This Week in Books (October 9)

Hosted by Lipsy Lost and Found, my Wednesday post gives you a taste of what I’m reading this week. A similar meme is run by Taking on a World of Words.


Edinburgh, 1850. Despite being at the forefront of modern medicine, hordes of patients are dying all across the city, with doctors finding their remedies powerless. But it is not just the deaths that dismay the esteemed Dr James Simpson – a whispering campaign seeks to blame him for the death of a patient in suspicious circumstances.

Simpson’s protégé Will Raven and former housemaid Sarah Fisher are determined to clear their patron’s name. But with Raven battling against the dark side of his own nature, and Sarah endeavouring to expand her own medical knowledge beyond what society deems acceptable for a woman, the pair struggle to understand the cause of the deaths.

Will and Sarah must unite and plunge into Edinburgh’s deadliest streets to clear Simpson’s name. But soon they discover that the true cause of these deaths has evaded suspicion purely because it is so unthinkable.


Deep in the woods of Maine, there is a dark state facility where kids, abducted from across the United States, are incarcerated. In the Institute they are subjected to a series of tests and procedures meant to combine their exceptional gifts – telepathy, telekinesis – for concentrated effect.

Luke Ellis is the latest recruit. He’s just a regular 12-year-old, except he’s not just smart, he’s super-smart. And he has another gift which the Institute wants to use…

Far away in a small town in South Carolina, former cop Tim Jamieson has taken a job working for the local Sherrif. He’s basically just walking the beat. But he’s about to take on the biggest case of his career.

Back in the Institute’s downtrodden playground and corridors where posters advertise ‘just another day in paradise’, Luke, his friend Kalisha and the other kids are in no doubt that they are prisoners, not guests. And there is no hope of escape.

But great events can turn on small hinges and Luke is about to team up with a new, even younger recruit, Avery Dixon, whose ability to read minds is off the scale. While the Institute may want to harness their powers for covert ends, the combined intelligence of Luke and Avery is beyond anything that even those who run the experiments – even the infamous Mrs Sigsby – suspect.


Carrie’s best friend has an accident and can no longer make the round-the-world trip they’d planned together, so Carrie decides to go it alone.

Violet is also travelling alone, after splitting up with her boyfriend in Thailand. She is also desperate for a ticket on the Trans-Siberian Express, but there is nothing available.

When the two women meet in a Beijing Hotel, Carrie makes the impulsive decision to invite Violet to take her best friend’s place.

Thrown together in a strange country, and the cramped cabin of the train, the women soon form a bond. But as the journey continues, through Mongolia and into Russia, things start to unravel – because one of these women is not who she claims to be…

My next read is subject to change because I’m once again finding myself in that mood where I read 20 pages of a book and put it back on the shelf, only to pick up another one. I’m just rolling with it.

What are you reading this week? Do let me know! Happy reading! xx

Witch Dust by Marilyn Messik @marilynmessik @TAsTPublicity #blogtour

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Marilyn Messik’s Witch Dust! Many thanks to Noelle Holten and Kate Moloney for inviting me! I have a fun guest post to share with you today but first, here’s what the book is about.


Author : Marilyn Messik
Title : Witch Dust
Pages : 281
Publisher : Troubador Publishing Limited
Publication date : September 15, 2017


For Sandra, daughter of illusionists, Adam and Ophelia, life’s never been run of the mill! But when Adam’s wandering eye lights on yet another conquest, it proves a chorus girl too far, and Sandra’s caught in the reverberations of her parents acrimonious parting. Coerced into restoring her depressed Mother to the bosom of a family Sandra never knew existed, she’s sucked into a situation that even for her is unnerving.

From being without a single relative, she suddenly acquires several she’d rather do without, and learns a few home truths she’d prefer not to know. Ophelia, it appears, has not been entirely honest about any number of things. There’s no doubt in Sandra’s mind, the sooner she puts as much distance as possible between herself, her newly discovered nearest and dearest, their peculiar tendencies and their failing hotel business, the happier she’s going to be.

Dire straits call for desperate measures and Sandra reluctantly rises to the occasion. A hanged housemaid, a fly-on-the-wall documentary, The Psychic Society and a quasi co-operative journalist all handled correctly should, she reckons, get the family business up and running, which will allow her to do the same – as fast as she can, and in the opposite direction. Things unfortunately move swiftly from bad to farce and then get a hell of a lot darker. One moment Sandra’s struggling to save the family’s income, the next, she’s battling to save their lives.



“It was a dark and stormy night” is the oft derided opening from Edward Bulwer-Lytton for his 1830 novel Paul Clifford. In fact, it led to the annual Bulwyer-Lytton Fiction Contest, for what are considered to be truly dreadful opening lines. Personally, there’s nothing I like better than a well-turned cliché, face it, they’d never have become clichés if they didn’t work as well as they do! Below is an example from Gavin Dobson, a recent runner-up in the B-L Fiction Contest. Now, don’t know about you, but I think this sounds like a heck of a fun opening.

‘Listen, Control!” snarled Captain Dan McMurdo across the ether, ‘I’ve got one engine shut down, the other running on fumes, a seriously wounded co-pilot who won’t last the hour, fifty-three refugee orphans down the back, and a nun for a radio operator, so turn the goddam landing lights on goddam pronto – sorry, Sister!’

At a recent talk on writing I gave, I played around a bit to show how we writers keep ourselves amused and how Dark and Stormy can lead down all sorts of different paths – and yes, I do know, I probably need to get out more!


It was a dark and stormy night and busy battling the wind with her umbrella, she wasn’t looking when she stepped off the curb into a puddle of massive proportions. Her heel twisted as she tried to avoid the unexpected soaking and she would have fallen had it not been for a sudden firm arm round her waist.


It was a dark and stormy night and she was alone.  She hated being alone in that house where every mirror threw back an unexpectedly angled image, every movement, a floor-board creak. It was odd then that she should feel reassured for just a second or so, when a small hand slipped into hers.


It was a dark and stormy night, he liked it that way. He had his work to do and it was work best done privately. On a night like this, people had their heads down, weren’t watching. But he was, oh yes, watching was what he was particularly good at and it didn’t take him long to find her. The next one.


It was a dark and stormy night when Ben heard the tap, tap, tapping on the window. He wasn’t frightened, he was eight years old and ready for anything. He pulled back the curtains his mother had drawn earlier. Outside the window – and how odd was that because he was on the first floor – was another little boy, with his eyes closed. Then he opened them. And Ben immediately saw, this really wasn’t another little boy at all.


It was a dark and stormy night and Oscar was as reluctant to go for a walk as she was to take him. She opted for letting him out in the garden but wuss that he was, he refused to proceed unaccompanied.  She’d pulled the back door closed behind her to keep in the heat before she remembered it was nearly as temperamental as Oscar, and had a tendency to warp in the damp. She pushed it, it was indeed stuck. She pushed harder and Oscar whined behind her. She stepped back, trod on his paw, staggered sideways to avoid him and plunged clumsily into a planted patio pot. She felt like whining too.


Thank you so much, Marilyn, for taking the time out to write this fun post!

Witch Dust will be published on September 15th.

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Goodreads


Marilyn was a regular feature and fiction writer for various national magazines when her children were small. She then set up her first business, selling toys, books and party goods from home, before opening first one shop then another. When she sold both shops she moved into the world of travel, focusing on Bed and Breakfasts and Country Inns in New England, USA. Her advisory, planning and booking service flourished and she concurrently launched a publishing company, producing an annual, full-colour accommodation guide. In 2007 she set up a copywriting consultancy, to help businesses shape their messages to optimum effect.

She’s the author of the Little Black Business Book series and the novels Relatively Strange and Even Stranger. She’s been married to her very patient husband for more years than he deserves and they have two children, five grandchildren and, somewhat to their surprise, several grand-dogs. Her writing style has been described as ‘A cross between Stephen King and Maureen Lipman.’ although, as she points out, she’s not sure either of them would be remotely thrilled to hear that!


  photo Witch Dust Blog Tour Poster.jpg