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Friday, 31 December 2021

Reading Round-Up: November/December 2021

The Writing Greyhound book stack

It's the end of another year (somehow!) and that means it's time for my last reading round-up of 2021. This year has definitely seen a resurgence in reading for me, as I've read more books this year than any other! That's a big achievement for me and something I'm hoping to carry forward into 2022. 

So what's the latest bookish gossip? Grab yourself a mug of hot chocolate and read on to find out! 

Thursday, 30 December 2021

2021: My Year in Review

The Writing Greyhound 2021 Year in Review

I can't believe it's the end of another year already! It seems like only yesterday that I was sitting down to write my 2020 wrap-up post, and all of sudden it's nearly 2022. Where does the time go?

2021 was definitely a more positive year overall, with the Covid vaccine rollout well underway, and the gradual easing of restrictions. Of course, we haven't seen the last of the pandemic yet, but it's important to try and stay positive.

Monday, 20 December 2021

Book Review: One Family Christmas by Bella Osborne

One Family Christmas by Bella Osborne book cover

AD* | A big family. A whole lot of secrets. A Christmas to remember...

This year, Lottie is hosting one last big family Christmas at the home she grew up in – just like her Nana would have wanted.

But when her relatives descend on the old manor house, Lottie gets more than she bargained for. Every family has its secrets, but in this family, everybody has one!

So, between cooking a Christmas dinner, keeping tensions at bay and a stray dog out of mischief, she has plenty on her plate (and not just misshapen sausage rolls and a frozen turkey). And then her first love shows up – nine years after he walked out of her life.

Can Lottie make their last family Christmas one to remember... for the right reasons?

Friday, 10 December 2021

Book Review: Farringdon's Fate by Linda Finlay

Farringdon's Fate by Linda Finlay book blog tour banner

AD* | One noble family. Five eligible daughters. A sealed fate.

Nettlecombe Manor, nestled in the rolling hills of Devon, is home to the Lord Farringdon and his second wife, Lady Charlotte. As if running the vast estate wasn’t enough, Lord Farringdon has five daughters to keep him busy. Lady Charlotte is determined that the betrothal of the eldest, Louisa, should be celebrated with a ball which is the envy of Devon society and summons a corsetière from Exeter to measure them up for new corsets.

Apprentice Jane Haydon arrives at Nettlecombe to do the fittings. Having never set foot in such a grand home, Jane is disturbed to hear tell of a gypsy’s curse which has haunted the family for generations, and a local wise woman’s vision that there will never be a wedding at Nettlecombe...

Thursday, 9 December 2021

Book Review: The Arctic Curry Club by Dani Redd

The Arctic Curry Club by Dani Redd book cover

AD* | "For my whole life I had been looking for home. But why would that be in a place that I’d left? Perhaps I had to keep moving forward in order to find it..."

Soon after upending her life to accompany her boyfriend Ryan to the Arctic, Maya realises it’s not all Northern Lights and husky sleigh rides. Instead, she’s facing sub-zero temperatures, 24-hour darkness, crippling anxiety – and a distant boyfriend as a result.

In her loneliest moment, Maya opens her late mother’s recipe book and cooks Indian food for the first time. Through this, her confidence unexpectedly grows – she makes friends, secures a job as a chef, and life in the Arctic no longer freezes her with fear.

But there’s a cost: the aromatic cuisine rekindles memories of her enigmatic mother and her childhood in Bangalore. Can Maya face the past and forge a future for herself in this new town? After all, there’s now high demand for a Curry Club in the Arctic, and just one person with the know-how to run it...

Thursday, 2 December 2021

Book Review: The Killer in the Snow by Alex Pine

The Killer in the Snow by Alex Pine book cover

AD* | The first fall of snow can be fatal...

A year has passed since DI James Walker cracked his biggest case yet, and he’s hoping for peace and quiet this festive season.

But across the fells, a local farmer returns home on Christmas Eve to find footsteps in the fresh snow that lead down to his unused basement – and no footsteps leading away. Days later, his body is found, alongside those of his wife and daughter.

Without a neighbour for miles, there are no witnesses and little evidence. And the crime scene has strange echoes of another terrible murder committed at the farmhouse, twenty years earlier...

James knows that to catch this killer, he needs to solve a case that has long since gone cold...

Wednesday, 1 December 2021

Book Review: The Christmas Killer by Alex Pine

The Christmas Killer by Alex Pine book cover

AD* | As the snow begins to fall, the body count begins to climb...

DI James Walker is ready for a quiet family Christmas in the sleepy village of Kirkby Abbey.

But when he opens an early Christmas present left on his doorstep, he soon realises it is no gift. Inside is a gruesome surprise, and a promise – twelve days, twelve murders. Not long after, the first body is found, half-frozen in the snow.

As the blizzards descend, panic spreads through the remote Cumbrian village – there’s a killer amongst them, and with eleven more victims to go, anyone could be next...

Can James stop the killer before they strike again?

Monday, 29 November 2021

Book Review: A Dark Inheritance by Chris d'Lacey

A Dark Inheritance by Chris d'Lacey book cover

When Michael Malone discovers his supernatural ability to alter reality, he is recruited by an organisation dedicated to investigating strange and paranormal phenomena. He joins in hopes of finding his father, who mysteriously vanished three years earlier. 

Michael's first task is to solve the mystery of a dog he rescued from a precarious clifftop - a mystery that leads him to a strange and sickly classmate and a young girl who was killed in a devastating accident. Stakes are high as Michael learns to harness his newfound ability and uncover the deadly truth about his father's disappearance.

Sunday, 28 November 2021

How to Celebrate Christmas With Your Cat

Celebrating Christmas with your cat

Christmas is a favourite time of year for many people, but as with all big events, plenty of planning and preparation goes into the big day. For those with cats, however, it can be hard to know how to include your furry friend in the celebrations.

Celebrating Christmas with a cat needn't be a difficult task, but it's important to make sure that your pet is happy, safe, and comfortable during the festive season. 

Read on for my top tips and tricks around how to celebrate Christmas with your cat!

Friday, 26 November 2021

Book Review: The Bookseller's Secret by Michelle Gable

The Bookseller's Secret by Michelle Gable book blog tour poster

AD* | In 1942, London, Nancy Mitford is worried about more than air raids and German spies. Still recovering from a devastating loss, the once sparkling Bright Young Thing is estranged from her husband, her allowance has been cut, and she’s given up her writing career. On top of this, her five beautiful but infamous sisters continue making headlines with their controversial politics.

Eager for distraction and desperate for income, Nancy jumps at the chance to manage the Heywood Hill bookshop while the owner is away at war. Between the shop’s brisk business and the literary salons she hosts for her eccentric friends, Nancy’s life seems on the upswing. But when a mysterious French officer insists that she has a story to tell, Nancy must decide if picking up the pen again and revealing all is worth the price she might be forced to pay.

Eighty years later, Heywood Hill is abuzz with the hunt for a lost wartime manuscript written by Nancy Mitford. For one woman desperately in need of a change, the search will reveal not only a new side to Nancy but an even more surprising link between the past and present...

Thursday, 25 November 2021

Book Review: Wish You Were Here by Jodi Picoult

Wish You Were Here by Jodi Picoult book cover

AD* | Diana O'Toole is perfectly on track. She will be married by thirty, done having kids by thirty-five, and move out to the New York City suburbs, all while climbing the professional ladder in the cutthroat art auction world. She's an associate specialist at Sotheby's now, but her boss has hinted at a promotion if she can close a deal with a high-profile client. She's not engaged just yet, but she knows her boyfriend, Finn, a surgical resident, is about to propose on their romantic getaway to the Galapagos - days before her thirtieth birthday. Right on time.

But then a virus that felt worlds away has appeared in the city, and on the eve of their departure, Finn breaks the news: It's all hands on deck at the hospital. He has to stay behind. You should still go, he assures her, since it would be a shame for all of their nonrefundable trip to go to waste. And so, reluctantly, she goes.

Almost immediately, Diana's dream vacation goes awry. Her luggage is lost, the Wi-Fi is nearly nonexistent, and the hotel they'd booked is shut down due to the pandemic. In fact, the whole island is now under quarantine, and she is stranded until the borders reopen. Completely isolated, she must venture beyond her comfort zone. Slowly, she carves out a connection with a local family when a teenager with a secret opens up to Diana, despite her father's suspicion of outsiders.

In the Galapagos Islands, where Darwin's theory of evolution by natural selection was formed, Diana finds herself examining her relationships, her choices, and herself - and wondering if when she goes home, she too will have evolved into someone completely different.

Friday, 12 November 2021

Book Review: A Special Cornish Christmas by Phillipa Ashley

A Special Cornish Christmas by Phillipa Ashley book cover

AD* | For Bo Grayson, Christmas has always been the most wonderful time of the year. Well, until she had her heart broken last December...

At a local summer fete, Bo and her friends meet the mysterious fortune teller Madame Odette, and they are each given the same prediction: You will meet the love of your life by Christmas Day.

With just a few months until the festive season, they dismiss the predictions out of hand. Bo’s attentions are focused on creating the best seasonal menu for her Boatyard Café, and her rock and roll dance group – the Falford Flingers – who are hard at work getting ready for their Christmas Spectacular show.

The last thing she imagines is that she’ll be ready to open her heart again. But will fate – and perhaps a sprinkle of Christmas magic – change her mind?

Thursday, 11 November 2021

Book Review: The Memory Box by Kathryn Hughes

The Memory Box by Kathryn Hughes book cover

AD* | Jenny Tanner opens the box she has cherished for decades. Contained within are her most precious mementoes, amongst them a pebble, a carving and a newspaper cutting she can hardly bear to read. But Jenny knows the time is finally here. After the war, in a mountainside village in Italy, she left behind a piece of her heart. However painful, she must return to Cinque Alberi. And lay the past to rest.

After a troubled upbringing, Candice Barnes dreams of a future with the love of her life - but is he the man she believes him to be? When Candice is given the opportunity to travel to Italy with Jenny, she is unaware the trip will open her eyes to the truth she's been too afraid to face. Could a place of goodbyes help her make a brave new beginning?

Wednesday, 3 November 2021

Book Review: All Creatures Great and Small Series by James Herriot

If Only They Could Talk by James Herriot book cover

When the newly qualified vet, James Herriot, arrives in the small Yorkshire village of Darrowby, he has no idea of the new friends he will meet or adventures that lie ahead. 

From the author whose books inspired the BBC series All Creatures Great and Small, these unforgettable memoirs chronicle James Herriot's years as a country vet, with the signature storytelling magic that has made him a favourite the world over. These are books for those who find laughter and joy in animals, and know and understand the magic of wild places and beautiful countryside.

Sunday, 31 October 2021

Reading Round-Up: September/October 2021

The Writing Greyhound book stack

Happy Halloween!

On the spookiest day of the year, I'm looking back on all the books I've been reading this autumn. From much-loved classics to brand new stories hot off the press, there's a little bit of something for everyone in there...

Thursday, 14 October 2021

Book Review: Black Drop by Leonora Nattrass

Black Drop by Leonora Nattrass book cover

AD* | This is the confession of Laurence Jago. Clerk. Gentleman. Reluctant spy.

July 1794, and the streets of London are filled with rumours of revolution. Political radical Thomas Hardy is to go on trial for treason, the war against the French is not going in Britain's favour, and negotiations with the independent American colonies are on a knife-edge.

Laurence Jago - clerk to the Foreign Office - is ever more reliant on the Black Drop to ease his nightmares. A highly sensitive letter has been leaked to the press, which may lead to the destruction of the British Army, and Laurence is a suspect. Then he discovers the body of a fellow clerk, supposedly a suicide.

Blame for the leak is shifted to the dead man, but even as the body is taken to the anatomists, Laurence is certain both of his friend's innocence, and that he was murdered. But after years of hiding his own secrets from his powerful employers, and at a time when even the slightest hint of treason can lead to the gallows, how can Laurence find the true culprit without incriminating himself?

Tuesday, 7 September 2021

Book Review: Empire of the Vampire by Jay Kristoff

Empire of the Vampire by Jay Kristoff book cover

AD* | From holy cup comes holy light;
The faithful hand sets world aright.
And in the Seven Martyrs’ sight,
Mere man shall end this endless night.


It has been twenty-seven long years since the last sunrise. For nearly three decades, vampires have waged war against humanity; building their eternal empire even as they tear down our own. Now, only a few tiny sparks of light endure in a sea of darkness.

Gabriel de León is a silversaint: a member of a holy brotherhood dedicated to defending realm and church from the creatures of the night. But even the Silver Order could not stem the tide once daylight failed us, and now, only Gabriel remains.

Imprisoned by the very monsters he vowed to destroy, the last silversaint is forced to tell his story. A story of legendary battles and forbidden love, of faith lost and friendships won, of the Wars of the Blood and the Forever King and the quest for humanity’s last remaining hope:

The Holy Grail.

Monday, 6 September 2021

Book Review: Whisper Cottage by Anne Wyn Clark

 
AD* | How well do you know the woman next door?

When Stina and Jack move to an old rural cottage, they’re hoping for a fresh start. Their new home is run-down compared to their neighbour’s, but generous Mrs Barley quickly becomes a friend.

Until Stina sees a mysterious figure in the widow’s garden, and her happy new life begins to unravel. And when she hears strange noises in the night, she is forced to question if Mrs Barley is what she seems.

Why do the other villagers whisper about her? Why is she so eager to help the couple? And what is she hiding in her picture-perfect home?

Saturday, 4 September 2021

Book Review: Green Rising by Lauren James

Green Rising by Lauren James book cover

AD* | Gabrielle is a climate-change activist who shoots to fame when she becomes the first teenager to display a supernatural ability to grow plants from her skin. Hester is the millionaire daughter of an oil tycoon and the face of the family business. Theo comes from a long line of fishermen, but his parents are struggling to make ends meet.

On the face of it, the three have very little in common. Yet when Hester and Theo join Gabrielle and legions of other teenagers around the world in developing the strange new “Greenfingers” power, it becomes clear that to use their ability for good, they’ll need to learn to work together. But in a time of widespread corruption and greed, there are plenty of profit-hungry organizations who want to use the Greenfingers for their own ends. And not everyone would like to see the Earth saved...

As they navigate first love and family expectations, can the three teenagers pull off the ultimate heist and bring about a green rising?

Friday, 3 September 2021

Book Review: Freckles by Cecelia Ahern

Freckles by Cecelia Ahern book cover

AD* | You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.

When a stranger utters these words to Allegra Bird, nicknamed Freckles, it turns her highly ordered life upside down. In her current life as a parking warden, she has left her eccentric father and unconventional childhood behind for a bold new life in the city.

But a single encounter leads her to ask the question she’s been avoiding for so long: who are the people who made her the way she is? And who are the five people who can shape and determine her future? Just as she once joined the freckles on her skin to mirror the constellations in the night sky, she must once again look for connections.

Told in Allegra’s vivid, original voice, moving from Dublin to the fierce Atlantic coast, this is an unforgettable story of human connection, of friendship, and growing into your own skin.

Five people. Five stars. Freckle to freckle. Star to star.

Thursday, 2 September 2021

Book Review: The Wedding Party by Tammy Cohen

The Wedding Party by Tammy Cohen book blog tour banner

AD* | Till death do us part...

Lucy has dreamt of her wedding day for as long as she can remember.

And now the day is almost here. Her nearest and dearest are gathered on an idyllic Greek island and she just knows it's going to be perfect. It has to be.

But even the best-laid plans can go horribly wrong. Why are her parents behaving so strangely? Why won't the rather odd lady from the airport stop hanging around? Who is the silent stranger her sister brought as a plus-1?

And then they find the body.

It's going to be a day to remember.

Tuesday, 31 August 2021

Reading Round-Up: July/August 2021

The Writing Greyhound Books

Ready for another reading round-up? I can't believe how quickly the last two months have gone - it seems like only yesterday that I was sitting here writing up my May/June reading round-up

What is Reading Round-Up?

Reading Round-Up is a simple way for me to keep track of everything book-related, and a fun way to show you what I've been reading over the last few months!

Out are the books I've read in July and August.

In are the books I've acquired during that time.

And wishlist are the books I've found out about and want to buy but haven't managed to get my hands on yet!

In
  • Take a Chance on Me by Beth Moran
  • The Gathering Storm by Alan Jones
  • The Unravelling by Polly Crosby
  • The Lucky Eight by Sheila Bugler
  • The City We Became by N.K. Jemisin
  • The Beloved Girls by Harriet Evans
  • The Black Dress by Deborah Moggach
  • Kind Words for Unkind Days by Jayne Hardy 
  • The Insect Farm by Stuart Prebble 
  • A Home in the Sun by Sue Moorcroft
  • The Spanish Girl by Jules Hayes
  • The New Beginnings Bridal Boutique by Kellie Hailes
  • The Love Note by Kate G. Smith
  • Sleepless in Sicily by Emma Jackson
  • Blue Skies at the Birdie and Bramble by Alison Craig
  • Summer at the Vineyard by Fliss Chester
  • Black Drop by Leonora Nattrass
  • Queen of Thieves by Beezy Marsh 
  • The Forgotten Maid by Jane Cable 
  • Not Here to Be Liked by Michelle Quach 
  • The Girl With the Louding Voice by Abi Dare 
  • Bookshop Tours of Britain by Louise Boland
  • The Killer in the Snow (DI James Walker #2) by Alex Pine
  • Her Heart for a Compass by Sarah Ferguson 
  • The Turnout by Megan Abbott
  • A Special Cornish Christmas by Phillipa Ashley 
  • The Art of Loving You by Amelia Henley
  • The Collector's Daughter by Gill Paul
  • Her Little Secret by Julia Stone 
  • Wish You Were Here by Jodi Picoult
  • The Kinship of Djinns (Undying #1) by Ambreen Hameed & Uzma Hameed 
  • My Uncle's Son (Undying #2) by Ambreen Hameed & Uzma Hameed 
  • Twin Crowns by Katherine Webber & Catherine Doyle 
  • The Heron's Cry (Two Rivers #2) by Ann Cleeves
  • Her Nanny's Secret by Jan Baynham 
  • Rachel Ryan's Resolutions by Laura Starkey
  • The Woods are Always Watching by Stephanie Perkins 
  • Castle of Refuge (The Dericott Tales #2) by Melanie Dickerson 
  • The Spirit of a Rising Sun by K.R. Galindez 
  • The Liar of Red Valley by Walter Goodwater
  • Sunrise Over Pebble Bay by Della Galton
  • Starting Over at Sunset Cottage by Lisa Hobman
  • The Perfect Daughter by Alex Stone 
  • Dear Edward by Ann Napolitano 
  • Blue Moon (Jack Reacher #24) by Lee Child 
  • The Flight by Julie Clark 
  • Her Secret War by Pam Lecky 

Out

Wishlist
  • The Quickening by Rhiannon Ward
  • The Lucky Eight by Sheila Bugler
  • Midnight in Everwood by M.A. Kuzniar
  • This Poison Heart by Kalynn Bayron
  • The Four Symbols by Eric Giacometti & Jacques Ravenne
  • Blackout by Dhonielle Clayton, Tiffany D. Jackson, Nic Stone, Angie Thomas, Ashley Woodfolk & Nicola Yoon
  • The Littlest Library by Poppy Alexander 
  • Magpie Lane by Lucy Atkins 
  • Tunnel 29 by Helena Merriman 
  • Excuse Me While I Ugly Cry by Joya Goffney 
  • Court of Swans by Melanie Dickerson 
  • The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson
  • The Long Call (Two Rivers #1) by Ann Cleeves 
  • Amy Snow by Tracy Rees 

What have you been reading recently? Have you read a book I should know about? Let me know in the comments below!

Wednesday, 18 August 2021

Book Review: Rock Paper Scissors by Alice Feeney

Rock Paper Scissors by Alice Feeney book blog tour banner

AD* | Think you know the person you married? Think again...

Things have been wrong with Mr and Mrs Wright for a long time. When Adam and Amelia win a weekend away to Scotland, it might be just what their marriage needs. Self-confessed workaholic and screenwriter Adam Wright has lived with face blindness his whole life. He can’t recognize friends or family, or even his own wife.

Every anniversary the couple exchange traditional gifts – paper, cotton, pottery, tin – and each year Adam’s wife writes him a letter that she never lets him read. Until now. They both know this weekend will make or break their marriage, but they didn’t randomly win this trip. One of them is lying, and someone doesn’t want them to live happily ever after.

Ten years of marriage. Ten years of secrets. And an anniversary they will never forget.

Tuesday, 17 August 2021

Book Review: Velvet Was the Night by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Velvet Was the Night by Silvia Moreno-Garcia book cover

AD* | 1970s, Mexico City. Maite is a secretary who lives for one thing: the latest issue of Secret Romance. While student protests and political unrest consume the city, Maite escapes into stories of passion and danger.

Her next-door neighbour, Leonora, a beautiful art student, seems to live a life of intrigue and romance that Maite envies. When Leonora disappears under suspicious circumstances, Maite finds herself searching for the missing woman - and journeying deeper into Leonora’s secret life of student radicals and dissidents.

Meanwhile, someone else is also looking for Leonora at the behest of his boss, a shadowy figure who commands goon squads dedicated to squashing political activists. Elvis is an eccentric criminal who longs to escape his own life: He loathes violence and loves old movies and rock ’n’ roll. But as Elvis searches for the missing woman, he comes to observe Maite from a distance - and grows more and more obsessed with this woman who shares his love of music and the unspoken loneliness of his heart.

Now as Maite and Elvis come closer to discovering the truth behind Leonora’s disappearance, they can no longer escape the danger that threatens to consume their lives, with hitmen, government agents, and Russian spies all aiming to protect Leonora’s secrets - at gunpoint.

Monday, 16 August 2021

Book Review: I Am the Sea by Matt Stanley

I Am the Sea by Matt Stanley book cover

AD* | 1870. Apprentice lighthouseman James Meakes joins two others at the remote offshore rock of Ripshaw Reef - replacement for a keeper whose death there remains unexplained. 

Meakes' suspicions grow as he accustoms himself to his new vertical world. He finds clues, obscure messages and signs that a fourth occupant may be sharing the space, slipping unseen between staircases.

With winter approaching, the keepers become isolated utterly from shore. Sea and wind rage against the tower. Danger is part of the life. Death is not uncommon. And yet as the storm builds, the elements pale against a threat more wild and terrifying than any of them could have imagined.

Tuesday, 10 August 2021

Book Review: The Woman from Beaumont Farm by AnneMarie Brear

The Woman from Beaumont Farm by AnneMarie Brear book cover

AD* | 1914, West Yorkshire, England.

Newly married to Noah Jackson, Beth is happily content working on her family’s market stall while Noah fulfils his dreams of being a teacher. Living in a small overcrowded pit house with the Jacksons isn’t ideal, but Beth knows it’s only for a short time and that change is around the corner. However, she could never have expected such shocking changes to happen.

When war erupts, Beth’s peaceful life is shattered by events beyond her control. Noah enlists to fight alongside his brothers, but it is on Beaumont Farm, Beth’s family home, where life throws the most challenges.

A devastating accident occurs that changes all their lives, and the effects ripple throughout the family. Once a loving home, Beaumont Farm becomes Beth’s responsibility, one she never thought she’d have.

Can she cope with the grief and burdens placed upon her as she waits for news from the battlefields of France?

Can she save the farm from collapse?

And will the man she loves return home safe, or will an old enemy take an opportunity to seek revenge?

Monday, 9 August 2021

Book Review: A Farmhouse in Tuscany by Victoria Springfield

A Farmhouse in Tuscany by Victoria Springfield book cover

AD* | Under the Tuscan sun, the lives of three women are about to change forever...

Donna has been running the Bella Vista riding centre from her rambling farmhouse in Tuscany, taking in guests who enjoy the rolling Tuscan hills, home-grown vegetables and delicious pasta. It's been a decade since her husband Giovanni walked out, convinced she was having an affair. When the truth finally comes to light, can everything return to the way it was ten years ago? Or is it too late to start over?

When self-confessed workaholic Harriet takes an impromptu holiday to Tuscany, she quickly discovers that the relaxing yoga holiday she had been anticipating will be anything but. She's shocked when she's asked to swap her yoga mat and leggings for riding jodhpurs and a helmet! But the longer she stays at serene Bella Vista, the more she begins to rethink the way she's been living for so long...

Shy artist Jess has had a crush on Donna's son Marco from the first moment she saw him. This is her second summer at Bella Vista, and while it is a riding holiday, Jess was secretly hoping to pick up where they left off last summer ­with an almost-kiss. But is Marco still interested or will this be a summer of sadness?

Friday, 6 August 2021

Book Review: One Lucky Summer by Jenny Oliver

One Lucky Summer by Jenny Oliver book blog tour banner

AD* | The best-kept secrets are waiting to be found...

With an air of faded splendour, Willoughby Hall was an idyllic childhood home to Ruben de Lacy. Gazing at it now, decades later, the memories are flooding back, and not all of them are welcome...

In a tumbledown cottage in Willoughby’s grounds, Dolly and Olive King lived with their eccentric explorer father. One of the last things he did was to lay a treasure hunt before he died, but when events took an unexpected turn, Dolly and Olive left Willoughby for good, never to complete it.

But when Ruben uncovers a secret message, hidden for decades, he knows he needs Olive and Dolly’s help. Can the three of them solve the treasure hunt, and will piecing together the clues help them understand what happened to their families that summer, all those years ago?


Thursday, 5 August 2021

Book Review: Stolen by Tess Stimson

Stolen by Tess Stimson book cover

AD* | You thought she was safe. You were wrong…

Alex knows her daughter would never wander off in a strange place. So when her three-year-old vanishes from an idyllic beach wedding, Alex immediately believes the worst.

The hunt for Lottie quickly becomes a worldwide search, but it’s not long before suspicion falls on her mother. Why wasn’t she watching Lottie?

Alex knows she’s not perfect, but she loves her child. And with all eyes on her, Alex fears they’ll never uncover the truth unless she takes matters into her own hands.

Who took Lottie Martini? And will she ever come home?

Friday, 30 July 2021

Book Review: Surprise Heir for the Princess by Kate Hardy

Surprise Heir for the Princess cover

AD* | A secret royal escape. An unexpected consequence!

Princess Vittoria yearns to escape the pressures of her royal life. So when she’s reunited with enigmatic photographer Liam MacCarthy at a party, she agrees to a secret beachside getaway. Vittoria knows she can never have a future with Liam, but under the stars, she gives in to their undeniable chemistry for one perfect night… Until Vittoria returns home to discover she’ll have more than memories to remember Liam by!

Wednesday, 28 July 2021

Book Review: Touch of Euphoria by Cat Holland

A Touch of Euphoria by Cat Holland book cover

AD* | A magical love story that spans two realms. An epic read!

Love at first sight is not a notion that Lucy Lavender thinks about often, but when she meets her literary hero her world is turned upside down. Not only is Fabian Lightfoot irresistibly handsome, smart and funny, but has hidden depths that she is eager to discover.

When an unfortunate event changes Lucy’s life forever, she is faced with the stark realisation that she is not just an average woman - or human for that matter. Fabian’s own secrets are forced to the surface too. The fantasy world he writes about is more than just fiction. Euphoros is his home.

Together they journey back to his homeland on an adventure to discover the truth about Lucy, battle an underlying evil that threatens the harmony of the realm, and figure out why the mysterious entity is intent on keeping them apart.

Is their love strong enough to withstand what is thrown at them? One thing Lucy knows for sure; she is meant to be with Fabian and she is meant to save Euphoros.

Tuesday, 27 July 2021

Book Review: Sunny Summer Treats Anthology

Sunny Summer Treats anthology book cover

AD* | Treat yourself this summer...

This collection of sunny short stories is perfect reading whether you’re living it up at the beach, sunning yourself in the garden, or sheltering indoors from the Great British summertime.

From breath-taking boat rides on beautiful Greek islands to going on the run through the streets of Paris, from ‘best ever ice cream’ to pasteis de nata in pretty Portuguese cafes, these stories celebrate everything there is to love about summer, home and abroad – including, of course, a bit of holiday romance!

Monday, 26 July 2021

Book Review: A Beginner's Guide to Murder by Rosalind Stopps

A Beginner's Guide to Murder by Rosalind Stopps book blog tour banner

AD* | Grace, Meg and Daphne, all in their seventies, are minding their own business while enjoying a cup of tea in a café when seventeen-year-old Nina stumbles in. She’s clearly distraught and running from someone, so the three women think nothing of hiding her when a suspicious-looking man starts asking if they’ve seen her.

Once alone, Nina tells the women a little of what she’s running from. The need to protect her is immediate, and Grace, Meg and Daphne vow to do just this. But how? They soon realise there really is only one answer: murder.

And so begins the tale of the three most unlikely murderers-in-the-making, and may hell protect anyone who underestimates them.

Thursday, 22 July 2021

Book Review: Tsarina by Ellen Alpsten

Tsarina by Ellen Alpsten book cover

AD* | St. Petersburg, 1725. Peter the Great lies dying in his magnificent Winter Palace. The weakness and treachery of his only son has driven his father to an appalling act of cruelty and left the empire without an heir. Russia risks falling into chaos. Into the void steps the woman who has been by his side for decades: his second wife, Catherine Alexeyevna, as ambitious, ruthless and passionate as Peter himself.

Born into devastating poverty, Catherine used her extraordinary beauty and shrewd intelligence to ingratiate herself with Peter’s powerful generals, finally seducing the Tsar himself. But even amongst the splendour and opulence of her new life - the lavish feasts, glittering jewels, and candle-lit hours in Peter’s bedchamber - she knows the peril of her position. Peter’s attentions are fickle and his rages powerful; his first wife is condemned to a prison cell, her lover impaled alive in Red Square. And now Catherine faces the ultimate test: can she keep the Tsar’s death a secret as she plays a lethal game to destroy her enemies and take the Crown for herself?

Wednesday, 21 July 2021

Book Review: The Clockmaker's Wife by Daisy Wood

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AD* | The world is at war. And time is running out…

London, 1940. Britain is gripped by the terror of the Blitz, forcing Nell Spelman to flee the capital with her young daughter – leaving behind her husband, Arthur, the clockmaker who keeps Big Ben chiming.

When Arthur disappears, Nell is desperate to find him. But her search will lead her into far darker places than she ever imagined…

New York, Present Day. When Ellie discovers a beautiful watch that had once belonged to a grandmother she never knew, she becomes determined to find out what happened to her. But as she pieces together the fragments of her grandmother’s life, she begins to wonder if the past is better left forgotten…

Saturday, 10 July 2021

Book Review: In Youth is Pleasure by Denton Welch

In Youth is Pleasure by Denton Welch book cover

AD* | Against the backdrop of an English country hotel in a languid pre-war summer, Denton Welch's alter ego, Orvil Pym, examines his early life and formative experiences with a Proustian intensity.

An adolescent voyeur, Orvil takes pleasure in the microscopic observation of his relatives and fellow guests, charting their eccentricities and love affairs as faithfully as he exposes his own obsessions.

Flagrantly controversial on its first publication in 1945, In Youth Is Pleasure will impress new readers with its arresting visual descriptions and its defiance of convention.


Friday, 9 July 2021

Book Review: The Last Daughter by Nicola Cornick

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AD* | Ever since her sister disappeared eleven years ago, Serena Warren has been running from a ghost, haunted by what she can’t remember about that night.

When Caitlin’s body is discovered, Serena returns to her grandfather’s house, nestled beside the ruins of Minster Lovell Hall in Oxfordshire, determined to uncover the truth. But in returning to the place of her childhood summers, Serena stands poised at the brink of a startling discovery – one that will tie her family to a centuries-old secret...

Thursday, 8 July 2021

Book Review: Crossfire by R.D. Nixon

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AD* | To what depths would you sink to protect your own?

Hogmanay 1987

A prank robbery has fatal consequences.

Five Years Later


Highlands town Abergarry is shaken by the seemingly gratuitous murder of a local man. The case is unsolved.

Present Day

Ten-year-old Jamie, while on holiday in Abergarry with his mum Charis, overhears a conversation. To him, it is all part of a game. But this is no game and the consequences are far more serious than Jamie ever imagined.

Old wounds are about to be reopened.

Struggling PI team Maddy Clifford and Paul Mackenzie find themselves involved by a chance meeting. How deep into those wounds will they have to delve to unravel the mystery?

Monday, 5 July 2021

Book Review: The Wind Chime by Alexandra Walsh

The Wind Chime by Alexandra Walsh book cover

AD* | Every family has their secrets...

Windsor, England, 2019

Amelia Prentice is recovering from the worst two years of her life. First, her daughter and then her parents have died, leaving her without any surviving relatives. As she contemplates placing the family home, a vast Victorian house in Windsor, on the market, she fulfils her mother’s last request to clear out the attic, where she discovers a strange box of Victorian photographs.

The photographs are of a large estate in Pembrokeshire called Cliffside, and they feature the Attwater family. When Amelia uncovers the diaries of Osyth Attwater, she realises the family had tragedies of their own...

Pembrokeshire, Wales, 1883

Every summer the Attwater family gather at Cliffside to tell each other stories. The youngest in the house is Osyth, a dreamer and writer who waits eagerly every year for the wind chime in the garden to signal the arrival of her relatives.

But her happiness is shattered when she overhears a conversation that tears her world apart. Raised by her grandparents, she believed her mother, Eudora, had died. It seems this may not be the case. Desperate to find out the truth, Osyth decides to unravel her family’s secrets. What she discovers will shock her to her core…

What did Amelia’s mother want her to find out about the Attwater family? Who is Eudora, and what really happened to her?

And how is Amelia connected to it all...?

Wednesday, 30 June 2021

Reading Round-Up: May/June 2021

Book stack

Summer is upon us once again, and I don't know about you, but I'm loving the warmer weather and longer days. It's also the perfect time to enjoy those sizzling summer reads - from cute holiday romances to tense, nail-biting page-turners.

So, what have I been reading over the last two months? Read on to find out!

Monday, 28 June 2021

Book Review: Family First by Tony Millington

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AD* | A man is shot dead in a pub car park. Detective's Monteith and Watson are sent to investigate. Within days, several more men are murdered and it quickly becomes clear that a serial killer is targeting ex-prisoners. But without a motive how do you find the person responsible?

Friday, 25 June 2021

Book Review: An Endless Cornish Summer by Phillipa Ashley

An Endless Cornish Summer by Philippa Ashley book cover

AD* | Rose Vernon is headed to a quiet Cornish village – to find the man who saved her life.

For Rose, every day is a gift. She narrowly survived a life-threatening illness and owes everything to her anonymous donor. Determined to thank him, Rose follows a trail of clues that lead her to the little Cornish fishing village of Falford.

But things become complicated when Rose is drawn into local life, becoming involved in the legendary Falford Regatta and meeting the handsome Morvah brothers – one of whom might just be the man she’s looking for. But which one?

Can Rose find the answer she’s searching for, or will she lose her heart before the summer is over?

Thursday, 24 June 2021

Book Review: The Orange Grove by Rosanna Ley

The Orange Grove by Rosanna Ley book cover

AD* | Holly loves making marmalade. Now she has a chance to leave her stressful city job and pursue her dream - of returning to the Dorset landscape of her childhood to open Bitter Orange, a shop celebrating the fruit that first inspired her.

Holly's mother Ella has always loved Seville. So why is she reluctant to go back there with Holly to source products for the shop? What is she frightened of - and does it have anything to do with the old Spanish recipe for Seville orange and almond cake that Ella keeps hidden from her family?

In Seville, where she was once forced to make the hardest decision of her life, Ella must finally face up to the past, while Holly meets someone who poses a threat to all her plans. Seville is a city full of sunshine and oranges. But it can also be bittersweet. 

Will love survive the secrets of the orange grove?

Monday, 14 June 2021

Book Review: The River Between Us by Liz Fenwick

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AD* | A forgotten house and a secret hidden for a century…

Following the breakdown of her marriage, Theo has bought a tumbledown cottage on the banks of the River Tamar which divides Cornwall and Devon. The peace and tranquillity of Boatman’s Cottage, nestled by the water, is just what she needs to heal.

Yet soon after her arrival, Theo discovers a stash of hidden letters tied with a ribbon, untouched for more than a century. The letters – sent from the battlefields of France during WW1 – tell of a young servant from the nearby manor house, Abbotswood, and his love for a woman he was destined to lose.

As she begins to bring Boatman’s Cottage and its gardens back to life, Theo pieces together a story of star-crossed lovers played out against the river while finding her own new path to happiness.

Sunday, 13 June 2021

Book Review: The Lucky Escape by Laura Jane Williams

The Lucky Escape by Laura Jane Williams book cover

AD* | ONE CANCELLED WEDDING

When the day finally comes for Annie to marry Alexander, the last thing she expects is to be left standing at the altar. She was so sure he was Mr Right. Now, she has no idea how she could have got it so wrong.

ONE UNEXPECTED ENCOUNTER

After a chance meeting with Patrick, an old friend who reminds her of who she used to be, Annie takes a vow of her own: she’ll say yes to every opportunity that comes her way from now on.

ONE SPARE TICKET FOR THE HONEYMOON


Could a spontaneous trip with Patrick be the way to mend Annie’s heart? She’s about to find out as she embarks on her honeymoon – with a man who’s not her husband...

Saturday, 12 June 2021

Book Review: The Family Tree by Steph Mullin and Nicole Mabry

The Family Tree by Steph Mullin and Nicole Mabry book cover

AD* | The DNA results are back. And there’s a serial killer in her family tree...

Liz Catalano is shocked when an ancestry kit reveals she’s adopted. But she could never have imagined connecting with her unknown family would plunge her into an FBI investigation of a notorious serial killer…

The Tri-State Killer has been abducting pairs of women for forty years, leaving no clues behind – only bodies.

Can Liz figure out who the killer in her new family is? And can she save his newest victims before it’s too late?


Thursday, 10 June 2021

Book Review: Widowland by C.J. Carey

Widowland by C.J. Carey book cover

AD* | To control the past, they edited history. To control the future, they edited literature.

London, 1953, Coronation year - but not the Coronation of Elizabeth II.

Thirteen years have passed since a Grand Alliance between Great Britain and Germany was formalized. George VI and his family have been murdered and Edward VIII rules as King. Yet, in practice, all power is vested in Alfred Rosenberg, Britain's Protector. Britain is the perfect petri dish for the ideal society, and the role and status of women is Roseberg's particular interest. Under the Rosenberg regulations, women are divided into a number of castes according to age, heritage, reproductive status and physical characteristics.

Rose belongs to the elite caste of Gelis. She works at the Ministry of Culture rewriting literature to correct the views of the past. She has been charged with making Jane Eyre more submissive, Elizabeth Bennet less feisty and Dorothea Brooke less intelligent. One morning she is summoned to the Cultural Commissioner's office and given a special task.

Outbreaks of insurgency have been seen across the country. Graffiti has been daubed on public buildings. Disturbingly, the graffiti is made up of lines from famous works, subversive lines from the voices of women. Suspicion has fallen on Widowland, the run-down slums inhabited by childless women over fifty, the lowest caste. These women are known to be mutinous, for they seem to have lost their fear. Before the Leader arrives for the Coronation ceremony, Rose must infiltrate Widowland and find the source of this rebellion.

But as she begins to investigate, she discovers something that could change the protectorate forever, and in the process change herself.

Wednesday, 9 June 2021

Book Review: Recipe for Mr Right by Anni Rose

Recipe for Mr Right by Anni Rose book cover

AD* | A sprinkle of luck and a dollop of fate...

Ruby Brooks is a little sceptical when her horoscope says she’s going to have a fabulous year – especially when she loses a boyfriend and a job in quick succession. Plus, a rogue kitchen fitter has run off and taken everything, including the kitchen sink!

So, Ruby takes luck and fate into her own hands with an unusual resolution – she’ll enter ten competitions a day, whether they’re for her dream Japanese holiday or a year’s supply of dog food (she doesn’t have a dog), and win her way to happiness.

But when a Valentine’s Day prize from a local restaurant results in chef Adam Finder (and his dog, Brutus) appearing in her life, is that luck or fate? And will Ruby ultimately find out that true happiness doesn’t need to be won?

Tuesday, 8 June 2021

Book Review: Waiting to Begin by Amanda Prowse

Waiting to Begin by Amanda Prowse book cover

AD* | 1984. Bessie is a confident sixteen-year-old girl with the world at her feet, dreaming of what life will bring and what she’ll bring to this life. Then everything comes crashing down. Her bright and trusting smile is lost, banished by shame - and a secret she’ll carry with her for the rest of her life.

2021. The last thirty-seven years have not been easy for Bess. At fifty-three she is visibly weary, and her marriage to Mario is in tatters. Watching her son in newlywed bliss - the hope, the trust, the joy - Bess knows it is time to face her own demons, and try to save her relationship. But she’ll have to throw off the burden of shame if she is to honour that sixteen-year-old girl whose dreams lie frozen in time.

Can Bess face her past, finally come clean to Mario, and claim the love she has longed to fully experience all these years?


Monday, 7 June 2021

Book Review: Everything I Thought I Knew by Shannon Takaoka

Everything I Thought I Knew by Shannon Takaoka book cover

AD* | A teenage girl wonders if she’s inherited more than just a heart from her donor in this compulsively readable debut.

Seventeen-year-old Chloe had a plan: work hard, get good grades, and attend a top-tier college. But after she collapses during cross-country practice and is told that she needs a new heart, all her careful preparations are laid to waste.

Eight months after her transplant, everything is different. Stuck in summer school with the underachievers, all she wants to do now is grab her surfboard and hit the waves - which is strange, because she wasn’t interested in surfing before her transplant. (It doesn’t hurt that her instructor, Kai, is seriously good-looking.)

And that’s not all that’s strange. There’s also the vivid recurring nightmare about crashing a motorcycle in a tunnel and memories of people and places she doesn’t recognize.

Is there something wrong with her head now, too, or is there another explanation for what she’s experiencing?

As she searches for answers, and as her attraction to Kai intensifies, what she learns will lead her to question everything she thought she knew - about life, death, love, identity, and the true nature of reality.