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Sunday, 30 September 2018

#BookReview The Runaway by Elizabeth Anna Hart #PersephoneReadathon

Sad to see another Persephone Readathon come to an end - thanks to Jessie at Dwell In Possibility for hosting another wonderful spell of reading! Hope there'll be another one very soon!

Had hoped to read 2 Persephone books this time round, but just managed the one as had too many other books to read. But it was a goodie so made the time fly by and so enjoyable! It ended up being my bedtime read and I was eager to get to bed every night just to read some more!


This 1872 novel by a mid-Victorian poet and novelist is about a girl named Clarice, living with her widowed father and her governess 'in a charming home at a convenient (railway) distance from the city.' One day she finds a girl of her own age hiding in the shrubbery. She is Olga and 'there is no question that she is the liveliest child character in English fiction' said the Observer in 1936

Published by Persephone Books

MY REVIEW  - 4 stars

A sweet and charming read which is definitely lifted by the inclusion of some beautiful illustrations that work so well with the storyline.

Clarice is a young girl who likes to do things the right way and isn't one to 'play up' but when she finds a runaway hiding in the grounds, she starts telling lies for the first time in her life to help keep Olga a secret, hidden away in her closet while trying to make her do the right thing and return home and let her family know where she is. 

Olga is a peculiar and feisty young girl - she has run away as she's not happy but keeping quiet isn't her greatest forte so she likes to play tricks on the members of the household where Clarice lives, despite Clarice telling her to stay quiet and hidden! It doesn't seem in her nature to do so and causes members of the staff to worry there's strange things going on in the house.

This was lots of fun to read and would suit readers of all ages! It has that innocence about it that was refreshing to read and is one of the sweetest books I've read in quite a while!


#BookReview Under the Wig by William Clegg QC #memoir #nonfiction

About the book

How do you chat to someone accused of a savage murder? Or prepare a court case? Or sway a jury?

Step into the shoes of criminal barrister William Clegg as he meets clients in prison, works out weaknesses in the other side s case, and confronts witnesses at tense trials.

In a revealing memoir, he revisits fourteen of his most intriguing briefs, from the murder charge facing Colin Stagg to the shooting of Jill Dando, to the first prosecution under the Nazi war crimes act and the burglar jailed for life by an earprint.

All the while he lays bare the secrets of his profession, from the rivalry among barristers to the moments before a verdict comes back and how system of justice risks jailing you wrongly.

Under the Wig is for anyone who wants to know the reality of fighting a murder trial. Switch off the TV drama and plunge into the criminal law in action.

Published by Canbury Press

Publication Date - 4th October 2018

Pre-order links


We've all seen the TV shows about law and wondered what goes on in the world of 'real' lawyers, and this book is a truly fascinating look behind the scenes thanks to one of London's top murder case lawyers as he looks back at a remarkable career and shares his stories of all he has seen over the years. And when you've been involved in as many high profile cases as William Clegg has, then there's lots to share!

From how he started in the world of law, to going behind the scenes at some of the most infamous trials he was involved in, I found this to be such an interesting read. He shares a number of outspoken opinions on cases he's been involved in as well as his thoughts on the system as it is and the many changes he's seen take place over the years - not all for the best! - as well as how technology has changed working on each cases. No such thing as the internet when he first started out!

From war criminals, murderers, the wrongly accused, and fraud cases, this is a book that covers a wide range of dealings inside the world of law and the grim reality of brutal cases which show it isn't like it is on TV. 

The way the book plays out works so well as it spotlights high profile cases he was involved in, alongside his humble beginnings and how he worked his way up. There are flashes of humour that lighten the tone of the book and helped make it a really engrossing read.

My thanks to the author, publisher and publicist Emma Finnigan for an advanced readers copy in return for a fair and honest review.


Saturday, 29 September 2018

#BookReview A Boy in the Water by Tom Gregory

About the book

Eltham, South London. 1984: the hot fug of the swimming pool and the slow splashing of a boy learning to swim but not yet wanting to take his foot off the bottom. Fast-forward four years. Photographers and family wait on the shingle beach as a boy in a bright orange hat and grease-smeared goggles swims the last few metres from France to England. He has been in the water for twelve agonizing hours, encouraged at each stroke by his coach, John Bullet, who has become a second father.

This is the story of a remarkable friendship between a coach and a boy, and a love letter to the intensity and freedom of childhood.

Published by Particular Books

Purchase Links


What a fabulous little book! I really didn't expect to become so emotional while reading the story of the young boy who achieved his dream of swimming the Channel at the age of 11! You really connect with Tom as he shares his memories of the actual Channel swim, alongside his other childhood memories of how he got into swimming, and how it took over his - and that of his family! - life.

Being set back in the 1980's also means lots of wonderful retro mentions that brought back so many wonderful memories for me, and as I swam a lot too in my younger days it also brought back those memories of early morning training sessions, how big the pool first felt when you first show up and how the bond between a swimmer and their coach becomes so strong and important.

At times you often forget just how young he was to achieve something so spectacular, and it charts his progress in wonderful detail and captures the emotions so well. It's a book that made me laugh and cry in equal measures and the last chapter especially really connected deeply with me and just shows the importance of youngsters finding people who believe in them and giving up their spare time to help others.

A delight to read! Inspiring, uplifting and highly recommended!


My Bookish Weekly Wrap Up - Week 38 2018

Hello all! Happy Saturday to you! As I sit here typing, it's a lovely sunny Saturday and I SHOULD be going through the backlog of reviews I have to do..... why is picking up another new book to start reading the easier option?!  So if anyone is offering to write a few reviews for me then I'll gladly accept! I'll make you a cup of tea and supply biscuits?!!

It's been another mad week on the book front! It all seems to be spiralling out of control despite my best efforts to keep everything in check! Still managing to find time to read lots and have managed to finish 7 books this week! And 10 books have found new homes with me, plus one from NetGalley.....but I did donate a box of books to the local Mencap shop the other day, and got a hug from the lovely old lady in there, so I am being good and making space for the new additions!

So here's a quick look back at my week with pictures and links to GoodReads pages! Enjoy! Reviews for most of them will be posted up on here at some point..... hopefully!


Ice by Anna Kavan  - 3 stars

Full review on Blog Tour - 11th October


The Ninja Book Box Book Club pick for October!

Review copy courtesy of Little Toller Books

Review copy from Wobble Hill Press ahead of Blog Tour in November

Published by Unbound and I'm one of the backers so get my name in print!

Review copy from Tinder Press. Publication Date 24th January 2019

Prize from Hideaway Fall

Lovely selection from Nudge Books



for the Persephone Readathon!

I think that is it for the week!! I need a lie down! Hope you have had a great week too on the book front!  Read any of these?! Always love to hear your thoughts!!


Friday, 28 September 2018

#BookReview A House of Ghosts by W.C Ryan

About the book

A gripping mystery with a classic feel: And Then There Were None meets The Silent Companions.

Winter 1917. As the First World War enters its most brutal phase, back home in England, everyone is seeking answers to the darkness that has seeped into their lives. 

At Blackwater Abbey, on an island off the Devon coast, Lord Highmount has arranged a spiritualist gathering to contact his two sons who were lost in the conflict. But as his guests begin to arrive, it gradually becomes clear that each has something they would rather keep hidden. Then, when a storm descends on the island, the guests will find themselves trapped. Soon one of their number will die. 

For Blackwater Abbey is haunted in more ways than one . . 

An unrelentingly gripping mystery packed with twists and turns, A House of Ghosts is the perfect chilling read this winter.


'Almost unbearably creepy and beautifully written' Liz Nugent, bestseller author of LYING IN WAIT

'A splendid tale of wartime skullduggery, featuring both kinds of spooks - perfect fireside reading' Mick Herron, CWA Gold Dagger Award Winning author of DEAD LIONS

'Hugely enjoyable, A House of Ghosts has the bones of a taut thriller wrapped up in the gorgeous romance of its ghostly island setting' Jane Casey

'Perfect for a dark and stormy evening: a truly creepy and ingenious ghost story and murder mystery with an irresistible setting' Ragnar Jonasson

Published by Zaffre

Publication Date - 4th October 2018

Pre-order links  £9.95

waterstones  £12.99



This is an eerie and engrossing story set against the backdrop of The First World War, and featuring the imposing Blackwater Abbey where Lord Highmount has lived for many years with his family, and has now invited a select few to join him for a weekend to contact the spirits so he and his wife can reconnect with those he has lost.

I knew very little of this book going in, other than it has a stunning and striking cover, and within a few pages I found myself captivated by the setting of this home sitting on an Island off the Devon Coast, and the mixture of characters who all found themselves heading there for a paranormal weekend. The story is mainly told from the points of view of Lord Highmount, Kate and Donovan who have their own very mysterious backgrounds of which you learn more about as the story unfolds. 

Kate is such a fascinating character. Working in intelligence,she is selected by her boss to go on this weekend to gain some valuable knowledge from some of the other guests, alongside her ex fiancee! Not a ideal set up! She has a history with the Highmount family too so that makes it an even more difficult task for her to complete. She is being looked after by another interesting character, Donovan, who is also there to oversee the goings on but from the servants side of things. They find they soon have more to investigate when one of the party is killed!

Kate also has the ability to see ghosts so while she is at Blackwater Abbey she is continually seeing things that others don't and this adds another intriguing element to the mix in this story! It really blends the mix of the supernatural, history and mystery so well together. It's one of those books that you can form your own opinion on a variety of characters as you read, working out who is trustworthy and who to be wary of. I know I was proved wrong on a number of occasions as to who I trusted!

The seances seem to change the sceptics minds amongst them but it also sets off a chain of darker events and this keeps you with that very unsettled feeling as you read. It's one of those books that you read that really draws you into that world, as if you're a fly on the wall overseeing all that happens around you and I loved the escapism that this story helps create. A really enjoyable read!


My thanks to the publisher and Readers First for the advanced reading copy in return for a fair and honest review.

#CoverReveal A Christmas Secret by Kirsty Ferry


We meet again!!Another exclusive, and rather gorgeous, cover reveal to share with you all today courtesy of the lovely Kirsty Ferry and Choc Lit!  I hope you're ready....

What if a secret from Christmas past was stopping you from moving on to Christmas future?

When Hugo McCreadie steps into Isla Brodie’s pet portrait studio to get a ‘Festive Furball Photo Shoot’ for his sister’s cat Schubert, he does question his sanity. But he knows the photographs will be the perfect Christmas present for his eccentric sister, Nessa – and he finds himself quite taken with ditzy, animal-loving Isla Brodie, too.

Will a Christmas secret from long ago prevent Hugo and Isla’s new friendship from going any further? Or will a certain big, black cat taking matters into his own paws lead them not only on a mad winter dash through snowy Edinburgh –but into each other’s arms for Christmas as well?

A Christmas Secret is published on 8th November and will be available to purchase as an eBook on all platforms.


The moment has arrived!! One gorgeous cover in all its' glory!!


Do we approve?!  I know I do, and can't wait to get my mitts on  a copy!!


Thursday, 27 September 2018

#BookReview Ice by Anna Kavan #RIPXIII

Getting out of my comfort zone at the moment and picking up those books that I've been too scared to pick up as I'm a big wuss!!  And it's all thanks to ReadersImbibingPeril who are hosting RIPXIII, the challenge they host to get us to pick up scary books and have fun reading them!

I've had this book on my shelves for quite a while so have been reading it over the past few evenings! 

About the book

In this haunting and surreal novel, the narrator and a man known as the warden search for an elusive girl in a frozen, seemingly post-nuclear, apocalyptic landscape. The country has been invaded and is being governed by a secret organization. There is destruction everywhere; great walls of ice overrun the world. Together with the narrator, the reader is swept into a hallucinatory quest for this strange and fragile creature with albino hair. Acclaimed upon its 1967 publication as the best science fiction book of the year, this extraordinary and innovative novel has subsequently been recognized as a major work of literature in its own right. 


In this book you are never quite sure what is real! It is extremely surreal and nightmarish! You're always feeling unsure of what you are about to encounter and that is what keeps you turning the pages.

The 'chase' works so well against the bleak background of the Ice bound world that the characters find themselves living in. The narrator is a man who becomes obsessed with this pale girl who he often glimpses but never seems to get close to. Is she real? Is he just mad? I think with this story it's all open to interpretation and I enjoyed that uncertainty throughout. You could read into it what you wanted! There was no real plotlines to keep track of and you just went where the story took you!  

An interesting and unsettling read!!


#BlogTour The Lion Tamer Who Lost by Louise Beech #RandomThingsTours #BookReview

Extremely delighted to be the latest stop on the Blog Tour for this wonderful book today.  My thanks to the author, publisher and Anne of Random Things Tours for letting me be part of it all.

About the book

Long ago Andrew made a childhood wish. One he has always kept in a silver box with a too-big lid that falls off. When it finally comes true, he wishes it hadn't...

Long ago Ben dreamed of going to Africa to volunteer at a lion reserve. When he finally goes there, it isn't for the reasons he imagined...

Ben and Andrew keep meeting where they least expect. Some collisions are by design, but are they for a reason? Ben's father would disown him for his relationship with Andrew, so they must hide their love. Andrew is determined to make it work, but secrets from his past threaten to ruin everything.

Ben escapes to Zimbabwe to finally fulfil his lifelong ambition. But will he ever return to England? To Andrew? To the truth? 

A dark and poignant drama, The Lion Tamer Who Lost is also a mesmerisingly beautiful love story, with a tragic heart.

Publisher Orenda

Purchase Links

‘Vivid, passionate and exquisitely told, this love story will live on in my heart for a very long time to come. A poignant, surprising and all-consuming read’ Katie Marsh
‘I cannot remember when I was last so touched by a story. Tin Man meets Brokeback Mountain – it really is that good. This isn’t a book you just read, it’s something you absorb. An incredible, poignant piece of work. Louise Beech had cemented her place as one of Britain’s finest modern storytellers’
John Marrs
‘A beautiful, honest and tender love story that I won’t forget for a long time. With wishes, promises, betrayals, heartbreak and joy – Ben and Andrew’s story spans time and distance. Their love had me trapped in its spell, their tragic moments had me sobbing like a baby. The scenes in Zimbabwe had me right there, inhaling the heady scents and listening to the lions roar. This is Louise Beech at her very best. A triumph’ Fionnuala Kearney
‘Beech sets up the love story quietly and convincingly. And then – bang – something astonishing and completely unexpected happens to Ben and Andrew. This is where the narrative really gathers pace. I had read patiently until that point then I raced my way to the end. The book digs deep emotionally, but is funny and feel-good too’ Fiona Mitchell
‘Storytelling at its finest. Louise Beech is a beguiling wordsmith. Prepare to be hooked’ Amanda Prowse
‘The whole novel is skilfully woven together, with complex, utterly convincing characters and an impossible moral dilemma at the core. It’s a compelling read through to the emotional final pages. I love the poetry, the wisdom, and the insights into life at a lion sanctuary, so vivid that the reader can hear and smell as well as visualise them. It’s a stunning and very brave book’ Gill Paul
‘Louise Beech does it again. The setting alone makes this book worth a read, the lightly handled metaphor of a place where damaged beings go to recover provides a sumptuous backdrop that does its work on the reader’s subconscious while they enjoy the action of the story. Love, complicated families and the hurtful things people say and do to one another out of fear, love and ignorance feature here, as well as messy relationships and the mistakes flawed human beings make while trying so hard not to. A moving read’ S.E. Lynes
‘Heartfelt and wry, this will transport you into a keenly observed world; secrets are hidden, people are flawed, but humanity endures’ Ruth Dugdall
‘Louise Beech is a natural-born storyteller with an elegance about her writing that never fails to move me’ Michael J. Malone

‘This is real life, bruised, torn and coffee-stained, refusing to give up … simply stunning’ Su Bristow
‘There are times when you finish reading a book and know that part of it will stay with you always. This will be one of those books’ Claire Allen
‘It put me in mind of John Irving. It’s that feeling of being in the hands of a master storyteller and just trusting him or her so completely’ Laura Pearson
‘Nothing about this story disappoints. The African setting, the excellent writing, and above all, the immaculate storytelling. It’s a cleverly constructed book too. I loved the chapter headings which give us a glimpse of the story within the story. Another triumph. A beautifully crafted book’ Carole Lovekin
‘Again, Louise Beech has totally blown me away with her storytelling ability. I loved this beautiful but painful love story; which is also about coincidences, loss and difficult relationships. This is a story about the strength of love and what sometimes needs to be sacrificed for it’ Madeleine Black
‘Adored this beautiful and inspiring book’ Kate Furnivall
‘Already one of my favourites of 2018’ Liz Robinson, LoveReadingUK
‘A stirring novel, beautifully written, reminiscent of the early work of Maggie O’Farrell’ Irish Times
‘Quirky, darkly comic, heartfelt and original’ Sunday Mirror
‘This achingly sad story has wonderful characters, including the spiky, sweary Catherine’ Sunday People
‘A beautiful and compassionate read’ Prima

connect with the author online


I feel shocked that this author has passed me by - until now!! I can't wait to devour her previous books after being totally consumed with love for this story!

This is a story of loss, rediscovery and of love and how it can take you to the highest of highs, as well as the lowest of the lows. It shows love in all it's form be that tender, toxic, terrifying, tender and traumatic and as you are reading you get to experience all these emotions as the author does a wonderful job of making the characters and their journeys touch your very core.

Ben is in Zimbabwe as a volunteer at a lion rehab facility where he meets a wide range of characters, all there for their own reasons. You know he's there to escape something back home but it's only as the story unfolds that you get to discover the many reasons he had to get away as he is finding the past difficult to leave behind. And he seeks solace with the lions - it is clear he has more patience with the animals than he does with humans! 

At the core is a story of love, which is dealt with in such a sensitive manner and deals with the horrific prejudice encountered by Ben and Andrew. Ben wrestles with his conscience on a daily basis and is left to decide what is right for him, no matter who it may hurt along the way. Could he be something he isn't just to live an easy life?

His family also feature a lot and often shows them in a bad light. But you can sense there's more to their story than first meets the eye, and I found the way their story evolves quite shocking and helped explain quite a lot as to Ben struggling with his emotions and feelings. 

I was totally captivated by this story and had tears rolling down my face on many occasions! It always takes something special to make you feel that kind of connection with a set of characters and this book shows how it can be done in such a touching way. Loved it!