The Lingering – SJI Holiday


The Lingering – SJI Holiday

Last Christmas I read the much acclaimed The Deaths of December and what a festive feast it was. Now Susi Holiday is back with The Lingering which is a dark and twisty spine chilling ghost story that is also the perfect thriller.


SJI Holiday has managed to write a creepy story that really seeps into your pores of your skin and haunts you long after you have finished the perfect book for the dark autumn/winter evenings.

The centre of attention is Rosalind House a home that was once a psychiatric home that is now a commune. Jack and Ali arrive as they seek to find themselves. Many of the people now at the commune are escaping the day to day rat race of city life. The area has been known in the past for stories and myths of witches. Even Rosalind House itself has a pretty scary history.

Soon after Jack and Ali arrive things really start to happen and the reader is sucked into the scary history of the home. Pretty soon history is starting to repeat itself and something or someone is hell bent of some form of pretty scary vengeance. Now everyone at the commune is getting freaked out.

Was it Jack and Ali’s arrival that sparked the latest creepy goings on. They both have something in their personal lives that seems to brings things to the boil. There are really two stories here, Jack and Ali and then the darkness of the world we don’t want to see. Bit by bit the pair are coming undone and with it the secrets that they have been keeping to themselves. The characters that come together in The Lingering will keep you page turning all the way through page after page. There is among them a ghost hunter and she is single minded and is sure there is something that is haunting Rosalind House but she is in for something much more than she expects and what a character SJI Holiday has created. A cracking spine-tingling story that is just perfect for this time of year. Dare you turn the lights off when you put the book down. Highly Recommended.

256 Pages.

Thank you to Karen Sullivan (Orenda Books) for the review copy of The Lingering by SJI Holiday

The Lingering by SJI Holiday was published by Orenda Books and was published on 15th November 2018 and is available through Waterstones, Amazon and through your local independent bookshop.

Christmas 2018 Poetry Pamphlets by Candlestick Press


Ten Poems about Robins

The poetry pamphlets by Candlestick Press are always received well by readers of my blog and so I am delighted to share two new poetry pamphlets released for Christmas.

The first is Ten Poems about Robins. Christmas would not be Christmas without our colourful Robins, they are just so synonymous with the festive period.


As the introduction to this wonderful collection of poetry by the Scottish poet Hamish Whyte says, “The Robin is Britain’s favourite bird”. So it is an absolute joy to read these ten poems. Robins are a gardener’s best friend yet they also know food will be close by. Even as the short cold days of winter encroach the Robin can be heard singing in the small hours. Many of my followers on Twitter know of my Robin in the garden very early in the morning that greets me with a song as a put some food out.

In this collection the poems are:

  1. The Red Robin – John Clare
  2. Robin’s Round – UA Fanthorpe
  3. Real Life Christmas Card – Norman MacCaig
  4. After Christmas – Peter Walton
  5. The Key-Note – Christina Rossetti
  6. To the Robin – Fleur Adcock
  7. ‘I Watch the Robin’ – Hamish Whyte
  8. ‘You’ll Know Her- by Her Foot – Emily Dickinson
  9. Robin Redbreast – Stanley Kunitz
  10. Gardener’s Friend – John Freeman


The poems can be enjoyed anytime of the year but this would make just the perfect Christmas card as it comes with a beautiful bookmark and also a poetry post card of a Robin.



Christmas Lights: Ten Poems for Dark Winter Nights

As I write this many towns here in the South West are about to switch on their Christmas lights which heralds for many the start of the festive period. A time of cathering with family and friends, shopping, eating roast chestnuts while looking at festive window displays in the shops.

But it also means the start of Winter, those short days and long dark cold nights. Brightened by the twinkling Christmas lights. Candlestick Press have just released Christmas Lights: Ten Poems for Dark Winter Nights. A wondrous collection of poetry that brings light to the darkness of winter. Yet there is light whether from Christmas lights or to the Parisian heartland and the glittering of a frozen lake were people skate or the magical Northern Lights in the dead of winter.

  1. Christmas Lights – Stephen Keeler
  2. Unity Brass Band – Kim Moore
  3. A Winter’s Tale of the Present in a Matchbox – Zaffar Kunial
  4. Christmas Eve Fire at Barrington Cement Works – John Clegg
  5. Museum of Angels – Amali Rodrigo
  6. Sugar Nana – Hannah Lowe
  7. Hush – Tony Curtis
  8. Northern Lights – Nancy Campbell
  9. Skater on the Lake – Niall Campbell
  10. Les Lumières de Paris – Katherine Gallagher

A collection that will brighten your dark winter’s nights as you prepare for the Christmas season. As with The Ten Poems about Robins, this will make an ideal Christmas card as it comes with a bookmark and a poetry postcard.


Candlestick logo 2

Candlestick Press are a small independent publisher based in Nottingham and were founded in 2008. The team consists of four dedicated people in Di Slaney (Publisher), Kathy Towers (Assistant Editor) and two admin assistants. Their aim is simple to spread the joy of poetry to adults and children alike who love poetry and or may be just beginning their journey in to enjoying poetry. These small pamphlets are just ideal for bedtime reading or like I have been doing and that is enjoying them on journeys.

They have published so many of these beautiful pamphlets on a wide range of topics from Christmas to Cricket, from Dogs to Sheep and even Clouds. With Christmas not too far away this is an ideal time to think of sending cards to loved ones and friends. The pamphlets of stories and poetry make the ideal gift to send. For more information, please visit the Candlestick Press website: Here


Thanks you to Candlestick Press for the review copy of Ten Poems about Robins and Christmas Lights: Ten Poems about Dark Winter Nights. Published by Candlestick Press and both are available via Candlestick Press.


Landfill by Tim Dee


Landfill by Tim Dee

I do have to say Little Toller are producing some incredible books. I was delighted to receive a review copy of Tim Dee’s latest natural history books Landfill. The first thing that strikes you is the jacket cover is just amazing and this is down to Greg Poole.


Landfill is a beautifully written and produced book that takes a look at one species of bird that has now made the towns its home. Tim Dee has spent long hours studying Gulls and especially one species of Gull and that is the Herring Gull. Now many people consider Herring Gulls to be a pest. How many have been harassed when walking through a town centre especially when carrying food. I have faced similar, but these Gulls have adapted to the throw away nature of modern times.

The author has been visiting many landfill sites were the Gulls now spend most of their lives feeding off our food waste that we humans have thrown away and the Gulls have adapted to make their lives here and can find free food. So who is to blame for the populations of Gulls that many people consider as pests. The answer is a very simple one. We all are. Food waste that is discarded has to go somewhere and that is landfill.


Tim Dee has researched the Gull populations and has spent time with fellow birdwatchers and fellow researchers in studying Gulls and their behaviour all over the country. Like Tim Dee I have spent many winters studying seabirds and especially Gulls. Travelling from the South West to as far as all corners of Scotland and the Isle of Lewis looking and watching the behaviour of Gulls and occasionally finding those much sort after rarer species of Gull.

But our town dwelling Gulls are moving in and now have free food around the clock whether that is from a landfill site or throwaway fast food in the town centres of emptying rubbish bags outside of shops. I once watched one Gull tear open a rubbish bag and rip out its contents looking for a free meal.

From following fishing boats to following we humans the Gulls have adapted to city life and they are here to stay. The real problem is us the people and how we run our own lives and throwaway culture of especially food. May be it is us who need to change.

I remember watching Hitchcock’s The Birds and for a while it scared me and I avoided Gulls but overtime I learned to love them. Landfill is wonderfully researched and makes for great reading. I loved Tim’s writing style and Landfill now sits proudly among some of my most favourite natural history books. Highly Recommended.

#Landfill  @TimDee4  @LittleToller

256 Pages.

Thank you to Littler Toller Books for the review copy of Landfill by Tim Dee.

Landfill by Tim Dee was published by Little Toller and was published on 10th September 2018 and is available through Waterstones, Amazon and through your local independent bookshop.

The Bus on Thursday by Shirley Barrett


The Bus on Thursday by Shirley Barrett

How I loved Rush Oh! and so it was with great excitement that a copy of Shirley Barrett’s latest novel The Bus on Thursday arrived. I was not disappointed. This is basically a black comedy. Eleanor Melett’s life has been turned upside down for more than just one reason and so she has decided to head off to an Australian town but not ordinary town. This one is out of the way. But this town has its own secrets.


Eleanor has had to deal with the break-up of her relationship and then to discover she has cancer but she deals with this with disdain. She has a breast removed and now is thinking she needs to get away and while she is recovering she applies for a teaching post in the remote Australian town of Talbingo. A bit of a town that is a bit strange. The previous teacher (Miss Barker) disappeared one night and no-one knows what exactly happened to her. Now Eleanor has moved into Miss Barker’s house.

Eleanor does have a bit of a character issue and that can be taken out of context at times and can cause her a few problems but this is how she is dealing with her post op cancer treatment. The town is a bit creepy and has an obsession. For our Eleanor she does tend to bring things onto herself. Not sure why she chose teaching as she comes across as being a bit off in class. Not sure sleeping with the brother of one of her students is a good idea. Then there is the local priest who seems to think that the wine for communion is purely his to enjoy and his views on cancer don’t win him many votes.

I loved Eleanor but did find I wanted to take to one side and give her a good talking to. There are a number of interesting characters that lend to the storyline really well. Miss Barker although not present is a leading character and everyone in the town loved her. But what did happen to Miss Barker? And why are there so many locks in her house were Eleanor now resides?

This at times is a real laugh out loud read with some dark humour thrown in. A book that at times also asked a few questions of the reader and the ending might do the same. Still I really enjoyed The Bus on Thursday and was really worth the wait.

272 Pages.

Thank you to Fleet for the review copy of The Bus on Thursday by Shirley Barrett

The Bus on Thursday by Shirley Barrett was published by Fleet and was published on 18th October 2018 and is available through Waterstones, Amazon and through your local independent bookshop.