Thursday, 10 March 2016

The Cosy Teashop Tour

Hello there!

I hope you are sitting comfortably, preferably with a scone and a cuppa.

Today I am hosting a special guest post by Caroline Roberts, author of The Cosy Teashop in the Castle.

Caroline has very kindly written a piece for us about her time visiting castles in the North of England.

I was delighted when I discovered the novel is set in Northumberland as I have been lucky enough to holiday there and visit some of these castles...and tearooms!

So let me pass you on to Caroline:

Northumberland Castle and Teashop Tour:

Why not take a teashop and castle tour!

·         Chillingham Castle has it very own teashop within, just set off the inner courtyard. It’s an amazing place, you may recognize the leaded windows and huge fireplace from the novel.

·         Towering 150 foot above sea level, and set right on the beach, Bamburgh Castle looks every inch the mighty citadel it once was. It has a fabulous tearooms within its castle walls.

·         If you visit Alnwick Castle there’s the Courtyard CafĂ© within, or in the lovely and historic town of Alnwick itself try the fantastic range of teas at Bari Tea or the traditional Grannies tearooms.

·         Lindisfarne Castle/Holy Island – such a pretty place to visit, with several cafes and teashops on the island. Just remember to check the tide times for the causeway – you can get cut off!

·         Warkworth Castle – a historic castle and the scenic village has the gorgeous Cabosse patisserie and the lovely Bertram’s tea rooms

·         Not strictly a castle but a country hall, but the tea rooms at Howick Hall are rather special, ideal for afternoon tea, and well worth a mention, and the gardens there are delightful.

Enjoy your wonderful day out in Northumberland, or why not make a weekend of it! Wonder how many cakes and castles you can fit in?!

Sounds delicious, and I can personally vouch for the teashop at Bamburgh Castle!!

If all this talk of coffee and cake has whetted your appetite, be sure to look for Caroline's novel The Cosy Teashop in the Castle - out now from HarperImpulse

Thursday, 31 December 2015

My Best Reads of 2015

Hello all,

What a busy year this has been! However, though I haven't posted, I have still been reading.

I would like to share with you fifteen best books I read in 2015.

Thanks to all of the amazing authors, illustrators, editors, publicists and fellow bloggers. Wishing you all a wonderful 2016



My Best 15

If You Find Me by Emily Murdoch
A Boy Called Christmas by Matt Haig & Chris Mould
Wolf By Wolf by Ryan Graudin
Demon Road by Derek Landy
Crow Mountain by Lucy Inglis
A Place Called Winter by Patrick Gale
An Untamed State By Roxane Gay
Letters To the Lost by Iona Gray
Everything, Everything By Nicola Yoon
Neverhome By Laird Hunt
My True Love Gave to Me Edited by Stephanie Perkins
Bomb By Sarah Mussi
Mockingbird By Kathryn Erskine 
The Girl on the Train By Paula Hawkins 
Pugs of the Frozen North by Philip Reeve & Sarah McIntyre

Monday, 20 July 2015

Blog Tour: The Secret Life and Curious Death of Miss Jean Milne

The Secret Life and Curious Death of Miss Jean Milne
By Andrew Nicoll
Published July 17 2015 by B&W

I read this historical crime novel as part of a blog tour organised by B&W publishing.

Miss. Jean Milne is a spinster of independent means living alone at Elmgrove, a large detached house in the small coastal town of Broughty Ferry.

Concerns are raised with the local police when Miss. Milne is not seen. Her post is uncollected and her laundry cannot be delivered. 

Upon entering Elmgrove, the body of Miss. Milne is discovered. She had been tied up, bludgeoned and her body covered with a sheet.

The novel follows the subsequent police investigation - from the scene of the crime, through to witness statements and identity parades. 

It is discovered Miss. Milne led rather an exciting, racy life and enjoyed flirtation with young men. Scandalous!

Reports filter through the town of a stranger with a blonde moustache seen near Elmgrove. Is this her killer?

Based upon true events, I found this novel to be an enjoyable mystery, paced extremely well full of detail and description. I was surprised at the identity of the murderer, will you be?

Many thanks
to the publisher for sending a copy in return for an honest review.

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Blogger Tour Review of Another Heartbeat in the House

Another Heartbeat in the House
By Kate Beaufoy

Published Transworld July 2 2015

I am very excited to be taking part in my first blog tour and am honoured to have been asked to review Another Heartbeat in the House.

The book begins with us meeting Edie Chadwick and Ian Fleming -yes, THE Ian 007 Fleming! Ian has a cameo role but Edie is the real star. London publisher, dog lover, heartbroken over a friend's betrayal. Escape comes in the form of an invitation to close up an old house in Ireland, in preparation for its sale.

It's just what Edie needs to keep her busy and give her a change of scenery so accompanied with her new canine companion Milo, she dons a headscarf, rolls her sleeves up and sets to work cataloguing and clearing the old house.

When Edie discovered an old manuscript, the booklover inside cannot help but read it, and falls under the spell of Eliza Drury - independent, strong willed mistress of Jameson St. Leger, member of Ireland's aristocracy.Oh, and friend of William Thackeray, and his inspiration for Becky Sharp - one of my favourite females in literature!!!

What started out being a light, intelligent read expanded in depth creating a tragic yet affirming story with wonderfully believable characterisation and immensely enjoyable natural dialogue. There wasn't a character there who didn't add to the story and the author's evocative and educational descriptions of Ireland had me fascinated. Another Heartbeat is one of my best reads of the year and has made me want to reread Vanity Fair as soon as I can!

Monday, 12 January 2015

Lettice & Victoria

Lettice & Victoria by Susanna Johnston
Published December 15, 2013 Arcadia Books

Lettice & Victoria was an unexpected surprise and a stonking good read. Reminiscent of days of Brideshead and the Mitfords, this book has the most delicious array of characters - I love Victoria with her chain smoking and knitting needles and Harold and Archie are a scream! 

Lettice & Victoria is a novel of family life and circumstance. Sharp and witty it really is a dream.

Thank you Susanna and Arcadia Books, Lettice & Victoria is a welcome addition to my bookshelves. 

Tuesday, 30 December 2014

My Best Reads of 2014


So this is my annual list of (in no particular order) the best books I have read during 2014.

It has been a busy year yet I've still managed to fit in some reading and some of the books have been extraordinary.

Wishing you a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year, see you in 2015 x

Labor Day by Joyce Maynard
Mrs. Hemingway by Naomi Wood
A Year of Reading Dangerously by Andy Miller
Lost Lake by Sarah Addison Allen
Someone Else's Skin by Sarah Hilary
Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan
The Enchanted by Rene Denfeld
Elizabeth is Missing by Emma Healey
Lockwood & Co: The Whispering Skull by Jonathan Stroud
That Part Was True by Deborah McKinlay
Far From You by Tess Sharp
The Martian by Andy Weir
The Boy on the Porch by Sharon Creech
The Walled City by Ryan Graudin

Thursday, 16 October 2014


Scramasax by Kevin Crossley-Holland
Published August 30 2012 Quercus


Scramasax is book 2 in Crossley-Holland's Viking Sagas.

Solveig is now in Constantinople and reunited with her father and the rest of Harold Hardrada's Varangian guard. Empress Zoe demands the guard travel to Sicily and capture land and riches in her name - but at what cost to Solveig and her friends?

As is often the case with 'second' books, I did not find Scramasax as enjoyable as Bracelet of Bones but will persevere for the third book's release (date and title unknown).

Full of adventure, drama and suspense, Scramasax is an enjoyable historical read for young people. Richly descriptive, the book includes a map and useful glossary.