The Flip Side

It’s love . . . what’s the worst thing that could happen?

When Josh proposes in a pod on the London Eye at New Years’ Eve, he thinks it’s perfect.

Until she says no.

And they have to spend the next 29 excruciating minutes alone together.

His life is falling apart.

Realising he can’t trust his own judgment, Josh decides from now on he will make every decision through the flip of a coin.

Maybe the coin will change his life forever.

Maybe it will help him find the girl of his dreams . . .

The Flip Side is available in ebook and paperback now. You can purchase your copy using the link below.

In The Flip Side James Bailey shows his talent for illuminating the tiny and everyday details which make us human. He is the kind of writer who makes us laugh whilst reminding us of the ridiculousness, humiliation and the pain, of being alive and this book is just the thing to turn to when you are feeling like there is nothing around you but bad news. It will be a charming and uplifting reminder to you that life isn’t all bad and that even in the worst moments of your life it’s important to remember that the only way is up…

Am so happy to be on today’s Blog Tour of #TheFlipSide today and it’s an actual tour today because I’m posting this from gorgeous Ayrshire this morning on a rare day away from school this term It’s wonderful to be curled up with a great book after a windy walk. The wood burning stove is lit and the gin is poured. What could be a better way to relax after a few challenging weeks restarting school after the lockdown?

Related image

I absolutely loved this book. It’s a warm and uplifting read that will genuinely draw you in and let you feel part of Josh’s ups and downs on the flip side as he tries to navigate life and all the curveballs that it throws him at the flip of a coin. I mean, what could go wrong?

Josh was a fantastic character that you can totally believe in. When I was reading about his decision to abandon himself to the fates after his own judgements seems to have got him precisely nowhere positive so far it’s an easy sentiment to connect with – I’m sure lots of you will have had that feeling when you think you’re totally unable to make a positive decision as everything keeps backfiring and you end up in situations that you could never have anticipated. The adventures he ends up having through his flirtation with serendipity you will be creasing up, hearing about some of the situations she finds himself caught up in.

Josh’s journey through the ensuing mayhem and his journey towards beginning to trust his own judgement again is one of the best things about this book. You will have had lots of these moments yourself where you’ve ended up coming through a set of bad experiences stronger and more capable because of the tough stuff you’ve had to navigate. It was a refreshing perspective to hear this from the perspective of a male character and I’m sure that many readers will be reassured to discover that whatever gender you are it is difficult to steer the path of true love at times and there will be many occasions where it feels that you can’t do right from wrong.

There were loads of moments in Josh stumbling towards happiness and tripping up often along the way that I really connected with – his odd reflections and off-the-cuff comments are totally unique and I found some of them absolutely hilarious. His off beam journey is sweet, engaging and laugh-out-loud funny and there are plenty of awkward and memorable moments that you will enjoy as much as I did.

James Bailey knows what makes people tick.  This book presents a picture of a man who just wants what we are all after – to find and know happiness and we can all connect with that. I’m not alone in my enjoyment of The Flip Side 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…

Buy yourself a copy here and take a punt on this enjoyable and feel good romantic read

Thanks so much to Sriya for inviting me on the tour and cheering me up in my back to school stress month!


‘Utterly adorable and romantic. I feel uplifted!’ GIOVANNA FLETCHER

‘It made me laugh out loud, cry my heart out and put a great big grin on my face’ 5***** Reader Review

‘I devoured this book in a few hours and couldn’t put it down . . . a laugh-out-loudheart-warming romantic comedy that will leave you pondering whether you could ever leave fate up to the flip of a coin’ *****

‘It’s always a good sign when a story has me laughing out loud from the first few chapters!‘ *****

‘It was fantastic! A perfect summer read!!‘ *****

‘A lovely story for modern times with lovely characters throughout’ *****

‘A hilarious book that I enjoyed reading from beginning to end. There wasn’t a dull moment‘ *****

‘A lovely, laugh out loud romcom … I read The Flip Side in two sittings, and didn’t want it to end’ *****

Writer On The Shelf

James Bailey

James Bailey was born in Bristol, and currently lives and works in his home city. A graduate of King’s College London, James has previously carried the Olympic Torch, made a speech at the House of Commons, and worked as a red carpet reporter. The Flip Side is his debut novel.

James can be found on Instagram @JamesBaileyWrites, and at


The Diver and the Lover Blog Tour

Soaked in sunlight, love and the mysteries surrounding a famous artist The Diver and the Lover is a novel inspired by true events.

jeremy vine

It is 1951 and sisters Ginny and Meredith have travelled from England to Spain in search of distraction and respite. The two wars have wreaked loss and deprivation upon the family and the spectre of Meredith’s troubled childhood continues to haunt them. Their journey to the rugged peninsula of Catalonia promises hope and renewal.

While there they discover the artist Salvador Dali is staying in nearby Port Lligat. Meredith is fascinated by modern art and longs to meet the famous surrealist.

Dali is embarking on an ambitious new work, but his headstrong male model has refused to pose. A replacement is found, a young American waiter with whom Ginny has struck up a tentative acquaintance.

The lives of the characters become entangled as family secrets, ego and the dangerous politics of Franco’s Spain threaten to undo the fragile bonds that have been forged.

This gripping novel takes us back in time to Spain in the 50’s, where these sisters fall for the charms of a very different kind of life than they’re used to. Far from the safety and certainties of home. Love blooms in the bohemian atmosphere of wild and rugged Catalonia but little do these two sisters know what fate will have in store for them as their adventure unfolds. I loved the characters of Ginny and Meredith and I found it easy to connect with their sense of liberty as their lives begin to open up as they discover a sunlit world far from the post-war privations they have both suffered. The decisions that they make have enormous ramifications both for themselves and for others and you cannot fail to be moved as you read on and imagine yourself in their situation.

Jeremy Vine

If you follow my blog, you’ll know that I really love a novel where you explore events from real life through a fictional lens.   I think that Jeremy Vine allows us to see things from the perspective of both Ginny and Meredith and their characters both spring to life for the reader as you get so involved in their stories. Vine paints a vivid portrait of their experiences living through such a turbulent and unpredictable time in history. I hate including spoilers so all I’ll say is that their idealism in this historical period can put them in situations that we can’t even imagine and there are several tense moments when your heart will definitely be in your mouth.

statue of liberty new york city

The way that this epic novel brings this period in history to life and looks at its effects on human lives so vividly to life on the page made me totally lose myself as I luxuriated in this read over last weekend. I just couldn’t tear myself away from being able to ‘live’ for a period in Dali’s Spain and i absolutely loved it. The fact that we have a family connection with Catalonia lent The Diver & the Lover an added poignancy for me and made me realise that even though this is a novel, the stories it tells were very much a reality for thousands of Spanish people at this time and the mixture of artistic aspiration and political turmoil was a potent mixture for me and it really caught my imagination and made me long to return.

brown and white concrete building

If you love a historical read that brings moral dilemmas vividly to life and enjoy being totally immersed in a powerful and vivid narrative then you’ll love The Diver & the Lover It’s a powerful story and I found myself quite emotional as it drew to a close, knowing as I did that even though Ginny and Meredith were fictional characters, they’d really lived for me whilst I was lost in the book.  I will definitely look out for more from Vine as the balance of historical detail, wonderful characterisation and emotional punch was a winning combination for me.

Jeremy Vine

I would like to thank Jenny Platt for inviting me to participate in the blog tour – I really enjoy a historical read and this was definitely the right book at the right time for me. I’ll definitely be looking out for the other blog posts to see what my fellow bloggers thought of this emotional and memorable tale.

Buy yourself a copy here and travel to Dali’s Spain yourself this summer

people walking street beside brown building

‘As colourful, rich and mesmerising as one of Dali’s paintings, this absorbing, poignant rollercoaster of a read is utterly satisfying and will stay with you long after you’ve put it down.’ PATRICIA SCANLAN

‘a tale of intrigue, love, politics and scandal. Mixing fact and fiction The Diver and The Lover keeps up the pace and excitement to the very end.’ JOAN BAKEWELL

‘This tale intrigued me and captured my imagination in equal measure. I loved being whisked back to the 1950s and felt the heat of the Spanish sun as I fell in love with the sisters’ unique relationship. Be prepared to be taken on a dramatic journey confronting pain, tragedy and passion along the way ‘ SARA COX

‘We’ll never look at one of the world’s best known paintings in the same way again. [Jeremy Vine] has managed to weave truth and fiction together to bring us a most unexpected love story.’ FIONA BRUCE

Writer on The Shelf

Jeremy Vine

Jeremy Vine is one of the UK’s best-known broadcasters. 

He presents a weekday show on Radio 2, radio’s most popular news programme. 

He also presents Jeremy Vine on Channel 5, a daily current affairs programme, and he fronts Eggheads, one of the longest-running quiz shows in British TV history. 

Jeremy is an accomplished journalist and writer and has previously published two works of non-fiction. 

He lives in Chiswick with his wife and their two daughters.

Twitter @theJeremyVine

The Silent Daughter

A complex thriller, with family secrets at its heart. Perfect for fans of JP Delaney, C.L. Taylor, Fiona Barton and The Silent Patient.

In the age of digital footprints, is it possible to disappear? And how long would it take to notice someone is missing?

When his wife May is taken into hospital after a serious fall during a competitive run, Chris Morrison does what anyone would do in a crisis: he phones his family. His son Mikey answers the call, but his daughter Ruth doesn’t. She’s always been distant, often working abroad for long stretches and communicating via social media.

As Chris gets increasingly frustrated by Ruth’s lack of response, police investigations into May’s fall force him to answer some challenging questions. Why wasn’t May on the race route when she fell? Was she running after someone, or running from them?

A few uncomfortable certainties emerge: May and Mikey have been keeping things from Chris – and Ruth appears to have been lying to them all. But how many secrets can one family keep?

When Chris realises nobody has had direct contact with his daughter in nine months, he faces every parent’s nightmare – is Ruth missing, or worse? And with his wife in a coma and his daughter missing, suspicions fall on the family – and Chris himself.

Having built a newspaper career investigating incidents and reporting the facts, Chris is well-versed in these kinds of situations. He knows what the outcome might be. But nothing could prepare him for what he finds when searching for traces of his daughter.

The fact that The Silent Daughter has its roots in digital footprints and their repercussions and weaves a narrative around them is something which I especially loved about this book. I read it straight after watching the fabulous ‘I’ll be Gone in the Dark’ and I really enjoyed the post-reading research that I did to find out the ‘story behind the story’ in both cases and thinking about the way crime is being carried out in an ever evolving way and the way that we need to change our methods if we want to catch criminals in an ever-changing world.

MacBook Pro on white surface

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 summer had returned for a brief spell. Ruth and May have been hiding a fair bit from their loved ones in this novel and I enjoyed trying to work it out before Chris managed to. Emma Christie writes her 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 on a hot summer afternoon and I got lost in it in this weekend in this stunning late summer summer weather


Chris is a character whose life start to spin off its axis in this novel . His life is very different than the way he thinks it is and as soon as he starts to pull at one piece of thread, when the race goes wrong, everything else begins to unravel for him.  The way we duck and weave with Chris through all of the confusion is really effectively done and we start to wonder whether he will be the one who ends up getting the finger of blame pointed at him because of all the missing evidence. I loved the idea that we were dropped into his world without all the answers and had to figure things out from the snippets we could gather – much as he had to.

person using MacBook Pro

The atmosphere of turmoil and drama is perfectly maintained throughout this novel; We really are not sure what is going to happen next as even Chris with all of his experience in investigation is little prepared for how much he just does not know about his own life. Emma Christie manages to make us as ‘in the dark’ as Chris is for much of the novel and the unsettling atmosphere is very well maintained as we try and penetrate the mystery and find out exactly why Rachel’s life is so secretive and to what extent her mother was complicit in this subterfuge.

Emma Christie is a talented new voice. She draws the reader into her characters’ worlds and turn 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.

The Silent Daughter: How Many Secrets Can One Family Keep? by [Emma Christie]
The Sile

Buy yourself a copy here and sample this new crime thriller and it’s unusual hook and satisfying ending for yourself

“A really clever, compelling book with a fresh hook”


“The Silent Daughter is one of those books that forces you to read one more chapter. I was hooked from the first page and struggled to put it down.”


“Emma Christie is a supremely gifted storyteller – the book wrong-footed me at several places. It has one of those endings that make you want to tell someone immediately”


Writer On The Shelf

Welbeck fiction publisher Jon Elek has nabbed Scottish writer Emma Christie’s Edinburgh-set début suspense novel about deep-held family secrets. Elek bought UK & Commonwealth rights, excluding Canada, from Caroline Hardman at Hardman & Swainson to Christie’s The Silent Daughter

The book follows a father, Chris, as he tries to make contact his adult daughter after her mother has been seriously hurt in a mysterious running accident and lies in a coma. As he gets increasingly frustrated by Ruth’s lack of response and her brother Mikey’s evasiveness, police investigations into his wife’s fall force him to answer some challenging questions: Why wasn’t May on the race route when she fell? Was she running after someone, or running from them? And then a “few uncomfortable certainties” begin to emerge…

Elek said that Christie’s book “wrong-footed me at several places, and I just didn’t see the twist coming. It has one of those endings that make you want to tell someone immediately. Just at a point when you thought there wasn’t many places a writer could take you in psychological suspense, someone comes along and shows you there’s still an unmapped lake of darkness out there.”

Christie was born and raised in Scotland but has spent much of her adult life living in Spain and Latin America. She spent five years as a news journalist at Aberdeen and Inverness’ The Press and Journal, covering crime and political stories before becoming chief reporter. She now works as a tour guide and lecturer in history, culture and politics, with a US travel company.

The Museum Makers

‘Rachel Morris is one of the smartest storytellers I have ever met … a wonderful and beguiling book’ James Rebanks, author of The Shepherd’s Life

‘Without even thinking I began to slide all these things from the dusty boxes under my bed into groups on the carpet, to take a guess at what belonged to whom, to match up photographs and handwriting to memories and names – in other words, to sort and classify. As I did so I had the revelation that in what we do with our memories and the stuff that our parents leave behind, we are all museum makers, seeking to makes sense of the past.’

Museum expert Rachel Morris had been ignoring the boxes under her bed for decades. When she finally opened them, an entire bohemian family history was laid bare. The experience was revelatory – searching for her absent father in the archives of the Tate; understanding the loss and longings of the grandmother who raised her – and transported her back to the museums that had enriched her lonely childhood.

By teasing out the stories of those early museum makers, and the unsung daughters and wives behind them, and seeing the same passions and mistakes reflected in her own family, Morris digs deep into the human instinct for collection and curation.

. When she finally opened them, an entire bohemian family history was laid bare.

The experience was revelatory – searching for her absent father in the archives of the Tate; understanding the loss and longings of the grandmother who raised her – and transported her back to the museums that had enriched her lonely childhood.By teasing out the stories of those early museum makers, and the unsung daughters and wives behind them, and seeing the same passions and mistakes reflected in her own family, Morris digs deep into the human instinct for collection and curation.

Every once in a while you get sent a book to review that you are so glad you serendipitously discovered. This might be because you fall for its sense of place, its subject matter, its voice– or in the case of this book – all three at once! I was delighted to be asked to join the Blog Tour by Anne Cater and I’d like to take this chance to thank her for all the hard work she does for bloggers and all the books she’s introduced to me through #RandomThingsTours 

assorted picture frames on wall

I love a book that overturns all my expectations, but this unusual and creative book certainly does. It really appealed to me even before reading it as I loved the concept behind it. The fact that I love museums and especially have missed visiting them during the lockdown also increased the amount I enjoyed this complex and inspirational read

We all have all spent time wishing we could go back in time and discover our ancestors in the past, as they lived their ordinary life before we were ever thought of. Whether you are sentimental or not, the curiosity we feel about family history can definitely be an  overwhelming feeling. I’ve always been fascinated by the idea of such a personalised museum and I really felt like we were able to access the impact that this can have – filtered through these experiences and it was described so evocatively I really felt like I was experiencing it through Rachel Morris’ eyes. From searching for traces of her absent father to exploring the secrets of her grandmother’s past, we are drawn through these ‘spots of time’ right alongside her – what could be more unexpected than finding an exhibit from your own life? I loved the way that she explored the museum of her own past and shows us how we are all at heart collectors and how we might start to curate our own lives for those who will be coming along in our future.

This novel allows us to follow her back through the fragments of her past and discover all the complex events that led to her present day life.  I was really intrigued to find out more about her life and the way that her family’s past cast dapples of light and shadow on her present. It is interesting to find out that our family’s past experiences do not have to define us – which certainly added an extra dimension for me as I read.  I became engrossed in all of the overlaying stories and thinking about the unspoken motivations behind them and often found myself lost in thought about the other stories that ‘might have been’ that we didn’t have time to discover…

black ladder beside book shelf

Morris is such a skilled writer that she subtly asks us to consider why these characters from her past might behave the way they have with a light touch, and this allows us to build our empathy for them the more we read on and find out their stories – whilst  reflecting that everyone ‘walks their own path’ on this life’s journey.

open book lot

I would like to thank  Anne Cater for a copy of The Museum Makers to read and review and for inviting me on the tour. It makes me so happy to meet books through my blogging that I might otherwise never have read and I love sharing my views with others so that they might get the chance to pick up something different and love it too.

Buy yourself a copy here

I Really enjoyed reading the post on Random Things Through My Letterbox about Rachel Morris’ Life in Books.

Read it here

Writer On The Shelf

A director of the museum-making company Metaphor, Rachel Morris has been part of the creation, design and delivery of some of the most exciting displays, renovations and museums of the last few decades, from the new Cast Courts at the V&A and the Ashmolean, Oxford to the Terracotta Warriors at the British Museum and Grand Egyptian Museum in Cairo. 

Rachel is also the author of two novels. 

Twitter @MoMarcoPolo

Beyond the Horizon

From the author of The House by the Lake comes a powerful novel of friendship, love, and valor in a time of war.

At the height of World War II, Eva Scott’s dream comes true. Accepted into the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP), she leaves home and the man she loves for grueling training in Texas, ultimately landing at formidable Camp Davis in North Carolina.

Vastly outnumbered by men and amid contempt, discrimination, and sabotage, Eva and her closest friends remain

loyal to their mission and to each other, determined to prove themselves capable women pilots. But then a fatal mission sends Eva’s dream crashing to earth . . .

Now, decades later, Eva still doesn’t have answers about the night that changed her life. When she finds herself embroiled in the fight to get military recognition for the WASP, she’s forced to confront the past, and to make a decision that could forever change her future.

A heartbreakingly powerful, epic love story about courage, love and the valour of the WASP fleet and is rightfully dedicated to their bravery;  Beyond The Horizon  is an unforgettable story perfect for fans of credible historical fiction with fantastic characterisation and a real insight into the times they lived through.

This gripping novel takes us back in time to World War Two and was a perfect read in the year where have been celebrating the 75th Anniversary of VE day – sometimes it still feels like the war was a bit of an ‘all boys’ endeavour and this well-written tale seeks to ensure that we learn a bit of HER-Story with our History. It tells the tale of Eva whose dream is to fly as a pilot and be the equal of any man she leaves behind her on the ground. The situations that these brave women of the WASP encounter and you cannot fail to be pulled into their airborne adventures as you read on and uncover what befalls them across the sweep of this novel’s exciting and thought provoking arc.

The novel tells the story of the resourceful Eva, along with her pilot buddies Nina, Rita, Nancy, Helena and Beatrice.  The first section is set during 1977 and describes the ongoing investigation into some of the WASP activities during WWII – and then we are taken back in time to Sweetwater Texas to spend time at the training camp with the girls and see their story evolve as they bond as a crew, in 1943 and start to discover that if you want to beat men at their own game in the skies – then sometimes there are high prices to be paid.

How American soldiers proved a festive hit with British families ...

If you follow my blog, you’ll know that I really love a novel where you explore events from more than one perspective present really allows for this during this gripping read. and the dual timeline of past and  I think that Ella Carey is equally skilled at portraying the characters from both the past and the present and these characters come to life for the reader as you get caught up in the way the events of the past and the present day collide.   She paints a vivid portrait of their struggles and their epic levels of courage at a time when mortality rates were high and many people did not even think that they should be in the skies in the first place. I hate including spoilers so all I’ll say is that their characters definitely put them in situations in this historical period that will draw you in and keep you turning the pages to see what connects the past and the present and how their courage was not always something that brought them positive repercussions…

three monoplanes  squadron in World War 2

The way that this novel brings the war and its effects on these women so vividly to life on the page absolutely gripped me and made me frustrated that we do not learn more about the bravery of these women in school. . I just couldn’t tear myself away from their stories.  The fact that my school is a military one where we have just celebrated our centenary lent Beyond the Horizon  an added poignancy for me and made me reflect on the idea that even though this is a novel, the stories it tells were very much a reality for these women and salute their determination to be treated as equals and turn a blind eye to their critics in their determination to serve their nation.

If you love a historical read that brings this fascinating period vividly to life and enjoy being totally immersed in a story that highlights the contribution of women to our history then you’ll love Beyond the Horizon.  I will definitely look out for more from Ella Carey as the balance of historical detail and wonderful characterisation was a winning combination for me. Buy yourself a copy here

Check out the other fantastic bloggers on the Bookouture Tour

Loved this post from The BookloversBoudoir

Writer On The Shelf

Ella Carey

Thrilling and inspiring, Beyond the Horizon is a tribute to the brave women who risked their lives for their country—and who remained unrecognized for thirty years.

Ella Carey is the international bestselling author of The Things We Don’t Say, Secret Shores, From a Paris Balcony, The House by the Lake, and Paris Time Capsule. Her books have been published in over fourteen languages, in twelve countries, and have been shortlisted for ARRA awards. A Francophile who has long been fascinated by secret histories set in Europe’s entrancing past, Ella has degrees in music, nineteenth-century women’s fiction, and modern European history. She lives in Melbourne with her two children and two Italian greyhounds who are constantly mistaken for whippets.

Cracked Blog Tour

Seven patients. One dark secret.


Ali Land, Alice Feeny, Helen Callaghan

Jenny Nilson hasn’t seen her former psychiatrist Phillip since she left the Hillside Psychiatric Unit eight years ago. She wanted to forget everything about her time there, so she kept her secrets buried deep. Especially from her new husband.

But now the police are knocking at her door with evidence of her involvement in Phillip’s death. It seems as though everything she’s kept hidden is about to spill out.

Jenny desperately needs to speak to old friends, and old enemies, from those dark years. Because they are the only ones who know what really happened at Hillside, and about the dark secret that Phillip kept for them all – that this is not the first death.


Cracked, The Silent Patient, Psychological Thriller, Louise McCreesh

I’m no fan of books being painted as ‘The next…’ and we’re all sick I’m sure, of seeing books compared with The Girl on the Train or Gone Girl. This book by debut writer Celeste McCreesh definitely isn’t trying to be anything else, it’s perfectly happy being its own dark self. 

I’d actually love to see it on screen and will be dragging people along with me to view the twists and turns that Jenny begins to uncover in the flesh! Her resourcefulness and lthe way it is tested as she returns to uncover her past will certainly keep you entertained as you make your way through this novel – all too quickly, I might add

You know that I hate spoilers so I’ve tried hard to avoid mentioning all the things that begin t surface once Jenny can’t keep a lid on the events that occurred in the Hillside Psychiatric Unit in her past and the way that they emerge again once she returns after Phillip’s death – but suffice to say, there’s never a dull moment as the cracks begin to appear and the many truths that existed begin to be challenged

Clare Mackintosh, suspense thriller, crime fiction

Thanks so much to Jenny Platt for sending me this book to review for the blog tour – I absolutely love taking part in her tours and enjoyed reading what the other bloggers thought too. If you haven’t bought yourself a copy yet, you can buy yourself a copy here

Writer On The Shelf

Louise McCreesh is a freelance journalist working in London. She is an alumnus of the Curtis Brown Creative Writing Course, where she was offered a scholarship to continue work on this novel. Cracked is her debut novel.

Cover your Tracks Blog Tour

What if I told you,’ he said, ‘that I believe my mother’s life to be in danger?’

Robertson Bennet returns to Edinburgh after a 25 year absence in search of his parents and his inheritance. But both have disappeared. A quick, routine police check should be enough – and Detective Inspector Helen Birch has enough on her plate trying to help her brother, Charlie, after an assault in prison. But all her instincts tell her not to let this case go. And so she digs.

George and Phamie Bennet were together for a long time. No one can ever really know the secrets kept between husband and wife. But as Birch slowly begins to unravel the truth, terrible crimes start to rise to the surface.

After all the trials of planning a post lockdown return to the classroom, I felt like spending our first weekend curled up relaxing with a fabulous read – and Cover Your Tracks was just the ticket. I’ve been waiting for the next Helen Birch novel to be published ever since I finished What You Pay For and spending the day in my reading nook getting stuck into Cover Your Tracks was every bit as enjoyable as I’d anticipated and as ever I’m grateful to Jenny Platt for inviting me on the tour and for always picking the best books to blog about

Edinburgh might look like a graceful and tranquil place where nothing bad could ever happen, on the surface – but once again Claire Askew lifts the lid on some of the murkier goings that you might be totally unaware of. I love the interplay between DI Helen Birch and Amy Kato and this third book really builds on the strengths of its predecessors – whilst this could absolutely be read as a stand-alone, the fact that I was already so invested in these women and their lives added another dimension of enjoyment for me as I immersed myself in the third instalment of their crime fighting adventures

Big Ben, London

As ever, life for DI Birch is never dull and it’s one of the things that I love about Claire Askew’s writing that we manage to be just as caught up and interested in all of the threads of her story rather than waiting to return to the ‘main one’ when we are away from it – as can be the case for so many crime writers. I was totally engaged with the further developments in Helen’s own rather dysfunctional family as we see the impact of her brother’s illness and her father resurfacing again after so long. Her relationship with Charlie her brother is one of the many aspects of this novel that are just superbly written and I also love the way that her relationship with lawyer Anjan is progressing . Life for Helen is far from dull on a professional note either and she and Amy could never have predicted the way that this case would begin to unfold when the hugely dislikable Robertson Bennett turns up in search of his missing parents and things really begin to go awry…

Claire Askew knows just when to switch from one thread of the story to another that leaves us hungrily turning the pages and forgetting about the time. She never sacrifices character in the name of plot and that’s why time just flies when you’re reading her books. You want to know the answers, yes for sure – but you also want to know how this impacts on Helen too as we really feel that we’ve got to know her as a person. DI Birch is a character whose life is complex and three dimensional, her problems are the ones caused by the demands of her job, of course – but also the problems that we’ve all struggled with in terms of our life choices and our complex relationship with our families that make her feel like somebody we know and someone we care about to boot. I found myself wondering about her as I went through the day whenever I was away from the book and for me that is one of the hallmarks of an excellent rather than just enjoyable read.

stone castle near tall trees

Claire Askew asks us to think about a range of issues in the novel but as ever she writes best about the way we connect with other people – this novel makes you appreciate the way that we often are totally unaware of the way that our actions can impact on those closest to us. Her words frequently sing off the page and you can definitely feel her love and appreciation for poetry as you read. This is so much more than a page turner and you will see that as soon as you start reading. I am sucker for a book that makes me take a place I love and see it afresh and this book does so, in spades. If you are an Edinburgh dweller you will see it in a whole new light, and if you have never been, you’ll be booking your plane ticket.

people walking on pathway near buildings and different vehicles on road under blue and white sky

As a feminist, it’s wonderful to read a novel that contains such a strong cast of women who very much take the lead and prove the adage that the best man for the job is, very often, a woman. It’s satisfying to see both Amy and Helen’s personalities mature and diversify in this second novel. They are far greater than the sum of their parts and there are aspects of them all that I connected with -although in this book that it’s definitely Helen’s travails that I’m most drawn to as her family is definitely not the easiest to deal with and I was so glad that Amy and Anjan were there for her to rely in and sound off to in order to cope with the way that this case twists turns and evolves.


person looking at the building

This book will be sure to please people who already love DI Birch with its intriguing and satisfying blend of a family drama, a compelling case and a satisfyingly tense narrative. It kept me absolutely hooked and I cannot wait to see what unfolds next for Helen.

Buy yourself a copy here and set aside some time to really enjoy it. It’s a perfect late summer read which will make you think as well as care about its cast of characters and I can’t recommend it highly enough.

Writer on the Shelf

Dr Claire Askew

Claire Askew is a poet, novelist and the Writer in Residence at the University of Edinburgh. Her debut novel in progress was the winner of the 2016 Lucy Cavendish Fiction Prize, and longlisted for the 2014 Peggy Chapman – Andrews (Bridport) Novel Award. Claire holds a PhD in Creative Writing from the University of Edinburgh and has won a variety of accolades for her work, including the Jessie Kesson Fellowship and a Scottish Book Trust New Writers Award. All the Hidden Truths was longlisted for two CWA Daggers: Gold (best novel) and John Creasey (best debut).

Her debut poetry collection, This changes things, was published by Bloodaxe in 2016 and shortlisted for the Edwin Morgan Poetry Award and a Saltire First Book Award. In 2016 Claire was selected as a Scottish Book Trust Reading Champion, and she works as the Scotland tutor for women’s writing initiatives Write Like a Grrrl and #GrrrlCon. Cover Your Tracks is her third novel.

Thank you to Jenny Platt for inviting me on the Blog Tour, make sure you check out what these other fantastic bloggers thought too!

The Innocents

Newfoundland culture is outport culture. My parents were both born and raised in outports. Everybody in Buchans was from an outport. I always say that I didn’t live in an outport, but the outports made me who I am. To try and understand this place, I think, you have to write about outport culture… MICHAEL CRUMMEY

In centuries past, a brother and sister are orphaned in an isolated outport cove on Newfoundland’s northern coastline. Their home is a stretch of rocky shore governed by the feral ocean, by a relentless pendulum of abundance and murderous scarcity.

Still children with only the barest notion of the outside world, they have nothing but the family’s boat and the little knowledge passed on haphazardly by their mother and father to help them survive.

Muddling through the severe round of the seasons, through years of meagre catches and storms and ravaging illness, it is their fierce loyalty to each other that motivates and sustains them. But as seasons pass and they wade deeper into the mystery of their own natures, even that loyalty will be tested.

Maybe it was because I was supposed to be spending five weeks this summer travelling in Nova Scotia – (thank you Covid19 for ruining my holiday plans) I was absolutely intrigued by the premise of this book featuring this historical insight into Newfoundland and its maritime culture. I was delighted to be invited on the tour by Anne Cater & Random Things Tours  and couldn’t wait to travel vicariously to this beautiful, remote and mysterious part of the world.

sea waves crashing on rocks

This book definitely did not disappoint, it grabbed me and pulled me right into the story even when it was a hard read at times due to the harsh and relentless lives that people living in this era had to contend with. I was really intrigued by the premise of the book: that we get to hear about events from such a unique perspective and this really added to the story for me. Evered & Ava’s isolation has had a massive impact on the way that they perceive events and we start to see their naive and sheltered perspective more clearly as the novel unfolds.

I absolutely loved the unique atmosphere of this novel and definitely found it quite addictive. It was intriguing to imagine these siblings growing up like an Adam & Eve in their own remote and impenetrable ‘Eden’ where their own moral code and sense of self is all they have to navigate with.

houses on hill near body of water during daytime

Even though some of this novel deals with domestic issues and their isolated existence, it does it in an original way which makes the story linger at the edges of our consciousness even when we aren’t reading it. The siblings feel very much like real people – rather than mechanisms to explore a historical tale – which I’ve often found in novels which want to represent something that happened in the past. This is a really unique novel which has to be ‘felt’ to be understood. I am in awe of his atmospheric writing that makes you feel the oppressive isolation and drudgery of their life at times and feel like I could almost taste the sea air as I was reading.

Michael Crumney is an intriguing writer – 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 these unique siblings and the world they create for themselves. It’s not one of these ‘keep looking for the big twist’ stories that people are getting a little bored of now. It is a story filled with tiny details that add up to its sense of atmosphere – things start to accumulate and you’ll not be able to believe you missed them before – and your relationship with the characters builds and builds as you experience the challenges and constraints of their circumstances.

white and red boat on sea near brown and green mountain during daytime

Michael Crumney is an intriguing writer – 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 these unique siblings and the world they create for themselves. It’s not one of these ‘keep looking for the big twist’ stories that people are getting a little bored of now. It is a story filled with tiny details that add up to its sense of atmosphere – things start to accumulate and you’ll not be able to believe you missed them before – and your relationship with the characters builds and builds as you experience the challenges and constraints of their circumstances.

The Innocents asks us to think about the way that our personalities evolve through, because of and despite our experiences and doesn’t allow us to dismiss these characters as mere constructs – this novel is based on a real story, after all. The bleakness of the tale is an undeniable aspect off their lived experience and because it’s so immersive I found its difficulties very rewarding and couldn’t stop thinking about the rhythm of its narrative.

This is a book that I know I’ll be recommending to lots of readers as I was totally immersed in its characters, its pace and the way it really made me think. I can’t wait to see what Michael Crumney does next. The idea that life for remote communities can be a lot darker than you might think on the surface and I think that this would make an excellent Book Group read as it would be sure to provoke lots and lots of discussion and comment about a part of the world that most people don’t know very much abpout at all.

green and brown mountain beside body of water under blue sky during daytime

Buy yourself a copy of The Innocents and discover its remote and hypnotic story for yourself

Writer On The Shelf


MICHAEL CRUMMEY was born in Buchans, a mining town in the interior of Newfoundland, growing up there and in western Labrador. After thirteen years in self-imposed exile in Ontario, he moved home to Newfoundland in 2000. He is the author of five books of poetry, a book of short stories, and four other celebrated novels, including the Giller prize-nominated River Thieves. He lives in St. John’s.

I was really interested in telling the story of these two children who are completely sheltered from the outside world and sheltered from their own natures…

Part of the reason their story stayed with me was… because I just could not imagine how lonely it must have been for them to deal with that particular part of their own experience… How they would try to make sense of things they have no words for.

They don’t have a word for anything that happens between them as they grow older. As they get older, they become more of a mystery to themselves.

*NATIONAL BESTSELLER*NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF 2019 BY The Globe and Mail – CBC – Toronto Star – Maclean’s

Crummey’s novel has the capacity to change the way the reader sees the world–Scotiabank Giller Prize Jury Citation

The Last To Know

A family’s past pursues them like a shadow in this riveting and emotional novel of psychological suspense by the Amazon Charts bestselling author of All the Little Children.

American journalist Rose Kynaston has just relocated to the childhood home of her husband, Dylan, in the English village of his youth. There’s a lot for Rose to get used to in Hurtwood. Like the family’s crumbling mansion, inhabited by Dylan’s reclusive mother, and the treacherous hill it sits upon, a place of both sinister folklore and present dangers.
Then there are the unwelcoming villagers, who only whisper the name Kynaston—like some dreadful secret, a curse. Everyone knows what happened at Hurtwood House twenty years ago. Everyone except Rose. And now that Dylan is back, so are rumors about his past.

I absolutely love a book set in a house with a mysterious past. I think it stems from my love of Famous Five novels when I was wee – and this exciting and atmospheric read drew me in from the very first paragraph and held me captivated by its setting and characters until its very final page.

Houses with secrets, folk tales with a twist, a mysterious atmosphere and a name that’s unlucky even to speak aloud – I mean – what’s not to love. These were some of the many reasons that I was so drawn to The Last To Know and why I’m so grateful to #RandomThingsTours Anne Cater for inviting me to participate in this blog tour – as this book was definitely right up my street!

I love immersing myself in a book over a weekend and not looking up apart from to pour another cup of tea and this book answered the brief perfectly. If you haven’t already read All the Little Children, you should definitely put it on your TBR and if you have, you’ll be reassured to know that this is equally as compelling.

I feel like you can totally surrender to this reading experience and travel to Hurtwood House right alongside them. I really felt like I could imagine this vividly painted world and found it very difficult to detach myself from this immersive reading experience that allowed me to plunge into Rose and Dylan’s world and experience these events as they did. It was so atmospheric that you could absolutely imagine it all in your mind’s eye and every time I stopped reading it, I kept imagining myself lured back to Kynaston and trying to navigate the truth for myself.

person walking towards house

Is anyone else like me and love to go online and immerse themselves in the world of the book that they’re loving, to try and really place themselves in the characters’ world? I love doing it and I found myself scrolling through pages and pages of tales of property porn as I imagined myself inheriting a crumbling pile somewhere in a remote area of Scotland and it was a wonderful opportunity to escape from everything that’s going on in the world at the moment and not think about Covid or planning a return to school in the middle of a global pandemic…

white and brown concrete building near green trees during daytime

It was lovely to lose myself in the mystery surrounding this house and keep turning the possibilities over in my head about what exactly was the truth about Dylan’s past and whether we were getting a sense of the whole truth at times.  It’s funny that I get into reading zones and I’m now on a real mystery mission and have been drawn to exploring  The Daughters of Night – the sequel to Blood & Sugar and losing myself in another of my favourite era’s darker sides. I am trying not to give any spoilers at all as I do not want you to lose a single element of the twists and turns of this spine-tingling and compelling read.

I really loved the way that Jo Furniss draws the reader in and keeps them connected with the twists and turns that beset Rose as she attempts to understand what exactly is going on at Kynaston as well as understand exactly how Dylan’s past intersects with these secrets . The way that these elements of the narrative interconnect and collide with one another was one of my favourite things about this book and it certainly does a fine job of not allowing you to put it down as it gives you a solid case of ‘one more chapter’

white house in forest near lake

This was the perfect Lockdown read for me – and if you’re still on summer holidays and want something to absolutely lose yourself in and forget about what’s going on in the world –  then this would be a perfect book for you , it’s so immersive! If you love a deliciously mysterious tale with memorable and credible characters and a plot that will draw you in and keep you gripped then you’ll really love The Last to Know and  should treat yourself to a copy – I mean, just LOOK at that gorgeous cover!

The Last to Know by [Jo Furniss]

Thank you so much to Anne Cater & Random Things Tours for aways recommending such great reads. I love being prompted to read such a diverse and eclectic range of books and being able to share my views with other book lovers is an absolute pleasure.

Buy yourself a copy here and follow the tour to see what all of these great bloggers thought too

The Last to Know crackles with atmosphere and looming menace. From the get go, Jo builds a world of authentic characters beset by past trauma, ancient folklore, and deadly secrets, and cleverly keeps the tension building to the very last page. I devoured it in one thrilling, spine-tingling weekend. Five stars from me!” —Amy McLellan, author of Remember Me

“A big house, a small town, a dark past, and a whole lot of secrets—all woven seamlessly together with Jo Furniss’s beautiful and evocative writing style. I raced through The Last to Know, from the edge-of-seat opening to the very satisfying ending. Highly recommended!” —Andrea Mara, author of the Irish Times bestseller The Sleeper Lies

“I loved this atmospheric and suspenseful tale of family secrets and lies. It is beautifully written and is set in a memorably eerie location that really jumps from the page. I couldn’t put it down!” —Roz Watkins, author of The Devil’s Dice

The Last to Know is a beautifully written novel of psychological suspense charged with intrigue and emotion. Another gem from the very talented Jo Furniss.” —Victoria Selman, author of Snakes and Ladders

“I love Jo Furniss. I have devoured every one of her books, and The Last to Know is her best yet. This time around, Furniss uses her elegantly devastating command of language to draw readers into a misty English village where residents are haunted both by ghostly legends and the very real reckonings owed to them by their own pasts. At turns heartbreaking and harrowing, [this book] evokes the stylish turns and insightful characterizations of modern masters of suspense Ruth Ware and Shari Lapena.” —Amber Cowie, author of Loss Lake

“These characters jump off the page, their lives and past dredged up, detailed without being overbearing. And the story…expertly told. It dragged me along, never letting up until it all clicked into place during a thrilling finale. This deserves to be big!” —James Delargy, author of 55

The Last to Know is a tale of secrets and lies and how your past can creep into your present. Jo Furniss writes beautifully and hauntingly. A gripping and evocative book.” —Alice Clark-Platts, author of The Flower Girls

The Last to Know is one of the best kinds of novels: secrets to unravel, a dark past to be explored, bodies buried, and characters you want to trust but don’t know if you dare. You will race through this tightly plotted novel with its dark secrets, just waiting to ignite.” —Rachael Blok, author of The Scorched Earth and Under the Ice

Writer On The Shelf

After spending a decade as a broadcast journalist for the BBC, Jo Furniss gave up the glamour of night shifts to become a freelance writer and serial expatriate. Originally from the United Kingdom, she spent seven years in Singapore and also lived in Switzerland and Cameroon.

As a journalist, Jo worked for numerous online outlets and magazines, including Monocle and the Economist. She has edited books for a Nobel laureate and the palace of the Sultan of Brunei. She has a Distinction in MA Professional Writing from Falmouth University.

Jo’s debut novel, All the Little Children, was an Amazon Charts bestseller.
Twitter @Jo_Furniss #TheLastToKnow



Those Who Are Loved – Audio Blog Tour

The gripping new novel by Sunday Times Number One bestseller Victoria Hislop is set against the backdrop of the German occupation of Greece, the subsequent civil war and a military dictatorship, all of which left deep scars.

Athens 1941. After decades of political uncertainty, Greece is polarised between Right- and Left-wing views when the Germans invade.

Fifteen-year-old Themis comes from a family divided by these political differences. The Nazi occupation deepens the fault-lines between those she loves just as it reduces Greece to destitution. She watches friends die in the ensuing famine and is moved to commit acts of resistance.

In the civil war that follows the end of the occupation, Themis joins the Communist army, where she experiences the extremes of love and hatred and the paradoxes presented by a war in which Greek fights Greek.

Eventually imprisoned on the infamous islands of exile, Makronisos and then Trikeri, Themis encounters another prisoner whose life will entwine with her own in ways neither can foresee. And finds she must weigh her principles against her desire to escape and live.

As she looks back on her life, Themis realises how tightly the personal and political can become entangled. While some wounds heal, others deepen.

This powerful new novel from Number One bestseller Victoria Hislop sheds light on the complexity and trauma of Greece’s past and weaves it into the epic tale of an ordinary woman compelled to live an extraordinary life.

Victoria Hislop. Discover for yourself why 10 million readers worldwide love her books.

Victoria Hislop, Those Who Are Loved, Bestseller

This blog tour is sharing 10 minutes a day, read by the wonderful Juliet Stevenson

If that doesn’t lure you into rushing out and buying yourself a copy of the book immedisyely, then I don’t know what will…

Listen Here to today’s extract
Victoria Hislop, Those Who Are Loved, Makronisos

Those Who Are Loved  is a fascinating and immersive read, describing the lives of a Greek island, during the Nazi occupation and all that unfolded for its occupants – viewed from the perspective of 15 year old Themis. It is a time period that I don’t really know that much about and I love this kind of novel, where I finish it and end up on Google for hours, researching all of the events in the book and looking at maps and photos of the real settings and events that have been portrayed in its pages.

Victoria Hislop, Those Who Are Loved, Sunday Times

Victoria Hislop’s latest book take place after 1941 where the island and its people have to recognise that their world as they knew it will be changing forever. I loved the character of Themis and I found it easy to connect with her grit and determination as she battles to overcome the many obstacles that she has to endure. Personal beliefs are set against political obligations and it is hard to know who to trust as the whole community is torn apart and neighbour is set against neighbour. If you love a novel that brings history alive and makes its characters feel absolutely like real people, then you’ll love this book. The audio version had me absolutely gripped through Juliet Stevenson’s masterful narration and I flew through an afternoon of painting, transported to Greece and experiencing this awe inspiring historical tale vicariously.

assorted concrete houses

If you follow my blog, you’ll know that I really love a novel where you explore events that have actually happened.  I think that is one of the things that I most admire about Victoria Hislop, her novels consistently engage the reader as the characters spring to life off the page. She paints a vivid portrait of their struggles to survive in a dangerous and unpredictable time in history. I hate including spoilers so all I’ll say is that Themis stands out in every way, in a historical period where drawing attention to yourself is a risky proposition and there are several tense moments when your heart will definitely be in your mouth as you wonder exactly how her tale will unfold.

Victoria Hislop, Those Who Are Loved, Red

The way that Victoria Hislop brings the horror and anguish that Themis has lived through so vividly to life on the page made me totally lose myself in this fantastic read. I couldn’t tear myself away from her dramatic and memorable life. The fact that I have spent to many summers in Greece lends Those Who Are Loved an added poignancy and made me remember that even though this is a novel, the stories it tells were very much a reality for thousands of Greeks who found themselves trapped in a conflict that they were powerless to do anything about.

white buildings on mountain by the sea during daytime

If you love a historical read that brings moral dilemmas vividly to life and enjoy being totally immersed in a powerful and vivid narrative then you’ll love this novel. It’s a powerful story and I found myself quite emotional as it drew to a close, knowing as I did that even though Themis was a fictional character, she really lived for me whilst I was lost in the book.  I wholeheartedly recommend this stunning audiobook as the balance of historical detail, wonderful characterisation and emotional punch was a winning combination for me.

Victoria Hislop, Those Who Are Loved, Woman & Home

I would like to thank Emily Patience for inviting me to participate in the blog tour – I absolutely love a god audiobook and  I’ll definitely be looking out for the other blog posts to see what my fellow bloggers thought of this emotional and memorable tale.