#BlogBlast The Burning House by Neil Spring #BookReview @QuercusBooks #BurningHouse

About the book

It was a victimless crime…

Estate Agent Clara is struggling to make a sale. With her abusive ex-husband on the brink of finding where she’s hiding, she needs to make a commission soon or lose her chance to escape.

Boleskine House on the shores of Loch Ness has remained unsold for years, and Clara is sure that an ‘innocent’ fire will force the price down. But the perfect crime soon turns into the perfect nightmare: there was a witness, a stranger in the village, and he’s not going to let Clara get away with it that easily…

From the bestselling author of The Ghost Hunters, The Watchers and The Lost Village comes a tense and claustrophobic psychological thriller

Published by Quercus Books

Publication Date – 29th November 2018 – ebook

                             21st March 2019 – paperback

Purchase Links

Amazon UK



Wow! What a tense and chilling read that was!! From the start you are thrown into quite a chain of shocking events  and the consequences of these are felt throughout the book, and leads to some very dark places for some of the characters!

Clara Jones seems to be doing her best to put an abusive relationship behind her by hiding away and creating a new life for herself.  And life as an estate agent brings her to Boleskine House, a substantial home in an idyllic spot on the banks of Loch Ness, but it’s a house with a very dark past and legends last a long time in this part of the world.  She decides to take matters into her own hands to try and get a quicker sale and this leads to devastating consequences!

Oswald is a man on a mission – and his mission is that he must own Boleskine.  For what purpose it is unclear to begin with , but Clara soon finds herself drawn into an extremely unsettling and disturbing world – one she’d thought she’d left behind when she left London.

There are a number of characters in this book who are deeply unpleasant, and that just adds to the bleak and terrifying situations that poor Clara finds herself put in.  It’s one of those books that just gets your blood pumping with all the action and alarming dark twists and turns!  The action never seems to let up and I found myself gasping in shock  on many occasions throughout! It’s one of those books that definitely leaves a lasting and chilling impression!



#CoverReveal Sea Babies by Tracey Scott Townsend #LoveBooksGroupTours @Wildpressed @authortrace


A huge delight to be taking part in this cover reveal today and my thanks to the author and Kelly of LoveBooksGroup for letting me be part of it all!

About the book

In September 2016, Lauren Wilson is travelling by ferry to the Outer Hebrides, about to begin a new job as a children’s social worker. She’s also struggling to come to terms with the recent drowning of a Sheena, a teenage girl she had deeply cared for.

Engrossed in her book, when somebody sits opposite her at a table on the ferry, Lauren refuses to look up, annoyed at having her privacy disturbed. But a hand is pushing a mug of tea across the table, and a livid scar on the back of the hand releases a flood of memories.

Lauren studies the hand on the table in front of her, the line of the scar drawing a map of the past in her mind. She was the one who created the scar, not long before her relationship with the love of her life ended almost thirty years ago. Lauren hasn’t seen Neil since she walked out of their shared life, unable to forgive either herself or him for a decision he strongly pressured her to make.

She’s not ready to meet his eyes, not yet. From his scar to his wrist bone, following his arm upwards and across his shoulder to his collarbone, his chin and the lower part of his face; Lauren remembers incidents from their past and tries to work out what caused their life to go so horribly off-track.

When she finally meets his eyes and they speak to each other for the first time, Lauren believes she has set her life on a new course. But her gain will result in losses for others. Is this really what she wants to happen?

Some people believe in the existence of a parallel universe. Does Lauren have a retrospective choice about the outcome of her terrible recent accident, or is it the bearer of that much older scar who has the power to decide what happens to her life now?

The gripping story of Sea Babies is inspired by the vast and raw landscapes of the Outer Hebrides, by the fraught journeys of refugees from one home to the hope of another across the sea, and also by artist Marina Abromovic’s 2010 MoMA performance: The Artist is Present, in which she spent sixty seconds staring into the eyes of her former lover.

Set mainly in the Outer Hebrides and Edinburgh from the 1980s to the present, Sea Babies is a potent emotional, psychological drama with a poignant twist in the tale. Sea Babies explores the more difficult aspects of relationships, the idea of choices and responsibility, and the refugee in all of us.

Published by Wild Pressed Books

About the Author

Tracey is the author of The Last Time We Saw Marion, Of His Bones, The Eliza Doll and Another Rebecca. Her fifth novel, Sea Babies will be released on 1st May 2019. Her novels have been described as both poetic and painterly. Her first poetry collection, So Fast was published in January 2018.

Tracey is also a visual artist. All her work is inspired by the emotions of her own experiences and perceptions.

Tracey is the mother of four grown-up children and now spends a lot of time travelling in a small camper van with husband Phil and their rescue dogs, Pixie and Luna, gathering her thoughts and writing them down.

And here it is!!


#BlogTour A Lion is Not Just for Christmas by Henriette Gyland #bookextract #giveaway @rararesources

Delighted to be able to share an extract AND a giveaway with you today as part of this fabulous Blog Tour. My thanks to the author, publisher and Rachel of Rachel’s Random Resources for letting me be part of it all!

About the book

Is there life after the circus has left town?

Circus performer Justine Belmont works with big cats, but when the circus is disbanded and the old lion is sold to a private menagerie at a stately home in Norfolk, she is asked to spend a few weeks settling him into his new environment. When she arrives at the estate, however, she receives a mixed welcome.

The groundsman Tom Yates resents her presence as he doesn’t feel he needs her help with the lion. He revises his opinion when he sees the bond between her and the big cat, and she and Tom grow closer, although Justine remains torn about her feelings for him. The lady of the house, Priscilla – who is married to the reclusive owner, Lord Brooks’s, grandson – is not so easily convinced. She perceives Justine as a threat for the male attention and her plans for the manor. And her two young daughters are a little too curious about the lion for their own good.

When unsettling events occur, Justine begins to wonder if there is more to Priscilla’s animosity than meets the eye. Can Justine keep herself and everyone else safe until it’s time for her to leave again and start a new life elsewhere?

Purchase Links

Amazon UK

Amazon US

About the Author

Henriette Gyland grew up in Northern Denmark but moved to England after she graduated from the University of Copenhagen. She wrote her first book when she was ten, a tale of two orphan sisters running away to Egypt, fortunately to be adopted by a perfect family they meet on the Orient Express. Between that first literary exploit and now, she has worked in the Danish civil service, for a travel agent, a consultancy company, in banking, hospital administration, and for a county court before setting herself up as a freelance translator and linguist. Henriette recently began to pursue her writing in earnest winning the New Talent Award in 2011 from the Festival of Romance and a Commended from the Yeovil Literary Prize. Henriette lives in London.

Social Media Links – 

Website: henriettegyland.wordpress.com

 Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/henriette.gyland

 Twitter: @henrigyland


The following scene is during the last circus performance of the season. In the ring Justine is assisting her father, Elijah, in his lion-taming act.

Then, one by one, the animals were let into the ring through a tunnel cage.

‘Behold the terrifying Rexus, straight from the African sa-a-avannah!’ intoned the MC as the lion lumbered in and found his assigned pedestal to the far left, his home-away-from-home when out of his cage.

‘Regard the fearsome tiger duo, Ajit and Mohan, the man-eaters of Ca-a-alcutta!’

Never mind that Rexus was bred in captivity and the young tiger twins came from a circus in Australia … The illusion was everything.

Ajit found his pedestal with no trouble, but Mohan snarled and clawed at Elijah’s cane, his only defence against three large predators. There was a collective gasp from the audience, and a little girl at the front, who was here with her parents and grandfather by the looks of it, climbed onto her father’s lap and promptly stuck her thumb in her mouth. The deep auburn hair of the little girl’s father shone in the circus spotlight and caught Justine’s attention. When her eyes met his – such dark, stormy blue eyes – through the bars of the cage, she nearly missed her footing and had to force her focus back on the animals.

Never turn your back on the tigers.

Elijah’s first warning to Justine when she began assisting him rang out in her head. Male lions like Rexus were easier to tame because of their usually laidback nature, but tigers were more reserved and unpredictable.

She swallowed hard as her father coaxed Mohan on to his pedestal, using soothing words, a titbit of meat, and the command ‘Platz!’ After what seemed like an age Mohan complied and sat on his pedestal with a smug grin on his face.

The audience cheered with relief, not knowing that it had been one such unruly tiger which had made Justine’s mother Beth retire from the ring and take over catering instead. With a jagged scar on her arm to prove it.

When all three cats had settled, Elijah raised his cane and said, ‘Up!’ Rexus and the tigers sat up on their hind legs with their front paws in a begging pose and stayed on their hind legs for as long as Elijah held the cane in the air. When he lowered it again, the animals sat down.

A member of the ring passed three silver balls down the tunnel cage and Justine placed each of them in front of the animals.

‘Seat!’ Elijah raised and lowered his cane to command the tigers to climb onto the ball, and at the word ‘Up!’ they raised themselves onto their hind legs, balancing on the balls. He then commanded Rexus onto his ball. The old lion did so but with a little less confidence, then when Elijah circled his finger in the air, the lion rolled the ball in a straight line to the edge of the cage grunting discontentedly, where he stopped, faltered a little when turning around, then back to his pedestal. ‘Platz!’ got him seated again.

The Irish audience responded with a roar of applause. They were every bit as appreciative as English audiences had been, more so perhaps. It made Justine’s longing for her native country bearable as she still missed touring in England.


Giveaway – Win a sterling silver Thomas Sabo Snowflake Charm (UK Only)

*Terms and Conditions –UK entries welcome. Please enter using the Rafflecopter box 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 I reserve 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 I will delete the data. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.



#CoverReveal Magnolia House by Angela Barton @ChocLituk


Hello!! I can’t stop sharing the love for new covers it seems, and today I have another stunner to show off for MAGNOLIA HOUSE by ANGELA BARTON! Prepare to swoon and shout ‘aawwww’ when you see it!

Here’s a little bit of info about the book!

When you open up your home and your heart …

Rowan Forrester has it all – the happy marriage, the adorable dog, the good friends, the promising business and even the dream home after she and her husband Tom win a stunning but slightly dilapidated Georgian townhouse in London at auction.

But in the blink of an eye, Rowan’s picture-perfect life comes crashing down around her and she is faced with the prospect of having to start again.

To make ends meet she begins a search for housemates, and in doing so opens the door to new friends and new beginnings. But could she be opening the door to new heartbreak too?

Magnolia House is published on 29th January by Choc Lit and will be available to purchase as an eBook on all platforms, as well as in audio.

Ready?! Steady?! GO……


I told you it was rather gorgeous didn’t I?!  Hope you like it as much as I do! Roll on January 2019!

#BookReview The Little Snake by A.L.Kennedy

About the book

This is the story of Mary, a young girl born in a beautiful city full of rose gardens and fluttering kites. When she is still very small, Mary meets Lanmo, a shining golden snake, who becomes her very best friend.

The snake visits Mary many times, he sees her city change, become sadder as bombs drop and war creeps in. He sees Mary and her family leave their home, he sees her grow up and he sees her fall in love. But Lanmo knows that the day will come when he can no longer visit Mary, when his destiny will break them apart, and he wonders whether having a friend can possibly be worth the pain of knowing you will lose them.

From one of Britain’s most gifted and celebrated writers, The Little Snake is a magical and deeply moving fable about the journey we all take through life, about love and family, about war and resilience, about how we live in this world, and how we leave it.

Published by Canongate Books

Purchase Links





A random pick from the library – why can’t I resist a black and gold cover?! – and what a charming and touching read it turned out to be!

Only 144 pages long but feels longer as you connect immediately to the character of Mary – a young girl who is a rare soul who sees only good in people and things. She’s happy with her lot it seems, and that’s despite living on the poor side of town and never having much. When in her beloved garden she meets a snake, who becomes a close friend to her and they both learn so much from one another. The snake sees many bad things going on in the world so to find this kind hearted young girl fills him with feelings he rarely experiences and their friendship is both touching and quite profound. It follows their friendship and lives over a number of years and it becomes quite emotional to see how their bond strengthens even after time apart.

This is a dark fable filled with hope and all that I love in fairy stories. It’s aimed at children but is rewarding to readers of all ages as you can see beyond the simple story with many mentions to the modern world we live in – how wealth is idolized, the way chidren are taught things to conform – and I was pleasantly surprised with how much I got from this story.


My Bookish Weekly Wrap Up – Week 46 2018

Hello fellow book squirrels!!  I hope you are well!  Struggling to shake off a cold here and seem to be eating a ridiculous amount of comfort food in the hope that it will help me…..I cling to the hope that one day chocolate will cure everything!! 🐷

I hope your bookish weeks have been productive! Pretty happy with mine – there has been 4 books finished, a little visit to NetGalley, some bookish purchases and some lovely Blog Tour Bookpost so I hope you enjoy this little look back at my week!

BOOKS FINISHED – click on book titles for GoodReads review links!

Read, and  listened, to some extraordinary books this week! It’s not making choosing my favourite books of the year any easier….

The Museum of Modern Love by Heather Rose – 5 stars

Listened to the audio version of this on the BorrowBox app from my library – stunning!

The Coming of the Spirits by Rob Keeley – 5 stars

A superb finale to an extremely enjoyable series for children

Flames by Robbie Arnott  – 5 stars

A stunning and mesmerizing read!

The Lonely City by Olivia Laing  – 4 stars

Fascinating non fiction book about the lonely world we find ourselves living in.


Netgalley is proving very difficult to stay away from at the moment….. 3 newbies to the shelves for me!

The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley

Published by Harper Collins

Publication Date – January 2019

For fans of Ruth Ware and Tana French, a shivery, atmospheric, page-turning novel of psychological suspense in the tradition of Agatha Christie, in which a group of old college friends are snowed in at a hunting lodge . . . and murder and mayhem ensue.
All of them are friends. One of them is a killer.
During the languid days of the Christmas break, a group of thirtysomething friends from Oxford meet to welcome in the New Year together, a tradition they began as students ten years ago. For this vacation, they’ve chosen an idyllic and isolated estate in the Scottish Highlands—the perfect place to get away and unwind by themselves.
They arrive on December 30th, just before a historic blizzard seals the lodge off from the outside world.
Two days later, on New Year’s Day, one of them is dead.
The trip began innocently enough: admiring the stunning if foreboding scenery, champagne in front of a crackling fire, and reminiscences about the past. But after a decade, the weight of secret resentments has grown too heavy for the group’s tenuous nostalgia to bear. Amid the boisterous revelry of New Year’s Eve, the cord holding them together snaps.
Now one of them is dead . . . and another of them did it.
Keep your friends close, the old adage goes. But just how close is too close?

Something To Tell You by Lucy Diamond

Published by Pan Macmillan

Publication Date – January 2019

When Frankie stumbles upon an unopened letter from her late mother, she’s delighted to have one last message from her . . . until she reads the contents and discovers the truth about her birth. Brimming with questions, she travels to York to seek further answers from the Mortimer family, but her appearance sends shockwaves through them all.

Meanwhile, Robyn Mortimer has problems of her own. Her husband John has become distant, and a chance remark from a friend leads Robyn to wonder exactly what he’s not been saying. Dare she find out more?

As for Bunny, she fell head over heels in love with Dave Mortimer when she first arrived in town, but now it seems her past is catching up with her. She can’t help wondering if he’ll still feel the same way about her if he discovers who she really is – and what she did.

As secrets tumble out and loyalties are tested, the Mortimers have to face up to some difficult decisions. With love, betrayal and dramatic revelations in the mix, this is one summer they’ll never forget.

We Must Be Brave by Frances Liardet

Published by 4th Estate Books

Publication Date – February 2019

A woman; a war; a child that changed everything. 
Spanning the sweep of the twentieth century, We Must Be Brave is a luminous and profoundly moving novel about the people we rescue and the ways in which they rescue us back.

“She was fast asleep on the back seat of the bus. Curled up, thumb in mouth. Four, maybe five years old. 

I turned around. The last few passengers were shuffling away from me down the aisle to the doors. ‘Whose is this child?’ I called. 

Nobody looked back.”

December, 1940. As German bombs fall on Southampton, the city’s residents flee to the surrounding villages. In Upton village, amid the chaos, newly-married Ellen Parr finds a girl sleeping, unclaimed at the back of an empty bus. Little Pamela, it seems, is entirely alone.

Ellen has always believed she does not want children, but when she takes Pamela into her home the child cracks open the past Ellen thought she had escaped and the future she and her husband Selwyn had dreamed for themselves. As the war rages on, love grows where it was least expected, surprising them all. But with the end of the fighting comes the realization that Pamela was never theirs to keep

BOOKPOST – for upcoming Blog Tours!

Blood & Sugar by Laura Shepherd-Robinson

Blood & Sugar is the thrilling debut historical crime novel from Laura Shepherd-Robinson.

June, 1781. An unidentified body hangs upon a hook at Deptford Dock – horribly tortured and branded with a slaver’s mark.

Some days later, Captain Harry Corsham – a war hero embarking upon a promising parliamentary career – is visited by the sister of an old friend. Her brother, passionate abolitionist Tad Archer, had been about to expose a secret that he believed could cause irreparable damage to the British slaving industry. He’d said people were trying to kill him, and now he is missing . . .

To discover what happened to Tad, Harry is forced to pick up the threads of his friend’s investigation, delving into the heart of the conspiracy Tad had unearthed. His investigation will threaten his political prospects, his family’s happiness, and force a reckoning with his past, risking the revelation of secrets that have the power to destroy him.

And that is only if he can survive the mortal dangers awaiting him in Deptford…

The Lights of Time by Paul Ian Cross

Would you sacrifice your future to save your past? 

Engella Rhys is alone, adrift and on the run. Pursued by a secret agency, known only as the Hunters, she must stay ahead to stay alive. 

As she travels through space-time using dangerously experimental technology, she only has one wish: to be reunited with her lost parents. After a close shave with a Hunter on the streets of New Shanghai, Engella escapes to find herself on a deserted beach. When she meets a kind stranger, who offers her food and shelter, Engella feels safe and protected for the first time in years. 

But who is this woman? And why did their paths cross at the most convenient of times? 

Engella soon discovers their lives are intertwined in more ways than she could ever imagine.

The latest Book of the Month from the wonderful Goldsboro Books is The Chestnut Man by Soren Sveistrup!

The police make a terrible discovery in a suburb of Copenhagen. A young woman has been killed and dumped at a playground. One of her hands has been cut off, and above her hangs a small doll made of chestnuts.

Young detective Naia Thulin is assigned the case. Her partner is Mark Hess, a burned-out investigator who’s just been kicked out of Europol’s headquarters in The Hague. They soon discover a mysterious piece of evidence on the chestnut man – evidence connecting it to a girl who went missing a year earlier and is presumed dead, the daughter of politician Rosa Hartung. A man confessed to her murder, and the case is long since solved.

Soon afterwards, another woman is found murdered, along with another chestnut man. Thulin and Hess suspect that there’s a connection between the Hartung case, the murdered women and a killer who is spreading fear throughout the country. But what is it?

Thulin and Hess are racing against the clock, because it’s clear that the murderer is on a mission that is far from over . . .

TINMAN by Sarah Winman

Found this in a charity shop and have heard nothing but good things so I HAD to get it!

This is almost a love story.

Ellis and Michael are twelve when they first become friends, and for a long time it is just the two of them, cycling the streets of Oxford, teaching themselves how to swim, discovering poetry, and dodging the fists of an overbearing father. And then one day this closest of friendships grows into something more.

But then we fast forward a decade or so, to find that Ellis is married to Annie, and Michael is nowhere in sight. Which leads to the question, what happened in the years between?

This is almost a love story. But it’s not as simple as that.


click on title for GoodReads link

The Little Snake by A.L.Kennedy  – library book

A Book of Silence by Sara Maitland – nonfiction November


I hope you’ve been well behaved on the book front this week?!  Read any of these? Or have I tempted you to try any out?! Hope so!


#BookReview The Museum of Modern Love by Heather Rose

About the book

A mesmerising literary novel about a lost man in search of connection – a meditation on love, art and commitment, set against the backdrop of one of the greatest art events in modern history, Marina Abramovic’s The Artist is Present.

‘This is a weirdly beautiful book.’ David Walsh founder and curator, MONA

‘Life beats down and crushes the soul, and art reminds you that you have one.’ Stella Adler

‘Art will wake you up. Art will break your heart. There will be glorious days. If you want eternity you must be fearless.’ From The Museum of Modern Love

She watched as the final hours of The Artist is Present passed by, sitter after sitter in a gaze with the woman across the table. Jane felt she had witnessed a thing of inexplicable beauty among humans who had been drawn to this art and had found the reflection of a great mystery. What are we? How should we live?

If this was a dream, then he wanted to know when it would end. Maybe it would end if he went to see Lydia. But it was the one thing he was not allowed to do.

Arky Levin is a film composer in New York separated from his wife, who has asked him to keep one devastating promise. One day he finds his way to The Atrium at MOMA and sees Marina Abramovic in The Artist is Present. The performance continues for seventy-five days and, as it unfolds, so does Arky. As he watches and meets other people drawn to the exhibit, he slowly starts to understand what might be missing in his life and what he must do.

This dazzlingly original novel asks beguiling questions about the nature of art, life and love and finds a way to answer them.

Published by Allen & Unwin

Purchase Links

hive.co.uk  – audio version

book depository


What a special book! I chose this randomly from the BorrowBox library audio app and have been utterly absorbed over the past few days as I couldn’t get enough and just had to keep listening! Special mention for the narrator whose voice just fitted perfectly with this tale of art, love and life.

I have to admit to knowing nothing at all of Marina Abramovic, a performance artist who once sat in the Museum of Modern Art for 75 days straight – 8 – 10 hours a day – and invited members of the general public to sit opposite her and do nothing! Just sit! She didn’t eat, walk around, pee … just sat there staring at the different faces of people who queued up for hours to be part of it all. And this story is set around Levin and Jane, two strangers who are dealing with their own forms of grief and end up at the museum to witness this ‘art’ and find themselves questioning their own lives, the world around them and striking up a comforting relationship.

This is a story that ends up being so profound! It explores the questions of ‘what is life all about’, what makes people so drawn to something so simple and ‘what is art’. Jane and Levin have such different but similar pasts that you can’t help but share their concerns, doubts and worries over how they cope with things that life has thrown their way, and that they find strength in each other and the ritual of going to watch this artist and just observe things around them. 

And at the centre of the story is Marina herself – why she’s drawn to the world of performance art and her relationship with her family. I’ve now read more about her as an artist and watched video clips of ‘The Artist Is Present’ and it just seems so amazing that it affected so many people in such different ways. Even celebrities lined up to sit opposite her and be part of it all! Some smiled, some stared blankly, many cried and that’s how this book makes you feel too! There’s something very special about a book that makes you think, take time to ponder, to observe, to listen, to reflect, to just ‘be’ and I’m very glad I found the time to experience this piece of art and the stories of strangers thanks to an author who has captured the feelings beautifully. Life is art in itself and you get a very strong sense of that throughout. Wonderful!


#BookReview The Coming of the Spirits by Rob Keeley

About the book

The final book in the award-winning Spirits series. 

Sequel to High Spirits – Georgina Hawtrey-Woore Award winner 2018. 

Rob Keeley is back with the fifth and final instalment in his award-winning Spirits series. The series allows young people to learn more about other times, as well as the time in which they live.

“Nazis alone were dangerous enough, but Nazis with the powers of ghosts… of evil spirits…” 

Britain. The present day. The world we know. Ruled by the Nazis. 
Victorian England. Edward Fitzberranger is soon to become ill and die. But could there be another way? 
The Middle Ages. Sir Francis Fitzberranger is about to marry… but finds himself shifted in time. 

The barrier into the spirit world is finally breaking down and no one in the mortal world is safe. History must be set back on course and prophecies fulfilled. The Grand Defender is needed. 

As Ellie works with an underground resistance movement and with the spirit world too, she is about to discover her true destiny…

Published by Troubador

Purchase Links

Troubador Bookshop

Amazon UK

Book depository



The boundary of the spirit world is broken – and what a way to finish this fun and educational supernatural series!

The action in The Coming of the Spirits is fast paced and full of intrigue as Ellie prepares to right the wrongs of history being changed by her previous encounters with times gone by! And she gets to meet up with old friends as well as make new allies as she faces up to some troubling times.

I came to this series late but have enjoyed every step along the way as the author has mixed great storytelling with learning about various times in history so well. You end up becoming fully invested in the character of Ellie as she faces challenging decisions, and I have to admit that I may have even shed a tear with certain events in this book! I loved the mix of jumping back to various timelines, with Ellie dealing with her own personal issues with her family and the scary prospect of aging 2 years every night!! Time definitely does fly in this book!

There’s so much for children to learn and take from this series in general, and it’s a perfect book for parents to enjoy with them as The Coming of the Spirits is full of pulsating action and touches of humour to lighten some serious issues and developments. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed spending time with Ellie, her family and all the characters that became her friends over the years!

My thanks to the author and publisher for sending a copy of the book my way in return for a fair and honest review.


#BlogTour The Merest Loss by Steven Neil #BookReview @rararesources

Delighted to be part of the Blog Tour for THE MEREST LOSS by STEVEN NEIL. My thanks to the author, publisher and Rachel of Rachel’s Random Resources for letting me be part of it all!

The Merest Loss

A story of love and political intrigue, set against the backdrop of the English hunting shires and the streets of Victorian London and post-revolutionary Paris. 

When Harriet Howard becomes Louis Napoleon’s mistress and financial backer and appears at his side in Paris in 1848, it is as if she has emerged from nowhere. How did the English daughter of a Norfolk boot-maker meet the future Emperor? Who is the mysterious Nicholas Sly and what is his hold over Harriet?

 Can Harriet meet her obligations and return to her former life and the man she left behind? What is her involvement with British Government secret services? Can Harriet’s friend, jockey Tom Olliver, help her son Martin solve his own mystery: the identity of his father?

 The central character is Harriet Howard and the action takes place between 1836 and 1873. The plot centres on Harriet’s relationships with Louis Napoleon and famous Grand National winning jockey, Jem Mason. 

The backdrop to the action includes significant characters from the age, including Lord Palmerston, Queen Victoria and the Duke of Grafton, as well as Emperor Napoleon III. The worlds of horse racing, hunting and government provide the scope for rural settings to contrast with the city scenes of London and Paris and for racing skulduggery to vie with political chicanery.

 The Merest Loss is historical fiction with a twist. It’s pacy and exciting with captivating characters and a distinctive narrative voice.

Purchase Links


About the author

 Steven Neil has a BSc in Economics from the London School of Economics, a BA in English Literature and Creative Writing from the Open University and an MA in Creative Writing from Oxford Brookes University. In his working life he has been a bookmaker’s clerk, management tutor, management consultant, bloodstock agent and racehorse breeder. He is married and lives in rural Northamptonshire. 

Social Media Links

https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100016617465298 and https://twitter.com/stevenneil12


I found this to be a thoroughly fascinating and engaging story that has a great mix of characters and backgrounds and just made me want to research more about the woman behind the story – Harriet Howard.

She was a young actress in the 1840’s who was ‘encouraged’ by the British Government to strike up a relationship with Louis Napolean so he can be kept an eye on as it was such a tumultuous time historically and politically for both countries.  But her rise to the top was questioned by so many considering her very humble background and that adds such an enthralling element to her as a character.

In addition to her timeline, there is also a later timeline where a young man called Martin is in Newmarket trying to trace his father with the help of Tom Oliver who knew Harriet. Martin has a list of 5 names and is trying to work out who is his father.  This adds the world of horse racing to the mix and ‘the sport of kings’ is a great addition to the story.

The story of Harriet though is the main pull of this book and we get to see her progress from aspiring actress to a leading lady on the social stage. Her acting skills bring her to the attention of the government and it’s staggering to see the lengths they will try to get her to work for them.  She is supplied with money and the means to visit the social events to build up her profile and to put her in the circle of Louis Napolean as he tries to raise his own profile and achieve his political aim.

The character list at the start of the book is a little daunting, but most welcome once the book had begun! I found this book to be so well written that I was completely swept along in the political and sporting worlds!  There’s welcome political and historical facts mixed in with the storyline which really helped add depth to the story as it played out and it’s one of those stories that you can easily see being turned into a TV mini-series!!  

#BookReview A Daughter’s Christmas Wish by Victoria Cornwall #PublicationDay

About the book

A captivating new story from Victoria Cornwall, perfect for fans of books by Tracy Rees, Fiona Valpy and Dilly Court. 

A Cornish Christmas wish sent across the ocean … 

Christmas, Cornwall 1919 

A promise to a fellow soldier leads Nicholas to Cornwall for Christmas, and to the teashop managed by Rose; the youngest daughter of a family whose festive spirit has been blighted by their wartime experiences. But as Nicholas strives to give Rose the best Christmas she could wish for, he begins to question whether his efforts are to honour his friend, or whether there is another reason … 

Published by Choc Lit

Purchase Links

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I found this to be a beautiful Christmas read, full of hope and romance and shows the way that love can work in mysterious ways and how bringing people together isn’t always an easy task.

Nicholas made a promise to his friend Sam, a fellow soldier, to deliver a poem to his sweetheart, and when Nicholas is faced with the woman he has heard so much about, he finds it a little more difficult to complete the task.  Rose starts to notice this man hanging around her teashop a little too often, but soon finds comfort in his visits and begins to spend more time with him, and that helps her escape the reality of her own life which isn’t going so well, especially at home.  War has affected her family in more ways than one and working in the teashop allows her to be herself and try and put her life back together.

Nicholas has his own family issues on a much different scale, and it is fascinating to see how such different characters are dealing with such different problems.  He feels he knows Rose from spending so much time with Sam, and he starts to question his own reasons for being there and thinking of her all the time.

I really enjoyed the characters created in this story and it was also an intesting period in time to set a book – it shows how the war affected those who went, and those left behind.  An absorbing festive read!