Mongolia Here I Come!

Having a ‘Blogging Break’ is a weird experience – I feel a wee bit weird announcing it because it feels a bit like ‘Who’d notice anyway’

But on the other hand, I didn’t want anyone feeling like I was being rude not replying to tweets, emails and messages – and not accepting any offers to review or take part in blog tours either

So I’m all packed and Ulaanbaatar, The Gobi Desert, The Trans Siberian railway and Beijing await me

Volunteering and travelling in such a remote place is so exciting and I’m really looking forward to it.

I’ll hopefully have lots of photos for you and tales to tell when I’m back. I loved reading this book before departure  and definitely recommend it, even if you’re doing nothing more adventurous this summer than looking for a new beachside cocktail

Wish me luck & see you all on the other side!



Gods Children – Blog Tour


Kate Marsden: nurse, intrepid adventurer, saviour of the lepers or devious manipulator, immoral and dishonest?

As she lies on her deathbed visited by the ghosts of her past, who should we believe, Kate or those who accuse her of duplicity? Memory is a fickle thing: recollections may be frozen in time or distorted by the mirror of wishful thinking. Kate’s own story is one of incredible achievements, illicit love affairs and desperate longing; those of her accusers paint a very different portrait – of a woman determined on fame and fortune.

Marsden setting off from Yakutsk on horseback.

The reader navigates a narrative as fractured as the Siberian ice Kate crosses in search of a cure for leprosy, and as beautiful as Rose, her lost love, as the full picture emerges of a life lived when women were not expected to break the mould.

Every once in a while you read a book that’s totally different for you – that might be in its structure, its subject matter, its tone – or in the case of this book – all three at once!

I love a book that confounds all my expectations, but this unusual and creative novel certainly does

We all have experienced places that have ‘spoken’ to us. Whether you are religious or not, experiencing some greater power in a special place is an overwhelming feeling. I’ve never been to Siberia– but I really felt like we were able to access some of its atmosphere filtered through these experiences and it was fantastic to be whisked through these different places in her life and her experiences there. From Russia to New York, there’s no time to weary as we are drawn through these reminisces and re-live so many memorable moments with her.

Marsden with the Russian Princess Shachovsky and representatives of a religious order.


This novel allows us to follow the life of iconoclastic Kate Marsden and discover all about her life and mission. I was really intrigued to find out more about her life when I discovered that this novel was based on a real person and this certainly added an extra dimension for me as I read.  I became engrossed in all of the overlaying stories and the unspoken motivations that made her seem all at once a sympathetic character and a shameless self-promoter who drove people onwards to fulfil her own ambitions.


Although it was easy to judge Kate at times, Roberts is such a skilled writer that she does ask us to consider why she might behave the way she does and this allows us to build our empathy for her the more we read on and find out her story by walking in her shoes and learning that everyone does ‘walk their own path’ on this life’s journey.Kate Marsden (reclining on sledge) setting off.


Rose was the most intriguing character for me: her place as one of the most important figures in Kate’s life fascinated me as it was difficult to understand how she dealt with this situation and being set apart from society in this way must have been a real weight on her shoulders.  I love being inspired by books to do some research afterwards and this led me on a real journey looking into this part of history and some of the characters that had similar experiences to Kate Marsden.


You can read more about Kate and her story here; I was truly fascinated by her story and loved finding out more about this part of history.

Marsden, in full Siberia traveling gear.


Even though I am not a religious person myself, the description of her mission was skilfully conveyed. You could absolutely believe in her story as this complex and fascinating woman came to life on the page as this novel unfolded. It does not matter whether you are a Christian or an atheist, there is something very compelling about the way that the leprosy mission is portrayed in this novel that will captivate you and make you want to read more about this intriguing story that I’d never heard of before reading this novel.

I would like to thank Emma Welton  for a copy of God’s Children to read and review and for inviting me on the tour. It makes me so happy to encounter books through my blogging that I might otherwise never have encountered and it’s one of the many reasons that I’m so glad that I found blogging and all the wonderful people I’ve met through doing it.

Buy yourself a copy here



Writer On The Shelf

Mabli Roberts Colour med

Mabli Roberts lives in a wild, mountainous part of Wales. She has an MA in Creative Writing from Lancaster University and has worked as a Visiting Lecturer at the University of Wales, Newport. Most of her inspiration comes from her love of history and from long walks in the timeless landscape around her.

Mabli also writes as Paula Brackston, PJ Brackston and PJ Davy. Nutters was shortlisted for the Mind Book Award and The Witch’s Daughter was a New York Times bestseller.

Her work has been translated into five languages and is sold around the world.

Look her up on the God’s Children Facebook page:


The Whisper Man – Blog Tour

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If you leave a door half-open, soon you’ll hear the whispers spoken…

Still devastated after the loss of his wife, Tom Kennedy and his young son Jake move to the sleepy village of Featherbank, looking for a fresh start.

But Featherbank has a dark past. Fifteen years ago a twisted serial killer abducted and murdered five young boys. Until he was finally caught, the killer was known as ‘The Whisper Man’.

Of course, an old crime need not trouble Tom and Jake as they try to settle in to their new home. Except that now another boy has gone missing. And then Jake begins acting strangely.

He says he hears a whispering at his window…


The Whisper Man by [North, Alex]


So many bloggers and a massive social media presence means that if you’ve not heard of this book, where have you been?

Am happy to report that in this case, this hype was wholly deserved and I tore through this in record speed – and not just because I wanted to get the review in on time – but because I simply could NOT put it down.

One of the things I loved about this book is that just when you think you know exactly where you are, Alex North provides his reader with the perfect blend of an intriguing mystery and supernatural undertones and I was definitely at his mercy as I zipped through this book. He’s a deft plotter and as readers, we are definitely given lots of opportunities to think in many different ways about the Whisper man story throughout this gripping and twisty read.

We know that the Whisper Man was caught –  but we are left wondering how he connects with the modern-day abduction and how this will lead us to the denouement. I was so caught up in this intriguing rale and have been telling everyone about it – I also totally loved the wee earphone set that came with it and the eye-catching cover made me want to get stuck in right away.


It feels like a fantastic movie as it unfolds and I feel like it would be the perfect movie adaptation in the near future – I hope that my wishes do come true and I already can’t wait to see how its casting and setting matches up with my own ‘casting’ in my mind’s eye.

The dead get their own role in the book as we are presented with their voices coming through the fabric of time; it reminded me of ‘The Sixth SEnse’ and maintains the same level of suspense and intrigue as we try and navigate ourselves to its conclusion. I loved the characters of Tom and Jake and I think that it’s precisely because they do feel so real and convincing that the rest of the events in the novel feel so plausibly horrifying…


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I really fell for their father/son dynamic and their relationship is not painted as ‘picture-perfect’ which added to the feeling of authenticity for me. Tom is a perfect protagonist as he’s got just enough of the ‘unknowable’ about him to keep us intrigued– All I wanted to do was reach through the pages and let him know he was doing a great jo at times when you can see his self-doubts start to creep in as he tries to be both father and mother to Jake amidst fairly challenging circumstances.


Alex North has created a fantastic, original and addictive read: I  really did stay up way too late last night to finish it.  I absolutely loved the fact that it was just as strong on character as it was on plot as there are so many thrillers out there with very two-dimensional characters that are hard to care about and that really detracts from the reading experience for me.  I have a ‘no spoiler’ policy so you’re just going to have to read #TheWhisperMan for yourself to find out the answer to its mystery

This novel comes unhesitatingly recommended by me. It’s a  pageturner in every sense of the word and it’s definitely one that I’m certain will be on lots of people’s ‘best of the year’ list at the end of 2019 – and it’s only June so that’ll tell you how much I was gripped by it…

Buy yourself a copy here and read it before everyone else does

Terrifying and utterly heartbreaking” Mark Billingham

A dark, creepy, thriller with a huge amount of heart” Stuart MacBride

“Beautifully written. Beautifully plotted. Shades of Thomas Harris and Stephen King but brilliant in its own right” C. J. Tudor

“A tremendous calling card for the brilliant Alex North” Mick Herron

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Writer On The Shelf


Alex North was born in Leeds, where he now lives with his wife and son. He studied Philosophy at Leeds University, and prior to becoming a writer he worked there in their sociology department.

The Missing Years Blog Tour

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She thought she would never go back…

Ailsa Calder has inherited half of a house. The other half belongs to a man who disappeared without a trace twenty-seven years ago. Her father.

Leaving London behind to settle her mother’s estate, Ailsa returns to her childhood home nestled amongst the craggy peaks of the Scottish Highlands, accompanied by the half-sister she’s never taken the time to get to know.

With the past threatening to swallow her whole, she can’t escape the claustrophobic feeling that the house itself is watching her. And when Ailsa confronts the first nighttime intruder, she sees that the manor’s careless rugged beauty could cost her everything…


As a real fan of an intriguing mystery,  I was definitely seduced by the premise of this book featuring a mysterious house and shocking revelations – when I discovered that it was set in Scotland too, that really sealed the deal for me and it quickly zoomed to the top of my TBR pile. I was delighted to be invited on the tour by the lovely Anne Cater and couldn’t wait to see if it was as twisty as I expected

This book definitely did not disappoint, it grabbed me and pulled me right into the story. I was really intrigued by the premise of the book: that we will puzzle our way through the many clues and trails about what might have happened to her father, Martin and this really added to the story for me. Ailsa’s isolated surroundings and the ghosts of the past that begin to emerge once she finds herself in the manse really kept me turning the pages as the novel unfolds. The fact that Lexie Elliot is a Scottish writer too was another factor that made me love this book as I adore supporting writers from my own country.

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I absolutely loved the mysterious setting of this novel and definitely found the mystery of Martin’s disappearance quite addictive. It was intriguing to see which trail of breadcrumbs would prove to be the right one as Lexie Elliot kept me changing my mind from one moment to the next. The fact that each chapter presents us with a different hypothesis was a fantastic device and really made me think as the novel moved forwards.

Even though there have been lots of novels this year set in mysterious old houses, Lexie Elliot ensures that the characters we meet allow this plot to unfold in an original way which makes the story linger at the edges of our consciousness even when we aren’t reading it. The characters all feel very much like real people – rather than mechanisms to provide clues about Martin – which I’ve often found in novels like this with many characters who may or may not know the answer to the mystery. I particularly loved Callum, the 7-year-old son of Fiona – a character to watch, and I’ll say no more.

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Lexie Elliot is an intriguing new writer for me – it’s hard to talk about this novel without spoilers, so I’ll just need to tell you that you must read it for yourself. You will be intrigued by Ailsa’s’s unenviable situation and want to read on and find out exactly what is behind her father’s mysterious disappearance. It’s not one of these ‘keep looking for the big twist’ stories that people are getting a little bored of now. It is just that things start to appear through the murk and you’ll not be able to believe you never noticed them before – in a deliciously well-constructed way.

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I loved this interview with Lexie Elliot on Youtube from Writing Fun.

Anyone interested in family relationships, and who loves trying to work out which characters to tryst…ot not…will love t delightfully twisty novel. I had really high hopes for The Missing Years and I’m delighted to say that I was definitely not disappointed. It was definitely a book that  I’ll be recommending to lots of readers as I was totally intrigued by its characters, its pace and the way it really kept me guessing

I can’t wait to see what Lexie Elliot does next. The idea that Scottish village life can be a lot darker and more interesting than you might think on the surface is a very intriguing one. I think that this would make an excellent Book Group read as it would be sure to provoke lots and lots of discussion…

Buy yourself a copy here if you want to get to the heart of the mystery and if you loved it, grab yourself a copy of The French Girl too!

Writer On The Shelf  

Lexie Elliott has been writing for as long as she can remember, but she began to focus on it more seriously after she lost her banking job in 2009 due to the Global Financial Crisis. After some success in short story competitions, she began planning a novel. With two kids and a (new) job, it took some time for that novel to move from her head to the page, but the result was The French Girl, which will be published by Berkley in February 2018 – available to pre-order on Amazon now!

When she’s not writing, Lexie can be found running, swimming or cycling whilst thinking about writing. In 2007 she swam the English Channel solo. She won’t be doing that again. In 2015 she ran 100km, raising money for Alzheimer Scotland. She won’t be doing that again either. But the odd triathlon or marathon isn’t out of the question.

Twitter @elliott_lexie


A Modern Family Blog Tour

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When Liv, Ellen and Håkon, along with their partners and children, arrive
in Rome to celebrate their father’s seventieth birthday, a quiet earthquake occurs: their parents have decided to divorce.

Shocked and disbelieving, the siblings try to come to terms with their
parents’ decision as it echoes through the homes they have built for
themselves, and forces them to reconstruct the shared narrative of their childhood and family history.

A bittersweet novel of regret, relationships and rare psychological insights, A Modern Family encourages us to look at the people closest to us a little more carefully and ultimately reveals that it’s never too late for change…


I love doing Anne Cater’s Blog Tours with Random Things as no two books she ever wants me to review are the same. When she asked me onto the tour for A Modern Family, I was really intrigued as I always like supporting Orenda Books and think that meeting publishers like Karen who really support books in translation can be one of the best things about being a book blogger – She has introduced me to books that I’d never have been exposed to before as well as hearing what all my other blogging friends thought too. It’s like a virtual book group where you are waiting every day to see what other people enjoyed about your book…

I was really intrigued to read A Modern Family as  I love novels that deal with family relationships and how different generations interact and the complexities that lurk beneath the surfaces of most families’ lives.  As soon as this book arrived,  I wanted to open it up and find out how these family members’ lives would unfold on this special birthday in such a gorgeous place.  I loved the initial premise of such a bombshell being dropped on such an outwardly-seeming perfect occasion and I found this book totally engrossing once I’d started: I really wanted to get to the heart of their relationships and discover what had brought them to this point and how their children would respond to this shocking and unexpected news.

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I also enjoyed the way that Helga Flatland’s novel allows us to see the reality of families and the complexity of relationships, rather than just the ‘happy ever after’ that we are so often presented with in fiction and I think that this is one of the things that I enjoyed most about this book. The way that the siblings fall into their childhood roles in the way that they interact with one another is exceptionally well drawn and a testament to her skill as a writer that we really believe in their relationships with one another. Liv reveals that: “Ellen is the most confrontational of the lot of us… That’s her role and I don’t dare undertake it myself.” and I’m sure that there are many siblings reading this novel and nodding their heads in recognition at this pronouncement.

The way that Helga Flatland builds in the uncertainties about what’s really going on beneath the surface and slowly develops our understanding of what is going on in the heads of these characters is convincingly done and leads to you feeling like you can really start to understand them as people. Liv and Ellen have such an interesting and well-drawn relationship and I’m looking forward to hearing what my sister thought of her over a long coffee date as soon as possible.

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The scenes where these family members are trying to deal with the ramifications of the decision and the impact of the fallout on their relationships have an incredibly realistic feel and the comparisons with Anne Tyler are definitely well deserved. I thoroughly enjoyed the chance to immerse myself in the intricacies of this family’s life and found it really thought-provoking to have the contrasting voices of Ellen and Liv to see the events unfolding from their two very different perspectives.

A Modern Family is a fascinating and immersive read as it takes a genuine look at what we really mean by ‘family’ in a way that never feels ‘worthy’ or sermonising. It allows us a glance into a relationship where peoples’ needs are complex and real and dares us to ask ourselves what we might have lost along the way in our own lives. Its setting in Rome is another aspect that I really enjoyed and it really made me feel like I was able to immerse myself in events where the beauty of the surroundings and the complexities of what is unfolding is deftly juxtaposed.

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I always enjoy a book much more if I’m not hyping myself up before I read it and A Modern Family was exactly that. It was definitely a grower and I found myself thinking about these characters and the repercussions of this holiday whilst driving to work and marking my essays at school. I will definitely seek out more books by Helga Flatland and am keen to keep pushing myself to choose more novels in translation in the second half of 2019.  It’s a real testament to Karen Sullivan’s publishing that I always reach for an Orenda book with confidence, knowing that I’m in safe hands whatever country or language Karen has taken me to next. I’m most definitely #TeamOrenda and will continue to champion her choices as she’s never picked a bad one yet!

Treat yourself to a copy of A Modern Family here


Writer On The Shelf

Helen FitzGerald & Helga Flatland

Hoping to see Helga at this year’s Edinburgh Book Festival

Helga Flatland is already one of Norway’s most awarded and widely read authors. Born in Telemark, Norway, in 1984, she made her literary debut in 2010 with the novel Stay If You Can, Leave If You Must, for which she was awarded the Tarjei Vesaas’ First Book Prize.

She has written four novels and a children’s book and has won several other literary awards. Her fifth novel, A Modern Family, was published to wide acclaim in Norway in August 2017, and was a number-one bestseller. The rights have subsequently been sold across Europe and the novel has sold more than 100,000 copies.

The Van Apfel Girls Are Gone Blog Tour



‘We lost all three girls that summer. Let them slip away like the words of some
half-remembered song and when one came back, she wasn’t the one we were
trying to recall to begin with.’
Tikka Molloy was eleven years old during the long hot summer of 1992, growing up in an
isolated suburb in Australia surrounded by encroaching bushland. That summer, the hottest on record, was when the Van Apfel sisters – Hannah, the beautiful Cordelia and Ruth – mysteriously disappeared during the school’s ‘Showstopper’ concert, held at the outdoor amphitheatre by the river.

Did they run away? Were they taken? While the search for the sisters unites the small
community, the mystery of their disappearance has never been solved. Now, years later,
Tikka has returned home and is beginning to make sense of that strange moment in time.
The summer that shaped her. The girls that she never forgot.

Brilliantly observed, spiky, sharp, funny and unexpectedly endearing, THE VAN APFEL GIRLS ARE GONE is part mystery, part coming-of-age story – a perfect summer chiller with a dark shimmering unexplained absence at its heart.

The Van Apfel Girls are Gone by Felicity McLean

As soon as I heard the comparisons to The Virgin Suicides and Picnic at Hanging Rock, I was totally sold!  – I love an atmospheric and intriguing read and #TheVanApfelGirls certainly ticks both of those boxes with room to spare.   I was delighted to be invited on the blog tour for this book by Anne Cater as I’m always happy to trust her judgement about my next read. It sounded really fascinating and after finishing it the first thing I did was to add it to my #SummerReads at the book group I run – as I know that my #Librarians as we call ourselves at #WineLibraryBookClub would love it just as much as I did.

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I loved Tikka’s character – she’s eleven and one-sixth years old and a character that you won’t be able to forget in a hurry – the writing here really makes you feel like you are being allowed into her world and seeing the girls’ disappearance from her perspective. Her childlike determination to get to the bottom of what exactly is going on and her naivety in the way she understands the machinations of the adult world she is experiencing are described in such a way as to make her feel absolutely authentic as a character and make us see the mysterious goings-on from her unique and idiosyncratic perspective.Image result for van apfel girls

I love that this book defies being pigeonholed into merely one genre – it manages to be a book that crosses genres and will appeal to people who like something a bit different. It’s definitely a mood-piece and is very atmospheric yet at the same time, Felicity McLean’s skill in characterisation and plotting are equally compelling and keep you turning the pages as you’re drawn deeper into this intriguing tale.

The dual timeline definitely brought something additional to this mystery and the fact that it’s set in a time I remember so well, the 90s –  gave this a really authentic and credible air. The period atmosphere and tiny details allow you to immerse yourself in Tikka’s world and see things that scare and confuse her from both ends of the telescope as you move between her childhood and adult perceptions – seeing that the things she remembers as being odd and strange might be rather more sinister than she realised all those years ago as we peel back the layers and see the girls’ disappearance from a more mature perspective


This book drew me in and kept me there. It was a satisfying blend of deft characterisation, period detail and intriguing mystery with a really original voice that I really fell for.  It was definitely one of those books that you pick up and then lift your eyes from to find out that a good couple of hours have passed and you’re still reading. You’ll really want to find out answers from this book, but as I’m firmly committed to my ‘no spoilers rule’ you’re going to have to read it for yourself to find out exactly why I found this mystery so compelling…

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Felicity McLean’s skilful plate spinning means that #TheVanApfelGirls is a mesmerising read and you’ll scarcely be able to pause for breath once you start reading it -but don’t just take my word for it. Join the blog tour and find out what these other bloggers think of it – or even better, buy yourself a copy and find out for yourself


The Van Apfel Girls are Gone by Felicity McLean

‘A smart, classy thriller blazing with the heat of Australia that slowly reveals
its many layers.‘ Fiona Mozley, author of Man Booker-shortlisted ‘Elmet’

‘Engrossing and goosebumpy from start to finish, this novel about three young sisters who vanish all together one night has the chilling feel of true events that are stranger than fiction, and the stuff of nightmares….A novel that is as delightful as it is terrifying 
and just scary good.’ Tim Johnston, bestselling author of ‘Descent’ and ‘The Current’

‘I deeply admire the languid, lived-in prose of Felicity McLean’s lovely novel THE VAN APFELGIRLS ARE GONE. This is a story as much about forgiving ourselves our own childhoods, as it is about acknowledging and embracing the people we’ve become because of those adolescent (and sometimes life-altering) choices.’
Hannah Pittard, author of ‘Visible Empire’

Writer On The Shelf

Felicity McLean was born in Sydney Australia. She graduated at Sydney University with a BA in English and Australian literature and worked as a book publicist before embarking on a freelance career.

Her journalism has appeared in The Daily Telegraph, The Courier Mail and the Big Issue, among others, and she has ghost-written celebrity autobiographies.

‘The Van Apfel Girls Are Gone’ is her first novel.

She lives with her English husband and two young children in Australia.

Twitter @FelicityMcLean

Instagram @felicity_mclean_author


The Dangerous Kind – Blog Tour

Deborah O Connor Blogtour FINAL


Perfect for fans of Anatomy of A Scandal and Belinda Bauer, The Dangerous Kind is a dark and gripping thriller that asks us all: how well do you really know the people you trust?

One in 100 of us is a ‘potentially dangerous person’ – someone likely to commit a violent crime. We all know them: these charmers, liars and manipulators. The ones who go one step too far. And then take another step.

These people hide in plain sight. They can be teachers, doctors, holding positions of trust, of power.

Jessamine Gooch makes a living tracking the 1 in 100. Each week she broadcasts a radio show that examines brutal offences, asking if more could have been done to identify and prevent their perpetrators.

But when she agrees to investigate a missing person case involving a young mother, she is drawn into a web of danger that will ultimately lead to the upper echelons of power, and threaten the safety of her own family.

What if the people we trust are the ones we should fear?

If I were to tell you that I was excited to receive The Dangerous Kind, it’d seriously be one of the hugest understatements of my life. I absolutely love a dark and compelling read and this novel was every bit as gripping as I had imagined and absolutely lived up to my level of anticipation. Deborah O’Connor has an innate ability for grabbing you and pulling you right into her story and I literally barely looked up until I’d turned the final page.

I’m a real true-crime fan and this definitely filled the gap that Serial, Broken Harts and Dirty John have left in my life. The fabulously-named Jessamine Gooch is such a fantastic character that you really feel comes alive as you uncover more and more details about the way that her story intersects with Rowena and Jitesh and the way that our past can affect the way our mind develops – for good or for bad…

In the same way that I felt a strong connection with Adnan after reading Serial, I really felt like I’d come to know Jessamine by the final page and although I’m firmly committed to my ‘No Spoilers’ rule, I can’t wait to have a good chat with someone else who’s read The Dangerous Kind so that we can mull over it together and talk about what a fantastic creation it is. I keep wearing the badges to see if anyone recognises them and hopefully my book club will love it as much as I have when we discuss it later in the summer…



The fact that it has the Rosarch ink blot on the front cover, that everyone sees differently and reflects the inner workings of the mind was really intriguing for me and reflected the way that each of the characters in this novel stood out as individuals who have all been shaped and moulded by their experiences and the ways that this affects them in later life is not always predictable.  I really can’t emphasise how much I loved this dark and delicious read and found the psychological element very well developed and thought-provoking.

Jessamine Gooch is a fantastic character – even though on a conscious level I know that she is a device to stitch all of the other characters’ perspectives together I absolutely love the way that her show managed to delve into the past and throw light on some pretty dark corners. I am a huge fan of podcasts in general and particularly true crime and murder podcasts. The Dangerous Kind felt absolutely real in the way it revealed these ‘crimes’  – it really is so evocative and skillfully realised.

I also liked the way that like the very best True Crime podcasts – Deborah O’Connor allows space for our own feelings and responses. These characters actions and responses actions are not tied up in a neat little package for us – as real life just doesn’t work like that. There is enough room for us to ask ourselves questions about who we believe and why that makes this novel such an ultimately rewarding experience.  I found myself genuinely being convinced to see things from a constantly shifting perspective as the novel bore me towards the conclusion and this was a rollercoaster ride that I definitely didn’t want to get off…1 in100

This book has a little bit of everything – psychological intrigue, social commentary, a ‘true crime’ feel, a fresh and interesting narrative structure, credible characters and a real sense of menace. As you can probably tell, I loved this book and felt like sleeping with the light on for about four days after reading it.

It is a book that you’ll want to pass on to other people so that they’ll have had the same experience you did, reading it for the first time. If you want to treat yourself and find out what all the fuss is about, buy yourself a copy right here

I’d like to thank Tracy Fenton for inviting me to take part in the blog tour, it was such a privilege to spread the book love for a book that I loved reading so much. I bloody love this book and cannot recommend it enough. Get out there and experience it for yourself as soon as you can!

And don’t just take my word for it – check out what these other writers are saying about The Dangerous Kind:


Searingly relevant, at times uncomfortably truthful, a page turner and an empathetic look at fractured modern lives’ Gillian McAllister

Darkuncompromising but full of heart. It gave me goosebumps and I raced through it in a matter of days. Highly recommended‘ Holly Seddon

‘It’s tense right from the first pitch black scene to the last page. Very cleverly employs our obsession with true crime’ Amy Lloyd

Great concept, silky prose & originality oozing off every page’ Eva Dolan

‘Absolutely brilliant . . . a really sophisticated, smartengaging thriller’ Jo Spain






Writer On The Shelf


Deborah O'Connor

Deborah O’Connor is a writer and TV producer. Born and bred in the North-East of England, in 2010 she completed the Faber Academy novel writing course. S

he lives in London with her husband and daughter.

You can follow her on twitter @deboc77.

Rough Magic Blog Tour





The Mongol Derby is the world’s toughest horse race. A feat of endurance across the vast Mongolian plains once traversed by the people of Genghis Khan, competitors ride 25 horses across a distance of 1000km. Many riders don’t make it to the finish line.

In 2013 Lara Prior-Palmer – nineteen, underprepared but seeking the great unknown – decided to enter the race. Driven by her own restlessness, stubbornness, and a lifelong love of horses, she raced for seven days through extreme heat and terrifying storms, catching a few hours of sleep where she could at the homes of nomadic families.

Battling bouts of illness and dehydration, exhaustion and bruising falls, she found she had nothing to lose, and tore through the field with her motley crew of horses. In one of the Derby’s most unexpected results, she became the youngest-ever champion and the first woman to win the race.

A tale of adventure, fortitude and poetry, Rough Magic is the extraordinary story of one young woman’s encounter with oblivion, and herself.

Anyone who reads my blog occasionally knows that I have a deep love of non-fiction and adore being transported to places that I’ve never visited before. I was absolutely delighted when Anne Cater wrote to me to ask if I’d like to be on the blog tour for Rough Magic for a very special reason – I’m actually travelling to Mongolia this summer– and I’m happy to report that I enjoyed it every bit as much as I was anticipating.

This book tells the epic story of Lara Prior-Palmer’s incredible adventure when she decides to set herself the challenge of entering the famous Mongol Derby. Lara’s adventure begins when she signs up for a race she certainly doesn’t feel prepared for – and ends with a result she can never have imagined in her wildest dreams.

Her adventures across a wide range of terrains – from the torrential rains that soak her to the skin to the wild grasslands that seem to stretch on forever made me so excited to experience this gorgeous country and its culture for myself this July. Lara describes her adventure so vividly you almost feel like you are galloping across the Steppe yourself with one of her ponies and I loved the descriptions of each of them and their short time together. Because I am a huge fan of travel books with a difference, I was so excited to read about a country and a race event that I knew so little about and through reading Lara’s account I could experience its highs and lows right alongside her.

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What I loved about the book was the feeling of getting to know Lara the person as well as Lara the rider, through being able to turn the pages of her musings and hear her inner thoughts and feelings as her incredible journey progressed. Lara writes about it all in her Winnie the Pooh notebook, alongside snatches of Mongolian culture, her competitors – including arch-nemesis Texan toughie Devan – as well as snatches of literature which she uses to inspire her and drive her onwards when the going gets tough – which it certainly does.

Lara’s a thinker as well as an action woman and I loved reading her thoughts and reflections on her epic achievement and wish I’d been able to hear her talk at the Hay Festival this week for myself. If you get the chance, definitely try and catch her on the tour and hear about her adventures first-hand ( from the horse’s mouth even...)

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I absolutely loved this intriguing and original book that transports you on an epic adventure that you won’t forget easily.  You do not have to be into riding or exotic adventures to get drawn into Lara’s story and you will be amazed that a 19-year-old has the grit, resilience and determination to even enter an event like this – never mind win it and I was cheering her on from the get-go and hoping that the UK managed to put the USA in its place after a show of bravado from Texas


I love doing my research after finishing a book I’ve enjoyed and if you are intrigued by Lara’s story, you could find out more here. You will be able to read all about Lara herself as well as get details of the race and hear about what she’s done since. I love looking in more details about the setting of novels and always head to The Booktrail to imagine it for myself – you should definitely head over there, you won’t be disappointed.

If you are intrigued by my research and would like to read more about this epic adventures then follow the blog tour and definitely buy yourself a copy of this fascinating read. 

Writer On The Shelf

Lara Author Picture


Lara Prior-Palmer made headlines in 2013 when she became the first woman — and the youngest ever competitor — to win the Mongol Derby.

Born in London in 1994, Lara routinely packed and unpacked her bags as a child, despite having nowhere to go.

She studied conceptual history and Persian at Stanford University, and has lived and loved, for varying lengths of time, in California, England, Iran and Wales.


The River – Blog Tour


THE RIVER blog tour UPDATE.png


Two friends…

Wynn and Jack have been best friends since their first day of college, brought together by their shared love of literature and the great outdoors.

The adventure of a lifetime…

When they decide to take time off university and canoe down the Maskwa River in northern Canada, they anticipate the ultimate wilderness experience.

No phones.

No fellow travellers.

No way of going back.

A hellish ride…

But as a raging wildfire starts to make its way towards them, their idyllic expedition becomes a desperate race for survival. And when a man suddenly appears, claiming his wife has vanished, the fight against nature’s destructive power becomes entangled with a much deadlier game of cat and mouse.

THE RIVER by bestselling author Peter Heller is a gripping thriller about the beauty of the great outdoors and the dangers of the wild with a page-turning story that builds up to a shocking finale and keeps the reader guessing until the very end.

‘Urgent, visceral writing – I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough.

A beautiful, heartrending exploration of male friendship’

Clare Mackintosh, bestselling author of LET ME LIE

‘A suspenseful tale told with glorious drama and lyrical flair’


A great cover always draws me to a book – and I absolutely loved this immersive and enjoyable journey into this wild adventure.  As soon as I opened the package and saw The River It looked so enticing and made me want to throw all my marking down and dive right in.

I’d like to thank Tracy Fenton and W & N Books for inviting me on the blog tour and introducing me to this fantastic read.  As a teacher in a boarding school who goes on adventure training weeks, I was gripped by the thought of this storyline and let me tell you, Peter Heller did not disappoint…

If you read my blog, you’ll know that I love a novel that asks us to think about our own lives and put ourselves in the place of the characters that we are reading and imagine ourselves into their situation. When this is well done, it’s my favourite kind of book – but it can be notoriously difficult to pull off effectively. Often, I’ve been left disappointed by an uneven narrative where more time is spent on plot devices than pulling you into a fabulously realised setting or I’d feel unconvinced by the storyline even though I was enjoying the setting in either time or place – Well, I’m happy to report that this novel truly is the best of both worlds – it combines an amazing storyline with a really gorgeous setting and makes you feel like you’ve dropped right into the heart of the action and are ost in the Canadian wilderness yourself!

The situation that Wynn and Jack find themselves in is totally engrossing and draws you into an incredibly tense game of ‘cat and mouse’ that will keep you turning the pages – like me – until the small hours, determined to find out what happens in the end.  I found myself actually quite breathless at times as Peter Heller certainly knows how to keep his reader guessing! The gorgeous cover with its intriguing tagline about them ‘surviving one man’s fury’ ensured that this novel never lasted long on my TBR pile and I found myself devouring it well ahead of my reading schedule as it was just too tempting!

Image result for canadian wilderness The landscape they find themselves in sounds truly stunning, but the boys are not left to enjoy their stunning surroundings in peace as their lives start to unravel during the course of the novel. I felt like the Makswa river lulls them into a false sense of security and they seem ill-prepared for the trauma that is soon to unfold. Tension is managed incredibly well in this novel and there are parts where you literally are desperately turning the pages so that you know more about their fate at the hands of either the fire or the stranger that crosses their path so mysteriously as their options start to close in…

the river peter heller

I think that part of its success is that it never really gives too much away about who this stranger is and what he might be capable of – so you find yourself obsessing about what kind of tiny ‘tells’ might be hidden in the text that might give any clues away. The story rattles along at a cracking pace as you try to second-guess his motives and how this terrifying journey might end. I like the fact that we are constantly made to think about the ways that the decisions we make can often come back to haunt us in ways that we might not expect and the way that this journey ends might not have been the way that they predicted at the outset.

You don’t have to have gone on outdoor adventures yourself to fall in love with this engrossing and tense read. I thoroughly recommend The River to anyone looking for a book that will keep you engrossed and make you second guess your instincts as you read I loved the way that I just couldn’t puzzle it out and that’s what made me recommend it to our book group as I know that lots of our members love a book like this – that keeps you turning the pages, desperate to find out your characters’ fate.

I was gutted to be on duty and not be able to finish this gripping read in a oner – but if you get the opportunity – set aside a rainy Sunday, clear your diary and give yourself a real treat.

So many great bloggers are on this tour too  -so make sure you check out their reviews too



‘Like Mark Twain and Toni Morrison, Heller is a rare talent’ Elle
‘A novel that sweeps you away’ USA Today
‘A fiery tour-de-force’ Denver Post
‘I dare you to put it down once you’ve picked it up’ Criminal Element

Writer On The Shelf

Peter Heller is an award-winning adventure writer and the author of four bestselling novels, including the New York Times bestseller THE DOG STARS, a Guardian, San Francisco Chronicle and Atlantic Book of the Year. Born and raised in New York, he attended Dartmouth College in New Hampshire where he became an outdoorsman and white-water kayaker.

He has travelled the world as an expedition kayaker, writing about challenging descents in the Pamirs, the Tien Shan mountains, the Caucuses, Central America and Peru. A keen adventurer, he has navigated some of the most dangerous rivers in the world, including the Muk Su River in the High Pamirs of Tajikistan.

He is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where he received an MFA in fiction and poetry, and won a Michener fellowship for his epic poem ‘The Psalms of Malvine’.
The River by Peter Heller is out now and is available from Amazon UK.

Treat yourself to a copy now!