Wednesday 27 December 2023

#Review Yellowface by R.F. Kuang

I absolutely understand why this was such a bestseller!

About the Author

Rebecca F. Kuang is the #1 New York Times and #1 Sunday Times bestselling author of the Poppy War trilogy, Babel: An Arcane History, Yellowface, and Katabasis (forthcoming). Her work has won the Nebula, Locus, Crawford, and British Book Awards. She has been named to the 2023 Time100 Next list and the Forbes 30 Under 30 Class of 2024.

A Marshall Scholar, she has an MPhil in Chinese Studies from Cambridge and an MSc in Contemporary Chinese Studies from Oxford. She is now pursuing a PhD in East Asian Languages and Literatures at Yale, where she studies Sinophone literature and Asian American literature. Follow @kuangrf on X

About the book

Athena Liu is a literary darling and June Hayward is literally nobody.

White lies - When Athena dies in a freak accident, June steals her unpublished manuscript and publishes it as her own under the ambiguous name Juniper Song.

Dark humour - But as evidence threatens June’s stolen success, she will discover exactly how far she will go to keep what she thinks she deserves.

Deadly consequences…What happens next is entirely everyone else’s fault.


Part of me wonders whether the editors really knew what they were reading when this hit their desks. It is such an accurate reflection of white privilege in the publishing industry and more of a tongue lashing than a tongue-in-cheek drop in the pan.

The author takes scathing shots at a variety of elements of publishing, fame, being a writer, and perhaps most astute is her take on who is allowed to write what about whom, when and in what capacity. I am so glad one of the examples mentioned is American Dirt, which is a perfect example of the storm in Yellowface.

Then there are the questions that pop up in relation to June stealing Athena's work or idea then adapting it with her own style and voice. Is that not the core of fan fiction, which is in essence taking the ideas of others and creating an adaptation using the material of other authors. Then the controversy of white authors writing about minorities, about issues their privilege doesn't allow them to view objectively. This thought process is carried forward by the author by referencing the similar inter-culture restraints and prejudices Athena was guilty of.

It's an incredibly clever piece of writing and story. I enjoyed the fact the end is exactly as brassy and bold faced as one would expect, because it reflects the publishing industry so well. It's a fantastic read.

Buy Yellowface at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher ‏: ‎The Borough Press, pub date 25 May 2023.Buy at Amazon com.

Friday 8 December 2023

#Blogtour #Podcasttour From The Library With Love by Kate Thompson

It's an absolute pleasure to take part in this Blogtour with a difference - featuring Kate Thompson and her brilliant podcast - From the Library with Love.

About the Author/Podcaster

Kate Thompson an award-winning journalist, ghostwriter and novelist who has spent the past two decades in the UK mass market and book publishing industry. 

Over the past eight years Kate has written eleven fiction and non-fiction titles, three of which have made the Sunday Times top ten bestseller list. Follow @katethompson380 on X, @KateThompsonAuthor on Facebook or @katethompsonauthor on Instagram

About the Podcast

It's Kate Thompson here, author of The Little Wartime Library and upcoming Wartime Book Club.

Wonderful, transformative things happen when you set foot in a library. In 2019 I uncovered the true story of a forgotten Underground library, built along the tracks of Bethnal Green Tube tunnel during the Blitz. As stories go, it was irresistible and the result was, The Little Wartime Library, my seventh novel.

Bethnal Green Public Library, where the novel is set, was 100 years old in October 2022, and to celebrate the centenary of this grand old lady, funded by library philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, I set myself the challenge of interviewing 100 library workers. Speaking with one library worker for every year this library has been serving its community seemed a good way to mark this auspicious occasion. Because who better to explain the worth of a hundred-year-old library, than librarians themselves!

I wanted to explore the enduring value of libraries and reading. I quickly realised that librarians have the best stories.

My research led me to librarians with over fifty years of experience, to the impressive women who manage libraries in prisons and schools, to those in remote Scottish islands. From poetry libraries overlooking the wide sweep of the Thames, to the 16th century Shakespeare’s Library in Stratford, via the small but mighty Leadhills Miners’ Library.

This podcast was born out of those eye-opening conversations, because as Denise from Tower Hamlets Library told me: 'If you want to see the world, don't join the Army, become a librarian!'

I’ll also be talking to international bestselling authors and some remarkable wartime women. This is my way of celebrating and documenting the remarkable stories I have found whilst researching my books.

Interviews up already:
100-year-old Bletchley Park Codebreaker Betty Webb on keeping her wartime secrets.

Bestselling author of The Beekeeper of Aleppo, Christy Lefteri on the importance of writing what you feel.
New York Times bestselling author Madeline Martin on underground libraries and clandestine book clubs.


October 2nd - 8th is Libraries Week. I'll be releasing an episode every day with some incredible librarians, including the librarian who has kept everything she has ever found in a returned library book.

November. 'I was born in a concentration camp' A powerful interview with 78-year-old Eva Clarke, who told me '‘You don’t know what you can withstand until you are put to the test.’

December marks the 85th anniversary of the Kindertransport scheme, 97-year-old Gabriele Keeaghan bravely shares the harrowing moment she was forced to leave behind her family and flee Nazi occupied Vienna.

National Letter Writing Day, I met the woman who collects forgotten letters from flea markets and told me, ‘Letters capture the essence of what it is to be living through history. In attics, and drawers and shoe boxes under beds there are hundreds of stories waiting to be told.’

Plus SO so many more I just can't wait to release. This is a labour of love. 

The episode I decided to feature is the story of Gabriele - On the 85th anniversary of the Kindertransport scheme, which saved 10,000 children from the Nazis, 97-year-old Gabriele Keenaghan shares her astonishing story

About the episode:
You’re 12 years old. Your mother is dead and your father has gone missing. You are wrenched from everyone you know and love and put on a train and sent from your home to a new country, where you don’t speak the language, with a group of total strangers.  And you have no idea whether you will ever set eyes on your family again. This was the terrifying reality facing Gabriel Weiss when she boarded a Kindertransport train out of Nazi occupied Vienna in April 1939 and was sent to live in England in the months building up to World War Two. On the 85th anniversary of the Kindertransport scheme, the 97 year old shares her extraordinary story…


I sincerely hope if I ever reach the age of 97 that I will be able to engage with the world as Gabriele does in this podcast, as if not a year had gone by since she stepped onto a train and journey into uncertainty.

Her story, her voice, her memories and her stamp on this world is a testament to her strength of character and her perseverance, above all it is proof of victory, despite the tragedy surrounding her childhood. The death of her mother sort of cements the beginning of change, and the subsequent disappearance of her Jewish father during Kristallnacht tears the fabric of her life apart.

Luckily for her, for her future family and for us, Gabriele's grandmother had the foresight to recognise the danger her granddaughter was in and facilitated her journey as part of the Kindertransport. This paved the way for many thousands of Jewish children to escape persecution. Unfortunately it also meant severing ties with loved ones, in the majority of cases it was the last time the young children had any contact with their parents or loved ones.

Thompson engages Gabriele with polite, friendly conversation, almost as if two friends were meeting over a coffee. The gentle questions dig a little deeper here and there to dislodge memories and flashbacks that give the overall picture of a child who has to endure always being perceived as the enemy, and yet simply wanting to feel safe, secure and belong.

I really enjoyed the podcast and wouldn't hesitate to recommend it to others. It's both admirable and a fantastic idea to capture certain topics and moments as an audio memory. It's also a great way of paying tribute to people who deserve to have their voices heard. By the way, the Teddy had me gulping.

Tuesday 5 December 2023

#Blogtour How Not to Murder Your Ex by Katie Marsh

It's a pleasure to take part in the Blogtour How Not to Murder Your Ex by Katie Marsh.

About the Author

Katie Marsh wrote five bestselling, uplifting women’s fiction novels before turning to cosy crime for Boldwood. Previously published by Hodder, the first in her new crime series  How Not To Murder Your Ex, following the fortunes of the Bad Girls Detective Agency, will be published in December 2023.

About the book

It is 5:30 am on Clio's forty-fifth birthday and her hated ex is lying dead on her doorstep. Even worse, this is no accident. Someone’s killed him...

When single mum Clio’s ex Gary turns up dead on the doorstep of her caravan – the one she’s been forced to live in ever since he stole every penny she had – there’s only one suspect. Her.

What’s more, she doesn’t remember much about the night he was killed – not just because of the forgetfulness that’s been plaguing her along with the hot flushes – but because she definitely had one too many cocktails with her two best friends Amber and Jeanie.

Clio does remember them talking about how much they all hated him though. And, in the frame for murder, she has to ask herself – if she didn’t kill Gary, who did? One of his many enemies? Or someone a little closer to home? And can she and her friends find the real killer before it’s too late?

Unputdownable mystery set on the English coast – perfect for fans of The Thursday Murder Club, Bad Sisters, and How to Kill Your Family. Follow @marshisms on X, Sign up to Katie's newsletter


Chaos reigns supreme in this first book in the Bad Girls Detective Agency. It's exactly how you might imagine the discovery of a dead body might go after a boozy night out with the girls. First thought is to get rid of the body, you know like some mob killer. Why would Clio think she needed to hide a crime she didn't commit, well is fairly certain she didn't commit - umm not entirely clear on what happened the night before and could have killed her ex. 

Flanked and supported by her best friends, who are helpful and entirely unhelpful sometimes, depending on the circumstances. They are however convinced that Clio is innocent - there is that pesky detail about the blackout though - and are willing to go to great lengths to prove it. The ex was a scoundrel, scammer and a wannabe Brad Pitt who liked to swim in dangerous waters with bigger sharks than he was. He was always convinced the solution to every problem was just round the corner waiting to be found.

It's cosy crime with a comedy element to it, perhaps because the core and depth of the friendship between the women and the situations they find themselves will resonate with readers. It's serious enough to make you grumble at the injustice, and yet wanders so close to the edge of hilarity to make it an entertaining read.

Buy How Not To Murder Your Ex at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher ‏: ‎ Boldwood Books; pub date 1 Dec. 2023. Buy at Amazon com.

Monday 27 November 2023

#Blogtour The Weatherman by Royston Reeves

It's a pleasure to take part in the Blogtour The Weatherman by Royston Reeves.

About the Author

Royston Reeves is a psychological thriller writer from Essex, England. After spending years in advertising writing TV scripts, newspaper ads and billboards, Royston’s first novel, The Weatherman, will be published in November 2023.

Reeves is the Head of Strategy for JOE Media and he currently lives in the Kent countryside with his wife, Carly, and daughter, Hunter-Rose. (Author pic - credit to Carly Cussen). Follow @royston_reeves on X

About the book

‘I’m going to tell you about the worst thing that ever happened to me.’

Will’s a nice guy. So when he takes a shortcut to the tube station after a few beers with his mates from work, he steps out of the way of the fellow who’s staggering towards him. But he – deliberately – moves back into his path. They knock each other as they pass.

Moments later one man is dead and another’s life is changed forever. Or is it? There are no CCTV cameras. There was no one else in the out-of-the-way alley. Maybe the world doesn’t have to end for Will after all. But there’s always someone watching . . . and Will’s life is about to implode.


It's s great example of how quickly life can change - one minute all your ducks are in a row and the next you might or might not have committed a crime. The kind of crime that has the potential to destroy your life. Knowing that, would you put yourself at risk by doing the right thing?

Will likes to tell himself and us that he is a nice guy. Do nice guys commit crimes and then try to hide the fact - just walk away as if nothing ever happened at all. And what if someone else was aware of your secret and decided to profit from your fear and desperation? This element of feeling watched, judged and waiting to be exposed makes Will retreat into a former lived version of himself.

It's a riveting psychological thriller that plays with the grey areas between right and wrong, what is morally right when it comes to self preservation, and isn't it I wondered whether the introduction of Solly was more than just the nemesis. Was Solly the physical representation of Will's other more surprising character traits? The dark side that is obviously there inside just waiting to pop out.

Imagine Solly as the physical representation of a conscience and simultaneously also of the depths someone will go to to hide their true nature, especially when it gets them into trouble.

Buy The Weatherman at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher; No Exit Press,23 November 2023. Buy at Amazon com.

Thursday 23 November 2023

#WOW #Blogtour My Unfurling by Lisa May Bennett

 It's a pleasure to take part in the WOW! Women On Writing Tour - My Unfurling: Emerging from the Grip of Anxiety, Self-Doubt, and Drinking by Lisa May Bennett.

About the Author

Lisa May Bennett is the author of the memoir My Unfurling: Emerging from the Grip of Anxiety, Self-Doubt, and Drinking. She had a flourishing career in marketing and communications for more than two decades before finally embracing sobriety and chasing her dream of becoming an author. Her upcoming book will demystify the self-publishing process, and she hopes to encourage more people to tell and publish their own stories. You can follow @lisamaybennett on X, @lisamaybennett on Instagram, lisamaybennett on Facebook or visit

About the book

Wicked hangovers. Scary blackouts. Ugly fights with friends. The results of binge drinking weigh heavily on Lisa May Bennett. She tries repeatedly to savor “just a few” glasses of wine—only to find herself passed out on the couch again.

Lisa has a bucket list full of exciting adventures with zero check marks next to them. Her anxiety and self-doubt are crying out for real solutions, not more booze. And her dream of becoming a published writer is fading away. She worries that her love of a good buzz will keep her stuck in this rut. Can she take charge of her life, or is she headed for a disastrous rock bottom?

This touching and funny memoir explores the childhood experiences that paved the way for Lisa’s drinking habit. She examines her complicated relationship with her mother, her experiences as a late bloomer, and her ongoing search for validation. In an engaging and relatable voice, the author shares how she began to “unfurl” without alcohol holding her back. But will she stay sober and discover how to truly thrive?

Anyone wondering if they'll ever burst out and follow their dreams will find My Unfurling compelling and hopeful.


I'd like to to start my review my supporting and congratulating the achievement of sobriety. It must seem like such an easy thing to write and then share with the world, however it takes strength to acknowledge, face and fight the inner call.

There are a lot of moments in the book that can be applied to anyone, who regardless of whether they are seeking a core understanding of self to help themselves deal with addiction, can use certain aspects to understand themselves better. Having a greater comprehension of the why won't change the why, but it might change the way a person views their frame of reference.

I think it's important to understand that an element of peace can be found when a person finally realises that we are unable to change the past, unable to change the impact or reasons others played a role in our development and the whether that impact had repercussions. What we can control and change is the energy and power we choose to invest in those moments and people.

There are various types of alcoholism, I won't delve into the variations, suffice to say one of them fits into the renamed so-called grey/gray area drinker mentioned in the first few chapters. I think the avoidance and inability to accept the term alcoholism and the need to reinvent is a type of denial, but if that in itself is a coping mechanism that keeps someone sane and sober, then so be it.

It's an intimate look behind the door of a journey to find the root of the problem, the examination of self and life to understand triggers and ultimately to find the right coping mechanism to maintain sobriety, and to celebrate self.

Buy My Unfurling: Emerging from the Grip of Anxiety, Self-Doubt, and Drinking by Lisa May Bennett at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Buy at Amazon com. Buy at Barnes and Noble.

Wednesday 22 November 2023

#Blogtour Joe Nuthin’s Guide to Life by Helen Fisher

It's a pleasure to take part in the Blogtour Joe Nuthin’s Guide to Life by Helen Fisher.

About the Author

Helen Fisher is the author of Space Hopper, her debut novel of 2021. Joe Nuthin’s Guide to Life is her second novel. Helen has degrees in psychology and ergonomics and was the senior evaluator at RNIB for a few years. This background informs much of her writing as she is fascinated by the psychology of everyday life, especially in terms of relationships. 

Inspiration for Helen’s protagonists and other characters are often drawn directly from herself, her friends and family. She explains that her creation of the character of Joe Nuthin is partly to examine ‘the importance of what some might think of as a small and ordinary life’.

Helen was born on a US military base and spent the first five years of her life in the US, before returning to the UK with her family settling in Suffolk. She returned to Suffolk as an adult and now lives in a village with her two children and a cat called Bear, who thinks he’s a dog. When she isn’t working on her third novel, she walks a lot, talks a lot, likes a jigsaw and the occasional Mojito. Follow @HFisherAuthor on X

About the book

A poignant and life-affirming tale of love, loss and finding friendships where you least expect them…

Joe loves predictability. But his life is a surprising adventure. Joe-Nathan likes the two parts of his name separate, just like dinner and dessert. Mean Charlie at work sometimes calls him Joe-Nuthin. But Joe is far from nothing. Joe is a good friend, he’s good at his job, good at making things and good at following the rules. He’s learning how to do lots of things by himself.

Joe’s mother knows there are a million things in life he isn’t prepared for. While she helps guide him every day, she’s also writing a book full of advice for Joe - things she hasn’t explained to him yet, things he might forget, questions he hasn’t asked, or might not get the chance to ask…

Following her wisdom – applying it in his own unique way – this next part of Joe’s life is more of a surprise than he expects. Because he’s about to learn that remarkable things can happen when you leave your comfort zone, and that you can do even the hardest things with a little help from your friends.


I absolutely embrace the positive aspect of this story. The empathy and compassion that we hope is hidden beneath the layers of shallow societal expectations and norms. The ability to see and acknowledge the difference in lived experience and how to navigate the world and people in a different way.

Joe-Nathan lives life by a set of rules and tries not to deviate from them, which can be stressful at times, especially when others find it difficult to accept his need for a certain routine or structure. It makes him a target for the bullies, the ignorant and the less understanding.

I found the story hit close to home and it made me incredibly sad, perhaps because I understand how his mother worries for Joe in a world where he will one day have to solely rely on himself with no nurturing mother to explain and support. My heart is heavy, because I know what it's like to experience the judgement of others, the cruelty that is dished out by the so called 'normal' members of society to children, young people and in general towards people who don't fit into stereotypical boxes and expectations. Both anger and fear are a constant companion when I think of how my loved one will navigate a world that is often unwilling to bend to accommodate otherness.

I must add that there are also moments of connection, kindness and although very few in a large society, there are indeed people who see the beauty, the mystery in the method and how easy it is and should be to accept instead of dismissing people like Joe.

Joe's story is a spark of hope and also a journey, a building of friendship and understanding. An excursion into experiences and independence with a fierce warrior willing to stand by his side. It's a lovely story, albeit it one that may make readers angry or sad at times. It is certainly a story that should be told and remembered.

Buy Joe Nuthin’s Guide to Life at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Simon and Schuster, pub date 9th November 2023 | Hardback | £16.99. Also available in ebook and audio. Buy at Amazon com.

Tuesday 21 November 2023

#Blogtour My Husband's Lies by Liz Lawler

It's a pleasure to take part in the Blogtour My Husband's Lies by Liz Lawler.

About the Author

Liz Lawler grew up sharing pants, socks, occasionally a toothbrush, sleeping four to a bed. Born in Chatham and partly raised in Dublin, she is one of fourteen children. She spent over twenty years as a nurse and has since fitted in working as a flight attendant, a general manager of a five star hotel, and is now working with trains. She became an author in 2017 when her debut novel Don’t Wake Up was published by Twenty7. Follow @authorlizlawler on X, Sign up to Liz Lawler's mailing list

About the book

The police are coming, they’re going to arrest me.’ My blood runs cold at his words. My husband is accused of murder. He swears he is innocent – so why won’t he tell me where he really was that night?

I feel so lucky to have my handsome husband Mark and our blue-eyed little boy. Everyone says we’re the perfect family. I used to believe them.

But everything changes when Mark comes home from a work trip with dark circles under his eyes. That night I jump at a hammering at the door. The police want to question him about the murder of a beautiful, blonde young woman. Mark swears he had nothing to do with it, that she was a colleague, nothing more.

Mark is a respected airline pilot, and the model husband and father. It seems impossible that he would be involved in something like this. But he won’t say a word about where he really was. I believe that he’s not a killer – but I know he’s hiding something. It wouldn’t be the first time.

Then my husband is attacked. I sit by his hospital bed praying for him to wake up, tears streaming down my face. The police say it’s an accident. But what if someone has done this to him?

I go rigid with fear when I see someone hidden in the garden, watching the house. Are they coming to hurt us too? I’ll do anything to protect my precious little boy – and I have to start by uncovering my husband’s lies...

An unbelievably tense and twisty psychological thriller that will leave you breathless for more! Perfect for fans of Kathryn Croft, T.M. Logan and Ruth Heald.


I wonder if anyone else got ever so slightly frustrated by the almost self-flagellation Kate tends to put upon herself, whilst excusing the actions of others. Her fault that her husband may or may not have strayed, her fault for putting the temptation of another woman in his path - come on lady!

The author captures this specific element of self-blame that women tend to inflict upon themselves, especially in domestic situations and relationships. Always looking for the possible mistake they might have made that contributed to whatever went wrong. This headspace probably explains the way Kate automatically goes into protective mode instead of seeing a very large question mark when it comes to the possible crime her husband is suspected of - is he really capable of killing someone?

Eventually Kate realises she has to start to unravel the layers of deceit wrapped around her life to keep her child safe, even if it means losing friends and loved ones on the way.

It's a fast-paced domestic thriller, one of those stories where you start out certain of who did what to whom and why, but in the end the web is tightly woven and full of secrets hiding in plain sight.

Buy My Husband's Lies at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher ‏: Bookouture, pub date 20 Nov. 2023. Buy at Amazon com.

Thursday 16 November 2023

#Blogtour Murder On The Christmas Express by Alexandra Benedict

It's a pleasure to take part in the Blogtour Murder on the Christmas Express by Alexandra Benedict.

About the Author

Alexandra (AK) Benedict is a best-selling, award-winning writer of short stories, novels and scripts. Educated at Cambridge, Sussex, and Clown School, Alexandra has been a indie-rock singer, an actor, RLF Fellow, and a composer for film and TV as well as teaching and running the prestigious MA in Crime Thrillers at City University. She is now a full-time writer and creative coach.

Her most recent novel, under the name Alexandra Benedict, was the bestselling The Christmas Murder Game. She is currently writing another Christmas mystery, a high-concept thriller and TV scripts. Alexandra lives on the south coast of England with writer, Guy Adams, their daughter, Verity, and dog, Dame Margaret Rutherford. 

Alexandra Benedict’s brand-new Christmas thriller The Christmas Jigsaw Murders is publishing 9th November. Follow @ak_benedict on X (the artist formerly known as Twitter)

About the book

Can You Solve the Case? - Eighteen passengers. Seven stops. One killer.

In the early hours of Christmas Eve, the sleeper train to the Highlands is derailed, along with the festive plans of its travellers. With the train stuck in snow in the middle of nowhere, a killer stalks its carriages, picking off passengers one by one. Those who sleep on the sleeper train may never wake again.

Can former Met detective Roz Parker find the killer before they kill again?


Roz is trying very hard not to disappoint her daughter again, she needs to keep her promises of being there to support during one of the most important times in her life. The last thing Roz needs is to get swept up in anything that might make her forget her priorities, but her professional instinct takes over and sleuthing takes the lead again.

We have a versatile cast of characters - a few of them potentially make both the perfect victim and suspect, which is probably why the whole story becomes such a Rubik's cube of a puzzle. Who did what to whom, and why?

This definitely has a Christie vibe - a train full of potential suspects and victims, a possible killer who is so at ease with their plans that they take the time to pick up snacks in case they get hungry before or after the event. Seems either very calculated, a wee bit insane or perhaps it's just a very organised potential killer.

Thinking of Christie I also thought Roz Parker was a bit Rutherford, McKenzie, and yet also embodies the image of a woman struggling to meet expectations in her relationships and battling past trauma. A sleuth to watch. (hint, hint)

It will be interesting to see whether the author can maintain this combo of modern meets old school mystery and crime - it has the potential to be a series and the author is one to watch. Saying that, I think her Christmas mysteries are a great idea and leave so much room for individual exploration and development.

Buy Murder on the Christmas Express at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Simon and Schuster, pub date 28 September 2023 - Paperback £9.99. Buy at Amazon com.

Tuesday 14 November 2023

#Blogtour Murder at Holly House by Denzil Meyrick

It's a pleasure to take part in the Blogtour Murder at Holly House by Denzil Meyrick.

About the Author

Denzil Meyrick is from Campbeltown on the Kintyre Peninsula in Argyll. After studying politics, he enjoyed a varied career as a police officer, distillery manager, and director of several companies. He is the No.1 bestselling author of the DCI Daley series and is now an executive producer of a major TV adaptation of his books.

Denzil lives on Loch Lomondside in Scotland with his wife Fiona and cats. You can find @Lochlomonden on X (the artist formerly known as Twitter), on Facebook @DenzilMeyrickAuthor, or on his website:

About the book

A village of secrets - It's December 1952, and a dead stranger has been found lodged up the chimney of Holly House in the remote town of Elderby. Is he a simple thief, or a would-be killer? Either way, he wasn't on anyone's Christmas wish list.

A mystery that can't be solved - Inspector Frank Grasby is ordered to investigate. The victim of some unfortunate misunderstandings, he hopes this case will help clear his name. But as is often the way for Grasby, things most certainly don't go according to plan.

A Christmas to remember - Soon blizzards hit the North York Moors, cutting off the village from help, and the local doctor's husband is found murdered. Grasby begins to realise that everyone in Elderby is hiding something - and if he can't uncover the truth soon, the whole country will pay a dreadful price...


Do things just happen to Inspector Frank Grasby or is it merely a case of a sequence of unfortunate events always seem to unfold whilst he is in the vicinity? His superiors only care about the chaos he leaves in his wake and not the results, hence being sent to the middle of nowhere (North Yorkshire Moors) where he can lay low for a while. Not his choice, but as he says himself it's still preferrable to some other notorious areas he could end up in.

Where Frank walks mysteries and crimes follow quickly behind, although at times I wasn't entirely sure whether he was the source of most of the disruption. That is absolutely the charm of this story by the way, the strength of the main character. His innate ability to believe in his own self is what makes the reader believe the same, despite all the evidence to the contrary.

Perhaps that is why he uncovers bit by bit what others have tried to hide crime after lie after betrayal - we all know the truth always outs, well it sounds a lot more poetic than the actual reality of the sleuthing that takes place, but hey-ho we are here for the Grasby dynamic of crime solving.

On a sidenote, can I just say the epilogue is absolutely spot on in relation to the first paragraph, I often wonder what those who fought so very hard during the Cold War would think about the situation we are in now. I'd also love to see a Grasby post-war crime series, just saying.

Buy Murder at Holly House at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. ~Publisher: Bantam, pub date 9th November 2023 | Hardback | £16.99. Buy at Amazon com.

#Blogtour The Leftover Woman by Jean Kwok

It's a pleasure to take part in the Blogtour The Leftover Woman by Jean Kwok.

"Fifth Season developing series based on Jean Kwok Novels The Leftover Woman and Mambo in Chinatown"

About the Author

Jean Kwok is the international bestselling author of Girl in Translation, Mambo in Chinatown, and Searching for Sylvie Lee, which was a Read with Jenna Today Show Book Club pick and an instant New York Times bestseller. Her work has been published in twenty countries and is taught in schools across the world. 

She has been selected for numerous honours, including the American Library Association Alex Award, the Chinese American Librarians Association Best Book Award and the Sunday Times Short Story Award international shortlist. She immigrated from Hong Kong to Brooklyn when she was five and worked in a Chinatown clothing factory for much of her childhood. She received her bachelor's degree from Harvard University and earned an MFA from Columbia University. She currently lives in the Netherlands. Follow @JeanKwok On X (the artist formerly known as Twitter), Visit

About the book

'I will find my daughter. No matter the cost...' - Jasmine Yang thought her daughter was dead at birth. But five years after she was taken from her arms, she learns that her controlling husband sent the baby to America to be adopted, a casualty of China's one-child-policy. Fleeing her rural Chinese village, Jasmine arrives in New York City with nothing except a desperate need to find her daughter. But with her husband on her trail, the clock is ticking, and she's forced to make increasingly risky decisions if she ever hopes to be reunited with her child.

Meanwhile, Rebecca Whitney seems to have it all: a high-powered career, a beautiful home, a handsome husband and an adopted Chinese daughter she adores. But when an industry scandal threatens to jeopardise not only Rebecca's job but her marriage, this perfect world begins to crumble.

Two women in a divided city, separated by wealth and culture, yet bound together by their love for the same child. And when they finally meet, their lives will never be the same again...


Throughout the trials, tribulations, pain, desperation and fear that play a heightened role for the duration of this story, it would be easy to overlook some of the smaller, but perhaps more poignant moments in the book. 

One of those is in the last few pages when the past comes full circle in a way, and some semblance of peace has been restored to the lives of the women who take centre stage in this book. It's fair to say that identity, cultural identity, historical and genealogical identity, play a huge role in the story. Also the division caused and lived when one culture melds into another, when Jasmine moves to America for instance.

It's never more pronounced than when Rebecca, her family, and the child they are raising realise how important it is to recognise the division and the necessity to acknowledge both for the child. That cultural and biological identity is a core experience that must be incorporated into her life.

It's a powerful moving story of love, motherhood and understanding what it means to have the strength to make the right choice for someone you love when they are unable to do so themselves.

Buy The Leftover Woman at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher ‏: ‎Viper, pub date 10 Oct. 2023. Buy at Amazon com.

Monday 13 November 2023

#Blogtour Solstice by Helen Steadman

It's a pleasure to take part in the Blogtour Solstice by Helen Steadman.

About the Author 

Helen Steadman's first novel, Widdershins and its sequel, Sunwise were inspired by the 1650 Newcastle witch trials. Her third novel, The Running Wolf is about a group of master swordmakers who defected from Germany to England in 1687. Helen's fourth novel, God of Fire, is a Greek myth retelling as seen through the eyes of Hephaestus, perhaps the least well known of all the Olympians. 

Helen is particularly interested in revealing hidden histories and she is a thorough researcher who goes to great lengths in pursuit of historical accuracy. To get under the skin of the cunning women in Widdershins and Sunwise, Helen trained in herbalism and learned how to identify, grow and harvest plants and then made herbal medicines from bark, seeds, flowers and berries. 

The Running Wolf is the story of a group of master swordmakers who left Solingen, Germany and moved to Shotley Bridge, England in 1687. As well as carrying out in-depth archive research and visiting forges in Solingen to bring her story to life, Helen also undertook blacksmith training, which culminated in making her own sword. Follow @hsteadman1650 on X (the artist formerly known as Twitter

About the book

England, 1673. Still a world of witches, witch trials and witchfinders. - When a new vicar arrives to take over the parish of Mutton Clog, the village finds itself in the grip of puritan fever, and suspicious eyes are turned on Rose Driver. Rose’s mother, brother and grandmother were all put to death by the fanatical witchfinder, John Sharpe.

Almost quarter of a century after the Newcastle witch trials, Sharpe is no longer a threat. Rose should be safe in her quiet village, but is history about to repeat itself?

Find out in Solstice, the powerful conclusion to The Widdershins Trilogy, which tells the story of one woman’s struggle for survival in a hostile and superstitious world.

The Widdershins Trilogy was inspired by the little-known Newcastle witch trials, where fifteen women and one man were hanged for witchcraft on a single day in August 1650.


The alternating views of Rose and Patience give an excellent overall view of how the majority of these witch hunts were created and driven, often to a disastrous conclusion. How the creation of doubt and rumour can become the perfect weapon of destruction, regardless of whether any accusation has any merit. Witch trials were a perfect way to tick quota boxes of the puritanical zealots who would rather have a living breathing scapegoat than accept not everything in life can be explained or predetermined.

Patience is the living breathing example of an almost innate hysteria grounded in false morality. How convenient is it to cast a shadow of doubt on others and in doing so to take a pedestal and elevate yourself to the higher spheres of saintliness. Can you tell she got on my nerves just a tad? It's interesting to note that the accused were unable to wash the stink of doubt from their reputations - such an efficient way to rid the world of people who don't fit in.

I really enjoyed how Rose is introduced and the innocent actions, words, thoughts so easily are twisted into something strange and threatening. The trauma she carries, and the empathy she feels for others, is perhaps part of her downfall.

This is the third book in the Widdershins trilogy, which the author has written with a bit of a reverse Star Wars vibe. It captures both the oddity, the tragedy and the repercussions of the accusations of witchcraft.  

Buy Solstice at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher ‏: ‎Bell Jar Books pub date18 Sept. 2023. Buy at Amazon com.

Tuesday 7 November 2023

#Blogtour Never Tell Anyone Your Name by Federico Ivanier

It's a pleasure to take part in the Blogtour Never Tell Anyone Your Name by Federico Ivanier.

About the Author

Federico Ivanier is an acclaimed Uruguayan writer for young people. He has written over twenty books that have been published across Latin America. On more than one occasion, his works have been awarded the National Prize for Literature from the Uruguayan Ministry for Education and Culture as well as the Premio Bartolomé Hidalgo, one of the country’s most important literary awards. Federico has also worked occasionally as a screenwriter and teaches English as a second language. Follow @FedericoIvanier on X (the artist formerly known as Twitter)

About the Translator

Claire Storey translates from Spanish and  German into English. She specialises in literature for younger readers with a particular interest in MG and YA fiction. In 2021/22, she was given funding from Arts Council England for a translation project focusing on Young Adult Literature from Latin America. She regularly volunteers in schools to talk about careers with languages and was named Outreach Champion 2021 by the Institute of Translation and Interpreting. Follow @ClaireStorey16 Visit

About the book

Travelling between France and Spain, a 16 year-old-boy is marooned in on the Spanish border, in the unfamiliar Spanish town of Irún, with nowhere to go. Snow is falling, darkness is creeping in, and the next train to Madrid is not till midnight. 

Lost and hungry, he has eight hours to kill. His favourite rock band blasting in his ears, he explores the shuttered town, thinking of Lucrecia, his first love who told him it was over, and how he was heartbroken. A dark-eyed Spanish girl befriends him, and he is instantly attracted to her. But what are her intentions, and who is she really? The two teens spend the evening walking and talking as night falls. Midnight approaches, and the boy with no name must leave and return to board his train. Dark forces gather, and his hours in Irún come to a truly shocking end. 


This is a short, poignant and memorable read - novella length. It's very much - the reading experience and what you take away from it - will be determined by the reader and their frame of reference. Not that it isn't usually the case, but this story might just have a wide range of responses.

Although the story is perhaps a step into the macabre, a tinge of horror, and a dollop of darkness - there is light at the end of the tunnel. The spark of humanity that is drawn through the story like a line in the sand, dividing the hope and the base inhumanity we know exists.

How close do we walk between the two sides of our emotional and physical responses, how many of us walk exactly on the divide and are always in danger of slipping into one or the other. Simultaneously the realisation that someone who walks through life with an open mind embracing the world and people around them, is probably going to be disappointed by how often that open embrace is misused, taken advantage of and creates a potentially dangerous situation.

What I took away from this very astute, well written and compelling piece of literature, is that trust has become an almost mythical element of our existence that is a rare quality never experienced. Equally that behind every external appearance and base assumptions is the interior of boundaries, memories and emotions we are unable to recognise.

I really enjoyed the read and the ride - I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this author. Also kudos to the translator for capturing the voice of the story. 

Buy Never Tell Anyone Your Name at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher ‏: ‎HopeRoad, pub date26 Oct. 2023. Buy at Amazon com.

Monday 6 November 2023

#Blogtour The Christmas Appeal by Janice Hallett

It's a pleasure to take part in the Blogtour The Christmas Appeal by Janice Hallett.

About the Author

Janice Hallett is the Sunday Times bestselling author of The Appeal (a Waterstones Thriller of the Month, the Sunday Times Crime Book of the Year and winner of the CWA Debut Dagger award) and the Sunday Times bestsellers The Twyford Code and The Mysterious Case of the Alperton Angels. She lives in West London. Follow @JaniceHallett on X (the artist formerly known as Twitter)

About the book

* The Cast of Sunday Times Bestselling The Appeal return for a festive Murder Mystery *

One dead Santa. A town full of suspects. Will you discover the truth? Christmas in Lower Lockwood, and the Fairway Players are busy rehearsing their festive pantomime, Jack and the Beanstalk, to raise money for the church roof appeal.

But despite the season, goodwill is distinctly lacking amongst the amateur dramatics enthusiasts. Sarah-Jane is fending off threats to her new position as Chair, the fibreglass beanstalk might be full of asbestos, and a someone is intent on ruining the panto even before the curtain goes up.

Of course there's also the matter of the dead body. Who could possibly have had the victim on their naughty list? Join lawyers Femi and Charlotte as they read the round robins, examine the emails and pore over the police transcripts. Will the show go on?


I've said this before, but it's definitely worth repeating, this author brings an entirely new vibe to fictional writing. It's fresh, innovative, will probably appeal to and bring in a wider audience. It's also worth noting that they are an author to watch.

This a novella length read, a 1.5 add-on to the novel Appeal, and the chaos has lost none of its charm. The focus, once again, is on the Fairway Players and their inability to stay away from murder and mayhem. In the midst of low-key tensions, jealousies and competitive drive, the Fairway Players take centre stage in this murder mystery - if they aren't careful they might start getting a reputation for always being in the middle of a scandal.

It's up to Femi and Charlotte to discern the lie from the truth, the malice from the merely incompetent, the eternally annoyed from the blatantly stupid, but most importantly they have to decide where the line is drawn between accident and intent. 

As always it's the kind of read that keeps you reviewing the information you are taking on board, even if it means revisiting some details, because the answers are in the small details and sometimes they are in the turn of a phrase.

I thought the twist towards the end was intriguing, could this be a potential plot of a further Appeal? Please make the twist the villain in a new venture! Before I forget, can I just say kudos for the murder 'weapon' - I will never see, listen to or read that story without thinking of this rather unusual piece of evidence.

Buy The Christmas Appeal at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher ‏: ‎Viper, pub date 26 Oct. 2023. Buy at Amazon com.

Friday 3 November 2023

#Blogtour Run to the Western Shore by Tim Pears

It's a pleasure to take part in the Blogtour Run to the Western Shore by Tim Pears.

About the Author

Tim Pears is a much-admired, prize-winning writer whose prose has been likened to Marquez, Faulkner and Hardy. His recent West Country Trilogy was a critic’s favourite. Born in 1956, Tim grew up in Devon and left school at sixteen. He worked in a wide variety of jobs: welder, librarian, reporter, archaeological worker, fruit picker, psychiatric nurse, groundsman in a caravan park, painter & decorator, and night porter in Devon, Wales, France, Norfolk and Oxford.

Throughout this time he was always writing, and later making short films. He completed a Directing course at the National Film and TV School, graduating in the same month that his first novel, In the Place of Fallen Leaves, was published, in 1993.

In the Place of Fallen Leaves was awarded the Hawthornden Prize and the Ruth Hadden Memorial Award. Tim’s second novel, In a Land of Plenty, was made into a ten-part drama series for the BBC broadcast in 2001. Other novels include, A Revolution of the Sun, Wake Up, Blenheim Orchard, Landed and Disputed Land.

Landed was given the MJA Open Book Award and was shortlisted for the Royal Society of Literature Ondaatje Prize and the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. All of these novels were chronicles of our time, exploring moral challenges as they are expressed in the dynamics and politics of relationships and family life.

In the Light of Morning was a departure, set in Yugoslavia in the Second World War. Tim then embarked on his most ambitious work, a trilogy of novels (The Horseman, The Wanderers and The Redeemed) set before, during and in the aftermath of the First World War.

Tim is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. He lives in Oxford, and is married to a psychoanalyst. He and his wife have two children. Apart from family life, he enjoys urban rambling and walking the dog (his first listener and a harsh critic) and rural foraging. Along with cinema, sport has been Tim’s other passion. He was a third-rate footballer and mediocre tennis player, and remains a poor ping-pong player. He continues to be an avid spectator of the ‘amazing human invention that is the game of football’

About the book

Run To The Western Shore is a beautifully written, evocative historical novel of quest and struggle - an ode to the land and Welsh folklore and a love story about the reconciliation of opposites in times of need.

Set in Britain in AD 72, Run to the Western Shore tells the story of a young Roman slave, Quintus, and Owen, daughter of the chief of a local tribe. Quintus, long exiled from his people, has travelled great odysseys in the retinue of a powerful man, and although he is a citizen of nowhere, he is also a man of reason who is fluent in many languages. Owen, imperious tribal royalty, is rooted in her native land (Wales) - a volatile warrior, fiercely attached to the natural world.

Promised to a powerful Roman by her father as part of a peace treaty, Owen flees during the night, taking Quintus with her. Hunted by an army, the two make their way across the country, living off the land, heading for the western shore…


It's interesting how the author creates this juxtaposition of identity both culturally, socio-economically and even when it comes to gender roles. Quintus is completely enveloped in his status as a slave, which also serves as his identity. He has been trained to never query, to think beyond the boundaries set for him, to act without thought. This is particularly evident when Owen questions his knowledge of possible pursuit, routines and standard reactions expected in response to their flight or excursion.

Owen, both in identity and action, is a physical and visual representation of her country, people, the tribal nature of the times. What is law unto them is perhaps unlawful to the oppressor, ergo never the twain shall meet on grounds of common understanding. What both Owen and Quintus come to realise is that despite the huge differences between them, they have the commonality of useful commodity that links the two of them.

It's a tale written with the hand of prose, but never forgetting the reality of the historical setting. It's a story of connection, of footsteps that leave barely a reminder, and yet the importance of the two sets the tone for future removal of barriers. A stark reminder of sameness, regardless of the differences the world, the structure, and the variety of societal norms and cultural rules we think must keep us apart.

Buy Run to the Western Shore at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Published by Swift Press on 2 November 2023 | Hardback | £12.99. Buy at Amazon com.