Monthly Round up

February Round Up

February was another great month for books and I read a massive 18 books. This was for Blog Tours and In Conversations.  It was an extraordinary list of books and many I rated 4 and 5 stars. I also read some extraordinary

My BOTM was Lullaby Beach by Stella Duffy and this was one of the months in conversation for Exeter Library.

My review is here

and you can also watch the interview here.

I also read :

The Hundred Years of Lenni and Margot – Marianne Cronin

Call me Mummy – Tina Baker

The Scarlet Dress – Louise Douglas

The Good Wife – Eleanor Porter 

Smoke Screen – Thomas Enger & Jorn Lier Horst translated by Megan Turney

Fatal Isles – Maria Adolfsson

Uncoupling- Lorraine Brown

Botanical Curses and Poisons- The Shadow Lives of Plants – Fez Inkwright

Ruthless Women – Melanie Blake

The Last Snow Blog Tour – Stina Jackson

The Night We Met – Zoe Folbigg

Just Friends – Holly McCulloch

Finding Love at Mermaid Terrace – Kate Forster

Lullaby Beach -Stella Duffy

The Dressmaker of Paris – Georgia Kaufmann

Married at First Sight Swipe – Claire Frost

News of the World -A Novel – Paulette Jiles

The Art of Death – David Fennell

March Reads

March is looking like a great month too these are the proof I have for blog tours for the next month.

Monthly Round up

January Round Up

January was a great month for books and I read a massive 18 books. This was for Blog Tours and some were for In Conversations due to the lockdown restrictions I have had lots of time to read. It was an extraordinary list of books and many I rated 4 and 5 stars.

My BOTM was Shiver Allie Reynolds it was a really tough choice as there were so many great books but Shiver is a debut and I really loved the characters, the setting and the twists.

This is the full list :

Coming Home to Brightwater Bay – Holly Hepburn

Faking It – Portia MacIntosh

The Burning Girls – C J Tudor

The Shape of Darkness -Laura Purcell 

The Island -C L Taylor 

The Marlow Murder Club – Robert Thorogood

Shiver – Allie Reynolds

The Last Thing to Burn -Will Dean

The Appeal – Janice Hallett 

Summer Job – Lizzy Dent 

Poppy Flowers at the Front -Jon Wilkins

What I Did -Kate Bradley

The German Girl- Lily Graham

New Arrivals at Hedgehog Hollow – Jessica Redland

How the One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House -Cherie Jones

A Dark Room – Sam Blake 

I Give it a Year – Helen Whitaker

I also interviewed 4 authors as part of my day job you can view them again below.

These were:

Polly Clark- Tiger- Quercus

Sam Carrington – Open House and N V Peacock Little Bones – Avon Books

Allie Reynolds – Shiver

February Reads

February is slightly quieter but I still have some amazing books to read.

Have a great month

Karen xx

Yearly round up

My top 20 books from 2020.

This will be my third year of blogging and because of obvious Covid related reasons and losing two family members, 2020 will not be forgotten easily.

However, it has been a fantastic year for books and I know that the poor authors have not been able to do events and this was primarily the reason with my work head as Development Senior Supervisor at Exeter Library on we started to do ‘In Conversations’ this year. Starting in April with Clara Barley author of Moss House this was my first online interview and at the end of the year we have done a fantastic 12 events. I have loved doing them and it has definitely developed a new skill for me and enabled me to talk to some fantastic authors from all genres.

You can watch them here and we have a fab line up for 2021 follow @exeterlibrary on Twitter and ExeterLibrary on Facebook :

Anyway lets get going with my top 20 reads of 2020! I would say that this was really brutal having to chose as I have read so many amazing books and I have shared the links to my original reviews if you would like to read more.

Karen xx

1. The Miseducation of Evie Epworth- Matson TaylorScribner Books

The total joy of Evie came into my life this summer. This book is such a joy, a great story and the characters, whether you loved or hated them are fantastic. I loved the strong women in the book and having family in Yorkshire, this really resonated with me as I have been brought up with strong women who loved to bake. If you have not read this one you need to and I cannot wait to see what Evie does next.

2. Piranesi- Susanna ClarkeBloomsbury

I did not know what to expect but what I discovered was beyond any expectations that I could have had. The writing is beautiful and you will be transported to the house and become immersed in labyrinthine pages.

You really need to read this book to uncover the secrets about Piranesi and the other occupants of the House. So many times I thought I knew what was happening and so many times when I was wrong. This really is an outstanding read.

3. In the Sweep of the Bay -Cath Barton Louise Walters Books

This book looks deeply at relationships and has many what if’s. It is a really beautifully crafted book and I recommend that you read. I had so many questions at the end I think this would make an excellent book group read.

4.The Watchmaker of Filigree Street – Natasha PulleyBloomsbury

The Watchmaker of Filigree Street: The International Bestseller: Pulley, Natasha: 9781408854310: Books

The three main characters are brought together through a set of strange circumstances and I loved the dynamics of this complicated relationship. I do not want to give any spoilers as I knew nothing about the book before I read it and I think this is the best way to enjoy it.

5.The Mist -Ragnar -Ragnar JonassonPenguin Michael Joseph

The Mist by Ragnar Jnasson, Victoria Cribb (translator) (9781405934886)

Dark, brutal and compelling I loved this book. It is so clever and the pace is relentless and I can’t remember a time when a book totally immersed me in the atmosphere and story. Exceptional ! This trilogy is going to make a fantastic tv series.

6. The Extraordinary Hope of Dawn Brightside – Jessica RynHQStories

This is a joyful read, the author portrays the characters with warmth and tackles

a difficult subject sensitively and with humour at times. I loved Dawn nothing stops her from trying to help, she is desperate to be needed. A fabulous touching debut which shows kindness and friendship go a long way in the world. Beautiful!

7.The Diabolical Bones -Bella EllisHodder Books

The Diabolical Bones by Bella Ellis | Waterstones

I really enjoyed the atmosphere that the author portrays in this book, it is set near Christmas but don’t be fooled that its sparkly book. It is cold, snowy and bleak Yorkshire in winter. I loved the darkness, the danger and unexplained.

8. Strangers – C L Taylor Avon Books

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This is such a great book, I would have read in one sitting if I had the chance it is so suspenseful and shocking which I love in a thriller. All the characters are really down on their luck and lonely and without giving too much away they are all brought together in a shocking conclusion which will change their lives forever.

9.The Storm – Amanda JenningsHQ Stories

The Storm: The most gripping and chilling psychological suspense novel of  2020, exploring coercive control, lost love, and buried secrets: Jennings, Amanda: 9780008287061: Books

A dark and claustrophobic read. I loved this book and I had not read anything by Amanda before but I will be reading her others. I loved her style of writing and how she draws you in and it was a real experience which I will not forget in a while. Fantastic !

10. All the Lonely People- Mike GayleHodder Books

All the Lonely People by Mike Gayle (author) (9781473687387)

This book is a joy, the writing is empathetic and gentle. I loved the dual storyline and learning about Hubert’s life with Joyce and how he came to be in England. Also the struggles that they have as a mixed race couple in the 1950’s, some of which are really hard to read but very important.

11. The Truants – Kate WeinburgBloomsbury

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I loved this book so much and I read it really slowly so that I could savour the writing. The characters and the story totally engrossed me and I found the love triangle element intriguing and knew that was never going to end well.

This is one of my favourite reads of the year and I was besotted by it and will be recommending this one far and wide. An amazing book!

12. The Winter Garden -Heidi SwainSimon and Schuster

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This is a truly wonderful read, and it was a joy to step into the world of Freya as she makes a new life with the supportive members of Nightingale Square. Best enjoyed on the sofa with the rain on the windows and nowhere else to go. If you are a fan of Heidi or a newbie you will love being transported into the wintery gorgeousness at its best from the lovely Heidi !

13. A Wedding at the Beach Hut- Veronica HenryOrion Books

The setting of Tawcombe seemed very familiar to me, being from Mid Devon and I loved the Devon idiosyncrasies. Mick reminded me of my Dad, who calls me and my sisters,’ his maids’ too ! The book has humour and warmth but also sadness and covers some really delicate subjects like adoption and miscarriage in a really sensitive way.

This book could not have come at a better time for me, in lock down when I was unable to visit my own favourite seaside haunts but I was able to be transported there with the assistance of this gorgeous book. Thank you Ronnie for another fabulous read.

14. Hamnet -Maggie O Farrell- Tinder Press

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I loved this book and I can see why it has been so well reviewed it totally transported me to time and place that I have never experienced previously. It was so visual you can not help but be totally engrossed in this fantastic storytelling. It seamlessly switches between Agnes’s past and present.

I feel very privileged to have been able to be part of the tour of this wonderful book.

15. Love Orange- Natasha Randall – QuercusRiver Run

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This is a really great book I loved it, the strong characters in the book makes the read all the more involved. This is a fantastic debut novel and I loved chatting to Natasha and the other members of the the buddy read about the book.

16. Three Hours -Rosamund Lupton- Penguin


I loved how the story of Macbeth was also woven in to the events. There are heart-breaking and heart stopping moments which left me very emotional and at times shocked.

I think this book will stay with me for a long time and I feel very lucky to be able to review it. Although it is definitely a book that everyone should read as I feel my review will never convey all I want it too.

17.Snow Song- Sally Gardner -HQ Stories

If you need to escape then this is perfect for transporting you away to this other land of myths and superstitions. A fantastic adult story which highlights some of the worse traits of humans, darkness but with beauty and an underlying feeling of hope. Excellent!

18. The Killings at Kingfisher Hill – Sophie HannahHarper Collins

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This is such a great story, it is cleverly plotted and leaves clues along by the way, that make you think you know who the killer is but I was completely shocked when the twist in the tale comes at Poirot’s ever famous denouement. I think it is one of the cleverest plots I have read in a long time.

19. I Made a Mistake-Jane CorryPenguin

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This is a fantastic read, I started and I could not put it down, the characters are believable and very human and the author has a wonderful gift of hooking the reader in and building suspense throughout the story and this story is no exception.

20. Starry Skies over the Chocolate Pot Cafe – Jessica Redland Boldwood Books

Starry Skies Over The Chocolate Pot Cafe: A heartwarming festive read to  curl up with in 2021 eBook: Redland, Jessica: Kindle Store

This is a really great book, it surprised me and I loved seeing Tara change into a beautiful butterfly. She really deserved to find some happiness and with the support of the lovely community in Castle Street she begins to find that she can.

This is a sit on the sofa with a hot chocolate sort of book, it has a bit of everything, sadness, hope, friendship, betrayal and overcoming the past. I loved it !

Fiction, Thriller/Crime

Her Name is Mercie -Chris Roy -@blackthornTours- @Chrisroycrime – Book Tour

Book information · Purchase link:

· Genre: Crime, horror

· Print length: 162 pages

· Suitable for young adults? This is an adult book with dark themes and components of horror, suitable for mature teenagers age 17+

· Trigger warnings: graphic violence, police killing

· .

About Her Name is Mercie

Mercie Hillbrook lives a simple, quiet life working as a gas station attendant. Then her parents are killed. Her home is taken. The people responsible are excused for just doing their job. When an attempt to get justice her way lands her in trouble with the law, Mercie realizes she still has something to lose: her own life.

Then she finds reason to believe her parents were murdered… and she doesn’t care anymore.

Alongside this rollercoaster of a novella, this book includes 4 very dark short stories

Amazon rating: (14 reviews)

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Praise for Her Name is Mercie

Roy delivers on the edge of your seat storytelling with rough edges, crooked cops and a tiny light at the end of the tunnel that is never quite extinguished.

— Tom Vater, co–founder of Crime Wave Press.

Her Name Is Mercie is a fast furious ride into an inferno of the highest tension you are likely to encounter this year. Where noir meets thriller, toss a coin. Dive in. And unplug your phones, pcs tablets and keep reading deeper and deeper, until the final pages.

— Richard Godwin, author of Apostle Rising.

My thoughts

Thank you to Lilyan at Blackthorn books for my invitation to the tour and for my copy of the e book in return for a fair and honest review.

In the first in this short story collection we met Mercie. Mercie works in a gas station and is contacted by the police as her parents have been killed in a police shooting. After having to identify them at the morgue, she takes drastic action and what happens next is a high octane, fast paced ride.

She has an unlikely companion who she meets during this spree and who rescues her when she most needs it. This is a great read, if you like your reading action packed then this is for you. Bank robbery, car theft, police corruption, kidnap is all in there. It is dark and violent and it has so many twists and turns you will be gripped. It does have very strong language within in which some may find offensive.

There are five stories in this collection, some I preferred to others but I think that is a personal choice. If you like your thrillers dark and fast you will enjoy this collection.

About the Author:

Chris Roy is the author of Shocking Circumstances, Sharp as a Razor, and Her Name Is Mercie. He is a published tattoo artist (Rise Tattoo Magazine, ATC Tattoo Books app) and the illustrator of two children’s books. Raised in South Mississippi, he lived comfortably with the criminal ventures of his youth until a fistfight in 1999 ended tragically. Since January, 2000, he’s been serving a life sentence in the Mississippi Department of Corrections.

Nowadays he lives his life of crime vicariously, through the edgy, fast-paced stories he pens, hoping to entertain readers. When he isn’t writing, he’s reading, tattooing or looking for prospects to train in boxing.

You can find Chris on Twitter @ChrisRoyCrime and on his Amazon Author Page: Chris Roy on Off the Chain Radio:


The Miseducation of Evie Epworth – Matson Taylor #blogtours @RandomTTours @simonbooks @scribnerbooks @matson_taylor_

About the book

Cold Comfort Farm meets Adrian Mole in the funniest debut novel of the year. Yorkshire, the summer of 1962. Sixteen year-old Evie Epworth stands on the cusp of womanhood. But what kind of a woman will she become?

Up until now, Evie’s life has been nothing special: a patchwork of school, Girl Guides, cows, milk deliveries, lost mothers and village fetes. But, inspired by her idols (Charlotte Bronte, Shirley MacLaine and the Queen), she dreams of a world far away from rural East Yorkshire, a world of glamour lived under the bright lights of London (or Leeds).

Standing in the way of these dreams, though, is Christine, Evie’s soon to be stepmother, a manipulative and money grubbing schemer who is lining Evie up for a life of shampooand-set drudgery at the local salon.

Luckily, Evie is not alone. With the help of a few friends, and the wise counsel of the two Adam Faith posters on her bedroom wall (‘brooding Adam’ and ‘sophisticated Adam’), Evie comes up with a plan to rescue her bereaved father, Arthur, from Christine’s pink and over-perfumed clutches, and save their beloved farmhouse from being sold off.

She will need a little luck, a dash of charm and a big dollop of Yorkshire magic if she is to succeed, but in the process she may just discover who exactly she is meant to be.

My review

Thank you to Anne Cater Random Things Tours for my invitation to the tour and to Scribner for my copy of the book in return for a fair and honest review.

The story begins with us being introduced to Evie who decides to take her Dad Arthur’s car for a drive she comes across a very alarming sight and crashes the car and the reader then meets Arthur and his hideous girl-friend Christine and her family.

Evie can not remember her Mother as she died when she was a toddler, but Mrs Scott- Pym an elderly friend in the village is determined that Evie should and gives her a recipe book that had belonged to her mother. She is also fiercely protective of Evie and goes to extreme measures to try and rid of the awful Christine from her life. This takes an unexpected turn and a glamorous visitor comes to the village.

This book is such a joy, a great story and the characters, whether you loved or hated them are fantastic. I loved the strong women in the book and having family in Yorkshire this really resonated with me as I have been brought up with strong women who loved to bake.

The book had a Cinderella feel however, instead of the handsome prince rescuing Evie she is loved and supported by a band of female friends who want the best for her. The 60’s setting was delightful and I would love to see what Evie does next.

This is such a lovely book, it’s funny it made me laugh out loud with the descriptions of Christine’s wardrobe and Evie’s escapades with the glamorous and worldly Caroline were heartening. As with all good stories good overcomes bad and this is a fantastic debut and I look forward to reading more from this author.

About the author

Matson Taylor grew up in Yorkshire but now lives in London. He is a design historian and academic writing tutor and has worked at various universities and museums around the world; he currently teaches at the V&A, Imperial College, and the RCA.

He has also worked on Camden Market, appeared in an Italian TV commercial, and been a pronunciation coach for Catalan opera singers.

Fiction, Gothic/Spooky

Abberton House – Debbie Ioanna #AbbertonHouse @Debbie_Cleo @PantherPubs @damppebbles #damppebblesblogtours

About the book

Abberton House by Debbie Ioanna

Two families. 100 years apart. A sinister haunting… It was supposed to be the dream house for Adam, Catherine, and their daughter, Bella. But dream houses can hold secrets. Settling in to their new home, the family realise they are not the only inhabitants of Abberton House. A dark past continues to haunt the idyllic Yorkshire home, and those who remain want Adam and Catherine to know the truth. Frightened, Adam and Catherine begin to piece together what really happened at this once perfect abode. A missing family, an elderly man searching for the truth, and secrets waiting to be revealed, moving in to Abberton House could be the worst decision the family made.

About the author

Debbie is a multi-genre indie author and blogger who was born in Bradford and lives there with her husband, two-year-old daughter and anti-social cat Cleo. When she isn’t busy being a Mum, working for her local council or studying towards her Open University degree, she is busy focusing on her writing career. Debbie doesn’t write to just one genre as she likes to write about anything. She is currently working on a romantic-comedy series but who knows what she will be working on in the future. As well as writing novels, short stories and blogs for her website, she is also reviewing other works by indie authors. She is passionate about helping other indie authors as she knows it is a hard world to master and getting reviews is a challenge on its own. Debbie has been a regular attending author at the UK Indie Lit Fest in Bradford for the last few years and will be returning in 2020, as well as attending events in Shipley and Liverpool for the first time. Debbie began studying with the Open University in 2015, aiming towards a BA Honours in Humanities, focusing on History and Creative Writing which are her two greatest passions. It is a part-time course, due to end in 2021 which Debbie is hoping means she will have more time to write.

Social Media: Twitter:




Purchase Links: Panther Publishing: Amazon UK: Amazon US:

Publishing Information:

Published by Panther Publishing on 1st September 2020

My thoughts

I was fascinated by the blurb for this book. Thank you to Emma at Damp Pebbles Tours for my invitation to the tour and for my copy of e book in return for a fair and honest review.

Catherine has wanted to live in the country and when she and Adam buy Abberton House she thinks her dreams have come true. On their first day a old man comes to the house and they are concerned about him and they contact the police.

Several other things happen at the house, without giving too much away and then Emma Catherine’s sister comes to stay. She says she does not like the feel of the house and then when everyone goes to bed,the noises begin. I was reading this in bed at night, and it really spooked me !

Adam thinks that there is a logical explanation but Emma and Catherine are not convinced and when Bella says she has a new friend in the house called Charlotte, alarm bells start really ringing. I am not sure why ghostly children are so terrifying but they really are! Then the old man turns up in her sitting room, then disappears, they both begin to think they are not alone at Abberton house. What are the noises? Who are the visitors ?

If you, like me love a jumpy, dark ghost story this is the book for you, the unwritten tension and unsaid thoughts really add to the atmosphere of this creepy story. The other side of the book is set in 1916 and the family who lived in the house. Henry, Elizabeth and their children and a young man from the village who was injured in the War. Henry is away as a Doctor in the war and he asks Elizabeth to keep an eye on Michael when he returns. This relationship develops and what happens shapes the history of this house and the story.

I really enjoyed the book and the two timelines joined the story together, there is lots of drama in both stories and it really kept me engaged and reading. A really great story!

4 Stars ****

Fiction, Literary Fiction

The Lamplighters- Emma Stonex #blogtour @stonexemma @midaspr @amberchoudhary

About the book

Cornwall, 1972. Three keepers vanish from a remote lighthouse, miles from the shore. The entrance door is locked from the inside. The clocks have stopped. The Principal Keeper’s weather log describes a mighty storm, but the skies have been clear all week.

What happened to those three men, out on the tower? The heavy sea whispers their names. The tide shifts beneath the swell, drowning ghosts. Can their secrets ever be recovered from the waves?

Twenty years later, the women they left behind are still struggling to move on. Helen, Jenny and Michelle should have been united by the tragedy, but instead it drove them apart. And then a writer approaches them. He wants to give them a chance to tell their side of the story. But only in confronting their darkest fears can the truth begin to surface . . .

Inspired by real events, The Lamplighters by Emma Stonex is an intoxicating and suspenseful mystery, an unforgettable story of love and grief that explores the way our fears blur the line between the real and the imagined.

About the author

Emma Stonex was born in 1983 and grew up in Northamptonshire. After working in publishing for several years, she quit to pursue her dream of writing fiction. She lives in the Southwest with her family.

My thoughts

I really love books that are set in my neighbouring county of Cornwall and I am fascinated with lighthouses so I was delighted to be invited to the blog tour by Amber at Midas PR. Thank you to Picador for my copy of the proof in return for a fair and honest review.

The book begins with a boat going out to the Maiden Rock Lighthouse, a tower in the sea, to collect Bill and take over a relief keeper. When they get there no-one is there to meet them and on further investigation nobody is at the tower. There are only two plates set for dinner and the clocks both are stopped at eight forty five. The place is clean and tidy with no sign of any violence or disturbance, in fact it is eerily ordered.

Based on the disappearance of three keepers from the Eilean Mor, rock light in the Outer Hebrides in 1900. This novel is very detailed and is a read you need to concentrate on, so that you do not miss anything important to the story.

Three men disappeared that day, Arthur, Bill and Vince. The book switches between 1992 the present day and 1972 when they disappeared. In 1992 an author is researching the disappearance for a book he is writing and the women who were left behind are still living in limbo. Helen, Jenny and Michelle are all trying to get on with life, twenty years later, but the mystery does not allow them to do this fully. Helen and Jenny don’t get on and Jenny doesn’t want anything to do with the book. She likes to imagine that Bill is still alive and will return one day.

A beautifully crafted novel, it not only looks at the disappearance but it looks at the relationships between the keepers and their families and in the aftermath the keepers families. It also hides so many secrets not just the one that happened on that day but much deeper and hidden secrets.

I had always thought of lighthouses to be romantic places from the outside but the picture painted by author is claustrophobic and all absorbing. A brutal experience, twenty four hours a day monitoring the light and the tower. The weather could be brutal and being away the from their families for weeks at a time. Also the isolation and the psychological impact of that isolation is really shown through the writing and the characters.

This is a really well written and interesting book that really kept my attention and the research was detailed and well thought out. I really enjoy a locked room mystery and this one kept me on my toes all the way through. Lots of clues and red herrings made it an engrossing and involved read.

4 stars ****

Family, Fiction, Romance

Summer in Andalucia – Lucy Coleman – #BlogTour @lucycolemanauth @boldwoodbooks #boldwoodbloggers @rararesources

About the bookSummer in Andalucia

Lainey Summers feels blessed to have her dream job writing for a renowned foodie magazine. And the day she goes to interview chef Rick Oliver at his new restaurant—Aleatory—in London’s popular Piccadilly, is the start of an unexpected journey.

When Rick is offered the opportunity to jet off to a monastery in Andalucía, to film a cookery competition for Spanish TV, Lainey goes too, to cover the story.

Spending a month filming in the stunning Spanish countryside, soaking up the sights, sounds, smells and of course the cuisine, Lainey and Rick start to enjoy each other’s company. But their time together flies by too quickly, and before they know it, Rick and Lainey have to face going their separate ways.

With both their worlds shifting beneath them, the call of Andalucia and the call of happiness grows ever stronger. But with everything at stake, will they be able to take the chance of a happy-ever-after…

Let Lucy Coleman whisk you off on a sun-baked, life-affirming, total escape to beautiful Andalucia.  

Purchase Link –

Author Bio:

Lucy Coleman is a #1 bestselling romance writer, whose recent novels include Snowflakes over Holly Cove. She also writes under the name Linn B. Halton. She won the 2013 UK Festival of Romance: Innovation in Romantic Fiction award and lives in the Welsh Valleys. Lucy’s first title with Boldwood was A Springtime to Remember, published in December 2019.

Social Media Links:




Newsletter Sign Up Link:

Bookbub profile:

My thoughts

Lainey is a food writer and visits chef Rick Oliver to interview him and whilst, she is there, she is party to a disagreement between Rick and his partner Cathy Clarkson. Rick calls Lainey and asks to meet with her to set things right. She agrees to amend her article and Rick is very grateful.

Lainey loves food but has got out of practice cooking, but loves to be cooked for. So when she gets the opportunity to go to Aleatory Rick’s restaurant she jumps at the chance.

Cathy and Rick are very different and she is a celebrity in her own right and she has her own list of A list friends that she brings to the restaurant on the night that Lainey is there. Lainey notices that Cathy is not wearing Rick’s engagement ring and tries to find out more about the party. One of her colleagues finds a picture of Cathy cosied up to another man which has since been deleted.

Then Rick asks Lainey to visit him at his flat and he has injured himself they spend the evening together and Rick has a proposition for Lainey which involves travelling to Andalucia.

Lainey manages to persuade Thomas her boss that it will be great for the magazine, with Rick and Cathy’s relationship seeming to be more volatile by the week will they be able to continue with their partnership ?

I really enjoyed this book, it is a foodie’s delight, it made me hungry just reading it. I enjoyed the dynamics between Rick and Lainey and it was cold and wintery day, when I read this and a trip to the sunshine was wonderful. The monastery is gorgeous and it was a fantastic setting for the competition.

A cosy and pleasant read that took me on my travels which was very welcome at this time.

4 Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Thank you to Rachel at Random Resources for my invitation to the tour and for my copy of the book from Boldwood via NetGalley.

Fiction, Thriller/Crime

Watch Her Fall #BlogTour @mserinkelly @hodderbooks

About the book

After years of blood, sweat and tears, Ava finally has the ballet world at her feet. But away from the spotlight, whispers backstage make her lonely and paranoid.

Because someone is watching her from the wings. Someone who wants what she has. Wants it so badly that two people will pay with their lives.

Two women bound together by a shared ambition.
But who can you trust when everyone is a rival?

Brilliantly portraying a deadly game of cat and mouse in the toxic world of ballet, WATCH HER FALL is a masterclass in narrative twists and structure, from one of the most innovative crime novelists writing today.

About the author

Erin Kelly is the Sunday Times bestselling author of The Poison Tree, The Sick Rose, The Burning Air, The Ties That Bind, He Said/She Said, Stone Mothers and Broadchurch: The Novel, inspired by the mega-hit TV series. In 2013, The Poison Tree became a major ITV drama and was a Richard & Judy Summer Read in 2011. He Said/She Said spent six weeks in the top ten in both hardback and paperback, was longlisted for the Theakston’s Old Peculier crime novel of the year award, and selected for both the Simon Mayo Radio 2 and Richard & Judy Book Clubs. She has worked as a freelance journalist since 1998 and written for the Guardian, The Sunday Times, Daily Mail, New Statesman, Red, Elle, Cosmopolitan and The Pool. Born in London in 1976, she lives in north London with her husband and daughters.

My thoughts

The story begins with an introduction to one of my favourite ballets Swan Lake and also Ava. Ava is a ballerina at the peak of her career and is also the daughter of Nikolai Kirilov ( Nicky or Mr K), who is an icon in the ballet world. He owns the company The London Russian and rules with a rod of iron and is a bully. Ava is playing Odette and Odile in this production something she has waited her whole career for. When Nicky finds out that the dancer playing Odette at the ball is pregnant she is made to leave immediately. Shuffled away like anyone else who doesn’t measure up to his high standards.

There is a vacancy for one of the other girls to fill this role and Nicky choses a replacement. Only referred to as the girl or second swan, you can feel the anxiety that Ava feels from younger dancers. She is also is jealous that her father is giving one to one lessons to the girl. As the book progresses we find out more about this girl.

A slow but very descriptive beginning, the book introduces the setting and the characters that will become the focal point of the story. Ava like most ballerinas knows she has a limited career and has waited a long time to dance this role, but knows that at thirty years old, she is one of the older dancers. Younger girls are snapping at her heels in this fiercely competitive world.

This is a clever book with so much detail and lots of twists and the it also has darkness hidden in it’s midst. It’s shocking, and there are some real jaw dropping moments. I really liked how the book is spilt up into acts and how the characters slowly unravel and develop An excellent read which will leave you reeling !

This is a really interesting look at not only the behind the scenes in the ballet but the relationship between father and daughter. Ava wants to make her Papa proud, but becomes increasingly paranoid about the production and that someone has been in her room. Nicky is a control freak and Ava realises this but she still desperately wants to please him. Is she imagining it or does someone want her out of the picture ? It is a brutal life that the ballerinas live, the diet, the relentless training and the scrutiny and the injuries. On the first night of Swan Lake, an accident happens and one of the swans is left with a devastating injury, what follows is her survival outside the world of the Kirilov’s. I don’t want to give away a great deal about the plot in fear of spoiling for others.

A standing ovation 5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Thank you to Eleni at Hodder books for my invitation to the tour and for my copy of the book in return for a fair and honest review.


#BlogTour The Streets,Like Flowers, Come Alive in the Rain -Steve Denehan @steverinoD #pottersgrovepress #kenyonauthorservices

“The Streets, Like Flowers, Come Alive in the Rain’ is full of beautiful moments overlooked by the busy, but collected by the poet, whose quiet watchful gaze captures life and lets it sparkle, smoke and burn on the page.
Here Denehan explores the innocence and ignorance of childhood as father as man and as boy, how happiness is often tainted by truths yet to be revealed and how it can be regained by the joys of living. Here you will find brief
violent wishes amongst even more violent acts, for life is not peaceful and just as you consider yourself safe, a particular poem will leap out of the shadows and bite you. There are portraits here, strangers in pubs, the homeless on the streets, the prideful and the desperate too, hand in hand with the honest and the good. With language tinged with humour even in the darkest of poems, I believe Steve Denehan is a poet we should all be reading, for he has a voice
that lightens the heart and gladdens the soul, with a little cheeky shock here and there just make sure we’re paying attention.”Haley Jenkins – Founder and editor of Selcouth Station.

About the Author

Steve Denehan lives in Kildare, Ireland with his wife Eimear and daughter Robin. He is the author of two chapbooks and two collections. Two-time winner of Irish Times’ New Irish Writing, his numerous publication credits include Poetry Ireland Review, Acumen, Westerly, and Into The Void. He has been nominated for Best of the Net, Best New Poet, and has been twice nominated for The Pushcart Prize.

My thoughts

I was delighted when Isabelle invited me to the tour. I do really enjoy reading poetry and as I help to run a shared reading group I am always on the look out for new ones.

I like poetry that I can read and understand quickly. I like the short bursts of reading when there is not time for a book.

Steve’s collection definitely hit the spot with this, each poem is like a short story and some are funny, some are sad and some make you pause and reflect.

One that made me laugh is The Car Park a poem about about driving his daughter home from school this one brought back memories of taking my own three children to school.

There are many moments in this collection in which I remembered things that had happened to me and thought how clever it is to write poetry about day to day life and experiences, the interactions with people on the street, in the supermarket there is such a wide range of situations in this little book.

From a first concert to a man in the pub telling his story in the pub in A Phone Call From Morgan Freeman On Christmas Eve.

Some are emotional like The Middle of the Middle Of Nowhere which really caught me unawares a tale of grief and sharing with another human being. I really felt like I knew the author and his family from reading this collection as they are so personal and honest.

This is a great collection of poems and one that I will be recommending and sharing.

Thank you to Isabelle Keynon for my #gifted copy of the proof in return for a fair and honest review.

Monthly Round up

March round up

March was a very busy, maybe for the first time, too busy.

I read 19 books this was a combination of physical, ebooks and audiobooks.

Some were blog tours, some were for work with the in conversations and a few were just because I wanted too.

So what was my favourite book this month ?

Well there were three ! I can’t choose between them as they are all amazing and very different in their own way.

First :

The Lip -Charlie Carroll

I was captivated by Melodie Janie, her story, the Cornish setting, everything and I also had a great chat with Charlie on Facebook live.

Which you can see here :

Secondly : Natural Causes – James Oswald

A gritty crime series set in Edinburgh with the amazing Detective Tony Mclean who I also discovered through an in conversation. You can watch on YouTube here :

Finally :

Common Ground – Naomi Ishiguro

An sensitive and moving story of two young boys who have an unlikely friendship. Stan, 13, who has recently lost his Dad and moved to a new home with his Mum. Charlie is 16 and lives on a traveller site with his family. The two meet when Stan has an issue with his bike and they begin their friendship.

Stan has had a very sheltered life in contrast to Charlie who is a very street wise 16 year old. The story explores how they help each other but also looks at the prejudice that Charlie and his family have to endure.

It is a very detailed look at two characters who have had very different backgrounds but still have a strong and loyal friendship.

The book is in three parts and Part one is told from Stan’s perspective when he meets Charlie in 2003.

Part 2 is in 2012 year’s later when they are both living in London. Stan doing his MA at University and Charlie is married. Stan has very idealistic views and wants to help Charlie but he finds out that this is not as straightforward as he thinks.

This is a wonderful book which is very hard to read in places with the bigotry and hate that Charlie endures, but a really moving and hopeful debut novel from Naomi Ishiguro,which left me thinking about what can be done to help this intolerance that many communities see today. You can find out more about Common Ground by Naomi herself below.

Another great month and what does April have in store. Well here is a picture of some of the books I am hoping to read ! Thank you to the publishers and blog tour organisers for the invitations and the gifted copies of the books.

Fiction, Literary Fiction

Common Ground – Naomi Ishiguro @tinderpress @naomiishiguro @RosieMargesson

About the book

Did you ever have a friend who made you see the world differently?

From the acclaimed author of the story collection Escape Routes comes a timely, bittersweet and beautifully observed coming of age story about a friendship that defines two lives, and about the value of loyalty in a divided world.

It’s a lonely life for Stan, at a new school that feels more ordeal than fresh start, and at home where he and his mother struggle to break the silence after his father’s death. When he encounters fearless, clever Charlie on the local common, all of that begins to change. Charlie’s curiosity is infectious, and it is Charlie who teaches Stan, for the first time, to stand on his own two feet. But will their unit of two be strong enough to endure in a world that offers these boys such different prospects?

The pair part ways, until their paths cross once again, as adults at a London party. Now Stan is revelling in all that the city has to offer, while Charlie seems to have hit a brick wall. He needs Stan’s help, and above all his friendship, but is Stan really there for the man who once showed him the meaning of loyalty ?

My thoughts

An sensitive and moving story of two young boys who have an unlikely friendship. Stan, 13, who has recently lost his Dad and moved to a new home with his Mum. Charlie is 16 and lives on a traveller site with his family. The two meet when Stan has an issue with his bike and they begin their friendship.

Stan has had a very sheltered life, in total contrast to Charlie who is a very street wise 16 year old. The story explores how they help each other but also looks at the prejudice that Charlie and his family have to endure.

It is a very detailed look at two characters who have had very different backgrounds but still have a strong and loyal friendship.

The book is in three parts and Part one is told from Stan’s perspective when he meets Charlie in 2003. Stan is timid and unwordly and being relentlessly bullied by Huxley.

Part two is in 2012 year’s later when they are both living in London. Stan doing his MA at University and Charlie is married. Stan has very idealistic views and wants to help Charlie but he finds out that this is not as straightforward as he thinks. Charlie is still encountering the hate and Stan does all he can to help, but is it enough.

This is a wonderful book which is very hard to read in places with the bigotry and hate that Charlie endures. It is also a really moving and hopeful debut novel from Naomi Ishiguro, which left me thinking about what can be done to help the intolerance that many communities experience.

5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Thank you to Rosie Margesson for my gifted copy of the proof and for organising the interview with Naomi.

You can find out more about Common Ground from Naomi herself below.

About the author

Naomi Ishiguro studied writing at the University of East Anglia and is a former bookseller and bibliotherapist at Mr B.’s Emporium in Bath. She lives in London.

Fiction, Gothic/Spooky, Historical

The Deception of Harriet Fleet @helenswriter @quercusbooks #TheDeceptionof HarrietFleet #BlogTour

Dark and brimming with suspense, an atmospheric Victorian chiller set in brooding County Durham for fans of Stacey Halls and Laura Purcell

1871. An age of discovery and progress. But for the Wainwright family, residents of the gloomy Teesbank Hall in County Durham the secrets of the past continue to overshadow their lives.

Harriet would not have taken the job of governess in such a remote place unless she wanted to hide from something or someone. Her charge is Eleanor, the daughter of the house, a fiercely bright eighteen-year-old, tortured by demons and feared by relations and staff alike. But it soon becomes apparent that Harriet is not there to teach Eleanor, but rather to monitor her erratic and dangerous behaviour – to spy on her.

Worn down by Eleanor’s unpredictable hostility, Harriet soon finds herself embroiled in Eleanor’s obsession – the Wainwright’s dark, tragic history. As family secrets are unearthed, Harriet’s own begin to haunt her and she becomes convinced that ghosts from the past are determined to reveal her shameful story.

For Harriet, like Eleanor, is plagued by deception and untruths.

About the author

The Deception of Harriet Fleet’ is my first novel and is set in the north east of England. I’ve always loved the big, classic novels from the nineteenth century, with lots of governesses and intrigue, and I sometimes wonder whether I was born in the wrong era! Although the Victorian period was a time of huge changes, the inhabitants of Teesbank Hall are trapped in the past by the destructive secrets they hold.
Teesbank Hall itself is fictional but most of the other settings in the novel are real and close to where I live with my husband and two daughters. I teach A Level English and write whenever I can grab a spare moment.

My thoughts

Governess Harriet arrives at Teesbank Hall in Durham and as soon as she gets there she is made aware of the Hall being notorious, as no carriage driver will take her there. Due to the bad things that have happened there.

When she arrives she is met by Mrs Jenson,who is the house keeper, and tells Harriet a little more about her pupil Miss Eleanor. She needs to be watched every hour of the day by herself and a nurse Mrs Anderson. Mrs Jenson warns Harriet that her charge can be sly and manipulative and that Harriet must be on her guard at all times and report back if Eleanor does or says anything ‘untoward’.

Harriet is very anxious at these revelations and it would appear that Miss Eleanor is going to be quite a handful! Also Eliza the maid tells her to watch Mr Wainwright and is quite hostile towards her, she goes to bed on her first night feeling worried. Teesbank Hall seems cold and unfriendly on all counts. Agnes the maid mentions that Governesses don’t stay and that the locals call the Hall ‘Murder House’.

I loved this setting of the scene and I was in no doubt that some dark deeds were going to happen here. Then Mr Henry arrives who is Eleanor’s brother and her first dinner with the family is a real eyeopener! The family is really something else so many skeletons in the closet.

Ghostly happenings, family sniping and it also becomes apparent that Harriet is also hiding a secret. As she begins her role as Governess, she begins to find out more about why the house has such a reputation and why Eleanor acts the way that she does. Eleanor’s brother Samuel went missing and was found dead at the age of just two years old.

A woman was hanged for the crime and that poor Eleanor has lived a life of fear and is convinced that the family is cursed by the woman and that she will not rest until she has retribution. The boathouse put in mind of The Boathouse at Agatha Christie’s home Greenway and the writing was so descriptive I could imagine myself at the creepy Teesbank Hall. I was never quite sure who to trust and I will leave you to discover that for yourself!

This is a fantastic read and a stunning debut, it gave me chills and the atmosphere and tension is slow to build but so clever. I loved the nods to Jane Eyre and the setting and the twists and turns kept me reading. Murder, obsession, and love keep the story compelling and the pages turning.

I really love a Gothic mystery and this one ticked all the boxes, a creepy house, secrets, a dysfunctional family and things that go bump in the night.

Spectacular 5 spooky stars


Thank you to Katya Ellis at Quercus for my invitation to the tour and for my copy of the proof in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Fiction, Romance

Summer Kisses at Mermaids Point @sarahlou_writes @boldwoodbooks @rararesources #boldwoodbloggers

About the book

Summer Kisses at Mermaids Point

‘Delightfully romantic and touching.’ Phillipa Ashley
Laurie Morgan runs a café in the small seaside community of Mermaids Point, named after the beauties rumoured to live in the waters a few miles off the top of the point. When a hazy image is posted online of what appears to be a mermaid, the café and the village are soon full to bursting with curious sightseers.

The most eye-catching of the new arrivals is handsome author, Jake Smith, who has rented a cottage for the summer while he works on his new book. Or so he says. In fact, he is a journalist, burned out
and disillusioned with life, whose editor has sent him on a crack-pot hunt for mermaids… Jake quickly finds himself drawn to village life, and to the gorgeous woman who runs the local café.
But he soon suspects there’s trouble lurking beneath the idyllic façade, and when it looks like Laurie’s family might be involved, Jake faces a difficult choice. Pursue the truth, or protect the woman he’s beginning to fall in love with…

Warm, escapist, feel-good and altogether brilliant story-telling from bestselling author Sarah
Bennett. Perfect for all fans of Trisha Ashley and Milly Johnson.
Purchase Link –

Author Bio

Sarah Bennett is the bestselling author of several romantic fiction trilogies including those set in Butterfly Cove and Lavender Bay. Born and raised in a military family she is happily married to her own Officer and when not reading or writing enjoys sailing the high seas. The first book in her new Mermaids Point trilogy for Boldwood will be published in Spring 2021.

Social Media Links:
Bookbub profile:

My thoughts

Laurie lives in Mermaids Point, running the small cafe and living with her parents and brother. One day there is a supposed sighting of a mermaid on the rocks and the small village is hit by an influx of visitors and one of them is seasoned reporter Jake.

Jake has been covering some hard hitting news stories and needed a break so his boss Mac sends him Mermaid hunting ! I have read most of Sarah’s books so I knew I was in for a treat when I received the blog tour invitation.

I immediately fell in love with Mermaids Point and it’s residents, it was just the escapism I needed at this time. The little traditional seaside town was a real trip down memory lane of my seaside holidays as a child, like Jake. Jake moves in to Walker’s Farm under the guise of a writer so he can investigate the mermaid story without being discovered. He soon meets Laurie and she is quite taken with him which surprises her as she normally avoids tourists.

Jake soons realises that there is much more to the mermaid than meets the eye, but he is also quite interested in Laurie too. Who is rumoured to have mermaid blood. All the women in the family are named after mermaids. The village got it’s name because legend has it that mermaids arrive when the village most needs them and after a couple of very lean years of tourism, the sightings have definitely increased the popularity of the village massively. Sadly it doesn’t last and Jake soon finds himself caught up in a big drama which involves Laurie too.

Another gorgeous, warm story from one of my favourite authors. Sarah always writes such likeable and realistic characters and I loved the mermaid angle too which was really unique and interesting. A sunny trip to this gorgeous little village was just what I needed. I am looking forward to the next instalment from this lovely setting.

4 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Thank you to Rachel at Random Resources for my invitation to the tour and to Boldwood for my e copy of the book via Net Galley in return for a fair and honest review.

Fiction, Thriller/Crime

The Imposter Anna Wharton @whartonwords @rkbookpublicist @panmacmillan @randomttours @mantlebooks #TheImposter

About the book

They say you can’t choose your family . . . But what if they’re wrong?

Chloe lives a quiet life. Working as a newspaper archivist in the day and taking care of her nan in the evening, she’s happy simply to read about the lives of others as she files the news clippings from the safety of her desk.

But there’s one story that she can’t stop thinking about. The case of Angie Kyle  a girl, Chloe’s age, who went missing as a child. A girl whose parents never gave up hope.

When Chloe’s nan is moved into care, leaving Chloe on the brink of homelessness, she takes a desperate step: answering an ad to be a lodger in the missing girl’s family home. It could be the perfect opportunity to get closer to the story she’s read so much about. But it’s not long until she realizes this couple isn’t all they seem. In a house where everyone has something to hide, is it possible to get too close?

Anna Whartons debut, The Imposter, is a thought-provoking story of obsession, loneliness and the lies we tell ourselves in order to live with ourselves.

My thoughts

Chloe is the sole carer for her Nan who has Alzheimers, she works full time as a newspaper archivist and she is trying to carry on with no support as in truth her Nan should be being looked after in care. She knows this but as many people sees that it is her responsibility to look after her.

This is causing her big issues at work and because she doesn’t share what is happening they are really unsympathetic about her disappearance and give Chloe a last warning for her lateness and absences. It reaches crisis point when Nan disappears when they are visiting the cemetery.

The police were very harsh to Chloe when her Nan goes missing as the social worker tells them she should have been in care. I would really hope that services would be more sympathetic to carers. This side of the story really resonated with me as my own Nanny had to go into a care home when she developed dementia and like Chloe’s Nan we kept her at home as long as we could. Chloe’s visits to the care home were so realistic and evoked many memories for me when a loved one no long remembers you, it is really hard.

Running alongside this story is Chloe’s fascination with a young girl Angela Kyle who went missing many years previously and was about the same age as Chloe. This fascination turns into an obsession and Chloe starts to dig deeper into the families lives.

This is a great read and I was drawn into Chloe’s story immediately due to the connection I felt with one side of her story. The other side of the story is much darker and Chloe loses her job when she takes a file home. Then the final straw is when the social worker rings to say they will need to sell her Nan’s house to pay for her care.

What will Chloe do ? Chloe makes some really disturbing choices and her friend Hollie is really worried about her and tells her to challenge her sacking. Chloe is too engrossed in the Kyle family and she is not going to stop now. In fact, she looks like she is willing to risk everything to find out the truth about Angela. She is a complicated character and

This is a really gripping story, fast paced and very clever. I wasn’t sure where it was going to take me which I really enjoyed. I was intrigued to as why Chloe is so obsessed with the Kyle’s but I will not reveal anymore as this book is best devoured cold !

An fantastic creepy debut novel which once you start you will not want to put down.

5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

About the author

Anna Wharton has been a print and broadcast journalist for more than twenty years, writing for newspapers including The Times, Guardian, Sunday Times Magazine, Grazia and Red. She was formally an executive editor at The Daily Mail. Anna has ghostwritten six memoirs including the Sunday Times bestseller Somebody I Used To Know and Orwell Prize longlisted CUT: One Woman’s Fight Against FGM in Britain Today. The Imposter is her first novel.