#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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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

The Winter Soldier by Daniel Mason  – 5 stars

Loved it! Such an epic story!

The Puppet Show by M.W.Craven  –  5 stars

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

 

A Christmas Secret by Kirsty Ferry – 4 stars

A fun Christmas read featuring Schubert the cat!

 

Christmas at Borteen Bay by Morton S.Gray  – 4 stars

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

A Spark of Light by Jodi Picoult

reading this via The Pigeonhole app

The Merest Loss by Steven Neil

reading this ahead of a Blog Tour next month!

A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

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!!

#BookReview The Winter Soldier by Daniel Mason #TheWinterSoldier

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

Goldsboro Books – signed first edition  £19.99

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!!

★★★★★

#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!!

#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!

https://shop.wallyandwhiz.com/

Spacemasks – Interstellar Relaxation

Looking forward to relaxing with these!! Much needed!!

http://www.spacemasks.com/

Heath & Heather Tea

You can never have enough tea! Excited to try these flavours!

 https://www.heathandheather.co.uk/

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!

 https://www.aromatherapyassociates.com/

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?

#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

Goldsboro – signed first edition  – £19.99

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!!

★★★★★

My Bookish Weekly Wrap Up – Week 41 2018

Happy Saturday one and all!  I hope you are well … I am not!! The cold germs have invaded my head so I’m sat here feeling very sorry for myself, in between sneezing and trying to find things to easy my sore throat! Woe is me!

But then there are books to cheer me up! And what better remedy for feeling pants than to  look back on another pretty good bookish week! Another 5 books finished, 1 newbie from NetGalley, and 7 more real books to add to the shelves!  I think I need to work on balancing things out better haha!!

So here’s a quick look back at those that I’ve finished, those hauled and what I’m reading now! Enjoy!

Books finished

The Coffin Path by Katherine Clements – 4 stars

Fab creepy read!

Emily Nation by Alec McQuay  – 3 stars

 Quirky read – started strongly but then fell a little flat!

The Witch of Willow Hall by Hester Fox – 5 stars

Powerful and entrancing! Loved it!

Watch For Me at Christmas by Kirsty Ferry – 5 stars

Another visit to Hartsford Hall and I loved it!

Another Cup of Coffee by Jenny Kane  – 3 stars

Enjoyable read – makes you want to make a mix tape again!

BOOK HAUL

Starting over at Netgalley!

The Christmas Sisters by Sarah Morgan

Published by HQ

1st November 2018

The McBride sisters all have different reasons for finding Christmas challenging, but their adoptive mother is determined this year will be different. As the countdown to Christmas Day begins and the sisters return to their childhood home in the Scottish Highlands, arguments, connections and secrets start bubbling to the surface. The McBride family was made, not born – but will the sisters be able to make this the magical family Christmas their mother has always dreamed of?

And on to books I’ve received for reviewing from lovely publishers.

The Conviction of Cora Burns by Carolyn Kirby

Published by No Exit Press

Publication Date – 21st March 2019

Set in 1880s Birmingham, Carolyn Kirby’s stunning debut The Conviction of Cora Burns tells the story of Cora, a young woman born in a prison to a convicted criminal she never knew but from whom she fears she has inherited a violent nature. Perfect for fans of Sarah Schmidt, Anna Mazzola and Hannah Kent.

Cora was born in a prison. But is this where she belongs?
Birmingham, 1885.
Born in a gaol and raised in a workhouse, Cora Burns has always struggled to control the violence inside her.
Haunted by memories of a terrible crime, she seeks a new life working as a servant in the house of scientist Thomas Jerwood.
Here, Cora befriends a young girl, Violet, who seems to be the subject of a living experiment. But is Jerwood also secretly studying Cora…?

With the power and intrigue of Laura Purcell’s The Silent Companions and Sarah Schmidt’s See What I Have Done, Carolyn Kirby’s stunning debut takes the reader on a heart-breaking journey through Victorian Birmingham and questions where we first learn violence: from our scars or from our hearts.

The Jacobite’s Wife by Morag Edwards

Published by Hookline Books

Out now

This historical novel is the fictionalised account of the life of Winifred, Countess of Nithsdale (1672 – 1749). Brought up as a Jacobite in the turmoil of late 17th century politics, Winifred spends her young, adult years within the glittering, exiled court of James II in France. Winifred’s marriage to William Maxwell, Earl of Nithsdale brings love and passion but also tests her loyalty to her husband and the Jacobite cause. How far will Winifred go to save his life?

Flames by Robbie Arnott

Published by Atlantic Books

Publication Date – 1st November 2018

It starts with a fisherman hunting for tuna, his sidekick a young seal as fast as quicksilver, a relationship forged in blood and fishmeat, but broken by the black heft of the sea; then a young man whose mother burned up outside, the scorch marks still on the grass, who fears the same fate for his sister so builds her a coffin, even though she’s still breathing and very much alive; a water rat swimming upriver, a god in his element until he finds that some gods are more powerful than others; a flock of cormorants, pecking out the eyes of the slow-witted wombats on a local farm, and the sad old man who swears bloody vengeance; and more, and more, until it ends with a fisherman, who used to hunt for tuna, with a seal for a sidekick, as fast as quicksilver…

And on to the books that I thought I should treat myself to…..

The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart

The most enchanting debut novel of 2018, this is an irresistible, deeply moving and romantic story of a young girl, daughter of an abusive father, who has to learn the hard way that she can break the patterns of the past, live on her own terms and find her own strength.

After her family suffers a tragedy when she is nine years old, Alice Hart is forced to leave her idyllic seaside home. She is taken in by her estranged grandmother, June, a flower farmer who raises Alice on the language of Australian native flowers, a way to say the things that are too hard to speak. But Alice also learns that there are secrets within secrets about her past. Under the watchful eye of June and The Flowers, women who run the farm, Alice grows up. But an unexpected betrayal sends her reeling, and she flees to the dramatically beautiful central Australian desert. Alice thinks she has found solace, until she falls in love with Dylan, a charismatic and ultimately dangerous man.

The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart is a story about stories: those we inherit, those we select to define us, and those we decide to hide. It is a novel about the secrets we keep and how they haunt us, and the stories we tell ourselves in order to survive. Spanning twenty years, set between the lush sugar cane fields by the sea, a native Australian flower farm, and a celestial crater in the central desert, Alice must go on a journey to discover that the most powerful story she will ever possess is her own.

Unsheltered by Barbara Kingsolver

2016 Vineland
Meet Willa Knox, a woman who stands braced against an upended world that seems to hold no mercy for her shattered life and family – or the crumbling house that contains her.

1871 Vineland
Thatcher Greenwood, the new science teacher, is a fervent advocate of the work of Charles Darwin, and he is keen to communicate his ideas to his students. But those in power in Thatcher’s small town have no desire for a new world order. Thatcher and his teachings are not welcome.

Both Willa and Thatcher resist the prevailing logic. Both are asked to pay a high price for their courage. But both also find inspiration — and an unlikely kindred spirit — in Mary Treat, a scientist, adventurer and anachronism.

A testament to both the resilience and persistent myopia of the human condition, Unsheltered explores the foundations we build in life, spanning time and place to give us all a clearer look at those around us, and perhaps ourselves. It is a novel that speaks truly to our times.

All Among The Barley by Melissa Harrison

From the author of Costa-shortlisted and Baileys-longlisted At Hawthorn Time comes a major new novel. Set on a farm in Suffolk just before the Second World War, it introduces a girl on the cusp of adulthood.

Fourteen-year-old Edie Mather lives with her family at Wych Farm, where the shadow of the Great War still hangs over a community impoverished by the Great Depression. Glamorous outsider Constance FitzAllen arrives from London, determined to make a record of fading rural traditions and beliefs, and to persuade Edie’s family to return to the old ways rather than embrace modernity. She brings with her new political and social ideas – some far more dangerous than others.

For Edie, who has just finished school and must soon decide what to do with her life, Connie appears to be a godsend. But there is more to the older woman than meets the eye. As harvest time approaches and the pressures mount on the entire Mather family, Edie must decide whose version of reality to trust, and how best to save herself from disaster.

A masterful evocation of the rhythms of the natural world and pastoral life, All Among the Barley is also a powerful and timely novel about influence, the lessons of history and the dangers of nostalgia.

The Winter Solider by Daniel Mason

signed first edition from Goldsboro Books

 

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.

CURRENTLY READING

Frogkisser! by Garth Nix

The Puppet Show by M.W.Craven

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So how has your bookish week been? Stayed away from the bookstores?! I thought not!!  Wishing you a fabulous week ahead! I’m off to endure another mug of Lemsip… yuck!

#BookReview The Coffin Path by Katherine Clements #ripxiii

About the book

The Coffin Path is an eerie and compelling seventeenth-century ghost story set on the dark wilds of the Yorkshire moors. For fans of Michelle Paver and Sarah Waters, this gothic tale will weave its way into your imagination and chill you to the bone.

Maybe you’ve heard tales about Scarcross Hall, the house on the old coffin path that winds from village to moor top. They say there’s something up here, something evil.

Mercy Booth isn’t afraid. The moors and Scarcross are her home and lifeblood. But, beneath her certainty, small things are beginning to trouble her. Three ancient coins missing from her father’s study, the shadowy figure out by the gatepost, an unshakeable sense that someone is watching.

When a stranger appears seeking work, Mercy reluctantly takes him in. As their stories entwine, this man will change everything. She just can’t see it yet.

Published by Headline Review

Purchase Links

Hive.co.uk

Waterstones

Book Depository

MY REVIEW

Creepy, chilling and compelling! That’s how I’d sum up this dark tale from Katherine Clements!

You can’t get a better setting than an old house set on the moors and that is where you’ll find Scarcross Hall, which is home to Mercy and her father. The moors are all she’s ever known and she’ll do whatever it takes to keep her family there despite the hostile surroundings, and when lambs from their flock start being found horrifically slaughtered the rumours begin again that dark times are set to follow, as they had done many years earlier to a previous family.

Things begin to go missing from her home, there are strange noises, ghostly figures watching over her – is she losing her mind or are these things really happening? With the arrival of a stranger, Ellis, he joins the family to help work on the land and this doesn’t go down too well with those already working there. He is an enigmatic character but proves his worth when times turn darker.

There are so many interesting characters to follow in this story – Mercy is a strong female who thinks she can face everything alone and doesn’t like to be proved wrong, but shows her softer side when dealing with young Sam who has his own tragic past. Her father is not a well man and has many secrets, his housekeeper Agnes doing her best to keep the household together, and the mysterious Ellis. I loved how the story flowed – the horrific slaughter of the lambs happened so randomly but the rumours of the dark past of the moors quickly filled the villagers with fear and Mercy is left to try and figure out why this is happening – is it something she’s done? Is the land cursed?

I really enjoyed this despite the unsettling feeling you got to share along with Mercy and the others. It’s full of folklore and amidst the bleak setting of the moors it really sets the story up as one where you can’t turn the pages quick enough to find out what will happen next!! A perfect halloween read!!

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My Bookish Weekly Wrap Up – Week 40 2018

Hello!!  It’s all beginning to look a lot like Autumn round these parts- but not feeling like it yet as it’s still weirdly very mild and muggy!

And on the book front things are still chugging along nicely! Another 4 books finished this week, despite having a much slower pace of reading as my brain was on a go slow , and the hauling is continuing at a scary pace so that needs to be worked on….. on a positive note, I stayed away from Netgalley!!!  

So here’s a quick look at my week in bookish form, click on the book titles for a link to their GoodReads pages!

BOOKS FINISHED

The Widow by Fiona Barton  –  5 stars

Listened to the audio version of this and really loved it!

The Christmas Cafe at Seashell Cove by Karen Clarke –  4 stars

Such a lovely read whatever time of the year you pick it up! Loved this series!

One Magical Christmas by Berni Stevens  –  4 stars

The perfect festive read with all the magical feels!!

A View of the Harbour by Elizabeth Taylor   –  4 stars

Another fascinating book from this author. A great study of characters!

BOOKHAUL

A mix of books I felt I needed to treat myself to this week – we all deserve treats don’t we?! – and some lovely books sent from publishers ahead of Blog Tours!

The Suspect by Fiona Barton – proof copy

Published by Bantam Press – 24th January 2019

‘The police belonged to another world – the world they saw on the television or in the papers. Not theirs.’

When two eighteen-year-old girls go missing on their gap year in Thailand, their families are thrust into the international spotlight: desperate, bereft and frantic with worry.

Journalist Kate Waters always does everything she can to be first to the story, first with the exclusive, first to discover the truth – and this time is no exception. But she can’t help but think of her own son, who she hasn’t seen in two years, since he left home to go travelling. This time it’s personal.

And as the case of the missing girls unfolds, they will all find that even this far away, danger can lie closer to home than you might think . . .

 

The Last Words of Madeleine Anderson by Helen Kitson  – proof copy

Published by Louise Walters Books – 7th March 2019

Once upon a time Gabrielle Price wrote and published an extraordinary novel.

But twenty years on her literary star has dimmed, her “work of genius” is all but forgotten, and no further novels have materialized. She now lives an unremarkable life: middle-aged, living alone in the sleepy village she grew up in, and working as a housekeeper for the local vicar. Her lonely existence is dominated by memories of her best friend Madeleine, who died young, in tragic and mysterious circumstances.

Gabrielle’s quiet world is turned upside down when she meets and befriends Simon – young, attractive, a would-be writer, and enthusiastic fan of the astonishing novel that Gabrielle published all those years ago. Charmed and flattered, she recklessly invites him into her home and her heart. But Simon is mysterious and manipulative, and it’s not long before he forces Gabrielle to confront the demons in her past. Gabrielle’s obsession begins to destroy her carefully cultivated life, and she comes to feel increasingly threatened by Simon’s presence. Who is he? Why did he seek her out? And what does he really want?

The Witch of Willow Hall by Hester Fox – proof copy

Published by HQ – 18th October 2018

“It was the Bishop boy who started it all…”Boston, 1811: The Salem Witch Trials are over one hundred years in the past, and America is a changed place. Lydia Montrose is a young girl, enraged by the cruel boy who torments her. When she confronts him in the street, she draws a disbelieving crowd, and she cannot quite remember what she’s done.Ten years later, Lydia finds herself in a carriage bound for the rural New Oldbury, Massachusetts, her family fleeing Boston in the wake of a scandal connected to her older sister, Catherine, her own engagement to a promising young man abruptly broken. The stately Willow Hall, which Mr. Montrose built as a summer retreat for his family, is now the only home the Montroses can have.Lydia resents that she’s lost everything. But her resentment turns to disquiet when it becomes apparent that Willow Hall hides dark secrets that no one in the Montrose family could have predicted, like the ominous messages Lydia keeps receiving: “You attract them. Prepare.” And Mr. Montrose’s handsome business partner, John Barrett, seems to begrudge that Mr. Montrose has brought his family with him to Willow Hall.When whatever lurks in the house and its surrounding woods does the unthinkable, Lydia knows she is the only one who can stop it. Summoning powers she barely understands, Lydia must engage the forces around her to keep her family safe, while protecting the blossoming love she has with John–who has secrets of his own.

And then I went browsing on https://www.hive.co.uk/ and felt the need to treat myself to these!

Feminists Don’t Wear Pink by Scarlett Curtis

An urgent and inspirational collection of essays by a diverse group of celebrities, activists, and artists about what feminism means to them, with the goal of helping readers come to their own personal understanding of the word.
Feminism has never been more deeply and widely embraced and discussed, but what exactly does the F word mean?
Here, personal stories from actors, writers, and activists explore the contradictions and complications at the heart of the movement. By bridging the gap between feminist hashtags and scholarly texts, these essays bring feminism into clear focus.

Every woman has a different route to their personal understanding of feminism. This empowering collection shows how a diverse group of women found their voice, and it will inspire others to do the same

Paper Girls Vol 2 by Brian K.Vaughan

Paper Girls Vol 3 by Brian K.Vaughan

Bridge of Clay by Markus Zusak – signed edition

Here is a story told inside out and back to front

Five Dunbar brothers are living – fighting, loving, grieving – in the perfect chaos of a house without grown-ups. Today, the father who left them has just walked right back in.
He has a surprising request: Who will build a bridge with him?

It is Clay, a boy tormented by a long-buried secret, who accepts. But why is Clay so broken? And why must he fulfil this extraordinary challenge?

Bridge of Clay is about a boy caught in a current, a boy intent on destroying everything he has in order to become everything he needs to be. Ahead of him lies the bridge, the vision that will save both his family and himself.

It will be a miracle and nothing less.

At once an existential riddle and a search for redemption, this tale of five brothers coming of age in a house with no rules brims with energy, joy and pathos. Written in Markus Zusak’s distinctive style, it is a tour de force from a master storyteller of the heart.

CURRENTLY READING

Where the What Ifs Roam and the moon is Louis Armstrong by Esther Krivda

Emily Nation by Alec McQuay

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So now to catch up on some reviews – my least favourite part of reading at the moment haha – and to work up a plan of what books might lie ahead for me in the next 7 days!  Hope your bookish week has been a good one!!

HAPPY READING!!

#BlogTour The Eyes That Look by Julia Grigg #bookreview @Bookollective

Extremely delighted to be the next stop on the Blog Tour for this stunning book. My thanks to the author, publisher and team at Bookollective for inviting me to be part of the fun!

About the book

Yes, we may have eyes that look, but how clearly do we see? Julia Grigg’s compelling novel, The Eyes That Look, set amidst the feverish creativity and competition of mid-sixteenth-century Italy, tells the story of Francesco Bassano, a young man who questions why an extraordinary painting was made and sets off to find out. His journey takes him across the Veneto and to Florence, where he learns about loyalty and the unbreakable bond between a master and his dogs, about the determination it takes to innovate, and about the sacrifices needed to turn ambitions into reality. Witness to astonishing achievements in art and architecture, Francesco is enthralled and uplifted but also exposed to human frailty and inhumanity. Thinking anew about truth and beauty, he also experiences bitter betrayal.

A novel steeped in the visual and tactile power of art, The Eyes that Look entertains as it informs, inviting readers to revel in a Renaissance world of unrivalled artistic richness.

Published by Unicorn Publishing

Purchase Links

hive.co.uk  £10.75

waterstones  £13.00

foyles  £13.00

About the Author

Julia Grigg started out in fashion journalism, her first job on Vogue, also writing on the arts, food and travel. She retains an abiding interest in all these subjects but soon moved into a career with UNICEF as a writer and advocate for children’s issues and over many years was deployed to some of the world’s most demanding and complex countries. 

Julia began The Eyes that Look – the secret story of Bassano’s Hunting Dogs while studying for the Bath Spa University Masters in Creative Writing from which she graduated with Distinction. Early drafts of the novel were longlisted for the Exeter First Novel Prize and for the Aurora Metro Virginia Prize for New Writing by Women in English. 

The Eyes that Look was years in the making before a single word was put on the page. Writing it meant Julia could delve deep into the Italian High Renaissance, indulging a lifelong fascination with its art, music and poetry. In the research process she embraced online study, attended the Courtauld Institute summer school and the British Institute in Florence, and spent much time in Italian archives, galleries and churches as well as in trying to master the language. 

Julia is working on the second novel of a planned Renaissance trilogy, involving mid 1500s Rome, Florence and Venice settings and some of the same cast of characters as The Eyes that Look. 

Cornish in origin, Julia divides her time between the UK and Nairobi, Kenya, spending as much time as she can in the West Country, always thrilled to be once again crossing the Tamar. Dogs are another passion; she and her husband share their home with a pair of black and tan dachshunds. 

Author on Twitter

MY REVIEW

I found this to be a beautifully written book that transports you back to Italy in the Mid 16th Century and brings the sights and sounds to life with such astonishing attention to detail.  The colours literally ping off the pages as you read!

I’m often a little sceptical of books about the art world and paintings – how much can be written about a particular painting?! But with this story we go beyond the art, and to the story behind this famous painting mixed with historical facts that blend so well.

It did take me a while to get into the flow of the story as I was a little unsure of what to expect, but once I’d got my head around the characters I found this so easy to read and so captivating as you follow a young man on his quest to discover more about his father, and more of the artwork he created.  There are so many mentions of artists we’ve all heard of, and the way they are used adds such flavour to the story.  It’s also told from a number of different Points of View so you’re always getting different sides to stories, varying glimpses of life and seeing young  Francesco have his opinions changed as he discovers more about the story of this painting that was very unusual for the time.

There is no better setting for a historical mystery than Venice, and the way this is written is stunning.  I couldn’t get over how much colour plays a part in setting the story – it was so vivid!  It left me wanting to read more about the artists and period of history. The author obviously has a clear love of Art as her devotion to the story and understanding of that world makes you connect with the characters so much more.

The lessons he learns on his journey teach him so much and you can’t help embrace the same message as you read.  It explores the relationship between father and son and how we often see people differently because they are family and that it takes others perceptions to allow you to see them as they really are.

A stunning read and one I can highly recommend to others who are looking for something a little different.

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