Take a look at the final jacket layout for Heidi Swain's Mince Pies and Mistletoe at the Christmas Market

Hello lovely book folk, and happy Friday to you. Today, I'm thrilled to be bringing to you something absolutely GORGEOUS, and that GORGEOUSNESS is in the form of Heidi Swain's final jacket layout for her beautiful, forthcoming Christmassy release Mince Pies and Mistletoe at the Christmas Market! It's such a beauty and I'm sure that you'll agree with me on that one once you feast your eyes on it. Without further ado, here it is, folks. Isn't it going to look splendid on those bookshelves? Even the spine is beautiful!

Available on Goodreads | Amazon UK | Amazon US
Arrives November 17th 2016.

Christmas has arrived in the town of Wynbridge and it promises mince pies, mistletoe and a whole host of seasonal joy.

Ruby has finished with university and is heading home for the holidays to save up for her trip around the world in January. Against her father's wishes, she takes on a stall at the local market, and sets about making it the best Christmas market stall ever. There'll be bunting and mistletoe and maybe even a bit of mulled wine.

But with a new retail park just opened on their doorstep, the market is under threat. So together with all the other stallholders, Ruby devises a plan to make sure that Wynbridge is the first port of call for everyone's Christmas shopping needs.

The only thing standing in her way is Ruby's ex, Steve. It's pretty hard to concentrate on saving the world when he works on the stall opposite, especially when she realises that her feelings for him are still there...

This Christmas make time for some winter sparkle - and see who might be underneath the mistletoe this year...

About the author
Although passionate about writing from an early age, Heidi Swain gained a degree in Literature, flirted briefly with a newspaper career, married and had two children before she finally plucked up the courage to join a creative writing class and take her literary ambitions seriously.

A lover of Galaxy bars, vintage paraphernalia and the odd bottle of fizz, she now writes contemporary fiction and enjoys the company of a whole host of feisty female characters.

Heidi can be found at the keyboard at all hours of the day and night and quite often scribbling longhand in her car during her lunch break. She lives in stunning south Norfolk with her wonderful family and a mischievous cat called Storm.

You can find Heidi Swain on Facebook | Twitter | heidiswain.blogspot.co.uk

Book Review: Ward Zero: The Dead Ward by Linda Huber

Available on Goodreads | Amazon UK | Amazon US
Title - Ward Zero: The Dead Ward
Author - Linda Huber
Publication Date - October 1st 2016
Format - Kindle Edition (Provided by author)
Pages - 228

Horror swept through her. Had she been buried alive?

On Sarah's first visit to see her foster mother, Mim, in Brockburn General Hospital, she is sucked into a world that isn't what it should be.

Someone is lying, someone is stealing. And someone is killing - but who? With a grieving child to take care of, as well as Mim, Sarah has to put family first. She doesn't see where danger lies - until it's too late.

If you think you're safe in a hospital, think again.

Ward Zero: The Dead Ward is the second novel I've read by this author, the first being The Attic Room which I picked up on a whim while browsing the Kindle store. It didn't disappoint, and when I was contacted about reading and reviewing Linda's October release, I jumped at the chance to do so! If you know me at all then you'll know that as well as my first love, which is fictional romance, I adore a thrillingly gripping, creepily-told novel, and Ward Zero: The Dead Ward looked exactly that. I couldn't wait to dive in and see what Huber had in store for me this time.

In Ward Zero: The Dead Ward by Linda Huber, readers are introduced to Sarah. Just back in the country and excited about being reunited with her foster mother Mim, Sarah is disappointed to learn that, rather than greeting her at the airport as they'd originally agreed, Mim is holed up in Brockburn General Hospital. Once out, and after a devastating turn of events, Sarah, Mim and young Frankie are whisked into a world of darkness and deceit as they're dragged into circumstances they didn't see coming in a million years. Murder, lies and corruption.

Huber opens her novel with a particularly chilling prologue that captures a real sense of dread and ugliness that remained with me throughout the rest of the book. In third person narrative, we're introduced to another character, although this one remains nameless, and it becomes clear pretty quickly that their intent is malicious and incredibly evil. Throughout the remainder of the novel, we return to this person and are kept up to date on their movements and thoughts, only ever heightening the curiosity as to who the person is and what on earth they are going to do next. I loved this aspect of 'not knowing'. It made my skin tingle with apprehension and, as Huber continued to tell this story, I found myself trying to figure out who the mystery person was. It was a thrilling and grim guessing game, in which Huber's characters were the play-things. I couldn't help thinking, 'who's next?'

I really enjoyed the family dynamic between Sarah and Mim, and felt this added a softness to the book that balanced it all out nicely. Between the grisly details of secretive goings-on, the cups of teas and conversations between Sarah, Mim and Frankie appealed to me greatly, and these moments allowed the characters personalities, traits and unique characteristics to truly shine through. I also loved the relationship between Sarah and Mim. The closeness between them was wonderful and, again, added a certain tenderness to the novel. Sarah was a brilliant character, and her fierce loyalty and protectiveness over her loved ones was evident from page one. Learning of her background and the sadness she'd suffered explained why she held so tightly to her loved ones and it warmed me inside out. Mim was also fantastic and I adored her motherly tendencies that she felt towards Sarah. Her position as a foster mother had me warming to her immediately, and despite her injuries, Mim's nature was one that appealed to me greatly. Caring and kind and nurturing, I could see why Sarah adored Mim as much as she did. As for Frankie, she been through a hell of a lot so it was understandable why, at times, she was almost impossible to break. Distant and distressed, Frankie was taken in by Mim, and I couldn't help feeling that this really was the best place for the girl to be. Alongside two women who knew how to take care of her better than anyone. She was safe here, but I couldn't be sure if the same could be said for the others.

The sense of urgency that Huber created was a very welcome addition to the telling of this novel. With each chapter, I felt myself growing more and more curious as to who was behind the grizzly happenings in the book, and found myself keenly studying each character who seemed to be getting closer to Sarah, friendship/relationship wise. It was riveting, and so very dark and disturbing, especially taking into consideration the whole hospital setting and the focus Huber maintained on it. Aside all of this, there was also the aspect of stealing and lies, which left me feeling unsettled and particularly creeped out. It had me wondering how well you really know the people around you, and how easily it is to become fooled when you least expect it.

All in all, Ward Zero: The Dead Ward by Linda Huber was a disturbingly dark and deceptive novel that kept me on my toes right the way through. It was a gruesome guessing game, portraying brilliantly how easy it is to be blindsided, even by the people you trust most. Full of deceit and lies, greed and trickery, I thoroughly enjoyed Ward Zero: The Dead Ward by Linda Huber, and I think it would appeal to any fans of psychological thrillers with an undercurrent of creepiness it's hard to ignore. Becca's Books is awarding Ward Zero: The Dead Ward by Linda Huber with four of my bookish stars. Special thanks to the author for providing me with a review copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.

About the author
Linda Huber grew up in Glasgow but has lived over half her life in Switzerland, where she works as a language teacher and writes psychological suspense novels.

The inspiration for her books comes from everyday life - a family member's struggle with dementia (The Paradise Trees), the discovery that a child in her extended family drowned in the 1940s (The Cold Cold Sea), a friend's homes on the Isle of Arran and in Bedford (The Attic Room). Chosen Child, her latest release, is set in beautiful Cornwall, where she spent several happy holidays in her youth.

Linda's fifth psychological thriller will be published in autumn 2016.

You can find Linda Huber on Facebook | Twitter | lindahuber.net

Book Review: The Honey Trap by Mary Jayne Baker

Available on Goodreads | Amazon UK | Amazon US
Title - The Honey Trap
Author - Mary Jayne Baker
Publication Date - August 19th 2016
Publisher - HarperImpulse
Format - Kindle Edition
Pages - 340

The trap is set - but which one of them is the bait?

Journalist Angel Blackthorne is looking for her next big scoop. When her sleazy editor asks her to use her charms on super successful - and married - film director Sebastian Wilchester for a juicy expose, Angel thinks what the hell? There's a staff job on the horizon, and, let's be honest, no one can make a cheater cheat if they don't want to, right?

After the scandal breaks, Angel tries to put the story - and Seb - behind her, but fate seems to have other ideas. A near miss at a premiere after-party and a shared love of vintage film brings the honey closer to the trap.

But what happens when pretence leads to passion, and a 'kiss and tell' becomes something real?

The Honey Trap by Mary Jayne Baker was a deliciously saucy and sexy read, full to the brim with warmth, emotion and a little bit (a lot) of naughtiness thrown in for good measure! When I read the blurb for this novel, I knew it sounded right up my street and couldn't wait to see what Mary Jayne Baker had in store for me as it sounded like a barrel of flirtatious fun!

In The Honey Trap by Mary Jayne Baker, readers are introduced to journalist Angel Blackthorne. She is desperate to climb the career ladder, so when the opportunity to do so arises, Angel is eager to take the chance with both hands if it means she can widen her horizons job-wise, although she's a little unsure of what exactly her sleazy editor is asking of her. But what this opportunity involves is an attempt to snatch up the attentions of devilishly handsome film director, Sebastian Wilchester, by luring him into a trap, using only herself as the temptation. To Angel's surprise, it seems to work, but before she realises it, the "honey trap" is leading to much more than she'd originally anticipated.

There was a sultry sassiness to this story that I found completely and utterly addictive. While focusing on Angel's progression in her career throughout the novel, Baker ensured that there was still plenty of things chemistry-wise to look forward to. Peppered with sexual tension, excitement and frustrations, the author's spotlight on the rocky relationship between her heroine and hero was spot-on. I looked forward to each time Angel and Sebastian would meet, and found myself waiting with baited breath to see how each interaction would play out. Baker's style was humorous and witty, with a certain sort of warmth that allowed me to feel close to her characters in a way that had me caring about each of them. Not only was this a hotter-than-hot read with plenty of naughty scenes to whet your appetite, but there were also the themes of friendship to enjoy too. I was giggling through some parts thanks to Baker's wonderful sense of humour and couldn't wait to find out how this fantastic story would end.

Bursting at the seams with sexiness and hilarious shenanigans, The Honey Trap by Mary Jayne Baker was a sumptuously enticing read sparkling with the glitz and glamour of the movie world. From star struck to love and lust, it was entertaining in all of the best ways and I will certainly be keeping my eye out for the next novel from this author. Becca's Books is awarding The Honey Trap by Mary Jayne Baker with four of my bookish stars. Fabulously naughty, with plenty of emotion and heart. You'll be wrapped up completely within Angel's world.

About the author
Mary Jayne Baker grew up in rural West Yorkshire, right in the heart of Brontë country… and she's still there. After graduating from Durham University with a degree in English Literature in 2003, she dallied with living in cities including London, but eventually came back with her own romantic hero in tow to her beloved Dales.

She lives with him in a little house with four little cats and a little rabbit, writing stories about girls with flaws and the men who love them. You can usually find her there with either a pen, some knitting needles or a glass of wine in hand. She goes to work every day as a graphic designer for a magazine publisher, but secretly dreams of being a lighthouse keeper.

You can find Mary Jayne Baker on Facebook | Twitter | maryjaynebaker.co.uk

Blog Tour: Review - Christmas Under a Cranberry Sky by Holly Martin

Today on Becca's Books, I'm delighted to be sharing my review of Holly Martin's Christmas Under a Cranberry Sky as part of the blog tour.

Title - Christmas Under a Cranberry Sky
Author - Holly Martin
Publication Date - September 22nd 2016
Publisher - Bookouture
Format - Kindle Edition (Provided by publisher via NetGalley)
Pages - 322

This year spend a wonderful Christmas on Juniper Island, where love can melt even the iciest of hearts...

Piper Chesterfield lives a glamorous life travelling the world and reviewing the finest hotels. She calls nowhere home, she works alone and that's how she likes it. For long ago Piper decided that to protect her heart she should lock it away.

So when Piper's next assignment brings her to the newly-opened Stardust Lake Hotel for the festive season, the last person she expects to face is Gabe Whitaker, the man who broke her heart so completely she could never love again.

But Piper isn't the only one who has been frozen in time by heartbreak. Gabe hasn't forgotten the golden-eyed girl who disappeared from his world without a trace.

Now fate has reunited them on Juniper Island, can the magic of Christmas heal old wounds? And can this enchanting town be the one place Piper can finally call home?

Curl up with this gorgeously romantic tale and let the glistening snow and the roaring fires of Stardust Lake Hotel get you in the festive spirit Christmas.

Well blow me down and sprinkle me with fairy dust! It feels like it has been such a long, long time since I last delved into a novel by the wonderful Holly Martin, so as soon as Christmas Under a Cranberry Sky became available, I jumped on it! I could not wait to discover Juniper Island for myself and see what Holly Martin had in store for her readers this time. Reading a Holly Martin novel, for me, is like stumbling into a world where EVERYTHING I LOVE ABOUT READING has been captured perfectly. The romance, the settings, the characters. They are always beautiful, always moving and always, without fail, the sort of novels that remain with me long after I've turned the final page. And, for someone who adores Christmas as much as I do, Christmas Under a Cranberry Sky was a definite must. How could I possibly resist?!

In Holly Martin's Christmas Under a Cranberry Sky, readers are introduced to Piper Chesterfield, also known as Pip. Immediately, Martin brings her character beautifully to life on the page, and as the chapters pass by, we're given a wonderful yet emotional insight into Piper's life now, as well as her life before. For years now, Piper has been travelling the world to review hotels in some of the most stunning places. Readers love her honesty and style, and it's been said that some places have been left quaking in their boots over news of this reviewer's arrival. It's a job she adores but, by travelling so much, Piper has never really stopped and found a place to call 'home'. Jetting here, there and everywhere, her life is chaotic and she is constantly on the move. She's not ungrateful. She knows that there are people out there who would love to be in her shoes. But she also knows that on the cold, dark and lonely nights, her travels won't keep her warm. They won't comfort her or hold her tight, and it's obvious that Piper knows, deep down, something is missing.

When Piper is sent to the Stardust Lake Hotel (how utterly gorgeous is that name?), memories surface of the last time she'd been there, with childhood best-friend and first love Gabe Whitaker, but it's not all roses and rainbows for Piper when she looks back on her past. In fact, she dealt with so much pain and heartache, it was impossible for me not to feel for the woman. But the things she dealt with and the sorrow they caused were often soothed by Gabe and his wonderful family, who took her in and made her feel as if she did actually have a place in the world, wrapped up in the warmth that they constantly bestowed upon her. Heading back to the Stardust Lake Hotel now, Piper can't wait to see what's in store for her. With her reviewing head firmly on, she's ready to tackle yet another item on her to-do list.

As soon as Piper set foot on Juniper Island, I felt as if I'd stumbled into a winter wonderland. Martin's descriptions of this beautiful island were just incredible, transporting me directly to Piper's side as she began to discover and explore. The area had changed immeasurably since the last time she was there and so it's all about looking around and taking the time to see what the Stardust Lake Hotel has to offer. And boy was it exciting. I was like a child at Christmas myself as I lapped up the author's words, completely bowled over by Martin's imagination and how fantastically she'd put it to good use. From reindeers to a real-life ice palace, and spotting the Northern lights to the gorgeously snug log cabins that were available for the guests. It was just exquisite. Martin absolutely whisked me away with this story. I adored the crunchiness of the snow and the snuggliness of the roaring fires. I wanted so desperately to throw myself into the pages and book myself in for a stay at the Stardust Lake Hotel myself. It was gloriously Christmassy. GLORIOUSLY.

What added to my sheer enjoyment of this novel were the relationships captured by Martin. Not only am I referring to the wobbly relationship between Piper and Gabe, but also the smaller, secondary relationships that positively thrummed with warmth and love. When Piper sets eyes on Gabe again for the first time in years, I felt my toes curl up with pleasure. It was no secret that there was still chemistry between these two and I really couldn't wait to see how Holly Martin would explore this. Although reluctant to get close to each other due to some serious misunderstandings from both of their pasts, I wanted nothing more than for the barriers between them to come crashing down. With so much time having passed since the last time they saw each other, things have changed for both of them. Piper has travelled far and wide with a secure cage locked tight around her heart, and Gabe is now a father to the adorable Wren, who adds such gorgeous presence to this story and who I found it impossible to not adore. The focus on friendship and family, including Gabe's fatherly duties, was heart-warming, and allowed to see a side to her childhood friend that she hadn't seen before. I think this was also a fantastic way to show just how much time had passed while they'd been apart, and how massively things had changed for the both of them.

Alongside a number of fabulously crafted characters, my visit to the Stardust Lake Hotel was just splendid. Martin has truly captured the essence of Christmas in her latest novel and it was perfect in every way possible. There was tension, chemistry and love by the plenty, and the reunion of two people who I believe fate knew would be brought together again, whether they liked it or not. Humorous, log-fire warm and completely and utterly enchanting, it was magical and a must-read this Christmas time. You'll be whisked away from reality after the first page and, if anything like me, you'll be reluctant to come back by the time you've finished!

Becca's Books is awarding Christmas Under a Cranberry Sky by Holly Martin with five of my bookish cupcakes. This was everything that I hoped it would be and MORE. A truly romantic tale generously sprinkled with a hefty helping of glittering snow! Wrap up warm and allow yourself to be whisked away by Holly Martin to a place you'll never, ever want to leave.

About the author
Holly lives in sunny Bedfordshire in a house with round windows. She studied media at university which led to a very glitzy career as a hotel receptionist followed by a even more glamorous two years working in a bank. The moment that one of her colleagues received the much coveted carriage clock for fifteen years’ service was the moment when she knew she had to escape. She quit her job and returned to university to train to be a teacher. Three years later, she emerged wide eyed and terrified that she now had responsibility for the development of thirty young minds. She taught for four years and then escaped the classroom to teach history workshops, dressing up as a Viking one day and an Egyptian High Priestess the next. But the long journeys around the UK and many hours sat on the M25 gave her a lot of time to plan out her stories and she now writes full time, doing what she loves.

Holly has been writing for 6 years. She was shortlisted for the New Talent Award at the Festival of Romance. Her short story won the Sunlounger competition and was published in the Sunlounger anthology. She won the Carina Valentine’s competition at the Festival of Romance 2013 with her novel The Guestbook. She was shortlisted for Best Romantic Read, Best eBook and Innovation in Romantic Fiction at the Festival of Romance 2014.

You can find Holly Martin on Facebook | Twitter

Be sure to keep up with the rest of the blog tour!

Cover Reveal: April Showers and Wedding Flowers by Lindsey Paley

Hello everyone! I hope you're fine and dandy on this fabulous Thursday?

Today on Becca's Books, I'm delighted to be bringing to you the cover reveal of Lindsey Paley's April Showers and Wedding Flowers, organised by the fabulous Jenny from Neverland Blog Tours. This cover is absolutely gorgeous, which is very much in keeping with ALL of Paley's covers might I add, and I really hope you love it as much as I do! So, without further ado, here it is, folks!

Available on Amazon UK | Amazon US
The wedding cake is baked, the champagne is on ice and the bridesmaid dress is a perfect fit. Everything is ready for Hannah and Archie's wedding at the picture-perfect church in the sleepy village of Aisford in the Lake District.

But if Camille Carter, 'Queen of Culinary Chaos', thought everything would go according to plan for a change, then she was wrong. When tragedy strikes at the Stag Party weekend there's a risk the wedding will have to be called off.

Will Millie team up once again with irritating-but-hunky Fergus McKenzie to untangle the mystery and ensure the wedding of the year goes ahead without a hitch? Or should she leave well alone and return to her little Parisian patisserie to concentrate on her fledgling Afternoon Tea business?

April Showers is sure to delight fans of the Camille Carter series.

About the author
Lindsey Paley is the author of contemporary romance novels and a cosy murder/mystery series set in the English Lake District. When not scribbling away in her peppermint and cream writer's retreat (shed) she loves baking cakes and indulging in a spot of Afternoon Tea with her friends where a glass of pink fizz is often the highlight. She loves walking in the countryside and is also a keen archer!

You can find Lindsey Paley on Facebook | Twitter

Book Review: The Singalong Society for Singletons by Katey Lovell

Available on Goodreads | Amazon UK | Amazon US
Title - The Singalong Society for Singletons
Author - Katey Lovell
Publication Date - October 7th 2016
Publisher - HarperImpulse
Format - Kindle Edition (Provided by author)
Pages - 235

A charming, feel good novel about the healing powers of friendship... and Frozen!

Monique and Issy are teachers, housemates and lovers of musicals! Their Friday night routine consists of snacks, wine and the Frozen DVD. So when Monique's boyfriend moves to America for a year and her sister Hope moves in because of her own relationship woes, Friday nights get a new name... 'The Singalong Society for Singletons'!

It's a chance to get together, sing along to their favourite tracks from the best-loved West End shows, and forget the worries of work, relationships and love (or lack of it). But when Issy shares the details of their little group further afield, they get some unexpected new members who might just change their opinions on singledom for good...

Having followed Katey's writing career and success for quite some time now, I was absolutely over the moon when approached in regards to reading and reviewing her upcoming release The Singalong Society for Singletons. I fell head over heels in love with the cover once it was revealed, and even more so with the blurb once I'd read it. The musical theme, plus that of friendship and romance appealed to me greatly so I couldn't wait to begin, and did so with great enthusiasm!

In Katey Lovell's The Singalong Society for Singletons, readers are introduced to Monique and Issy. Both women are teachers and, after a long and sometimes tough week at school, their ideal Friday night consists of settling down with plenty of munch and wine and losing themselves in the dreamy world of musicals, plenty which I love myself and absolutely adored being reminded of! Times are hard for Monique. Her long-term boyfriend has jetted off to America, leaving Monique unsure of where they stand, and hopelessly waiting on his return. With barely any contact between the two of them, it's understandable for Monique to feel the way she does. A little lost. A little confused. A little... unsure? And so, 'The Singalong Society for Singletons' is born. Friday nights will now be FABULOUSLY FUN-FILLED, so much so that there will be no room left for sadness or heartache. What begins as an idea for just a small gathering soon becomes something quite else, inviting new members into the group, those of whom are equally as passionate about musicals as Monique and Issy. What progresses from these meet-ups (which I would very much like to become a part of!) are new friendships, opinions and plenty of singing along, and maybe even a spark of something exciting for one or two of these characters.

Everything about this novel was a winner with me. From the gloriously warm and lovable characters, not forgetting the charmingly handsome, to the uplifting and joyous musicals peppered and referred to throughout the plot, it sung to me on a level that had me wanting to sing along at the top of my lungs. Lovell's style is wholly inviting and deliciously cosy, making this the ultimate book to curl up with as the colder, frostier months roll in. The dilemmas each of the characters come face to face with within this story are those of which are highly relatable and allow Lovell's characters to face their fears and build courage in a way that only makes you love them more. They are also, most importantly, matters of the heart that have you cheering these characters on and hoping for nothing but the best for them. It's hard not to care for them, or feel concerned as to how their separate stories will play out. And there's such a great mix of issues that the characters must tackle too. It tugs at your heartstrings and plays with your emotions, all the while allowing you to sit back and enjoy your favourite musical tracks alongside the characters each Friday night.

Ultimately, The Singalong Society for Singletons by Katey Lovell is a story of friendship, courage and how the joy of your favourite musical tracks can help you during your toughest times. It was charming and cheerful, cosy and catchy, and positively brimming with sparkle and uniqueness. This is such a gem of a novel, I really can't recommend it enough. On that note, Becca's Books is awarding The Singalong Society for Singletons by Katey Lovell with five of my bookish cupcakes. This is the perfect novel to curl up with by the fire this autumn/winter. It will warm you from the inside out and leave you feeling completely and utterly satisfied. Special thanks to the author for providing me with a copy of this book for review purposes. I really can't wait to see what's in store next for Katey Lovell's readers!

About the author
Katey Lovell is fanatical about words. An avid reader, writer and poet, she once auditioned for Countdown and still tapes the show every night. Getting the conundrum before the contestants is her ultimate thrill.

She loves love and strives to write feel-good romance that'll make you laugh and cry in equal measure.

Originally from South Wales, Katey now lives in Yorkshire with her husband and son.

You can find Katey Lovell on Facebook | Twitter

Book Review: The Devil's Work by Mark Edwards

Available on Goodreads | Amazon UK | Amazon US
Title - The Devil's Work
Author - Mark Edwards
Publication Date - September 13th 2016
Publisher - Thomas & Mercer
Format - Kindle Edition (Provided by publisher via NetGalley)
Pages - 374

It was the job she had dreamed of since childhood. But on her very first day, when an unnerving encounter drags up memories Sophie Greenwood would rather forget, she wonders if she has made a mistake. A fatal mistake.

What is her ambitious young assistant really up to? And what exactly happened to Sophie's predecessor? When her husband and daughter are pulled into the nightmare, Sophie is forced to confront the darkest secrets she has carried for years.

As her life begins to fall apart at work and at home, Sophie must race to uncover the truth about her new job... before it kills her.

First of all, I'd like to say huge thank you to the author Mark Edwards, for allowing me to read an advance copy of his upcoming release The Devil's Work. Since reading Follow You Home, I've been highly anticipating Mark's next book. There's a certain edginess to this author's books. A certain something that manages to get beneath your skin and have you wondering what you've let yourself in for. He's an incredibly-skilled writer with the perfect tools for this genre and that is only highlighted in his latest book The Devil's Work.

In The Devil's Work by Mark Edwards, readers are introduced to Sophie Greenwood. Sophie is stepping back into the working world. Not only that, but she's managed to land her dream job, working at Jackdaw Books, 'the world's most successful children's publishers'. It's everything she's ever wanted and more, but Sophie is nervous. After staying at home to take care of her daughter Daisy, it's been a while since she's been in the work environment. Still, she's determined not to let this chance slip by. She's sure there are people who would kill to be in her position and she's going to make the most of it.

What begins as an exciting opportunity for Sophie quickly takes a dark and disturbing turn, and it begins to become clear that things are not what they seem in this publishing house. There are secrets hiding in the darkest corners, and for Sophie, the very place itself seems haunted in the most bizarre of ways. Something's not right, and as her time at the publishing house progresses, it only seems to become worse for her. From a terrifying situation involving her daughter, to not quite feeling that her colleagues are telling her the whole truth, it's clear that there are certain things that they don't want Sophie to know. As if the circumstances Sophie finds herself in aren't enough to raise the goosebumps on your skin, the characters within this novel were really something else. From Sophie's colleagues to the main man of the publishing house, Franklin Bird, each seems to know something that Sophie doesn't. Creepy, evil and incredibly compelling, The Devil's Work wormed its way beneath my skin and kept me reading past midnight.

Slipping between the past and the present, Mark Edwards takes readers for a twisted ride in his latest novel. We're taken right the way back to Sophie's university days, where we see her early friendships and the scenarios which unfold. It was interesting to be taken back to this time in Sophie's life, feeling rather like witnessing the building blocks that had made her into the person she is in the present day. There was a thread of evilness within this novel that weaved its way right the way through to the very end. It was compelling yet frightening at times, and seemed to unnerve me repeatedly. From cockroaches to the murmuring and whispers of what seem like ghosts of a time before her own, Edwards got the tone and atmosphere spot-on with this book. Oppressive, claustrophobic almost, it was hauntingly real yet oh-so-difficult to put down.

All in all, The Devil's Work by Mark Edwards was a deliciously dark and devious read with twists and turns aplenty. I love this author and his work, and will be awaiting all of his future novels with baited breath. He just seems to get better with each one. If you love a novel capable of making your skin crawl with apprehension, then look no further. Becca's Books is awarding The Devil's Work by Mark Edwards with five of my bookish cupcakes. I absolutely loved it.

About the author
I write psychological thrillers. My influences include writers such as Stephen King, Ira Levin, Ruth Rendell, Ian McEwan, Val McDermind and Donna Tartt and movies like Rosemary's Baby, Single White Female, Fatal Attraction and anything in which scary things happen to ordinary people.

You can find Mark Edwards on Facebook | Twitter | markedwardsauthor.com

Excerpt: Mortiswood - Kaelia Awakening by Gina Dickerson

Happy Sunday, wonderful book folk. I hope you're all well and good, and enjoying the last stretch of the weekend? Today, I'm thrilled to be sharing with you an excerpt from Gina Dickerson's first book in her new series Mortiswood Tales, Kaelia Awakening. I hope you enjoy it!

Available on Goodreads | Amazon UK | Amazon US
"They've been waiting lifetimes for you, Kaelia. They want you and will stop at nothing to have you."

The warning's rung in Kaelia's ears since she discovered she's far from the ordinary girl who grew up in the coastal town of Margate. She has power. The first time she shows it, death strikes, the second, she loses someone special, and on the third, her mother disappears.

Destiny is coming for Kaelia and there's nowhere she can hide. THEY have stepped out of the shadows to find her. For generations, there have been whispers of The Chosen One. They speak of a name - Marrock - whose destiny entwines with that of The Chosen One.

Kaelia must avenge the wrongs, uncover who Marrock is, find her mother, and... FIGHT.

Facing forces of depraved evil, magic, and myth, Kaelia's search leads her through magical forests and unearthly realms.

Who, or what, can Kaelia trust? Is she strong enough to survive the horror? All she knows is her life will never be the same again...

Kaelia was on fire. Every fibre of her burnt with an intensity she had not experienced
before. Sense told her to push Bran away, as far as was possible but something akin to lust
consumed her. Fingers of intoxicating power caressed Kaelia, stroking her flesh alive with
tingly goose-bumps. The combined energy lifted her mind into a euphoric haze. It didn’t even
feel as if it were her hands losing themselves within the softness of Bran’s hair, from the
dreamy feeling encompassing her, the hands could belong to anyone.
She knew she should not abandon herself entirely to the seductiveness of their united
power. She also knew Bran was gleefully soaking up her energy. She could not help being
soft, compliant, under his hands. When he suddenly released her, it felt as if she was falling.
Hurting. She looked up at him, momentarily wounded, before she drew in a ragged breath.
Kaelia’s eyes narrowed as the euphoria lessened. ‘You tricked me!’
Bran rolled off her and lay on his back beside her. Stretching his arms out, he hooked his
hands underneath his head. ‘And you enjoyed it.’ His eyes were darker than ever as he turned
his gaze to her. ‘Admit it.’
Kaelia hastily jumped to her feet and brushed bits of undergrowth from her coat. ‘I don’t
fancy you.’ She repeated the words in her head.
Bran laughed. ‘You could’ve fooled me. I’d like to see what you’d do to someone you do
Kaelia turned her back on him. ‘The power surge went to my head.’
Instantly, Bran was behind her and pressed himself against the rigid line of her back. ‘A
power you’ll only feel with me.’
‘Why?’ Kaelia didn’t move. ‘Why only you?’
Bran lifted up Kaelia’s hair and kissed the back of her neck, causing her to shudder. ‘I’ve
told you before. We’re two sides of a coin, Kaelia. Alike yet different but together...’ his
voice trailed off.
For a moment it was as if Kaelia could read his mind. ‘Explosive.’

About the author
Gina Dickerson lives by the Thanet coast on the north-eastern tip of Kent with her family and playful Siberian husky. She writes dark fiction and is the author of the dark fantasy, adventure, romance series Mortiswood Tales, and Always Golden – a dark, twisted fairy tale, among others. She is a full-time author and has also been a columnist for her local newspaper. She designs under the name RoseWolf Design and is also part of Authors Reach, a co-operative formed with four other authors.

You can find Gina Dickerson on Twitter | ginadickersonwriter.co.uk

Book Review: The Hatching by Ezekiel Boone

Available on Goodreads | Amazon UK | Amazon US
Title - The Hatching
Author - Ezekiel Boone
Publication Date - July 5th 2016
Publisher - Gollancz
Format - Kindle Edition (Provided by publisher via NetGalley)
Pages - 352

Deep in the jungle of Peru, a black, skittering mass devours an American tourist party whole. FBI agent Mike Rich investigates a fatal plane crash in Minneapolis and makes a gruesome discovery. Unusual seismic patterns register in an Indian earthquake lab, confounding the scientists there. The Chinese are government "accidentally" drops a nuclear bomb in an isolated region of its own country. The first female president of the United States is summoned to an emergency briefing. And all of these events are connected.

As panic begins to sweep the globe, a mysterious package from South America arrives at Melanie Guyer's Washington laboratory. The unusual egg inside begins to crack. Something is spreading... The world is on the brink of an apocalyptic disaster. A virulent ancient species, long dormant, is now very much awake. But this is only the beginning of our end...

The Hatching by Ezekiel Boone is a novel capable of raising goosebumps the arms of many a reader, particularly those who aren't a fan of spiders. This book takes that fear and multiplies by it one thousand, bringing to life a nightmare that would have a person with a fear of spiders running for their life. This book caught my attention immediately when I spotted it available for request over on NetGalley. It was different and stood out a mile from those around it. I knew immediately that it was a book I wanted to read because it sounded nothing like the novels I usually go for, and that in itself was a good thing! There's nothing like widening your bookish horizons, and this novel certainly did that.

Guest post: Author Frank Westworth on the joys of short stories.

Today on Becca's Books, I'm delighted to be welcoming author of quick thriller short stories Frank Westworth to the blog, to share with readers the joys of writing short stories and why he enjoys them as much as he does. It's a fascinating piece and provides a real insight into the creation of short stories, so I really hope you enjoy reading this! Special thanks to Rowena from Murder, Mayhem & More, and to Frank Westworth for getting in touch and appearing on Becca's Books today. It's a real pleasure to have you here!

I would also like to mention here that Frank Westworth's latest quick thriller is published today, Fifth Columnist, and below you can find the relevant links if you fancied grabbing yourself a copy or simply finding out what this author is all about. Congratulations on the release of your latest quick thriller, Frank!

Available on Goodreads | Amazon UK | Amazon US

Guest Post
Exclusive to Becca's Books, author Frank Westworth reveals the joys of shorts. Yes, you did read that right!

Shorts are fun. Short stories, that is. Not abbreviated trousers. That would be silly. Although...

I've always been mildly surprised that more authors don't write short stories. They don't take long - my latest quick thriller, Fifth Columnist, took maybe three afternoons while on holiday - and they don't demand piles of research, endless re-reading to ensure that the plot holds together, that the geography and logistics work, and they don't demand that a writer spends an icy age doing their best to keep the characters consistent. Best of all, though, a short story or two allows gaps to be filled, colour to be added, background details to be fleshed out - in short, they allow an author to complete the bits left out of a full novel manuscript for reasons of length. Not, please understand, because they're neither entertaining nor relevant.

In the fiction I prefer to read - and therefore prefer to write - individual novels supply a snapshot into a short period of time. If you prefer huge, sprawling epics covering several generations of families, their genealogies, complex lists of endless interlocking characters, none of whom gets the space to reveal who, what or why they're relevant... then give up now. Personally, I like to read snappy stories with a point, with enough detail to make that point, and with masses of entertainment and shared insights. And I'm always delighted to find a book which starts and ends in the middle. All the characters have a life before we meet them in the novel, and hopefully some are left standing at the end of it to continue with their lives - whether we get to read about them in further novels or not.

Short stories provide a great and groovy opportunity to tell tales about those characters before, during and indeed after the novels themselves. Not least because some characters become much more interesting than the author originally intended. There’s a guy in my own three full-length novels who appears only as tiny snapshots. He’s called Chimp and he tends bar in a nightclub. There’s a little physical description – he’s wiry, quiet and keeps a shotgun behind his bar. Who is he? How did he get there? What’s his relationship with the owner of the bar? How would the bar’s owner – a noted paranoid – trust someone with the keys to his club? Those are the questions … I have no idea of the answers yet, but will start finding out sometime soon.

The short stories which accompany my novels are all prequels – they take place before the story in the first novel; A Last Act Of Charity. In the latest, Fifth Columnist, I decided to take the attention away from the usual central character – some bloke – and focus instead on a strong female lead. To add a little humour, which The Reader claims to enjoy, I gave the woman a man’s name: Jack, short for Jackie, short for Jacqueline. To add a little more humour, I didn’t give the male lead a name at all. After all, it’s obvious to anyone who’s read others in the series who that guy is. Isn’t it?

Strong female leads are always great – both to read and to write. In my own way of working, I like to model all the characters on an actor, so in this case decided upon the always-excellent Gillian Anderson – not as Dana Scully in the X-Files but as DSI Stella Gibson in The Fall, a gritty detective series set in Northern Ireland. That’s a brilliant character, and seemed doubly appropriate as a couple of my other short stories take place in Northern Ireland.

Those characters who also appear in the novels turn up in the short stories as much younger versions of themselves. The shorts start a whole decade before the first novel, and trundle gently through ten years or so of action-packed lives – I model those lives on the lives of soldiers; long periods of inactivity surrounding brief times of dangerous action. So there’s a great and entirely entertaining opportunity to imagine how those characters behaved during simpler times, doing what active guys in their twenties do; lots more running, shouting, less of the contemplation, consideration. More leap before you look, which is the reverse of someone who’s been leaping into dark situations for a decade or more and survived the experience mostly intact.

And of course there’s the opportunity to reward loyal readers who’ve read the other books and shorts, by letting other characters – not the lead guys, not the stars – appear briefly and in unexpected ways. That’s a personal favourite of mine when I read a series, a little nod towards the shared experience of reader and writer.

Short stories? Fun all the way. Mostly...

About the author
Frank Westworth shares several characteristics with his literary anti-hero, JJ Stoner: they both play mean blues guitar and ride Harley-Davidson motorcycles. Unlike Stoner, Frank hasn't deliberately killed anyone. Frank lives in Cornwall in the UK, with his guitars, motorcycles, partner and cat.

You can find Frank Westworth on Facebook | murdermayhemandmore.net

Book Review: Silent Is The Forest by Gisa Klonne

Available on Goodreads | Amazon UK | Amazon US
Title - Silent Is The Forest
Author - Gisa Klonne
Publication Date - September 22nd 2016
Publisher - Bonnier Zaffre
Format - Kindle Edition (Provided by publisher via NetGalley)
Pages - September 22nd 2016

The silent forest hides many secrets...

When a badly decomposed body is discovered in a forest, Judith Krieger, a police detective from Cologne, is assigned to the case.

For years burdened by a terrible memory, Judith knows that this is her last chance to recover her famed abilities. Chain smoking and suffering from chronic fatigue, she gets started with the investigation. But Judith makes mistakes, and is forced to blur the boundaries between work and her own past.

With everything at stake - her job and even her identity - she has no choice but to solve this case, but is she still the cop she once was?

First of all, I'd like to say a massive thank you to publishers Bonnier Zaffre for providing me with a review copy of Gisa Klonne's Silent Is The Forest. I knew as soon as I set eyes on this title that I wanted to discover this author for myself. With such a creepy and unsettling cover, and a blurb that promised a riveting case and complex, haunted heroine, how could I possibly resist?

Klonne takes readers straight to the action as Silent Is The Forest Begins. First with a teaser of the recurring dreams Judith is plagued by, sealing the plot with a certain sense of foreboding, followed by the grim and gruesome discovery of a body that has been left exposed to the elements and is barely able to be recognised. Following on from this discovery, Judith is pulled into the case and begins to slowly but meticulously gather the information needed to figure out how their victim came to die in such a way and in such a place. Tricky, deceptive, and with a manically-spinning roundabout of witnesses and possible leads, this was a case just waiting to be cracked open, ready for all of its dark and nasty secrets to begin spilling out.

From the get-go, the overwhelming sense of place in this novel wrapped me up completely. It was impossible not to be pulled into the dark and secretive surroundings of the valleys and thick, never-ending woodland that seemed to coat the area. It was atmospheric to say the least, and the setting ensured I remained on high-alert right the way through the novel, as it lent so much to the essence of the place and the darkness it kept hidden within. It felt incredibly claustrophobic at times, only lending to the positively strangling sense of foreboding that seemed to hide behind the copious amounts of trees the surrounding the area on all sides. A forest full of secrets was what it felt like to me, and I loved it all the more for it. Eerie yet incredibly captivating. Sort of like a setting for a dark fairy-tale.

As the investigation progressed, I was hooked as the truth behind the discovery of the dead body began to surface. Every clue and detail, every suspect and new area to be investigated, touched upon by the author made this all the more real and shocking. I absolutely loved the journey I was taken on throughout the telling of this story, and found Detective Judith Krieger to be a fantastically-built character who I took to immediately. She was fierce and unafraid, but also troubled in her own ways too, which made her all the more interesting to me. Rather than revealing Judith's history all at once, Klonne peeled back her layers bit by tantalising bit. Besides Judith Krieger, there were a number of brilliantly-crafted characters who really added a sense of realness to this novel, each of whom I loved getting to know more about. There was a real mix of personalities for me to get my teeth into, and the more I knew of them, the more I liked them. The different levels of tension between Judith and her colleagues was another aspect I enjoyed within this novel, and the dynamics between each of them were compelling to say the least.

All in all, Silent Is The Forest by Gisa Klonne was a darkly captivating and unsettling novel, capturing the essence of place perfectly, and using that to the advantage of such an unnerving case. Chilling and gripping, I couldn't put this one down and refused to rest until I reached the very last page, feeling completely and utterly satisfied. A crime thriller at the top of its class. I absolutely LOVED it. Becca's Books is awarding Silent Is The Forest by Gisa Klonne with five of my bookish stars. I certainly won't be hesitating to read more by this author in the future.

Blog Tour: Review & Guest Post - Sunshine on a Rainy Day by Bryony Fraser

Today on Becca's Books, I'm thrilled to be sharing my review of Bryony Fraser's Sunshine on a Rainy Day plus a fabulously foodie guest post from the author Bryony Fraser, as part of the blog tour organised by Avon. I'm delighted to be on board and hope you enjoy reading!

Available on Goodreads | Amazon UK | Amazon US
Title - Sunshine on a Rainy Day
Author - Bryony Fraser
Publication Date - September 8th 2016
Publisher - Avon
Format - Paperback (Provided by publisher)
Pages - 400

It's Zoe and Jack's first wedding anniversary party. They've got an announcement! They're getting divorced.

Marriage isn't for everyone - something that Zoe and Jack discovered only after they'd walked down the aisle. Bad timing, huh?

So now they're stuck together in their once harmonious marital home, neither one of them willing to move out of their lovely house.

With Zoe's three sisters always wanting a say, and Jack's best friend trying his best to fix things between them, misunderstandings arise. Tempers flare. 'Accidents' happen...

Zoe and Jack are going to be lucky if they're still alive when the twelve months are up. But maybe things aren't quite as final as they seem?

A hilarious read, which reminds us that life doesn't always go to plan...

FEED YOUR MIND - A Writer's Day of Meals
By Bryony Fraser
Not all of us need to write, but we all need to eat. And as I tell my kids when I've served them up a mouthwatering quinoa, kale and spelt flakes feast, 'goddamit, get some fuel inside you or your brain is just going to tumble straight out of your head'. (NB: when you're writing, your brain is super important. And what feeds your brain? Your stomach. So maybe your stomach is the most important. And your hands - both to type, and to prepare the food to fill your stomach. So: brain, stomach, hands. And bed/comfy sofa. You need your rest, after all.)

Breakfast: Breakfast is the most important meal of the day! Celebrate this fact by missing it entirely, promising yourself you can have breakfast once you've written the precise number of words it will take until lunchtime to produce. Well done. You've saved yourself a job and hit your first target of the day! You're also weak and dizzy with hunger. Lose 10 points.

Lunch: You've reached your breakfast-time word count. Reward yourself with a massive cup of coffee that will fire you directly from 'hungry and tired' straight into 'apocalyptic panic'. Try to mop up the caffeine-induced terror with whatever edible products are lying around: a mystifying single clingfilm-wrapped cooked sausage from the weekend, seven slices of toast, your children's hidden Easter Egg, a tin covered in fudgy dust of something microwaveable. Congratulations! You have successfully refuelled. Unfortunately, the combined caffeine and sugar means you're only good for Twitter for the next three hours. Have a stern word with yourself.

Tea: Or dinner, or supper, or your evening meal. You don't need the kind of stress that comes with using the correct term here; you've already spent the last two hours trying to decide whether your heroine should wear the MAC Ruby Woo lipstick you live for, or whether that's simply reducing the well-rounded character you've been striving for to a make-up mannequin. You feel the weight of centuries of women's battles for equality and freedoms weighing on your shoulders. But enough of that debate! Now is the exact moment to put down your writing and decide what you'll prepare to feed your loved ones! Your body craves vegetables and unami flavours: take some time to nip to the supermarket to get the ingredients you'll need for the feast you deserve after today's work. Take three hours to make a beautiful spread of noodles, baked veg, poached fish and a simple green salad. Well done! It is now 11pm and you are too full to write any more tonight. Don't worry - you can simply motivate yourself tomorrow morning by setting yourself a word count to hit before you sit down to breakfast. Good luck!

Sunshine on a Rainy Day by Bryony Fraser was a novel with a refreshing difference that took me rather by surprise. Funny, warm and wonderfully witty, I found it to be an uplifting and superbly cheerful read that boosted my mood each time I opened it up, ready to carry on. Having said that, it's probably impossible not to feel cheered anyway, after seeing the glorious cover of this book. I don't know about you, but simply having this cover on your bookshelf is sunshine on a rainy day itself. I absolutely love it and think it captures perfectly what this gorgeous novel is all about.

In Sunshine on a Rainy Day by Bryony Fraser, we're introduced to Zoe and Jack. Newly-married, but unfortunately, not happily so. Something's wrong. Things aren't how they used to be. And Zoe hates that they've got to this point so soon after tying the knot. Surely they're supposed to be happy? Joyous, perhaps? Even surrounded by copious sparkly wedding gifts and raucous cheers from family and friends, Zoe just isn't convinced. And so, the choice that needs to be made becomes clear. Will they stay together and try to work through this, or not?
 Is divorce even an option so early on?

One thing I adored about Bryony Fraser's Sunshine on a Rainy Day was how refreshingly different it was to the usual books I pick up within this genre. It was a fabulously real and honest account of how sometimes, marriage isn't the perfect be-all and end-all it can sometimes be expected to be, and I loved that. It wasn't all rainbows and sunshine and yet, somehow, I still managed to feel bizarrely uplifting while reading. Perhaps that was down to Fraser's style. Carefree and so enjoyable to read and lose oneself in, I slipped in and out of this book like I would a pair of my favourite, comfiest pyjamas. There was nothing hurried about the storytelling, yet I still felt compelled to read on and keep up with Zoe and Jack's lives. They were interesting, and after the fall-out of their short marriage, they became even more so. I was desperate to know what it was that had shaped Zoe's mind and opinions, because clearly something had. And Jack was a puzzle too. Both characters together were charming and it really didn't take long for me at all to warm to them completely and hope against hope that, whether together or apart, they'd both get through the war zone of their lives unscarred and both ready for another chance at happiness.

  Bryony Fraser had me giggling and grinning with Sunshine on a Rainy Day. I was hopelessly addicted to the ups and downs of their rocky relationship, and found myself thinking about the couple even when not lost in their story. They were gloriously crafted characters, each with their on goings-on within the novel, whether that be with family or friends, and I adored it when Fraser took me back in time, to the early beginnings of Zoe and Jack's relationship, before marriage was even a seedling of an idea. I felt like I knew these characters inside out, and Byrony Fraser achieved such a fantastic job of bringing them to life on the page. They were so real and vivid in my mind, and their story warmed my heart completely.

All in all, Sunshine on a Rainy Day by Bryony Fraser was a fabulously fun-filled novel full of warmth and wit and surprises. I can't wait to read more from Bryony Fraser already and I hope it's not too long before we hear news of another novel from this wonderfully talented author who writes about relationships in such a way that has you charmed completely. Becca's Books is awarding Sunshine on a Rainy Day by Bryony Fraser with four of my bookish cupcakes. Special thanks to Avon for providing me with a review copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.