Wednesday, 8 July 2020

Blog Tour ~ The Paper Bracelet by Rachael English ☼

☼ Excited to be hosting a stop on this Blog Tour 

9 July 2020

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

Inspired by heartrending real events, the gripping new novel from the No. 1 bestselling author about a former nurse in an Irish mother and baby home who reunites the mothers with the babies they were forced to give up years ago.

Every baby's bracelet held a mother's secret...For almost fifty years, Katie has kept a box of secrets.

It dates from her time working as a nurse in a west of Ireland mother and baby home, and contains a notebook with details of the babies and young women she met there. It also holds many of the babies' identity bracelets.

Following the death of her husband, Katie makes a decision she has long kept at bay. She posts a message on an internet forum, knowing that the information she possesses could help reunite adopted people with their birth mothers.

Soon, the replies are rolling in, and Katie encounters success, failure, heartache and joy as she finds herself in the role of part-detective, part-counsellor - chasing down leads, piecing together stories, and returning many of the bracelets to their original owners.

But there is one bracelet in the box that holds the key to a story that may never be told ...

What did I think about it..

When she worked as a nurse at Carrigbrack, an unmarried mothers home in the west of Ireland, Katie Carroll was the keeper of many devastating secrets. When she decides to place a message on an Internet forum hoping to reunite lost children with their birth mothers, Katie is inundated with requests from those who were born at Carrigbrack, nearly fifty years ago, and who are desperate to find out the truth. There’s something really heartbreaking about the box of baby identity bracelets that Katie Carroll has kept hidden as each tiny bracelet holds a myriad of poignant memories which have been kept secret for far too long.

This is such is a beautiful story which is both heartbreaking and uplifting in equal measure and, I think, what makes this fictional account all the more poignant is that the author has based everything on true events. That such unmarried mothers homes existed is particularly shameful but I think it is the way that young pregnant women were treated with such utter disdain and lack of empathy by those who were meant to care for them which makes this such a difficult story to read.

Throughout the story we follow particular characters who respond to Katie's appeal and I won’t do the author a disservice by recounting the story as that would spoil things entirely as, believe me, this is one of those stories where you don’t want to see any spoilers. However, there are some really lovely characters each with a poignant story to tell, and pretty soon I found that I was rooting for them and really wanted everything to work out.

The Paper Bracelet evolves quite beautifully and more than once I found that I was reading with tears in my eyes as it all just seems so unutterably sad, and yet, the story is so beautifully written so that I couldn’t put it down, even for a minute. I read it in one sitting and all credit to the author for highlighting this shameful problem and for making this sad story into such compelling reading. 

Days after finishing the book, The Paper Bracelet is still very much in my mind and whilst I know that this is fiction, I can’t help but wonder just how many other true stories there are out there of separated mothers and babies which remain locked away in secret files somewhere.

About the Author

Rachael English is a bestselling novelist and presenter on Ireland's most popular radio show, Morning Ireland. During more than twenty years as a journalist, she has worked on most of RTÉ Radio's leading current affairs programmes, covering a huge range of national and international stories.

Twitter @EnglishRachael #ThePaperBracelet



Tuesday, 7 July 2020

Blog Tour ~ The Light Within Us by Charlotte Betts ☼

 ☼ Delighted to be part of this Blog Tour

My thanks to the publishers for my ecopy of this book
and the invitation to be part of the blog our today

1891. Spindrift House, Cornwall.

Talented painter Edith Fairchild is poised to begin a life of newlywed bliss and artistic creation in the inspiring setting of Spindrift House, freshly inherited by her charming husband, Benedict, and overlooking the stunning harbour of Port Isaac. But when her honeymoon turns sour, her dreams are all but dashed after a moment of madness and desire she finds herself pregnant with another man’s child.

Edith swears never to tell her secret and devotes herself to her art. Joined at Spindrift House by her friends – Clarissa, Dora and the secret father of her child, Pascal – together they turn the house into a budding artists’ community. But despite their dreams of an idyllic way of life creating beauty by the sea, it becomes clear that all is not perfect within their tight-knit community, and that the weight of their secrets could threaten to tear apart their paradise forever.

What did I think about it..

Newly weds, Edith Fairchild, and her handsome husband, Benedict, have everything in life ahead of them, both are talented artists, and they plan to start their married life together at Spindrift House in Port Isaac in Cornwall. However, on their honeymoon in France, cracks start to appear in their relationship which doesn't bode well for a happy life together.

What then follows is a delightful historical saga which is so beautifully woven together that from the very start I was enchanted, not just with the idyllic Cornish setting, but also with the way the author so cleverly weaves a story which spans several years in the intriguing life of those characters who get to call Spindrift House their home.

The Light Within Us is an intriguing story as it focuses not just on Edith and Benedict's complicated life together but it also allows a glimpse into what limitations were placed on women in the latter part of the nineteenth century. Many times I found that I was gritting my teeth at the injustice of life for Edith and her friends, Clarissa and Dora, as they all have their share of burdens. In many ways it's a story about marriage and motherhood and the complications of each, but its also about the glory of art and the tensions and insecurities faced by artists, who never think that their work is up to standard,

I raced through The Light Within Us very quickly as it's one of those stories which, very easily, takes you into itself and wraps around you so comfortably that you eat and breathe with the characters as they go about their lives. It must be said that some characters I liked more than others and there's one in particular who I could have easily seen the back of very quickly!

Beautifully written from first page to last, The Light Within Us, captured both my heart and my imagination as it was a really lovely story to read. It is also the first book in a proposed Spindrift trilogy and I feel that there is so much more to come as the saga progresses. I'm really looking forward to discovering what happens next for Edith, and her friends, at Spindrift House.

Charlotte Betts began her working life as a fashion designer in London. A career followed in interior design, property management and lettings. Always a bookworm, Charlotte discovered her passion for writing after her three children and two step-children had grown up. The Apothecary’s Daughter was her debut novel and won the YouWriteOn Book of the Year in 2010, the Romantic Novelists’ Association Joan Hessayon Award for New Writers in 2011 and the RoNA’s Historical Category award for 2013. The sequel, The Painter’s Apprentice was published in 2012 and shortlisted for the Festival of Romance’s Best Historical Read Award in 2012.

Twitter @CharlotteBetts1 #The LightWithinUs


Monday, 6 July 2020

Book Review ~ Taken in Nuala by Harriet Steel

18 April 2020

Inspector de Silva Mystery #8

My thanks to the author for my copy of this book

When an American millionaire and his glamorous daughter visit Nuala, the splendour they bring to the town's high society is soon tragically tarnished by a vicious crime.With many avenues of inquiry to follow, including the involvement of a mysterious fortune teller, Inspector de Silva will need all his resources to unravel the evidence and avert further disaster.A gripping mystery with lots of twists and turns set in the colourful and fascinating world of 1930s Ceylon.

What did I think about it..

Whenever I step back in time to 1930s Ceylon in the company of Inspector de Silva and his lovely wife, Jane, I know that I am in for a real treat, as not only is the history of the time beautifully recreated, but also I know that there will be a sharp mystery for the intrepid Inspector to solve.

Taken In Nuala focuses on a mystery surrounding the daughter a wealthy American businessman and from the very start it is obvious that there is more to this investigation than at first appears. The Inspector and his associates have to get to grips with a particularly intricate crime and as always it's fascinating to see the Inspector working alongside all the regular characters we have come to love and appreciate from reading the other novels in the series.

For those who haven't read the series, and Taken in Nuala is now the eight book, each story can be read as a standalone mystery as the author includes, at the start of the book, a useful description of each of the major characters. That Inspector Shanti de Silva is the star of the series is without question, his attention to even the smallest detail of the crime ensures that there is no stone unturned in his quest for justice. His lovely wife, Jane, is the still small voice of calm in Shanti's world as she helps him make sense of the complicated crimes he invariably gets drawn into, but it is the homely interludes between them which work so well, along with the sumptuous descriptions of Shanti's favourite meals and his beautiful garden.

This series really has caught my imagination and I look forward to the next story in this cosy crime series. For a sleepy Ceylonese town there is much going on and I am sure that before too long, this talented author, will involve the intrepid Inspector in another complicated crime mystery.

Harriet Steel wrote four historical novels before turning to crime with the Inspector de Silva mysteries, inspired by time spent in Sri Lanka (the former Ceylon)). Her work has also appeared in national newspapers and magazines. Visit her blog to sign up to her monthly newsletter for news of new releases and great offers, Blog 

She’s married with two daughters and lives in Surrey. When she’s not writing, she likes reading, long walks and visiting art galleries and museums.

Twitter @harrietsteel1

Sunday, 5 July 2020

Summer Picnic with Jaffareadstoo ~ Juliet Greenwood ☼

☼ Jaffareadstoo is delighted to welcome you all to our Summer Picnic ☼ 

Pull up a deck chair, tie knots in your hanky and roll up your trouser legs!

☼ Summer time is here ☼ 

 I'm delighted to welcome author, Juliet Greenwood to our picnic ☼

What favourite foods are you bringing to our summer picnic? 

I’m vegetarian, so I’m bringing a huge salad, with mixed salad leaves, watercress and rocket from the polytunnel in my garden, along with a few home-grown tomatoes and a large avocado (not from my garden – yet!). I’m accompanying it with homemade bread and sheep’s cheese from the local farmer’s market – a bit like feta but very smooth and delicious. My grapes aren’t ripe until well into the autumn, so I’ll bring a fruit Pavlova with plenty of raspberries and strawberries, and a few wild bilberries. 

Would you like chilled white wine, a flute of Prosecco, a tumbler of Pimms, or a tall glass of sparkling elderflower cordial? 

A flute of Prosecco, please. That sounds perfect for a relaxing summer picnic. I think we all need a touch of luxury, these days. 

Where shall we sit, by the pool, in the garden, in the countryside, at the seaside? 

I think on a meadow, overlooking the sea. Maybe with bees in the flowers, and the odd dolphin passing by? That sounds perfect. 

Do we have a wicker hamper, tablecloth and cutlery, or is everything in a supermarket carrier bag? 

Oh, a wicker hamper and the works, I think. Let’s do this in style! 

Do you have favourite place to have a summer picnic? 

The hill behind my house. Even in the summer there are very few people up there. I’m in the heart of Snowdonia, so that’s very precious in a normal summer. There’s the remains of an Iron Age fort at the top and you can see the sea on one side and the mountains on the other. It’s where lots of us went up to see the last solar eclipse, with plenty of picnics to hand. That’s such a happy memory – although usually we are usually only surrounded by sheep and the occasional mountain pony. 

Which of your literary heroes are joining us on the picnic today? 

Now that’s a hard one. 

I think it would have to be someone I’d never otherwise have a chance of meeting – so it would be George Elliot and Elizabeth Gaskell, both women who defied their time and wrote about social issues and the real lives of women. I hope George Elliot would feel able to join us without plunging us into social disgrace – we might have to reassure her that living with a man to whom you are not married does not make you a pariah any more. And I’m sure Elizabeth Gaskell would soon be quizzing us on industrial relations and the wonders of the NHS and the welfare state – and itching to write a new version of North and South! 

Which summer read are you bringing with you today? 

Rosamunde Pilcher’s The Shell Seekers. It always reminds me of summer by the sea, it’s a book I can get lost in for hours. 

What is your earliest summer memory? 

Being on the beach in Barmouth, in southern Snowdonia, watching the tide come in after a long summer’s day running in and out of the sea with my brother. And the delicious smell of chips mixed with sea air – delicious! 

Do you have a favourite summer hideaway? 

My dad’s cottage, miles from the nearest shop and no mobile reception and a river for a refreshing (and very chilly!) swim. There are only two other houses in the valley, so no light pollution, and no mobile reception. Just the deer coming down from the forest to graze the sheep fields at dawn. It’s a bit of a challenge in winter, especially as you get cut off at the first sign of snow, but idyllic as a summer retreat. 

Do you have a summer music playlist for reading / writing? And if so will you share with us a favourite song or piece of music that makes you feel summery? 

My favourite summer listening is Youssou N’Dour. My choice would have to be ‘My Hope is in You’ from the album ‘Joko’, which is wonderfully upbeat. I love his voice, and it brings back happy memories of playing the song full blast while finding my way round country lanes in Cornwall in the glorious summer sun! 

Do you find that your reading tastes differ between winter and summer? 

I tend to prefer long reads in the winter, the kind where you can vanish into another world for days on end. I also tend to revisit favourite reads, like Pride and Prejudice, A Woman of Substance, and Bleak House. 

Do you find it easier to write in the summer months or during the winter? 

I find it easier during the winter. In summer, I love to be out in my garden and walking my dog. I live in the heart of Snowdonia, so it’s stunning here when the sun is shining. I need to meet deadlines in the summer, of course, but I find it much easier to chivvy myself to stay indoors when it’s wet and windy and dark and all I want to do is to disappear into another world (preferably where it is still summer!). 

Would you like to tell us a little about your latest novel, or your current work in progress? 

My latest book is The Ferryman’s Daughter, which is published by Orion and is out on May 14th. The story is set near St Ives in Cornwall around the time of the First World War, and follows Hester, who is determined to escape dire poverty to become a professional cook, and one day open a cafe for the artists in St Ives. I love Hester, who is independent minded and never gives up, even when everything seems against her, and the world around her changes as WW1 breaks out. From rowing the family ferry to survive, to cooking with what she can lay her hands on (overcoming flour and sugar shortages!) to help wounded men recover their strength, she keeps on going. Plus she’s nobody’s fool, and can spot the creepy young man trying to sidle up to her to get her at his beck and call a mile off. She’s also fiercely protective of her younger siblings, while never giving up on her own dream. Go, Hester! 

14 May 2020

Juliet, where can we follow you on social media? 

Thank you for coming to our picnic. 

It’s been a pleasure! Nothing can beat a summer picnic by the sea in good company. It’s the best. Now, how about another glass of that delicious Prosecco? 

More about Juliet

Juliet Greenwood has always been a bookworm and a storyteller, writing her first novel (a sweeping historical epic) at the age of ten. She is fascinated both by her Celtic heritage and the history of the women in her family, with her great-grandmother having supported her family by nail making in Lye, in the Black Country, near Birmingham in the UK, and her grandmother by working as a cook in a large country house. 

Before being published by Orion, Juliet wrote three historical novels for Honno, the Welsh Women’s Press, reaching #4 and #5 in the UK kindle store. 

Juliet lives in a traditional quarryman’s cottage between the mountains and the sea in beautiful Snowdonia, in Wales in the UK, and is to be found dog walking in all weathers, always with a camera to hand…

☼Thank you for coming to our picnic☼
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Summer Picnic with Jaffareadstoo ~ Lisa Sell ☼

☼ Jaffareadstoo is delighted to welcome you all to our Summer Picnic ☼ 

Pull up a deck chair, tie knots in your hanky and roll up your trouser legs!

☼ Summer time is here ☼ 

 I'm delighted to welcome author, Lisa Sell to our picnic ☼

What favourite foods are you bringing to our summer picnic? 

All the cheese, chocolate and coffee. Everything good in foods starts with a c! 

Would you like chilled white wine, a flute of Prosecco, a tumbler of Pimms, or a tall glass of sparkling elderflower cordial? 

Can I have a cold lager instead please? Not very classy but that’s me. 

Where shall we sit, by the pool, in the garden, in the countryside, at the seaside? 

Not the seaside, much as I love it. I swear the sand was put in sandwiches because some poor person ate their picnic at the beach and paid the price of gritty sarnies. 

Countryside for me, please. I miss the Oxfordshire countryside where I grew up so that would be perfect. 

Do we have a wicker hamper, tablecloth and cutlery, or is everything in a supermarket carrier bag ? 

Bung it all in a carrier bag. My husband says I would put a toothpick in a carrier bag if I could. 

Do you have favourite place to have a summer picnic? 

Somewhere quiet and in the shade because I burn at the mere sight of the sun. My complexion is more boiled lobster than English rose when I’m out in the sun too long. 

Which of your literary heroes are joining us on the picnic today? 

I’d like to picnic with the Bronte sisters; the alive versions that is. Bit awkward eating with corpses. I’m sure they’d keep me amused with being annoyed with publishers who were rude about their novels. 

Which summer read are you bringing with you today? 

Any book is a summer read if it’s read in the summer, so something fabulous I’m currently reading. 

What is your earliest summer memory? 

Living on a council estate and having a strong sense of community, particularly in the summer when we’d play together outside. I remember long summer days drifting into nights when I could play until dark, in the summer holidays. 

Do you have a favourite summer hideaway? 

I haven’t been on holiday for so long! I need one but that’s not going to happen for a while. I’m happy in a corner with a good book, whatever the season. 

Do you have a summer music playlist for reading / writing? And if so will you share with us a favourite song or piece of music that makes you feel summery? 

I don’t listen to music when I’m reading or writing as I find it distracting. I love music though and compile playlists all the time. I can’t pick one song as I love so many! 

Do you find that your reading tastes differ between winter and summer? 

Not really, although it can feel weird reading a snowy Christmas scene in the summer. 

Do you find it easier to write in the summer months or during the winter? 

Both have their challenges. In the summer I get raging hayfever which can make concentrating hard. I’m more of an autumn/winter person in that I like being cosy and warm inside. 

Would you like to tell us a little about your latest novel, or your current work in progress? 

I’m working on my third crime mystery novel. It’s slowly taking shape as it’s hard to focus at the moment with a pandemic going on. Little and often is my method for now. 

Lisa where can we follow you on social media? 

Twitter @LisaLisax31 

Instagram  lisasellwriter 

More about Lisa

Lisa Sell is a thriller, crime, and mystery writer who also scribbles short stories. 

To combat writer's bum and keep mentally fit, Lisa is a runner. The consequence is she’s now a running bore but is proud of her achievements. 

When she’s reading, Lisa practically hoovers up books. The to-be-read pile has become a tower, threatening to topple on her when she’s sleeping. 

Music rocks Lisa’s world too, particularly a good eighties tune. If lost, you’ll find Lisa in a DeLorean, headed for her favourite decade. 

Lisa’s cats, Feegle and Wullie, try to help her write but often fail. The furry pests demand attention and desk space. Lisa is currently applying for cat wrangling to be recognised as an Olympic sport.

Bloodhound Books
March 2020

Everyone makes mistakes. Not everyone deserves a second chance.

Sarah Jessop has a troubled past. Born to drug addict parents, she was fostered and then adopted as a child.

Now an adult, and a doctor, Sarah finds herself looking into the murder of her foster sister, Tamsin, a little girl who disappeared in 1992, and whose body has recently been discovered.

As Sarah gets closer to the truth, the killer will stop at nothing to protect themself and dispose of anyone who gets in their way.

Caught in the killer’s web of deceit, who can Sarah trust?

☼Thank you for coming to our picnic☼
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Saturday, 4 July 2020

Blog Tour ~ The Rebel Heiress and the Knight by Melissa Oliver

On Hist Fic Saturday 

Jaffareadstoo is delighted to host one of today's blog tour stops 

Mills and Book Historical
25 June 2020

My thanks to Rachel's random Resources for my invitation to this blog tour
and for my e-copy of the book

She must marry the knight 

By order of the king! 

Widow Eleanor of Tallany Castle knows her people are broken by the taxes demanded by King John.So when she’s ordered to marry Hugh de Villiers, a knight loyal to the king, she’s furious even if he is handsome! As gallant Hugh begins to heal the scars of Eleanor’s abusive first marriage, she’s even more determined to keep her secret: she is the outlaw he king wants to send to the gallows!

What did I think about it..

Widow, Eleanor of Tallany, is expected to marry, and must accept whoever King John decides is to be her new husband. When she is ordered to marry the King’s man, Hugh de Villiers, Eleanor is determined, despite his handsome good looks, not to fall for his charm, as not only is Eleanor scarred by her previous abusive marriage, she is also guarding a deadly secret which, if discovered, could send her to her death.

The Rebel Heiress and the Knight a lively medieval romantic adventure which has everything I would expect from this genre. There is action aplenty, which combined with secrets and betrayal, offers more than enough thrills and spills to keep you entertained. I especially enjoyed watching how the relationship between Eleanor and her new husband played out within the wider scope of the story. Of course, there’s mystery involved, and more than a hint of danger, as Eleanor desperately tries to keep herself, her people, and her secret safe, but there’s also a delicious frisson of attraction between Eleanor and Hugh, which adds an abundance of sizzling sensuality to the story. 

The Rebel Heiress and the Knight combines an authentic blend of history, danger and romance between a feisty and beautiful heroine, and a gallant and handsome hero

About the Author

Growing up in Richmond Upon Thames, Melissa Oliver used to walk past the old Mills and Boon offices as a teen, and wistfully sigh that one day her dream of writing for them will comet rue. Amazingly, after all these years, it finally has...& now she can bring all those stories out onto the pages of her books. Melissa lives in southwest London with her gorgeous husband and equally gorgeous daughters, who share her passion for castles, palaces and all things historical.

Twitter @melissaoauthor

Friday, 3 July 2020

Review ~ Ten Poems for Summer from Candlestick Press

Candlestick Press

My thanks to the publishers for my copies of this poetry pamphlet

There seem to be fewer poems about summer than about other seasons. Perhaps the impulse to be outdoors when the weather is at its best goes against the inward mood that writing poems requires. This makes poetry about summer all the more glorious – each poem in this mini-anthology is like a rare, bright jewel that shines with the season’s own brief intensity:

“Summer was wealthy with a daze of suntraps,
Daffodil-spitting, sumptuous. Everywhere
Ours for the taking.”

from ‘Woodniche’ by Aidan Carl Mathews

The selection takes us into gardens, fields, forests and up onto city rooftops – sharing an exuberant delight in those precious few months when the natural world seems to wear its heart on its sleeve.

Poems by Fiona Benson, Louise GlΓΌck, Choman Hardi, Jane Kenyon, DH Lawrence, Norman MacCaig, Aidan Carl Mathews, Isaac Rosenberg, Naomi Shihab Nye and Edward Thomas.

Cover illustration by Alexandra Buckle.

What did I think about it..

I didn't realise there were fewer poems about Summer than any other season, in fact, I imagined quite the reverse and that poets would be inspired by long, lazy summer days. I'm really pleased to say that this pamphlet of Ten poems for Summer conjures the season very well,

The collection gets off to an excellent start with the beautiful poem, Adelstrop which was written by Edward Thomas when the country was on the cusp of WW1 and everything was about to change forever.

It's always good to see my favourite D H Lawrence with a poem I was unfamiliar with, Andraitx - Pomegranite Flowers is definitely Lawrence at his tempting best.

I enjoy reading the work of poets who are new to me and I found much to enjoy in Summer Roof by Choman Hardi, Poem for James by Fiona Benson, Heavy Summer Rain by Jane Kenyon, A Summer Garden by Louise GlΓΌck , Last August Hours before the Year 2000 by Naomi Shihab Nye, August 1914 by Isaac Rosenberg.

Woodniche by Aidan Carl Mathews is beautifully reminiscent of long days of summer spent in my local woodlands as a child...

'The dragon flies were here before us, friend
Cupboard of branch and bramble, woodniche
where the sun tumbles, foxgloves are glorious,
children tore their knees among the thorns..'

As always its difficult to choose but I have a favourite 😊

There's an expression in July Evening by Norman MacCaig (1910-1996) which reminded me of the birds in my garden as they go about their evening business...

'A Bird's voice chinks and tinkles
alone in the gaunt reedbed -
Tiny Silversmiths
working late in the evening...'

This beautiful collection of ten poems help to create an impression of Summer in all its glorious splendour, some are poignant, whilst others are thoughtfully introspective, but throughout, Ten Poems for Summer, is a picture perfect collection of poetry for long, lazy summer days.

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 Clouds, Walking, Birds, Home and Kindness. Candlestick Press pamphlets are stocked by chain and independent bookshops, galleries and garden centres nationwide and available to order online.

Connect: /  Twitter @PoetryCandle

Thursday, 2 July 2020

Featured Book ~ Liar by Lesley Pearse

🌠🌠 It's the beginning of the month and time for my featured book 🌠🌠

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Michael Joseph
25 June 2020

My thanks to the publishers and ed public relations for my copy of this book

Amelia White dreamed of being a reporter, but the closest she'd come was selling advertising in the local paper. Until the fateful day she stumbles on a truly shocking scoop.

A murder victim, round the corner from her home.

When the police and reporters descend, Amelia is horrified at the assumptions made and lies soon to be spread about this poor young woman. Convincing her local paper to let her take up the story herself, Amelia is determined to protect the victim from these smears. But when another body is found, the police investigation stalls. Now, Amelia's own unfolding investigation may be the only chance of uncovering the truth, and stopping more killings.

If only she can work out who the liar is...

What did I think about it..

I love the anticipation of a new Lesley Pearse novel and Liar, her 28th novel, is every bit as good as I hoped it would be.

Amelia White works on the local paper and whilst she has ambitions to be a reporter her days are largely spent in selling advertising space to local businesses. That is until she discovers the body of a dead girl in a pile of rubbish and with an exclusive scoop on her hands, Amelia is encouraged, by her boss, to delve a little deeper. 

What then follows is a convoluted and complex murder/mystery which has more than enough twists and turns to keep the action exciting. And yet, the story is about so much more than a murder mystery, it’s also a close examination of what makes people act in the way that they do. Nature versus nurture, that's for us to discover in this intricate story of murder, mayhem and despair. Whilst I had very sympathy for Amelia and her search for truth and justice, it is the other fascinating characters who flit into and out of Amelia’s life which add interesting light and shade into what is a rather dark and dangerous story.

I’ve never yet read a Lesley Pearse novel that I didn’t enjoy. She has such an easy style of writing and delivers romance, crime and historical fiction with fine attention to detail, and with impeccable accuracy she always gets right into the very heart and soul of her lead characters.

Liar is this author writing at her most skillful, she brings the rather dreary 1970s to life in a thought provoking murder/ mystery which flits and flutters through some difficult scenes but which never fails to entertain on every level.

I'm delighted to have chosen Liar as my featured book of the month. It's published in hardback and eBook by Michael Joseph and is out now. 

***Lesley's first virtual event is taking place this week with Woman and Home's Book Club. Lesley will be discussing her new novel Liar as well as six books that are special to her and how they have had an impact on her life. The event is free and will take place over Zoom today Thursday July 2nd at 7:30pm. To join, you just need to register here

About the Author

©Charlotte Murphy

Lesley Pearse is a global No.1 bestseller with fans across the world and sales of over 10 million copies of her books to date. One of the nation’s best-loved storytellers, Lesley is a master of the gripping story line, always introducing her readers to characters that are impossible not to care about or forget. With a ‘Lesley Pearse’ book purchased every 4 minutes in the UK, there is no formula to her books or easily defined genre and, whether historical drama like her No.1 bestselling Belle trilogy or the emotionally powerful Trust Me based on the true-life scandal of British child migrants sent to Australia in the post-war period, she always engages the reader completely.You’ll Never See Me Again is Lesley’s 27th novel.

Lesley Pearse was told as a child that she had too much imagination for her own good. She left home at 15 and headed to London where she worked her way through many jobs – from corsetry sales in Cooks of St. Pauls (featured in Dead to Me), to musician’s muse (her second husband was a musician managed by Don Arden) to bunny girl to nanny; from gift shop owner to dressmaker – finally finding her true vocation when she became a published author age 49. Since then Lesley has become an internationally bestselling author, with over 10 million copies of her books sold worldwide. 

A true storyteller and a master of gripping storylines, there is no set formula for a Lesley Pearse novel although strong heroines and difficult circumstances are pervasive. Whether historical adventures such as Gypsy or Never Look Back or the passionately emotive Trust Me, Lesley is inspired by stories of courage and adversity and often gives voice to women lost in history and people damaged by their childhood experiences. She is passionate about her research and her stories have taken her far and wide; from Alaska to the Crimea. Lesley now lives in Torquay in Devon where she loves to spend time walking on the beach with her grandchildren and dogs. A fantastic speaker and committed and passionate fundraiser for the NSPCC, Lesley is a much sought-after guest at literary lunches, library events and festivals up and down the country.

Twitter @LesleyPearse #LoveLesley



Wednesday, 1 July 2020

Publication Day Push and Giveaway ~ The Scoundrel's Bartered Bride by Virginia Heath ☼

 Delighted to be involved in the Publication Day Push ☼

Mills and Book
1 July 2020

My thanks to Rachel's Random Resources for my invitation to this Publication Day Push
and my e-copy of this book


To the highest bidder Lady Lydia Barton cannot seem to avoid Owen Wolfe since he returned after being wrongly transported for stealing her family’s jewels! But Lydia has more pressing problems like her impending arranged marriage. Until Owen makes her father a counteroffer for her hand. Is Owen purely after her society connections? Or does Lydia dare hope that the charming stable boy she once loved is still within her ruthless, wealthy new husband.

What did I think about it..

In order to save her family from financial ruin, Lady Lydia Barton is offered, by her unscrupulous father, to the richest bidder, but by no stretch of the imagination is this going to be a joyous family occasion. However, at the last minute, another proposal of marriage comes from the one person who Lydia has been at pains to avoid. Handsome and charismatic, Owen Wolfe has a chequered history with Lydia's family and it is this connection which runs like a thread throughout the story. As the story unfolds we start to understand the reason behind Lydia's reticence with Owen and although, due to their shared past, their relationship is never going to be straightforward, there's a real sense of the righting of old wrongs, even though, as we find during the course of the story, this isn't going to be achieved easily.

Throughout The Scoundrel's Bartered Bride there's a real sense of romance, and from the very start, Lydia and Owen's tumultuous relationship adds a bit of fire, along with a sizzling amount of sexual chemistry, which sparkles between them. However, it's not all plain sailing and there are some dreadful moments for Lydia, especially concerning her family, who are a constant source of annoyance but I especially liked Owen's back story, and wanted everything to work out for him, that he is gloriously handsome into the mix, helps a lot too!

Delightfully engaging, The Scoundrel's Bartered Bride has everything needed for a touching romance - a feisty heroine and a handsome hero, great peripheral characters who you both love and loathe in equal measure, and a convoluted mystery which keeps you guessing until the end.

When Virginia Heath was a little girl it took her ages to fall asleep, so she made up stories in her head to help pass the time while she was staring at the ceiling. As she got older, the stories became more complicated, sometimes taking weeks to get to the happy ending. Then one day, she decided to embrace the insomnia and start writing them down. Despite that, it still takes her forever to fall asleep.

Twitter @VirginiaHeath_

Giveaway to win x 2 e-copies of The Scoundrel's Bartered Bride

(Open Int)

Please enter using the Rafflecopter link below. 

The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over. 

Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

Publication Day Book Review ~ In My Attic by Lina Hansen ☼

Literary Wanderlust
1 July 2020

Magical Misfits #1

My thanks to the author for my copy of this book

Aunt Eve is dead - murdered - and Myrtle has inherited the Witch’s Retreat, a Bed and Breakfast in the idyllic British village of Avebury. As Myrtle bumbles along in search of a murderer, she uncovers secrets more shocking than death: a hidden magical relic, a coven of amateur witches, and modern witch hunters on the prowl.
In My Attic is a new take on the cozy mystery. Think trainee Miss Marple channelling the twenty-first century - with a paranormal twist,

What did I think about it..

Myrtle Coldron is informed that her aunt Eve has died in mysterious circumstances and she must hasten to the wonderfully named, Witch’s Retreat, in order to pick up the reigns of her aunt’s B&B business which is close to the atmospheric village of Avebury. Once there, Myrtle gets involved in a complicated hunt for her aunt’s killer, which will see, not just Myrtle, but also those close to her get caught up in a deadly plot.

In My Attic is a wonderfully quirky cosy crime mystery which is both fun and serious in equal measure. Plenty of times I found myself laughing out loud at some of Myrtle’s more adventurous antics only to be then plunged into the waywardness of a crime investigation which, as it progresses, seems to take on a life of its own,

The author has a brilliant sense of time and place and brings the whole concept of witches and magic to life in a very believable way. I loved Myrtle and really rooted for her throughout the whole of this crazy time, she is a wonderfully incompetent amateur sleuth but that really doesn’t matter as her wholesome personality carries her through some pretty tough situations. Of course, every amateur witch needs a cat, and the rather flatulent, Tiddles really made me smile, along with Petunia the Primula, who each have a starring role in this cosy crime mystery.

The author writes well and shares her love for storytelling and quirky sense of humour in this first book in the Magical Misfits series. I do hope that we get to meet Myrtle and Tiddles in future stories as there’s still so much to discover about her and the goings -on at the Witch’s Retreat.

About the Author

LINA HANSEN has been a freelance travel journalist, teacher, bellydancer, postal clerk and science communication specialist stranded in the space sector. Numbed by factoid technical texts, she set out to write the stories she loves to read— cozy and romantic mysteries with a dollop of humour and a magical twist. After living and working in the UK, Lina, her husband, and their feline companion now share a home in the foothills of Castle Frankenstein. Lina is a double Watty Award Winner, Featured Author, and a Wattpad Star.

In My Attic is the first book in the Magical Misfits series of mysteries. 

Twitter @lhansenauthor

Tuesday, 30 June 2020

Half Year Round up ~ Six in Six

It's that time of year when I take a look at the first six months of my reading year 

πŸ“– Six authors who were new to me:
  1. Jeannine Cumins - American Dirt
  2. Ann Napolitano - Dear Edward
  3. Therese Ann Fowler - A Good Neighbourhood
  4. Catherine Jinks - Shepherd
  5. Wendy Holden - Born Survivors
  6. Kathleen McGurl - The Secrets of the Chateau

πŸ“– Six authors I have read before:

  1. Dorothy Koomson - Tell Me Your Secret
  2. J P Carter - Little Boy Lost
  3. Linda Green - One Moment
  4. Lorna Cook - The Forbidden Promise
  5. Caroline Kirby - When We Fall
  6. Rosanna Ley  - From Venice with Love 

πŸ“– Six books from authors I know will never let me down:

  1. B A Paris -The Dilemma
  2. Elly Griffiths - The Lantern Men
  3. Elisabeth Gifford - The Lost Lights of St Kilda
  4. The Secrets of Ironbridge - Mollie Walton
  5. A Ration Book Wedding - Jean Fullerton
  6. Up Close and Personal - Kathryn Freeman

πŸ“– Six books that surprised a good way:

  1. The Home - Sarah Stovell
  2. Under the Stars - Matt Gaw
  3. Just Another Mountain - Sarah Jane Douglas
  4. The Lost Child - Emily Gunnis
  5. Cabinet of Comfort - Paul Anthony Jones
  6. The Weight of Small Things - Julie Lancaster

πŸ“– Six books that took me by the hand and led me into the past:

  1. Lady of the Ravens - Joanna Hickson
  2. The Foundling - Stacey Halls
  3. Echoes of the Runes - Christina Courtney
  4. The Book of Longings - Sue Monk Kidd
  5. The Silken Rose - Carol McGrath
  6. The Mysterious Miss Fairchild - Sarah Mallory

πŸ“– Six books I am looking forward to reviewing:

  1. The Tuscan Contessa - Dinah Jefferies
  2. Liar - Lesley Pearse
  3. The Illustrated Child - Polly Crosby
  4. The Missing Pieces of Nancy Moon - Sarah Steele
  5. Daughters of Night - Laura Shepherd
  6. The Light Within Us - Charlotte Betts


to all these talented authors for sharing the gift of your imagination with me. 

So far in 2020 your books have taken me on the most wonderful adventures 😊