#BlogTour | #Giveaway: The Lingering by SJI Holliday @OrendaBooks #TheLingering #Win

the lingering.jpg“Married couple Jack and Ali Gardiner move to a self-sufficient commune in the English Fens, desperate for fresh start. The local village is known for the witches who once resided there and Rosalind House, where the commune has been established, is a former psychiatric home, with a disturbing history

When Jack and Ali arrive, a chain of unexpected and unexplained events is set off, and it becomes clear that they are not all that they seem. As the residents become twitchy, and the villagers suspicious, events from the past come back to haunt them, and someone is seeking retribution…

At once an unnerving locked-room mystery, a chilling thriller and a dark and superbly wrought ghost story, The Lingering is an exceptionally plotted, terrifying and tantalisingly twisted novel by one of the most exciting authors in the genre.”

I am delighted to welcome you to the blog today and to my stop on The Lingering blog tour.  The Lingering is the latest book from SJI Holliday and was published by Orenda Books on 15th November 2018.

To celebrate The Lingering’s release I have a paperback copy up for grabs today.  To be in with a chance of winning a copy all you have to do is pop the name of your favourite spooky book in the comments.  We’ve missed Halloween but that doesn’t matter. Ghost stories work no matter what time of year!

The giveway is open internationally and the winner will be announced shortly after midday on Sunday 25th November (GMT) when the giveaway closes.  The winner will need to provide me with their name and address which I will pass on to the blog tour organiser.  There is no cash alternative.  Good luck everyone!

The Lingering by SJI Holliday was published in the UK by Orenda Books on 15th November 2018 and is available in paperback, eBook and audio formats (please note, some of the following links are affiliate links which means I receive a small percentage of the purchase price at no extra cost to you): | amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | Waterstones | BookDepository | Goodreads |

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Susi author photo.jpgS.J.I. (Susi) Holliday is a pharmaceutical statistician by day and a crime and horror fan by night. Her short stories have been published in many places and she was shortlisted for the inaugural CWA Margery Allingham prize with her story ‘Home from Home’, which was published in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine in spring 2017. She is the bestselling author of the creepy and claustrophobic Banktoun trilogy (Black Wood, Willow Walk and
The Damselfly) featuring the much-loved Sergeant Davie Gray, and has dabbled in festive crime with the critically acclaimed The Deaths of December. Her latest psychological thriller is modern gothic with more than a hint of the supernatural, which she loved writing due to her fascination and fear of ghosts. She is proud to be one of The Slice Girls has been described by David Mark as ‘Dark as a smoker’s lung.’ She divides her time between Edinburgh and London and you will find her at crime-fiction events in the UK and abroad.

Author Links:Twitter | Facebook | Website |

#BookReview | #Giveaway: The Silent Companions by Laura Purcell (@spookypurcell) @BloomsburyRaven

the silent companions.jpg“Newly married, newly widowed Elsie is sent to see out her pregnancy at her late husband’s crumbling country estate, The Bridge.

With her new servants resentful and the local villagers actively hostile, Elsie only has her husband’s awkward cousin for company.

Or so she thinks. But inside her new home lies a locked room, and beyond that door lies a two-hundred-year-old diary and a deeply unsettling painted wooden figure – a Silent Companion – that bears a striking resemblance to Elsie herself…”

You wait ages for a historical crime fiction novel to turn up then TWO arrive on the blog in the space of a couple of weeks!  Okay, so maybe this isn’t a crime novel in the strictest sense but my copy made it’s way into my hot little hands via my Theakstons Crime goodie bag back in July.  That ‘sort of’ makes it a crime novel!  Okay, okay maybe I’m talking rubbish.  What this book definitely is is a wonderfully creepy ghost story which I absolutely devoured.  And you can too!  That Theakstons Crime goodie bag I mentioned?  Well, it was actually TWO goodie bags – both with a copy of The Silent Companions so I shall be giving one of my proofs away later on.  Hold tight for that though, I have my review to share with you first.

I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect when I started to read The Silent Companions.  I had put a couple of requests out on Twitter for some scary book recommendations and this book was mentioned.  More than once in fact; more than any other book which is something quite amazing when it hadn’t even been published at that point!  There is obviously a lot of love out there for The Silent Companions and, because of the hype, I really wanted to love it too.  And I did.

When reading a historical novel it sometimes takes me a little while to adjust to the author’s sentence structure.  After all, they spoke and acted quite differently to modern day life back in 1865.  But that wasn’t the case with Laura Purcell’s writing, I found it very easy to absorb and before long I was lost in this wonderfully dark and eerie tale. Purcell’s writing is expertly atmospheric and adds multiple creepy layers to her story.

Elsie Bainbridge is newly married, and newly widowed.  She is also expecting her late husband’s child so is sent away to the family estate to wait out her pregnancy.  The house, known as The Bridge, is nothing like what she expected.  The mansion is crumbling around her, the staff are sloppy and she longs to return to London and spend time with her younger brother.  Her husband’s cousin is her only companion, a dowdy woman named Sarah.  When Elsie hears a recurring noise late at night she is both curious and irritated.  Upon investigation, she discovers a locked door leading to the garret.  There is no key, the housekeeper is unable to provide any answers so Elsie decides to call someone in from the local town to open the mysterious door.  Before she is able to do that, however, she stumbles upon the door and it is curiously unlocked.  Elsie ventures into the room but what she doesn’t realise is that the door is locked to keep certain items in, rather than her out….

My imagination was running overtime picturing the vivid scenes created by Purcell.  I think this book is a prime candidate for being turned into a movie or a televised drama!  I did, unfortunately, see the twist in the story coming from fairly early on but that’s because I’m a sceptical, wannabe detective and others may not be as suspicious as me!

Would I recommend this book?  I would!  Don’t be put off if you’re not a fan of ghost or horror stories as this is well worth a read (and who knows, you may change your mind a little!).  Chilling, eerie and oh so good.  I’m looking forward to reading more from Laura Purcell in the future.

Four and a half stars out of five.

I chose to read and review an ARC of The Silent Companions.  The above review is my own unbiased opinion.

#GIVEAWAY

I have one paperback proof copy of The Silent Companions to giveaway to a UK/IRE winner!  All you need to do is click the Rafflecopter link below and follow the instructions.  Due to postage costs I’m afraid this giveaway is open to UK/IRE residents only.  The winner will receive a proof copy of The Silent Companions, there is no cash alternative on offer.  The competition will be open until midnight (BST) on 11th October 2017.  The winner will be required to provide their postal address so I may send their prize.  Their address will not be passed onto any third parties.  Give the link a click and GOOD LUCK!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Silent Companions by Laura Purcell was published in the UK by Bloomsbury Raven on 5th October 2017 and is available in hardcover and eBook formats |

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Author image and bio (c) http://laurapurcell.com/

Laura Purcell writes biographical fiction about the Georgian Queens and ‘spooky’ Victorian novels. She lives in Colchester with her husband and pet guinea pigs. Laura is represented by Juliet Mushens at Caskie Mushens Literary Agency.

THE SILENT COMPANIONS will be published by Bloomsbury in October 2017 (US Penguin, March 2018).

QUEEN OF BEDLAM (2014) and MISTRESS OF THE COURT (2015) were published by Myrmidon and are available from all book retailers.

Author Links: | Website | Facebook | Twitter |

#BlogTour #BookReview: Mystery at Maplemead Castle by Kitty French (@KFrenchBooks) @bookouture


cover maplemead.jpg“Welcome to Chapelwick, a leafy English town in the hills of Shropshire, where chocolate pecan cookies come with a helping of sabotage.

Maplemead Castle is crawling with ghosts, and the new owners need them gone. When Melody Bittersweet and the Girls’ Ghostbusting Agency arrive on scene, they quickly identify the troublemakers swinging from the chandeliers… literally.

A century ago, stunning trapeze artist Britannia Lovell plunged to her death, and has done every night since. But did she really just fall, or was there something more to her demise?

Forced to work with Leo Dark, her scoundrel ex, and infuriating, irresistible reporter Fletcher Gunn, Melody’s investigative powers are under strain (i.e. lost in a pink mist of lust and confusion). She needs her team on top form, but best friend Marina’s cake pipeline goes AWOL, assistant Artie’s distracted by a giant sausage roll, and the pug is scared witless by a lion.

Somewhere, hidden in the castle, is a heart-breaking secret, but what will it take to find it? And is there a chance it could set Britannia free, or is she doomed to repeat her last fateful act forever?”

I am absolutely thrilled to welcome you to my stop on the Mystery at Maplemead Castle blog tour.  This is the second book in the Chapelwick Mysteries series written by author, Kitty French.  Now, I’m a self confessed crime fan.  I like my crime gritty, with lots of blood spilt and the occasional character’s guts too (if I’m lucky!).  The gorier, the better for damppebbles.  But I have a secret (not really secret) addiction.  And that’s the Chapelwick Mysteries series of cozy crime.  I absolutely adored the first book in the series (you can read my review by clicking here but please note, the cover and title of the first book have changed since I wrote my review and it’s now called Skeletons of Scarborough House.  AND it’s only 99p at the moment, so what are you waiting for?!).

Oh my gosh, Kitty French has done it again with the second book in the series!

Starting this book felt like meeting old friends again.  I absolutely love every single character in this novel.  From the converse and jeans wearing, unlucky in love, bad-ass businesswoman Melody to the pimply, awkward young Artie to the slightly psychotic, fan-twins Nikki and Vikki.  Melody and the gang are back on the case and that dear reader, makes me feel good!

Melody and her team of unusual suspects are called to assist in the removal of ghosts from Maplemead Castle.  Maplemead Castle has recently acquired new owners in the form of Lady Lolo and husband Barty.  They purchased the castle over the internet without seeing it, as only eccentric Americans (or the insane) can do!  What they didn’t bargain for is the resident spooks who are driving away business.  And potential clients, aka Hollywood bigwigs, are refusing to step foot in Maplemead until an exorcism as has taken place.  Well, no.  That’s not how Melody goes about her ghost-busting.  Nor does it involve large ghost hoovers only to then deposit Timothy Claypole in the bank of eternal ghoul, a la Ghostbusters™ (mixing my ghost based programmes there AND showing my age in one fell swoop.  If you don’t know who Timothy Claypole is, I suggest you google ‘Rentaghost’).

Melody Bittersweet sees dead people and she uses her unique ability to find out why the ghosts she is investigating are still tethered to the mortal world.  Unfortunately Melody’s ex-boyfriend, Leo Dark, has the same gift but he uses it to promote his television career leaving Melody in his dust.  The competition between Leo and Melody isn’t so strong in this book and I did miss that constant sparring a little.  But Leo has his own problems this time around and it was good to see Melody step up and take charge of the situation.

I should mention Fletcher Gunn.  Ace, investigative reporter, naysayer of anything he can’t physically see and the one man who makes our heroine go weak at the knees.  Talk of a man’s nether regions would normally make me give up on a book.  Normally, that is.  Not this time.  It’s a pretty recurrent theme as the chemistry between Melody and Fletch is through the roof.  I was chuckling away to myself, hoping the husband wasn’t going to ask what I was finding so funny!

Would I recommend this book? I thoroughly enjoyed Mystery at Maplemead Castle.  It was so much fun and a complete joy to read.  My heart ached at times, the next moment I was laughing out loud.  A perfect mix of great storytelling, the very best characters and the perfect setting.  Highly recommended.

Five out of five stars.

I chose to read and review an ARC of Mystery at Maplemead Castle.  The above review is my own unbiased opinion.

Mystery at Maplemead Castle by Kitty French was published in the UK by Bookouture on 17th March 2017 and is available in paperback and eBook formats | amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | Goodreads |

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Kitty French lives in the Black Country with her husband, two young sons and two crazy cats. She’s a lover of all things romantic – songs, music, and most of all, books. Her USA Today best-selling Lucien Knight series topped the erotic chart on both sides of the pond, and she also writes romantic comedy as Kat French for Avon, HarperCollins.

Author Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter |