Heart Note by Cassandra O’Leary #Guestpost #Heartnote



Love is like a fine perfume. The top note draws you in, an instant attraction, but the Heart Note is the true essence. Like true love – a great perfume should be a woman’s perfect match.

At least, that’s what perfume counter manager, Lily Lucas, tells her customers in one of Australia’s largest department stores.

It’s almost Christmas, the store is bedecked with baubles and Lily has about eleventy billion gifts to wrap and sell. She and her team of spritzer chicks are glamorous, professional and hoping they don’t have to wear the hideous red onesies and reindeer antlers the store manager has in mind.

The high point of Lily’s work life is Christos Cyriakos, ex-cop, security guard, possible Greek god. He’s a mystery box she’d love to unwrap. But can she trust him?

All Lily wants for Christmas is to kiss Christos (and more), catch a band of thieves running amok in the store, and live happily ever after. Is that too much to wish for?


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I’d like to firstly thank Rachel’s random resources and Cassandra O’Leary for allowing me to take part in this blog tour.


Today I have a wonderful guest post from Cassandra O’Leary, the author of Heart Note…

Perfumes, purpose and pretty things

Earlier this year, I had a crisis of confidence as a writer. After my debut novel was released last year, I’d been having slow year on the writing front. I had added words to a draft novel manuscript earlier this year but it wasn’t working. The story wasn’t coming together, the characters weren’t talking to me and I wondered if I should toss the manuscript in the bin.

Then one day at my writing group, I brainstormed another idea that had popped into my head. I finally had another fresh idea! And I thought it was good. My writer friends agreed and told me to start writing. The concept for Heart Note was born.

Perfume as inspiration

Years ago, I’d worked as a ‘spritzer chick’ and later a sales assistant and beauty advisor on perfume and cosmetics counters at some of Australia’s largest department stores. As part of my training on the job, I learned a lot about perfume.

One of the things that came back to me was the analogy of getting to know someone, a potential new love, with letting a perfume unfold on the skin to reveal its secrets. The top note, the middle note (or Heart Note) and the base note.

Only the top note is immediately obvious, maybe an instant attraction. But real love or a relationship takes time to develop with many complex layers. The romance writer in me perked up. The world of perfume was the perfect setting for a love story.

Purpose for a writer

I had a serious think about why I’d started writing fiction and which direction I want to pursue. I considered a few important questions:

  • Why was I writing?
  • What did I want to achieve?
  • Was this business all about churning out words, or something more?

I came to the conclusion that for now, I wanted to write something easy and fun that I would enjoy writing. A romcom that readers would enjoy.

Pretty things

I hired a cover designer, a friend I’d met through Romance Writers of Australia. I set her a brief based on the type of book covers I like and also perfume ads in glossy magazines. I think she did a fabulous job – the Heart Note cover is getting an absolutely amazing response.

I hope to work on the next novella in the series soon and will hopefully have another pretty cover to share in early 2018!


All about Cassandra

Heart Note - cassandra-oleary-about

**Winner of the We Heart New Talent contest, HarperCollins UK. Nominated for BEST NEW AUTHOR in the 2016 AusRom Today Reader’s Choice Awards for excellence in Australian romance fiction.**

Cassandra O’Leary is a romance and women’s fiction author, communications specialist, avid reader, film and TV fangirl and admirer of pretty, shiny things.

In 2015, Cassandra won the We Heart New Talent contest run by Avon Books/HarperCollins UK. Her debut romantic comedy novel, Girl on a Plane, was published in July 2016. Cassandra was also a 2015 finalist in the Lone Star writing contest, Northwest Houston Romance Writers of America, and a 2014 finalist in the First Kiss contest, Romance Writers of Australia.

Cassandra is a mother of two gorgeous, high-energy mini ninjas and wife to a spunky superhero. Living in Melbourne, Australia, she’s also travelled the world. If you want to send her to Italy or Spain on any food or wine tasting ‘research’ trips, that would be splendiferous. You’ll find Cassandra online, drinking coffee and possibly buying shoes. Oh, yes. And writing.

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Where to find Cassandra








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Whiteout by Ragnar Jonasson



Two days before Christmas, a young woman is found dead beneath the cliffs of the deserted village of Kálfshamarvík. Did she jump, or did something more sinister take place beneath the lighthouse and the abandoned old house on the remote rocky outcrop? With winter closing in and the snow falling relentlessly, Ari Thór Arason discovers that the victim’s mother and young sister also lost their lives in this same spot, twenty-five years earlier. As the dark history and its secrets of the village are unveiled, and the death toll begins to rise, the Siglufjordur detectives must race against the clock to find the killer, before another tragedy takes place. Dark, chilling and complex, Whiteout is a haunting, atmospheric and stunningly plotted thriller from one of Iceland’s bestselling crime writers.


My Review

I’d firstly like to thank Anne Cater , Orenda books and Ragnar Jonasson for allowing me to take part in this blog tour.

Firstly if you’re in the mood for a relaxing comfort read, this is not for you…but if you’re after an edge of your seat who done it…Bingo!

This book had me changing my mind every page as to who the murderer was, I was gripped until the end. The writing is beautiful, descriptive and intoxicating.

The first few chapters are written from Asta’s perspective, this gives you an insight into her life, her past and the person she is. As you find out more about her you discover the mystery surrounding her Sister and Mother’s death.

This is such an effortless book to read and one that had me ‘reading just one more chapter’ far too late into the night!

I have downloaded the first book in this series and can’t wait to read the rest.


Click here to buy Whiteout

All about Ragnar


Ragnar Jonasson is author of the international bestselling Dark Iceland series. His debut Snowblind went to number one in the kindle charts shortly after publication, and Nightblind, Blackout and Rupture soon followed suit, hitting the number one spot in five countries, and the series being sold in 20 countries and for TV. Ragnar was born in Reykjavik, Iceland, where he continues to work as a lawyer. He also teaches copyright law at Reykjavik University and has previously worked on radio and television, including as a TV-news reporter for the Icelandic National Broadcasting Service. Ragnar is a member of the UK Crime Writers’ Association (CWA) and set up its first overseas chapter in Reykjavik. He is also the co-founder of the international crime-writing festival Iceland Noir. From the age of 17, Ragnar translated 14 Agatha Christie novels into Icelandic. He has appeared on festival panels worldwide, and lives in Reykjavik with his wife and young daughters.

Where to find Ragnar




The Haunting Of Hattie Hastings by Audrey Davis #Review #Blogtour



Some people just won’t take death lying down … ! (NB: cliffhanger ending).

Part one of a fun-filled trilogy about life, death and letting go.

Hattie Hastings is happily married, even if husband Gary drives her up the wall at times. When tragedy strikes, she is left alone and heartbroken, with only an assortment of family and friends to prop her up.

Struggling to cope, she is left reeling when her deceased other half returns, popping up at the most inappropriate times.

Hattie can’t convince anyone that Gary has returned. Not even best friend Cat – now free from the cruel and controlling Stewart – will believe her.

Why has Gary returned? And what will Cat do when her slimy ex-husband tries to worm his way back into her affections?

The Haunting of Hattie Hastings will make you laugh, cry and count down until Part Two …

The Haunitng of Hattie Hastings

My review

Firstly I would like to thank Rachel’s random resources and Audrey Davis for allowing me to take part in this blog tour.

The haunting of Hattie Hastings pulled me into its pages from the first sentence. I’m a sucker for a story with a supernatural edge, especially ones that have a lovely slice of humor mixed in.

I enjoyed the way that the beginning of the story is based on Hattie after the death of Gary, but as the story progresses other characters slowly take the spotlight.

Audrey has depicted beautifully how relationships change in the midst of an untimely death, how some people cope and some people really don’t.

I really could not put this book down, as I found out more about each character it compelled me to read more. I wait with baited breathe for part 2!



Buy the haunting of Hattie Hastings here


All about Audrey


Scottish-born Audrey studied journalism in Edinburgh more decades ago than she cares to admit. She cut her writing teeth on provincial newspapers (using a typewriter) and a London-based video magazine (another sign of her advanced years).

Engagement to her now-husband Bill took them to Singapore, Australia and Buckinghamshire, England, before they settled in Switzerland in 2002. Along the way they had two boys, both all grown-up and living in the UK.

Her journey to becoming a published author began with an online Writing Fiction course. It took well over a year but, in June 2017, Audrey published her debut romantic comedy novel, A Clean Sweep. It was quickly followed by a shorter and darker prequel, A Clean Break.

The idea for The Haunting of Hattie Hastings came from nowhere, just a random title that popped into her head and from there grew into Part One of a trilogy. It comes under the same genre, but has some poignant scenes and – hopefully – lots of laughs! Audrey admits to being a worrier, and has always used humour as a defence mechanism, as her friends will attest.

When Audrey isn’t writing, she loves shows like The Walking Dead, American Horror Story and Strictly Come Dancing (a strange mix, she knows). Her interests include cooking (and eating pretty much anything apart from oysters), travelling and going to the gym. OK, the last one is mainly to compensate for her passion for food!

Audrey would describe herself as a ‘pantser’ rather than a ‘planner’, preferring to run where a story takes her and scribble copious notes along the way. She’d love to write a page-turning thriller, but fears her natural tendency to see the comic side of life might be an obstacle.

Where to find Audrey





And a sixpence for luck by Lilac Mills

Book Cover sixpence


Daisy Jones has hit rock bottom. Or so she believes.

A cheating boyfriend, trouble at work, having to move back in with her mother, and being forced to compare her brother’s loved-up, newly-wed status and brand-new shiny house with her own dire lack of prospects, isn’t what she imagined her life was going to be like at thirty. To top it all off, Christmas is just around the corner!

Daisy, bless her, thinks things can’t possibly get any worse, but when her ancient great-grandmother persuades her to plant a silver sixpence in the Christmas pud for luck, Daisy is about to discover that they most definitely can.

My Review

Tour Banner sixpence

I’d firstly like to thank Neverland blog tours  and Lilac Mills for allowing me to take part in this blog tour.

And a sixpence for luck was an absolute delight to read!

Is a heartwarming read with a dash of romance and lashings of laugh out loud moments.

Daisy is a character that I immediately warmed to. The story begins when Daisy returns home from work early to find her boyfriend in the arms of Carla who is actually Carl! Moving back home to her Mum was not what Daisy, at the age of 30 had on her list of future plans. In fact, losing her job, being mistaken for her brother’s mistress and falling in love with a very sexy doctor were all situations she hadn’t bargained for. When her Great Grandmother suggested Daisy put her lucky sixpence in the Christmas pudding for luck Daisy thought why not, and here the story begins.

Lilac has written a book which is totally relatable, haven’t we all got a ditsy friend who seems to have disaster written all over them? I really enjoyed the comedy factor throughout the book, it wasn’t cheesy predictable comedy more misunderstandings that ballooned out of control.

The love interest is a very sexy doctor but this is Daisy Jones and let’s face it the path of true love never goes smoothly!

If you’re looking for a book that will bring you lots of giggles and a surprise around every corner this is the book for you!

Look out for my guest post from Lilac on 28th November

Click here to buy and a sixpence for luck



All about Lilac

Author photo sixpence

Lilac spends all her time writing, or reading, or thinking about writing or reading, often to the detriment of her day job, her family, and the housework. She apologises to her employer and her loved ones, but the house will simply have to deal with it!

She calls Worcester home, though she would prefer to call somewhere hot and sunny home, somewhere with a beach and cocktails and endless opportunities for snoozing in the sun…

When she isn’t hunched over a computer or dreaming about foreign shores, she enjoys creating strange, inedible dishes in the kitchen, accusing her daughter of stealing (she meant to say “borrowing”) her clothes, and fighting with her husband over whose turn it is to empty the dishwasher.

Where to find Lilac





Giveaway Image sixpence

To win a signed copy of and a sixpence for luck and a gorgeous sixpence necklace click here


The Lido Girls by Allie Burns

lidoBook Cover


Escape to the inter-war years in this emotional story where opportunity can be found at the pool-side in your local lido… Perfect for fans of Pam Evans and Gill Paul

Change is in the air…

London, 1930s:

Natalie Flacker is tempted by the glamour of the new keep fit movement, but when she is dismissed from her prestigious job in PE she loses the life she so carefully built. Echoes of the war’s destruction still reverberate through her life, and now she is homeless, jobless and without prospects.

But connections made on a summer holiday, with her best friend Delphi, create opportunities. When Natalie is offered a summer job at a lido at the seaside, she jumps at the chance. But is she up to the challenge of taking on a group of unfit women in need of her help?

Set against the backdrop of the beginnings of the pioneering keep fit movement; this is a feel-good reminder of just what’s possible when you find the courage to follow your heart.

Spend a very British summer with The Lido Girls!

lido Schedule Graphic

My review

I would firstly like to thank Allie Burns and Neverland blog tours for allowing me to take part in this tour.

The Lido Girls is a nostalgic read of real girl power and friendship.

This was one of those delightful books that I immediately warmed to. Natalie is an inspirational character and made the story a compelling read.

Allie has researched the subject of this book so well that the knowledge you glean from it is amazing. I had never heard of the Fitness league movement but as I discovered it within the pages of The Lido girls i was hungry to find out more.

I must admit I do adore this era so for me I was in heaven. I enjoyed the innocence of the budding relationship between Natalie and Jack, it was a refreshing change to more modern novels. The friendship that Natalie and Delphi share shows through lifes ups and downs  friendships develop, evolve and survive

The Lido girls is a story of strength, friendship and ambition.  A great book with an uplifting ending!

Click here to buy The Lido Girls



All about Allie


Allie lives in Kent with her family and two tortoises. When she’s not writing for business or penning her Women’s Historical Fiction, Allie enjoys swimming and yoga. She has an MA in Professional Writing from Falmouth University and The Lido Girls is her debut novel. She is currently working on a second interwar years novel, which is due for publication in the summer of 2018.


Click here  and enter the giveaway to win…

Boden beach towel, St Tropez fake tanning face bronzer and a signed postcard – worth £40


lido Giveaway Prizes

Where to find Alison








CWA Anthology Of Short Stories MYSTERY TOUR #Blogtour #Giveaway

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Crime spreads across the globe in this new collection of short stories from the Crime Writer’s Association, as a conspiracy of prominent crime authors take you on a world mystery tour. Highlights of the trip include a treacherous cruise to French Polynesia, a horrifying trek in South Africa, a murderous train-ride across Ukraine and a vengeful killing in Mumbai. But back home in the UK, life isn’t so easy either. Dead bodies turn up on the backstreets of Glasgow, crime writers turn words into deeds at literary events, and Lady Luck seems to guide the fate of a Twickenham hood. Showcasing the range, breadth and vitality of the contemporary crime-fiction genre, these twenty-eight chilling and unputdownable stories will take you on a trip you’ll never forget.

Contributions from:
Ann Cleeves, C.L. Taylor, Susi Holliday, Martin Edwards, Anna Mazzola, Carol Anne Davis, Cath Staincliffe, Chris Simms, Christine Poulson, Ed James, Gordon Brown, J.M. Hewitt, Judith Cutler, Julia Crouch, Kate Ellis, Kate Rhodes, Martine Bailey, Michael Stanley, Maxim Jakubowski, Paul Charles, Paul Gitsham, Peter Lovesey, Ragnar Jónasson, Sarah Rayne, Shawn Reilly Simmons, Vaseem Khan, William Ryan and William Burton McCormick


My review

I’d like to thank Anne Cater  and Orenda books for allowing me to take part in this blog tour.

I was delighted to have the opportunity to review Mystery Tour, with so many wonderful authors all in one book it was a plethora of literary heaven!

From psychological thriller to straight talking detectives there is something within the pages for every crime lover. I was amazed at how such short stories could still pull you into the pages and keep you on the edge of your seat!

I really enjoyed ending one story and beginning another with the lovely anticipation of not knowing the style of writing or direction the story would take.

Christine Poulson’s Accounting for murder was simply a collection of receipts, booking confirmations, invoices, adverts and notices. Amazing how these alone can tell a story. Return to the lake by Anna Mazzola chilled me to the bone, I was not expecting the ending! A Postcard From Iceland by Ragnar Jonasson is only two pages long, but those two pages are like being on a theme park ride, that drops you from a great height at a startling speed and you end up with your stomach doing somersaults!

This is a perfect read if you want to discover new crime writers or like to dip in and out of a book, you certainly won’t be disappointed!

Click here to buy Mystery Tour


To win a copy of Deaths of December by Susi Holliday, simply comment in the comment box below, I will pick at random a winner on Friday 9th November.

Good luck!


Where to find the  authors


Ann Cleeves

C L Taylor

Susi Holliday

Anna Mazzola

Cath Staincliffe

Carol Anne Davis

Martin Edwards

Chris Simms

Christine Poulson

Ed James

Gordon Brown

J M Hewitt

Judith Cutler

Julia Crouch

Kate Ellis

Kate Rhodes

Martine Bailey

Michael Stanley

Maxim Jakubowski

Paul Charles

Paul Gitsham

Peter Lovesey

Ragnar Jonasson

Sarah Rayne

Shawn Reilly Simmons

Vaseem Khan

William Ryan

William Burton McCormick




Ragbag Of Riches by James Chilton

A Ragbag of Riches Cover


This collection of quips and quotes creates a book for the bower, the bedside, the bath and for browsing; a book at arm’s length from the deck chair, for the tedium of travel but above all for pleasure.

It is a haphazard collection: the Ragbag covering the rougher, even vulgar (but nevertheless witty) entries of graffiti, newspaper headlines and bumper stickers, the Riches being the poetry, prayers and prose of fine minds that inspire by their beauty, sincerity and sublime use of words. At the lower end, I love the astringency and ability of the authors to poke fun with the sharpness of a red-hot needle. At the top end, silver words and profound wisdom sometimes lead me to tears.

So I invite you to wallow or skip lightly. I hope there is something in this salmagundi to make you smile or catch the affections of your heart; to mingle quiet music with amiable irreverence.

A RagbagofRiches_Banner

My Review

Firstly I would like to thank Rachel’s random resources and James Chilton for allowing me to take part in this blog tour.

I thoroughly enjoyed dipping in and out of this book. It is full of humor, wisdom and facts! This is the sort of book I would have loved to have been given for Christmas, once the turkey had been eaten and far too many mince pies consumed i would curl up on the sofa and flick through this til my heart’s content.

This will stay on my bedside cabinet for a very long time and will be read and re-read and definotely recommended to many.



Spotlight on James Chilton


A Ragbag of Riches

An in depth post about myself is a daunting request.  I am not given to puffing about myself although seven hundred and fifty words could be considered a relatively light request compared to some autobiographies.  ‘Spike’ Milligan took seven volumes to write his.

I was born in Burma in 1941, my father being a soldier there.  I have no recollection of my time there although with family photographs, cine film and my eight visits to that lovely country (I have built a number of schools there in remote places), it seems familiar.  I have found all my parent’s old houses – four of them and all like a pastiche of Guildford suburbia.  They are much sought after now as they were well built, in good positions and easy to live in.  The last of these houses was by the lake in central Rangoon and from there, on 2nd March 1942, we fled before the Japanese entered the city. My mother, my sister and I together with our English nanny took the last flying boat from the Irrawaddy River while my father walked out north.  He appeared six months later in India looking rather thin.  A couple of years in India, then to England by ship (avoiding German U boats) and after that a few years living a peripatetic life between Dorset, Jersey (where my grandmother lived) and Italy (where my father was military attache).   My sister maintains that my love of travel (I have notched up about ninety countries) comes from travelling 8,000 miles before I was six. Aged eight I was packed off to prep school in Worcestershire and from there to Winchester.  I obtained a Choral Scholarship to Corpus Christi, Cambridge but did not take this up preferring a more active and adventurous life and joined 1st Royal Dragoons (now, Blues and Royals).  Posted to Aden in the Yemen,  I saw service against the rebels of the time and then went on to Malaya.  As an armoured car regiment, it was possible to drive to many places in the country and I also was stationed in Singapore – at that time part of Malaya (it became independent in 1965, a year after I left).   I was seconded to a semi military branch of the Malayan police force, chasing the last of the communists over the border to Thailand. Returning to England, I resigned my commission and ran an upmarket tour company in London before joining the American advertising company Foote, Cone and Belding (known in the trade as Foot sore and Bleeding!).  I had married, acquired a house, a dog, and a child before moving to a large and partially broken house near Great Missenden which had been a failed girls’ boarding school.  By now I was employed by my father-in-law’s commercial real estate company (where I stayed for thirty three years) and three more children and two labradors came along.  Twenty five years  later, we moved to a jewel of a house near Woodstock and ten years after that, to a semi derelict collection of farm buildings near Chipping Norton – now welded into a family farm house.


Along this chequered way, I restored a 1931 Grand Tourer, designed jewelry, acquired a diploma in Architectural History from Oxford, two diplomas in garden design from The English Garden School, joined the International Dendrology Society, completed a certificated course in decorative arts from V&A, sculpted, painted, travelled, wrote (The Last Blue Mountain, published by Clink), photographed (forty albums of tribal people) and now have published A Ragbag of Riches.


This compilation is haphazard, although I have attempted to divide the entries into a number of sections.  Its miscellaneous entries probably stem from an interest in almost everything but a deep knowledge in almost nothing.  My education, upbringing and a time well lived has encouraged an exploration along the alleyways of life.  While there is nothing original in the book – it is literary theft on a considerable scale, I hope that this does not imply that plagerism is a substitute for originality.  Fortunately, I inherited creative genes and as you will see from some of the things I have been up to in my life, these genes have been thoroughly employed.  For a better description of the book and my motives, I would refer you to the Introduction of the book.




Extract from A Ragbag Of Riches

It is difficult to provide extracts from this book as its essential character is one of a haphazard collection with almost every page containing a selection of entries.  However, there are seventeen different groupings and this is one of these.

 Travel writing pages 71/72

The section on Creativity includes some chunks of travel writing.  I am a traveller and extracts from travel writers could make a book in itself; for all I know, it probably has. To include these particular extracts would seem to indicate that Theroux, Lewis, Thesiger and a host of others have been ignored.  Not so, it is simply a question of space and this is not an anthology of travel writing.  Nevertheless,  I regard the extracts I have included as some of the greatest examples of lyrical description.  Jan Morris always seems to be able to conjure up scene as if you had stepped into it and Patrick Leigh Fermor’s descriptions of architectural detail are astonishing.




All about James

A grandfather of nine and a father of four, James Chilton lives with his wife and two labradors in Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire. He holds diplomas in Architectural History from Oxford University, in Design and in Plantsmanship from The English Gardening School and a certificate in the Decorative Arts from the Victoria & Albert Museum. Perennially busy, James draws, sculpts, designs gardens and jewelry and is a member of Bart’s Choir. He also a member of the International Dendrology Society and has lectured at the Royal Geographical Society and in Oxford. His first book, The Last Blue Mountain, was published in 2015.