#BlogTour: A CHRISTMAS CELEBRATION by Heidi Swain @Heidi_Swain @simonschusterUK @TeamBATC

Publication: 13th October 2022 – Simon & Schuster UK

When Paige turns up unannounced at Wynthorpe Hall, she discovers the place she knew when she was growing up has changed beyond all recognition. She’s only planning to stay for a short time, but is quickly pulled into local life.
One night while driving home after delivering library books and shopping to residents she stumbles across an isolated cottage and meets Albert, its elderly and rather grumpy owner. She quickly realises there’s more to Albert than meets the eye and the same can be said for the other man she can’t seem to help running into, handsome but brooding Brodie.
All three of them have a secret and a desire to hide away from the world, but with Christmas on the horizon, is that really the best way to celebrate the season?



Happy Monday everyone! Today, it’s my turn on the blog tour for A Christmas Celebration, the charming brand new novel by Heidi Swain.

A Christmas Celebration is my first Christmas novel of the year and I couldn’t have chosen a better book. I adore Heidi Swain’s novels with their fantastic characters that you can’t help but love, with their heart-warming stories, the evocative Christmas atmosphere, and the mouth-watering food that is always present, and A Christmas Celebration has it all and much more.

With A Christmas Celebration we go back to Wynthorpe Hall and its fantastic residents. The preparations for the Winter Wonderland are in full swing, but they are short of a few family members so they are delighted when Paige, just back from her volunteering job in Jordan, suddenly turns up to help.

Paige loved Wynthorpe Hall when she was a child and since she had to leave Jordan earlier than expected, she decides to spend her Christmas with her godfather and his family to help out. She is quickly drawn into local life, assisting with deliveries to those in need. Everyone welcomes her warmly, except handsome but grumpy Brodie who, like her, seems to be escaping from something.

I do love Heidi Swain’s novels, they always cheer me up with their sense of community, their feel good atmosphere, and the romance. Paige is a relatable and altruistic character. I loved her developing romance with Brodie, full of interruptions and misunderstandings, but, most of all, I loved her relationship with another grumpy, although older, character, Albert, who she accidentally meets when she gets lost during one of her deliveries. Despite his objections, Paige is determined to help him and she slowly manages to lower his defences and helps him open up to her and the village life.

Thanks to A Christmas Celebration, its wonderful vivid descriptions, and its festive story I am already feeling in a Christmas mood! If you are looking for novel full of joy and with a happy ending and lots of food, then I can highly recommend A Christmas Celebration.

A huge thank you to SJV and Simon & Schuster for inviting me to join the blog tour and providing me with a proof of the novel.

Heidi Swain lives in beautiful south Norfolk with her family and a mischievous cat called Storm. She is passionate about gardening, the countryside, collecting vintage paraphernalia and reading. Her TBR pile is always out of control! To find out more, follow Heidi on twitter @Heidi_Swain or visit her website: heidiswain.co.uk.

BookReview: BELLADONNA by Adalyn Grace @AdalynGrace_ @hodderscape

Publication: 30th August 2022 – Hodder & Stoughton

For as long as Signa Farrow has been alive, the people in her life have fallen like stars…

Orphaned as a baby, nineteen-year-old Signa has been raised by a string of guardians, each more interested in her wealth than her wellbeing – and each has met an untimely end. Her remaining relatives are the elusive Hawthornes, an eccentric family living at Thorn Grove, an estate both glittering and gloomy.

Its patriarch mourns his late wife through wild parties, while his son grapples for control of the family’s waning reputation and his daughter suffers from a mysterious illness. But when their mother’s restless spirit appears claiming she was poisoned, Signa realizes that the family she depends on could be in grave danger, and enlists the help of a surly stable boy to hunt down the killer.

Signa’s best chance of uncovering the murderer, though, is an alliance with Death himself, a fascinating, dangerous shadow who has never been far from her side. Though he’s made her life a living hell, Death shows Signa that their growing connection may be more powerful – and more irresistible – than she ever dared imagine.

From New York Times bestselling author Adalyn Grace, Belladonna brings to life a highly romantic, gothic-infused world of wealth, desire, and betrayal.



​​I really enjoyed Adalyn Grace’s previous novels, so there never was a doubt in my mind that I was going to read her latest one. Also, Belladonna was presented as Bridgerton meets Knives Out so I was entirely sold on it and I wasn’t disappointed because I LOVED it!!! I loved the characters, the story, the writing, and the brilliant ending that left me hanging for more and I already can’t wait for the sequel to come out next year!

The protagonist of the story is Signa Farrow. Signa has what it may be called either a gift or a curse… it depends on the perspective. For Signa her ability to see Death and evade it is a curse. No matter how many belladonnas she eats, she can always see him and not die, but those close to her do. First her parents died when she was a baby and then the long series of guardians who raised her. After her latest guardian dies, she is invited to Thorns Grove by the Hawthornes, her last living relatives.

When Signa arrives at Thorns Grove she finds a party going on. Since his wife Lilian died, Elijah Hawthorne has been drowning his sorrow in alcoholism and wild parties while his son Percy tries to take the reins of the family business and his daughter Blythe is suffering from the same illness that killed her mother. And when Lilian’s spirit tells Signa that she was poisoned, she knows she needs to hurry and find the killer before even Blythe succumbs to it, even if that means asking for the help of a mysterious and charming stable boy, but, above all, for the help of Death himself.

Belladonna is truly an addictive and compelling story. I loved the gothic and haunting atmosphere and the unexpected twists and the suspense. Most of all, I loved the characters. Signa and Death are fascinating characters with a complex relationship. Only seventeen years old, Signa has seen enough people dying around her. The guardians who raised her were only interested in her family’s money, so she craves affection and acceptance. She hates Death because he took her family away from her, but, as the story develops, she comes to accept her gift and her relationship with Death turns romantic.

There is romance, murder, spirits, secrets, and much more. Belladonna is a fantastic and gripping story that kept me glued to the pages and with a stunning cover I can’t stop stare at!!! 

A huge thank you to Hodder & Stoughton and NetGalley for providing me with a proof of the novel.

Adalyn Grace is the New York Times bestselling author of All the Stars and Teeth, which was named ‘2020’s biggest YA fantasy’ by Entertainment Weekly. Prior to becoming an author, Adalyn worked in live theatre, acted as the managing editor of a non-profit newspaper, and studied storytelling as an intern on Nickelodeon Animation’s popular series The Legend of Korra. Local to San Diego, Adalyn spends her non-writing days by watching too much anime, and playing video games with her two dogs.

#BlogTour: THE BUTCHER AND THE WREN by Alaina Urquhart @AlainaToTheMax @MichaelJBooks

Publication: 13th September 2022 – Michael Joseph

From the host of chart-topping true crime podcast MORBID and autopsy technician Alaina Urquhart, THE BUTCHER AND THE WREN is dark,  twisted, and not for the faint-harted: perfect for fans of The Silence of the Lambs, Dexter, and Patricia Cornwell.

In the Louisiana bayou, a methodical killer with a taste for medical experimentation is hard at work completing his most harrowing crime yet,  taunting the authorities who desperately try to catch up.

Forensic pathologist Dr. Wren Muller is the best there is. Armed with an  encyclopaedic knowledge of historical crimes and years of experience, she’s never encountered a case she couldn’t solve.

Until now.

As case after case lands on Wren’s examination table, she is sucked into an all-consuming cat-and-mouse chase – all too aware she is on the tail of a brutal murderer, getting more brazen by the day…



Good morning and happy Monday everyone! Today, it’s my turn on the blog tour for The Butcher and The Wren, the thrilling debut novel by Alaina Urquhart.

Spooky season is here so if you are looking for a chilling and dark read to get you in the right mood, The Butcher and The Wren is what you are looking for. A serial killer who likes to torture and play with his victims before killing them and the forensic pathologist who hunts him, all set in the bayous of New Orleans.

The story is told from two different perspectives. On one side, the author takes us right into the killer’s mind. He is a complex, highly intelligent character who loves terrorizing and killing his victims in the most gruesome and agonising way. Because of him, the streets of New Orleans are no longer safe. Young people, especially women, disappear and their bodies are found a few days later, showing signs of torture. The press has renamed him “the Butcher”. Who is he? And can he be stopped?

“The thoughts of the depraved fascinated Wren. But the last thoughts of the dead fascinated her even more.” 

The other point of view is Dr Wren Muller. A renowned forensic pathologist with knowledge of criminology, Wren knows death. She often collaborates with the police in solving cases and she is determined to find this serial killer before he kills again, and, as the body count rises, the search becomes an obsession for her.

I loved the dual narrative as I was absorbed both in the killer and Wren’s gripping stories. The pace is right and fast, the suspense kept me on the edge from the first to the last pages, and the twists took me completely by surprise. The story is well-written, the story is intense and compelling, the characters are fascinating and well-developed and I am really hoping for a sequel, because I want more!

A huge thank you to Sriya and Michael Joseph for inviting me to join the blog tour and providing me with a proof of this fantastic novel.

Please, follow the rest of the blog tour:

Alaina Urquhart is the science-loving co-host of the chart-topping show Morbid: A True Crime Podcast, with over 1m listeners and 3m views on TikTok. As an autopsy technician by trade, she offers a unique perspective from deep inside the morgue, putting victims at the heart of every story she tells.

Before writing her first psychological horror novel, she received degrees in criminal justice, psychology, and biology. Her days are usually spent either recording or eviscerating. The way she sees it, when she hangs up her microphone for the day, it’s time to let the dead speak.

#BookReview: THE DEAD ROMANTICS by Ashley Poston @ashposton @HQstories

Publication: 29th September 2022 – HQ

Florence Day is a ghost-writer with one big problem. She’s supposed to be penning swoon-worthy novels for a famous romance author but, after a bad break-up, Florence no longer believes in love. And when her strict (but undeniably hot) new editor, Benji Andor, won’t give her an extension on her book deadline, Florence prepares to kiss her career goodbye.

Although when tragedy strikes and Florence has to head home, the last thing she expects to see is a ghost at her front door. Not just any ghost, however, but the stern form of her still very hot – yet now unquestionably dead – new editor.

As sparks start to fly between them, Florence tells herself she can’t be falling for a ghost – even an infuriatingly sexy one. But can Benji help Florence to realise love isn’t dead, after all?

If you fell in love with Beach Read, The Love Hypothesis and The Hating Game, this laugh-out-loud romance packed with sizzling chemistry will give you all the feels!



If you are looking for a paranormal romance with relatable and lovable characters, a beautiful storyline, and witty writing, then I can’t recommend The Dead Romantics enough!

I loved everything about this novel. The story, the setting, the writing style… and especially the eccentric, entertaining, and well-developed characters who are often found reading romance books (including some of my favourite authors and others that I have just added to my TBR list)!

Florence Day doesn’t believe in love. Not after her latest heartbreak. But, she works as a ghost-writer for a famous romance author and she’s on an absolutely-not-extendable deadline to finish her latest book. However, her job is the last thing on her mind when she gets a call that her father has died of a heart attack and she needs to return home, to the same town that chased her away when she was a teenager. 

Florence, like her father, has a gift: she can see ghosts. Of course, no one in the small Southern town ever believed her and she was considered weird and bullied, especially after she solved a murder with the help of a ghost. She hasn’t been back in ten years and she feels an outsider not only to the town people, but also to her own family. While trying to reconnect with her family and busy following her father’s peculiar requests for his own funeral – where is she supposed to find one thousand daffodils? – she also faces her first sighting of a ghost in ten years. Things get even more complicated when that ghost turns out to be her charming and handsome new editor, Benji Andor.

The Dead Romantics is an incredible and unique story. I loved the character of Florence and I was engrossed in her journey and development as she tries to reconnect with her family and to overcome her writer’s block and her disbelief in happy endings, while also dealing with her feelings for a ghost. It is romantic (I loved the chemistry between Florence and Ben), emotional, at times funny, at times heartbreaking. It is one of these stories you don’t forget easily and you’re still thinking about weeks and weeks later!

A huge thank you to HQ and NetGalley for providing me with a proof of this fabulous novel.

Ashley Poston writes stories about love and friendship and ever afters. A native to South Carolina, she now lives in a small grey house with her sassy cat and too many books. You can find her on the internet, somewhere, watching cat videos and reading fan-fiction.

Tweet her at @ashposton and find out more about her at www.ashposton.com.

#BookReview: SPELLS FOR FORGETTING by Adrienne Young @adriennebooks @QuercusBooks

Publication: 27th September 2022 – Quercus

From the New York Times bestselling author comes an evocative, compelling novel of ancestral magic, an unsolved murder, and a second chance at true love.

‘There were tales that only the island knew. Ones that had never been told. I knew, because I was one of them.’

Emery Blackwood’s life was forever changed on the eve of her high school graduation, when the love of her life, August Salt, was accused of murdering her best friend, Lily. She’d once dreamt of running away with August, eager to escape the misty, remote shores of Saoirse Island and chase new dreams together. Now, she is doing what her teenage self swore she never would: living a quiet existence among this tight-knit community steeped in folklore and tradition, ruled by the seasons and ancient superstitions.

But when August returns after fourteen years to bury his mother’s ashes, Emery must confront her first love and the reason he left so abruptly. But the town wants August gone again. And as the island begins to show signs of strange happenings, the emergence of deep betrayals and hidden promises threatens to reveal the truth behind Lily’s death once and for all.



I am a huge fan of Adrienne Young’s novels. I love her writing style and she always manages to create incredible characters and fantastic worlds, but Spells for Forgetting is completely different from her previous novels. For starters, this is more of an adult novel instead of a young adult and it is contemporary. It’s a mystery story with a pinch of magic and folklore.

Spells for Forgetting is set on the island of Saoirse, in the state of Washington, where people take care of each other and secrets can turn deadly. Atmospheric and misty, the island is itself one of the protagonists of the story, always surrounded by an aura of mystery and magic. The other protagonists are Emery Blackwood and August Salt. Theirs isn’t a simple teenage first love, it’s the kind of love that lasts forever and that could reignite even after fourteen years apart.

When they were eighteen, Emery and August had a plan: leave Saoirse together. But then there was the fire and Emery’s best friend was found dead, murdered. August was suspected, even though his guilt was never proven. And then he and his mother left, without saying goodbye to anyone, leaving Emery heart-broken.

Fourteen years later, August returns to Saoirse to bury his mother and to cut his ties to the island once and for all. Emery still lives there, running her mother’s teashop. They haven’t seen each other in fourteen years, but they finally have the chance to deal with the feelings they both still have for each other, their history, and Lily’s death. However, the close-knitted community of Saoirse is not at all happy to see August back, especially as his presence risks bringing to light secrets and truths best left buried. 

I loved Spells for Forgetting. It is a dark, haunting, intense story about secrets, lies, jealousies, betrayals, magic, and tradition and I never wanted it to end, even though I wanted to know the truth: who killed Lily? What is August hiding? What is Emery hiding? What is everyone on the island hiding? I couldn’t put it down until I found out!!!

A huge thank you to Quercus and NetGalley for providing me with a proof of the novel.

Adrienne Young is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Fable duology and the Sky in the Deep duology. She is a foodie with a deep love of history and travel and a shameless addiction to coffee. When she’s not writing, you can find her on her yoga mat, sipping wine over long dinners, or disappearing into her favorite art museums. She lives with her documentary filmmaker husband and their four little wildlings in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina.

#BookReview: ANGELIKA FRANKENSTEIN MAKES HER MATCH by Sally Thorne @Sally__Thorne @PiatkusBooks

Publication: 15th September 2022 – Piatkus

For generations, every Frankenstein has found their true love and equal, unlocking lifetimes of blissful wedded adventure. Clever, pretty (and odd) Angelika Frankenstein has run out of suitors and fears she may become the exception to this family rule. When assisting in her brother Victor’s ground-breaking experiment to bring a reassembled man back to life, she realizes that having an agreeable gentleman convalescing in the guest suite might be a chance to let a man get to know the real her. For the first time, Angelika embarks upon a project that is all her own.

When her handsome scientific miracle sits up on the lab table, her hopes for an instant romantic connection are thrown into disarray. Her resurrected beau (named Will for the moment) has total amnesia and is solely focused on uncovering his true identity. Trying to ignore their heart-pounding chemistry, Angelika reluctantly joins the investigation into his past, hoping it will bring them closer. But when a second suitor emerges to aid their quest, Angelika wonders if she was too hasty inventing a solution. Perhaps fate is not something that can be influenced in a laboratory? Or is Will (or whatever his name is!) her dream man, tailored for her in every way? And can he survive what was done to him in the name of science, and love?

Filled with carriages, candlesticks, and corpses, Angelika Frankenstein Makes Her Match is the spooky-season romcom that reminds us to never judge a man by his cadaver!



Meet Angelika, sister of Victor Frankenstein. The two siblings live together in Blackthorne Manor, a huge house owned by the Frankenstein family for generations, just outside Salisbury village. Orphans and with only the elderly grumpy maid for company, the two siblings are very close. By night, they visit the morgue to buy corpses that nobody has reclaimed and then they try to bring them back to life in their lab. For Victor, his experiments are all about science and beating his competitor, but Angelika is looking for love, for the man who will never leave her. Beautiful and wealthy, Angelika has no problem attracting men, but then they are discouraged once they get to know her. 

Tired of being alone (and in need of sexual respite), Angelika decides it’s time to create her own man, so when she finds the perfect corpse at the morgue, she brings him back to her lab and back to life. Will, as she names him, has no memories of his past and, even though he is clearly attracted to Angelika, he is determined to discover the truth and Angelika promises to help him, even if it means giving up on him. 

Angelika Frankenstein Makes Her Match is one of the funniest, weirdest, and most unexpected novels I have ever read. I LOVED IT! Angelika and Will are fantastic characters. She is smart, competent, and resourceful. Will is sweet, caring, and adorable. They are indeed a perfect match and their romance is both steamy and slow-burning.

I laughed so much at the easy and witty banters between the characters and I loved the sexy and spicy romance and the quirky and incredible characters, and the setting of Blackthorne Manor gave a gothic atmosphere that fit perfectly with the story.

I enjoyed Sally Thorne’s previous novels, but I must admit that this new one is my favorite. Even though I knew how it was going to end, there were many unexpected surprises that kept me on the edge until the end. Highly recommended!

A huge thank you to Piatkus and NetGalley for providing me with a proof of this fantastic novel.

Sally Thorne lives in Canberra, Australia and spends her days writing funding submissions and drafting contracts (yawn!) so it’s not surprising that after hours she climbs into colorful fictional worlds of her own creation. Sally believes that romance readers are always searching for intensity in their next favorite book – and it isn’t always so easy to find. The Hating Game is her first novel.

#BookReview: MARPLE: TWELVE NEW STORIES by 12 best-selling authors @HarperFiction

Publication: 15th September 2022 – HarperCollins

A brand new collection of short stories featuring the Queen of Crime’s legendary detective Jane Marple, penned by twelve remarkable bestselling and acclaimed authors.

This collection of twelve original short stories, all featuring Jane Marple, will introduce the character to a whole new generation. Each author reimagines Agatha Christie’s Marple through their own unique perspective while staying true to the hallmarks of a traditional mystery.

· Naomi Alderman
· Leigh Bardugo
· Alyssa Cole
· Lucy Foley
· Elly Griffiths
· Natalie Haynes
· Jean Kwok
· Val McDermid
· Karen M. McManus
· Dreda Say Mitchell
· Kate Mosse
· Ruth Ware

Miss Marple was first introduced to readers in a story Christie wrote for The Royal Magazine in 1927 and made her first appearance in a full-length novel in 1930’s The Murder at the Vicarage. It has been 45 years since Agatha Christie’s last Marple novel, Sleeping Murder, was published posthumously in 1976, and this collection of ingenious new stories by twelve Christie devotees will be a timely reminder why Jane Marple remains the most famous fictional female detective of all time.



I am a huge fan of Agatha Christie and read some of her novels multiple times. However, while I’ve read most of the Hercule Poirot novels, Miss Marple is still quite unknown to me. So far, I’ve read only one of the novels featuring the woman turned detective whose shrewd intelligence and inquisitive eyes lead her to solve cases that the police can’t, but after reading these intriguing and entertaining twelve short stories, I think I need to start focusing my attention on the legendary Jane Marple.

Each story is unique while also remaining faithful to the original stories and each features a different case in which Miss Jane Marple somehow gets involved. There is of course murder, but there is also blackmail, theft, mistaken identities, revenge, jealousies, inheritances at stake, missing jewels, and, in one case, a missing groom. And while the police thinks the case is quite straightforward and the culprit is arrested, Jane Marple analyses the complexity of each situation and the characters in play and reveals the often shocking truth.

“It wasn’t the first and it wouldn’t be the last time she was dismissed as a silly old woman with one foot in the grave.”

People often underestimate Miss Jane Marple because of her age and her sex. She wears tweed, tea and cherry are her drinks of choice, she is often found knitting or attending to her garden or taking part in gossip. She is barely noticed, not at all threatening, but nothing goes past her and she quietly solves cases. From her small village of St Mary Mead to New York, from Hong Kong to the Amalfi coast, whether it is during a wedding ceremony or a Christmas dinner, on a cruise or dining at the high table of an Oxford college, there is never a dull moment for Miss Jane Marple. 

Marple: Twelve New Stories is an incredible and original collection of short stories written by twelve fantastic and renowned authors (including some of my favourite): Lucy Foley, Val McDermid, Alyssa Cole, Natalie Haynes, Ruth Ware, Naomi Alderman, Jean Kwok, Dreads Say Mitchell, Elly Griffiths, Karen M. McManus, Kate Mosse, and Leigh Bardugo.

A huge thank you to HarperCollins and NetGalley for providing me with a proof of this gripping collection.

#BookReview: WITHIN THESE WICKED WALLS by Lauren Blackwood @LJ_Blackwood @AtomBooks

Publication: 15th September 2022 – Atom Books

What the heart desires, the house destroys…

Andromeda is a debtera – an exorcist hired to cleanse households of the Evil Eye. She would be hired, that is, if her mentor hadn’t thrown her out before she could earn her license. Now her only hope is to find a Patron – a rich, well-connected individual who will vouch for her abilities.

When a handsome heir named Magnus reaches out to hire her, she takes the job without question. Never mind that he’s rude and eccentric, that the contract comes with outlandish rules, and that the many previous debteras had quit before her. If Andromeda wants to earn a living, she has no choice.

But this is a job like no other, and Magnus is hiding far more than she has been trained for. Death is the likely outcome if she stays, the reason every debtera before her quit. But leaving Magnus to live out his curse isn’t an option because, heaven help her, she’s fallen for him.

Stunningly romantic, Lauren Blackwood’s heartstopping debut, Within These Wicked Walls, ushers in an exciting new fantasy voice.



Andromeda is a debtera, an exorcist who cleanses houses from the presence of the Evil Eye. Abandoned by her master and father-figure before she could get her license, Andromeda needs a proper patron, someone well-connected who can attest to her abilities as a debtera and recommend her for other jobs. Enter Magnus Rochester. He is the sole heir of Thorne Manor and he hires Andromeda to cleanse it before he takes over his father’s business on his 21st birthday. Other debteras have tried to do the job before her, but either they ran away or they died trying. However, Andromeda is determined to get the job done, no matter the danger. The job is complicated by her relationship with handsome Magnus, who is arrogant and privileged, but also charming and entertaining.

It is good thing that I read Within These Wicked Walls while I was on holiday and I had a lot of free time to read, because I devoured this debut fantasy. It is atmospheric, gothic, claustrophobic, and gripping. It reminds of Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre, with the abandoned heroine in search of affection, the cranky male protagonist (whose name, of course, is Rochester), and the haunted castle. Add a well-developed and intriguing world-building and you have a fantastic story!

I loved the characters of Andromeda and Marcus. Their witty exchanges added a bit of levity despite the horrors that haunted the house and I liked how they develop both singularly and together throughout the story.

There is horror, monsters, murders, but also romance, friendship, and reconciliation. Action-packed, riveting, and terrifying, I can’t recommend Within These Wicked Walls enough!

A huge thank you to Atom Books and NetGalley for providing me with a proof of the novel.

Lauren Blackwood is a Jamaican American New Yorker living in Virginia who writes Romance-heavy Fantasy for most ages. When not writing, she’s a PTA and violinist who really doesn’t know how to settle on one career field. Within These Wicked Walls is her debut novel.

#BookReview: DAISY DARKER by Alice Feeney @alicewriterland @panmacmillan

Publication: 18th August 2022 – Macmillan

Daisy Darker is an all-consuming tale of psychological suspense with a spectacular twist from the internationally bestselling author Alice Feeney.

Daisy Darker’s family were as dark as dark can be, when one of them died all of them lied and pretended not to see . . .

Daisy Darker is arriving at her grandmother’s house for her eightieth birthday. It is Halloween, and Seaglass – the crumbling Cornish house perched upon its own tiny private island – is at one with the granite rocks it sits on. The Darker family haven’t all been in the same place for over a decade, and when the tide comes in they’ll be cut off from the rest of the world for eight hours. When the tide goes back out, nothing will ever be the same again, because one of them is a killer…



Let me start my review by saying that I’ve read and enjoyed all Alice Feeney’s novels and Daisy Darker is my favorite so far. It is chilling, dark, and suspenseful and I was on the edge of my seat from start to finish. I read it in one day and, even though I started to figure out a bit of truth towards the ending, there were so many more twists and surprises until the last page that I still had a unique and gripping reading experience. 

The Darker family is not what you would call close or affectionate. You would probably call it dysfunctional – with capital letters. Its members are very complex and self-centered, their insecurities and jealousies making them despicable and vengeful towards each other. I can honestly say I didn’t like most of them.

The story is told from the perspective of Daisy, the youngest daughter. Daisy Darker was born with a broken heart. When she was a child, her heart would suddenly stop beating and she was rushed to the hospital where she was quickly revived. Her life expectancy was not very long and her family didn’t seem to care about it. She had a lonely childhood where her older sisters bullied her, her mother resented her, and her father was never around. The only person who ever showed her love and care was her grandmother who wrote a children’s book called after her that sold millions of copies around the world. 

The Darker family hasn’t been all together in years, but they reunite to celebrate Nana’s 80th (and probably last, according to a fortune-teller) birthday at Seaglass, the family home on a private small island in Cornwall. A will is read, making many family members unhappy, but, as a storm rage outside and the tide is high, no one can leave the house, and, perfectly-inspired by And Then There Were None, a mysterious and spooky poem appears, old video tapes are watched, and, at every strike of the clock, one of them dies. Who, among them, is the killer? And who will survive? 

With Agatha Christie vibes, complex and multi-layered characters, high level of tension, and more twists than I expected, Daisy Darker is a remarkable and gripping read!

A huge thank you to Macmillan and NetGalley for providing me with a proof of the novel.

Alice Feeney is a New York Times million-copy bestselling author. Her books have been translated into over twenty-five languages, and have been optioned for major screen adaptations. Including her novel Rock Paper Scissors, which is being made into a TV series by the producer of The Crown. Alice was a BBC journalist for fifteen years, and now lives in Devon with her family. Daisy Darker is her fifth novel.

#BookReview: THE UNDERTAKING OF HART AND MERCY by Megan Bannen @MeganBannen @orbitbooks

Publication: 25th August 2022 – Orbit

The Princess Bride meets You’ve Got Mail in this enchantingly quirky, completely refreshing fantasy with a rom-com-worthy premise, perfect for readers of The House in the Cerulean Sea and The Invisible Library.

Hart is a marshal, tasked with patrolling the magical wilds of Tanria. It’s an unforgiving job, and he’s got nothing but time to ponder his loneliness.

Mercy never has a moment to herself. She’s been single-handedly keeping Birdsall & Son Undertakers afloat in defiance of sullen jerks like Hart-ache Hart, the man with a knack for showing up right when her patience is thinnest.

After yet another run-in with Merciless Mercy, Hart finds himself penning a letter addressed simply to “A Friend”. Much to his surprise, he receives an anonymous reply, and a tentative friendship is born. Little does Hart know he’s baring his soul to the person who infuriates him most. . .

Set in a world equally full of magic and demigods as it is donuts and small-town drama, this utterly unique fantasy is sure to sweep you off your feet.



I just finished reading this novel and I want to reread it all over again. Hart and Mercy captured my heart and their story is beautiful, romantic, and heart-warming.

Hart Ralston is a demi-god marshal who is tasked to rid the magical world of Tanria of the drudges, reanimated corpses inhabited by the souls of those who have died, and then he delivers them to the undertakers. Mercy Birdsall has been managing the family undertaking business, Birdsall & Son, since her father’s retirement, keeping it afloat while her brother finishes his studies.

When Hart and Mercy met four years ago, it was hate at first sight. She calls him “Hart-ache”, he calls her “Mercy-less” and, the few times they meet, a battle of wits and insults begins. After yet another exchange of taunts, Hart takes pen and paper and pours his feelings in a letter to “A Dear Friend” never imagining that that letter would reach anyone and that someone would reply. And as the exchange of letters grows more frequent and he is more honest than he’s ever been, he could never imagine that the person replying to him, laying her own heart bare, is none other than his nemesis, Mercy Birdsall. 

The thing I loved most about this novel is its two incredible protagonists. Hart is grumpy and anti-social, but also kind and sweet. He wonders about his true parentage and (im)mortality, he works all day and he feels very lonely, especially since the death of his mentor and father-figure. Mercy is fun, compassionate, and determined. She has dedicated her life to her job and her family. She loves her job as an undertaker and she is really good at it, even if her own family thinks they know what’s best for her. Both book lovers and dog lovers, Hart and Mercy are opposites, but they also have more in common than they think and their love story is superb and emotional.

The Undertaking of Hart and Mercy is a grumpy vs sunshine, enemies-to-lovers fantastic love story that made me laugh and it made me cry, it made me stay up late at night to finish reading it. I loved the letters Hart and Mercy write to each other and I enjoyed their banter. The world-building is fantastic, there are gods, old and new, semi-gods, dead bodies, and talking animals who deliver mail. All in all, The Undertaking of Hart and Mercy is an addictive and unique novel and I couldn’t recommend it enough!

I am very grateful to Orbit for providing me with a proof of this beautiful novel.

Megan Bannen is a former librarian and a full-time writer. While most of her professional career has been spent behind the reference desk, she has also sold luggage, written grants, collected a few graduate degrees from various Kansas state universities, and taught English at home and abroad. She lives in the Kansas City area with her husband, two sons, and a lot of pets