The Halfpenny Girls at Christmas by Maggie Mason

Happy publication day!

As Christmas approaches, Alice, Edith and Marg continue to face hardships growing up on one of the poorest streets in Blackpool. Penniless, their friendship has helped them survive this far, but it’ll take more than that to see them through the dark days that lie ahead…Having read the first one in the series I was very excited to have an opportunity to read this one.

Although it’s not quite Christmas, it didn’t make any difference as I was captivated by the story telling, and I did take this to read on a recent trip to Blackpool… Which was a magical journey seeing the places in the book.Highly recommend this for fans of Mary and Maggie. I was unable to put this down, I couldn’t stop myself from wanting to know what was going to happen next, what could possibly go wrong and if there would be a happy ending… I cannot wait for the next installment…

@_FrancescaBanks @mary.wood.7796420 @littlebrownbookgroup_uk#bookblogger #bookreviewer #bookstgrammer #whattoreadnext #xmasbooks

THE WHISPERS – Heidi Perks

How exciting is this, kicking off a brand new tour, for a brand new author to me!

And what a book this is! Unfortunately the release dates are as below, but this is definitely worth a pre order and the wait!

The cover is fab, and despite the old saying I cannot resist a beautiful cover!

Immediately drawn into the this mystery. The characters are dark and there is twist after twist. I thoroughly enjoyed this and wills definitely be looking to read some more by this author.

Century, Hardback, £12.99

A missing wife. Four friends. Who is telling the truth?

Anna Robinson hasn’t been seen since she went on a night out with her four closest friends.

She has a loving husband, a son she adores, a perfect life… surely she wouldn’t abandon them. And if not, then something terrible must have happened.

It’s not long before the rumours start at the school gates where this group of friends all met. What exactly happened on that mum’s night out?

Anna’s oldest friend Grace is beside herself with worry – desperately searching for answers and certain that someone is hiding the truth.

With each day that passes, Anna’s life is under increasing threat. And as the pressure mounts, it won’t be long before something cracks…

A scintillating thriller exploring female friendships and the secrets we keep from those who think they know us best.

Heidi Perks is a Sunday Times bestselling author of Now You See Her, Come Back For Me and Three Perfect Liars. Elements of The Whispers are drawn from Heidi’s own personal experience of making friends at the school gates and the intrigues and dramas of motherly friendships. Heidi Perks’ debut novel Now You See Her twice reached the Sunday Times bestseller list, first in hardback in July 2018 at No.9 and again at No.6 in paperback in March 2019 where it was a Richard & Judy Book Club pick for Spring 2019.

Now You See Her has sold over 300,000 copies across formats to date and has received over a staggering 1000 five start reviews on Amazon from readers, with more than 400,000 copies of Heidi’s books sold in the UK alone. Now You See Her has also been optioned for TV from the production company behind BBC One’s ‘The Miniaturist’ and Channel 4’s ‘National Treasure’. Heidi Perks lives with her family in Bournemouth, and sets all over books on the South Coast of England.

She is a graduate of the inaugural Curtis Brown Creative Online Novel Writing Course (the only creative writing school run by a literary agency). Follow Heidi on Twitter @HeidiPerksBooks and join in the conversation with #THEWHISPERS

~ Praise for HEIDI PERKS ~

‘A clever and sensitively told story that will throw up no end of talking points for book clubs.’ Daily Mail

‘Heidi Perks’ books sell like hot cakes and this is another compelling tale.’ That’s Life Crime Special

‘An empowering story that suggests supportive relationships between women
can only be a positive thing.’ Real Crime Review

‘This tense and tight thriller builds to an explosive conclusion.’ Best

‘A gripping tale that asks how far you’d go to protect a friend. A Top Read!’ MyWeekly

‘A top thriller’ Good Housekeeping

‘Simmering tensions and double crossings will have you racing to the dramatic finale’ Sunday Mirror

‘Now You See Her takes every parent’s worst nightmare and spins it into a tense psychological thriller that’s difficult to put down.’ Culture Fly

‘I flew through this book in three days, with my heart in my mouth. Seriously page turning.’ Lisa Jewell, bestselling author of Then She Was Gone

‘A gripping tale of friendship and deceit, where nothing is what it seems.’ Laura Marshall, bestselling author of Friend Request

‘I read this book in one tension filled evening. I was absolutely gripped by the sympathetic, well-drawn characters and couldn’t go to bed until I knew how it ended.’ Jenny Blackhurst, author of How I Lost You

‘Terrifically suspenseful and intriguing’ Liz Nugent, author of Our Little Cruelties

Fear on the Island

Fear on the Island: A compelling mystery with a dark twist. (Detective Liam O’Reilly book 3)
From bestselling author: Stewart Giles comes book 3 in the brilliant Detective Liam O’Reilly series.
It’s mid-summer on the island of Guernsey and Detective Liam O’Reilly is winding down for the day.
He’s enjoying a quiet drink with his daughter when a man in bike leathers walks inside the pub. O’Reilly doesn’t even register him until he hears the gunshot. The man has taken out a gun and shot the barman twice in the face. O’Reilly takes hold of his daughter and throws her to the floor.
“Not everything is as it seems.” Says the gunman as he leaves the people inside the pub with something to think about before he calmly walks out of the pub.

Then another man is shot dead in broad daylight. A figure in leathers tells the witnesses the same thing: “Not everything is as it seems.”

O’Reilly and his team have no idea what is going on. Even the experienced Irish detective really doesn’t have a clue what this is all about.

When the gunman takes a third victim the people on the island start to panic. Fear is rife and confidence in the police is at an all-time low.
O’Reilly knows it’s only a matter of time before this madman strikes again, but he’s running out of ideas. With his team working around the clock and running on empty, he knows time is running out before the most confusing killer he’s ever come across strikes again.

What readers are saying about Fear on the Island
The DI Liam O’Reilly series just keeps getting better and better! Fear on The Island is fast-paced and gripping, drawing you in from the start with an interesting plot and likeable characters that are continuing to develop. If you enjoy detective crime thrillers this is a great read set in Guernsey. Can’t wait for the the next one! – Kirsty
Wow what a fantastic read, Liam is starting to grow on me as a very clever copper, it’s the best so far in this series so let’s bring on more of O’Reilly the hero of Guernsey. – Booklover Bev
Each new Detective Liam O’Reilly book just gets better and better. Fear on the Island is fast paced as our DI is faced with a clever killer seen by everyone but identifiable by no one. In between the investigation details we get glimpses into life on the island of Guernsey and our DI’s restricted personal life. A quick, satisfying read.- Alison
Expertly crafted, gripping and unpredictable. – Carol
Another brilliant read from Stewart Giles – Sue


Book 0.5 – Phobia
Book 1 – Smith
Book 2 – Boomerang
Book 3 – Ladybird
Book 4 – Occam’s Razor
Book 5 – Harlequin
Book 6 – Selene
Book 7 – Horsemen
Book 8 – Unworthy
Book 9 – Venom
Book 10 – Severed
Book 11 – Demons
Book 12 – Deadeye
Book 13 – Motive
Book 14 – Australia

Book 1 – Blood on the Island
Book 2 – Lies on the Island
Book 3 – Fear on the Island
Book 4 – Malice on the Island (coming soon)

Book 1-The Beekeeper
Book 2-The Perfect Murder
Book 3-The Backpacker
Trotterdown a box set of DC Harriet Taylor books 1-3

Book 1 – The Enigma
Book 2 – Dropzone
Book 3 – The Raven Girl
Trilogy: The DS Smith & Harriet Taylor box set

THE MIRANDA TRILOGY (psychological thrillers)

The Divide

Stewart Giles – Author Bio

After reading English at 3 Universities and graduating from none of them, I set off travelling around the world with my wife, Ann, finally settling in South Africa, where we still live.
In 2014 Ann dropped a rather large speaker on my head and I came up with the idea for a detective series. DS Jason Smith was born. Smith, the first in the series was finished a few months later.
3 years and 8 DS Smith books later, Joffe Books wondered if I would be interested in working with them. As a self-published author, I agreed. However, we decided on a new series – the DC Harriet Taylor: Cornwall series.
The Beekeeper was published and soon hit the number one spot in Australia. The second in the series, The Perfect Murder did just as well.
I continued to self-publish the Smith series and Unworthy hit the shelves in 2018 with amazing results. I therefore made the decision to self-publish The Backpacker which is book 3 in the Detective Harriet Taylor series which was published in July 2018.
After The Backpacker I had an idea for a totally new start to a series – a collaboration between the Smith and Harriet thrillers and The Enigma was born. It brought together the broody, enigmatic Jason Smith and the more level-headed Harriet Taylor.
The Miranda trilogy is something totally different. A psychological thriller trilogy. It is a real departure from anything else I’ve written before.
The Detective Jason Smith series continues to grow and there are now 14 books including the introduction: Phobia. In addition I have an new series featuring an Irish detective who relocated to Guernsey. The first 3 books in the Detective Liam O’Reilly series are now available with book 4: Malice on the Island scheduled for publication at the end of April.

Twitter: @stewartgiles



One moonlit night, the bodies of two young people are discovered lying entwined on a blanket in the woods. The young man is clutching a red rose. It appears to be a lovers’ suicide pact . . .

Until Detective Nikki Galena and DS Joseph Easter look more closely. Romeo and Juliet, as they decide to call them, were murdered somewhere else and brought to the woods. But why?

Then another young couple are found dead, again beautifully posed as lovers. And Nikki knows they have a twisted serial killer on their hands. Who are the next victims?


What readers are saying about JOY ELLIS

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ “Just wonderful to read.” Carole

“Holds the reader’s attention from the first word to the last.” Nicki R.

“Compulsive reading, I loved it.” Viv

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ “Riveting tale from start to finish.” Lynne

“Absolutely engrossing.” Olga

“Brilliant book which kept me gripped from page 1.” Barbara

DI Nikki Galena: A police detective with nothing left to lose, she’s seen a girl die in her arms and her own family destroyed. She’s tough on criminals but fiercely loyal to her team.

The Lincolnshire Fens: great open skies brood over marshes, farmland, and nature reserves. It is not easy terrain for the Fenland Constabulary to police, due to the distances between some of the remote fen villages, the dangerous and often misty lanes, and the poor telephone coverage. There are still villages where the oldest residents have never set foot outside their own farmland and a visit to the nearest town is a major event. But it has a strange airy beauty to it, and above it all are the biggest skies you’ve ever seen.



“I was born in Kent but spent most of my working life in London and Surrey. I was an apprentice florist to Constance Spry Ltd, a prestigious Mayfair shop that throughout the sixties and seventies teemed with both royalty and ‘real’ celebrities. What an eye-opener for a working-class kid from the Garden of England! I swore then, probably whilst I was scrubbing the floor or making the tea, that I would have a shop of my own one day. It took until the early eighties, but I did it. Sadly the recession wiped us out, and I embarked on a series of weird and wonderful jobs; the last one being a bookshop manager. Surrounded by books all day, getting to order whatever you liked, and being paid for it! Oh bliss!
And now I live in a village in the Lincolnshire Fens with my partner, Jacqueline, a highly decorated retired police officer, and our four barking mad Springer spaniels. If I do get any spare time, which is rare these days, my one relaxation is painting, especially using soft pastels. We have been here for twenty years now and although I’ll never be a true ‘Yeller Belly’, a native born to this county, I have adopted it as my own. I love the mists, the big skies and the endless waterways. All my books are set here on the Fens, and why not? The location is perfect for murder!”


The Lost Brother – Susanna Beard


A brother sent away

A sister in a loveless home

A father ruthlessly murdered

Ricky and Leonora Bates are brother and sister, best friends, allies in a loveless family.

They are a constant disappointment to their domineering father.

He views Ricky’s quiet bookishness as weakness and Leonora’s feisty intelligence as unbecoming.

Then Ricky is sent away to a boarding school in South Africa to “toughen him up”. And Leonora is stuck dealing with her dysfunctional parents on her own.

The unthinkable happens.

Five years later, Leonora’s father flies down to South Africa to bring Ricky home. Something terrible happens. Her dad’s body is found with a fatal gunshot wound. And her brother is nowhere to be found.

Now Leonora must find out the truth.

Utterly absorbing and beautifully written, this taut psychological thriller will keep you guessing until its chilling conclusion.

Despite enjoying the writer’s life, Susanna has an adventurous streak – she has swum with whale sharks in Australia, trekked in the mountains of Nepal and fallen down a crevasse in the French Alps.

Her favourite quote is from Winnie-the-Pooh: “Stories make your heart grow.” Apart from books, her passions include wildlife, dogs and tennis. She aims to keep writing, and never to get old.






Red Wolves and White Knights by Peter Kysel

Another very different book this morning (I have been trying to diversify a bit this year)

In Central and Eastern Europe, half of all Europeans had their lives transformed by the democratic revolutions that took place in the last decade of the 20th Century.

This book is an authentic record of the period, based on the author’s experiences. It is a gripping insider’s account of how the protagonists transformed European society.

It is partly a historical novel, partly a ‘roman a clef’, in which real life is overlaid with a facade of fiction. It differs from other novels of this genre in that real names have often been retained, thus enabling the reader to understand the historical context and to follow the development of the story over the last thirty years.

The main characters are two professionals, who, hidden from public view, delivered historic changes. The novel follows their efforts to steer two countries towards becoming more just and prosperous. It is an account of the moral challenges and dangers, including intimidation, threats and attacks on their lives. Neither of the two main characters are entirely who they are perceived to be. The English Banker is a Czech refugee, whilst the English Accountant is a claimant to the Russian imperial crown. Without people like them, half the societies of Europe would have remained as decaying swamps, and the integration of Europe might never have been accomplished.

Information about the Book:
Title: Red Wolves and White Knights
Author: Peter Kysel
Genre: Political Thriller
Publication Date: 28th January 2021
Page Count: 426
Publisher: Clink Street Publishing

Reviews and purchase:

Goodreads Link:

Amazon Link:

Here is an extract:

‘We and the Americans abandoned Eastern Europe needlessly in 1945,” pronounced Jack Straw in the Saulire cable car cabin. Admiring the snow-covered peaks of the Savoie Alps, I paid no attention. Jack was a friend and a keen military historian. It was March 1985 and we were on a skiing holiday in Méribel with friends. Jack returned to his comment in the evening over an après-ski drink at the Aspen Park hotel bar and this time he had our full attention.

“During a meeting in Moscow, in October 1944, Winston Churchill proposed a secret deal to Stalin, to divide spheres of influence in Europe after the war. Stalin was surprised but accepted. The sell-out of Eastern Europe was finalised by Churchill, Stalin and Roosevelt in Yalta four months later. As in Munich, the affected nations were excluded from the discussions.” Jack’s opinion challenged everything I had previously understood about the post-war order in Europe.

“After the war the Soviet Union annexed large territories of other European countries and turned eleven of them into colonies,” said David, gazing at the glowing logs in the fireplace.

“At Yalta Britain and America became the godfathers to a new colonial empire,” agreed Jack “Democratic politicians shook hands with dictators in Munich and in Yalta over the heads of the people involved. The saying ‘about us, without us’ could not have been more apt. The injustice inflicted by the three great powers on Eastern Europe lasted for forty-five years,” added our companion Jay.

My perplexity turned to exasperation.

“My homeland didn’t need to be colonised after the war?” I exclaimed. “Our family could have stayed together. My exile wasn’t inevitable,” and I continued with the rejoinder, “Then why? For what motives?” Jay shrugged his shoulders.

“Roosevelt was too ill to understand. Churchill wanted to save the British Empire with the acquiescence of the Soviets. Stalin was exporting revolution. But who knows?”

For the next few years, I lived with the suppressed pain of injustice. It felt pointless to rail against decisions that could not be changed. Sovietologists persuaded Western public opinion that the communist empire was strong. I was convinced that it would outlive me.

Then, in 1989, rebellions erupted throughout the Soviet bloc. Political and economic forces coalesced, forcing its regimes into existential crises. Jack was ecstatic. “Western powers have been relegated to the side-lines. The subjugated people are driving events. It’s no longer ‘about us, without us’. When the people demolish the infamous Yalta Doctrine, they will be liberated.” I was keeping my fingers
crossed, not sure that the rebellions would succeed.

But Jack was right. The Soviet Empire began to crumble. The world was about to change, and a new history was to emerge. Transformation to the new order was going to be messy and its outcome was uncertain. My own, ordered and calm family life in London was challenged on 7th December 1989 at 8pm.

Author Information

Peter was born in occupied Czechoslovakia towards the end of WW2. When he was ten months old, his aunt Irena took him on a train journey, to escape the impending uprising against the German occupation of Prague. The train was bombed by the Americans, but they both escaped unhurt. Peter’s parents, who were employed as a tailor and a seamstress, remained in Prague.

Immediately after the war the parents, in their mid-twenties set up their fashion business. They were successful and were able to give Peter a better start in life than they had themselves. Initially the communist coup d’etat in February 1948 had a little impact on the family’s life. When a young Peter was indoctrinated at school into a convinced socialist, ready to lay down his life for the red flag of his pioneer group, this began to change. His parents realised that they were powerless to intervene.

In contrast, in his teenage years, after his mother remarried, Peter was marked for discrimination and harassment. At 13 years old, he was labelled “an enemy of the State”, despite his personal commitment to socialism. His crime was to have a father who was a successful and creative designer. Peter was barred from the education that his grades had earned him. At 16, a careless joke led to his arrest by the State Security.

Peter could not eliminate the negative political label bequeathed to him by his father. He was going to carry the sign of an “undesirable” for life. At 18 Peter was sent for a yearlong “re-education” by manual labour.

In the summer 1968, during a short window of political relaxation, Peter took the opportunity to travel to the UK, and while he was abroad, the Warsaw Pact invaded Czechoslovakia. His fate was sealed when the hard-line regime of collaborators was installed in Prague, giving him no option but to apply for political asylum.

Peter began a new life by washing dishes in a hotel, before becoming a student at Oxford, where he met his partner and future wife. They moved to London and had a daughter. Peter found jobs in the private sector, while his wife worked as a educational researcher in the public sector.

After the collapse of communism in Europe Peter published articles about the market economy, appeared in media and worked as a consultant in several post-communist countries. He formed and managed one the first investment funds for the post-communist countries. In 1993 the British government sent him to assist in the privatisation process in the Czech Republic and in the creation of its financial market. When the privatisation task was completed, and companies were publicly traded on the stock exchange, he returned to his family and another investment job in London.

His wife died, after a 36 years long partnership, in 2006. A year later Peter gave up a permanent job and in August 2009 his daughter married. She was the catalyst in Peter’s decision of becoming a writer.

Peter was formerly a director and chairman of charitable organisations, including InterChange Trust, The Hamden Trust and WAP Performing Arts College and the British Czech and Slovak Association, and is a trustee of the Friends of Czech Heritage.


Coincidence of Spies

Something a little different this morning, this was a first for me! Not my usual genre, but a fabulous read no the less. This is the third book in the series, but the only one I read.

Full of action and highly recommended, it took me a little whilst to get into it, but once I was there I couldn’t put it down! I think I’ll read the others (as they may have helped, or that I’m not used to reading action books!). I would recommend these however to fans of espionage and spy thrillers.

Coincidence of Spies: John le Carré meets Agatha Christie in the third gripping novel in The Dylan Series.

Winter 1981. Poland is in turmoil.
The Communist regime is close to collapse and the CIA wants to help it on its way. They ask for MI6 support but insist the local MI6 Station isn’t involved.

Why not? Who will they accept?
MI6 agent Thomas Dylan is sent from Moscow. His wife Julia has witnessed a murder and the Russian authorities want her out of the country.

But in Warsaw bullets start to fly.
Two American agents disappear, a terrified Polish sailor jumps ship in Middlesbrough and a Polish peasant claims to have found the lost crown of amedieval King.
In London Julia needs to work out what’s happening.

And quickly. Because a KGB killer is on the loose.

The Jam Factory Girls – Mary Wood

Very excited to be closing this tour. This is an exciting new series, which I can’t wait to read the rest of…

The Jam Factory Girls is an uplifting and emotional novel of friendship set in the heart of pre-WWI London from bestselling author, Mary Wood.

Life for Elsie is difficult as she struggles to cope with her alcoholic mother. Caring for her siblings and working long hours at Swift’s Jam factory in London’s Bermondsey is exhausting. Thankfully her lifelong friendship with Dot helps to smooth over life’s rough edges.

When Elsie and Dot meet Millie Swift, they are nervous to be in the presence of the bosses’ daughter. Over time, they are surprised to feel so drawn to her, but should two East End girls be socializing in such circles?

When disaster strikes, it binds the women in ways they could never imagine. Long-held secrets are revealed that could change all their lives.

As always Mary takes us into the world of her characters and I couldn’t help but be mesmerised by the twists and turns of girls at London’s Shaw’s Jam Factory. The book is still of unexpected twists, just as you think you know how it’s going, something is thrown into the plot, that’s keeps you gripped.

I loved Elsie & Dot, it felt as if they were friends of mine… The events were believable and were all written in. It’s a complete rollercoaster of emotions from pure elation, to horror and sadness. I cannot recommend this enough is for are fans of Mary or Maggie Mason. You are in for an absolute treat.

About The Author
Born the thirteenth child of fifteen to a middle-class mother and an East End barrow boy, Mary Wood’s family was poor, but rich in love. Mary raised four children and has numerous grandchildren, step-grandchildren and great-grandchildren. An avid reader, she first put pen to paper in 1989 and is now a full-time novelist.

You can find Mary on Twitter: @Authormary

Australia – Stewart Giles

DS Jason Smith Book 14:

From bestselling author: Stewart Giles comes another brilliant addition to the Detective Jason Smith series
Detective Jason Smith is sick and tired of the English weather. It’s February in York and the dark, dreary days are getting him down.
When his wife, DC Erica Whitton wins a holiday to Australia, Smith is reluctant to go. He has no desire to go back home. Against his better judgement, Smith agrees to show his wife and daughter where he grew up.
The perfect holiday soon turns into a nightmare as Smith finds himself in a race against time to save the only people he’s ever cared about.
Children in Smith’s home town are being murdered. There’s something rotten there, an evil Smith has never come across before, and the local police are not what they appear to be.
When his wife is attacked and his daughter is taken, Smith realises he’s on his own. With the clock ticking, and not knowing if his daughter is alive or dead, Smith comes face to face with the worst kind of evil he’s ever encountered.

What readers are saying about Australia…

Wow this book kept me well and truly on the edge of my seat, gripping, horrifying, cringes, gave me a lump in my throat, every emotion went down on me, fantastic writing from this author I can never fault him I highly recommend it to all fans out there to read this man’s work totally brilliant’ – Booklover Bev

AUSTRALIA quickly demonstrates true evil with a heinous, horrific, abhorrent incident. Following this, in an idyllic setting, the unthinkable happens. Relentless heart-pounding agonizing suspense will hold you spellbound from start to finish. You will not be able to put it down. The pages will fly by while your heart races on every one. This is a mesmerizing, one sitting, book. ‘ – Eileen

I enjoyed treating about Smith’s adventures in Australia, as always fast paced with sharp, witty dialogue. A family holiday takes a sudden and shocking unexpected twist and becomes a personal crusade as Smith does what he does best and has to battle to piece together what has happened. Well written and believable as we follow Smith’s journey and how he overcomes the various obstacles in his way.

Fast paced, enjoyable crime thriller set in Australia in contrast to York – Kirsty

One heck of a thriller – a real page turner. The best Smith story to date!- Carol

My opinion:

Everything you would expect from Stewart..

Suspense, twists, action, death and in a non stop thrill ride.

Highly recommended as always!


Book 0.5-Phobia
Book 1-Smith
Book 2-Boomerang
Book 3-Ladybird
Book 4-Occam’s Razor
Book 5-Harlequin
Book 6-Selene
Book 7-Horsemen
Book 8-Unworthy
Book 9 – Venom
Book 10 – Severed
Book 11 – Demons
Book 12 – Deadeye
Book 13 – Motive
Book 14 – Australia

Blood on the Island
Lies on the Island
Fear on the Island (coming February 2021)

Book 1-The Beekeeper
Book 2-The Perfect Murder
Book 3-The Backpacker
Trotterdown a box set of DC Harriet Taylor books 1-3

Book 1 – The Enigma
Book 2 – Dropzone
Book 3 – The Raven Girl
Trilogy: The DS Smith & Harriet Taylor box set


The Divide

Stewart Giles – Author Bio

After reading English at 3 Universities and graduating from none of them, I set off travelling around the world with my wife, Ann, finally settling in South Africa, where we still live.

In 2014 Ann dropped a rather large speaker on my head and I came up with the idea for a detective series. DS Jason Smith was born. Smith, the first in the series was finished a few months later.

3 years and 8 DS Smith books later, Joffe Books wondered if I would be interested in working with them. As a self-published author, I agreed. However, we decided on a new series – the DC Harriet Taylor: Cornwall series.

The Beekeeper was published and soon hit the number one spot in Australia. The second in the series, The Perfect Murder did just as well.

I continued to self-publish the Smith series and Unworthy hit the shelves in 2018 with amazing results. I therefore made the decision to self-publish The Backpacker which is book 3 in the Detective Harriet Taylor series which was published in July 2018.

After The Backpacker I had an idea for a totally new start to a series – a collaboration between the Smith and Harriet thrillers and The Enigma was born. It brings together the broody, enigmatic Jason Smith and the more level-headed Harriet Taylor.

The Miranda trilogy is something totally different. A psychological thriller trilogy. It is a real departure from anything else I’ve written before.

The Detective Jason Smith series continues to grow and there are now 14 books including the introduction: Phobia.


Twitter: @stewartgiles


Before she disappeared – Lisa Gardner

My Opinion:

Again, another fantastic book! This is a standalone so great for new readers or established fans.

I was instantly hooked and unable to out this down. Frankie is a great protagonist, and I really found myself mesmerised by her. It is a slightly longer read than some of my more recent reads, but there is so.much going on you don’t realise. The story is naturally that long.

International Thriller Writers Award winner
Multiple New York Times and Sunday Times bestseller

Published by Century | Hardback |
26th January 2021 | £12.99

Frankie Elkin has dedicated her life to doing what no one else will: searching for missing people the world has forgotten.

When the police have given up, when the public no longer remembers, when the media has never paid attention, Frankie starts looking. She has found fourteen victims to date, but none yet alive. Traveling from city to city with more regrets than belongings, Frankie is drawn to a new case in Boston, and to a neighbourhood with a rough reputation.

Angelique Badeau, a local teenager and Haitian immigrant, vanished eleven months ago in the middle of the day from her high school. No scrap of surveillance footage, no cell phone tracking;
Angelique simply disappeared.

Despite resistance from the Boston PD and the victim’s wary family, Frankie starts to unpick the truth of Angelique’s disappearance and starts to discover there are those that don’t want these questions answered. But Frankie will stop at nothing to find Angelique and bring her home, even if it means the next person to go missing will be herself …

Praise for Lisa Gardner

‘Her plots and characters just don’t let you go, LISA GARDNER is at the top of her game!’

‘No one owns this corner of the crime genre the way LISA GARDNER does’ LEE CHILD

‘LISA GARDNER’S fast-paced novels twist when you expect a turn, and turn when you expect a twist. I couldn’t recommend her more.’ KARIN SLAUGHTER

‘Another rocket-fuel-propelled thriller from Lisa Gardner. This culmination of her great talents . . . starts out chillingly intimate and explodes into a sky-high denouement that will leave you breathless.’ GREGG HURWITZ

‘A tsunami of a thriller. This may well be Gardner’s best work’ DAVID BALDACCI

‘Lisa Gardner has outdone herself with this powerful novel about three women, two murders, and uncountable secrets! From its stunning opening to its last thrilling page, Lisa Gardner will captivate, surprise, and satisfy you.’ LISA SCOTTOLINE

‘Shocks the system like ten thousand volts. Brace yourself, gulp down a deep breath,
and dive in.’ A.J. FINN

‘Starts with a bang and never lets up! An utterly absorbing story about troubled families and twisted fates.’ SHARI LAPENA

‘A complex crime scene, a missing girl, a ticking clock: no one writes a more page-turning, gut-wrenching, edgy thriller. A page turner par excellence.’ TESS GERRITSEN

Research for Before She Disappeared

For her first standalone novel in over a decade, Lisa Gardner’s curiosity was piqued by a BBC article she read about the incredible civilians who dedicate their lives to solving missing people cold cases. After exploring more about this amazing group of Internet detectives and amateur P.Is, Lisa was inspired to write about a woman dedicating her life to finding missing people that the police and media too soon forget about. She was also drawn back to her old stomping ground of Boston where she lived for four years in the early ‘90s and spent several weeks exploring the inner-city neighbourhood of Mattapan and its uniquely Haitian culture. As with all her novels, Lisa conducted extensive interviews with law enforcement, including a former Superintendent Chief of the Boston Police Force to discover how someone can simply disappear in modern day Boston.

, 2A

At the tender age of twenty-seven, Lisa Gardner became an overnight success with the publication of her first thriller, The Perfect Husband. Launching to the top of the New York Times bestseller list, Lisa has since become an international bestseller of over twenty thriller novels, including the #1 NYT bestselling series, the FBI Profiler series, the Detective D.D Warren series and the Tessa Leoni series. She has had four books adapted into TV movies: At the Midnight Hour, The Perfect Husband, The Survivors Club and Hide, and has also made personal appearances on TruTV and CNN.

Her novel, The Neighbour, won Best Hardcover Novel from the International Thriller Writers and the Grand Prix des Lectrices de Elle in France. She was also recognized with the Daphne du Maurier Award in 2000 for The Other Daughter. Lisa received the Silver Bullet Award from the International Thriller Writers in 2017 for her work on behalf of at-risk children and the Humane Society. For further information about Lisa Gardner, visit:


By: Parker Bilal

Published: October 2020

Narrator: Damian Lynch

In a mission that goes badly wrong, loyal assassin Brodie takes out the nephew of the criminal mastermind he works for – and the hitman suddenly finds himself in the firing line. Saved by the woman he was sent to kill, Brodie is injured and at her mercy. But Brodie and Karima know too much about unforgiving gangster Donny to remain alive. Brodie his gun for hire. Karima his accountant. They both know where the bodies are buried.

And when Donny turns the might of his brutally violent empire on them there’s only one thing to do: run. Because as Brodie knows all too well, a moving target is harder to hit. Bound together, this unlikely couple must do all they can to survive. But can Karima ever trust the man who was sent to end her life?

Taking flight, they can only outpace their would-be killers for so long. When they run out of road, they have one last shot at freedom. But can they make it – before it’s too late?

About Parker Bilal

Parker Bilal was born in London, he has lived in Khartoum, Cairo, Denmark, Barcelona and currently, Amsterdam. He began writing literary fiction under his own name but finally in 2012 realised a long held dream of breaking into Crime Fiction with The Golden Scales, the first in his Makana series. Set in Cairo, the series covers the decade from 2001 to 2011 and the Arab Spring. There are six books so far and another four to come. The series is currently being adapted for television. Crane & Drake is the author’s second series. Parker Bilal is currently working on book 4 of the series and there is a television adaptation in development.

Lies on the Island: A detective Liam O’Reilly mystery – Stewart Giles

Detective Liam O’Reilly is bored. Life on the peaceful island of Guernsey is quiet, but it’s too quiet for his liking. In the middle of an insurance fraud investigation he confides in his daughter and tells her he’d give anything for a juicy murder case to sink his teeth into. ‘Be careful what you wish for, Dad.” Her words are still fresh in his mind when O’Reilly stumbles upon two dead bodies while investigating a fire at a container depot. The bodies have been burned beyond recognition and nobody seems to know how they ended up inside the container.
Soon it becomes very clear that something sinister is happening on the sleepy island and O’Reilly is thrown into the depths of lies and deception as he delves deeper into the lives of one particular family.
Everywhere he turns, he’s met with lies but O’Reilly is determined to find out the truth behind these gruesome murders even if by uncovering the lies means he’s putting his own life on the line.

Perfect for fans of Joy Ellis and LJ Ross.


Book 0.5-Phobia
Book 1-Smith
Book 2-Boomerang
Book 3-Ladybird
Book 4-Occam’s Razor
Book 5-Harlequin
Book 6-Selene
Book 7-Horsemen
Book 8-Unworthy
Book 9 – Venom
Book 10 – Severed
Book 11 – Demons
Book 12 – Deadeye
Book 13 – Motive
Book 14 – Australia (coming soon)

Book 1-The Beekeeper
Book 2-The Perfect Murder
Book 3-The Backpacker
Trotterdown a box set of DC Harriet Taylor books 1-3

Book 1 – The Enigma
Book 2 – Dropzone
Book 3 – The Raven Girl


The Divide

Blood on the Island
Lies on the Island

Stewart Giles – Author Bio

After reading English at 3 Universities and graduating from none of them, I set off travelling around the world with my wife, Ann, finally settling in South Africa, where we still live. In 2014 Ann dropped a rather large speaker on my head and I came up with the idea for a detective series. DS Jason Smith was born. Smith, the first in the series was finished a few months later. 3 years and 8 DS Smith books later, Joffe Books wondered if I would be interested in working with them. As a self-published author, I agreed. However, we decided on a new series – the DC Harriet Taylor: Cornwall series.
The Beekeeper was published and soon hit the number one spot in Australia. The second in the series, The Perfect Murder did just as well.
I continued to self-publish the Smith series and Unworthy hit the shelves in 2018 with amazing results. I therefore made the decision to self-publish

The Backpacker which is book 3 in the Detective Harriet Taylor series which was published in July 2018. After The Backpacker I had an idea for a totally new start to a series – a collaboration between the Smith and Harriet thrillers and The Enigma was born. It brings together the broody, enigmatic Jason Smith and the more level-headed Harriet Taylor.

Miranda is something totally different. A stand-alone psychological thriller, it is a real departure from anything else I’ve written before. This was followed by the sequel Mistress in 2019. Medusa is coming soon

The Detective Jason Smith series continues to grow and there are now 13 books including the introduction: Phobia. Book 12: Deadeye was published in February 2020.

Twitter: @stewartgiles

Christmas at Ivy Hill – Julie Klassen

Today I’m featuring a Christmas Novella.

Richard Brockwell, the younger son of Ivy Hill’s most prominent family, hasn’t been home for Christmas in years. He prefers to live in the London townhouse, far away from Brockwell Court, the old family secret that haunts him, and the shadows of his past mistakes. But then his mother threatens to stop funding his carefree life–unless he comes home for Christmas. Out of options, he sets out for Ivy Hill, planning to be back on a coach bound for London and his unencumbered bachelor life as soon as the festivities are over.

I absolutely loved this, thrown into 1882, I found myself captivated with the unravelling of these characters. Having not read any of the series before, didn’t make any difference. The characters were introduced, as to was the scene. Despite being a novella, the story wasn’t stopped short. It came to s natural end. The prose flowed well and I found myself unable to put it down. I would definitely recommend to fans of Downtown Abbey or Belgravia, as it very much reminded me of these programmes.

Buy Link

A Blackpool Christmas – Maggie Mason

Wow, can you believe how excited I was to be invited to be okay of this tour, after previously reviewing Blackpool’s Angel (Sangorians Book 1) last year? After what airers to be an oversight, I haven’t managed to read book 2, however it isn’t/want an issue (Tho I will go back and do this for my own pace of mind)

Anyway, how do I put this to not give to much away, as this is an essential read…


The war is over, but will Christmas be enough to bring them together?.

The war may be over, but for newly reunited sisters Babs and Beth, peace has yet to find them. Having been taken from their mother at a young age and then separated themselves for twelve years, their family has encountered enough pain to last a lifetime.
As the festive season approaches, they realise their struggles are far from over, but if they want to look forward to a happy future together they must work to put the past behind them. Will the joys of Christmas be enough to unite their family once more?

Needless to say I loved it, the twists and turns kept me gripped throughout, I want able to put this down!

If you don’t want to take my word for it check these out…

About the Author

Maggie Mason also writes saga as Mary Wood. Mary was born the thirteenth child of fifteen and throughout her life had various factory, office and home-based jobs, finally becoming a probation service officer before she retired. Mary married in 1963 and with her husband Roy has four children, eight grandchildren, and five step-grandchildren. She got her first book deal in 2013 and has not looked back since.

The Guilty Man (Detective Lennox #1) by Helen H Durrant

A brand new crime thriller from an internationally bestselling author!


A missing child, drugs, human-trafficking, hangings and two spectacular fires. At the centre of it all, a detective with a mysterious past. The latest novel by author Helen H. Durrant is truly compelling.

In a declining town in the North of England, a man is tortured by a ruthless criminal. The victim’s severed hand is left on his wife’s doorstep.

Meanwhile, Detective Harry Lennox and DI Jess Wilde are involved in the case of a missing child. The little girl, presumed dead, turns up playing happily in a local park. The child’s mother who lives on a notorious estate doesn’t seem to care.

Detective Harry Lennox is battling his own demons, trying to bury a secret from his past with alcohol. He is staying in a rundown campervan on a friend’s driveway. Jess wants to know why he’s living like this, but he refuses to tell her anything.

How do the cases connect and who is trying to drive people out of their homes?


Perfect for fans of Angela Marsons, Kimberley Chambers, Damien Boyd, Rachel Abbott, Patricia Gibney or Mark Billingham.

What readers are saying about HELEN H. DURRANT

“I couldn’t put it down.” Barbara

“This new series by Helen H. Durrant certainly has got off to a thrilling start.” Viv

“If you want a book to get your teeth into, this is the one. A massive 5*.” Greta

“Another fast-paced murder mystery.” Aileen

“The writing was top notch and the characters were very real.” Kat

DI HARRY LENNOX began his career in Glasgow, but due to a traumatic incident, transferred to West Yorkshire and then Ryebridge. He blames a local villain for what happened and is afraid that he’ll catch up with him. Harry is single, thirty-five and has a chaotic lifestyle. Currently living on a mate’s drive in a campervan. This is down to his girlfriend throwing him out.

DS JESS WILDE is thirty and still lives with her parents. She is unattached and keen to progress in her career. She gets on well with Harry. He doesn’t have much time for protocol, and this suits her. She is critical of how he lives. She is about to buy her first property locally.

Book 1: Next Victim
Book 2: Two Victims
Book 3: Wrong Victim

Book 8: DEAD BAD


OVER 750,000 books sold of her Calladine & Bayliss and DI Greco Series
I’m one of the ‘baby boomer’ generation. I was born in Edinburgh to an English father and Scottish mother. My father was from the North West of England and this was where the family settled.
I know the area well, both the good and the bad, and so I set my books here. Sitting between two counties, Lancashire and Yorkshire, and between the city and the hills, it offers a rich mix of the industrial and the countryside and all the character therein. I always planned to write crime novels — to create the characters in my books. Since my retirement from a busy teaching job in FE, this is what I’ve done — almost to exclusion of anything else!
I have a grown-up family and five grandchildren. They see me as something of an eccentric — always on my laptop writing away. Writing is something of a second career and, despite having a bus pass, keeps me busy, young and tuned in the world as it currently is.
Twitter @hhdurrant
Facebook Page

Smile of Deceit by Keith Newman


When two teenage girls disappear exactly sixteen years apart, police are convinced that the cases must be connected. One suspect was present on both occasions and now he has checked out of his hotel early and cannot be found.

But nothing is straightforward and it becomes clear that police involved in the original investigation have secrets of their own. When the cold case is reopened new evidence about both girls is established quickly, and there is a strong suspicion that the police are being manipulated.

Ruby Delacourt, the partner of the main suspect, is convinced that he is innocent and she uses her skill as a reporter to do her own digging. But she helps to uncover a much darker side to his character and an unexpected link between the two cases.

This is the turning point and the race is on to catch the real killer – a race which begins in the mountains of the French Alps and ends in a ski lodge just north of Lake Bled.

Information about the Book

Title: Smile of Deceit

Author: Keith Newman

Genre: Thriller

Publication Date: 20th October 2020

Page Count: 478

Publisher: Clink Street Publishing

Goodreads Link:

Amazon Link:

Today’s guest post:

My five favourite things about my main protagonist – Ruby Delacourt

In many ways she is bright as a button, beautiful and successful in her career. But Ruby Delacourt is not so successful in her choice of men. She is a complex character and it is difficult not to like her. Choosing my five favourite things about her is difficult, but here goes.

ONE: I like the way in which she gets on with other people, how she can spot their vulnerabilities and their weaknesses, but still be able to see the person beyond these faults. She puts other people at ease and can talk with them about both important and everyday things, making the conversation easy for everyone.

TWO: The death of her father had a profound effect on her but we don’t know anything about her mother. She misses her father terribly, wants to be able to confide in him again, to seek his advice, but at the same time she is wary that he might tell her that she is wrong and is making mistakes in her life. She does not have any close women friends, no-one that she is able to confide in or just have a coffee and a chat with. So that part of her background and her life is interesting as well.

THREE: Her character is a complex mix. On the one hand she is bright, successful and inventive. Yet she is hopeless at choosing men that are right for her. She forms intimate relationships quickly, throws herself into them and desperately wants them to be successful. Her husband and then Philip Cassidy are both damaged individuals and there must have been signs of their unsuitability. Both relationships were disastrous for her. Yet Graham Forbes seems to be a perfect partner for Ruby – we don’t know much about his private life but Ruby obviously chose him when she was lonely and they had a short, passionate affair which Ruby ended. We don’t know why exactly and it portrays Ruby in another light.

FOUR: Ruby is a determined resourceful woman, successful in her career ad confident in her abilities. She is beautiful as well, but not too obvious about it. I like the idea of characters having two sides to them, two contrasting sides and seeing the way in which each extreme pulls against the other.

FIVE: Ruby is her own woman. Despite all of the contradictions in her personality, she chooses the way in which she lives her life and although on occasions it takes some time for her to realise the mistakes she is making she is not afraid of closing chapters in her life. She is decisive about this when she needs to be and once she makes a decision she sticks to it without regret or a backward glance.

Author Information

H:\Documents\Downloads\2020\Smile of Deceit\img087 (2).jpg

My name is Keith Newman and I have two things in common with Rodney, the character in ‘Only Fools and Horses’ – we are both tall and slim (well at least I was when I was his age) and we both have one ‘O’ level. Perhaps the similarity ends there.

My full-time formal education stopped when I was 15 in 1957 so I am getting on a bit. Lewes Secondary Modern School for Boys was good for us in many ways – we had to behave ourselves, were taught to work hard or else, and not be too interested in the girls from the school next door.

My first job was as office boy at the local council offices. It wasn’t long before I knew what everyone was doing in their own little rooms and I probably knew more about the people working there than the boss did. I moved about quite a bit in the same department, but was always able to select the best manager to work with based on my insight into the various power struggles. I paid invoices, moved trampolines from one school to another (only losing one in the process) and helped to organise the 11+ examination. Then I ended up in Personnel (HR as it’s now called). We had 36,000 employees working in about 300 sites and I got to visit every one. It was my dream job and I ended up managing the whole team. We certainly had a variety of problems.

But now in my retirement I’ve started to write fiction and I can for the first time in my life be creative. My first book, ‘Smile of Deceit’ is a crime thriller and I am already planning the next one.

Tour Schedule

Monday 19th October

Stuck in the Book

Tuesday 20th October

Bookish Blue

Wednesday 21st October

Fantastic Feathers

Thursday 22nd October

Alex’s Books

Friday 23rd October

Jazzy Book Reviews

Monday 26th October

Turn the Page Blog

Tuesday 27th October

Jera’s Jamboree

Wednesday 28th October

Orchard Book Club

Thursday 29th October

Georgia Books

Friday 30th October


The Pact – Dawn Goodwin

About the Book
I’ll kill yours, if you kill mine.
Maddie’s life has come crashing down around her. Her husband has left her and moved on with a new woman and baby. No longer can she run from the past that’s been haunting her. The past has destroyed her future. In a new flat, trying to start a new life, Maddie meets Jade and her young son, Ben. All too swiftly Maddie finds the dark thoughts whirring through her brain. But Jade’s different, she loves Ben, doesn’t she? As the two women begin to open up about their exes over a few glasses of wine, Jade conjures a plan, a pact. She’ll kill Maddie’s if Maddie kills hers. Laughing it off, Maddie returns to her normal life. But what if it
wasn’t a joke at all…


The box was heavy in her arms as Maddie Lowe slid the key into the front door and pushed it open. The door swung back hard against the wall, leaving a dirty mark on the crisp white paint that she would only notice later. A bruise on the wall marking the day she moved in. She could hear Greg huffing and puffing behind her as he struggled into the main entrance hall of the small block of flats with more boxes. Maddie hesitated in front of the open door, despite the weighty box in her arms. ‘Are you waiting for me to carry you over the threshold or something?’ Greg said behind her with a chuckle. She flinched at the inappropriate joke. Maddie stepped into the flat and dropped the box at her feet, her back aching as she straightened up. ‘Thank God it’s not on the next floor up. Looks like the lift is broken.’ Sweat had broken out on Greg’s forehead. ‘Where do you want this?’
‘Um…’ Maddie looked around the empty open-plan living space. It looked deceptively spacious with very little furniture in it. Everything clean and sparse, a blank canvas on which to start anew. ‘Anywhere, I guess,’ she replied around the stone lodged in her throat. Greg headed towards the kitchen area and thumped the box down in the corner. ‘Look, Maddie, I…’ He rubbed at his hair and she wanted to reach out and still his hand, tell him not to do that, that it was thinning there and he would only make it worse.
Instead, she said nothing. His thinning hair was Gemma’s problem now.

An awkwardness filled the space between them, hanging off the end of his unfinished sentence as he pained over what to say next. In the end, she bailed him out again, saying, ‘It’ll be lovely with some plants and bright curtains. Some furniture is being delivered on Monday. A few nice cushions…’ She looked around at her new home. The first place she would have lived in entirely on her own.
‘I hate bloody cushions, but you can have as many as you like now.’ This time he didn’t laugh at his own joke.
‘Right. Well, the next time you come, it will be much more homely, I’m sure.’
He chewed at the inside of his lip. ‘That little garden out there is nice,’ he said,nodding towards the sliding doors on the far side of the room. ‘Could be a bit of a sun trap. You could grow herbs or vegetables maybe.’ Maddie remained rooted to the spot. ‘Right, well, let me get the rest of these boxes in.’ He scurried out and she sighed, looking at the postage stamp of grass outside, so different to the large, landscaped
garden she had left behind.
She followed Greg back into the corridor. A few more trips to the van Greg had hired and Maddie’s meagre belongings and bags of clothes were stashed in the flat, taking up a depressingly small amount of
space. Greg looked around, hands on hips and his legs firmly planted. ‘There we go, all done. Do you need a hand moving these boxes around?’ His eyes darted to the door.
‘No, thanks. I’ve got it from here.’
‘Right, well, I’d better— oh, I nearly forgot!’ He disappeared out to the van again and returned with a glittery gold gift bag, which he held out to Maddie awkwardly.
‘Um, Gemma sent you a housewarming gift, something for your first night in your
new home.’ His eyes didn’t quite meet hers as he handed it over.

About the Author
Dawn’s career has spanned PR, advertising and publishing. Now, she
loves to write about the personalities hiding behind the masks, whether
beautiful or ugly. Married, she lives in London with her two daughters
and a British bulldog called Geoffrey.

Follow Dawn:
Twitter: @DGoodwinAuthor
Facebook: @DGoodwinAuthor
Instagram: dgoodwinauthor

Buy Links:
Google Play:

Follow Aria:
Twitter: @aria_fiction
Facebook: @ariafiction
Instagram: @ariafictionThe Pact, Dawn Goodwin

Bent Coppers by Norman Pilcher

Throughly enjoyed this and had been looking forward to reading it, since saw it. Concise enough, but detailed enough, you are drawn into the world of London Policing… No could almost smell the smoke. Highly recommended for anyone who loves crime and memoirs.


London, England, 1967. An explosion of recreational drugs has resulted in the emergence of an anti-establiment hippy culture, worsening crime rates and an increasingly paranoid tabloid press. A young and ambitious police officer joins the Metropolitan Police Drug Squad determined to right these emerging cultural wrongs.

His method? To tackle head on the most high-profile examples of wanton drug abuse. His targets? The celebrities, musicians and dilettantes all exploiting Britain’s burgeoning drugs trade, glamourising illegal activity and promoting their untouchable wealth and fame to an impressionable generation.

Bent Coppers is the electrifying true story of Norman Pilcher, the most infamous police officer in British law enforcement history. Truth and justice were the tenets of Pilcher’s war against crime in the capital, but they soon collapsed in a landslide of scandal, perjury and blazing newspaper headlines.

The man who arrested The Beatles and The Rolling Stones would pay the ultimate price for his service. Finally he sets the record straight.

Information about the Book

Title: Bent Coppers

Editor: Norman Pilcher

Genre: Memoir

Publication Date: 29th September 2020

Page Count: 198

Publisher: Clink Street Publishing

Goodreads Link:

Amazon Link:

Author Information

My name is Norman Pilcher I was a policeman in the 1960’s in London during a period when the Met Police was rotten to the core. I grew up in Margate (but now live in the Tunbridge Wells area.) I had a great family life and never got into trouble, because if I had I’d have got a good old thumping from dad. I went into the building trade on an apprenticeship when school finished. I didn’t like it and so when dad came back from racing pigeons, I told him that I fancied joining the army which I did. I trained at Woking and joined the Military Police and like dad I went to North Africa. As I was part of the Military Police, I was destined to be a copper, so when I came back, I joined the Met.



Tour Schedule

Monday 28th September

Carry on Beautiful

Tuesday 29th September

Jazzy Book Reviews

Wednesday 30th September

Big Book Little Book

Thursday 1st October

Dash Fan Book Reviews

Friday 2nd October

Alex’s Books

Monday 5th October

Donna’s Book Blog

Tuesday 6th October

Turn the Page Blog

Thursday 8th October

Stuck in the Book

Friday 9th October

Bookish Blue

Excerpt – The Paris Affair

When the coach finally drew up, crusted with gilded wooden trim and with the queen’s cypher painted on the doors, a footman jumped down, lithe as a dancer, and unfolded the cleverly concealed steps and handed Mademoiselle Bertin up them and into the coach. I started to struggle after her, but then the other footman took the heavy sack from me and stowed it under one of the silk-upholstered benches so I could climb in more easily.
It wasn’t until we were settled inside the coach with the windows closed against the noise and stench that Mademoiselle Bertin spoke. At first I didn’t realize her comments were directed to me. She stared out the window the entire time, as if she couldn’t stand the sight of me.
She said, “None of the rumors you have heard of the queen are true.”
I wondered how she could know what rumors I’d heard, but then realized that even the basest menial in Paris couldn’t help but be acquainted with the most outlandish scandals about the queen, thanks to the pamphlets put out daily by her enemies. “Non, Mademoiselle—“
“You will not speak. Not to me or to the queen. Not unless you are asked a direct question.”
She lifted her gloved hand to tuck a wisp of hair under her bonnet and I noticed that it shook. The famous Mademoiselle Bertin was nervous. I had heard that the queen treated her as an intimate acquaintance, that she entertained her in her private boudoir. Yet this woman, the most sought-after modiste in Paris, still trembled on her way to visit Marie Antoinette.
My heart was jumping up and down like a nervous kitten, but somehow, knowing I wasn’t alone in my anxiety, soothed me a little. By the time we arrived at the grand courtyard in front of the palace of Versailles, I had talked myself into a state approaching calm.
Mademoiselle Bertin walked very fast through the wide halls and opulent reception rooms. “Keep up! We’re late!”
I scurried after her, now followed by a footman carrying the sack of fabrics and laces. It didn’t seem fair, I thought. If we were late, it was only because the queen’s carriage hadn’t arrived on time. Not just that, but I wished we’d walk more slowly so I had time to inspect our surroundings. There were elegantly dressed people everywhere. Some were nobles, but many, I knew, were servants wearing their master’s and mistress’s cast-off clothing. One would have to know whether a gentleman’s waistcoat sported this-season’s buttons or last to determine whether he was servant or lord. Or be sharp-eyed enough to discern the trace of wear at the cuffs, or a stain that couldn’t easily be covered up.
I was out of breath by the time we were ushered into the queen’s private apartments. Mademoiselle Bertin sank into a deep curtsy, and I did the same.
A sweet, high voice said, “My dear Rose!”
I heard the swish of skirts and glanced up to see the queen of France take my employer’s hand and pull her to her feet. “We are alone. Madame Etiquette will not disturb us here.” They both smiled. I was still bent in a curtsy with my nose nearly touching the floor, afraid to rise.
“Up, girl!” Mademoiselle Bertin said, a frown creasing her forehead.
“Do not be cross with her. Poor girl has never been here before. What is your name?”
I looked to Mademoiselle Bertin, expecting her to be furious, but her face had lost all trace of vexation and she smiled. She must have been worried about bringing me instead of her accustomed assistant.
“My name is Thérèse,” I answered with a bow of my head.
“Like my daughter, a daughter of France.” The queen smiled.

After the appointment, when Marie Antoinette had given all her instructions to Mademoiselle Bertin and I had written them down carefully in a little notebook, we walked back through the palace at a more leisurely pace. Mademoiselle Bertin stayed next to me instead of making me walk behind her like a servant. I guessed that I had acquitted myself to her satisfaction.
This guess was confirmed when we climbed back into the coach and instead of sitting opposite me and staring out the window, Mademoiselle Bertin sat next to me, her body angled in my direction. “You’re a clever girl, Thérèse. The captain was right. From now on, you shall accompany me whenever I wait upon the queen. I hope that will help you discover what it is you’re seeking. You understand, I will do anything in my power to quash the gossip about Marie Antoinette.”
I appreciated her support, but in my heart, I was all too worried that—rather than discover truths that would vindicate the queen in the eyes of her subjects—I would uncover secrets that would further entrench their disdain.


Very enjoyable, this is a first for me from this author and I would definitely recommend and will be reading the rest…

This is part of a trilogy that has been re-released with these fantastic covers.

Be prepared to be transported back into Victorian England…


A heart-breaking tale of compassion and conflict set at Dartmoor’s Foggintor Quarry in Victorian times and based around the opening of the Princetown Railway and the Great Blizzard of 1891.

In August 1883, the first steam train on the new Princetown branch line makes its triumphant passage across Dartmoor, passing by the quarrymen’s hamlet at Foggintor. For Ling Southcott and her young sister, Fanny, this is a momentous event, for the railway will connect their isolated neighbourhood to the market town of Tavistock and beyond, making the outside world accessible.

Ling’s future seems ready-mapped, but her sharp, enquiring mind and love of books lead her to higher aspirations. When she is injured in an accident on the railway, she is rescued by a handsome young doctor, Elliott Franfield, and this encounter with a man of education – so different from her dear but unambitious childhood sweetheart, Barney – is to alter the course of her life forever…

Author bio:
Historical novelist Tania Crosse was born in London and lived in Banbury Street, Battersea, where her two most recent titles are set. However, at a very young age the family moved to Surrey where Tania’s love of the countryside took root. She always enjoyed reading and has composed stories ever since she could hold a pen. After studying French Literature at university, she devoted twenty years to bringing up her family. But her passion for writing never left her, and side by side with her in-depth research into Victorian social history, she began to pen her novels in earnest as her family grew up.

When Tania discovered Morwellham Quay, the restored Victorian copper port and now living history museum in Devon, she fell in love with this magical place and felt a spiritual compulsion to create a story that would illustrate life there in times gone by. This led to the publication of her debut novel, ‘Morwellham’s Child’, and now Tania has fourteen published titles with which to thrill her readers.

Tania has now completed her series of novels illustrating the rich history of Tavistock and the surrounding area of Dartmoor from Victorian times to the 1950’s. She is now working on a series of Twentieth Century stories set in London and the south east. She draws very much on her own experiences of life to create her books. She hates being catagorised as a writer of historical romance. The history comes first, she insists, and the human tales develop from her research. The characters lead harsh, demanding lives and their stories are often cruel and harrowing.

Tania has been happily married for forty five years and claims she would never have achieved her success without her husband’s support. They have three grown up children, two grandchildren and three grand-dogs!

Mel Sherratt

Dark fiction with an emotional pull.

Gloucestershire Crime History

Historical bits and pieces about crime and punishment in Gloucestershire


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