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Wednesday, 31 October 2018

#BlogTour The Witch of Willow Hall by Hester Fox #BookReview @HQDigitalUK






Happy Halloween!!! Delighted to be part of this ghostly Blog Tour - my thanks to the author and publisher, HQ for letting me be part of it all!

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The must-have historical read for the autumn, perfect for fans of A Discovery of Witches and Outlander.
Years after the Salem witch trials one witch remains. She just doesn’t know it… yet.

Growing up Lydia Montrose knew she was descended from the legendary witches of Salem but was warned to never show the world what she could do and so slowly forgot her legacy. But Willow Hall has awoken something inside her…
1821: Having fled family scandal in Boston Willow Hall seems an idyllic refuge from the world, especially when Lydia meets the previous owner of the house, John Barrett.
But a subtle menace haunts the grounds of Willow Hall, with strange voices and ghostly apparitions in the night, calling to Lydia’s secret inheritance and leading to a greater tragedy than she could ever imagine.
Can Lydia confront her inner witch and harness her powers or is it too late to save herself and her family from the deadly fate of Willow Hall?
‘Steeped in Gothic eeriness it’s spine-tingling and very atmospheric.’
Nicola Cornick, author of The Phantom Tree
‘With its sense of creeping menace… this compelling story had me gripped from the first page… ’
Linda Finlay, author of The Flower Seller

‘The Witch of Willow Hall is so spookily good I feel haunted by it. It was literally the first thing on my mind when I opened my eyes this morning. I absolutely loved it from start to finish’
Sarah Bennett, author of the Butterfly Cove series

Published by HQ

Purchase Links





MY REVIEW

Prepared to be spooked!!  I was completely entranced by the story of Lydia and her family as they are forced to move to Willow Hall after a scandal.  But the past isn't easily outrun and soon catches up with them again!

Lydia is such a fascinating character. And the relationship she shares with her sister Catherine is very relatable - they bicker, there is jealousy - it's very easy to be #TeamLydia as a reader!!  But the relationship with her younger sister Emmeline is very sweet and endearing.  

With very little to in this new town, the villagers tell the girls of the haunting past of Willow Hall and when strange things begin to happen around the house and outside, then things start to get a little freaky for Lydia and not all of it she is able to control.

Their father has moved to the area for business reasons and his business partner, John Barrett, is a little shocked to find out he has a family.  He has a past with the house and as you learn more about events from his past then things turn darker, and the significance of things happening now begin to make a little more sense.

With Catherine desperate to marry, and dark secrets of the family and their new home - both past and present - coming to light there is so much more that draws you into this chilling story and it was the perfect read for this time of year!  A wonderful debut!

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Tuesday, 30 October 2018

#BookReview One Magical Christmas by Berni Stevens #PublicationDay


About the book

Christmas magic doesn’t really exist – does it? 
When Annie Berry collides with Nik Knoll in a car park on the day of her sister’s wedding, it feels like all of Nik’s Christmases have come at once. Annie seems like just the sort of woman he’d like to get to know, and the chance nature of their encounter is almost like, well … Christmas magic. 

But Nik has a secret, and he has to be sure that he can trust Annie before he tells her. The problem is that this secret has a Christmas deadline, and time is running out … 

Published by Choc Lit


Purchase Links





Author on Twitter - @Berni_Stevens1


MY REVIEW


Look no further if you're after a Christmas story that is truly magical and has all the feels!! I found myself smiling throughout this book and fell totally in love with Annie and Nick!

They meet in rather strange circumstances and the moment Nick lays eyes on Annie he is smitten! For Annie her pressing concern is that the wedding of her sister goes off without a hitch! The build up has driven them all seemingly insane so everyone is just hoping for a perfect day!

For Nick he is feeling  lonely! He's tried online dating and that's not gone well, and there seems to be some urgency to his quest to find 'the one'.  Annie is also looking for someone to share her life with, and when their paths cross again they soon realise there is something between them so decide to see how things play out. 

Any characters that name their dogs after characters in Buffy is fine by me ,and I just found the cast in this story were just so endearing, with a few secrets to hide as well which added to the intrigue as the story played out!  You find yourself desperate to find out the secrets of Nick and his family and wonder how Annie will react to what he is hiding!

I loved my time with these characters and this book was a magical treat from start to finish!


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Monday, 29 October 2018

#BlogTour The Light in the Dark: A Winter Journal by Horatio Clare #BookReview #RandomThingsTours


THE LIGHT IN THE DARK: A WINTER JOURNAL
Horatio Clare

Extremely honoured and delighted to be kicking off the Blog Tour today for the wonderful THE LIGHT IN THE DARK by Horatio Clare.  My thanks to the author, publisher and Anne of Random Things Tours for letting me be part of it all and to share my thoughts on this forthcoming release!

Published by  - Elliot & Thompson
Publication Date - 1 November 2018

About the book

A moving winter diary that reveals the healing power of the natural world


• An evocative exploration of the season, beautifully designed.
• Horatio Clare is a multiple award-winning memoirist, nature and travel writer.
• Combines scintillating nature writing with a moving personal narrative, touching on issues of winter depression and Seasonal Affective Disorder.
• For readers of The Outrun by Amy Liptrot and the Seasons series by Melissa Harrison.


As November stubs out the glow of autumn and the days tighten into shorter hours, winter’s occupation begins. Preparing for winter has its own rhythms, as old as our exchanges with the land. Of all the seasons, it draws us together. But winter can be tough.

It is a time of introspection, of looking inwards. Seasonal sadness; winter blues; depression – such feelings are widespread in the darker months. But by looking outwards, by being in and observing nature, we can appreciate its rhythms. Mountains make sense in any weather. The voices of a wood always speak consolation. A brush of frost; subtle colours; days as bright as a magpie’s cackle. We can learn to see and celebrate winter in all its shadows and lights.


In this moving and lyrical evocation of a British winter and the feelings it inspires, Horatio Clare raises a torch against the darkness, illuminating the blackest corners of the season, and delving into memory and myth to explore the powerful hold that winter has on us. By learning to see, we can find the magic, the light that burns bright at the heart of winter: spring will come again.

Purchase Links






About the author


Horatio Clare is a critically acclaimed author and journalist. His first book, Running for the Hills: A Family Story, won the Somerset Maugham Award. His second book, Truant is ‘a stunningly-written memoir’, according to the Irish Times. A Single Swallow: Following an Epic Journey from South Africa to South Wales, was shortlisted for the Dolman Travel Book of the Year; Down to the Sea in Ships: Of Ageless Oceans and Modern Men won the Stanford-Dolman Travel Book of the Year 2015. Horatio’s first book for children, Aubrey and the Terrible Yoot, won the Branford Boase Award 2016 for best debut children's book. He lives in West Yorkshire. 

Twitter @HoratioClare


MY REVIEW

It's that time of year again! The time when we all want to hibernate thanks to the longer, darker evenings and freezing cold mornings, and this book lets you know that you're not alone in feeling that way! The author has used this book to share his thoughts on how this time of year makes him feel, along with exploring the power that nature has of keeping you looking forward, despite those days when all seems bleak and hopeless.  

It's a simple concept but the style of writing and honesty that the author shares allows you to see the world through his eyes over the autumn and winter months that he has come to dread so much, and how his attitude to winter has changed over the years.  This is his journal of all that he sees mixed alongside the trivialities of real life and that what makes this a book that you can connect with.  

It's a beautifully written book that struck a chord with me on many occasions.  The process of seeing the landscape and wildlife change from month to month and seeing how that affects his mood, and how just a simple task of writing a shopping list often became too much when his mind becomes too dark for him to be able to function on a daily basis.

Alongside the sights and sounds of nature, there are also many fascinating facts about S.A.D (seasonal affective disorder) and he also explores the strength that his family give him when he's suffering alongside useful tips that he's found in ways of distracting his mind, and realising that he can't do it all by himself and it's ok to ask for help.  With the topic of mental health so prevalent in society today, this is a book that can help a reader engage with their own feelings and find help if needed - be that by talking to somebody or just taking time to notice the small things in life.  

I found this to be such an insightful and thought provoking book and it is definitely one of those reads that gives you lots to think about and helps to lighten up the darkness of Winter.  




Saturday, 27 October 2018

My Bookish Weekly Wrap Up - Week 42 2018


Hello!! It's the weekend!! Time to celebrate!  And the weather is bright and sunny outside my window, but there's a chill in the air! I've even seen some snowy videos from people online today in various parts of the UK!  Time to hibernate then with a good book or two and a nice hot chocolate!

Not been a bad week on the reading front for me, although I do feel like I've taken it easier this week!  So 4 books have been finished, 3 books have been added to my real bookshelves and 2 to my virtual bookshelves! Almost balanced this week.... maybe one week I'll get there haha!!

So here's a quick look back at my week! Click on the book titles for links to GoodReads!

BOOKS FINISHED

Loved it! Such an epic story!


Another excellent read for me this week! Gripping and chilling!


A fun Christmas read featuring Schubert the cat!


Loving my Christmas fixes this year! Another really enjoyable story!


BOOKHAUL

Once Upon a River by Diane Setterfield - proof copy
Published by DoubleDay
Publication Date - 24th January 2019
A dark midwinter’s night in an ancient inn on the Thames. The regulars are entertaining themselves by telling stories when the door bursts open on an injured stranger. In his arms is the drowned corpse of a little child.

Hours later the dead girl stirs, takes a breath and returns to life.

Is it a miracle?

Is it magic?

Or can it be explained by science?

Replete with folklore, suspense and romance, as well as with the urgent scientific curiosity of the Darwinian age, Once Upon a River is as richly atmospheric as Setterfield’s bestseller The Thirteenth Tale.

Help The Witch by Tom Cox - signed copy from Unbound


Inspired by our native landscapes, saturated by the shadows beneath trees and behind doors, listening to the run of water and half-heard voices, Tom Cox s first collection of short stories is a series of evocative and unsettling trips into worlds previously visited by the likes of M. R. James and E. F. Benson.
Railway tunnels, the lanes and hills of the Peak District, family homes, old stones, shreds fluttering on barbed wire, night drawing in, something that might be an animal shifting on the other side of a hedge: Tom has drawn on his life-long love of weird fiction, folklore and nature s unregarded corners to write a collection of stories that will delight fans old and new, and leave them very uneasy about turning the reading lamp off.

Unquiet Women by Max Adams - bought a copy from hive.co.uk

Wynflæd was an Anglo-Saxon noblewoman who owned male slaves and badger-skin gowns; Egeria a Gaulish nun who toured the Holy Land as the Roman Empire was collapsing; Gudfrid an Icelandic explorer and the first woman to give birth to a European child on American soil; Mary Astell a philosopher who out-thought John Locke.
In this exploration of some remarkable – but little-known – women living between between the last days of Rome and the Enlightenment, Max Adams overturns the idea that women of this period were either queens, nuns or invisible. In a sequence of chronological chapters, a centrepiece biographical sketch is complemented by thematically linked stories of other women of the time. A multi-faceted and beautifully illustrated study of women's intellect, influence and creativity, Unquiet Womenbrings to life the experiences of women whose voices are barely heard and whose stories are rarely told.
Bitter by Francesca Jakobi - 99p on Kindle

It's 1969, and while the summer of love lingers in London, Gilda is consumed by the mistakes of her past. She walked out on her beloved son Reuben when he was just a boy and fears he'll never forgive her.When Reuben marries a petite blonde gentile, Gilda takes it as the ultimate rejection. Her cold, distant son seems transformed by love - a love she's craved his entire adult life. What does his new wife have that she doesn't? And how far will she go to find out? It's an obsession that will bring shocking truths about the past to light . . .
Bitter is a beautiful and devastating novel about the decisions that define our lives, the fragility of love and the bond between mother and son.
The Doll Factory by Elizabeth Macneal  - NetGalley copy


'A sharp, scary, gorgeously evocative tale of love, art and obsession' Paula Hawkins, author of The Girl on the Train

The Doll Factory, the debut novel by Elizabeth Macneal, is an intoxicating story of art, obsession and possession.
London. 1850. The Great Exhibition is being erected in Hyde Park and among the crowd watching the spectacle two people meet. For Iris, an aspiring artist, it is the encounter of a moment – forgotten seconds later, but for Silas, a collector entranced by the strange and beautiful, that meeting marks a new beginning.
When Iris is asked to model for pre-Raphaelite artist Louis Frost, she agrees on the condition that he will also teach her to paint. Suddenly her world begins to expand, to become a place of art and love.
But Silas has only thought of one thing since their meeting, and his obsession is darkening . . 

CURRENTLY READING

reading this via The Pigeonhole app



reading this ahead of a Blog Tour next month!


Have been loving the series on Sky One so that has finally made me pick the books up that have been sitting on my shelves or way too long!


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And done! How has your week been on the bookish front? good, bad, ugly?!  If you've read any of the books above I'd love to hear your thoughts!!

HAPPY READING!!



Wednesday, 24 October 2018

#BookReview The Winter Soldier by Daniel Mason


About the book

By the international bestselling author of The Piano Tuner, a sweeping and unforgettable love story of a young doctor and nurse at a remote field hospital in the First World War.

Vienna, 1914. Lucius is a twenty-two-year-old medical student when World War I explodes across Europe. Enraptured by romantic tales of battlefield surgery, he enlists, expecting a position at a well-organized field hospital. But when he arrives, at a commandeered church tucked away high in a remote valley of the Carpathian Mountains, he finds a freezing outpost ravaged by typhus. The other doctors have fled, and only a single, mysterious nurse named Sister Margarete remains. 

But Lucius has never lifted a surgeon's scalpel. And as the war rages across the winter landscape, he finds himself falling in love with the woman from whom he must learn a brutal, makeshift medicine. Then one day, an unconscious soldier is brought in from the snow, his uniform stuffed with strange drawings. He seems beyond rescue, until Lucius makes a fateful decision that will change the lives of doctor, patient, and nurse forever. 
From the gilded ballrooms of Imperial Vienna to the frozen forests of the Eastern Front; from hardscrabble operating rooms to battlefields thundering with Cossack cavalry, The Winter Soldier is the story of war and medicine, of family, of finding love in the sweeping tides of history, and finally, of the mistakes we make, and the precious opportunities to atone.

Published by Mantle Books

Purchase Links


hive.co.uk  £10.39

Book Depository  £11.09


MY REVIEW

Wow!! This was a truly epic and captivating read and I'm extremely grateful to Goldsboro Books for selecting this as their October Book of the Month as this may have been a book I wouldn't have picked up otherwise.

This is a beautiful but brutal story following Lucius, a young medical student during World War I, and dealing with the most horrific sights whilst fearing for his own safety and that of the medical team at the field hospital he finds himself stationed at. And this is where he meets Margarete, the nurse who steadies the ship and runs everything with military precision. He is totally overwhelmed when he first arrives as to what faces him, but Margarete gives him advice. assistance and confidence and soon he doesn't have time to think about what he's doing and just gets on with things. He still has his own ideals though of how he wants to treat patients and we get to see the consequences of that during his time here.

They spend so much time together it's obvious that they grow closer, but they soon find themselves miles apart with the ever changing events of war,nut he never gives up hope of seeing her again and does all he can to track her down.

This story pulls no punches in its' descriptions of injuries and the harshness of conditions that many had to live with. It isn't for the squeamish but it just brings home how tough it was for everyone living during that time - the squalor, the effect on their mental health, and how bonds were formed in such extraordinary circumstances. 

A truly stunning story and one I highly recommend you pick up and read!!

★★★★★





Tuesday, 23 October 2018

#BookReview Watch For Me at Christmas by Kirsty Ferry #PublicationDay


About the book

A fabulous new Christmas story for 2018 from Kirsty Ferry.

When midwinter magic brings you home for Christmas … 


When Emmy Berry arrives at Hartsford Hall to work at the Frost Fayre she immediately feels at home. Which is odd because she’s never set foot in the place in her life. 

Then a freak blizzard leaves her stranded and things get even weirder when she bumps into Tom Howard. Tom and Emmy have never met before but neither can ignore the sense that they know each other. 

With Christmas fast approaching and the weather showing no sign of improving it soon becomes apparent that Hartsford Hall has a little bit of midwinter magic in store for them both …

Published by Choc Lit

Purchase Links






MY REVIEW

I do love the Hartsford Mysteries series and this is the latest addition and I just want more!! Hartsford Hall has become a favourite place of mine through this series and it was just so wonderful to be able to go back and visit some old favourite characters, alongside some new introductions!

Emmy Berry finds herself at Hartsford Hall for a craft fair. One of those last minute things that she agreed to do to help distract herself from an upcoming lonely Christmas.  Her crafting is her passion and she's not in it for the money - and that is what seemed to upset her ex!

She is welcomed with open arms by the owners and despite never having visited the Hall before she feels at home! She's keen to learn more about the history and keeps catching glimpses of people dressed in vintage clothing which really adds to the historical atmosphere.

I love the parallel timelines contained in this series.  They work so well alongside each other, so in this book we get flashbacks to 1884 and the story of Charles and Millie.  Both besotted by each other but hesistant to take things further, until a snowy Christmas brings them closer together.

While Emmy is snowed in at the Hall she spends more time with Kate, who lives above the museum and her brother Tom is visiting for the holidays.  He's been having very strange dreams recently about a woman and he's a little shocked to now see her in real life! Maybe spending Christmas with his sister and her family won't be so bad after all!  The world works in mysterious ways or so they say!

The blend of romance and history is a wonderful mix once more, and with a snowy setting it can't get any better!  I loved being reunited with old characters from the series, but this can also easily be read as a standalone story, perfect to get you in the Christmas mood.  Loved every single second of it!!


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#CoverReveal Christmas at Black Cherry Retreat by Angela Britnell @ChocLituk

COVER REVEAL
Hello all!! Another beautiful cover reveal to share with you all today courtesy of the lovely Angela Britnell and the team at Choc Lit! I hope you are looking forward to this one as much as me!!

Here's a little bit more about the book to help set the mood!


CHRISTMAS AT BLACK CHERRY RETREAT

What if you had nowhere to call home for Christmas?

When Fee Winter books a winter break at the remote Black Cherry Retreat in the small town of Pine Ridge, Tennessee, it’s with the idea that the peace and quiet will help her recuperate from her hectic life as a photographer.
But what she didn’t bank on was meeting Tom Chambers and his huge, interfering yet lovable family. With them, could Fee finally experience the warmth and support that’s been missing from her own life – and maybe even find a place to call home in time for Christmas?

Christmas at Black Cherry Retreat is published on 3rd December and will be available to purchase as an eBook on all platforms.

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So here is your first look  at the book that hopefully you'll be wanting to add to your collection the moment it is released!


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Looks perfect doesn't it!?!  An idyllic spot!  Roll on 3rd December!!  Will be sharing more details about pre-ordering nearer the time!! So stay tuned!!





Monday, 22 October 2018

#Unboxing Reading In Heels Subscription Box - October 2018


It's my favourite time of the month again! Time to open up the latest Reading In Heels subscription box to see what goodies I've got this month!!  And they never fail to surprise me!!



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Time to take a closer look at it all!

Wally and Whiz - Nordic Winegums
Why have I never heard about these before?! YUM!



Spacemasks - Interstellar Relaxation
Looking forward to relaxing with these!! Much needed!!




Heath & Heather Tea
You can never have enough tea! Excited to try these flavours!



Aromatherapy Associates - De-Stress Muscle Bath & Shower Oil
Even just sniffing it has chilled me out! Looking forward to using this in the bath later!


And to the book...Sympathy by Olivia Sudjic


An electrifying novel of blood ties, online identities, and our tormented efforts to connect in the digital age.

At twenty-three, Alice Hare leaves England for New York. She falls in love with Manhattan, and becomes fixated on Mizuko Himura, an intriguing Japanese writer whose life has strange parallels to her own.

As Alice closes in on Mizuko, her ‘internet twin’, realities multiply and fact and fiction begin to blur. The relationship between the two women exposes a tangle of lies and sexual encounters. Three families collide as Alice learns that the swiftest answer to an ancient question – where do we come from? – can now be found online.

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So there we have it! Really love this mix of goodies and yet another book that I've heard very little about but am eager to read after seeing that blurb!  Have you read it? Tried any of these products?




Sunday, 21 October 2018

#BookReview The Puppet Show by M.W.Craven


About the book

A serial killer is burning people alive in the Lake District's prehistoric stone circles. He leaves no clues and the police are helpless.

When his name is found carved into the charred remains of the third victim, disgraced detective Washington Poe is brought back from suspension and into an investigation he wants no part of.

Reluctantly partnered with the brilliant but socially awkward civilian analyst, Tilly Bradshaw, the mismatched pair uncover a trail that only he is meant to see. The elusive killer has a plan and for some reason Poe is part of it.

As the body count rises, Poe discovers he has far more invested in the case than he could have possibly imagined. And in a shocking finale that will shatter everything he's ever believed about himself, Poe will learn that there are things far worse than being burned alive...


Published by Constable

Purchase Links

hive.co.uk   - £15.85


waterstones  -£19.99


MY REVIEW

The beginning hooked me in straight away and I just couldn't put it down once I'd started! It is often brutal and chilling, but the author writes with such meticulous detail that you can't help but become that 'fly on the wall' watching the drama unfold around you, and wondering just what is around the corner, for both detectives and victims!

We are introduced to Washington Poe who thought his crime solving days were behind him, but when a number of murder victims are found after being brutally tortured, he is called back to the force to help out with investigations, seeing as his name is found etched on one of the victims it brings things a little too close to home. What is the link between the victims and himself?

The team around him are a great cast of characters - Tilly Bradshaw in particular. She is very socially awkward and has led a very sheltered life, but Poe takes to her immediately. He loves her honesty and becomes very protective of her when she faces situations out of her control. He can't stand by and watch people being bullied and it's fabulous to see the dynamics between these two 'misfits'!

As the case evolves with more victims found left in historic stone circles, the team have a battle on their hands to stop whoever is behind it all before it's too late. I loved seeing the process of how they go about solving this case - it was often very unorthodox but it helped them join the dots and helped uncover some very dark stories from the past.

There were so many twists and turns in this book, and it was, at times, a horrific read with the detail of the suffering each victim was put through, but it all just adds to the drama and mystery. I'm so glad to see this is the start of a series and I'll be counting down the days until the next book is published! Brilliant stuff!!

★★★★★