The World At My Feet – Catherine Isaac Blog Tour

The secrets that bind us can also tear us apart…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Writer On The Shelf

Catherine Isaac

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

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

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

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

You can also sign up to my monthly newsletter at

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


Notebook Blog Tour

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Writer On The Shelf

Tom Coc

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

The Passenger

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Writer On The Shelf

Daniel Hurst

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

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

Blog tour

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

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

Behind Closed Doors

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Compelling — Heidi Swain

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

Emotional and engaging, I was completely absorbed

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

Emotional and affecting, this is an absorbing read ― Sun

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

A warm, escapist read ― Woman

Included in ‘The Hot List’ ― Inside Soap

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

Behind Closed Doors Catherine Alliott

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

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Writer On The Shelf

Catherine Alliot

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

Catch up with Catherine on Facebook and Instagram.

The Shadow In The Glass Blog Tour

Once upon a time Ella had wished for more than her life as a lowly maid.

Now forced to work hard under the unforgiving, lecherous gaze of the man she once called stepfather, Ella’s only refuge is in the books she reads by candlelight, secreted away in the library she isn’t permitted to enter.

One night, among her beloved books of far-off lands, Ella’s wishes are answered. At the stroke of midnight, a fairy godmother makes her an offer that will change her life: seven wishes, hers to make as she pleases. But each wish comes at a price and Ella must to decide whether it’s one she’s willing to pay it.

A smouldering, terrifying new spin on Cinderella – perfect for fans of Laura Purcell and Erin Morgenstern

If you spent your childhood dreaming about being rescued from a dark, tangled forest by a handsome Prince on a charger, wrote magical spells on pieces of paper and stained them with tea to make them look old and imagined having a fairy godmother to make all your wishes come true then you will absolutely love The Shadow In The Glass

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This novel is utter escapism and it was exactly the right thing to get me out of my reading slump and turning the pages as I lost myself in its beautifully realised world. It was fabulous to immerse myself myself in the darkly magical story of Ella,and experience her fall from grace now that she has been reduced in stature to be one of the maids. If you loved A Little Princess or Ballet Shoes when you were young, you’ll fall for her story hook, line and sinker as it has that same blend of realism and pathos with absolute escapism.

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Ella’s destiny seemed to be a life of luxury, where satin slippers, elegant balls and fabulous opportunities awaited her – sadly, due to forces out with her control, her life of ease and glamour is snatched from her grasp, leaving her with only sackcloth and ashes for her prospects. Who wouldn’t sympathise with her when the book in the library reveals a tempting offer from a fairy godmother – and who wouldn’t be tempted to exchange their soul for seven wishes which could change your life entirely…

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We’ve all read enough fairy tales to realise however, that getting exactly what you wanted might just be the beginning of all your troubles and without giving away any spoilers, Ella might end up with a severe case of ‘be careful what you wish for’ I found Ella a fairly relatable character in spite of the fairytale settingy and could empathise with the moral dilemma that she finds herself in, imagining myself in her situation, it is easy to say what you might or might not do – but we are all human and it is very easy indeed to see why she’d have been so tempted

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The Shadow in the Glass takes the original and gives it a fresh and original 21st century spin. Fairy tales are a beloved and integral part of so many of our journeys as readers and it was fun and refreshing to come back to these situations as an adult and imagine our responses to this situation from quite a different perspective. Harwood is a skilful and intelligent writer and is definitely creating a tale for grown ups with a dark and mysterious edge – the Princess Diaries this certainly isn’t! The Victorian setting is extremely successful and will definitely appeal to people who have enjoyed the novels of Stacey Halls, Laura Purcell or Ambrose Parry and love thinking about the way that women’s stories and choices were affected by the opportunities available to them at the time

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Ella is a character who really grows and develops within the story, as I’ve said the lot for women in this era was not easy and even though this novel is based on a fairy tale, Ella has to wrestle with a great many experiences that are as far from a fairy story as you can imagine. I think that having the original story as such a vivid memory is a fantastic counterpoint to the story and I think this would make a great book group read as just like Angela Carter and The Company of Wolves, this book is thought provoking and challenging rather than escapist and fluffy. It will have your members thinking about the roles available to women, the marriage market, the class-system and so much more. I was gripped by the details as well as the ideas that Harwood presents us with and found her writing style both beautiful and elegant in its prose.

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Thank you so much to Anne Cater & Random Things Tours for inviting me onto the Tour, this is a whole new genre for me this season and I found it hugely enjoyable to turn back time and wander into a darkly magical world where almost anything can happen. You should definitely look this book up and order yourself a copy, it’s as stunning on the inside as its beautiful cover and I absolutely recommend it

Check out the other bloggers on the Tour and enjoy hearing what they’ve loved about this original and captivating read

Writer On The Shelf

JJA Harwood

JJA Harwood is an author, editor and blogger. She grew up in Norfolk, read History at the University of Warwick and eventually found her way to London, which is still something of a shock for somebody used to so many fields.

When not writing, she can be found learning languages, cooking with more enthusiasm than skill, wandering off into clearly haunted houses and making friends with stray cats. THE SHADOW IN THE GLASS is her debut novel.

Twitter Website

Murder at the Mela Blog Tour

Newly appointed as Glasgow’s first Asian DI, Alok Patel’s first assignment is the investigation of the brutal murder of Nadia, an Asian woman. Her body was discovered in the aftermath of the Mela festival in Kelvingrove Park. During the Mela, a small fight erupted between a BNP group and an Asian gang, but was quickly quelled by police.

When Nadia is accused of having an affair with a local man, even more questions about her death arise. Was her murder a crime of passion, or was it racially motivated? Could it be an honour killing? The deep-rooted tensions within Glasgow’s Asian communities bubble to the surface as DI Patel struggles with his parents, who disapprove of his relationship with his Muslim partner, Usma.

As DI Patel struggles to gain any help from the Asian community, another body is discovered in the West End- the body of a white man. Is this new murder fuelled by revenge? Killed by an Asian gang? As the list of murder suspects grows, DI Patel finds himself grappling with the pressures of his new rank, including the racism of at least one fellow officer.

This novel peels away the layers of Glasgow’s Asian communities, while exploring the complicated relationships between Asian people and the city.

If you love a fascinating and eclectic read you can really get caught up in that will make you think about it long after you’ve finished reading it, then Murder at the Mela might be your next favourite read. I’m always a sucker for any book that’s got the slightest connection to Scotland and I was really drawn in by DI Patel’s story and really wonder why I’ve not heard more people talking about it.   I love books that grab me with a real ‘voice’ from the very first page and this book is a pageturner from the get-go. I read this across a dreich Scottish weekend – totally losing myself in its str. ong storyline and memorable insight into the Glaswegian Asian community

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DI Patel is an extremely realistic character and the twists and turns of Nadia’s murder is portrayed so credibly that it’s easy to forget that this is fiction, you feel like it’s actually happening as you travel to Kelvingrove Park and other locations across the city, seeing things from a fresh new perspective and getting an insight into what life is like in the multicultural world of policing in the 21st century. Even the additional insight into his private life and getting to see that the families are nOt pleased when Usma, a Muslim starts dating Patel who is a Hindu. I very much enjoyed the balance of crime and domestic detail and it certainly kept me on my toes as there were plenty of clues and misdirections along the way to keep me turning the pages as a reader!

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Leela Soma has a distinct voice and her plotting is sustained throughout the novel to ensure that you often feel like you know what’s happening next, but your expectations are turned on their head. This is a topical and satisfying read, where the police scenes are wonderfully realistic and DI Patel’s resourcefulness is brought to life for us as we experience his challenges in getting the community to talk and open up to the law as well as balance the demands of solving the case with the things that are going on in his own life.

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If you want an original and energetically written book that brings a new and innovative detective life whilst keeping you on your toes with many a twist and turn to navigate you’ll love this book and I know a few book-loving friends who are definitely going to be snapping this up and enjoying a fresh insight into crime fiction with a scottish flavour and plenty of pageturning moments.

Why don’t you treat yourself to a copy and find out more about DI Patel’s crime solving approach in this strikingly original and enjoyable read. Thank you to lovely Emma @Damppebbles for inviting me onto the blog tour and as ever, it has been a pleasure to enjoy another fantastic crime recommendation from you!


Writer On The Shelf

Leela Soma

Leela Soma was born in Madras, India and now lives in Glasgow, Scotland. She was a Principal Teacher of Modern Studies before deciding to write full time.

Her poetry and short stories have been published in a number of anthologies and publications most recently, Issue 5 of Gutter magazine. She won the Margaret Thomson Davis Trophy for Best New Writer 2007 for her then unpublished novel Twice Born which was later published on YouWriteOn.

She is on the Committee of the Milngavie Book & Art Festival and the Scottish Writer’s Centre.

Her writings reflect her experiences as a first generation Indo-Scot.

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Purchase Links:

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Amazon UK:

Amazon US:


Publishing Information:

Published in paperback and digital formats by Ringwood Publishing

World Book Day – Welcome to School competition Winner and Guest Blogger Rio Gregory

This World Book Day, my school held a week-long #DEARQVS Initiative which represented Drop Everything and Read at Queen Victoria School

We dressed up as book characters, read in extreme places and shouted loudly about our favourite books

Building a reading culture that helps create the readers of the future is so important to me that I also held a competition to be a guest blogger at On The Shelf Books and I am delighted to introduce our winner this afternoon.

Rio Gregory is an S5 student at QVS who is one of our Literacy Ambasssadors and a committed member of the school’s Make A Difference group. As well as a love for books, Rio is a keen volunteer and charity fundraiser as well as a valued role model in the junior boarding house.

Rio got the opportunity to write about a book she loved, and I am delighted to introduce her as my guest blogger this afternoon. I am very proud of her and hope that book blogging is something that she continues to see as a positive and diverse place to shout about the books you love

Over to you Rio…

Guest Blogger Rio Gregory on World Book Day

Where Rainbows End

By Cecelia Ahern

A story about love. And how life gets in the way.

Best friends since forever, Rosie and Alex have shared their hopes, dreams – and firsts. But one awkward moment at eighteen, one missed opportunity, and life sends them hurtling in different directions.

Although they stay in touch, misunderstandings, circumstances and sheer bad luck seem to be conspiring to keep them apart.

Can they gamble everything – even their friendship – on true love?

Rio Gregory S5

I was really intrigued to read this book since I read ‘PS I Love You’ in lockdown. I loved the way Ahern laid this book out – nothing like I had seen before, it was super clever! I really was inspired by the characters in this story – and how both their lives changed in the 50 years. When the book came through the door, I tore open the parcel and just got stuck right in – I could not put it down, it was AMAZING!

Set in Dublin, Rosie and Alex have been best friends forever, but when Alex is forced to move to Boston everything between them is shattered – then Rosie gets the perfect news, she has been accepted into Boston College, but one-night changes everything and Boston is off the cards for Rosie. I loved this book because of the bond the two main characters shared – with everything that went wrong in their lives, they still had each other but with an ocean keeping them apart.

I praise Cecilia Ahern for her style of writing – throughout the whole story she never uses dialogue. There are letters, e-mails, direct messaging and notes. At the beginning you are apprehensive about if it will work but the more you read, the more you are hooked! This book is perfect for someone who loves a bit of romance, a bit of heartache and a bit of humour.

I thoroughly recommend this book – it is witty, romantic and funny. I will not spoil anything but it is honestly one of the best. I have now read it a good few times and  in my opinion it gets better each time. Whilst I was reading this book, I really hoped they would make it into a movie and they have! It is called; ‘Love, Rosie’. I shall be watching this shortly but between you and me – I think the books are always better! I have to say this book is on my best reads, by far!

Buy yourself a copy here and read it to recommend it

Praise for Cecilia Ahern:

‘Genuine warmth, a few laughs and a happy-ever after’ – Sunday Independent

‘A heart-warming, completely absorbing tale of love and friendship’ – Company

‘Uplifting and heart-warming’ – Irish Times

‘Witty, smart and compulsively good fun’ – Cosmopolitan

‘Brilliantly written, you’ll laugh and cry’ – Heat

‘A winner’ – Glamour

Acclaim for Cecelia Ahern:
‘Warm and thought-provoking’ – Good Housekeeping

‘An exquisitely crafted and poignant tale about finding the beauty that lies within the ordinary. Make space for it in your life’ – Heat

Writer in the Spotlight

Cecilia Ahern

After completing a degree in Journalism and Media Communications, Cecelia wrote her first novel at 21 years old. Her debut novel, PS I Love You was published in January 2004, and was followed by Where Rainbows End (aka Love, Rosie) in November 2004. Both novels were adapted to films; PS I Love You starred Hilary Swank and Gerard Butler, and Love, Rosie starred Lily Collins and Sam Claflin.

Ahern is now published in nearly fifty countries, and has sold over 25 million copies of her novels worldwide. 

Cecelia’s next book is a collection of 30 short stories about 30 women, titled ROAR. ROAR will be published in the UK and Ireland in Autumn 2018 by HarperCollins UK, and in Spring 2019 in the US by Grand Central Publishing.

Follow Cecelia Ahern: on Goodreads , on Amazon,

Visit: cecelia ahern

Bound Vanda Symon Blog Tour

The New Zealand city of Dunedin is rocked when a wealthy and apparently respectable businessman is murdered in his luxurious home while his wife is bound and gagged, and forced to watch. But when Detective Sam Shephard and her team start investigating the case, they discover that the victim had links with some dubious characters.

The case seems cut and dried, but Sam has other ideas. Weighed down by her dad’s terminal cancer diagnosis, and by complications in her relationship with Paul, she needs a distraction, and launches her own investigation.

And when another murder throws the official case into chaos, it’s up to Sam to prove that the killer is someone no one could ever suspect.

I’m delighted to be taking part in the blog tour to celebrate the publication of this novel from one of my favourite crime novelists and Orenda Favourite, Vanda Symon,and would like to thank Karen Sullivan and Anne Cater of Random Things for the tour invitation otherwise I might never have discovered this original, gripping and unforgettable series of books! It’s given me yet another reason to thank the good Lord that I discovered Orenda Books and that I’ve been able to sample such a wonderful range of crime fiction from other countries through their list!

Bound is book number four in the Sam Shephard series and I have been looking forward to reading it for months, having read, and thoroughly enjoyed, the three previous books in this series – I am delighted to say that this was an extremely worthy successor to the three existing books and I could not sleep until I’d finished it last week…

Ian Rankin jacket quote - pre-publication

If New Zealand is only in your mind because of Lord of the Rings and its impressive Prime Minister, then you are in for an amazing surprise once you get hooked on its crime fiction. It really is unique in its flavour and once you’ve started, you’ll be totally hooked. This series of novels has a very different feel than some of the other crime fiction I’ve read in the past and  I loved the way that it mixes the elements of the crime novel with Sam’s feisty and direct personality and snippets from her personal life so credibly which really appeals to me as a reader. Three novels in, I am really enjoying the feeling of ‘knowing’ these characters and it meant that I was completely at home once I plunged into the storyand felt like I was working alongside her to solve ths case…

Kate Mosse jacket quote - Pre-publication

I love reading novels that pull me right into the story and this was marvellously on form in this regard. We are totally caught up in the Hendersons’ attack and as intrigued as Sam is by the way that the presenting evidence just doesn’t quite add up to the ensuing narrative that emerges from the survivors. It transported me to New Zealand right alongside Sam and her team and made me obsessed with solving the case and trying to guess where this story would take us next. I don’t think I’ve read a novel recently that kept me on my toes as much in terms of ‘solvability’ – it seemed like each new piece of information pointed me in a new direction and I was absolutely kept on the hook until the end. I really enjoyed this clever writing and rather than waiting for a ‘big reveal’ it felt like I was unravelling clues with the team and trying to get to the bottom of this in partnership with them.

gray mountain near body of water during daytime

This is an absolutely immersive read, it’s as rich in setting as it is in  plot, allowing you to be swept off to the beauty of New Zealand and see Dunedin for yourself. It had never been somewhere that I’d have been desperate to see – but I found myself browsing online for flights ‘once this lockdown is all over’ and trying to see some of these places for myself as they sounded so stunningly beautiful. I am enjoying ‘travelling’ through my books at the moment as we’ve been ‘grounded’ for the last year and I am thoroughly enjoying being a vicarious traveller through Orenda books’ catalogue!

green tree on green grass field during daytime

Bound skilfully  blends together the crime with Sam’s personal life as her father’s health deteriorates and she is caught between solving the case and dealing with her father’s decline and her somewhat traumatic relationship with her mum. Her relationship with her team at work is as demanding as her personal life and the harsh nature of the job at times is vividly drawn, To me, these diverse elements come together to provide a highly satisfying read as they are woven together so seamlessly in exactly the right proportions that make for an absolutely engrossing read that holds you tight as you get drawn into the mystery of the Henderson case whilst feeling empathy for the difficult circumstances that Sam is trying to juggle personally – and as you’ve become so drawn to her across the series, you feel even more protective of her as she struggles with both difficult work dynamics and challenging family demands.

Liam Mcilvanney jacket quote - pre-publication

New Zealand has become a character in its own right throughout these books and I felt like Vanda Symon has really brought the stunning landscape vividly to life – blending its remote beauty with the personality of its inhabitants and making us think about the fact that even in the most gorgeous areas, murders can happen and that sometimes there can be just as much violence, hatred and revenge bubbling beneath its slower paced life than any metropolis. If like me you are missing travel, then its sense of place is hard to beat. It was wonderful to escape from work and spend time in the beauty and splendour of this gorgeous country and just like the other books in the series, once I’d started on this plot, I just could not tear myself away until I’d got to the bottom of it with Sam and her team.

green grass field near lake under white clouds and blue sky during daytime

Vanda Symon is a talented and perceptive writer whose characters spring off the page and come to life for you as you try and work for the answers alongside them. Sam is one of my favourite characters in crime fiction– she is a woman who pushes herself to the limit to follow her gut instincts and we absolutely empathise with her as she has her own life to navigate as well as the murder to solve during this investigation. I enjoy the fact that we feel like we are meeting an old friend on the pages and am always sad to leave her behind at the end of the novels and happy once I can be reunited with her again when a new one is published.

The Sam Shephard series jackets

Bound is a superb blend of skilful plotting and well-crafted characters that stands out to me due to its deft manipulation of the reader and the way it keeps us guessing as well as its strong sense of place. Sam’s winning combination of toughness and vulnerability means that she is absolutely real for us as we read and I’d love to see her brought to life on the screen. This series of books is one of my absolute favourites and it would be amazing to see it optioned and be able to watch Sam’s adventures unfold on screen. Move over Sandi-noir, it’s time for some Kiwi fiction to take the front stage and show you that there is much more going on on the other side of the world that you might have imagined…

Buy yourself a copy of this fantastic read here, and follow the blog tour to hear the thoughts of these other bloggers too

Blog tour poster

‘A really strong mystery with a twist that works very nicely … The family dynamic and Sam’s dealing with the trauma are brilliantly observed’ NB Magazine

‘If you like taut, pacy thrillers with a wonderful sense of place, this is the book for you’ Liam McIlvanney

‘Vanda Symon’s work resembles Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series she knows how to tell a good story and the NZ setting adds spice’ The Times

‘Atmospheric, emotional and gripping’ Foreword Reviews

‘A plot that grabs the reader’s attention with a heart-stopping opening and doesn’t let go’ Sunday Times

‘Powerful, coolly assured, and an absolute belter of a read’ LoveReading 

‘It is Symon’s copper Sam, self-deprecating and very human, who represents the writer’s real achievement’ Guardian

‘Fans of The Dry will love Vanda Symon’ Red Magazine

‘With a twisty plot, a protagonist who shines and beautifully written observations of the cruellest things this is crime fiction at its best’ Kiwi Crime

Writer On The Shelf

Vanda Symon

Vanda Symon is a crime writer, TV presenter and radio host from Dunedin, New Zealand, and the chair of the Otago Southland branch of the New Zealand Society of Authors. The Sam Shephard series has climbed to number one on the New Zealand bestseller list, and also been shortlisted for the Ngaio Marsh Award for best crime novel. She currently lives in Dunedin, with her husband and two sons.

Twitter ~ @vandasymon

The Favour – Blog Tour


When she was thirteen years old, Ada Howell lost not just her father, but the life she felt she was destined to lead. Now, at eighteen, Ada is given a second chance when her wealthy godmother gifts her with an extravagant art history trip to Italy.

In the palazzos of Venice, the cathedrals of Florence and the villas of Rome, she finally finds herself among the kind of people she aspires to be: sophisticated, cultured, privileged. Ada does everything in her power to prove she is one of them. And when a member of the group dies in suspicious circumstances, she seizes the opportunity to permanently bind herself to this gilded set.

But everything hidden must eventually surface, and when it does, Ada discovers she’s been keeping a far darker secret than she could ever have imagined…

Having not been able to travel for the last year, I was so excited to voyage to the beautiful cities of opulence of Rome, Florence and Venice through the pages of The Favour and enjoy a ‘Grand Tour’ of my own as I remembered visiting them all in my 20s, staring at David, eating amazing pizza at midnight and meeting a handsome Italian on the Spanish steps back in the day. This immersive, intelligent and evocative read took me away from rainy Scotland and absolutely transported me into its privileged world and I absolutely loved its atmosphere, beauty and grandeur where I could stroll the pavements and admire the artwork whilst losing myself in this wonderfully original story.

The Favour by Laura Vaughan

I loved the way that this story draws us into Ada’s back story from the very beginning and sows the seeds of disenfranchised discontent from the very start. I absolutely love both The Talented Mr Ripley and The Secret History and this book combines all the best elements of these novels to produce a compelling tale of dark aspiration and thwarted entitelement The novel keeps you on your toes with plenty of secrets and red herrings to navigate as you try to find the truth in a maze of trompe d’oeuil and smoke and mirrors. Ada seizes her chace to align herself to the gilded group she finds herself amongst, but what price belonging?

Ada Howell feels that the loss of Garreg Las meant that her place in the world has fallen significantly and llive her life in a permanent state of what might hae been after the death of her wealthy spepfather. Her downward spiral to an ordinary house in Brockley means that Ada is obsessed with the lifestyle, opportunities and style of the gilded youth she feels would have been her destiny had fate not intervened and the rest, as they say is history…

The Favour by Laura Vaughan

A fortunate intervention by her wealthy ‘fairy’ godmother Delilah Grant and the wonderfully named Dilettanti Discoveries means that Ada does axctually get the chance to step into the shoes of the people she has envied from afar and experience her dream of a Grand Tour in Europe for herself. Her ensuing adventures with this cast of ‘bright young things’ is a wonderfully described romp through some of Europe’s most beautiful locations that will render fellow travel junkies green with envy as you get to vicariously experience some of the amazing sights and sigh nostalgically at their youthful posturing and pretentiousin jokes. All good things come to an end eventually and the glamour and adventure comes abruptly to a halt when circumstances unravel leaving one member of the group dead and Ava playing a central role in the ensuing drama.

The Favour by Laura Vaughan

Once her decision is made, the dice are thrown and she now has to live with the wider ramifications of her decision. Ada’s long-held desire to be a part of this world is definitely an Achilles heel and makes her vulnerable to poor decision making as she chooses to fit an and ingratiate herself with her newly found circle. As the consequences of her decision become clearer and clearer, it’s one of those situations that’s both difficult to watch and impossible to loook away from and I was absolutely hooked. Nothing was able to get my attention when I was lost in this book, no housework got done or tasks ticked off and I can utterly recommend it for a totally escapist read that will make you forget about everything else except what Ada does next!

What’s so well-done here is the way that Laura Vaughan has you in the palm of her hand and skilfully manages to keep us at the end of her hook – just when you feel absolutely sure about where you think this book is headed, she subverts your expectations and tips everything you though you knew on its head. Its clever plotting and cast of ghastly characters are a winning combination and you will end the book feeling like you’ve been as caught up in their dastadly schemes as any of the tour party and if not quite as complicit as some of them, certainly feeling like you’ve been involved in their nefarious deeds yourself as part of the Grand Tour

The Favour by Laura Vaughan

I really enjoy a book that stands out from its competition and I definutely think that The Favour wins in terms of its originality as well as its marvellously realistic depiction of these stunning locations. I think it’s the kind of book that lingers in your head when you’re not reading it and one that you’ll want to talk about with other people too. I’m recommending it to my online Book Club and think that it’ll make for some fascinating converstions about what we might have decided to do in the same circumstances – you’ll have to buy yourself a copy to see if you can decide what your choices might have been…

Follow the blog tour and join this equally gilded set of bloggers to hear their views on this book and see what they thought of Ada and her moral minefield…

Writer On The Shelf

Laura Vaughan

Laura Vaughan grew up in rural Wales and studied Art History in Italy and Classics at Bristol and Oxford. She got her first book deal aged twenty-two and went on to write eleven books for children and young adults. is her first novel for adults. She lives in South London with her husband and two children.