The Vanished Bride of Northfield House by Phyllis M Newman guest post/excerpt

VanishedBrideFrontCover

The Vanished Bride of Northfield House written by Phyllis M Newman, publisher PageSpring Publishing is available NOW in ebook and paperback format.

To buy link:  https://goo.gl/uU5QBC

Product Details (as per amazon page)

England, 1922. Times are hard. Anne Chatham is a clever, modest young woman with little money, no prospects for marriage, and a never-shared secret—she can see spirits. Anne finds employment as a typist at Northfield House, the grand country manor of the Wellington family. Her employer, the wheelchair-bound Mr. Wellington, is kindly. His haughty wife is not. He has two handsome sons, the wry and dashing Thomas and the dark and somber Owen. Anne feels sure her prayers have been heard. Until the terrifying night she stumbles upon a tortured spirit roaming the dark halls of Northfield, a spirit that only she can see. In a search for answers, she finds herself drawn to Owen as they unearth a tragic story from the Wellington family’s past—a beautiful young bride gone missing on her wedding day. Then tragedy strikes again on the night of a glittering masquerade ball…

Thank you for joining my blog today Phyllis …

GUEST POST:

I began writing this tale after looking for—and not finding—an honest to goodness real ghost story. Not one where the visions and sounds experienced in the dark have a rational explanation, but a story about unexplained things that go bump in the night. My goal was to transport the reader to a place of mystery and malevolence. Also, I wanted to create a good fright without smearing blood and guts on the page or presenting the kind of mind-bending creepiness offered by Stephen King that you wish you’d never read.

As I wrote, however, it evolved into a great deal more. This novel embraces the audacity and determination required to succeed in a society that has never addressed a woman’s needs and desires, a society that is crumbling. My vulnerable yet plucky protagonist has an unusual collection of talents—from her choice of a profession, which was the exclusive domain of men at the time, to the ability to see the dead. I believe there is a place for this kind of ghost story, where the unexplained explains a lot—about ourselves. The ghost represents not only who we might have been, but the lost past.

Ultimately, The Vanished Bride of Northfield House is about belonging. My main character, Anne Chatham, is a young woman trying to survive in a rapidly changing world. An orphan who has no family or money to fall back on, she trains to operate a typewriter, the new technology of the age. She succeeds at this and sets about to support herself, an opportunity available only because the Great War has decimated the male population. She and other young women like her face a future where marriage is not a readily available option. Mired in the social and political upheaval following World War I, single women scrambled to make a life for themselves.

Anne represents the new woman. Her situation contrasts sharply with that of Lavinia Wellington, the lady of the manor, married and occupying a high social position, and her great niece Charlotte, born to wealth and privilege. In every sense, Lavinia and Charlotte represent a time no longer viable while Anne represents the future. It is a future where women take a more active role in their survival rather than depending upon a husband, father, or brother.

Arriving at her new place of employment weighted with the immense struggles of the times, Anne can empathize with the wraith that roams the halls of Northfield House, a figure that is both frightening and sympathetic. Anne sees in the spirits that she encounters regularly as beings who are lost, who don’t know where they belong, or have left behind something undone. She sees similar battles in her own life. But the specter she encounters as she takes up her position as a working woman in a grand home in the English countryside has in addition a more compelling need: revenge.

Anne learns more about herself as she endeavors to resolve the mystery presented by the malevolent ghost of the missing bride. She discovers resolve, resourcefulness, commitment, and courage.

EXCERPT:

I turned up my face to look at him. We were standing closer than propriety allowed. Owen bent nearer.
Knock. Thud. Knock. Thud. Knock. Thud.
A stab of fear nailed me where I stood. Owen wrapped a protective arm around my shoulders. I leaned into him.
“What is it?” he asked softly. “Is she here?”
“Maybe,” I whispered.
Knock. Thud. Knock. Thud. Knock. Thud.
The noises first came from directly overhead, then surrounded us, coming from the walls and the floor. The sounds of something trapped—a thing desperate and struggling—repeated every few seconds.
“Where’s it coming from?” he hissed.
“From everywhere. And nowhere.”
Owen pulled me closer. I was terrified, despite taking shelter in his arms. My shoulder pressed against his warm chest and my head tucked under his chin.
After a moment, the sound changed. I heard scratching—fingernails or claws or beaks on wood. The shadows in the corners thickened and seemed to pulsate. Or was something breathing? I felt an overwhelming sense of dread. The scratching was followed by the rustle of wings, a soft fluttering. Perhaps a bird had gotten trapped on the floor above.
Knock. Thud. Knock. Thud. Knock. Thud.
Then nothing.
I waited for the thumps and scratches to begin again, but heard only Owen’s rapid breathing.
His grip on my shoulder softened. Before we could step away from each other, I heard something else. Whispers. Not words, but sibilance. A faint weeping.
I could pretend no longer that the sounds issued from a bird or animal. I had heard crying and scratching from spirits before, but none had ever filled me with such horror.
Owen shuddered, and I tried to swallow.
My sight darted from the floors to the ceilings, from corner to corner, searching for additional signs of a spirit. I saw none. The bed, its elaborate draperies, and the pictures on the walls were all mute, but a plaintive lament—a mournful sobbing—suddenly filled the space.
When the weeping stopped, I found my hand pressed against Owen’s chest. I could feel his heart beating, hard and fast, under my palm.
“I think it’s over,” he said, releasing my shoulders.
I withdrew my hand and took a step away.

About the Author

Phyllis M. Newman is a native southerner. Born in New Orleans, she spent formative years in Florida, Iowa, Mississippi, and a dairy farm in Ross Country, Ohio. After a long career in finance and human resources at The Ohio State University, she turned her attention to writing fiction. She published a noir mystery, “Kat’s Eye” in 2015, and “The Vanished Bride of Northfield House” in 2018. Today she lives in Columbus, Ohio with her husband and three perpetually unimpressed cats, ghost watchers all.

You may contact/follow/like her at:

http://www.readphyllismnewman.com

or Facebook https://facebook.com/ReadPhyllisMNewman/

Readers can find The Vanished Bride of Northfield House at Amazon.com/co.uk, Kindle, and Barnes & Noble.

 

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Rosie Lea Tea review

rosie lea tea logoI’ve followed Rosie Lea Tea on Instagram for a while now and have tried a few of their teas with success.  So to expand my tea tasting from Rosie Lea I decided to place an order from their Literary collection, Children’s Classic Collection (which includes the cake inspired tea), black tea range and a few tea accessories.

About Rosie Lea (as per their website)

We offer quality & hand blended loose leaf tea, all hand-blended in the UK. Innovation and offering great value are our key values.

We personally hand blend many of our teas to provide unique tea blends and are always looking for the next ‘eureka’ moment. With an expanding tea accessory range and our new subscription box service focusing on our Literary tea range, there is more than just a hot drink to explore on our site.  Whatever you are looking for, there is a perfect brew for everyone. We provide tea from around the world such as China, India, Sri Lanka and Japan.

Website link:  https://www.rosieleatea.co.uk/

Literary Tea Collection (as per their website)

There are so many wonderful authors to choose from!  Literary greats that have stood the test of time.

We love all things about tea and as avid bookworms we can think of nothing better than to match tea with books.   Our own hand blended teas have been matched up with true literary greats such as Jane Austen, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Lewis Carroll. This collection is inspirational as a tea treat for someone special! Enjoy drinking each and every one while consuming the written word.  Perfect as a literary gift or a little bookish self indulgence!  
I decided to buy from the Jane Austen Collection and I chose the Mansfield Park tea blend.
Mansfield Park – ‘There is nothing like staying at home for real comfort’ – The youngest downy bud of white tea, it has a most delicate flavour with the beautiful aromatic essence of jasmine flowers, a heavenly match!
INGREDIENTS: Chinese white tea, and jasmine flowers.   Naturally Contains Caffeine.
To buy link:  https://www.rosieleatea.co.uk/collections/literary-tea-collection/products/jane-austen-tea-collection-individual-blends

There was a wonderful, subtle floral taste to this white tea blend and I found myself drinking a pot full as it was a very drinkable, refreshing brew.  Would make a perfect afternoon cuppa ideally paired with a book.  I could definitely imagine Jane Austen drinking a cup of this in her parlour.

 

I also purchased from the Children’s Classic Collection, I chose Heidi with a tin of Lemon Drizzle Cake. 

LEMON DRIZZLE CAKE: A fabulous blend of green tea with the beautifully balanced citrus zing of lemons, a bright refreshing tea and a perfect accompaniment to a slice of drizzle cake!
INGREDIENTS: Chinese green tea, lemongrass, lemon verbena, flavour, lemon pieces. Naturally contains caffeine.

To buy link:  https://www.rosieleatea.co.uk/collections/literary-tea-collection/products/childrenc-classic-books-inspired-tea-literary-gift

I’m not a huge Green Tea drinker but love tea blends with lemongrass and verbena in so was intrigued about this blend.  This is a pleasant green tea and the addition of lemon verbena and lemongrass was perfect, making it a bright citrusy tea, most definitely reminiscent to Lemon Drizzle Cake but without the calories.

 

Broadstairs Blend Loose Tea Blend
Rosie Lea are based in Broadstairs in Kent.  This tea was blended in celebration of this little seaside town.  It’s a black tea blend that is widely used in outlets across the Kent seaside town.  This tea is a lovely rich balance of strong Indian Assam, golden Ceylon and the slightly perfumed balance of Keemun;  it is based on a more traditional recipe for breakfast blends.
Ingredients:
Assam Indian black tea, Sri Lankan Dimbula black tea, China Keemun black tea.
Naturally contains caffeine.

To buy link:  https://www.rosieleatea.co.uk/collections/black-tea/products/black-tea-broadstairs-breakfast

I tried this tea as my morning cuppa and it was revitalising without being too full-on as the three individual leaves of Assam, Ceylon and Keemun blended well together.

 

Rosie Lea also offer a wide range of tea accessories including infusers, caddies and spoons.  I decided to buy a caddy to store one of my tea blends in and a wooden shovel.  The wooden shovel is the perfect size to dispense the right amount of leaves for one cup of your favourite brew.

To buy link:  https://www.rosieleatea.co.uk/collections/tea-infuser-caddy-accessories

Rosie Lea Tea currently have an Easter offer on till 2nd April 2018.  Use code EASTER18 for 10% off orders over £10 (excluding p & p).

To learn more about Rosie Lea Tea please visit the following pages:

Website:  https://www.rosieleatea.co.uk/

Twitter:  http://www.twitter.com/rosieleateauk

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/rosieleateauk

Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/rosieleateauk/

This is an endorsement of a product/service and all views are my own.

 

The Summer Will Come by Soulla Christodoulou blogtour book review

the summer will come

The Summer Will Come written and self-published by Soulla Christodoulou is available NOW in ebook and paperback format.

To buy link:  https://goo.gl/DwtxsN

Product Details (as per amazon page)

Set in the 1950s, the story begins in Cyprus. EOKA, British rule, and the fight for Enosis (unity) disrupt the world of two Greek Cypriot families, living in different villages on the island. They are desperately trying to cope with the unpredictability of this fractious time.

Circumstances over a five-year period push both families to escape to London where, as immigrants, they struggle to settle, face new challenges, trauma and cope with missing their homeland’s traditions and culture.

Both families’ lives cross paths in London and it seems that happier beginnings could be theirs. But at what cost?

The summer Will Come Full Banner

I voluntarily reviewed an arc of  this book.  All opinions are my own and no content may be copied.  However, authors and publishers may use elements of my reviews for quotes.

I am so pleased to be involved in the blogtour promoting and celebrating the launch of Soulla Christodoulou’s latest novel: The Summer Will Come.  This was my first introduction to the work of Soulla Christodoulou and after reading The Summer Will Come I felt thoroughly entertained by this gripping, intriguing, poignant historical novel.

The story begins in the early 1950’s Cyprus, we are introduced to two Cypriot families that are strong believers of the culture surrounding their beloved Mediterranean island.  Life in their small village is quite idyllic and there is a real sense of community spirit however, this wasn’t to last long with the country now in the midst of political uprising.  Lives are soon at risk and families are forced to flee, many taking the long arduous journey to England.  Elena with her twin brother Andreas, her mother and grandmother are on their way to join their father who has been living in England a good few years.  From a neighbouring village Christaki with his brother, sister and mother were also on their way to England.  A journey filled with excitement of an unknown land, with new possibilities, new horizons and hope for the future.

This was a very interesting family saga; a family struggling leaving their homes, their heritage and all that they knew and loved.  The promised land wasn’t all that they dreamed of but the alternative was worse at this moment in time.  Elena in particular was having many moments of nostalgia daydreaming about her beautiful home in Cyprus and this brought moods of melancholy.  However, Elena still hoped for a better life and never gave up her dreams of finding her own ‘summer days’.  Christaki too had a strength about his soul and wasn’t deterred.  A story full of angst, turmoil and family drama but the hope of new beginnings and love gave the families the light to lead the way to a newer future filled with peace, harmony, friendship and love.

To learn more about Soulla Christodoulou please visit the following pages:

Website:  https://www.soulla-author.com/

Twitter:  http://www.twitter.com/schristodoulou2

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/Soullaboullasayings

Sunshine & Secrets by Daisy James blogtour book review

Sunshine & Secrets book cover

Sunshine & Secrets: The Paradise Cookery School written by Daisy James, publisher Canelo is available NOW in ebook format.

To buy link:  https://goo.gl/6zD3aA

Product Details (as per amazon page)

When newly heartbroken, Michelin-starred chef Millie Harper is offered a job overseeing the setup of The Paradise Cookery School she jumps at the opportunity. Leaving London and her memories of heartbreak behind she hops on a plane to the hilltop cocoa plantation in St Lucia.
But this beautiful island break might be more work than she’d expected….  With only two weeks to have the kitchen installed and with cocoa pods going missing from the plantation, she’s going to need some help. Gruff but charming estate manager Zach Baxter, is only too happy to offer his opinions. As the two clash heads can they remain focussed on the job in hand and get the cookery school finished in time?

Sunshine & Secrets Blog Tour Banner (2)

I voluntarily reviewed an arc of  this book.  All opinions are my own and no content may be copied.  However, authors and publishers may use elements of my reviews for quotes.

I am so pleased to be involved in the blogtour celebrating and promoting the launch of Daisy James latest novel: Sunshine & Secrets.  Sunshine & Secrets is book one in a new three part book series by Daisy James.  This is my first introduction to the work of Daisy James; I need more time to read as there are so many lovely new authors I’ve yet to discover.  I’m so pleased I’ve now found Daisy James novels, I do love a good romantic comedy especially if it’s set in such lush locations.  I now feel like I’ve escaped the cold of the UK and have escaped to the beauty of St Lucia.  Daisy James made me feel welcome in this sublime sunny location with it’s stunning vista, aromatic fauna, vegetation and spices.  The laid back lifestyle sounded quite idyllic.

Heartbroken Millie Harper felt like this job opportunity to oversee the setting up of The Paradise Cookery School in St Lucia was just the tonic she needed to help her reassess her life.  As a Michelin-starred chef she was well equipped with knowledge of professional kitchens and was keen to learn more about Caribbean cuisine and also of the cocoa plantation which surrounded the villa she was to work at.  Millie had a two week timescale to adhere to but as in all building projects the journey to perfection is met with stumbles along the way.

This was such a delightful read.  I loved Millie’s character she’d started to rebuild her life following heartache and her love of food was certainly giving her the much needed boost she needed. The locals from in and around the villa in St Lucia were a varied bunch in personalities but you could feel the love for the glorious natural beauty of the area, the laid-back lifestyle but also the community spirit in helping each other succeed in life and love.  However, the sunshine and happy music of St Lucia hid some dark secrets.  This was a wonderful start to a great new feel-good series however, you’ll find it hard to read without salivating over the delicious descriptions of the foodie delights Millie and her friends make.

To learn more about Daisy James and her work please visit the following pages:

Twitter:  http://www.twitter.com/daisyjamesbooks

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/daisyjamesbooks

 

 

A Forsaken Friend by Sue Featherstone & Susan Pape blogtour book review

A Forsaken Friend Cover 2

A Forsaken Friend written by Sue Featherstone and Susan Pape, publisher Lakewater Press, is available in ebook format from 21st March 2018.  The ebook is also included in the kindleunlimited scheme.

To pre-order link:  https://goo.gl/Rcyovk

Product Details (as per amazon page)

No-one said friendship was easy.

Things can’t get much worse for Teri Meyer. If losing her job at the university and the regular allowance from her dad’s factory isn’t bad enough, now her ex-best friend has gone and stolen her ex-husband! Well, to hell with them all. A few weeks in the countryside at her brother’s smallholding should do the trick – and the gorgeous and god-like neighbour might help.

But then there’s Declan, not to mention Duck’s Arse back in Yorkshire…

It’s not as if Lee Harper set out to fall in love with her best friend’s ex-husband. But, for once, her love life is looking up – except for all the elephants in the room, not to mention Mammy’s opinion on her dating a twice-divorced man. Perhaps things aren’t as rosy as she first thought. And now with one family crisis after another, Lee’s juggling more roles – and emotions – than she ever imagined.

Maybe sharing her life with a man wasn’t such a grand idea.

forsaken friend poster

I voluntarily reviewed an arc of  this book.  All opinions are my own and no content may be copied.  However, authors and publishers may use elements of my reviews for quotes.

I am so pleased to be involved in the blogtour celebrating and promoting the launch of A Forsaken Friend, book two in the Friends trilogy.  I haven’t had the pleasure of reading book one: A Falling Friend, so I read this book with fresh eyes and treated it as a standalone.  However, after finishing reading book two I am keen to continue with Teri and Lee’s story and look forward to book three.

I have to admit it did take me a little while to get into the characters but with the short snappy chapters it didn’t take me long to visualise each character’s personality.  The story is written with two voices: Teri’s and Lee’s and it was quite an interesting concept hearing each character’s point of view.  Teri and Lee have been best friends since childhood and have weathered many storms in the past but the most recent challenge is proving harder to endure.  Lee is now in a relationship with Teri’s ex-husband and Teri has just been fired from her job at the university, the same university that Lee works at.  The girls are quite different in personalities but I think this is why the friendship has lasted so long.  Teri is quite self-centred and always up for fun, abit too much fun at times.  Lee is quite shy and level-headed and is the sensible one of the pair.  Both ladies are very well-educated but this does not always help with the hurdles in life.

With Teri now single and fancy-free and also unemployed she needs to re-assess her life.  New employment and sorting out matters of the heart are first on her agenda.

Lee’s life is also facing new challenges and she is soon becoming emotionally wrought.

Can the girl’s friendship get back to how they were before all the complications took control?

A Forsaken Friend felt like a grown-up’s romcom.  The girls had lived a little and were at a different stage of their lives and had to consider many aspects and responsibilities that were not evident in their early twenties.  The humour was quite frank and honest and also refreshing to read.  The authors weren’t afraid to include a storyline that touched on a very poignant serious subject and this honest approach with words of witticism was a welcome distraction breaking the sadness.

A refreshing romcom that is real and honest.  I’m looking forward to the final instalment in the Friends trilogy.

About the Authors

Sue Featherstone and Susan Paper are both former newspaper journalists with extensive experience for working with national and regional papers and magazines, and in public relations.  More recently they have worked in higher education, teaching journalism – Sue at Sheffield Hallam and Susan at Leeds Trinity University.

The pair, who have been friends for 25 years, wrote two successful journalism text
books together – Newspaper Journalism: A Practical Introduction and Feature Writing:
A Practical Introduction (both published by Sage).

Their debut novel, A Falling Friend, published by Lakewater Press, has been followed
by a second book, A Forsaken Friend, in their Friends trilogy.

Sue, who is married with two grown-up daughters, loves reading, writing and Nordic
walking in the beautiful countryside near her Yorkshire home.

Susan is married and lives in a village near Leeds, and, when not writing, loves
walking and cycling in the Yorkshire Dales. She is also a member of a local ukulele
orchestra. They blog about books at https://bookloversbooklist.com/
You can find both Sue and Susan on Twitter: @SueF_Writer and @wordfocus

 

A Little of Chantelle Rose by Cristina Hodgson book review

a little of chantelle rose

A Little of Chantelle Rose written and self-published by Cristina Hodgson is available NOW in ebook and paperback format.  The ebook is also included in the kindleunlimited scheme.

To buy link:  https://goo.gl/XtJvMP

Product Details (as per amazon page)

A role to play that may strip her of everything. Except her name…

At the age of twenty-four, Chantelle Rose has all a city girl can expect: a tiny bed-sit in South London, a lousy poorly-paid job, a tyrannical boss, and quite a few exes added to an ever-growing list.

Desperate for change, she becomes an extra in a seedy crime film. When that leads to the opportunity of a lifetime – a role to play with a million dollars to win and seemingly nothing to lose – she accepts without thinking twice. After all, what could possibly go wrong? In any event, she´ll earn enough to buy her dream home, set up her own business and never worry about money again.

And what about love? Two men have won her heart: Robbie – sultry, silent, mysterious; and Lionel – Hollywood heart-throb, charm, wealth, adventure.

But who can she trust? Who is bent on scaring her away, and why?

There seems to be more at stake than just her heart. Will a million dollars be worth it?

red and black rose border

I voluntarily reviewed an arc of  this book.  All opinions are my own and no content may be copied.  However, authors and publishers may use elements of my reviews for quotes.

A Little of Chantelle Rose is the debut novel from author Cristina Hodgson and what a fabulously fun read it was.  Cristina Hodgson has made a debut novel that is full of romcom attributes that we readers love, an author that I am now desperately looking forward to more from.

When Chantelle Rose was offered a million dollar deal she couldn’t quite believe it and would have been a fool to turn it down.  Whisked away to the States with first class treatment will stardom be all that Chantelle’s dreamed of?  Or will Chantelle get mixed up in her own real-life movie drama?

I loved Chantelle’s character she had a vulnerability about her that made her very real and honest.  She was a little crazy and chaotic at times resulting in some very funny scenes.  One minute Chantelle would be all shy and unassuming and the next she’d be Wonder Woman and conveying strong female powers and vibes.  I enjoyed the glitz, glamour and Hollywood gossip part of the storyline, I’m sure we all have a secret wish to live in the shoes of our favourite stars.  Most of all though I loved the  romance interwoven within the storyline.

Such a brilliant debut novel from Cristina Hodgson and what an ending!  I’m channelling all positive vibes for Team …?  Well, you’ll just have to read the book to decide who your allegiances lie with! 😉

To learn more about Cristina Hodgson and her work please visit the following pages:

Website:  http://cristinahodgson.com/

Twitter:  http://www.twitter.com/HodgsonCristina

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/HodgsonCristina/

 

Cover Reveal: Watching You by Lynda Renham

I am so pleased to share with you news of Lynda Renham’s latest gripping edge-of-the-seat thriller.  Watching You is now available to pre-order on amazon and will be published on the 5th April 2018.  The ebook will also be included in the kindleunlimited scheme.

To pre-order link:  https://goo.gl/Qss7je

Product Details (as per amazon page)

Ewan Galbreith is out of prison.

Libby Owen is scared.

Fifteen years earlier she saw Ewan murder her aunt and uncle with their own shotgun, and now he’s coming for her.

AND NOW THE COVER …

watching

… A striking cover that stands-out and looks quite chilling.

To learn more about Lynda Renham’s work please visit the following pages:

Website  http://www.renham.co.uk/

Twitter:  http://www.twitter.com/Lyndarenham

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lyndarenhamauthor/