Thursday 25 November 2021

#BlogTour The Quiet People by Paul Cleave

 It's my turn on the BlogTour The Quiet People by Paul Cleave.

About the Author

Paul is an award-winning author who divides his time between his home city of Christchurch, New Zealand, where most of his novels are set, and Europe. He has won the New Zealand Ngaio Marsh Award three times, the Saint-Maur book festival’s crime novel of the year award in France, and has been shortlisted for the Edgar and the Barry in the US and the Ned Kelly in Australia. 

His books have been translated into over twenty languages. He’s thrown his frisbee in over forty countries, plays tennis badly, golf even worse, and has two cats – which is often two too many.

Follow Paul on Twitter @PaulCleave, and his website:

About the book

Cameron and Lisa Murdoch are successful New Zealand crime writers, happily married and topping bestseller lists worldwide. They have been on the promotional circuit for years, joking that no one knows how to get away with crime like they do. After all, they write about it for a living.

So when their challenging seven-year-old son Zach disappears, the police and the public naturally wonder if they have finally decided to prove what they have been saying all this time… Are they trying to show how they can commit the perfect crime?

Multi-award winning bestseller Paul Cleave returns with an electrifying and chilling thriller about family, public outrage and what a person might be capable of under pressure, that will keep you guessing until the final page…


The plot is tragically cynical in a way. The parents and their need for success becomes an Achilles heel in the disappearance of their young son. Who better to plan the abduction and possible murder of a victim than two people who seem to be experts at plotting crimes?

The suspicion that falls quite quickly on the parents mirrors a similar well known crime. The public are more invested in pointing the finger and shaming them than in the truth. The victim becomes almost secondary to the media frenzy and investigation that ensues.

It's a dark psychological thriller. The author doesn't mind crossing the boundaries and making readers feel uncomfortable, surprised and perhaps in part playing up to the kind of fears that lurk below the surface. It's one thing to throw something outrageous into the general atmosphere, but in reality we don't rally want certain things to come to fruition.

It's a tense read with plenty of relatable moments, especially when it comes to parenting and the fears we have for our vulnerable children, but the most frightening thing is when some of those fears come true.

Buy The Quiet People at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Orenda Books; pub date 25 November 2021 |  Paperback Original | £8.99. Buy at Amazon com. At Orenda Books.

Wednesday 24 November 2021

#BlogTour The Moon Almanac by Judith Hurrell

It's a pleasure to take part of the BlogTour The Moon Almanac: A Month-by-Month Guide to the Lunar Year by Judith Hurrell.

'A beautifully designed guide to the lunar calendar, including poetry, prose and trivia relating to each phase of the moon.'

About the Author

Judith Hurrell is a freelance writer who lives in Buckinghamshire. When she's not writing, you'll find her in nature, going on about the sky, the sea, the earth and the trees to her family and dogs. She was inspired to write this book after joining a women's circle, which meets every month to mark and celebrate the 12 phases of the lunar cycle. Follow @judehurrell on Twitter

About the book

When can you spot the Hunter’s Moon, a Smiling Moon or a Pink Moon? How can the phases of the moon help your garden grow? What influence does the full moon have on hamsters, coral and skylarks?

Navigate the rhythms of the night sky with this evocative collection of poetry, prose and precious wisdom. Illuminating the moon’s influence on the natural world and its depiction in folklore and the arts, The Moon Almanac will open your eyes to the wonders of our brightest celestial neighbour.


When I first picked this up I was already thinking about who I can buy one for, this is the perfect gift for moon worshippers, and anyone curious about the moon in general. It's a beautiful small hardback with lovely illustrations. Chapters on the moon in female archetypes, sky wolves and demons, moon gardens, the moon and nature or phases of the moon.

How the moon is connected to biological rhythms - to your sleep patterns and your circadian rhythm. The way the moon is linked intrinsically to folklore, mythology, history and is part of our language.

It's a fascinating homage to the moon, to the myths attached, to the science and physics, and of course the importance it plays in our lives. The moon in religion and folklore. It has been the object of attention for centuries, and I'm guessing nothing will change that any time soon.

It's a lovely book I wouldn't hesitate to buy for others or recommend.

Buy The Moon Almanac at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Published by Summersdale in Hardback on 23 August 2021, priced £9.99. Buy at Amazon com. Buy at Summersdale.

Tuesday 23 November 2021

#BlogTour No Way To Die by Tony Kent

 It's my turn on the BlogTour No Way To Die by Tony Kent.

About the Author

Tony Kent is a practising criminal barrister who draws on his legal experience to bring a striking authenticity to his thrillers: Killer Intent, Marked for Death, Power Play and now No Way To Die. Ranked as a ‘leader in his field’ Tony has prosecuted and defended in the most serious trials during his twenty years at the Criminal Bar - specialising in murder, terrorism, corruption, kidnap and organised crime. His case history is filled with nationally reported trials and his practice has brought him into close professional contact with GCHQ, the Security Service and the Ministry of Defence. He has also defended in matters with an international element, involving agencies such as the FBI.

Tony also appears as a criminal justice expert on a number of TV shows, including Meet, Marry, Murder (coming soon to Netflix), My Lover, My Killer and Kill Thy Neighbour (both Channel 5).

Prior to his legal career Tony represented England as a heavyweight boxer and won a host of national amateur titles. He lives just outside of London with his wife, young son and dog. Follow @TonyKent_Writes on Twitter, Visit

About the book

When traces of a radioactive material are found with a body in Key West, multiple federal agencies suddenly descend on the scene. This is not just an isolated murder - a domestic terrorist group is ready to bring the US government to its knees.

The threat hits close to home for Agent Joe Dempsey when he discovers a personal connection to the group. With his new team member, former Secret Service agent Eden Grace, Dempsey joins the race to track down the bomb before it’s too late. But when their mission falls apart, he is forced to turn to the most unlikely of allies: an old enemy he thought he had buried in his past.

Now, with time running out, they must find a way to work together to stop a madman from unleashing horrifying destruction across the country.


The unexpected and brutal death of a security guard is the starting point for a chase across country to catch a militant group with a deadly mission. Joe Dempsey finds himself pulled between saving many and finding someone who may or may not be at the middle of an insidious plot.

Kent spins a web a little bit like someone attached pins to a board and drawing string from one pin to the other. Connecting places, people and events - all driven by a common denominator. I kind of liked the way the author takes the reader into one corner and completely submerges everyone in the here and now, only to whip them straight out of that moment and into a another in the blink of an eye.

It gives this thriller an element of mystery, whilst also giving it on point political vibe. The drive of fanatics and the very real danger of domestic terrorism. Not a new concept, but a very divisive one at the moment. Does the goal justify the means depending on the message? Has a new kind of division created the kind of wedge it's hard to remove?

I think that's certainly a strongpoint when it comes to Kent's books. You get the action, the humanity, the brotherhood, but also the realism.

Buy No Way To Die at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Elliott Thompson  / pub date 18 November 2021 / HB - £16.99. Buy at Waterstones.

Monday 22 November 2021

#BlogTour Before My Actual Heart Breaks by Tish Delaney

 It's a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour Before My Actual Heart Breaks by Tish Delaney.

'An incredible debut exploring loneliness, grief and the long-lasting repercussions of trauma set against the backdrop of the Northern Irish Troubles.'

About the Author

Tish Delaney was born and brought up in Northern Ireland at the height of the Troubles. Like a lot of people of her generation, she left the sectarian violence behind by moving to England. After graduating from Manchester University, she moved to London and worked on various magazines and broadsheets as a reporter, reviewer and sub-editor. She left the Financial Times in 2014 to live in the Channel Islands to pursue her career as a writer. Follow @TishDelaney2 on Twitter

About the book

'If I could go back to being Sixteen again, I'd do things differently.' When she was young Mary Rattigan wanted to fly. She was going to take off like an angel from heaven and leave the muck and madness of troubled Northern Ireland behind. Nothing but the Land of Happy Ever After would do for her. But as a Catholic girl with a B.I.T.C.H. for a Mammy and a silent Daddy, things did not go as she and Lizzie Magee had planned. 

Now, five children, twenty-five years, an end to the bombs and bullets, enough whiskey to sink a ship and endless wakes and sandwich teas later, Mary's alone. She's learned plenty of hard lessons and missed a hundred steps towards the life she'd always hoped for. Will she finally find the courage to ask for the love she deserves? Or is it too late?


After reading this I stepped away and thought about the core of the story, which is surrounded by many other equally important issues, but what the core was for me. I say for me because it may be different, depending on each reader and their frame of reference. It's not easy given the fact that the author has created a poignant picture of family dynamics, political atmosphere, religious hierarchy and dominance, economic and social structure in Ireland from the 70s into the 21st century.

For me the way Mary, her personality, psyche and choices were formed and driven by and through the abuse she suffered. The fraught mother-daughter relationship, which at some point brings her to a crossroads and acknowledgement that a layer of umbilical loyalty cord results in a reversal of roles.

The way her expectation of self, her lack of self-confidence, and the constant feeling of having lost out or missed something along the way - it has defined her life and the way she loves or doesn't.

It's a story of incredible depth, and I think many readers will be able to relate to Mary or some element of the story in one way or another. Delaney is a fascinating storyteller.

Buy Before My Actual Heart Breaks at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Penguin - Windmill Books, pub date 28th October 2021 - Paperback, £8.99. Buy at Amazon com.

Monday 15 November 2021

#BlogTour Psychopaths Anonymous by Will Carver

It's an absolute pleasure to take part in the BlogTour Psychopaths Anonymous by Will Carver. It's a dark read and a cracking one.

About the Author

Will Carver is the international bestselling author of the January David series. He spent his early years in Germany, but returned to the UK at age eleven, when his  sporting career took off. He turned down a professional rugby contract to study theatre and television at King Alfred’s, Winchester, where he set up a successful theatre company. He currently runs his own fitness and nutrition company, and lives in Reading with his two children. Will’s latest title published by Orenda Books,

The Beresford was published in July. His previous title Hinton Hollow Death Trip was longlisted for the Not the Booker Prize, while Nothing Important Happened Today was longlisted for the Theakston’s Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year. Good Samaritans was book of the year in Guardian, Telegraph and Daily Express, and hit number one on the ebook charts. Follow @will_carver on Twitter

About the book

When AA meetings make her want to drink more, alcoholic murderess Maeve sets up a group for psychopaths. Maeve has everything. A high-powered job, a beautiful home, a string of uncomplicated one-night encounters. She’s also an addict: a functioning alcoholic with a dependence on sex and an insatiable appetite for killing men.

When she can’t find a support group to share her obsession, she creates her own. And Psychopaths Anonymous is born. Friends of Maeve.

Now in a serious relationship, Maeve wants to keep the group a secret. But not everyone in the group adheres to the rules, and when a reckless member raises suspicions with the police, Maeve’s drinking spirals out of control. She needs to stop killing. She needs to close the group. But Maeve can’t seem to quit the things that are bad for her, including her new man…


What's not to enjoy about the refreshing honesty with which Maeve goes about her daily life. The automatic and expected boxes are ticked to keep up appearances, but what happens when the small moments of truth and pleasure threaten to interfere with the way she runs her life. Can she sustain any kind of long-term relationship or friendship without being swallowed up by the darkness she likes to cater to.

I think I enjoyed this book for all the wrong reasons. At the top of that list is the fact the author peels back the layers of the shallow exteriors and presents a very real reality. In fact I wonder what would or will happen if psychopathic or sociopathic traits become an acceptable part of society? 

Next on the list, and I have mentioned this in a review of a book written by a recovering alcoholic who swallowed the scheme whole and shouted it out to the world, is the way Carver takes AA to task. It doesn't work, and the statistics are very interesting. It divides the addicted into categories, some of which are set-up to fail like some self-fulfilling prophecy. Not because of the addiction per se, but because of the way it is infused with a cult like dependency on a reverence to religion and God. 

Clearly only the door reading you must accept God and faith into your heart or fail automatically, means everyone who steps through another door is on a fast path to failure. It also means blame and guilt for loss of sobriety has an automatic perpetrator, as opposed to having personal accountability or looking at the cause and not the symptom.

And the third point is the logistical aspect of certain victimology, which should probably raise alarm bells about the writer, if I were so inclined, but I'm not. (My next FoM meeting is coming Wednesday at six pm - just saying.) 

If Friends of Maeve groups start to pop up everywhere we all know whose door to knock on, right? Talk about giving people ideas and some direction in their lives. Trust Carver to create the kind of book that people will probably either feel uncomfortable about or not admit to liking it for being a bit more than a crime read. I loved it. It's deliciously dark. It lacks any kind of societal norm or boundary. Most importantly it speaks softly to the dark side - they might not acknowledge it, but they are listening. It's a superb read.

Buy Psychopaths Anonymous at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher ‏:  Orenda Books pub date 25 Nov. 2021. Buy at Amazon com. Buy at Orendabooks.

Friday 12 November 2021

#BlogTour The Replacement by Melanie Golding

 It's a pleasure to review this unexpected little gem and take part in the BlogTour The Replacement by Melanie Golding.

'Weaving together the trademark folklore inspiration that readers loved in Little Darlings, with the procedural narrative force of a brilliant mystery, this is the excellent and unnerving new novel from Melanie Golding.'

About the Author

Melanie Golding has a master’s in creative writing from Bath Spa University. She has taught writing in prisons and institutions for young offenders, as well as music in a school for boys with social, emotional and behavioural difficulties. Her novel Little Darlings has been optioned for film. A full-time, registered childminder, Golding splits her time between her childminding duties and her writing. 

Follow @mk_golding on Twitter and @melaniegoldingauthor on Instagram

About the book

When a small child is found wandering alone, the local shopkeepers call the authorities immediately. Twenty minutes later, the girl’s mother turns up, panicked and distraught. It doesn't take long to clear things up, and mother and daughter are soon reunited and sent on their way.

Miles away, the body of a man is discovered, floating in a bathtub, but the most surprising discovery of all is that he isn't dead. Despite his injuries, he is very much alive.

Two seemingly unrelated events. But as DS Harper begins to investigate, disturbing truths start to come to light that connect the man to the mother and child, and suddenly it’s not clear where the danger truly lies. Harper must find out, and quickly. Because someone, or something, is closing in and she needs to uncover the truth before it’s too late…


This wasn't at all what I was expecting. It hooked me, reeled me in, and I loved it.

What kind of mother just leaves her toddler? A desperate one or one that changes her mind and comes back ten minutes later, by which time the police and social are involved. It takes some convincing, but eventually mother and daughter are reunited and allowed to leave.

Elsewhere DS Harper is investigating another crime, which at first glance is completely unrelated, until a connection is made between mother, child and man. A simple mystery and possible crime, becomes a taut psychological read with added element, which absolutely makes the story.

I think this is definitely becoming a trademark style of Golding, the way crime and human nature is merged with folklore and myths to create the kind of read that never quite lets you go. Merging the emotional fragility, the underlying violence, the unconditional love and the instinct for survival with the shimmer of belief we carry in our core - the result is a great story.

This is an author to watch, there is natural knack for creating tension, weaving threads and compelling storytelling.

Buy The Replacement at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher ‏: ‎HQ pub date 11 Nov. 2021. Buy at Amazon com. At Harper Collins.

Thursday 11 November 2021

#BlogTour Wish You Weren't Here by Gabby Hutchinson Crouch

It's my turn on the BlogTour Wish You Weren't Here by Gabby Hutchinson Crouch.

About the Author

Gabby Hutchinson Crouch (Horrible Histories, Newzoids, The News Quiz, The Now Show) has a background in satire. Born in Pontypool in Wales, and raised in Ilkeston, Derbyshire, she now lives in Canterbury. Follow @Scriblit on Twitter

About the book

The Rook family run a little family business. Ghost hunting. And business has picked up recently. Something’s wrong. It’s been getting noticeably worse since, ooh, 2016?

Bad spirits are abroad, and right now they are particularly abroad on Coldbay Island, which isn’t even abroad, it’s only 20 miles from Skegness. The Rooks’ ‘quick call out’ to the church on Coldbay Island picks loose a thread that begins to unravel the whole island, and the world beyond.

Is this the apocalypse? This might be the apocalypse. Who knew the apocalypse would start in an off-season seaside resort just off the Lincolnshire coast? I’ll tell you who knew - Linda knew. She’s been feeling increasingly uneasy about the whole of the East Midlands since the 90s.


The Rooks are the squad you call when the monsters come calling or something goes boo in the night. A family company that deals with ghosts and other stuff that isn't supposed to exist. Even they have noticed that there seems to be a shift towards the inexplicable, which also means their business is thriving, but they also know something evil this way comes.

I can easily imagine this as a scripted film/series, because it has a certain chaotic dodge-ball dialogue going on between the characters. Sometimes it makes it hard to follow, but then the Rooks are quite a chaotic lot in general. The whole exchange at the beginning between Darryl, Janusz and the other Rooks, had me like - what, who?

It's an acerbic, sometimes sarcastic, often witty venture into the paranormal world. The dysfunctional oddball family dynamic lends itself to the theme of the unknown and the lack of control said unknown tends to conjure up. How do you fix something if there are no instructions for it? The Rooks are so convinced of their ability to deliver the goods, that it doesn't even dawn on them that it could go wrong in any way shape or form.

It will interesting to see this series evolve, as the Rooks venture into more paranormal mysteries. Will the dysfunction, a possessed family member or the conflicted emotional baggage the cuckoo Rook carries around with her, tear the team apart eventually. Or will the ghostbusting team prevail?

Buy Wish You Weren't Here at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher ‏ : ‎ Farrago pub date 14 Oct. 2021. Buy at Amazon com.

#Blogtour Just Haven't Met You Yet by Sophie Cousens

It's truly a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour Just Haven't Met You Yet by Sophie Cousens. 

'New York Times bestselling author Sophie Cousens is back with her second quirky, romantic tale of love, fate and why a simple mistake could be the secret to finding true love.'

About the Author

Sophie Cousens is a writer of romantic fiction based in Jersey, where Just Haven’t Met You Yet is set. Her previous novel published by Arrow, This Time Next Year, has reached huge success in the UK, having sold 150,000 copies across all formats in just six months. This Time Next Year has also achieved huge success in the US as a New York Times bestseller and Good Morning America Book Club pick.

Sophie previously worked in TV in London for over twelve years, producing The Graham Norton Show, Big Brother and Ant and Dec. Sophie has also previously published an eBook only romantic comedy novel How To Get Ahead In Television which was shortlisted for the 2015 Romantic Novelist Association Awards. She relocated from London to Jersey and balances her writing career with working for an arts charity, taking care of her two small children and enjoying small island life. Follow @SophieCous on Twitter or on Instagram

About the book

Tell me story of how you two met… Hopeless romantic Laura has spent her career as a journalist telling other people’s unbelievable love stories. But when it comes to her own love life, it seems she keeps looking for ‘the one’ in all the wrong places.

That is until she picks up the wrong suitcase at the airport by mistake and finds inside contents that just might belong to the man of her dreams. From romantic piano sheet-music to a battered copy of her favourite book, Laura knows this is the sign she’s been waiting for.

And if her job has taught her anything, it’s that when it comes to love, you can't let opportunity pass you by. And so Laura is determined to track down the mysterious suitcase owner and her own happy ending. But fate, as always, might just have other ideas...


Laura is convinced there is a perfect connection with a potential soulmate just waiting to happen to her. When she picks up the wrong suitcase at the airport and all signs point to the perfect man, then she gets slightly obsessed with finding him. 

Whilst retracing the path of her parents love story, and more or less stalking a stranger she has never even seen before, she encounters some hard truths and eye-opening revelations about herself and others.

I must admit it made me laugh, a lot. Laura's energy, social awkwardness, bumbling mistakes, and quite frankly her naïve optimism - it all makes her a lovable character. You can't help but go along for the ride. It's as if she lives in this alternate universe where everything just falls into place eventually, no matter what kind of obstacle she encounters.

Cousens clearly has knack for storytelling and in equal measures for creating characters readers find relatable, and yet simultaneously they have an element of fantastical fictional characters. It's exactly the right combination for a feel good and often funny read.

I think this is going to be a popular read. It hits all the right spots. A bit of nostalgia, a budding romance, friendship, a dab of comedy, and the hunt for Mr Right - also known as the elusive Mr Wrong Suitcase.

Buy Just Haven't Met You Yet at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Arrow; pub date 11th November 2021 - Paperback Original £7.99. Buy at Amazon com. At Waterstones.

Friday 5 November 2021

#BlogTour Good Cop Bad Cop by Simon Kernick

 It's my turn on the BlogTour Good Cop Bad Cop by Simon Kernick.

About the Author

Simon Kernick is a number one bestseller and one of the UK's most popular thriller writers, with huge hits including Relentless, The Last 10 Seconds, Siege and The Bone Field series. Follow @simonkernick on Twitter

About the book

It's 14 years after the worst terrorist atrocity in UK history and, with the perpetrators either dead or missing, the motive remains a mystery. But Dr Ralph Teller, a wealthy industrialist who lost his wife in the attack, never gave up hope of justice.  He thinks he knows the real identity of the mastermind responsible.

Only one person can help him put together the final pieces of the puzzle - retired police officer Chris Sketty, who infiltrated the terrorist group and was wounded trying to prevent the attack. But Cleverly thinks Sketty is a liar...and possibly far worse. He has a dossier on all the former cop's dark secrets and will make them public unless Sketty tells the truth.

So, over one night, Sketty will share his brutal tale of betrayal, ruthlessness and corruption, finishing with a revelation so terrifying and unexpected that it will change everything. Is Sketty a brave hero, crippled in the line of duty, or the most ruthless mass murderer the country has ever seen?


Chris Sketty spends a lot of time thinking about the before and after of events that have defined his life, his choices and the paths he decides to take along the way. It takes him a while to comprehend that many of those have been manipulated and mapped out for him. Knowing his predictable behaviour patterns have made it easier for others to do so - or do they?

He is a good guy with a great reputation, a hero. He is also self-assured and determined to outwit the man who has invited him into his home under false pretences. The truth will out. Or will it be a version of the truth?

It's a combination of psychological crime with a taste of urban, and it's all tinged with the flavour of corruption. Kernick has his character straddle the black, white and all the grey areas at the same time. That sense of instability, doubt and battle with the remnants of a conscience - it's all just a little too close to reality for comfort.

It's a fast-paced crime read, which will probably keep you guessing and doubting until the end. What's the difference between good or bad when the two are so closely intertwined.

Buy Good Cop Bad Cop at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Headline Books; Out in Hardback on 11th November 2021 - £16.99. Buy at Waterstones.

Thursday 4 November 2021

#BlogTour The Fix by M.A. Russo

It's my turn on the BlogTour The Fix by M.A. Russo.

About the Author/s

Authors M. A. Russo are a sister collective, but you'd be forgiven for thinking they were one and the same. they both strate dtheir careers as nurses, with Marina gaining a Masters  in Health Psychology and a Diploma in Clinical Hypnotherapy, and Anita as a University Nurse Lecturer with a PhD in Cancer Studies. These backgrounds fuel their writing.

Both are now commercial photographers by day and writers by night. They even have similar hobbies. they both love to run, hike, walk their dogs, grow their own veg and crate spectacular vegan meals. Neither can sing well, a regret they both share, as do others around them. Individually, Marina is passionate about lifelong learning, yoga, photographing nature and art. Anita loves shoemaking, screenwriting and composing songs on her guitar. Sisters Marina and Anita  are coauthors of The Fix. Follow @MARussoAuthor on Twitter.

About the book

When Covenston is hit by a series of rapes, Ally and Jinny Canessa find themselves amateur detectives. Ally is a counsellor, at odds with the very attractive DI Nick Daniels, whereas Jinny joins a local coven and believes spells may be the key to uncovering the perpetrator.

Evidence suggests the victims are being selected from one particular community, but the question is why? Ally and Jinny must confront harassment, homophobia – and themselves to find out. Because until they do, no woman is safe.


Jinny is convinced her connection to magic and a local coven is playing kismet with her. She casts and presto something akin to what she conjured up happens. Not in the way she expects it to though.

Jinny and Ally are drawn into a violent crime spree. Someone is picking specific targets to punish them with the most vile form of intimidation and humiliation, to teach them a lesson and to show them true power.

Written by an author duo who are also sisters, this crime read has an underlying dark psychological undertone. It's punchy, brutal and crosses plenty of boundaries. Not for the sensitive, faint of heart or readers who find certain fictional scenarios sail too closely to reality. It's crude, veers into the obsessive, abusive and is at times violent. 

Some disturbing chapters are very detailed, perhaps to the point of gratuitous. I wonder if there was a conscious or even subconscious leaning towards what the plot should look like or is it a case of an intention to shed a light of just how targeted and vulnerable certain minority groups are. It felt contrived at times, forcing stereotypes for the greater good of enlightenment and understanding. Are they targeted - yes. Do women in general live a more dangerous and risky existence compared to men - yes.

What is done well is a lack of fracturing, which often occurs when authors write books in teams. I also really like the parallels drawn between the need to fix, self-image and understanding, and the topic of homophobia.

Buy The Fix at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher ‏: ‎ Dark Edge Press, pub date 1 Nov. 2021. Buy at Amazon com.

#BlogTour Babes in the Wood by Mark Stay

 It's my turn on the BlogTour Babes in the Wood by Mark Stay - this is the second book in the Witches of Woodville trilogy.

About the Author

Mark Stay co-wrote the screenplay for Robot Overlords which became a movie with Sir Ben Kingsley and Gillian Anderson, and premiered at the 58th London Film Festival. He is co-presenter of the Bestseller Experiment podcast and has worked in bookselling and publishing for over twenty-five years. He lives in Kent, England, with his family and a trio of retired chickens. He blogs and humblebrags over at Follow @markstay  on Twitter. 

About the book

July, 1940 - In a quiet village in rural Kent, a magical mystery leads to murder . . . Woodville has returned to 'normal' after the departure of the Crow Folk. The villagers put out fires from aircraft shot down in the Battle of Britain, and Faye Bright discovers that magic can be just as dangerous as any weapon.

The arrival of a trio of Jewish children fleeing the Nazis brings the fight for Europe to the village. When their guardian is found dead, Faye must play nanny to the terrified children while gathering clues to uncover a dark magic that threatens to change the course of the war. And she must do it quickly – the children have seen too much and someone wants them silenced for good.


This is the second book in the Witches of Woodville trilogy. Set in World War 2, the story follows Faye Bright, as she walks through life on a tightrope of magic and brutal reality.

Faye and Bertie are still getting used to being a prisoner to the restrictions of a world at war, including bus windows with special netting to keep people from being pierced by shards of glass in the eventuality of a bomb being dropped in their vicinity.

They more or less stumble upon the enemy in the middle of their village, well at least the majority of the villagers feel that way. Faye knows they are just scared, traumatised refugees who have been torn from their families in an attempt to save at least one member of a targeted family.

Whilst protecting them Faye must once again fight against a deep dark magic that has one goal - to change the course of the war to the detriment of many innocent people. It's paramount that the darkness be stopped in its tracks.

This is a series I would recommend to both YA readers and also middle grade readers. The darkness tries to envelope the light It deals with traumatic and sensitive topics by melding history, fiction and magical realism to create a fierce main character and a compelling read.

Buy Babes in the Wood at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Simon and Schuster Uk; pub date 28 October 2021 | Paperback Original | £8.99. Buy at Amazon com.

Wednesday 3 November 2021

#Review The Appeal by Janice Hallett

The Appeal - 'The standout debut thriller of 2021 that delivers multiple brilliant twists, and will change the way you think about the modern crime novel.' Coming in January 2022 - The Twyford Code also by Janice Hallett

About the Author
Janice Hallett is a former magazine editor, award-winning journalist and government communications writer. She wrote articles and speeches for, among others, the Cabinet Office, Home Office and Department for International Development. Her enthusiasm for travel has taken her around the world several times, from Madagascar to the Galapagos, Guatemala to Zimbabwe, Japan, Russia and South Korea. 

A playwright and screenwriter, she penned the feminist Shakespearean stage comedy NetherBard and co-wrote the feature film Retreat, a psychological thriller starring Cillian Murphy, Thandiwe Newton and Jamie Bell. The Appeal was her first novel, her second The Twyford Code is set to be published by Viper Books in January 2022. Follow @JaniceHallett on Twitter

About the book
In a town full of secrets. Someone was murdered. Someone went to prison. And Everyone's a suspect. Can you uncover the truth?

There is a mystery to solve in the sleepy town of Lower Lockwood. It starts with the arrival of two secretive newcomers, and ends with a tragic death. Roderick Tanner QC has assigned law students Charlotte and Femi to the case. Someone has already been sent to prison for murder, but he suspects that they are innocent. And that far darker secrets have yet to be revealed...

Throughout the amateur dramatics society's disastrous staging of All My Sons and the shady charity appeal for a little girl's medical treatment, the murderer hid in plain sight. The evidence is all there, waiting to be found. But will Charlotte and Femi solve the case? Will you?

I think less will be more when it comes to reviewing this one. I wouldn't want to take away the pleasure of experiencing this little treasure with an open mind.

Just one thing though, the minutes created by Isabel Beck were a riot - this is what happens when you write what you think, as opposed to giving a written narrative of what was actually said. Maybe she can come do some clerking in our town, it would go down a treat.

I have to give Hallett her dues, this is a completely engrossing and original piece of work. Interestingly it never loses the element of intrigue, despite the quite often seemingly mundane flowing in and out of the interactions and communications. It reminded me of a toss-up between a modern Cluedo and a game of mastermind. It's about the right place and time, the right combination of people, place, evidence and above all the clues.

It's a really well executed original piece of fiction. Using texts, emails, letters in a story isn't unusual - completing a whole murder mystery that way is. You either fail to reel in your audience or you excel at it, as Hallett has done.

Buy The Appeal at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher ‏: ‎Viper; pub date 14 Jan. 2021. Buy at Amazon com. At Waterstones.

Tuesday 2 November 2021

#BlogTour Born of No Woman by Franck Bouysse

It's a pleasure to take part in the Blogtour Born Of No Woman by Franck Bouysse. Translated from the French by LaraVergnaud. 

The Word-of-Mouth International Bestseller - The tagline couldn't be a more appropriate description for this book. '

Born Of No Woman has won every prize awarded by readers in France, including the Grand Prix Des Lectrices Elle, one of the most important prizes in France. It has also won the Prix Des Libraires (given by booksellers), Prix Psychologies Magazine and the Prix Babelio.'

About the Author
Franck Bouysse is a French author. His novels Grossir le ciel in 2014, Plateau in 2016 and Glaise in 2017 have met with wide success and won a vast array of literary awards. Previously a teacher of biology and horticulture, Bouysse lives in the south-west of France.

About the book
Nineteenth-century rural France. - Before he is called to bless the body of a woman at the nearby asylum, Father Gabriel receives a strange, troubling confession: hidden under the woman's dress he will find notebooks in which she confides the abuses she suffered and the twisted motivations behind them.

And so Rose's terrible story comes to light: sold as a teenage girl to a rich man, hidden away in a old manor house deep in the woods and caught in a perverse web, manipulated by those society considers her betters.

A girl whose only escape is to capture her life - in all its devastation and hope - in the pages of her diary...

First and foremost, kudos to the translator Lara Vergnaud. Without a skilled translator, who also comprehends the art of storytelling, and not just the technicality of translation, it would be impossible to grasp and give readers the true voice of the original language and story. 

It's an incredible piece of literary fiction and Bouysse is a master of his craft. The lyrical prose flows endlessly with such ease. It comforts and soothes, and yet simultaneously disturbs, angers and makes the reader feel a whirlpool of emotions.

The fourteen-year-old girl, one of four sisters, is sold by her father to a wealthy blacksmith. It takes her a while to understand the betrayal and her fate. It also takes her many years to reclaim her name - Rose. The new chapter in her young life appears at first to be that of a skivvy. A maid, cook, servant and general dogsbody. But the truth is far worse than she could ever have imagined.

Father Gabriel becomes aware of the story of Rose when her diaries come into his possession in the most tragic of circumstances, and what he reads both compels, drives and changes him forever.

It's a masterpiece of literary fiction, which clearly hasn't reached enough eyes and ears overseas as yet. The storytelling has a natural fluidity to it, even as the story hops from one narrator to the other. It's a mystery, crime, so many things, and yet at the heart it is a story about identity, loss and the fragile connections that are woven between us on so many different levels. It's a beautiful story, written by an amazing writer.

Buy Born Of No Woman at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Published by Weidenfeld & Nicolson on 21 October 2021 in hardback: £14.99, eBook: £7.99, and audio: £19.99. Buy at Amazon com. At Weidenfeld and Nicolson

Monday 1 November 2021

#BlogTour #Audiobook The Vaccine by Joe Miller

It's a pleasure to take  part in the Blogtour for the Audiobook The Vaccine: Inside the Race to Conquer the COVID-19 Pandemic by Joe Miller narrated by John Sackville. Also credited Ugur Sahin (Author), Özlem Türeci (Author).

'The exclusive story of the greatest scientific breakthrough of the 21st century - the BioNTech-Pfizer vaccine.' 

About the Author

Vaccine is the story of this race against time. Written by Joe Miller, the Financial Times’ correspondent who covered the team’s COVID-19 project in real time, and based off more than 150 hours of interviews with Sahin and Türeci, as well with scientists, politicians, and public health officials, it offers an exclusive behind-the-scenes account of this extraordinary breakthrough. Follow @JoeMillerJr on Twitter

About the book

In mid-January 2020, scientists Ugur Sahin and Özlem Türeci learned of how a new virus that had emerged in Wuhan, China, was spreading. Recognising the threat at once, they dropped everything and committed themselves to developing a vaccine against the disease that would soon be known as COVID-19. 

No one believed it was possible. But by December, the revolutionary BioNTech-Pfizer mRNA inoculation became the first clinically approved COVID-19 vaccine. Soon it was being injected into the arms of millions, turning the tide on the deadliest pandemic in living memory. 

Cutting-edge science that feels like a thriller, this is an historic account of the triumph of human endeavour in a time of adversity. 

Includes exclusive interview with Joe Miller, Ugur Sahin and Özlem Türeci.


What Vaccine does really well is capture the entirety of the picture, especially when we are only able to see parts of it. For someone to openly recognise and be honest about the trajectory and evolvement of the pandemic, then following the battle to find a solution and way to curb the pandemic, and of course the amount of fatalities.

During a time when people are fractured into different sides, especially when it comes to Covid and subsequently the vaccine, it's important to shed light on the science to counter the conspiracies.

Conspiracy theorists see and make connections where others don't. There is a general feeling of mistrust towards science, government and the medical experts in general, which is why books or audiobooks like this are of paramount importance. Countering the stream of misinformation and hopefully allaying some fears along the way.

It's science heavy - obviously - but for the majority it is explained quite well for a reader who is also a layperson. The use of metaphors really helped with equivalency and association. I could do with a written version of it too.

Given the book was written during the time of the pandemic, the author had certain limitations to deal with and yet he still managed to interview scientists, politicians and staff at BioNTech, and of course Uğur Şahin und Özlem Türeci. The result is a fascinating window into the world behind the vaccine, the company, and the people who created it.

I think it's worth pointing out that our media, and often the mouthpieces of governments, focus on the negative to gain traction and viewers. The numbers we hear and read about tend to be the losses, the victims, and whilst they are important it's perhaps impossible to quantify the positive results of the vaccine. Both now and in the future.

It's a compelling audiobook - I highly recommend it.

Buy The Vaccine at Audible UK or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Buy at Amazon Uk.

Listening Length - 11 Hours and 10 Minutes, Author - Joe Miller, Ugur Sahin, Özlem Türeci, Narrator - John Sackville, Release Date - 14 September 2021, Publisher - Audible Originals, Program Type - Audiobook, Version - Original recording, Language - English.