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Friday, 21 July 2017

Merryn Allingham The Secret of Summerhayes Blog Tour and give away

Merryn Allingham

The Secret of Summerhayes
Published by HQ in paperback original on
27th July 2017 - £7.99

A war-torn summer
A house fallen into ruin
A family broken apart by scandal…

Summer 1944: Bombed out by the blitz, Bethany Merston takes up a post as companion to elderly Alice Summer, last remaining inhabitant of the dilapidated and crumbling Summerhayes estate. Now a shadow of its former glory; most of the rooms have been shut up, the stunning garden is overgrown and the whole place feels as unwelcoming as the family themselves. What secrets does the hidden garden hold and what will it mean to uncover it?

Struggling with the realities of war, Alice is plagued by anonymous letters and haunting visions of her old household. At first, Beth tries to convince her it’s all in her mind but soon starts to unravel the mysteries surrounding the aristocratic family’s past.

An evocative and captivating tale, The Secret of Summerhayes tells of dark secrets, almost-forgotten scandals and a household teetering on the edge of ruin.

Merryn Allingham spent her childhood moving around as a soldier’s daughter, and the desire to travel stayed with her into adulthood when working for an airline introduced her to a vast range of people and adventures around the world. Later settling down in Sussex to raise a family, Merryn earned a PhD from the University of Sussex and for many years taught university literature until turning to her own writing. She has published six Regency period novels under the name Isabelle Goddard, and The Secret of Summerhayes is the 6th title under Merryn Allingham.

When I received this book to read my eyes went straight to the cover, its so bright and attractive, deep colours plus I took a look at the lady on the front cover who seems to be looking back over her shoulder at something or maybe someone. There's a large house or mansion in the background that caught my eye too, she appears to be standing in the grounds of it.

In 1944 Bethany was a school teacher, a primary school teacher, but the school got bombed.
So now Bethany is without employment and needs to find work.
She applies to become a companion to an old lady who lives in the Estate of Summerhayes. 

Going back to the front cover, you can see in the distance Summerhayes, I lovely building, regal standing there but, inside its fallen to pieces over the years. The old lady Alice lives in just two rooms.

With the war going on the Military have taken over parts of the building. Even the grounds are suffering. 

The companionship between Bethany and Alice grown, but then things take a turn. Alice starts to receive letters from her daughter who she hasn't seen in years. 
This takes Alice repeatedly back in the past. Bethany sometimes struggles bringing Alice back to the present. 

Are these letters actually from her daughter though? Or are there more mitigating circumstances.

This is a well written easy to follow read which lead me on quite a journey with Bethany taking care of her caree Alice. I thought the bond between them became stronger as time went on. 

I did feel complete sorrow for Alice where any Mother would react the way she did when a letter comes out of the blue, so many things, so many memories and so many wounds.

My thanks to HarperCollins UK for supplying me with this fabulous book. 

Released 27th July 2017

Please see my blog for the tour and book giveaway.

About HarperCollins Publishers
HarperCollins UK publishes a wide range of books, from cutting-edge contemporary fiction, to block-busting thrillers, from fantasy literature and children’s stories to enduring classics. It also publishes a great selection of non-fiction titles, including history, celebrity memoirs, biographies, popular science, dictionaries, maps, reference titles and education books, and its digital business is thriving. With nearly 200 years of history HarperCollins UK publishes some of the world’s foremost authors, from Nobel prize winners to worldwide bestsellers. In addition it publishes the works of Agatha Christie, JRR Tolkien and CS Lewis.
HarperCollins Publishers is the second largest consumer book publisher in the world, with operations in 18 countries. With nearly two hundred years of history and more than 120 branded imprints around the world, HarperCollins publishes approximately 10,000 new books every year in 17 languages, and has a print and digital catalogue of more than 200,000 titles. Writing across dozens of genres, HarperCollins authors include winners of the Nobel Prize, the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, the Newbery and Caldecott Medals and the Man Booker Prize. HarperCollins, headquartered in New York, is a subsidiary of News Corp (NASDAQ: NWS, NWSA; ASX: NWS, NWSLV) and can be visited online at

Saturday, 15 July 2017

Review: A Mind To Kill

A Mind To Kill A Mind To Kill by John Nicholl
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I have had the privilege of reading all of this authors books. As soon as a new book of his comes out I finish reading the book I'm on and jump right in because I've learned to love his style of writing and the insight and ability he has to get inside the mind of his characters which then means he breathes air into them, thus, making the reader envision them as real people no matter how horrid some of them turn out to be.

We have Detective Inspector Gareth Gravel know as Grav.
It opens where he needs to impart some bad news to a couple.

Having a terrible unforgivable crime happen to your young daughter then despite all the interviewing and the going over and over of what happened, the CPS say there isn't enough evidence. And despite Grav knowing that justic hasn't been done, there isn't a single thing he can do.

We get to know the girl, the daughter who has now grown, left home, but has she got over and come to terms with her past?

Herein lays the story that is so awesomely told to us readers we will be flicking page after page.

"Just one more chapter" will be the statement of many a reader who reads this book because once you start, you can't relax.

This keeps you on the brink right the way through, well, it did me.

The chapters are quick and snappy so suddenly you are almost at the end.

Love the ending.

With this authors incredible talent, the way he can draw on his experiences in his prior work, the wheels of his ageless mind churning out such reads, I can honestly say I look eagerly to his book, after book, after book.

If you love audio I expect he will bring it out in that too as he did his previous books and with the voice of what I've heard from his other books it's so well done.

This is an author who likes to write and jump just a little over the edge sometimes to keep his readers gasping.

I love that!

View all my reviews

Giveaways coming soon, check out the new page. Also visit my Facebook review page. Read along with sue

I have some awesome news, due to many publishing houses I am now going to be able to host some giveaways from them, and also from authors and my own personal copies.

I will be using Random to select the winners once I have checked out what is required to win that item has been fulfilled. 

Here are some of the books I will be hosting as giveways soon. AND MANY, MANY MORE ......


Review: One Last Thing

One Last Thing One Last Thing by Rebecca St. James
My rating: 0 of 5 stars

Well I don't often have to do this thank goodness. But I am not going to star this review.

This is a book I got from Net Galley courtesy of Thomas Nelson--FICTION when I was eager to keep clicking to read more books, I have calmed down since then thank God. I do my research if its a new author to me and make sure its something that I have at least 80% chance of enjoying.

I just didn't enjoy this.

I read it from beginning to end, but from one reader to another, it was like trudging through thick mud.
This book really needs to be worked on.

I also didn't realise how religious this book is. Yes Christian orientated but really down your throat 'get in there' type of read which for me personally was quite off putting.

There are so many subject matters that are being addressed its quite lewd.
Pornography, prostitution, addiction, abuse, stripping, suicide, public shaming, sexual addiction and financial problems that are such wide topics that this book really can't solve within its pages.

This made the story seem cheap and nasty.

Enough explained I think

View all my reviews

Review: The Bullet

The Bullet The Bullet by Mary Louise Kelly
My rating: 0 of 5 stars

Tried my best, but really couldn't get into this one.

View all my reviews

Review: Not Thomas

Not Thomas Not Thomas by Sara Gethin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

When I first started to read this, I was a little put off in the way it was written, its through young Thomas eyes, using his words, his child way of looking at things which at first I personally found annoying as he would repeat himself. As the book grew on me and I stepped back from this thinking how a young boy Thomas age would talk, I got well into this.

This is a story that will 'knock your socks off' its shocking, its emotional and it darn right moving.
I grew to love Thomas and just wanted to pick him up, take him home and give him a childhood. Poor little love.

We find some hidden background behind his Mother. Shes quite young and had had issues herself.
That becomes clearer as the story unfolds.
As sometimes follow they get attracted or become attractive to the male rogues of this world and she was no different. Shes a bad Mother in all round the clock details.

Thomas doesn't know any difference its his 'normal' life.
He gets teased for his manners, teased for his mannerisms and teased because he smells.

A neighbour and her daughter wait outside his house gate each morning to walk him to school.

His teacher Lowri secretly feeds him sandwiches using the ploy that her husband has made too many.

School holidays are counted down by biscuits. There's not an adult to tell him.
He practically sees to himself, maybe a packet of crisps is his supper. But the pink packets are saved for his Mother. I thought very sweet, but, so undeserving of this boys thoughtfulness.

Yes there are visitors seeking if everything is OK, but they can't be let in as Thomas is on his own and he can't open the door if his Mums not there, he shouldn't go out either so his 'black chair' becomes his hideaway.

He has three objects that he cares for. And one that is left behind at his Grans and Granddads home which he used to live in, that he no longer lives in for reasons that become clearer as time goes on.

That's enough about the story.

The writing is superb. I got halfway through this read before I really and truly was hooked. It was my mindset I had to alter and adjust to reading from a child's POV.

It was very moving and there are more secrets that come out towards the end.

Never read a book by this author before and I can honestly say I never heard of her [sorry] but I will definitely be following her for future reads.

My thanks to Cottage Tours

View all my reviews

Friday, 14 July 2017

Review: Two Sisters

Two Sisters Two Sisters by Kerry Wilkinson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Two Sisters by Kerry Wilkinson published by Bookoutour is a most stunning latest novel of intrigue and beguiling twists from this author. I never think this author can do better, but this one really did draw me in and make me forget whatever was going on around me.

I adore the cover, and I really loved this plot in this book.

Megan was 10 years old when her brother Zac went missing. Now a century on she gets a visit from the Police saying that her parents have been in a fatal car crash. Megan has a sister Chloe who is studying away and so they don't get to see each other often, but they need to go clear out the summer home that their parents had. So much to do, clear it out, clean it up and put it up for sale. A lot to do for two young people.

But that is not the only reason for Megan to return, she received a postcard a few days ago with the signature Z for Zac on it. Of course this stirs up a lot of unrest. Zac was never found so is he out there somewhere even now?

Megan has an eating disorder which becomes explicitly obvious early on. I felt for her, she had the raw deal growing up I thought and some issues. This has left her with very big mental health and emotional anguish which also becomes clear, there is a tenderness in Megan and I grew to quite like her as well as Chloe.

On and around the Island we see there are two sets of groups, the ones that live there and the youngsters who spend their summer there whilst their rich parents are jet setting around the globe.

I am not sure which is the more strange, the ones that life there or the young folk who visit, its clear that is lots that went on that Megan needs to find out so she asks lots of questions which sort of isolates her a little.

Its an intriguing story that will grow and grow and widen out so that there is so much depth within it you fall right in.

I have to thank Bookoutour via Net Galley for my copy

View all my reviews