. To say I devoured this story is absolutely correct, the place, the people, the inherent danger, all drew me in from the very beginning, and I couldn’t wait to see how the story played out.

There is an undeniable darkness to the story for all is not quiet at Wake’s End and Maud’s childhood is a deeply lonely affair, and whilst she is brutally aware of the undercurrents of the dark and dangerous emotion which plague her parents’ marriage, she finds what comfort she can in the myths and legends of the place she calls home. The stark beauty of the Suffolk fens, and the ancient superstitions which are at the very heart of local folklore are described in such beautiful detail that I could picture myself with Maud in the damp and cold, watching the creeping shadows of the fen come to life as a murmuration of starlings glide and dance in the early evening twilight.

To say much of what happens in the three hundred or so pages of Wakenhyrst would do both the author and the story a complete disservice as this is one of those beautifully plotted stories which takes time to emerge and is all the stronger for taking things slowly.

I’ve now read most of this author’s work, with the exception of her books for children, and I am always aware of how beautifully intuitive her writing is, and how she does her utmost to include the reader every step of the way so that the engagement with the story is utterly consuming from start to finish. There is no doubt that Wakenhyrst is a glorious example of this author writing at her absolute best.

About the Author

©Anthony Upton

Michelle Paver is an international bestselling author with over 3 million copies of her books sold in 37 countries across the globe. She writes for both adults and children and her work includes two of the most critically and commercially acclaimed ghost stories of modern times, Dark Matter and Thin Air and the prize-winning, million copy selling, children’s series, Chronicles of Ancient Darkness. A new book in the series, Viper’s Daughter, will be published by Head of Zeus in April 2020. Born in Malawi, Michelle Paver came to England as a child. She studied Biochemistry at Oxford University before becoming a partner in a City of London law firm. She began to write after her father’s death prompted her to take a one-year sabbatical. She has never looked back. Known for her extensive research, Wakenhyrst was inspired by the rich and haunting folklore of the Suffolk fens, chance encounters, and both the personal and universal stories of women’s quest for independence. 

Twitter @MichellePaver #Wakenhyrst



Amazon UK

Wednesday, 30 October 2019

Book Review ~ Imposter by L J Ross

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Dark Skies Publishing
31 October 2019

My thanks to the author and The Book Trail for my copy of this book

There’s a killer inside all of us…

After an elite criminal profiling unit is shut down amidst a storm of scandal and mismanagement, only one person emerges unscathed. Forensic psychologist Doctor Alexander Gregory has a reputation for being able to step inside the darkest minds to uncover whatever secrets lie hidden there and, soon enough, he finds himself drawn into the murky world of murder investigation.

In the beautiful hills of County Mayo, Ireland, a killer is on the loose. Panic has a stranglehold on its rural community and the Garda are running out of time. Gregory has sworn to follow a quiet life but, when the call comes, can he refuse to help their desperate search for justice?

Murder and mystery are peppered with dark humour in this fast-paced thriller set amidst the spectacular Irish landscape.

What did I think about it..

When a violent murder devastates Ballyfinny, a small Irish community, Dr Alexander Gregory is drafted in to prepare a psychological profile of the murderer in the hope of bringing the investigation to a swift conclusion. Doctor Gregory is initially viewed with suspicion by the locals as they are distrustful of a doctor who has come all the way from London to delve into their deepest, darkest secrets.

The suspicion of a small community as they look inwards to see who amongst them could be the perpetrator is done with a fine eye for detail, and as individual personality traits come alive so there are a few characters who stand out from the crowd, both in terms of where they stand with the investigation, and also in the strength of their connection to the crime.

The story gets off to a really strong start and there is much to take in, both in terms of plot and malice, and I think that the author does a great job in bringing together all the complicated clues which together form this fast moving crime thriller. The writing flows easily and there are more than enough twists and turns to keep you guessing. So many times I thought that I had the perpetrator sussed only for the story to veer off in another exciting direction, and I was completely wrong in the end!

Imposter is the first book in a proposed new series which feature Alexander Gregory's skill as a psychologist and it has been fascinating, in this first novel, to learn a little bit about the man himself. He's quite an enigmatic character, supremely flawed like all good crime sleuths, and yet Gregory also has the ability to draw people out of themselves and can glean information from even the smallest of clues. He also has a deep understanding of what makes people act in the way they do, and the reason for his astute observation of the vagaries of human nature become apparent as the story progresses.

I've really enjoyed spending time in County Mayo with this clever criminal psychological, and can only see this new series going from strength to strength in future crime thrillers.

✨ Imposter is published in ebook and paperback on the 31 October 2019  

L.J. Ross is the author of the international bestselling series of DCI Ryan mystery novels. Her debut, Holy Island, was released in January 2015 and reached number one in the Amazon Kindle UK bestsellers chart.

LJ Ross was born in Northumberland, England. She studied undergraduate and postgraduate Law at King's College, University of London and studied abroad in Paris and Florence. She spent much of her working life in London, where she was a regulatory lawyer for a number of years until taking the decision to change career and pursue her dream to write. Now, she writes full time and lives with her husband and son in Bath. 

Imposter is the first book in the Alexander Gregory series of crime thrillers. 

Twitter @LJRoss_author

Tuesday, 29 October 2019

Blog Tour ~ Through the Wall by Caroline Corcoran

 ✨Delighted to be part of this blog tour 

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3 October 2019

My thanks to the publishers for my copy of the book
and for the invitation to be part of this blog tour

Lexie loves her home. She feels safe and secure in it – and loved, thanks to her boyfriend Tom.

But recently, something’s not been quite right. A book out of place. A wardrobe door left open. A set of keys going missing…

Tom thinks Lexie’s going mad – but then, he’s away more often than he’s at home nowadays, so he wouldn’t understand.

Because Lexie isn’t losing it. She knows there’s someone out there watching her. And, deep down, she knows there’s nothing she can do to make them stop…

What did I think about it..

The prologue gives an enticing look into the life of one of our main characters but the identity of this character is quite ambiguous and it's only as the story starts to evolve that we being to realise the significance of this opening chapter.

This novel goes on to show that you are never really sure of your neighbours, on the surface they could be perfectly ordinary people, and yet underneath the facade something decidedly odd is going on. For Lexie and her boyfriend, Tom, their life is about to be turned upside down but, at first, they have no idea who is playing with their lives. Harriet lives in the apartment adjoining Tom and Lexie's and whilst they don't have anything in common, their lives overlap in a truly creepy sort of way.

The story gets off to something of a slow start which I feel is quite deliberate as it takes time for each of the main characters to reveal their true selves. I found the premise of the story really interesting especially the individual chapters which are narrated in turn by both Lexie and Harriet who are aware of each other through the walls of their respective apartments, and yet their lives couldn't be more different.  There is a genuine creepiness to the story which builds up gradually and the overall feeling of suspicion soon takes over so that you are never really sure of who is being entirely truthful.

The author has written a perceptive debut novel which looks at the minutiae of  two very different lives however it is these very differences which make Through the Wall such a suspenseful psychological thriller.

Caroline Corcoran is an author, journalist and copywriter with over 15 years experience writing and editing words in various guises. Through the wall is her debut novel.

Twitter @cgcorcoran #ThroughTheWall


Monday, 28 October 2019

Book Review~ Silent Money by G D Harper

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28 September 2019

My thanks to the author for my copy of this book

Michael Mitchell is ambitious, talented and determined to succeed. But he learns the hard way that he will never achieve his goals in life – unless he plays by a different set of rules. He partners with a small-time crook to help the Glasgow underworld launder the proceeds of their crimes. As the operation grows, he is forced to become more and more ruthless to protect what he has built up. Shocked by what he has become, he decides to leave the criminal world behind him and start a new life, respectable and honest. But the past has a way of catching up. Finally, he gambles everything on one last desperate attempt to break free.

What did I think about it...

Michael Mitchell, plays a dangerous game, discontented with his role as assistant branch manager of a Glasgow bank, he realises that his financial skills could be put to much better use, the only problem is that in order to make his fortune he needs to work under the radar as far as the law is concerned.

Bringing 1970s Glasgow alive in the imagination, the author takes us into the dark and often very dangerous world of financial crime, right into the playground of petty criminals and the nightmare of small town thuggery, when so easily being in the wrong place at the wrong time could be a deadly mistake. However, regardless of sailing close to the wind, Michael Mitchell succeeds in creating an empire which, whilst founded on hard work and creativity, is also dangerously volatile.

For all his faults, Mitchell is a very likable crook and whilst I couldn't always reconcile with how he was running his empire the author succeeds in making him extremely personable so although Mitchell's motives to succeed are highly questionable I actually liked the man and bizarrely wanted everything to work out for him. The story is incredibly detailed in terms of how 'dirty' money was laundered and maneuvered, I became quite fascinated in the way vast sums of cash could quite simply disappear, so huge kudos to the author for explaining everything so well and in such meticulous detail.

Although I was never privy to life in 1970s Glasgow, nor have I ever been involved in financial crime, I found that much of the story resonated quite simply because the hedonistic days of the early seventies are explained so well that they really come alive. The excitement of watching the bright and beautiful people strut their stuff in nightclubs with the strident blare of TSOP and Van McCoy's Hustle booming out from forceful speakers took me right back in time, so that I could hear the beat of the music and smell the pungent aroma of stale beer and the macho allure of Aramis aftershave.

The author writes this detailed crime genre with meticulous detail and delivers strong characters with a gutsy story which never fails to entertain from start to finish. In Silent Money it has been fascinating to observe Michael Mitchell's personal story and of his connection to the other characters who pop up in the series. I've now read the whole of this series and it has been really interesting to see just how the story has eventually played out. Silent Money gives us the origins of the story which is continued in Love's Long Road and concludes with A Friend in Deed. 

All three books can be read as standalones although it does make sense to read in some semblance of order.

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About the Author

GD Harper has won a 2016 Wishing Shelf Award Red Ribbon, been shortlisted at the UK Festival of Writing for Best First Chapter, longlisted in the 2017 UK Novel Writing Competition and placed third in the Lightship Prize for first-time authors.

Twitter @harper_author