blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: What She Saw – Diane Saxon*

‘An addictive 5* read that kept me guessing. Diane Saxon’s DS Jenna Morgan series is brilliant’ – bestselling author, Ross Greenwood.

Perfect for fans of Cara Hunter

Why does someone want the Lawrence family dead?

The Lawrences were the perfect family; successful, beautiful, and happy until one night their whole
world was ripped apart.

Detective Sergeant Jenna Morgan is called to investigate the suspected arson attack and death of the Lawrence family at the charred remains of their stunning home, Kimble Hall.
The case takes a sinister turn as the body count fails to tally.

Suspecting that someone may have survived the inferno, DS Morgan and her team need to discover whether they have a witness, or someone far more dangerous.
Who set the fire? Who wanted this family extinguished beyond recognition?

As the case progresses, DS Morgan realises she has a calculating, cold-blooded killer on her hands, and the race is on to track them down before they kill again.

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Diane Saxon previously wrote romantic fiction for the US market but has now turned to writing psychological crime. Find Her Alive was her first novel in this genre and introduced series character DS Jemma Morgan.

She is married to a retired policeman and lives in Shropshire.

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My thoughts:

This is a dark and twisted tale of power and control, where one man’s determination to hold his family in his grip ends in terrible tragedy.

As the police try to make sense of the horrific scene at Kimble Hall, one survivor attempts to make it through the next few days on her wits alone, aware that the murderer could find her at any moment.

Brutal, gripping and with moments that will leave you gasping, this tension builds to a violent and horrifying end.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: Thursday Night Widows – Claudia Piñeiro*

Three bodies lie at the bottom of a swimming pool in a gated country estate near Buenos Aires.

It’s Thursday night at the magnificent Scaglia house. Behind the locked gates, shielded from the crime, poverty and filth of the people on the streets, the Scaglias and their friends hide lives of infidelity, alcoholism, and abusive marriage.

Claudia Piñeiro’s novel eerily foreshadowed a criminal case that generated a scandal in the Argentine media. But this is more than a story about crime. The suspense is a by-product of Piñeiro’s hand at crafting a psychological portrait of a professional class that lives beyond its means and leads secret lives of deadly stress and despair.

It takes place during the post 9/11 economic melt-down in Argentina but it’s a universal story that will resonate among credit-crunched readers of today.

Claudia Piñeiro was a journalist, playwright and television scriptwriter and in 1992 won the prestigious Pléyade journalism award. She has more recently turned to fiction and is the author of literary crime novels that are all bestsellers in Latin America and have been translated into four languages.

This novel won the Clarin Prize for fiction and is her first title to be available in English.

The Translator

Miranda France wrote Bad Times in Buenos Aires which in essay form won the Shiva Naipaul Memorial Prize in The Spectator magazine. A book by the same title was published in 1998 and met with great critical acclaim. The New York Times described it as ‘a remarkable achievement’ and the Sunday Times as ‘an outstanding book’.

My thoughts:

This was a clever book, the opening gives nothing away, and the plot veers away from the shocking discovery to reveal more about the community safe behind their gates, their lies and secrets laid bare to the reader, only returning to the bodies in the pool right at the end, when you’ve almost forgotten about them.

The wealthy elite pride themselves on their beautiful homes, their immaculate green lawns and regular attendance on the golf course and tennis courts, but the veneer of success is thin and starting to crack as the economy tanks, taking with it jobs and security.

Every home holds secrets and the women of this gated community see all, and are telling all. Told mostly by Veronica, estate agent and the one holding her family together, someone who’s seen inside almost every home.

This was such a slow burn of a book, I genuinely forgot about the bodies in the pool until it circled back round to them and the plot that ends in three deaths is revealed. The ending left me wondering if there was a sequel somewhere, I wanted to know what choice was made.

I also tried to find out what scandal the author foresaw, but Google let me down there, if you know, tell me in the comments please.


*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: The De-coding of Jo – Lali A. Love*

When a demonic parasite turns her classmates into an army of sleepwalkers, sixteen-year-old Jo must confront her celestial identity and reveal the mystery of existence. Guided by the Galactic Council, a Galactic Compass and with the help of her best friends, Jo unleashes the cosmic powers of creation to prevent the Lord of Darkness from enslaving all of humanity into obscurity.

Will she be able to decode the artificial system in time to save her friends and the sacred Light?

Award-winning Author, Lali A. Love provides a supernatural thriller of metaphysical and visionary fantasy with her own revolutionary philosophy and unique narrative skills to produce this heart-wrenching and gripping tale.

Lali A. Love lives in the capital city of Canada with her husband and two beautiful children who are her greatest source of pride, joy, and inspiration. As a debut author, Lali loves to write stimulating, character-based novels that invoke an emotional response in her readers. She has done extensive research into epistemology and metaphysics to further her understanding of the Universal Laws of Energy.

In her spare time, Lali is committed to writing her visionary fiction trilogy about spiritual transformation. These mystical novels are based on the journeys of three incarnated Angels that have been brought together in the third-dimensional existence, to realize their Divine Feminine soul purpose. Each of them must experience unique self-realization to overcome the dark demonic entities that are determined to destroy their inner light to derail their Soul mission.

My thoughts:

Jo and her friends are just regular teenagers, dealing with issues about race, gender, sexuality and belonging, experimenting with drugs and alcohol, throwing parties and trying to work out who they are.

Then they accidentally release some demons from the school basement where the creepy janitor has been hiding them.

As more of the students become infected, it’s up to Jo, gifted with special abilities by the mysterious Galactic Council to try to rescue her classmates and reverse the damage before it’s too late.

There was a lot happening in this book, that adage that it has to get a lot worse before it gets better rings true, there’s death and serious injury, family problems and bullying; all of which serves to distract Jo and her allies from stopping the dark powers that are slowly taking over the school.

Jo spends a lot of time trying to understand her new abilities and how to use them to help others, her journal entries serve to guide the reader through her ideas and concerns.

There is a lot to unpack in this novel, and it probably requires more than one reading to get all the nuances straight, if you like your fantasy with a side of mysticism, then you’ll enjoy this.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the tour but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: In Sat Nav We Trust – Jack Barrow*

In SatNav We Trust – a search for meaning through the Historic Counties of England is a journey through ideas of science and belief, all the while searching for meaning and a bed for the night. Or was that the other way around?

On May 1st 2013 I set off from Oxford on the trip of a lifetime. It wasn’t a trip around the world or up the Himalayas, I set off to visit every one of England’s 39 historic counties. These are the counties that used to exist before all the boundary changes that chopped Yorkshire into bits, got rid of evocative sounding names such as Westmorland, and designated the big cities as metropolitan boroughs. I wanted to visit England as it used to be, although that’s not quite how it turned out.

In SatNav We Trust started out as a travelogue exploring all the usual suspects, spectacular landscapes, architectural or engineering wonders, historic towns with their cathedrals and castles. However, it soon developed into a journey through ideas and beliefs, an exploration of how the rational and the apparently irrational jostle for position in human experience. The book discusses our fundamental scientific understanding of the universe when, deep inside us, we might be as irrational as a box of frogs. This context, the exploration of England—the places stumbled across with no day to day plan, created the backdrop for these ideas.

The book takes the form of a journey through one English county a day. Rather than having a plan, other than a rough anticlockwise direction of travel, the trip was largely spontaneous. This unplanned nature is what drives the narrative, similar to the way a MacGuffin drives a story, and opens the possibility of stumbling across unintended experiences.

The journey is taken in a fifteen-year-old 4×4 referred to throughout as The Truck, along with a sat nav referred to as Kathy (actually the voice of Kathy Clugston from Radio 4). Rather than paying for hotels this was a camping trip to keep the costs down. The logistics of finding somewhere to camp each night provided further challenges. All of these inconveniences, and the unexpected solutions that followed, provided useful metaphors for concepts that arose in the philosophical exploration.

The result of this unplanned approach is that the story only covers the areas of the counties passed through. There are no descriptions of the obvious locations in each county because the journey simply didn’t pass that way. However, this means that there were unplanned encounters with places such as a village falling into the sea, the wonderfully mad Tees Transporter Bridge, or accidentally driving a speedboat with two drunk blokes without any consideration about how to get ashore.

Jack Barrow is a writer of books and blogs about ideas based on popular philosophy in modern life. He is a critical thinker but not a pedant. He has an interest in spiritual perspectives having been brought up as both a Mormon and a Jehovah’s Witness. He’s not sure, but he believes this particular ecclesifringical upbringing makes him a member of a pretty exclusive club. He is also fascinated by science. At the same age as his parents were taking him to church services, he was also watching Horizon documentaries and Tomorrow’s World, becoming fascinated about science and technology. Perhaps around the time of the moon landings, when he was six or seven, he came to the conclusion that, sooner or later, people would realise that the sky was full of planets and stars, science explained the universe, and that there was no God looking down. He really thought that religion’s days were numbered. Declining congregations seemed to back that up, but since then there has been a growth in grass roots movements that seem to indicate people are looking for something to fill the void left by organised religion. He now has a particular interest in the way people are creating their own spiritual perspectives (whatever spiritual means) from the bottom up using ideas sourced from history, folkloric sources and imagination. Rather ironically it was members of the Jehovah’s Witnesses who first introduced him to the landscape of Wiltshire, with its stone circles and ancient monuments, which later kindled his interest in spiritual beliefs taken from more ancient perspectives.

He has also written a novel; The Hidden Masters and the Unspeakable Evil is a story of a group of magicians who discover a plot to build casinos in Blackpool and so turn the resort into a seedy, tacky, and depraved town. During this hard-drinking occult adventure, with gambling and frivolous trousers, Nigel, Wayne and Clint travel north on Friday night but they need to save the world by Sunday evening because they have to be back at work on Monday morning.

Jack lives in Hertfordshire, England, where he earns a living writing about things in engineering; this usually means photocopiers and bits of aeroplanes. He shares his home with R2D2 and C3PO, occasionally mentioned in his blog posts. People used to say he should get out more. At the time of writing he is currently shielding from the apocalypse, having been of a sickly disposition as a child, and wondering if he will be able to go to a live music pub ever again.

My thoughts:

An interesting wander around England’s counties, including ones like Rutland and Westmorland, that don’t technically exist anymore. My own county of Middlesex only exists as a postal county, having been swallowed up by London over the years.

I got a bit cross with the lack of organisation at times – not having investigated campsites in advance horrifies me, I would need to know where I was sleeping before I arrived. But that’s just me. There was a very freewheeling, take it as it comes feel to the narrative.

Dipping into his own past and that of the land around him for stories and anecdotes as he travels, Jack seems a little like a travelling storyteller, someone perhaps unfamiliar in our modern age, but perfectly common in the past.

Reading this in the post-lockdown days of 2020 was slightly jarring, you certainly can’t just travel freely around the UK anymore so there was an extra edge of nostalgia there, that I don’t imagine the author thought of.

It was fun to stop places I’ve been to, and interesting to learn a little about places I haven’t, and I certainly know which campsites are best avoided!


*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: Pizza Girl – Jean Kyoung Frazier*

In the tradition of audacious and wryly funny novels like The Idiot and Convenience Store Woman comes the wildly original coming-of-age story of a pregnant pizza delivery girl who becomes obsessed with one of her customers.
Eighteen years old, pregnant, and working as a pizza delivery girl in suburban Los Angeles, our charmingly dysfunctional heroine is deeply lost and in complete denial about it all. She’s grieving the death of her father (whom she has more in common with than she’d like to admit), avoiding her supportive mom and loving boyfriend, and flagrantly ignoring her future.
Her world is further upended when she becomes obsessed with Jenny, a stay-at-home mother new to the neighborhood, who comes to depend on weekly deliveries of pickled-covered pizzas for her son’s happiness. As one woman looks toward motherhood and the other toward middle age, the relationship between the two begins to blur in strange, complicated, and ultimately heartbreaking ways.
Bold, tender, propulsive, and unexpected in countless ways, Jean Kyoung Frazier’s Pizza Girl is a moving and funny portrait of a flawed, unforgettable young woman as she tries to find her place in the world.

My thoughts:

This is a sad and slightly painful read, mimicking the despair and confusion a lot of us felt at 18, with a hundred options in front of us but no idea what to do.

The girl at the heart of this story has even fewer options though, she’s pregnant, working in a pizza delivery job, living at home with her mum and boyfriend, utterly lost.

She just goes through the motions, never really coming to terms with her unresolved issues around her dad and his death, the situation she’s in, or the life she thinks she should perhaps be trying to attain.

Her crush on a customer jolts her from her day to day and throws more confusing feelings into the mix.

Darkly funny, bathetic and ultimately redeeming, this is a short but sweet summer spent in the company of the anti-Juno – she doesn’t have a plan.


*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: A Curse of Gold – Annie Sullivan*

Curses and queens. Pirates and kings. Gods and magic. This highly anticipated sequel to Annie Sullivan’s enchanting A Touch of Gold, the story of the daughter King Midas turned to gold, is the gripping crescendo to this sweeping fantasy adventure. The final saga of a cursed queen, a vengeful Greek god, and a dazzling kingdom in the balance.

After barely surviving thieving, bloodthirsty pirates and a harrowing quest at sea to retrieve her stolen treasure, Kora finds readjusting to palace life just as deadly. Kora’s people openly turn against her, threatening her overthrow as heir to the throne—a cursed queen who has angered Dionysus. When Dionysus puts out a challenge to kill the girl with the golden touch and burn down her kingdom, it’s not just her future on the throne in danger. Kora’s life and entire kingdom are now on contract.

As bold and brave as ever, Kora sets out to find Dionysus, the very person who is trying to kill her, on the mysterious disappearing island of Jipper. Kora has no other choice. If she wants to save her kingdom and have any chance at reversing her father’s curse, she will have to enter into a deadly game with Dionysus, the greatest trickster the world, or the underworld, has ever seen.

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Annie Sullivan is the author of the young adult novels A Touch of Gold, Tiger Queen, and A Curse of Gold. She lives in Indianapolis, Indiana, and she loves fairytales, everything Jane Austen, and traveling and exploring new cultures. When she’s not off on her own adventures, she’s working as the Senior Copywriter at John Wiley and Sons, Inc. publishing company, having also worked there in Editorial and Publicity roles. She loves to hear from fans, and you can reach her via the contact form on this website or on Twitter and Instagram.

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My thoughts:

I really enjoyed A Touch of Gold – Greek myths, pirates, peril on the high seas, it was basically written for me, so I had high hopes for A Curse of Gold and they were thankfully not misplaced!

Kora, Royce and their friends set out on an epic quest to find Dionysius and get him to reverse the curse on her father, King Midas, and rescue the kingdom from ruin.

Accompanied by a sulky Triton, son of Poseidon, some amazing pegasi (flying horses, I think Pegasus was actually the name of one), a sea creature that behaves like a dog (almost as good as a ship’s cat, almost), and after defeating the gorgons, will Kora be able to outwit the god of ill-advised bets?

Adventure, monsters, romance, this book has it all. So dive in and learn that sometimes what appears to be a curse may actually be a gift.

Giveaway (US/Can)

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*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: The Trials of Koli – M.R. Carey*

Read my review of the first Book of Koli here.


The Book of Koli is the unforgettable story of a young boy struggling to find his place in a world where nature itself has turned against humanity: Everything that lives hates us…

Beyond the walls of the small village of Mythen Rood lies an unrecognizable landscape. A place where overgrown forests are filled with choker trees and deadly seeds that will kill you where you stand. And if they don’t get you, one of the dangerous shunned men will. Koli has lived in Mythen Rood his entire life. He believes the first rule of survival is that you don’t venture too far beyond the walls. He’s wrong.

My thoughts:

Koli and his companions, Ursula and Cup are on the road, trying to reach London and find whoever is sending out a signal, but the journey is dangerous.

I enjoyed this a lot more than the first book, it felt more fully realised and I liked that the perspective went back and forth from Koli and Spinner, back in Mythen Rood.

A lot happens in the pages of this second novel – Koli and his friends fight off attacks from old enemies and of course nature, which really has it out for humans, and who can blame it.

They do meet some good people though, ones who offer them help rather than threats.

Meanwhile Spinner is trying to find her place in Mythen Rood, having married Haijon in the previous book. She’s beginning to see some things about the all powerful Ramparts that leave her with questions no one wants to answer.

This was a really good book and I’m already looking forward to the third and final installment.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: A Song of Isolation – Michael J Malone*

Film star Amelie Hart is the darling of the silver screen, appearing on the front pages of every newspaper. But at the peak of her fame she throws it all away for a regular guy with an ordinary job.

The gossip columns are aghast: what happened to the woman who turned heads wherever she went?

Any hope the furore will die down are crushed when Amelie’s boyfriend Dave is arrested on charges of child sexual abuse.

Dave strongly asserts his innocence, and when Amelie refuses to denounce him, the press furore quickly turns into physical violence, and she has to flee the country. While Dave is locked up with the most depraved men in the country and Amelie is hiding on the continent, Damaris, the victim at the centre of the story, is also isolated – a child trying to make sense of an adult world…

Breathtakingly brutal, dark and immensely moving, A Song of Isolation looks beneath the magpie glimmer of celebrity to uncover a sinister world dominated by greed and lies, and the unfathomable destruction of innocent lives… in an instant.

Michael Malone is a prize-winning poet and author who was born and brought up in the heart of Burns’ country. He has published over 200 poems in literary magazines throughout the UK, including New Writing Scotland, Poetry Scotland and Markings.Blood Tears, his bestselling debut novel won the Pitlochry Prize from the Scottish Association of Writers.

His psychological thriller, A Suitable Lie, was a number-one bestseller, and the critically acclaimed House of Spines, After He Died and In the Absence of Miracles soon followed suit.A former Regional Sales Manager (Faber & Faber) he has also worked as an IFA and a bookseller.

Michael lives in Ayr.

My thoughts:

This was very good, dark and shocking at times but ultimately redemptive and hopeful. Examining what happens after someone is convicted of a terrible crime and the impact on their loved ones, a different perspective than perhaps expected.

But then Dave is innocent, so the suffering he and his family endure should never have been theirs. Victims of a manipulative and jealous conspiracy, their lives are forever changed.

Amelie, hounded by the press, flees to Bordeaux, her ancestral home, in search of peace and anonymity, never giving up on Dave.

But only when the truth is shockingly revealed can they truly recover.

Gripping, moving and powerful, this is another excellent novel from Michael Malone and Orenda Books, worthy of a space on every shelf.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: The High Moments – Sara-Ella Ozbek*

NY RESOLUTIONS – THE PLAN

Exercise 6 times a week

Have sex once a month min. (counts as exercise)

Delete Tim’s number

Move out of home TO LONDON (career??)

Make more friends

Be better

New Year’s Day is the ultimate cliché for Scarlett: hangover, check feeling weepy, check broken sense of self, check check check.

Jobless and stuck living at home with an academic mother who has no time for pep-talks, the one saving grace for Scarlett is that her friend, Billie, still works at the pub down the road. But even the pub is losing its appeal.

Desperate to do something, she moves to London with no plan, no money and nowhere to stay.

Unsurprisingly, she finds herself crashing on her ex-boyfriend’s sofa with all of her terrible life choices for company.

It’s after Scarlett starts interning at a modelling agency that she takes her first step to becoming something – but it’s also her first step to becoming something else. Each terrible decision she makes leads to another and her life begins to spiral.

But people are starting to know her; she’s starting to become someone. And surely it’s better to be someone – even if it’s someone you hate?

With a vein of dark humour at its core, The High Moments offers an astute, often stark look at the fashion industry and the issues you can face as a woman in your twenties – fans of Girls and Emma Jane Unsworth’s Animals will love this.

Sara-Ella Ozbek is a London-bred author of South African and Turkish descent.

After graduating from the University of Exeter with a BA in English Literature, she interned at Vogue magazine and subsequently fell into a job at a modelling agency.

After six exciting, if somewhat draining, years as an agent, she left to pursue a career in writing. She attended the New York Film Academy screenwriting programme then went to Los Angeles where she joined the hustle of the screenwriters.

Out of the frustration and misery came her first novel, The High Moments.

Aside from the novel, she has written non-fiction for titles including Because Magazine, Suitcase, Tatler, Drugstore Culture, Voyage D’Etudes and Soho House Notes.

My thoughts:

Wryly funny, and full of the mistakes you make in your twenties, this reminded me of the girls I used to know, all now grown up and sensible thirty-somethings, but formerly disaster prone, panic driven and messy like Scarlett.

First jobs, falling in love with the wrong men (and women), spending entire paychecks on shoes (whoops, that one was me) and desperately trying to work out where they belong. I didn’t work in fashion but I definitely understood Scarlett.

I reckon anyone who’s ever been young and chaotic will find some empathy for Scarlett, desperate to move out of her judgmental mum’s house and the small Devon town they live in, to grow up and be Someone.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: Coming Home to Hope Street – Marcie Steele*

Step across the cobblestones, pull back the curtains and peek behind the doors in the second instalment of The Hope Street Series. Catch up with old friends and fall in love with new ones in a story of friendship, second chances and new beginnings.

Livvy has no choice but to return to Hope Street, the childhood home she left over twenty years ago. Along with her sixteen-year-old daughter, Pip, she turns up on the doorstep, hoping for forgiveness from her sister.

Hannah thought she’d never see Livvy again. She’s overwhelmed with emotion but locks away her real feelings. How could Livvy stay away without any contact? And why has she come back now?

It isn’t long before the charm of the market town of Somerley begins to work its magic. Hannah is opening a book shop in the square, adjoining The Coffee Stop, and Livvy’s offer to help out brings the sisters closer together.

But when someone from Livvy’s past arrives unannounced too, he threatens everything she’s built up since her return. Can Livvy convince her sister, and her new friends, that her intentions to return were good ones? Or will her dreams of settling down and being happy again become nothing but a closed book?

Marcie Steele is the pen name of Mel Sherratt. For as long as she can remember, she’s been a meddler of words. Born and raised in Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, she’s a romantic at heart and has always enjoyed writing about characters that fall in and out of love, have good friends to hang around with, and live in communities with great spirit.

She can often be found sitting in her favourite coffee shop, sipping a cappuccino and eating a chocolate chip cookie, either catching up with friends or writing on her laptop. Whether she writes crime or women’s fiction, she loves making up things for a living.

You can find more about Marcie Steele on Mel Sherratt’s website

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My thoughts:

This was like a big hug in a book, the bond between Livvy and Hannah might have been stretched thin but it rebounds when they’re reunited and as Livvy starts to open up about the years they’ve been apart, it grows stronger.

A book about making mistakes and mending fences, finding your place and a bookshop! They say you can never go home again, but you can if you live on Hope Street! *I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.