The Source – Orenda Blog Tour

A hugely anticipated debut thriller from former CNN international news executive Sarah Sultoon. Inspired by Sarah’s own time in the newsroom, The Source follows a young TV journalist who is forced to revisit her past when she’s thrust into a sex-trafficking investigation in her hometown. TV rights have already been sold to Lime Pictures, with Jo Spain writing the screenplay

1996. Essex. Thirteen-year-old schoolgirl Carly lives in a disenfranchised town dominated by a military base, struggling to care for her baby sister while her mum sleeps off another binge. When her squaddie brother brings food and treats, and offers an exclusive invitation to army parties, things start to look a little less bleak…

2006. London. Junior TV newsroom journalist Marie has spent six months exposing a gang of sex traffickers, but everything is derailed when New Scotland Yard announces the re-opening of Operation Andromeda, the notorious investigation into allegations of sex abuse at an army base a decade earlier.

As the lives of these two characters intertwine around a single, defining event, a series of utterly chilling experiences is revealed, sparking a nail-biting race to find the truth… and justice.

A tense, startling and unforgettable thriller, The Source is a story about survival, about hopes and dreams, about power, abuse and resilience.

With all the emphasis on Line of Duty and investigating corruption at the moment, it was fantastic to be able to immerse myself in a high quality piece of crime fiction that felt every bit as tense, intelligent and compelling as any crime series I’ve ever watched. I’m so excited to hear that the television rights have already been bought and cannot WAIT to see it on the screen. I love books that deal with gritty subject matter and Karen definitely has a nose for a good story so I was really excited to read Sarah Sultoon’s novel as soon as I could. The Easter Holidays arrived and I was delighted to have some time to dedicate to this hugely anticipated crime thriller and can assure you that I was certainly not disappointed – this book brings the idea of an unputdownable read to a new level and I enjoyed every single moment of this tautly plotted and gripping read.

Award-winning CNN journalist Sarah Sultoon

I absolutely love books that are set in two distinct timelines and really enjpyed travelling back to the 90s with Carly then seeing things from Marie’s perspective a decade later. This book starts with a punch right between the eyes and the pace never really lets up until you’ve turned the final page The fact that these two characters have such different backgrounds and experiences makes for a fantastic reading experience as you see the differences in the way that they perceive and reflect on events and the way that their individual sories affect us. You will feel protective of Carly who alongside her younger sister Kayleigh is growing up in the most challenging circumstances – the path she is being led down becomes clearer and clearer as the novel progresses and the difficult reality of grooming and how insidiously it works is brilliantly captured and brings its true horror to life extremely effectively as we see and undertand the situation very differently from this vulnerable young girl – however streetwise and mature she feels that she us.

Marie is a completely different kettle of fish – although on the surface she might appear to be the stronger character as a successful TV producer and investigative journalist in actual fact she comes across as far less confident and capable than Carly in many ways. This juxtaposition was one of the things that I enjoyed most about this read and is actually one of the key things I enjoy about Orenda books – that their characters are never stereotypically what you might expect and you can’t always pigeonhole them and have a clear understanding of how they’ll behave or how their narrative will unfold. These two characters worlds collide when Marie gets caught up in Operation Andromeda and once stones start being overturned we are caught up in a race against time. We are thrust into a dark world of depravity, corruption and cruelty that will have you both angry and horrified alternately as you experience the depths which human beings will stoop to and you won’t be able to look away. This is a dark read without a doubt, but it never feels exploitative or gratuitous as Sultoon never loses sight of Carly’s humanity and the realisation that there are many hundreds of girls and women caught up in situations like this and this hard hitting novel never lets you forget this

Eve Smith quote GOODREADS

Although I was totally absorbed in the characterisation of The Source it is undoubtedly the intelligence and deftness of its plotting that raisees it head and shoulders above its competition. Orenda reads are my favourites for a reason and it’s incredibly difficult to imagine that this is a debut read  The story of Marie and her immersion in the twists and turns of this case is so perfectly realised that it was hard at times to remember that these are fictional characters rather than real people whose lives are unfolding on the page and it made me wish that time would pass more quickly so that I can see these gripping events unfold on the screen and so that more people can experience the quality of Sultoon’s writing and characterisation.

Anne Cater review - Goodreads

Carly is one of those characters that feel absolutely real from the very first page. She likes to imagine that she is much more grown up and tough than she actually is and because we can see the writing on the wall far before she does, it makes for incredibly poignant reading at times. This story really came alive for me and it was one of those novels that you blink and look up from and discover that you’ve just spent the last three hours immersed in it, it’s so captivating and immersive a story. I will admit to have to step away for a breather at times as it got so intense and once you get caught up in these events, you will definitely see what I mean.

The Source jacket

The characters in The Source are never merely presented as devices to drive the plot along – although it does unfold at an absolutely cracking pace I think that it’s a testament to the strength of Sultoon’s writing that we are so completely immersed in this journey into this heart of darkness that we are happy to be led up several blind alleys through the skilful plotting and are holding our collective breath by the end as there is so much tension being so expertly managed. The juxtaposition between the very ordinariness of the setting with the depravity of these events is convincingly depicted and the tension never lets up for one second in what can be at times a relentless and dark read.  I particularly enjoyed the fact that many of the threats are never explicitly spelled out for us and the horror that is conjured as a consequence of this is far more horrifying than any gratuitous diaplays of brutality could ever be…

Nick Paton Walsh jacket quote, CNN

You will definitely find it hard to put this book down as you’ll be so wrapped up in this gripping and brilliantly plotted read – you’ll need to keep reading and find out how it all ends. Despite her reserved nature, Marie is not a character to give up easily, no matter the circumstances, so it’s safe to say that there were parts of this novel that I read when I was literally holding my breath, not sure what was going to happen next. Needless to say, I was not disappointed and I’m really jealous of anyone who’s yet to start reading this book as it really stands out and once you’ve locked yourself in, you are in for a white knuckle reading ride!

What would you risk for the truth

I recommend this wonderfully tense and hard-hitting novel to people who really like to get their teeth into a story that is as far from predictable and formulaic as it is possible to be. In the present reading climate, many books can seem almost interchangeable and this book certainly stood out a mile.  I loved the intelligent characterisation as much as I enjoyed the fast-moving and gripping plot and I will definitely be recommending it to friends of mine who enjoy a read that will be like nothing else they’ve read this year and I know that it’s going to be much talked about as it feels like one of those books that becomes a word of mouth hit – it really is that good!

Buy yourself a copy and experience this unforgettable read before it appears on screen. It’s definitely one of my favourite reads of 2021 so far and I’m going to be passsing it on to my bookish crowd as a ‘must read’ for all crime thriller fans this year! Thank you so much to Anne Cater from Random Things Tours for inviting me onto the tour and thanks again to Karen for always making my TBR a thing of beauty and ensuring that I’m never stuck for a supply of brilliant and talented debut writers, as well as all my established Orenda favourites.

The Source by [Sarah Sultoon]

‘Tautly written and compelling, not afraid to shine a spotlight on the darker forces at work in society’ Rupert Wallis

‘So authentic and exhilarating … breathtaking pace and relentless ingenuity’ Nick Paton Walsh, CNN

‘A powerful, intense whammy of a debut that is both uncomfortable and exhilarating to read … Thought-provoking, tense, and expressive, The Source is an utterly compelling debut’ LoveReading

‘A gripping, dark thriller’ Geoff Hill, ITV

‘A cleverly constructed story that offers an authentic view behind the scenes in a British newsroom … an original and wholly engaging debut. Definitely a name to watch’ Crime Fiction Lover

‘My heart was racing … fiction to thrill even the most hard-core adrenaline junkies’ Diana Magnay, Sky News

‘Unflinching and sharply observed. A hard-hitting, deftly woven debut’ Ruth Field

‘With this gripping, fast-paced debut thriller, it’s easy to see what made Sultoon such a great journalist. She has a nose for a great story, an eye for the details that make it come to life, and real compassion for her protagonist’ Clarissa Ward, CNN

‘A hard-hitting, myth-busting rollercoaster of a debut’ Eve Smith

‘A dazzling debut’ The Reading Closet

‘I could picture and feel each scene, all the fear, tension and hope’ Katie Allen

‘Harrowing, powerful, perfectly executed’ Literary Elf

‘Gripping, emotional, eye-opening and so brilliantly written … a stunning debut by a very talented author’ Anne Cater

‘Thought provoking, emotional and sometimes brutal … both thrilling and heart-wrenching’ Live & Deadly

Writer On The Shelf

Sarah Sultoon is a journalist and writer whose work as an international news executive at CNN has taken her all over the world, from the seats of power in both Westminster and Washington to the frontlines of Iraq and Afghanistan. She has extensive experience in conflict zones, winning three Peabody awards for her work on the war in Syria, an Emmy for her contribution to the coverage of Europe’s migrant crisis in 2015, and a number of Royal Television Society gongs.

 As passionate about fiction as nonfiction, she recently completed a Masters of Studies in Creative Writing at the University of Cambridge, adding to an undergraduate language degree in French and Spanish, and Masters of Philosophy in History, Film and Television. When not reading or writing she can usually be found somewhere outside, either running, swimming or throwing a ball for her three children and dog while she imagines what might happen if…

Don’t Turn Around – Blog Tour Road Trip

Absolutely delighted to be sharing an exclusive chapter of this exciting and original read this week as part of the blog tour Road Trip!

You can Start from Chapter 1 at A Little Book Problem – or catch up with the previous epidode which featured earlier today on

Reader Dad’s review

If you have been eagerly following the tour across the week, I’ll keep you waiting in suspense no longer – here you go…

Turn back to the blog tomorrow to catch up with my featured review…

truck on highway during daytime



Cait sensed it before it happened, something tingling at the back of her neck. The sound hit her next. It was nothing at first, the buzz of an insect above the hum of the engine, but it grew louder, quickly, and just like that a pair of headlights was blinding in her rearview mirror. The truck was charging up the road toward them, fast. Too fast. The buzz became a roar.

The truck passed on her left, a blur of sound and steel, before swerving back into her lane and hitting the brakes. Cait had to slam on her own brakes to keep from rear- ending it. “What the fuck?”

The truck was moving slowly now, the speedometer barely edging thirty. “What is he doing?” Rebecca asked.

“I have no idea.” It was a two- lane highway, and there was no one else out there. Plenty of room to pass. Cait moved into the left lane. He swerved in front of her. She moved back into the right. The truck followed. She leaned on the horn, hard. “What the hell is he doing?” The truck slowed down again. Twenty now. Fifteen. “Jesus Christ.”

“Maybe he wants you to pull over,” Rebecca suggested, but Cait shook her head.

“We shouldn’t stop. We don’t know . . .” She didn’t have to finish the sentence. They’d read articles, watched films, read books, listened to podcasts, existed in the world as women. They both knew how the story could go if they pulled over.

Cait’s eyes scanned the road. There wasn’t a barrier in place, so if she could get up onto the hard shoulder, she might be able to get enough room to pass…

She hit the gas and jerked the wheel to the right. Rebecca let out a little yelp as the Jeep surged forward. Cait didn’t have time to apologize. She was even with the truck now, though he was drifting toward her into the shoulder. She wrenched the wheel again and the Jeep stuttered into the dirt, the wheels slipping underneath until they found traction. She swept in front of the truck and hit the gas.

“What an asshole,” Cait muttered as the truck’s headlights dropped back.

But the truck accelerated, and soon it was tucked tight behind them. “Shit. I can’t see a damn thing,” she said, squinting to see through the windshield. The truck’s headlights mixed in with the Jeep’s, casting an eerie yellowish glow on the tarmac. The truck’s high beams flashed on and off, and its horn began to blare.

Cait stepped on the gas, but the engine was slow to respond, and the truck surged ahead, keeping pace with her for a few long minutes before it passed them clean on the left- hand side and swung back in front of them.

Once again, the truck’s speed slowed to forty, thirty, twenty. “What are you doing?” she shouted. They were crawling now. She moved into the passing lane. He moved, too. She moved back into the right lane. He did, too. She laid on the horn, hard. Nothing.

They were down to ten miles an hour now, and he was straddling the median, blocking her from passing on either side. She squinted out of the windshield, trying to get a glimpse of the driver in his mirror, but there was nothing but black glass reflecting her own headlights back at her.

“What do you think he wants?”

“I don’t know.” Cait saw Rebecca close her eyes.

She scanned the road. The last time she’d seen another car was a half hour ago. Clovis was twenty miles back, and the next town was still a good ways up the road. Plenty of time for him to do whatever it was he wanted to do. There wasn’t a single other living thing except the jackrabbits burrowed in their dens and rattlesnakes coiled tight underneath the shrubs, and neither was of any use to them if they found themselves stranded out here because the psychopath in front of them had driven them off the road or worse.

She’d have to try to get past him. She tossed a glance at Rebecca.

“You’re wearing your seat belt?”

Rebecca nodded.

“Hold on. C’mon, baby,” she murmured, and cranked the wheel to the right. The tires spat gravel as she swerved off the shoulder and back onto the road. The truck swerved, too, but not quickly enough. It clipped the back edge of the Jeep as it slipped past, a little nudge that Cait knew wouldn’t leave more than a scrape in the already- dinged- up fender.

The truck’s horn blared.

She sank the pedal to the floor. The Jeep could still move when she needed it to. Soon they were up to seventy. The truck was dropping back in the rearview. “I think we got him,” she murmured. She stayed at a steady high speed with her eyes trained on the mirror until the headlights were nothing more than pinpricks fading into the night. “We lost him.”

“What . . . who was that?”

Cait exhaled. She hadn’t realized she’d been holding her breath. Her heartbeat was a flutter caught high in her throat, and her palms were slick with sweat. She’d thought they were goners back there. “I don’t know.”

“Do you think it was the man from the diner?”

“I don’t know,” she said again. She’d been wondering about it herself, but she couldn’t see why he would have waited that long to make his move. Unless . . . unless he wanted to make sure they were out in the middle of nowhere, where no one could hear them. But how would he have tracked them this far without her seeing him? “I don’t think it was the man from the diner,” she said finally, as convincingly as she could.

Rebecca didn’t look convinced. “I couldn’t see the driver at all. Could you?”

“No, nothing.” She glanced in the rearview again. Nothing but empty road behind them now. Whatever it was, it was over. No need to dwell on it. No need to scare the poor woman even more than she already was. “Honestly?” she said, making her voice light. She needed to keep things on course; she couldn’t let them get off track. “It was probably just a bored teenager looking to cause trouble. We did stuff like that all the time when I was a kid— drag racing, playing chicken. It’s what happens when you live in the middle of nowhere: you make your own entertainment.”

“They could have killed us. We could have been run off the road. We could have— ”

“I know, but we’re okay now. Nothing happened.” Cait took a deep breath, willed her pulse to ease up a little. “Teenagers, that’s what I’m betting. Little shits. We’ll be fine now. They’ll find somebody else to pick on.”

The two of them looked out at the long stretch of dark road. Neither of them pointed out that, out here at this time of night, there wasn’t anyone else.

Catch up with Rina Reads tomorrow, to find out what Cait experiences next in this unforgettable and heart-stopping read


Jessica Barry

Vintage (


The Tuscan House – Angela Petch

Corbello, Italy, 1947. A woman and a little boy stagger into the ruins of an old house deep in the forest, wild roses overwhelming the crumbling terracotta walls. Since the war, nowhere has been safe. But they both freeze in shock when a voice calls out from the shadows…

For young mother Fosca Sentino, accepting refuge from ex-British soldier Richard – in Tuscany to escape his tragic past – is the only way to keep her little family safe. She once risked everything to spy on Nazi commanders and pass secret information to the resistenza. But after a heartbreaking betrayal, Fosca’s best friend Simonetta disappeared without trace. The whole community was torn apart, and now Fosca and her son are outcasts.

Wary of this handsome stranger at first, Fosca slowly starts to feel safe as she watches him play with her son in the overgrown orchard. But her fragile peace is shattered the moment a silver brooch is found in the garden, and she recognises it as Simonetta’s…

Fosca has always suspected that another member of the resistenza betrayed her. With Richard by her side, she must find out if Simonetta is still alive, and clear her own name. But how did the brooch end up at the house? And with a traitor hiding in the village, willing to do anything to keep this secret buried, has Fosca put herself and her young son in terrible danger?

The Tuscan House

Maybe it was because I am stuck at home rather than being able to travel to Tuscany and drive down an avenue of cypress or breathe in the warm summer air, that I became so caught up in this story and the wonderfully realised Tuscan atmosphere of Angela Petch’s fourth Tuscan novel. I can’t stop reaching for books set during this period, and this is one of the best books I’ve read in this genre this year. I am fascinated by stories set in this period, after the war. This book really brings the diverse nature of this time alive and I was delighted to be invited on the tour by Sarah Hardy and loved hearing about Simonetta’s disappearance and Fosca and Richard’s journey to find some answers

village under clear sky

This book definitely did not disappoint, it grabbed me and pulled me right into this unforgettable and beautifully written story – Traumatised by everything that he saw and witnessed whilst serving alongside the Friends Ambulance Unit, Richard comes back to Corbello to start on a clean page and see if he can create something beautiful out of all the trauma and pain that he experienced during the war. The old tobacco factory becomes a place of hope and optimism for him and I found this so fasinating and this really added to the story for me. It’s a book that you’ll find hard to believe it’s fiction as you’ll become so caught up in the story he uncovers and you’ll be transfixed by the disappearance that he and Fonsa get caught up in and as desperate as I was to know what happened…

brown building between trees

I absolutely loved travelling back to 1949 alongside them and definitely found it quite addictive. I was captivated by the bravery and resilience shown by Fosca and Simonetta, seeing the privations that they had to endure and struggle through. There was much to navigate, knowing that your fortunes depend on your ability to turn your difficulties into opportunities and to use your wit and wisdom as you just don’t know who you can trust and depend on as everything around you is so uncertain. The Resistenza are not one of the particularly well-known aspects of history and I feel that this novel gives us a real insight into what they managed to bring abot at this turbulent time.

brown concrete houses on mountain at daytime

This novel presents this period of history in such a realistic way which brings you right into the story and makes you experiencethis story alongside the characters in both of the historical settings – Simonetta feels very much like a real person, despite the distance of time between us and you feel really caught up in the twists and turns of her story. I loved travelling back into the past and experencing the bravery and resilience of these characters that sray with you long after finishing the book.

Angela Petch writes beautifully and her books are truly evocative, you can see, smell and taste the scenes in her novel and she lives and breathes the scenery and history of Tuscany through her writing – I also enjoyed researching this period online after I’d finished reading the book. I was fascinated by this turbulent time in Italy’s history. I am sure that you will be as caught up as I was by the complex historical ramifications of war and the fragmented communities that remained wth guilt, fragile allegiances and betrayal lurking just beneath the surface at all times.

road between green grass field near mountains under blue and brown sky at golden hour

I really enjoyed this book and recommend it to everyone that cannot travel this year to be able to live and breathe in a vividly painted Italy. I loved the way that her writing brings the country to life just as vividly as her characters and enjoyed being able to trace this story back through time and join in with them on their discovery to find out the truth about Simonetta and her disappearance and its ramifications for Fosca and her son…

Treat yourself to a copy and discover this turbulent and fascinating story for yourself

Writer On The Shelf

Angela Petch
Anglela Petch

Angela writes: “I’m an award winning writer of fiction – and the occasional poem. Every summer I move to Tuscany for six months where my husband and I own a renovated watermill which we let out. When not exploring our unspoilt corner of the Apennines, I disappear to my writing desk at the top of our converted stable. In my Italian handbag or hiking rucksack I always make sure to store notebook and pen to jot down ideas. The winter months are spent in Sussex where most of our family live. When I’m not helping out with grandchildren, I catch up with writer friends.

Angela‘s Social media

Blog | Twitter | Facebook

Books On The Hill

As an English Teacher, I am absolutely delighted to be joining forces with the other Random Things Bloggers to share information about this incredible independent bookstore’s Kickstarter project. I see every single day the impact of dyslexia on young people and their ability to experience a diverse range of books and can vouch for the fact that the older they get, the less and less choice they have in being able to access books that are dyslexia friendly.

I was delighted to be involved though Anne Cater’s blog tour and am pleased that since it’s the Easter Break that I’ve had lots of time to get exploring and find out as much as possible about these books, the writers and the project itself. It’s been a fascinating journey and I’m delighted to be sharing it today as part of the tour and encouraging book lovers everywhere to think about participating through supporting the Kickstarter too

Hopefully I’ve managed to include all of the background information that you need to understand what exactly BOTH are trying to achieve as well as find out a bit more information about the books they currently have on offer as well as discover how you can get involved in a number of exciting, innovative and original ways. They are extremely passionate about what they hope to achieve and hope that as many book lovers as possible will read about it and decide to get involved…

Read all about it below and follow the Random Things Blogtour to see what other bloggers are getting involved in as they share news from Books On The Hill themselves.

I am proud to be able to share the news about this project and hope that once people find out more about the BOTH project that they will want to get involved and help by supporting, sharing and getting behind their quest to make books more accessible to all readers

Find out more about the Kickartarter and how to support them here

The idea that when you become an adult there are no dyslexic accessible printed books to read, bluntly said is ridiculous.

BOTH Press, which aims to fill this gap, is a project from Book on the Hill, which is dyslexic friendly independent bookshop set in Clevedon, North Somerset.

Books On The Hill

They are passionate about helping people who have dyslexia, or have any difficulty with reading, to access the joy of good fiction. They aim to make exciting good quality fiction accessible to those not currently provided for by today’s traditional mass book market and are working with talented and award winning authors to achieve this.

With your help through the whole process of the Kickstater, they aim to publish and print 8 titles of dyslexic friendly books for adults.

Their long term goal is to continue  publishing good quality adult fiction to produce a wide range of books for people who have challenges when reading. 

Their initial target is 3 titles with successive stretch goals to get to the magical 8. 

Of course they want to do more and if by your support they really go over our target, they will produce yet more stunning books with great authors

Books On The Hill are working to bring dyslexic  friendly books with  award winning and award nominated authors. 

So here they are…

Sherlock Holmes and the Four Kings of Sweden

Steven Savile is a bestselling British fantasy, horror and thriller writer. He lives just outside Stockholm, Sweden having emigrated in 1997. His published works include The Memory Man, Coldfall Wood, Glass Town, One Man’s War, Parallel Lines, and numerous short stories in magazines and anthologies. He has written for Games Workshop, Primeval, Stargate and Doctor Who. Steven was a runner-up for the British Fantasy Award in 2000 and again in 2010. He has been published in a dozen languages and sold more than half a million copies of his novels and stories worldwide.

Previous titles: The Memory Man, Parallel Lines, Glass Town, One Man’s War, Coldfall Wood. And more…

Four Kings Of Sweden

Under the pretext of opening a school of detectives, Sherlock and Watson are summoned by the Swedish royalty. The Great Detective must solve a seemingly unsolvable riddle – how can the king be in three places at once?  Why is it happening? And how does this tie in to a string of crimes that seem hound the King’s footsteps?

Watson seemingly alone, lectures at the The Bernadotte Chambers in Stockholm, speaking to his carefully chosen audience how this crimes of murder and mummery had come to pass.  All the while waiting for Sherlock to appear and present the final reveal.

Anchor Point

Stan Nicholls is the author of more than thirty books and was shortlisted for the 2001 British Fantasy Award. His Orcs: First Blood trilogy is a worldwide bestseller, with over a million copies sold to date. Both Orcs trilogies made the New York Times bestseller list. Stan’s books have been published in more than 20 countries. He was the first manager of Forbidden Planet’s original London store and helped establish and run the New York branch. He received the Le’Fantastique Lifetime Achievement Award for Contributions to Literature (2007)

Previous titles: Orcs: Omnibus Edition, Orcs Bad Blood: Second Omnibus Edition, Shake Me to Wake Me: The Best of Stan Nicholls, Quicksilver Rising. And more…

The village of Catterby is beholden to no lord or lady. No one believes Lord Salex Nacandro, a warlord and sorcerer, who’s homeland was far to the north, would be a threat.

They are wrong.

Kye Beven a reluctant member of the ‘Band’, the elite protectors of the village, lacks confidence. Everyone except Dyan Varike, the best archer in the band, believes he should never have been selected. When Catterby is menaced by Eskail Gudreen the Emissary of Nacandro, Kye reaches for his bow and steps up to the mark.

Ultrasound Shadow

Thana Niveau is a horror and science fiction writer. She is the author of the short story collections Octoberland, Unquiet Waters, and From Hell to Eternity, as well as the novel House of Frozen Screams. She has been shortlisted three times for the British Fantasy Awards – for Octoberland and From Hell to Eternity, and for her short story Death Walks En Pointe. She shares her life with fellow writer John Llewellyn Probert, in a crumbling gothic tower filled with arcane books and curiosities. And toy dinosaurs.

Previous titles: Octoberland, Unquiet Waters, From Hell to Eternity, House of Frozen Screams. And more…

Molly Landor had always imagined having kids someday, though she had hoped it would be by choice and not by accident. After double checking the test was positive, there’s no doubt about it.

Something strange begins to occur and Molly announces that she will go ahead with the  pregnancy.  Friends and acquaintances become alarmed her behaviour becomes erratic and Molly announces details of her baby that no one could know, even refusing to go to the hospital to check the baby.

Is it just normal pregnancy mania or is something more unnatural arising?

The Breath

Joel Cornah is an author, journalist, and blogger. His novels, The Sea-Stone Sword and The Sky Slayer, were published BFS Award-winning publisher, Grimbold books. He is an editor for The Science-Fiction and Fantasy Network, which has featured authors such as Brandon Sanderson and Kameron Hurley, as well as TV stars. He is outspoken about his dyslexia, supporting efforts to spread awareness through talks, articles, and books. He runs The Campaign Trail podcast, which has featured critically acclaimed authors, such as Anna Smith Spark alongside its regular players.

Previous titles: The Sea-Stone Sword, The Sky Slayer, The Storm-Forged Throne

And more…

The planet Wanda V has been abandoned for some time. The Gates had collapsed generations ago. It was called a waste of time, but the lone scientist, Hala, sets forth to investigate.

While Hala collects data on the planet, legends and mythologies that surround these ruins become all too real.

Can Hala escape a god? And what does this self-proclaimed deity want?

The House on the Old Cliffs

Adrian Tchaikovsky is an award-winning British fantasy and science fiction author. He is a keen live role-player, occasional amateur actor, and has trained in stage-fighting. He has written over 20 novels and won the 2016 Arthur C. Clarke Award for Children of Time and the 2017 British Fantasy Award — Best Fantasy Novel for The Tiger and the Wolf.

Previous titles: Children of Time, Children of Ruin, Cage of Souls, The Tales of Catt & Fisher: The Art of the Steal, The Doors of Eden. And more…

Doctor Hendry, a known pseudo-historian has gone missing. His employers want answers.

Michael is offered a job that pays ten times what he would get standing outside a club, knocking people over.  On reaching the London office of the law firm, Branmer & Stokes, four other professionals are waiting. Two mercenaries, Shaw and Kelling, with broad minds and little scruples. Cohen, a paranormal investigator and Doctor Furrisky from the University of East Anglia’s department of history.

Together they are given one job. Find Doctor Hendry in his home on the remote clifftop. They find more than they bargained for or even comprehend.

The Clockwork Eyeball

Steven Poore co-produced the Sheffield theatre premiere of Terry Pratchett’s Wyrd Sisters. He is a founder member of the Sheffield SF&F Writers’. His novel, Heir To The North, was shortlisted for Best Newcomer at the British Fantasy Awards in 2017.

He has featured in a number of anthologies with the BFS Award-winning publisher Fox Spirit Books.

Previous titles: Hair to the North, The High Kings Vengence, Art of War: Anthology for Charity, Legends 3: Stories in Honour of David Gemmell. And more…

It is 1958 in an alternate Marrakesh. The cold war still wages on and  Sputnik has launched, gazing down of earth. Seemingly Russia is conquering space at last.

An uncover agent needs to be extradited and the British expects Marrakesh to facilitate this.

Saif, a local boy has an important mission, to pick up a British spy unnoticed and bring him to the Deputy Security directorate. Saif escapes surveillance in a borrowed Grand taxi, but the pick-up doesn’t go to plan, as the British agent, known as the lighting rod, is the one man guaranteed to make a hard situation, harder.

The race is on to escape the Russian secret service, advanced technology and bring the undercover agent into British hands.

At Midnight I Will Steal Your Soul

John Llewellyn Probert was the winner of the 2013 British Fantasy Award for best novella with Nine Deaths of Dr Valentine. He won the Dracula Society’s Children of the Night Award for his first book, The Faculty of Terror, in 2006. Since then he has published fifteen volumes of horror fiction, including six short story collections. His non-fiction publications include a book on his favourite film, Theatre of Blood (Electric Dreamhouse) and he regularly writes about new movie releases at his online review site, House of Mortal Cinema. He lives in a gothic mansion in deepest Somerset with his wife, the author Thana Niveau. He doesn’t sleep much because there’s just too much scary fun to be had.

Previous titles: Nine Deaths of Dr Valentine, The Lovecraft Squad,The Last Temptations of Dr Valentine, The Complete Valentine, Theatre of Blood. And more… 

Lynda is having second thoughts about joining Dr Sampson choir, but she really needed to get out of the house. Too long she has spent putting herself into boxes for others benefits, but really was a choir in a psychiatric hospital the right way to find something for herself?

Of course it had to be one of those Victorian gothic monstrosities, and of course it had a dubious past, so really it’s just her imagination setting her on edge right. The weather isn’t helping nor is the fact that suddenly she is a prisoner and something does not want her to leave.

The Man Who Would Be King

Joseph Rudyard Kipling was an English journalist, short-story writer, poet, and novelist. He was born in India, which inspired much of his work. Kipling’s works of fiction include The Jungle Book, Kim, and many short stories.

Books On The Hill have lots of rewards for people who are dyslexic, or who know someone who is dyslexic, or you just want to help us in this project. We have four main categories of  rewards. Digital, Print, Art, and Unique. 

With our stretch goals adding a book each time, the first 3 book will be:

  • Ultrasound Shadow 
  • Anchor Point
  • The Four Kings of Sweden 

Our next 3 books unlocked will be:

  • The House On The Old Cliffs
  • The Breath 
  • The Clockwork Eyeball 

Any reward that says ‘choice of 6’ means these above. 

Our last two unlocked will be; 

  • I Will Steal Your Soul At Midnight 
  • The Man Who Would Be King


They are very flexible.  If you want to increase your pledge, please do so, they are very happy for you to have more than one reward.

 We have two digital only rewards and one combination reward.

The fourth major catagory in BOTH rewards.

Many of the authors on this project have put forward unique offers in this rewards tier.

We will facilitate with Stan when you take up this reward. So send the story to us and we will forward it on to him, and vice versa, forward his comments and advice to you.  This is really exciting reward from a brilliant and generous author.  

Who doesn’t want to be a character in a books.

This is what Steven is offering. He won’t promise though that you will live happily ever after, who knows, you could get that death scene you have always wanted. 

 We will facilitate this with Steven when you take up this reward.

So send the story to us and we will forward it on to him, and vice versa, forward his comments and advice to you.  This is really exciting reward from an award winning author.

This is something I might take up, as Thana is such a great writer and anybody generous  enough to take this reward is a lucky person.

We will facilitate this with Thana when you take up this reward. So send the story idea to us and we will forward it on to her, and vice versa, forward the finished story to you.

Being a guest voice on a D&D podcast with author such as Anna Smith Spark taking part.

Hell yes! What’s not to like. Joel will be in contact with you directly on this one when you take up this amazing reward. 

 This reward will come available when we hit our first stretch goal.

Mr Horror himself writing a story for you. It gives me chills. We will facilitate this with John when you take up this reward. So send the story idea to us and we will forward it on to him, and vice versa, forward the finished story to you. 

With your help by the end of this Kickstarter we will be able to publish and print 8 books and even begin the process to publish more books in the future.  These books will be unlocked after hitting the following stretch totals. 

  • When we hit the £4000 Adrian Tchaikovsky, The House On The Old Cliff will be unlocked. So every Reward that is a complete set will have this paperback added. 
  • The Digital & Print reward will change to choice of ‘3 from 4’ on paperbacks and ebooks. 
  • When we hit the £5000 Joel Cornah, The Breath will be unlocked. So every Reward that is a complete set will have this paperback added. 
  • The Digital & Print reward will change to ‘choice of 3 from 5’ on paperbacks and ebooks. 
  • When we hit the £6000 Steven Poore’s  The Clockwork Eyeball will be unlocked. So every Reward that is a complete set will have this paperback added. 
  • The Digital & Print reward will change to ‘choice of 3 from 6’ on paperbacks and ebooks. 
  • When we hit £7000 John Llewellyn Probert’s “At Midnight I Will Steal Your Soul” will become available as a paperback and ebook. Any rewards that has ‘choice of’ will now be ‘choice of 7’.
  • Any reward that has ‘complete set’ will get the extra books added to their reward. 
  • When we hit £8000 the classic by Rudyard Kipling “The Man Who Would Be King” with become available as a paperback and ebook. Any print reward that has ‘choice of’ will now be ‘choice of 8’.
  • Any reward that has ‘complete set’ will get the extra books added to their reward.  

One we hit both of these total, please don’t stop sharing about us and continuing to pledge to this project. The more support we get in the kickstarter,  the more we can do in the future, producing many titles of quality fiction for people who deal with dysleixa. 

What is Dyslexia? 

Dyslexia is a learning difference that primarily affects reading and writing skills. The NHS estimates that up to 1 in every 10 people in the UK have some form of dyslexia, while other dyslexic organisations believe 1 in 5 and more than 2 million people in the UK are severely affected.

Dyslexia does not stop someone from achieving. There are many individuals who are successful and are dyslexic. Famous actors, such as Orlando Bloom; Entrepreneurs like Theo Paphitis, and many, many more, including myself. All of who believe dyslexia has helped them to be where they are now. Dyslexia, though, as I can attest to, does not go away. You don’t grow out of it, and so we are acknowledging that and creating a selection of books that will be friendly to people who deal with dyslexia every day, without being patronising. 

What Do We Mean By Dyslexic Friendly? 

  • Cream paper rather than white. 
  • A sans-serif font, or a specific dyslexic friendly one. 
  • Extended spacing between paragraphs, sentences and words

The Paper

Getting the right paper for the job is one of the critical aspects of the production of these dyslexic friendly books. It also has a impact on the kickstarter funds we need.

Originally we were going to go with 80gsm cream paper, which would be digitally printed, which on a production cost point of view would have made thing a lots easier for us, and we would have needed less start up cash.

However, after careful examination, we concluded that the more expensive 120gsm which would be litho printed, would be the best for this project. This paper and printing is more expensive, but we feel it worth it, as it is opaque, and so as you read it, the text on the other-side is not visible.

This is important so the reader can concentrate on a single page. Also due to this opaqueness the paper appears much creamier than the 80gsm paper, which again helps with the contrast and ideal for readers who struggle with dyslexia. 

Our Shop Experience  

Since we started the project in 2019, Books on the Hill have had many adults customers with dyslexia come in shop the asking for something accessible to read.

For example, one customer asked if we stocked well known novels in a dyslexic friendly format.

Unfortunately we had to say no, as they just don’t exist.

We explained what we are trying to achieve by printing our own and she replied:

This response is not isolated. We have had many adults come in to the shop with dyslexia, who do not read or struggle to read and they believe dyslexic friendly books would have real impact on their reading for pleasure.

We have been so lucky that many great authors have agreed to particpating in this project. Not least the great friend of mine, Stan Nicholls who has supported me since my university days examining archaeology and fantasy and writing fictional narratives for my PhD.  

Joining Stan in this project is Steven Savile, another bestsellling author, whose father lives in Clevedon and is a customer of the bookshop.  

Then we have the horror duo that is Thana Niveau and John Llewellyn Probert, both well estabished and engaging authors,  who also happen to live in Clevedon, and be customers of the shop.

Alistair Sims

Books on the Hill is Alistair Sims. He is the manager and commander-in-chief of the bookshop (though his partner, Chloe and his mother, Joanne, who set up the bookshop with him, may disagree with this description ). Alistair is dyslexic and has a PhD in history and archaelogy.  Alistair could not read until he was 13 and is passionate about helping anyone who has difficulty reading. He is the driving force behind BOTH Press and  has been involved in every step in this project, from finding award winning authors to contribute, the cover design, and the road to publication, including setting up for distribution. 

 Chrissey Harrison 

Books on the Hill  are collaborating with Chrissey Harrison, who is also an local author and member of North Bristol Writers Group. Chressey and Alistair have designed the bookcovers together, with Chrissey creating the finshed product we now look on at awe with. Nearly all the design work has been done by Chrissey, and she is also in charge of the printing process and typesetting. We are so proud and appreciative to be working with Chrissey. 

Nine Worthy Design 

Special mention must go to Harrison Gates, who runs Nine Worthy, and who has dedicated his time and expertise to produce our print catalogue for us free of cost. 

Joanne Hall

Joanne Hall is an author, editor and formerly the Chair of BristolCon, Bristol’s premier (and only) science fiction and fantasy convention. We must give a huge thank you to Jo for proof reading the stories free of cost. 

Vicky Brewster 

Vicky Brewster has edited all the new stories by the authors. She specialises in editing and beta reading long-form fiction, although she also has experience in short-form fiction, non-fiction and academic work.   Vicky is a great editor, with her skills honed by years spent writing for the commercial market, and postgraduate academic study of both English Literature and Creative Writing.  She has also completed several course with SFEP on editing and proofreading.

Risks and challenges

Books On The Hill are a small independent bookshop seeing that something needed to be done to produce these books.

They are small team, and this is their first Kickstarter.

They also have shop commitments, and so delays could happen.

Due to Covid the project had to be delayed and as a consequence the price of paper has gone up.

They have also decided to go with the thicker paper as they do not want to compromise on quality.

They had to adapt to the new cost and reflected this in the kickstarter project.

They are very fortunate and proud to be going to UK Printers, which should speed up delivery of the rewards.

They ask that you please bear with them and they will keep in contact with all backers to ensure we get your rewards to you as speedily as possible.

They will be working very closely with the authors in regards to their rewards to facilitate their contact with you where appropriate.

Do please bear in mind that these author are very busy and there could be delays.

Learn about accountability on Kickstarter


Kickstarter Prelaunch





Facets of Death – Orenda Blog Tour

When a Botswana mine is robbed of 100,000 carats of diamonds and the thieves are murdered execution-style, Botswana’s Detective Kubu begins a terrifying international investigation in the prequel to the award-winning Detective Kubu series.

Recruited straight from university to Botswana’s CID, David ‘Kubu’ Bengu has raised his colleagues’ suspicions with his meteoric rise within the department, and he has a lot to prove…

When the richest diamond mine in the world is robbed of 100,000 carats worth of gems, and then the thieves are killed, execution-style, Kubu leaps at the chance to prove himself. But where are the diamonds? And what role does a witch doctor and his son play? Does this young detective have the skill – and integrity – to engineer an international trap? Or could it cost him everything, including his life…?

A riveting, chilling prequel to the award-winning Detective Kubu series, Facets of Death introduces the beloved Kubu and his richly described native Botswana, in a dark, sophisticated thriller that will leave you breathless.

I know that Karen can choose a detective novel – but I’m much more used to them emanating from much colder climes! I was absolutely intrigued to see what kind of detective fiction is coming out of Africa and loved the sound of Detective Kubu, so when I got the chance to take part in the blog tour, I signed up straight away! After reading the extremely tempting blurb, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on a copy Facets of Death and, just as I suspected, I loved David ‘Kubu’ Bengu and really fell for the writing style as it really transported me into the glittering danger of life in Botswana’s diamond mines and kept me glued to the page whilst the international investigation unfolds. It was great to e in a totally different environment and setting and I loved the originality of this setting. A sig of success is when you start browsing for other books by a writer before you reach the end of the book – and I can’t wait to discover the full story of Detective Kubu and his adventures.

Detective ‘Kubu’ is a fresh-faced graduate when we meet him here, and it is obvious that his talent and enthusiasm for the post is already atracting a fair bit of jealousy and negativity from his peers. He is absolutely determined to get to the bottom of the diamond hijacking and as readers, we soon feel just as determined as he is to solve this twisty and very satisfying case It must be so difficult for crime writers to keep coming up with fresh and exciting ‘cases to crack’ and I think that this is one of the aspects of Michael Stanley’s writing that is gathering the most acclaim. You really feel like you get a deep dive into the case with Kubu and his somewhat unorthodox way of proceeding with things really sets him apart as a protagonist. I’m hearing it described as ‘sunshine noir’ and I am here for it! I love the way that you get to discover small details about the African setting and cultural background as we embark upon ‘solving’ the case and I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough, to keep up with Kubu’s detective skills and quick brain. Even though his childhood nickname means ‘ Hippo’ he is as far from a PC Plod as you could imagine and I loved his orginal take on things as he deploys a fair bit of lateral tinking to crack this case…

Ragnar Jonasson jacket quote - Detective Kubu series

I hate spoilers, so I don’t want to dwell too long on the plot of Facets of Death as I want you to be able to experience all the twists and turns for yourself – suffice to say that the skilful way that Michael Stanley weaves the many and disparate elements of this case into the narrative is superbly done and remains convincing throughout. I know at times it can feel like the fictional world is saturated with detective stories but the comparisons with McCall Smith are absolutely deserved and I defy you to get beyond the fourth page and not be locked in for the ride! This is a darker and more complex creation than Ramotswe and the addition of the witchdoctor and voodoo add an intriguing undercurrent to the story as we feel that the detectives have to operate on several levels – within the boundaries of both culture and the law, to try and get to the bottom of this case as things get darker and more tense. It is such a challenging novel to try ad solve yourself and that was one of the reasons that I loved it. If you like a crime novel that keeps you on your toes then look no further – this one kept me up half the night as I just had to know the truth!

Peter James jacket quote for Detective Kubu series

I loved the way that this novel wove many threads together – a convincing detective story, a look at what it means to be a young detective an examination of the way that old belief systems intermingle with contemorary criminal behaviour – Facets of Death  is definitely one of those novels that stays with you long after closing its final page and one that I will definitely be recommending to my friends – it packs a powerful punch and never lets up in terms of maintaining its cracking pace until you close the final page.   I can’t wait to read Kubu’s entire story now that I’ve finished the prequel. I’m a sucker for a fantastically written crime read and he is definitely one of my favourite new crime writing creations. I can’t wait to see where this series goes and heartily recommend it for anyone who is bored of generic crime novels and thirsting for something really different that will transport them into a wholly realised world and grip them with a well written plot with characters that you will really care about.

Bravo, Michael Stanley you have me absolutely hooked! 

New York Journal of Books review for Michael Stanley/Detective Kubu

Away and treat yourself – You’ll thank me for it.

But you don’t just have to take my word for it, have a look at the praise it has gathered already and enjoy!

“If you are like me and hadn’t read this series before, Facets of Death is a perfect way to jump into the series.” – Mystery Scene Magazine

“Besides being an exciting police procedural, this book… should send readers unfamiliar with the series right to the bookstore.” – Twin Cities Pioneer Press

” Every fan of mystery novels already should be reading and enjoying this series…” – Bookreporter

Writer On The Shelf

Follow Michael Stanley at

Michael Stanley is the writing name of Michael Sears and Stanley Trollip. Both natives of Africa, we have traveled regularly together to Botswana and Zimbabwe over the past twenty years to experience the country with its wide diversity and interesting peoples.

Our books reflect the authentic Africa of the 21st century: not merely the politically unstable, desperately poor Africa of the nightly news, but also the emotional conflicts of people with one foot in traditional culture and the other in Western-instigated globalism. The new Africa is not a safari jungle, but a collection of diverse groups and nations struggling to find their way in a rapidly changing context.

The World At My Feet – Catherine Isaac Blog Tour

The secrets that bind us can also tear us apart…

1990. Harriet is a journalist. Her job takes her to dangerous places, where she asks questions and tries to make a difference. But when she is sent to Romania, to the state orphanages the world is only just learning about, she is forced to rethink her most important rule. 

2018. Ellie is a gardener. Her garden is her sanctuary, her pride and joy. But, though she spends long days outdoors, she hasn’t set foot beyond her gate for far too long. Now someone enters her life who could finally be the reason she needs to overcome her fears.

From post-revolution Romania to the idyllic English countryside, The World at My Feet is the story of two women, two worlds, and a journey of self-discovery that spans a lifetime.

It’s such a privilege this sunny spring evening, to be one of the bloggers closing the blog tour of one of the best books I’ve read this year so far– and that is no mean feat, as 2021 is already shaping up to be an amazing year for books.  The World At My Feet is a book that you’ll be seeing everywhere this Summer and if you’ve not got your Spring/Summer TBR scheduled already, you should definitely make a space for this thought provoking, touching and unforgettable read.

Photo by Gary Barnes on

The fact that this book is so wonderfully structured with such clever juxtapositions and thought provoking contrasts means that it is hard to write a review without any spoilers. I really want you to have the same amazing reading experience that I had – so I am committed t not giving anything away that will have an impact on that. Suffice to say that I adored this book – Catherine Isaac’s writing was as beautifully sustained as always which allows you to fully immerse yourself in Harriet and Ellie’s very different worlds and experience the highs nd lows right there alogside them. It’s one of those books that you find yourself thinking about whenever you’re not reading it and imagining what the characters are doing, just as if they are real people that you know…

Eve Chase review quote on pink floral background

I really lost myself in the story of Harriet whose job was so well described thatI could see some of tese sights and sounds for myself I felt like I could really transport myself into her world and imagine the impact on the things she sees and experiences in Romania myself. The book deals so sensitively with the impact of trauma and mental health and I really feel that this is one of the main misconceptions about women’s fiction – that it is all just light fluff and love stories – this book is typical of what we’ve come to know and love about Catherine Isaac stories; that they are not afaid to tackle difficult subjects with compassion, sensitivity and a open mind and really hekp the readers to gain a much better understanding about the way some of these issues affect the ives of thousands of ordinary people off the page too

Beth O'Leary review quote on pink floral background

As we read on, we also meet Ellie who has her own sorrows to seek. I feel that agoraphobia is perhaps one of the most misunderstood conditions that people have to live with and Ellie’s story goes a long way towards dispelling some of the misconceptions and allows us to see that Ellie’s situation might be a lot more complex than the stereotypical idea about someone who ‘can’t go out’

Libby Page review quote on pink floral background

Ellie is a fabulous character, she definitely felt very real to me as she wrestles with the idea of moving outwith her strictly defined and safe boundaries as blogger @EnglishCountryGardenista and stepping outwith her literal and metaphorical comfort zone to take a chance onthe world outside her window and embarking on a new chapter in her personal life. Ellie and Harriet’s alternating chapters give us a gradual insight into the back stories of both these characters and a slow reveal about how and why their current situation has evolved – allowing a real empathy to develop between the characters and the readers

Sarah Haywood review quote on pink floral background

This novel is perfect for readers who enjoy characters we can really connect with in emotional dilemmas that have us rooting for them. Ellie is such a fabulous creation and we definitely feel for her as she struggles with her conflicting emotions and can see the very real struggle to push herself outwith the safe boundaries of her home and family. Harriet was also so well-drawn and her experiences abroad are so well crafted tha they just spring off the page. It is a real joy to get to know them both as the book develops which makes the way that the plot unfolds for their very different circumstances all the more compelling to read about.

Photo by Gary Barnes on

I think that this will definitely bring Jane Costello a whole new audience who are looking for a novel that will not only entertain them but make them think more deeply about the way that mental health issurs are treated in fiction and in real life too – Catherine Isaac has brought us a novel that asks us to consider the way that we talk to ourselves about wellbeing and the way that we think about other people’s struggles too I read this book in a single day over last weekemd and I’m so glad that I actually got the time to unwind and lose myself in this emotionally rewarding and thought-provoking read.

The World At My Feet is a moving and emotional story and I’d love to see it on the slver screen I am so grateful to the lovely Megan Denholm &  SJV aka BookMinx for inviting me on the tour, it’s been an absolute pleasure and I can’t stop recommending this book to EVERYONE.

Photo by Rachel Claire on

Buy yourself a copy right now and enjoy Ellie & Harriet’s story for yourself. And you don’t just have to take my word for it – look at all the praise this wonderful read has attracted already

‘The World at my Feet is a profoundly moving, heart-filled story showing that, even in the darkest winter, new shoots of love, laughter and hope are waiting to burst through. Ellie is a wonderful character, whose daily acts of courage are an inspiration. As she nurtures her beloved garden, and reaches out to those beyond its walls, she finds her own way through to the sunlight. Catherine Isaac handles Ellie’s backstory with the kind of sensitivity and delicacy that’s the mark of an exceptionally accomplished writer. The World at my Feet is exactly the kind of story we all need right now. I adored it’ — Sarah Haywood, author of The Cactus

‘A poignant and perceptive novel of love and courage in the face of terrible adversity’  — Erica James, author of Letters From the Past

‘Such an interesting and beautifully written book – I loved it and would highly recommend adding it to your 2021 reading list. It is a wonderful story that I know readers are going to feel moved and uplifted by’  — Libby Page, author of The Lido

‘Beautifully written, thought-provoking and ultimately uplifting – The World At My Feet is Catherine Isaac’s best book so far!’ 
  — Debbie Johnson, author of Maybe One Day

‘What a moving and uplifting story this is – Catherine Isaac writes with real humanity and kindness, which is exactly what we all need right now’
  — Lucy Diamond, author of An Almost Perfect Holiday

The World at My Feet brought me to tears. What a beautifully written and incredibly moving novel’  — Beth O’Leary, author of The Flatshare

Writer On The Shelf

Catherine Isaac

I write life-affirming stories about self-discovery and family secrets – and my latest, THE WORLD AT MY FEET, is published in the UK in March 2021.

The book will be my third written as ‘Catherine Isaac’; my previous two, MESSY, WONDERFUL US and YOU ME EVERYTHING, have been translated into 24 languages, while a movie adaptation of the latter is currently in development by Lionsgate and Temple Hill.

Before those, I wrote romantic comedy for over a decade, under the pseudonym ‘Jane Costello’.

I love hearing from anyone who’s read my stories, so please do write an Amazon review or get in touch with me on Instagram @catherineisaacauthor, Twitter @CatherineIsaac_ or Facebook @Catherineisaacauthor.

You can also sign up to my monthly newsletter at

I live in Liverpool, with my husband and three boys, which is where my writing career began, as a trainee reporter on the Liverpool Echo, back in the late 1990s. These days, as well as my writing, I also love running, playing tennis, renovating our 178-year old house and reading a lot of books.

Notebook Blog Tour

Sure, sex is great, but have you ever cracked open a new notebook and written something on the first page with a really nice pen? The story behind Notebook starts with a minor crime: the theft of Tom Cox’s rucksack from a Bristol pub in 2018.

In that rucksack was a journal containing ten months worth of notes, one of the many Tom has used to record his thoughts and observations over the past twelve years. It wasn’t the best he had ever kept – his handwriting was messier than in his previous notebook, his entries more sporadic – but he still grieved for every one of the hundred or so lost pages. This incident made Tom appreciate how much notebook-keeping means to him: the act of putting pen to paper has always led him to write with an unvarnished, spur-of-the-moment honesty that he wouldn’t achieve on-screen.

Here, Tom has assembled his favourite stories, fragments, moments and ideas from those notebooks, ranging from memories of his childhood to the revelation that ‘There are two types of people in the world. People who f*cking love maps, and people who don’t.’ The result is a book redolent of the real stuff of life, shot through with Cox’s trademark warmth and wit.

Wordsworth got it right lots of the time. The thing that always stood out to me in his writing was the idea of ‘spots of time’ He explains it a lot better than me here:

There are in our existence spots of time which with distinct preeminence retain a fructifying virtue, whence, depressed by trivial occupations and the round of ordinary intercourse, our minds, especially the imaginative power, are nourished, and invisibly repaired.

Photo by Andru00e9 Cook on

Tom’s wonderful book is full of these little moments that you can dip in and out of always coming away that bit more restored. reflective and revitalised. It’s everyone’s worst nightmare to lose something that they know that they can never get back. I dropped a favourite bag off a bridge over 20 years ago and even though the things in it weren’t financially valuable – some letters, a necklace a book Ioved and had read a million times – they were worth a lot to me and I think that’s why I got such a lot out of Tom’s beautifully eclectic treasurebox of a book when I read it over the last few weeks.

Photo by cottonbro on

I have read all of Tom’s books and follow his delightfully original musings on social media too. I was full of curiosity to read this book as I felt like it would almost be the reading equivalent of going through somebody’s drawers when they were out – happily it wasn’t exactly like that, but I do feel that I now know Tom and his family a lot better than I did before the lockdown. It’s a bit like they run a virtual Air BNB that I’ve had the chance to go and stay a weekend in and I’ve come away feeling like part of the extended family now…

Photo by Kat Jayne on

What I loved about the book was the feeling of getting to know Tom in a wholly different way from his other writings, through being able to turn the pages and read snippets of his journals and hear his inner thoughts and feelings through all the different parts of his life and experiences. The illustrations really add to it and it’s like being lost in a riotously messy bookshop, where you just don’t know what corner you’l turn next and what you will discover

Photo by Charlotte May on

I absolutely loved this intriguing and original book that has a little bit of everything, family relationships, nature, philosophy and everythig else in between You do not have to be a notebook addict yourself to get drawn into this book but i think if you’ve ever kept one (or it’s kept you) then you will find much to connect with, think about and delight you here. I kept reading little bits of it aloud and turning the page to a random section which made me feel so liberated and joyous about reviewing ir, rather than a traditionally linear book…

Photo by Rachel Claire on

If you are intrigued by my review of Tom’s writing and would like to read more about his life, his thoughts and his unique take on emptying his mind in his own inimitable way, then definitely buy yourself a copy of this fascinating read. It’s simply magical and I can’t recommend it highly enough

Thank you so much to Anne Cater from Random Things Tours for inviting me along on this unforgettable blog tour, it’s been the reading highlight of my spring season so far and i’ll be recommending it to anyone who’s lost their reading mojo, to get them back into enjoying reading for reading’s sake once again.


Writer On The Shelf

Tom Coc

Tom Cox lives in Norfolk. He is the author of the Sunday Times bestselling The Good, The Bad and The Furry and the William Hill Sports Book longlisted Bring Me the Head of Sergio Garcia. 21st-Century Yokel was longlisted for the Wainwright Prize, and the titular story of Help the Witch won a Shirley Jackson Award.

The Passenger

She takes the same train every day. But this is a journey she’ll never forget.

Amanda is a hardworking single mum, completely focused on her job and her daughter, Louise.  She’s been saving for years and now, finally, she can afford to give up work and chase her dream.

But then, on her commute home from London to Brighton, she meets a charming stranger – who seems to know everything about her.

He delivers an ultimatum . She needs to give him the code for the safe where she keeps her savings before the train reaches Brighton – or she’ll never see Louise again.

Convinced that the threat is real, Amanda is stunned, horrified. She knows she should give him the code, but she can’t. Because she also knows there is a terrible secret in that safe which will destroy her life and Louise’s too…

The Passenger – the stunning psychological thriller with a nerve-shredding climax. Perfect for fans of Mark Edwards, K.L. Slater, Miranda Rijks. 

I first got hooked on Danie’s writing through 20 Minutes on the Tube, which even though it was short in length, certainly made a big impact on me as a reader. I have got right into  20 Minute series and think he is one of my favourite new voices in this genre. If you enjoy the writing of Mark Edwards you will need to check Daniel out through Inkubator Books, and I’m really grateful to Emma for inviting me onto the tour to share my review today with you

Photo by Pixabay on

The fact that this book has its roots in the everyday and presents a world that we can all immediately connect with is one of the things that I really enjoyed. The way that everything starts to unravel for Amanda is skilfully handled and absolutely convinces you that you have become part of her story as her worst nightmares start to be realised..

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The weather has taken a bit of a turn for the better, so I was able to enjoy reading this in my garden and feel like spring was on its way – even if it has been just for a short spell. This is the kind of book that you just need to abandon yourself to and just let it carry you forward – hours will pass and you won’t even be able to believe they have! Daniel writes his characters so convincingly that you really feel that you’ve spent time with them, making it very hard to pull yourself away. It’s a novel made for immersing yourself in and I definitely got lost in it in this weekend in this stunning spring weather

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Amanda is a character whose life start to spin off its axis in this novel . Her life is turned upside down in a way that she could never have anticipated and there will be times during this book that you’ll literally be holding your breath.  The way we duck and weave with Amanda through all of the ensuing twists and turns is really effectively done. I loved the idea that we were dropped into her world without all the answers and had to figure things out from the snippets we could gather – as time is ticking and we wonder exactly why she is so keen to keep the secrets of the safe locked up forever

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The atmosphere of tension is perfectly maintained throughout this novel; It’s hard to imsgine afer THAT opener that the tension will be able to be maintained but don’t worry, you’ll be turning the pages long into the night as you willbe as hooked as I was on Amanda’s story. We really are not sure what is going to happen next as Amanda battles to keep a hold on the emerging situation and the tense atmosphere is very well maintained as we try and penetrate the mystery and find out exactly why her life is so secretive and how things will end now that she has got into this unenviable situation…

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Daniel Hurst draws the reader into his characters’ world and turns our expectations on their heads as we try and navigate through this unusual and cleverly drawn plot. You’ll definitely love this novel if you like crime fiction with a twist and a fresh premise that will keep you guessing and confound your expectations.

Buy yourself a copy here and sample this original psychological thriller and it’s hook that will take your breath away – I’m jealous of anyone who’s not read it yet and looking forward to what Daniel comes up with next…

Writer On The Shelf

Daniel Hurst

Daniel Hurst writes psychological thrillers and loves to tell tales about unusual things happening to normal people. He has written all his life, making the progression from handing scribbled stories to his parents as a boy to writing full-length novels in his thirties. He lives in the north west of England and when he isn’t writing, he is usually watching a game of football in a pub where his wife can’t find him.

Twitter: @dhurstbooks
Facebook: @danielhurstbooks
Instagram: @danielhurstbooks

Blog tour

Thanks to Inkubator Books for my digital copy of The Passenger and to Emma Welton at damppebbles blog tours for my place on the blog tour.

Why don’t you check out the other fab bloggers on this #blogtour.

Behind Closed Doors

From the outside, anyone would think that Lucy Palmer has it all: loving children, a dashing husband and a gorgeous home.

But when her marriage to Michael comes to an abrupt and unexpected end, her life is turned upside down in a flash.

As the truth of her marriage threatens to surface, Lucy seizes the opportunity to swap her house in London – and the stories it hides – for a rural escape to her parents’ farmhouse in the Chilterns.

But Lucy gets more than she bargained for when she moves back to her childhood home, especially when it throws her into the path of an old flame.

Coming face-to-face with her mistakes, Lucy is forced to confront the secrets she’s been keeping from herself and those she loves.

Is she ready to let someone in? Or will she leave the door to her past firmly closed . . .

In Behind Closed Doors, Catherine Alliott displays her real talent for noticing the tiny and everyday details which make us human. She is the kind of writer who can draw us right into the heart of a story whilst reminding us of the ridiculousness, humiliation and struggles of modern life and this book feels like it could be written from the persective of someone we’ve all met.Lucy’s voice feels very real indeed and the fact that she speaks to us directly throughout the story lends the story a conspiratorial tone that very much makes us feel part of her life and able to have a ringside seat to eerything that’s going on.

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Am so happy to be on today’s Blog Tour of #BehindClosedDoors today and I can’t think of a better way to escape from the circumstances we find ourselves in than to lose yourself in this immersive and thought-provoking read. It’s wonderful to be curled up with a great book after a windy walk and some exercise at a time when that’s about the only thing to look forward to. The wood burning stove is lit and the gin is poured. What could be a better way to relax after another term of online teaching…

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I absolutely loved this book. It’s an enjoyable and very readable tale that will genuinely draw you in and let you feel part of Lucie’s ups and downs as she tries to navigate life after her separation from the (absolutrely grim) Michael and all the curveballs that it throws her as she tries to navigate life after her marriage ends and all that this entails when she moves back to the warmth and safety of her childhood home – I mean, what could go wrong?

Lucy was a fantastic character that you can totally believe in. When I was reading about her trials and tribulations it took my mind off lots of the privations and challenges of the situation that we find ourselves in at the moment. The position she ends up in, surrounded by her terrrribly posh parents and their dreadful circle of cronies means that there are lots of entirely unexpected new situtions to navigate, including coming face to face with her old flame and this means that there are some rather uncomfortable truths to be faced…

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Lucy’s journey through her new situation and all the complexities that she finds herself juggling is one of the best things about this book. You will find lots of these moments to recognise from your own challenging moments in life. I’m sure that many separated readers will connect with her situation with the ghastly parents -as especially during the lockdow it is difficult to cope with being banged up with your loved ones at times and there will be many occasions where it feels that you can’t do right from wrong.

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Catherine Alliott really understands human nature.  This book presents a picture of modern day domestic life that you’ll find much to connect with and plenty to keep you turning the pages – it kept me engrossed and if you’ve hit a reading slump over lockdown, it could be exactly what you need! When you read the reviews below, you’ll see that lots of other people loved it too– so you don’t just have to take MY word for it…

One of those fabulous books that leaves you with a smile on your face and hope in your heart — Milly Johnson

Compelling — Heidi Swain

Yet another great read, packed with fantastic characters, uncomfortable truths, and flashes of pure comedy. Who could ask for more?

Emotional and engaging, I was completely absorbed

Catherine Alliott is back with another warm, escapist read. Big subjects are dealt with sensitively in this wonderfully written novel ― Woman’s Weekly

Emotional and affecting, this is an absorbing read ― Sun

A wry look at life in the wealthy environs of the Oxfordshire countryside . . . page-turning ― Oxford Mail

A warm, escapist read ― Woman

Included in ‘The Hot List’ ― Inside Soap

Order yourself a copy now and enjoy Lucy’s story that won’t just entertain you – but will make you reflect on all sorts of contemporary issues – from family dynamics to growing older and difficult choices in Catherone Alliott’s distinctive and talented voice.

Behind Closed Doors Catherine Alliott

Thanks so much to Sriya at Michael Joseph for inviting me on the tour and cheering me up when I needed it the most as I struggled through the final few weeks of online teaching!

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Writer On The Shelf

Catherine Alliot

Catherine Alliott is the author of fifteen bestselling novels including About Last NightMy Husband Next DoorA Rural AffairOne Day in MayThe Secret Life of Evie Hamilton, and Wish You Were Here. She lives with her family in Hertfordshire.

Catch up with Catherine on Facebook and Instagram.