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Monday, 10 December 2018

#BlogTour The Other Miss Bates by Allie Cresswell #BookExtract @rararesources


Hugely delighted to be the latest stop on the Blog Tour for THE OTHER MISS BATES by ALLIE CRESSWELL.  My thanks to the author, publisher and Rachel of Rachel's Random Resources for letting me be part of it all!

I'll be sharing an extract with you today to help give you a little taster of the book, and hopefully tempt you into adding it to your TBR pile! One more won't hurt!!

About the book


Jane Bates has left Highbury to become the companion of the invalid widow Mrs Sealy in Brighton. Life in the new, fashionable seaside resort is exciting indeed. A wide circle of interesting acquaintance and a rich tapestry of new experiences - balls at the Assembly rooms, carriage rides and promenades on the Steyne - make her new life all Jane had hoped for.

While Jane’s sister Hetty can be a tiresome conversationalist she proves to be a surprisingly good correspondent and Jane is kept minutely up-to-date with developments in Highbury, particularly the tragic news from Donwell Abbey.
When handsome Lieutenant Weston returns to Brighton Jane expects their attachment to pick up where it left off in Highbury the previous Christmas, but the determined Miss Louisa Churchill, newly arrived with her brother and sister-in-law from Enscombe in Yorkshire, seems to have a different plan in mind.

Purchase Link



About the Author


Allie Cresswell was born in Stockport, UK and began writing fiction as soon as she could hold a pencil.
She did a BA in English Literature at Birmingham University and an MA at Queen Mary College, London.
She has been a print-buyer, a pub landlady, a book-keeper, run a B & B and a group of boutique holiday cottages. Nowadays Allie writes full time having retired from teaching literature to lifelong learners.
She has two grown-up children, two granddaughters, two grandsons and two cockapoos but just one husband - Tim. They live in Cumbria, NW England.
The Other Miss Bates is her eighth novel and the second in the Highbury series

Social Media Links





EXTRACT

All we know of Jane Bates from Emma is that she married a man by the name of Fairfax, their marriage lasting only long enough to produce a daughter, Jane. I wanted this tragically short relationship to be happy. Having made Jane a young lady of intelligence and courage, and given that her first choice of husband, Captain Weston, would be denied her by canon, I wanted to provide her with a husband who would nurture and fulfill all her excellent qualities and ambitions. Thus I conceived Angus Fairfax. But nothing shows up a person’s merits quite like comparing them with their polar opposite, so I came up with Arthur Sealy as an arch villain and rival for Jane’s affection.
Here, she meets both for the first time out in Brighton with her patroness Mrs Sealy, an invalid widow.



‘Good day, Arthur. I was not aware you were in town.’

Mrs Sealy addressed an extremely tall, very broad-shouldered young man with a heavy brow beneath a beetling cliff of forehead and a thick mop of unruly hair. His frock-coat was finely cut, his stock tied very tight and high, a froth of lace fell from his cuff. Altogether he cut a handsome – even brilliant – figure but it was a brutal, rather frightening beauty. Jane did not think she had ever seen such a toweringly large man; his physical presence was quite oppressive – he threw their table into shadow – and the expression on his face by no means denoted a benign character. His face was hard, his eye proud and cold. Since Mrs Sealy did not offer her hand he lifted it from her lap and bowed over it, placing a kiss on a particularly large and brilliant stone on her finger. ‘I wished to surprise you, Mama. I hope you are pleasantly surprised.’

‘I am astonished, indeed,’ said Mrs Sealy, retrieving her hand. ‘I thought it understood between us that you would be on the continent for many months.’
‘It was my fixed intention to remain abroad, but it cannot be done without funds. Who is this charming young lady, Mama? Won’t you introduce me?’
‘This is my companion, Miss Bates,’ Mrs Sealy said reluctantly. ‘Miss Bates, this is the Admiral’s son by his first wife, Arthur Sealy.’
‘Good day to you Miss Bates,’ said Arthur Sealy with a predatory smile, ‘I am charmed to make your acquaintance. Do you attend the Assembly this evening? I would be honoured to engage you for the first dances.’
‘Miss Bates does not dance,’ Mrs Sealy said quickly.
‘She certainly ought to, then,’ Mr Sealy drawled, ‘she should not deprive a fellow of such a partner. I overheard you telling that gentleman that you are going to the Rookery. I think I will join you. It is a delightful afternoon for a stroll in the gardens is it not Mama? Oh, but I forget,’ with a cruel, mirthless laugh, ‘you can not stroll.’
‘I am afraid that won’t be possible,’ Mrs Sealy replied. ‘We are going as guests…’
‘Of Captain Bates. Yes, I heard. An excellent man and an old acquaintance. He will not mind my joining you.’
‘I will mind,’ Mrs Sealy said, ‘we have particular family reasons for meeting Captain Bates this afternoon and your presence would frustrate them. Arthur I pray you would leave us now. If you wish to call in the morning you may do so.’
‘Family reasons?’ Mr Sealy cried. ‘Since I am family I can think of no better reason for me to do myself the pleasure of joining your party. It will be a duty, indeed, if ‘family’ is at the crux of it. What do you plan to do behind my back, I wonder?’

Mrs Sealy summoned patience from a cache which was all-but dry. ‘Not our family, Arthur. Miss Bates’ family. You could make no contribution whatsoever.’
‘I think I will be the judge of that, Mama,’ the young man said with an unpleasant smirk. ‘Come, let me carry you to your carriage.’ He bent and made as though to scoop the defenceless Mrs Sealy up in his arms.

Jane leapt from her chair, gasping at the man’s audacity. She reached out, fully ready to fight for possession of Mrs Sealy if necessary, quite determined that he would not touch her, much less lift her from her seat. ‘Sir, I pray you will step away,’ she said. ‘You impose yourself.’

‘Gentlemen,’ said a soft-voiced man whom no one had remarked before but who had been hovering on the terrace for some moments awaiting an opportunity to approach Mrs Sealy’s table. He had red hair, a thin but perfectly proportioned face and wore wire spectacles. He was tall but slender, dwarfed by the bulk of Arthur Sealy. ‘The cricket match is to begin presently,’ he remarked mildly. ‘See how the spectators are gathering?’ He threw his arm out to indicate an assemblage of the great and the good of Brighton strolling quite within sight and probably within earshot of the fracas which had been about to occur on the terrace. ‘There is the Duke of Cumberland and Mr Pelham. Is that Lord Montesquieu? I can’t quite make out… My eyes, you know, are not keen… Can you see?’
Almost imperceptibly the man edged Arthur Sealy away from his step-mother and Miss Bates. Under guise of interesting him in the august company gathering to watch the cricket he also no doubt brought forcefully to the young man’s mind that a display of fisticuffs with such an audience would sink his reputation so low it would probably be beyond retrieval. With Mr Sealy’s attention distracted Mrs Sealy had herself quickly conveyed to her carriage. Jane gathered her mistress’ things and soon followed. They were almost ready to depart when the red-haired stranger stepped up.

‘You must do me the honour of knowing your name, sir. You have performed a heroic service,’ Mrs Sealy cried, grasping his hand. Her voice, full of gratitude, also betrayed that tears were near. She had been badly shaken by the encounter with Arthur Sealy.
‘It was nothing at all,’ he said, ‘I felt compelled to intervene.’ He looked at Jane. His eyes, behind their glass lenses, were intensely blue. He gave her a penetrating, searching look. ‘Such courage,’ he said. ‘Let me commend you, ma’am. You would have taken him on single handed. I doubt you needed me at all.’

Mrs Sealy’s coachman had taken up the reigns. The horses were restless, ready to be off.
‘Your name, sir?’ Mrs Sealy repeated.
‘Oh,’ said the young man, stepping down from the carriage. ‘I am Angus Fairfax.’

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Please check out the other stops on the Blog Tour and I hoped you've enjoyed the extract today as much as I have!




Sunday, 9 December 2018

#BookReview A Gift from the Comfort Food Cafe by Debbie Johnson #bookblogger


About the book

Cosy up at the Comfort Food Cafe for a romance that isn’t just for Christmas…
‘As cosy as a buttered crumpet’ Sunday Times bestseller Milly Johnson
*Don’t miss out on the new Comfort Food Cafe novel and return to Budbury for a Christmas to remember*
Christmas has never been Katie Seddon’s favourite time of year. Whilst everyone else shares memories of families coming together and festive number ones, the soundtrack to Katie’s childhood wasn’t quite so merry.
But since she moved to the village of Budbury on the gorgeous Dorset coast, Katie and her baby son have found a new family. A family who have been brought together by life’s unexpected roads and the healing magic of a slice of cake and a cupful of kindess at the Comfort Food Café.
This year, Katie’s new friends are determined to give her a Christmas to remember, and with a gorgeous newcomer in town, Katie’s Christmas wish for a happy home for her son might just come true.

Published by HarperCollins
Purchase Links

MY REVIEW



With the Comfort Food Cafe series, you know exactly what you're going to get - and this latest addition to the series is full of the warm fuzzies that makes for such an enjoyable read!

This story features Katie who has recently moved to the area with her young son Saul. And we see her life from the age of 7 and how her perception of Christmas and family life has always been tainted by her constantly bickering parents, leading to her running away on a number of occasions. She's been out on her own for many years and prefers it that way, and even now with young Saul - who is a total sweetheart!! - she is guarded about who she lets in to her life.

But being alone isn't really possible in the idyllic setting of Budbury, where everyone knows everyone else and is just like one big family, always looking out for one another! And it also seems to be full of the most gorgeous and considerate blokes (where is this place?! I need to move there!!) - step forward Van, Lynnie's son, who has struck up the cutest bond with young Saul and Katie is happy to have him around, but still wary of getting too close. Just in case it all goes wrong. And things also get a little more complicated when her mum shows up in town!

I loved being back in Budbury as it feels so familiar now, with old characters popping up to help Katie along the way. There's lots of fun moments to enjoy throughout as well as watching the characters coming to terms with changes in their lives and trying to move on from the past.

A fabulously festive read!


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My thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for the e-copy in return for a fair and honest review.

Saturday, 8 December 2018

My Bookish Weekly Wrap Up - 8th December 2018


Hello!! Thanks for stopping by to take a peek at my week!  Hope yours has been good! Anyone else still not put their Christmas decorations up yet or is it just me?! Seriously underwhelmed at the prospect of doing it anytime soon - I've turned into The Grinch it seems!

On the book front it's been a fairly quiet one! Nice and steady! And restrained on the buying front as I've had to do a list for Santa (!) of books I might like, so I'm just hoping he thinks I've been good!

So here's a look back at the 4 books I've managed to finish this week,  the 4 books added to my physical bookshelves, and just the 1 newbie on my NetGalley shelf!


BOOKS FINISHED

Enjoyed this hypnotic and haunting little read.


An easy to read story full of heart


Gripping and chilling! Loved it!


Really enjoyable thriller to keep you on the edge of your seat!


BOOK HAUL

In the recent Children In Read auction, I was the highest bidder for this signed copy!
Becoming Belle by Nuala O'Connor

                                                                                 A witty and inherently feminist novel about passion and marriage, based on a true story of an unstoppable woman ahead of her time in Victorian London.

In 1887, Isabel Bilton is the eldest of three daughters of a middle-class military family, growing up in a small garrison town. By 1891 she is the Countess of Clancarty, dubbed “the peasant countess” by the press, and a member of the Irish aristocracy. Becoming Belle is the story of the four years in between, of Belle’s rapid ascent and the people that tried to tear her down.

With only her talent, charm, and determination, Isabel moves to London alone at age nineteen, changes her name to Belle, and takes the city by storm, facing unthinkable hardships as she rises to fame. A true bohemian and the star of a dancing double act she performs with her sister, she reigns over The Empire Theatre and The Corinthian Club, where only select society entertains. It is there she falls passionately in love with William, Viscount Dunlo, a young aristocrat. For Belle, her marriage to William is a dream come true, but his ruthless father makes clear he’ll stop at nothing to keep her in her place.
Reimagined by a novelist at the height of her powers, Belle is an unforgettable woman. Set against an absorbing portrait of Victorian London, hers is a timeless rags-to-riches story a la Becky Sharpe.   

The Unauthorised Biography of Ezra Maas by Daniel James
Received a copy of this from Dead Ink Books for review

Ezra Maas is dead. The famously reclusive artist vanished without a trace seven years ago whilst working on his final masterpiece, but his body was never found. While the Maas foundation prepares to announce his death, journalist Daniel James finds himself lured to write the untold story of the artist's life - But this is no ordinary book. The deeper James delves into the myth of Ezra Maas, the more he is drawn into a nightmarish world of fractured identities and sinister doubles.

A chilling literary labyrinth, The Unauthorised Biography of Ezra Maas deftly blends postmodern noir with psuedo-biography, letters, phone transcripts, documents, emails and newspaper clippings to create a story like no other before it.

Too Many Magpies by Elizabeth Baines            The Lighthouse by Alison Moore
And a little shopping spree on the Salt Publishing website... just because!

The Lighthouse -   On the outer deck of a North Sea ferry stands Futh, a middle-aged and newly separated man, on his way to Germany for a restorative walking holiday. After an inexplicably hostile encounter with a hotel landlord, Futh sets out along the Rhine. As he contemplates an earlier trip to Germany and the things he has done in his life, he does not foresee the potentially devastating consequences of things not done. "The Lighthouse," Alison Moore's first novel, tells the tense, gripping story of a man trying to find himself, but becoming lost.

Netgalley

Just the one....

The Book of Dreams by Nina George
publication date - April 2019


Warm, wise, and magical--the latest novel by the bestselling author of THE LITTLE PARIS BOOKSHOP and THE LITTLE FRENCH BISTRO is an astonishing exploration of the thresholds between life and death 

Henri Skinner is a hardened ex-war reporter on the run from his past. On his way to see his son, Sam, for the first time in years, Henri steps into the road without looking and collides with oncoming traffic. He is rushed to a nearby hospital where he floats, comatose, between dreams, reliving the fairytales of his childhood and the secrets that made him run away in the first place.

After the accident, Sam--a thirteen-year old synesthete with an IQ of 144 and an appetite for science fiction--waits by his father's bedside every day. There he meets Eddie Tomlin, a woman forced to confront her love for Henri after all these years, and twelve-year old Madelyn Zeidler, a coma patient like Henri and the sole survivor of a traffic accident that killed her family. As these four very different individuals fight--for hope, for patience, for life--they are bound together inextricably, facing the ravages of loss and first love side by side.

A revelatory, urgently human story that examines what we consider serious and painful alongside light and whimsy, THE BOOK OF DREAMS is a tender meditation on memory, liminality, and empathy, asking with grace and gravitas what we will truly find meaningful in our lives once we are gone


CURRENTLY READING

borrowed the audio version from the library





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HAPPY READING!










#BlogTour Urbane Extravaganza!! Song Castle by Luke Waterson #excerpt @UrbaneBooks @Lukeandhiswords #LoveBooksGroupTours


Extremely delighted to be taking part in the URBANE EXTRAVAGANZA as it's a publisher I'm very fond of - even if Matthew does support a rubbish football team!!😂 - so today I'm happy to be sharing an extract from Song Castle by Luke Waterson.  My thanks to the author, publisher and Kelly of LoveBooksGroup for letting me be part of it all! 

So many good books to share with you over this tour, so here's a bit more about Song Castle before you get to enjoy an extract!




About the book

Song Castle vividly brings to life the Wales of the 12th century: its extreme wealth, its abject poverty, its senseless violence, the growing tension between the Normans and the native Welsh and the region's increasingly pivotal place in medieval culture. In doing so, this book touches on a time and place rarely tackled in literature, a time when Welsh national identity was in the first stages of its development. But Song Castle also tells, through the colourful voices of its characters, a true story. It tells of one man's desire, in a land rocked by upheaval, for the territory over which he presided to be remembered for something truly remarkable.

Published by Urbane Publications

Purchase Links



About the Author

Luke Waterson has plied a trade from writing for over a decade, often with a travel slant. A Creative Writing graduate from the University of East Anglia, Luke has written for publications including the BBC, the Independent, the Telegraph, the Guardian and travel publishers Lonely Planet, for whom he specialises in telling the world about the Amazon Basin – present and past. His travels here inspired his debut novel, Roebuck (2015).
His second novel, Song Castle, set in 12th century Wales, and following a disparate group of bards on their hazard-fraught journey to perform at a festival of song, published in April 2018.


Song Castle - the extract

Preface
The land that for simplicity’s sake is referred to in this book as Wales was, in the 12th century, a very fragmented place.
To the Welsh their native land was perhaps already called Cymru, although what that really meant was liable to interpretation. They perhaps also knew it still as Britannia, even though that referred to the lands of the Brythonic-speaking peoples generally, including areas of northern England and southern Scotland. To the Anglo-Normans Wallia might have been the term used, but this in turn could refer to Marchia Wallie or the Welsh Marches, the part of Wales they believed they had brought under their control and Pura Wallia or native Wales, the part they had not.

More meaningful points of reference for most were the warring factions into which Wales had split. It was divided into dynasties: principalities and lordships that often vied against each other for increasing amounts of power and the territory that would augment it, rather than unite. Conflict between different domains was more or less constant, and invariably violent. Loyalties were localised: most likely to one’s family, quite possibly to the nearest village, perhaps to the cantref (district) and at a stretch to the region or realm. But when boundaries between these zones were changing almost as often as the famously fickle weather, and with dangerous consequences for those caught on the wrong side of the line, conceiving of an amalgamated country was not at the forefront of people’s minds. There were more pressing concerns.

In fact, there were but a few things capable of bringing this fractious collection of territories together. One of these things was language. And the mouthpieces for this were the bards: through the tales that they told and the songs that they sung.
And in the 12th century, the bards changed their tunes.
In their performances, the bards of the land that would become Wales had always drawn on a rich history of spectacular people, spectacular deeds, spectacular places; they had probably instilled in their audiences a certain shared nostalgia for when Britons still ruled Britain. But now they stepped up their act. Menaces to all of Wales-to-be—the Anglo-Normans—were encroaching from the east, pushing into its territory with unprecedented ferocity. And the bards, the gogynfeirdd as they became known, responded in kind. Performing in courts and halls from Gwynedd to Gwent, they used ever stronger, more evocative, more elegiac verses to call on the leading men of the land to rise up as one and repel these invaders. In the words of these bards, Wales became geographically and spiritually united. A disparate people were given cultural cohesion. Wales got its Welshness.

With clatter of meadhorns,
great liberality!
From The Hirlas of Owain by Owain Cyfeiliog

Written by various monks in various abbeys over several hundred years, the Brut Y Tywysogion chronicles Welsh history from the 7th century to the 14th. In this, one of the principal historic sources for Wales during this tumultuous period in its past, is a somewhat scant paragraph for the year 1176 beginning as follows:

‘And the lord Rhys held a grand festival at the castle of Aberteivi [Cardigan], wherein he appointed two sorts of contention; one between the bards and poets, and the other between the harpers, fiddlers, pipers and various performers of instrumental music; and he assigned two chairs for the victors in these contentions; and these he enriched with vast gifts.’

Those monks left out the juiciest bits.

Part One:
A SLAP OF STRONG WIND IN THE FACE
Rhys
(March, 1194)

“My son…”
The trapdoor opened. He struggled to prop himself on his elbows and better see the figure framed in the torchlight above, but his eyes were too long accustomed to the gloom of the cell and the glare blinded him. He could discern no features. Yet he was certain, now.
“I know it is you. A father knows his first-born…”
The figure started on the descent, taking the rungs of the ladder hesitantly: bare feet, and bad-smelling ones.
“Why, son? Why are you doing this?”
A pause. It was a moment of consideration, perhaps. Even when the figure stood still, the toes twitched. Then, still saying nothing, they rapidly clambered back up. The trapdoor banged shut; the bolts shot across. He was alone again.
“Why?” When he had voiced the word, it had seemed an admission of age. He was an old man alone on a bed in the darkness.
Those first few days of his imprisonment he had felt too despondent to do much besides tend his wounds as best he could. They had been none too serious, but he was none too good at tending wounds. The back of his head had caused him most pain.

Whoever dealt that blow must have come at him from behind, the coward. He preferred dealings with brave men. There was brute’s honesty in the duel or the raid or the battle. You charged, and your weapons clashed, and you lived or died. But the coward was a cat backed into a corner, could spring at you in a way you did not anticipate.
He dreamed a lot those first few days. Such dreams. The early times came back most vividly. Attacking some fortress or other with his brothers. A band of desperate gaunt men in threadbare tunics, they had been. Mostly up against Englishmen or Frenchmen or Flemish men with superior arsenal and greater numbers but often battling other Welshmen, too; often up against themselves. The fight against one’s own: the hardest fight of all.
Once the pain had dulled he had begun to focus on where he was. The basement of a tower. Gaps in the stonework through which the wind shrilled. An odour of damp earth. No light save for a grill about head height, which emitted a pale grey chink of the morning but lapsed back into shadow again by mid-afternoon. This was March, after all, and a particularly foul one. Somewhere else, spring was coming.
He had not been captive long before the visits commenced. At first the figure had seemed contented with a head through the hatchway, but that had not been enough. Soon they were venturing several steps down the ladder. Soon the scrutiny was lasting longer. The watcher had uttered no words as yet. But he sensed that was about to change.
The figure tried to conceal things from him. The fact they suffered from a diabolical cold, for instance: after the bolts thrust home their racking cough would start up, although there was no coughing during the visits. They kept the left side of their face turned away from him, too. But whilst most of the country had their health afflicted on account of this damnable weather, and whilst a fair few of those might choose to hide any disfigurement upon their countenance, something else put the matter of the figure’s identity beyond doubt. Madness. Once the trapdoor had closed, his gaoler’s footfalls receded only so far then broke into a horrible, erratic little dance. Whoever was holding him prisoner was plainly deranged, and in the entire realm it was known such madness coursed through the veins of one man alone: his son.

His first-born had always embarrassed him. At the zenith of his power—the victory banquets, the meets with the King—there had always been that anxious glance over his shoulder partway through proceedings at what his eldest might be doing.
The visit of the Archbishop, for example: it should have been his proudest moment. The kind of moment chroniclers should chronicle.
His castle had been the equal of any Norman: sheer walls of stone, dominating the horizon. The whole town had turned out to the river bridge for the welcome. The Archbishop had been impressed, quite possibly awed; he had endeavoured to put the reverent fellow at ease; the procession had filed up towards the castle gates where, as he recalled, he had arranged for musicians to serenade them all.

Then—he would never forget it—came the squeal from the Archbishop’s attendant as, whilst passing the assembled townsfolk, the poor man had been pinched hard enough on the buttocks to startle him right out of formation and trip over his cassock. His suspicions as to the cause were confirmed a moment later when he and that company of upstanding churchmen had observed several of his younger sons fleeing shrieking from the scene and his eldest, a brawny man in body by then, but still with the mind of a wilful child, smirking with the glee only the orchestrator of an event can muster. Of the entire mortifying occasion, what lodged most firmly in his memory were the words, murmured disapprovingly as an aside later that same evening between two of his guests but overheard by him: ‘if only he could control his children.’

He slumped back on the bed, exhausted through inertia. That was some clobber about the head he had received. A column of ants swarmed over the dirt floor. He wondered briefly whether it was the same few hundred, disappearing through that crevice then circling around the tower wall in order to repeat the procedure, or whether there were thousands more out there, lining up to march across the mud in front of him. Wales was going to the dogs, he thought.

When he opened his eyes, it was to the torchlight again. His captor stood at the foot of the bed, the scar gouging out the left cheek hideous in the flame.
“My father,” the figure sneered, “the greatest of all the great men in Wales.”
And this was true: he had been. There had not been a realm to rival his. Others had asked him how he achieved it and he happily told them: revelry. No hall in Christendom had witnessed the like. The best men had come to pay their respects. And the best women, he allowed himself a smile at this, thinking now of that time; that feast to end all feasts; those weeks that changed everything. It had been spectacular; despite the atrocities, spectacular. He had surpassed himself. Only great men could do that.
“What is it you want?” he asked, but on sighting the knife his son brandished, the question stuck in his throat. “So you have come to end it,” he said quietly.
“End!” his first-born repeated mockingly. “My dear father, I have not even begun!”
He had imagined death. One did not rise to where he had risen without having imagined it. But he had imagined a cathedral, and his coffin being borne with much ceremony down the aisle, not murder in the darkness at the hands of a snivelling, scarred wretch, his own flesh and blood.
“At least tell me why,” he said again. “Why, when I gave you everything?”
“Because of that,” his son advanced to the bedside, stroking the knife blade with absurd tenderness. “Because you were always so damnably perfect.”

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Don't forget to check out all the other stops on this amazing Urbane extravaganza!

24th NovChat About Books@chataboutbooks1 
25th NovOver The Rainbow Book Blog@JoannaLouisePar
26th NovBeing Anne@Williams13Anne
27th NovOn The Shelf Bookblog@OnTheShelfBooks
28th NovNicki's Book Blog@nickijmurphy1
29th NovMy Reading Corner@karendennise
30th NovPortable Magic@bantambookworm
1st DecBlack books blog@SimonJLeonard
2nd DecRae Reads@rae_reads1
3rd DecSo Many Books, So Little Time@smbslt
4th DecOrchard Book Club@OrchardBookClub
5th DecZooloo's Book DiaryZooloo2008
6th DecNemesis Book Blog@NemesisBlogs
7th DecKatie's Book Cave@katiejones88
8th DecBooks and Me@bookkaz
9th DecTangents and Tissues@tangentsbb
10th DecGo Buy the Book@karen55555
11th DecCheekypee reads and reviews@cheekypee27
12th DecNicki`s Life Of Crime@NickiRichards7
13th DecEmma the Little Bookworm@EmmaMitchellFPR
14th DecRather Too Fond of Books@hayleysbookblog
15th DecSeansbookreviews@Seant1977
16th DecLizzums Lives Life@LizzumsBB
17th DecThe Magic Of Wor(l)ds@MagicOfWorldsBE
18th DecOn The Shelf Reviews@ljwrites85
19th DecGrab This Book@grabthisbook
20th DecLife Of A Nerdish Mum@NerdishMum
21st DecThe Quiet Geordie@thequietgeordie
22nd DeceBook Addicts@ebookadditsuk
23rd DecOn The Shelf Reviews@ljwrites85
24th DecVarietats@Sweeet83
25th DeceBook Addicts@ebookadditsuk
26th DecPortable Magic@bantambookworm
27th DecLove Books Group@LoveBooksGroup
28th DecA Little Book Problem@book_problem
29th DecIt’s all about the books@DeeCee334
30th DecThe Quiet Geordie@thequietgeordie
31st DecZooloo's Book Diary@Zooloo2008











Thursday, 6 December 2018

#BookReview The Stranger Diaries by Elly Griffiths


About the book

A dark story has been brought to terrifying life. Can the ending be rewritten in time?

A gripping contemporary Gothic thriller from the bestselling author of the Dr Ruth Galloway mysteries: Wilkie Collins and MR James meet Gone Girl and Disclaimer.

Clare Cassidy is no stranger to murder. As a literature teacher specialising in the Gothic writer RM Holland, she teaches a short course on it every year. Then Clare's life and work collide tragically when one of her colleagues is found dead, a line from an RM Holland story by her body. The investigating police detective is convinced the writer's works somehow hold the key to the case.

Not knowing who to trust, and afraid that the killer is someone she knows, Clare confides her darkest suspicions and fears about the case to her journal. Then one day she notices some other writing in the diary. Writing that isn't hers...
 

Published by Quercus

Purchase Links





MY REVIEW


I found this to be a very clever, dark and compelling mystery and, being my first read from this author, I'm now eager to go back and read more from Elly Griffiths as I found her way of storytelling really enjoyable!

As a diary writer myself, the fact that Clare finds extra messages written in her diary after the murder of her close friend, Ella, made for creepy reading and set the tone as the hunt for this killer picked up the pace and could be one of many! I liked the way the different points of view - Clare, the detective Harbinder Kaur, and Clares' daughter Georgia - really helped the story develop with the different personalities and backgrounds.

With Clare teaching English and featuring the ghost stories of R.M Holland, whom she is also researching, that also added an extra creepy element to the story. Tales of the building being haunted had been told for many years, and you really felt the edginess when Clare or others were alone in the building and wondering what they might hear or see next.

When the body count increases that is when the tension and pace picks up quite considerably and once the pieces start falling into place it isn't too long before the killer is identified - if only I'd picked up on the clues earlier!

The perfect autumn/winter read to keep you thrilled and chilled!



My thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for the e-copy in return for a fair and honest review.

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Tuesday, 4 December 2018

#CoverReveal Here Comes The Best Man & The Wedding Reject Table by Angela Britnell @ChocLituk @AngelaBritnell



COVER REVEALS!!

Not one but TWO new covers to share with you today!! The lovely folk at Choc Lit have given two of Angela Britnells' covers a brand spanking new look!! And it is my honour to get to share them with you today!!

So let's just get on with it shall we?!!  Covers first, followed by the  blurbs and purchase links!

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 Here Comes the Best Man:

Being the best man is a lot to live up to …

When troubled army veteran and musician Josh Robertson returns home to Nashville to be the best man at his younger brother Chad’s wedding he’s just sure that he’s going to mess it all up somehow. 

But when it becomes clear that the wedding might not be going to plan, it’s up to Josh and fellow guest Louise Giles to make sure that Chad and his wife-to-be Maggie get their perfect day. 
Can Josh be the best man his brother needs? And is there somebody else who is beginning to realise that Josh could be her ‘best man’ too?

Purchase Link - Amazon UK

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The Wedding Reject Table:

Once on the reject table, always on the reject table?

When Maggie Taylor, a cake decorator, and Chad Robertson, a lawyer from Nashville Tennessee, meet at a wedding in Cornwall it’s not under the best circumstances.
They have both been assigned to ‘the reject table’, alongside a toxic collection of grumpy great aunts, bitter divorcees and stuffy organists.
Maggie has grown used to being the reject, although when Chad helps her out of a wedding cake disaster she begins to wonder whether the future could hold more for her.
But will Chad be strong enough to deal with the other problems in Maggie’s life? Because a ruined cake isn’t the only issue she has – not by a long shot.
 

Purchase Link - Amazon UK

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I can't decide which one I love more! Just so pretty!!! And if you've not read either book before then I can highly recommend them! Happy reading!!

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