Review: The Witch of Willow Hall by Hester Fox #6bookbestiesapproved @HesterBFox @HarlequinBooks


A very enjoyable, creepy fall read!

I love this period – the Gilded Age and the industrial revolution. I love the propriety and all the rules and manners, the language, the fashion, the balls. All of it! Well, not all of it – although women’s rights were just starting to take off, women were still treated as the lesser sex. But I did enjoy how we have some very strong, outspoken, intelligent leading ladies in this story.

We have a family who has moved to the country from Boston due to a scandal that has occurred, however we don’t know what has happened and learn along the way.

I love an unlikable character and this book had several, including a well drawn villain and a wicked sister. I also enjoyed the sweet romance.

As someone who likes my books based in reality, this one had just the right amount of “spooky” in it for me – enough that it was believable and not super over the top.

A great atmospheric, gothic tale!

Thank you to Harlequin Books for my advance copy, this book will be available October 2nd! This was a group read with my @6bookbesties, you can find their reviews here:

Holly’s review

Jennifer’s review

Berit’s review

Mackenzie’s review

Kendall’s review


Two centuries after the Salem witch trials, there’s still one witch left in Massachusetts. But she doesn’t even know it.

Take this as a warning: if you are not able or willing to control yourself, it will not only be you who suffers the consequences, but those around you, as well.

New Oldbury, 1821

In the wake of a scandal, the Montrose family and their three daughters—Catherine, Lydia and Emeline—flee Boston for their new country home, Willow Hall.

The estate seems sleepy and idyllic. But a subtle menace creeps into the atmosphere, remnants of a dark history that call to Lydia, and to the youngest, Emeline.

All three daughters will be irrevocably changed by what follows, but none more than Lydia, who must draw on a power she never knew she possessed if she wants to protect those she loves. For Willow Hall’s secrets will rise, in the end…

Cover Reveal: Snowed In at the Little Duck Pond @rararesources

It’s my pleasure today to reveal a new cover for you! I love a colorful, happy cover (especially if it’s seasonally themed!) and this one is just lovely.


The biggest snowfall in years has blanketed Sunnybrook, cutting the village off from the outside world. For Fen, who finds herself snowed in at The Little Duck Pond Cafe, it’s little more than a minor inconvenience. Her love life is finally running smoothly; it looks as if she’s found the perfect man for her.

But then a shocking secret threatens to destroy Fen’s new-found happiness.

Will being snowed in be the final straw? Or will Fen find a way through the snowdrifts to the perfect love?

pre-order link

about the author:

Rosie Green has been scribbling stories ever since she was little. Back then they were rip-roaring adventure tales with a young heroine in perilous danger of falling off a cliff or being tied up by ‘the baddies’. Thankfully, Rosie has moved on somewhat, and now much prefers to write romantic comedies that melt your heart and make you smile, with really not much perilous danger involved at all, unless you count the heroine losing her heart in love.

Rosie’s brand new series of novellas is centred on life in a village café. The first two stories in the series are: Spring at The Little Duck Pond Cafe and Summer at The Little Duck Pond Café.

Twitter –

Blog Tour: Haircuts, Hens, and Homicide by Stephanie Dagg @rararesources

So excited to be closing out the blog tour today for Haircuts, Hens, and Homicide by Stephanie Dagg! Thank you to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for the invite! I love this cheery, colorful cover and I hope you enjoy my author Q&A below. I always enjoy learning more about the authors behind the book – fascinating stuff!


Megan finds mayhem when she arrives in France to bury her Gran and sort out her affairs. She expected difficult encounters with civil servants and red tape but not with wandering chickens, an imperious policeman and a dead body. Together with her unlikely new friend, the elderly and grumpy Alphonse and his canine equivalent, Monsieur Moustache, Megan becomes involved in investigating the fowl-related foul play that’s at work in this sleepy part of rural France.

She’s helped but mainly hindered by the people she comes across. These include the local mayor, who wants Megan to stay and set up a hair salon in his village to help keep it alive. There are the cousins Romain, the gendarme, and Nico, the clumsy but hunky farmer. They have always clashed, but do so constantly now that Megan is on the scene. Michelle, Romain’s terrifying ex who wants him back, appears along the way, as does Claudette, a wheelchair-bound old lady, and Kayla, Megan’s best friend, who is hugely pregnant but not above taking on the forces of French law and order when Megan finds herself the prime suspect after Alphonse is stabbed.

There’s excitement, humour and lots of ruffled feathers in this rom-com slash cosy mystery, the first in a projected series.

purchase link –

about the author:

I’m an English expat living in France, having moved here with my family in 2006 after fourteen years as an expat in Ireland. I now consider myself a European rather than ‘belonging’ to any particular country. The last ten years have been interesting, to put it mildly. Taking on seventy-five acres with three lakes, two hovels and one cathedral-sized barn, not to mention an ever increasing menagerie, makes for exciting times.

The current array of animals includes alpacas, llamas, huarizos (alpaca-llama crossbreds, unintended in our case and all of them thanks to one very determined alpaca male), sheep, goats, pigs, ducks, geese, chickens and turkeys, not forgetting our pets of dogs, cats, zebra finches, budgies , canaries, lovebirds and Chinese quail.

Before we came to France all we had was a dog and two chickens, so it’s been a steep learning curve. I recount these experiences in my book Heads Above Water: Staying Afloat in France and the sequel to that, Total Immersion: Ten Years in France. I also blog regularly at

I’m married to Chris and we have three bilingual TCKs (third culture kids) who are resilient and resourceful and generally wonderful.

I’m a traditionally-published author of many children’s books, and am now self-publishing too. I have worked part-time as a freelance editor for thirty years after starting out as a desk editor for Hodder & Stoughton. Find me at The rest of the time I’m running carp fishing lakes with Chris and inevitably cleaning up some or other animal’s poop.

social media links – @llamamum

author Q&A:

1) When/how did you know you wanted to become a writer?

As soon as I could write I started making little illustrated books. They were mainly about a pair of fruit and veg chums, Apple and Carrot, or so I seem to remember! From then on I was generally scribbling in notebooks, and all through school English was far and away my favourite subject. So I think it became clear quite early on that writing was my thing. I won a few essay competitions and got some articles into magazines and papers during my teens and twenties, but it wasn’t until I was in my thirties that my first books were published by two Irish presses. Since then I’ve had around thirty books published, and they’ve been translated into four languages. I’ve self-published another dozen or so books too.

2) How do you come up with the names of your characters?

Usually a name just pops into my head. Sometimes it’s the same one though! I seem to have a bit of thing for Holly and Mark, so occasionally a bit more thought is required. I had to do some research on French names for ‘Haircuts, Hens and Homicide’ to find out which ones are popular, and how to spell them properly!

3) What was the inspiration for your book?

A lot of it has come from my own life as an expat here in France. Like Megan, I live in the rural heart of the country, and I have chickens. Poultry don’t feature largely in literature so I thought I should do something about that. I prefer light-hearted books that make you chuckle rather than give you nightmares so that decided what type of book mine would be. Also, like Megan, I admire my adopted country and its people, but not unreservedly! The rest of the novel has come from my imagination, and online research.

4) Who/what are some of your favorite authors/genres to read?

I enjoy many different genres but I have a particularly like cosy mysteries and romcoms. Also, as an expat myself, I always enjoy reading about other people’s experiences of life in an adopted country.

I could go on for days listing my favourite authors so I’ll just say here that I’m a huge fan of indie authors whom I admire for their commitment, enthusiasm, talent and entrepreneurial spirit.

5) What’s your favorite place to write? Do you need complete silence or do you like to be surrounded by sounds/music?

I write at the kitchen table early in the morning, about 6.30 to 7.30 before I have to start seeing to children and livestock. We have a farm with a variety of animals – alpacas, llamas, pigs, sheep and poultry of all kinds. It’s generally quiet then, just me and my husband up and about. It’s a lovely, peaceful time of day. A quick cup of coffee and my brain soon gets into writing mode. I usually get between 1,000 and 1.500 words written in that hour.

6) Do you have any pets?

See the above! Some of the chickens are sort of pets, particularly  my feathery-legged brahmas, and there’s one turkey called Pilgrim (as she hatched on a Thanksgiving Day) who will never end up on the table. I’m a bit of a crazy bird lady, and I have budgies, canaries, finches, Japanese quail and love birds. My house is slowly filling with cages. We have two dogs and six cats too, and I’m temporary custodian of my daughter’s Russian hamster while she’s away at uni.

7) If you could go anywhere in the world, where would it be?

Australia again. I had a week in Sydney last year, visiting my daughter who was working there for a while. It’s a fascinating country and I loved every minute. We explored, bushwalked and swam in ocean pools. I’m a bit of a crazy bird lady so I was in my element seeing all the exotic birds. It was a fabulous experience.

8) What were your favorite books as a child?

Anything by Enid Blyton. I adored her books, especially the Adventure series (Castle of Adventure etc). I loved the Swallows and Amazon series by Arthur Ransome. I’m in my mid-fifties, and back in the day there wasn’t the huge range of children’s books that there are today. I read and adored many of the classics for younger people – Black Beauty, Anne of Green Gables, The Railway Children, The Secret Garden, for example – and then I move on to Jane Austen and other ‘grown up’ authors. I really loved reading, and I still do.

9) Top 3 favorite foods:

Muesli, croissants and chocolate.

10) What book character would you want to go out to dinner with?

Hmm, this is a tricky one! I’ve encountered so many amazing characters over the years. But time to be decisive, so I’ll say Paddington Bear.

11) What do you do when you get stuck?

I don’t stress too much if I hit a brick wall with a story because I know from experience that it won’t last too long. I’ll go for a walk or bike ride, or do some knitting. Or just start writing something else!

Blog Tour: I Will Survive by Pippa James @bookouture @PippaJamesbooks #bookreview


So excited today to be on the blog tour for Pippa James’ debut, I Will Survive! Thank you to Bookouture for the invitation.

This is a book about friendship and family and motherhood and finding your “mom friends.” I especially enjoyed the family dynamics and the motherhood issues, and found myself growing quite attached to these characters by the end of the book.

There are three very distinctly different women – Alison, Kaye, and Frankie – who have different styles of parenting. Kate is a wallflower with a bit of social anxiety. Alison is the perfect PTA mom who has it all together. And Frankie is the young, rebellious mom who prides herself on doing things against the grain.

As a mom of young children myself, I found this book to be super identifiable – and it is so reassuring to know that no matter where you are in the world, most moms feel the same! There’s the mom who feels left out at pick up and drop off – we’ve all been there – I remember those days well. I’m lucky to have found my “crew” now, as the ladies strive to do in this book. There’s being pressured into school activities because you feel like you have something to prove. And there’s the social dynamics of the children and birthday party politics.

There is also a bit of family drama, some that was deeply moving and had me feeling tremendously for the characters. Add a smidge of romance and you have a well-balanced book.

I was excited to learn that there will be a second book, I am definitely looking forward to seeing what antics these three get up to next!

purchase links:






Frankie is a single mother. She’s bold. She’s brave. And she’s winning at life… isn’t she?

Underneath her big smile and daring outfits, Frankie’s hiding a secret. Her five-year-old son Liam is awesome. But life as a solo parent is tough. Her job as a barmaid sucks, her meddlesome mother is taking over and she’s far from living her best life.

She’s lost her way and she’s starting to feel… lonely.

So when Frankie’s overbearing mother breaks her leg and has to go and live with her saintly sister, it’s time for Frankie to shake things up. Because she wants to turn things around for the little boy who holds the keys to her broken heart.

Surrounded by perfect mothers, Frankie quickly realises she needs some real mum friends to get her through repetitive school runs and red-faced dating disasters. The kind of people who don’t judge your shop bought cakes and bring wine to your door, just because.

So Frankie sweeps up anxious Kate and organised Alison in her whirlwind. As the unlikely trio face the trials and tantrums of motherhood, they learn that parenting is about surviving one day at a time.

And together they can wing it through anything, can’t they?

about the author:

Growing up in Birmingham, Pippa James was never without at least one book on the go and therefore lived several different lives concurrently. As an adult, she would like to spend much of her time the same way, but she now lives a chaotic life in a small Derbyshire town with her husband and two children. Her writing is frequently interrupted by parenting duties and her day job as a teacher and the only way she can find a quiet space to think, is by taking her laptop to the pub to drink tea and write, which she does at every opportunity.

Blog Tour: The Ancient Nine by Ian K. Smith @StMartinsPress @DrIanSmith

I’m so very happy to be on the blog tour for The Ancient Nine by Ian Smith today! Thank you to St. Martin’s Press for the invitation. I hope you enjoy the Prologue and Chapter 1 excerpts below. Is this one on your TBR? The Ancient Nine is available today!


Spenser Collins
An unlikely Harvard prospect, smart and athletic, strapped for cash, determined to succeed. Calls his mother—who raised him on her own in Chicago—every week.

Dalton Winthrop
A white-shoe legacy at Harvard, he’s just the most recent in a string of moneyed, privileged Winthrop men in Cambridge. He’s got the ease—and the deep knowledge—that come from belonging.

These two find enough common ground to become friends, cementing their bond when Spenser is “punched” to join the Delphic Club, one of the most exclusive of Harvard’s famous all-male final clubs. Founded in the nineteenth century, the Delphic has had titans of industry, Hollywood legends, heads of state, and power brokers among its members.

Dalton Winthrop knows firsthand that the Delphic doesn’t offer memberships to just anyone. His great-uncle is one of their oldest living members, and Dalton grew up on stories of the club’s rituals. But why is his uncle so cryptic about the Ancient Nine, a shadowy group of alums whose identities are unknown and whose power is absolute? They protect the Delphic’s darkest and oldest secrets—including what happened to a student who sneaked into the club’s stately brick mansion in 1927 and was never seen again.

Dalton steers Spenser into deeper and deeper recesses of the club, and beyond it, to try to make sense of what they think they may be seeing. But with each scrap of information they get from an octogenarian Crimson graduate, a crumbling newspaper in the library’s archives, or one of Harvard’s most famous and heavily guarded historical books, a fresh complication trips them up. The more the friends investigate, the more questions they unearth, tangling the story of the club, the disappearance, and the Ancient Nine, until they realize their own lives are in danger.

buy links:


Barnes & Noble




about the author:

Ian K. Smith is the author of nine New York Times bestselling nonfiction books, several of them, including Shred and Super Shred, #1 bestsellers, as well as one previous work of fiction, The Blackbird Papers. He is a graduate of Harvard, Columbia, and the University of Chicago’s Pritzker School of Medicine.

social links:

Facebook: @Dr.IanKSmith

Twitter: @DrIanSmith

Author Website

Instagram: @doctoriansmith

excerpt: (Prologue and Chapter 1)


Halloween Night, 1927
The Delphic Mansion
Cambridge, Massachusetts

EMPTY ROPES CLATTERED against flagpoles, and street signs flapped helplessly in the shadowy night. Two boys sneaked down a cobblestone path
crowded with heavy bushes and enormous signs that warned against trespassing.

They stood there for a moment, their bodies dwarfed by the gigantic brick mansion. “That’s enough, let’s turn around,” Kelton Dunhill whispered. He had large competent hands and knots of compact muscles that bulged underneath his varsity letter sweater. He carried a long silver flashlight he had borrowed from the superintendent’s office of his residential house.

“I’m going all the way,” Erasmus Abbott said firmly. “I didn’t come this far to chicken out. Just a few more minutes and we’ll be inside.”

Dunhill looked up at the tall wrought-iron fence that had been reinforced with solid wood planks to obstruct any potential view into the rear courtyard. He was a tough, scrappy kid, a varsity wrestler who had been undefeated in almost three years of college competition. He was many things, but a quitter was not one of them. Very little intimidated Dunhill, the son of a banker and elementary school music teacher, but when he looked up at the mansion’s towering spires and turrets set against the ominous sky and the royal blue flag that snapped so loudly in the wind, something made him feel uneasy. At that very moment, if Erasmus Abbott had not been standing next to him, he would’ve turned on his heels and run like hell. The only thing that kept his feet planted was his greater fear of the humiliation he would face once the others got word that the scrawny Abbott had showed bigger nerve.

“If we get caught, we’ll be fried,” Dunhill said in his most persuasive voice, trying to sound rational rather than scared. “Technically speaking, we’re trespassing, and they can do anything they want to us since we’re on their property. I don’t need to remind you of what happened to A. C. Gordon.”

Erasmus Abbott took the milk crates they had been carrying and stacked them in a small pyramid against the fence, then slipped on his gloves and pulled his hat down until it settled just above his eyes. He was dressed all in black. Now completely disguised, he turned and faced Dunhill.

“There’s no proof Gordon ever made it this far,” Abbott contested. “And besides, I never believed the whole business about his disappearance anyway.” Abbott turned toward the platform of milk crates, then back at Dunhill, and said, “So what’s it going to be? I’m making history tonight with or without you. The answer is in there, and I’m not gonna stop till I find it.”

“Jesus Christ,” Dunhill mumbled under his breath before pulling down his own skullcap and stepping up to the fence. It all started out as a dare, but Abbott had taken it more seriously than anyone expected. This would certainly not be the first time a student had tried to break into the well-guarded Delphic mansion. There had been many attempts over the years, but according to legend, the farthest anyone had gotten was the external foyer. No one had ever penetrated the interior. What most worried Dunhill, however, was that few had lived to share their story.

“And what’s your plan once we get on the other side of the fence?” Dunhill said.

Abbott ran his hand over the small canvas bag strapped to his waist. “Everything we need is in here,” he said. “Once we get to the back door, I’ll have the lock open in well under a minute.”

Abbott had been practicing on diferent doors all over Quincy House in the middle of the night. His best-recorded time was twenty-nine seconds with a blindfold covering his eyes and a stopwatch hanging around his neck.

Abbott was not particularly athletic, but he scaled the crates easily and in one motion hoisted himself over the top of the fence and its row of pointed spears. Dunhill heard him land hard on the other side, then made a small sign of the cross over his heart, climbed onto the crates, and hurled himself over the fence. He landed on the firm slate tiles with a jolt.

They stood on the perimeter of a large courtyard dotted with elaborate marble sculptures and a fountain whose water sat motionless in a wide, striated basin. There were no lights to guide them, but moonlight cut through the heavy canopy of trees that towered overhead. A formidable, sturdy brick wall that was even taller than the fence they had just climbed surrounded them on two sides. Abbott had correctly chosen their entry point into the yard.

A gust of wind sent small piles of leaves flying sideways from one corner of the courtyard to the next. The mansion was eerily dark except for the dull flicker of a light in a small window just underneath the sloping angle of the tiled roof. The enormous building looked cold and menacing and unforgiving.

“She’s massive,” Abbott whispered. “I didn’t think she’d be this big. Must’ve cost them a king’s fortune to build it.”

“It’s not empty,” Dunhill said, pointing at the lighted window. “I still say this isn’t a good idea. We’ve already proved our point. Let’s get the hell out of here while we still can.”

Abbott pretended he hadn’t heard a word Dunhill said. He walked quietly across the courtyard toward a set of stairs that led to a large door with small panes and a brass doorknob that glistened under the moonlight’s glow. He cupped his face to the glass and looked inside. He turned and waved Dunhill over, but Dunhill remained motionless underneath the fence, still not believing they had actually gotten this far.

Abbott unzipped the canvas bag, pulled out a couple of tools, and quickly went to work on the lock. That’s when Dunhill glimpsed a shadow moving across the courtyard. He looked up toward the lighted window and saw  something that he would never forget. It was the ugliest, scariest, blackest face he had ever laid eyes on. His heart tightened in his chest, and his lungs constricted. He tried to scream but couldn’t get the air to move in his throat. He turned to Erasmus to warn him, but it was too late. The door was open, and he was already inside.


Harvard College

Cambridge, Massachusetts

October 2, 1988

IT SHOULDN’T HAVE been enough to wake me, but I had just drifted off on the couch in the common room that separated my bedroom from my roommate’s. It was a short scratchy sound: a pebble or sand being dragged across the linoleum floor. I looked toward Percy’s bedroom. His door was closed and his light off. I sat up on the sofa, swiveling my head in the darkness to see what could’ve made the noise. Mice were not exactly uncommon sightings in these old Harvard houses, some of which had been built more than a century ago, so I was preparing myself for vermin out on a late-night scavenge. But when I turned on the lamp and looked down at the floor, what sat there took me completely by surprise.

Someone had slipped a small cream-colored envelope underneath the front door. There was no postage or return address, just my name and room number elaborately inscribed.

Spenser Collins
Lowell House L-11

I turned the envelope over, hoping to find some indication of who might have sent it, but what I discovered was even more puzzling.

Embossed on the flap were three torches—so dark blue, they were almost black—arranged in a perfect V shape.

I heard footsteps just outside the door, slow at first, but then they began to pick up speed. I pulled the door open, but the hallway was empty. Our room was on the first floor, so I grabbed my keys and ran a short distance down the hall, jumped a small flight of steps, then rammed my shoulder into the entryway door, forcing it open into the cool night. I immediately heard voices echoing across the courtyard, a cluster of three girls stumbling in high heels, dragging themselves in from a long night of drinking.

I scanned the shadows, but nothing else moved. I looked to my right and thought about running across the path that led to the west courtyard and out into the tiny streets of Cambridge. But my bare feet were practically frozen to the concrete, and the wind assaulted me like shards of ice cutting through my T-shirt. I retreated to the warmth of my room.

Percy’s bedroom door was still closed, which was not surprising. He wouldn’t wake up if an armored tank tore through the wall and opened fire.

I sat on the edge of the couch and examined the envelope again. Why would someone deliver it by hand in the middle of the night, then sneak away? None of it made any sense. I opened the book flap slowly, feeling almost guilty ripping what appeared to be expensive paper. The stationery was brittle, like rice paper, and the same three torches were prominently displayed in the letterhead.

The President and members of the Delphic Club

cordially invite you to a cocktail party on

Friday, October 14, 7 o’clock

Lily Field Mansion at 108 Brattle St. Cambridge.

Please call 876-0400 with regrets only.

I immediately picked up the phone and dialed Dalton Winthrop’s number. Fifth-generation Harvard and heir to the vast Winthrop and Lewington fortunes, he was one of the most finely pedigreed of all Harvard legacies, descending from a family that had been claiming Harvard since the 1600s, when the damn school got its charter from the Bay Colony. Dalton was a hopeless insomniac, so I knew he’d still be awake.

“What the hell are you doing up this time of the night?” Dalton said. “Some of us around here need our beauty sleep.” He sounded fully awake.

“What can you tell me about something called the Delphic Club?” I asked.

The phone rustled as he sat up.

“Did you just say ‘the Delphic’?” he said.

“Yeah, do you know anything about it?”

There was a slight pause before he said, “Why the hell are you asking about the Delphic at this ungodly hour?”

“They invited me to a cocktail party next Friday night. Someone just slipped the invitation under my door, then ran.”

“Are you fucking kidding me? The Delphic invited you to a cocktail party?”

“Unless there’s another Spenser Collins I don’t know about.”

“No offense, Spenser, but don’t get your hopes up,” he said. “This is probably some kind of prank someone’s pulling on you. The Delphic isn’t just a club, like any fraternity. It’s the most secretive of Harvard’s nine most exclusive clubs. They’re called final clubs. The Delphic goes all the way back to the 1800s and has some of the world’s most prominent men as members. An invitation to their cocktail party is like an invitation to kiss the papal ring.”

“So, what you’re really trying to say is that they would never give an invitation to a poor black kid from the South Side of Chicago.”

“Spenser, you know I don’t agree with that kinda shit, but that’s how these secret societies operate. They haven’t changed much over the last century and a half. Rich white men passing off the baton to the next generation, keeping their secrets shielded from the rest of the world. Yale has Skull and Bones, but here at Harvard we have the final clubs. It’s no exaggeration when I tell you that some of the country’s biggest secrets are buried in their old mansions.”

“If I don’t fit their image, then why did someone just slip this invite under my door?” I said.

“Because it’s not real,” Dalton said.

“What do you mean?”

“Guys joke like this all the time. This is the beginning of what’s called punch season, which means the clubs are secretly nominating sophomores to enter a series of election rounds. Whoever survives the cuts over the two months gets elected into the club. You’ve heard of the hazing they do in fraternities. Well, this is a little like that, but it’s a lot more formal with much bigger stakes.”

“What makes you so sure my invitation is fake when you haven’t even seen it?”

“Are you alone?”

“Percy’s here, but he’s out cold.”

“Pull out the invite and tell me if you see torches anywhere.”

I was sitting in the chair underneath the window, still eyeing the courtyard, hoping I might see who might’ve dropped off the envelope. The ambient light cracked the darkness of our common room. I held up the envelope.

“There are three torches on the back of the envelope,” I said.

“What about the stationery?”

“There too.”

“How many?”


“What color?”

“Dark blue.”

“Is the center torch lower or higher than the others?”


Dalton sighed loudly. “Now take the stationery, turn it over, and hold it up to a light,” he said. “Tell me if you see anything when you look at the torches.”

I followed Dalton’s instructions, carefully removing the shade from one of Percy’s expensive porcelain lamps that his grandmother had proudly given him from her winter house in Palm Beach. I held the invitation next to the naked bulb. “There’s a thin circle with the initials JPM inside,” I said. “But you can only see it under the light. When you move it away, the letters disappear.”

“Jesus fuckin’ Christ, Spense, it’s the real deal!” Dalton yelled as if he were coming through the phone. “The Delphic really has punched you this season. I can’t believe this is happening. Tell me the date of the party again.”

It was rare to hear this level of excitement in Dalton’s voice. Few things got him going, and they typically had to do with either women, food, or his father, whom he hated more than the Yankees.

“Next Friday at seven o’clock,” I said. “It’s at a place called Lily Field Mansion.”

“Lily Field, of course,” Dalton said. “It’s the biggest one up there on mansion row, and it’s owned by the Jacobs family, one of the richest in the country. Stanford Jacobs used to be the graduate president of the Delphic, so it makes sense that he’s hosting the opening cocktail party.”

Secret society, mansions, ultra-wealthy families, an invitation delivered under the cloak of darkness. It was all part of a foreign world that made little sense to me, the son of a single mother who answered phones at a small energy company.

“So, what the hell does all this mean?” I asked.

“That you’re coming over here tomorrow for dinner, so we can figure out some sort of strategy,” Dalton said. “This is all a long shot, but if things go well for you on Friday night, you might make it to the next round. I’m getting way ahead of myself—but one round at a time, and you might be the way we crack the Ancient Nine.”

“The Ancient Nine?” I asked. “Is that another name for the clubs?”

“No, two different things,” Dalton said. “The Ancient Nine are an ultrasecret society of nine members of the Delphic. A secret society within a secret society that not even the other Delphic members know much about. Most around here have never even heard of the Ancient Nine, but for those who have, some swear it exists, others think it’s nothing more than another Harvard legend.”

“What do you think?”

Dalton paused deliberately. “I’d bet everything I own that they exist. But no one can get them to break their code of silence. According to rumors, they are hiding not only one of Harvard’s most valued treasures but also century-old secrets that involve some of the world’s richest families.”

Copyright © 2018 by Ian K. Smith in The Ancient Nine and reprinted with permission from St. Martin’s Press.

Reblog: Berit’s Giveaway!

My friend Berit is having an amazing giveaway on Instagram in tandem with the @6bookbesties! I really wish I could enter this one because it’s just too good.

Audio Killed the Bookmark

Hello all my lovely blog followers!!!

Posted an amazing giveaway on Bookstagram today that includes everything in the picture below you can also find out how to enter below!!!

Do you love books? Do you love fall? Then you will love this giveaway!!! 🍂🍂🍂📚

#Giveaway Happy Fall ! It’s Berit☀️✨ Fall is here!🍃 I love when the seasons change so I decided to create my own seasonal book crates for a giveaway at the beginning of each new season!!!

One lucky winner will win everything included in the above picture: $40 Amazon gift card (for 3 books of choice!), 2 three Wick pumpkin candles, 1 mini candle and adorable pumpkin candle holder, 2 fall bath fizzys, Black cat fuzzy socks, llama fuzzy socks, blanket, Mason jar filled with pumpkin candy, and the crate!!! US only BUT

International followers??? Got you covered I will have a second winner for my international…

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Giveaway and Blog Tour: The Lion Tamer Who Lost by Louise Beech @annecater @OrendaBooks @LouiseWriter

I’m so excited to be on the blog tour for The Lion Tamer Who Lost by Louise Beech! A huge thank you to Orenda Books, Anne Cater, and Louise Beech for the invite.

One lucky reader will get a paperback copy of The Lion Tamer Who Lost, open internationally! To enter, please comment on this post. Good luck! (Giveaway ends September 19th.)


Long ago Andrew made a childhood wish. One he has always kept in a silver box with a too-big lid that falls off. When it finally comes true, he wishes it hadn’t…

Long ago Ben dreamed of going to Africa to volunteer at a lion reserve. When he finally goes there, it isn’t for the reasons he imagined…

Ben and Andrew keep meeting where they least expect. Some collisions are by design, but are they for a reason? Ben’s father would disown him for his relationship with Andrew, so they must hide their love. Andrew is determined to make it work, but secrets from his past threaten to ruin everything.

Ben escapes to Zimbabwe to finally fulfil his lifelong ambition. But will he ever return to England? To Andrew? To the truth?

A dark and poignant drama, The Lion Tamer Who Lost is also a mesmerisingly beautiful love story, with a tragic heart.

About the author:

Louise Beech is an exceptional literary talent, whose debut novel How To Be Brave was a Guardian Readers’ Choice for 2015. The sequel, The Mountain in My Shoe was shortlisted for Not the Booker Prize. Her third book, Maria in the Moon, was widely reviewed and critically acclaimed. Her short fiction has won the Glass Woman Prize, the Eric Hoffer Award for Prose, and the Aesthetica Creative Works competition, as well as shortlisting for the Bridport Prize twice. Louise lives with her husband and children on the outskirts of Hull, and loves her job as a Front of House Usher at Hull Truck Theatre, where her first play was performed in 2012.

Please check out these other fabulous bloggers who are also on the tour!

Review: Life on the Leash by Victoria Schade @GalleryBooks @VictoriaSchade


5 big old ginormous stars for this book from me! Any book that gives you chills at the end deserves a full sweep!

I loved everything about this book – not only did it appeal to my love of dogs but it was so, so much more. It was about the kindness and compassion of people like our main character, Cora, who have made such a difference in the lives of animals.

I have three rescue dogs myself, so this was especially close to my heart. The message here is an important one. It was also a realistic depiction of dog training with positive reinforcement instead of negativity and abuse.

But it’s not just about dogs! We have a villain, two love interests, and a landscaping competition reality show. There was humor and depth and romance. I loved the comic relief from Cora’s roommate and best friend, Maggie. I adored Eli and his salsa dancing and giant heart. And the dogs – they all had their own personalities and were important characters!

I highly recommend this to animal lovers! You will not be disappointed!

A huge thank you to Gallery Books for my early copy. This one will be available September 18th!


Must Love Dogs meets My Not So Perfect Life in this hilarious romantic comedy about a dog trainer who’s a master at managing her four-legged friends, but when it comes to her love life…let’s just say she still has a lot to learn.

Cora Bellamy is a woman who thrives on organization. She’s successfully run her own dog training business for years, perfectly content with her beloved rescue pitbull as the main man in her life. She’s given everything to her business, and her lack of social life (or slobber-free clothes) has been completely worth it.

But all that changes when she meets Charlie Gill, the hottest client she’s ever had. The only problem? Charlie’s taken. Luckily, Cora has a new friend—the sweet, lovably geeky Eli Crawford. More loyal than a retriever, he’s always there to help Cora with her problems, including her love life. That’s why she’s shocked to realize that even as things start heating up with Charlie, there might just be a more-than-friends spark between her and Eli, too.

As Cora’s life gets more tangled up than a dogwalker’s leashes—and as she prepares to audition for a dog-training TV show that may irrevocably change her entire life—she has to figure things out before it all goes straight to the dogs.

Charming, witty, and warm-hearted, Life on the Leash inspires you to cheer for every underdog looking for love.

Netgalley: What’s on my shelf

Well, I’ve been trying to stay away from Netgalley but…FAIL!!! I can’t stay away y’all, and I can’t seem to get my shelf under thirty books at any given time. But at least my ratio is good! Several of these will be group reads with the @6bookbesties and I’m excited!

Do you have any of these or are they in your TBR?

I don’t know how much longer I can not read this one. It’s calling my name and I’ve heard nothing but good things!

Kate is my I pretty much asked everyone I know for a copy – no shame in my game😆 thank you to Kendall for making my book dreams come true!

I recently read Josh & Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating and soon thereafter requested and/or purchased every single Christina Lauren book ever written in the history of the world. That’s how much I liked it.

I really, really enjoyed Best Day Ever – I thought it was so super well done. So when I saw the words “Kaira Rouda” I clicked request so fast!

I adore everything Karen Clarke and this is the third book in the Seashell Cove series – I can’t wait to see where it ends up! You can catch me on the blog tour for this one.

What a totally creepy cover, I love it! This one sounds slightly terrifying and I’m going to have to prepare myself!

If you know me, you know I have a thing for Christmas books. I may or may not read them year round😬 I’ll be on the blog tour for this one too!

The perfect fall book to read with my @6bookbesties! This one will be coming up soon so keep and eye out for the review’

I was so happy to be invited to read Strawser’s latest work, and I always love supporting a fellow Pittsburgher!

Love a Kat Croft book🎉 I’ll be on the blog tour for The Warning and I’m excited for it!

Another blog tour and the third and final book in this series. So looking forward to hanging out with these characters again!

Great author. New series. I’m in.

Review: Lies by T.M. Logan @StMartinsPress @TMLoganAuthor #BookBestieApproved


Lies and deceit everywhere!

This is a highly addictive page-turner that had me saying “what is going on?!” over and over!

When Joe happens upon his wife’s car at a local hotel one day, a series of events begin to unfold that will change his life forever. I feel like I can’t say more to avoid spoilers, but trust me – you will want to find out what happens!

I was sucked into this storyline right away and it never let go. I absolutely loved the short chapters and the cliffhangers – it really kept me turning the pages and created a super speedy pace. At no point in time did it feel like it was over 400 pages!

I definitely recommend this one to readers who are looking for a snappy, wild ride!

A big thank you to St. Martin’s Press for my advance copy. This book is available today!

This was a @6bookbesties group read and rave reviews all around!

You can check out my book besties’ reviews here:

Kendall’s review

Holly’s review

Mackenzie’s review

Berit’s review

Jennifer’s review



When Joe Lynch stumbles across his wife driving into a hotel car park while she’s supposed to be at work, he’s intrigued enough to follow her in.

And when he witnesses her in an angry altercation with family friend Ben, he knows he ought to intervene.

But just as the confrontation between the two men turns violent, and Ben is knocked unconscious, Joe’s young son has an asthma attack – and Joe must flee in order to help him.

When he returns, desperate to make sure Ben is OK, Joe is horrified to find that Ben has disappeared.

And that’s when Joe receives the first message . . .