The Acapulco

Hamburg State Prosecutor Chastity Riley becomes involved in the horrifying, perplexing search for a violent serial killer targeting dancers from a club … the first book in an award-winning, wildly original, addictive series…

‘Such a revelation’ Laura Lippman

‘Gruesome and assured, Buchholz’s work remains as persuasive as ever’ Barry Forshaw, Financial Times

‘Reading Buchholz is like walking on firecrackers … a truly unique voice in crime fiction’ Graeme Macrae Burnet

**WINNER of the CWA Crime in Translation Dagger**

State Prosecutor Chastity Riley faces her most challenging case yet, with a violent serial killer at large, who might just be uncatchable..

A serial killer is on the loose in Hamburg, targeting dancers from The Acapulco, a club in the city’s red-light district, taking their scalps as gruesome trophies and replacing them with plastic wigs.

Chastity Riley is the state prosecutor responsible for crimes in the district, and she’s working alongside the police as they investigate. Can she get inside the mind of the killer?

Her strength is thinking like a criminal; her weaknesses are pubs, bars and destructive relationships, but as Chastity searches for love and a flamboyant killer – battling her demons and the dark, foggy Hamburg weather – she hits dead end after dead end.

As panic sets in and the death toll rises, it becomes increasingly clear that it may already be too late. For everyone…

I was really intrigued to read this book as I absolutely love Simone Buchholz and her Chastity Riley series – thank you so much to Anne Cater for inviting me onto the very first Simone Buchholz tour and introducing me to a writer who I then had the pleasure of devouring all of their back catalogue.

This step back in time with chastity is another triumph for Karen and Orenda books and another brilliant translation of a series that I’ve absolutely fallen in love with. I’m jealous of everyone who’s only beginning their journey with Chastity and advise you to buckle in – you’re in for an incredible ride!

Since I’ve been lucky enough to be enjoying my Easter break, I tore through this book in record speed – and not just because I wanted to get the review in on time – but because I simply could NOT put it down. This is high-octane stuff and such a departure from lots of the historical non-fiction that I’d been enjoying throughout Spring – I could not get enough of it and will be handing it over to Mr On the Shelf pretty immediately as he was inundated with comments from me as I was reading about how much I was enjoying going back in time and seeing Chastity’s evolution as a law enforcer from a wholly new perspective.

One of the things I loved about this book is that just when you think you know exactly where you are, Simone Buchholz has the courage to flip all of your expectations, turn them on their head and boom! you are in a completely different situation than you expected. As ever, she provides the reader with the perfect blend of engaging and credible characters alongside high-octane thrills and I was definitely at her mercy as I zipped through this book. Without a doubt, she’s a deft and highly-skilled plotter and as readers, we are definitely given lots to think about as there is SO much going on throughout this gripping and twisty read.

Photo by Pixabay on

It really jumped to the top of my TBR as the eye-catching cover made me want to get stuck in right away and I absolutely loved the fact that once you are IN there is no letting up. The storyline is so tense and heart-pumping that you can’t let this book out of your sight for a minute once you start. The setting is almost a character in its own right and although I’ve never been to Hamburg in real life, this vicarious visit took me miles away from rural Argyll and plunged me right into the heart of its vibrant, menacing, glittering heart.

Photo by Pepe Caspers on

It feels like a fantastic movie as it unfolds and I feel like it would be the perfect movie adaptation in the near future – I hope that my wishes do come true and I already can’t wait to see how its casting and setting matches up with my own ‘casting’ in my mind’s eye. I’d love it to start here – with book ‘zero’ – and follow her development right from the very start. She’s no wide-eyed-innocent here, but you will notice a less tough and gritty perspective as she hones her craft on this intriguing and satisfying case. The Acapulco is a fantastic backdrop for these events and you’ll be as engrossed as I was in trying to work out what is going on and what is behind the murders of these young women. From the glittering strands of the disco wig to the shining lights on the stage, you’ll be drawn into the grit behind the glamour and won’t be able to look up until you’ve closed the final page…

Photo by Aleksandar Pasaric on

I love the character of Chastity and I think that it’s precisely because the people in this gripping read do feel so real and convincing that the rest of the events in the novel feel so plausibly horrifying. The fact that we are able to flip backwards into ‘before’ and see the contrast between then and the ‘now’ really adds depth to the read and ensures that the tension is turned to the highest notch as we are never quite sure what is awaiting us – which is masterfully conceived and delivered. I was literally holding my breath for whole sections of this book and I’m determined to avoid spoilers, so you’ll just need to get your own copy to see why…

Photo by Thau00eds Silva on

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

Writer On The Shelf

Simone Buchholz was born in Hanau in 1972. At university, she studied philosophy and literature, worked as a waitress and a columnist, and trained to be a journalist at the prestigious Henri-Nannen-School in Hamburg. In 2016, Simone Buchholz was awarded the Crime Cologne Award and was runner-up in the German Crime Fiction Prize for Blue Night, which was number one on the KrimiZEIT Best of Crime List for months. The next in the Chastity Riley series, Beton Rouge, won the Radio Bremen Crime Fiction Award and Best Economic Crime Novel 2017. In 2019, Mexico Street, the next in Chastity Riley series, won the German Crime Fiction Prize. She lives in Sankt Pauli, in the heart of Hamburg, with her husband and son.


Twitter: @ohneKlippo

Translator On The Shelf

Rachel Ward is a freelance translator of literary and creative texts from German and French to English. Having always been an avid reader and enjoyed word games and puzzles, she discovered a flair for languages at school and went on to study modern languages at the University of East Anglia. She spent the third year working as a language assistant at two grammar schools in Saaebrücken, Germany. During her final year, she realised that she wanted to put these skills and passions to use professionally and applied for UEA’s MA in Literary Translation, which she completed in 2002. Her published translations include Traitor by Gudrun Pausewang and Red Rage by Brigitte Blobel, and she is a Member of the Institute of Translation and Interpreting.


Twitter: @FwdTranslations


These Envoys of Beauty

A collection of interconnected essays on the natural world and its detailed and passionate observance over decades in the context of trauma and mental illness.

Trigger warning. Please be aware that this book is about personal experience and includes accounts of or references to mental ill health, OCD, self-harming, suicide, depression, anxiety, dissociation, and derealisation. Also, to violence and cruelty within a family. Importantly, some of these experiences were lived through by a child so please read mindfully.

TO go into solitude, a man needs to retire as much from his chamber as from society. I am not solitary whilst I read and write, though nobody is with me. But if a man would be alone, let him look at the stars. The rays that come from those heavenly worlds, will separate between him and what he touches. One might think the atmosphere was made transparent with this design, to give man, in the heavenly bodies, the perpetual presence of the sublime. Seen in the streets of cities , how great they are! If the stars should appear one night in a thousand years, how would men believe and adore; and preserve for many generations the remembrance of the city of God which had been shown! But every night come out these envoys of beauty and light the universe with their admonishing smile. (Ralph Waldo Emerson. From Nature, Chapter One[1].)

These Envoys of Beauty is writing straight from the heart.

Over twelve essays, Anna Vaught uses her relationship with the natural world to explore themes of loneliness, depression, and complex and sustained trauma within the family home, issues that shaped her early life and continue to have a far-reaching impact decades later.

I absolutely love it when I find a book that speaks to me and one in which I can ‘hear’ its writer’s voice so clearly. I was absolutely captured by this book during my Easter break in stunning Argyll by this honest, and important read. I can’t stop thinking about it as I want as many people as possible to pick up this book and be as caught up as I was in Anna Vaught’s memoir, and feel like she reaches out through the page to talk directly to you as a reader.

The natural world fed Anna Vaught’s imagination as a child and young adult, giving her hope for something different beyond the world she knew. She writes about her deep connection with nature which reminded me a little of Wordswoth’s ‘spots of time’ –  how she was passionate about foraging, what was edible, and how things smelled, tasted, and felt even when she was very young. I feel that it allowed me to spend time with Anna and walk for a while in her shoes through its pages. I just can’t stop thinking about the way that she made me think about both the differences and similarities of our very different childhoods, and see how there is so much that we have in common, quite apart from the differences. It is a testament to the power of the writing that you are absolutely with her throughout this read and feel like you’ve lived through these experiences alongside her.

The fact that she speaks so openly and directly about such difficult family circumstances increases our bond with her as we read and you will definitely feel like you have got to know her as if you have been part of her story. Anna’s story and the story of her family was not only immersive but absolutely emotionally compelling too and the writing will keep you turning those pages as you start to see the impact of the way she was treated and the respite she found in nature. I know that Anna’s willingness to be so open and reflective in this memoir will strike a chord with many readers who have walked the same path, albeit in slightly different shoes.

The impact of family trauma is so skilfully portrayed that you get to feel rather than imagine its impact – as well as being able to reflect on sustained trauma more holistically and think about its impact societally The skillful way that she weaves the many and diverse strands of nature and her own inner world in this intensely personal book is superbly done and remains emotionally honest throughout. I found it so moving in places and it really made me think about some of the students I’ve taught in a completely different way. It does so in a very unsensational way, which is all the more shocking and impactful in the way it opens your eyes to the way that we experience ‘family’ and what the impact of that can be.

I loved the way that this book wove ideas about both Anna’s inner world and the world around her together in such a clear and balanced way which allows you to get more insight into the complexity of her experience this is the perfect read for my Easter break, as it allowed me to spend lots of time outside between readings and gave me time in nature to reflect on some of the essays after I’d read them. I think that this would be an absolutely amazing book club choice – as you’ll not be able to stop thinking about this emotionally resonant and beautifully written autobiographical tale and you’ll want to see what other readers think as soon as they’ve finished.

Vaught uses her relationship with the natural world to explore such themes as isolation, mental health, and complex and sustained trauma within her upbringing – these are issues that shaped her early life and continue to do so decades later. As it deals with such difficult issues, These Envoys of Beauty offers many perspectives and reflections being at the same time intensely personal and a wider reflection on these themes. In the memoir, Emerson is chosen to illustrate many of Anna’s experiences through epigraphs and details from his description of stars in ‘Nature’ and this provides a beautiful juxtaposition with some of the difficult aspects of this unforgettable read.

If you enjoy a read that challenges your preconceptions, moves you intensely, and expands your understanding of the impact of trauma then you will love this book as much as I did.  I absolutely can’t recommend it enough and feel like I haven’t been so emotionally caught up in a book for a very long time.

If you feel intrigued and would like to order yourself a copy and find out for yourself what has had such a huge impact on me, then buy yourself a copy here

If you would like to know more from Anna’s own experiences, have a read of her blog and get her own perspective on this unforgettable read.

There are in our existence spots of time,
That with distinct pre-eminence retain
A renovating virtue, whence–depressed
By false opinion and contentious thought,
Or aught of heavier or more deadly weight,
In trivial occupations, and the round
Of ordinary intercourse–our minds
Are nourished and invisibly repaired;
A virtue, by which pleasure is enhanced,
That penetrates, enables us to mount,
When high, more high, and lifts us up when fallen.
This efficacious spirit chiefly lurks
Among those passages of life that give
Profoundest knowledge to what point, and how,
The mind is lord and master–outward sense
The obedient servant of her will. Such moments
Are scattered everywhere, taking their date
From our first childhood.

Writer On The Shelf

Anna Vaught is an English teacher, young people’s mentor, Creative Writing teacher and author of several books, including 2020’s novel Saving Lucia (Bluemoose) and short fiction collection, Famished (Influx). Her shorter and multi-genre works are widely published in journals, magazines, anthologies and the national press.

She has been a Bookseller columnist and still writes regularly for them, while she is currently a columnist for Mslexia. Her second short fiction collection, Ravished, was published by Reflex Press in 2022, and 2023 will see four books: memoir, These Envoys of Beauty (Reflex Press), new novel The Zebra and Lord Jones (Renard. UK and commonwealth; Zebra is currently on US submission), plus The Alchemy, her first book about writing.

Saving Lucia will be published in Italian by Milan’s 8tto edizioni as Bang Bang Mussolini. She is a guest university lecturer, tutor for Jericho Writers, super-nerd, volunteer with young people, mental health campaigner and has recently established the new #Curae prize for writer-carers with industry-wide support. She works alongside chronic illness and is a passionate campaigner for mental health provision, including in the publishing industry.

The Space Between Us Blog Tour

Lennox is a troubled teenager with no family. Ava is eight months pregnant and fleeing her abusive husband. Heather is a grieving mother and cancer sufferer. They don’t know each other, but when a meteor streaks over Edinburgh, all three suffer instant, catastrophic strokes…only to wake up the following day in hospital, miraculously recovered.

When news reaches them of an octopus-like creature washed up on the shore near where the meteor came to earth, Lennox senses that some extra-terrestrial force is at play. With the help of Ava, Heather and a journalist, Ewan, he rescues the creature they call ‘Sandy’ and goes on the run.

But they aren’t the only ones with an interest in the alien … close behind are Ava’s husband, the police and a government unit who wants to capture the creature, at all costs. And Sandy’s arrival may have implications beyond anything anyone could imagine…

When three people suffer strokes after seeing dazzling lights over Edinburgh, then awake completely recovered, they’re convinced their ordeal is connected to the alien creature discovered on a nearby beach… an adrenaline-soaked, deeply humane, life-affirming first-contact novel from one of Scotland’s most revered authors…
**Selected for BBC 2 Between the Covers 2023**
‘All the drive, curiosity and wonder of his crime and mystery novels … science fiction gains a new author’ Derek B Miller
‘If you read one life-affirming book this year, make sure it’s this one’ Nina Pottell, Prima
‘A sci-fi novel that is as moving as it is magical and mysterious. Doug Johnstone has hit it out of the park again’ Mark Billingham
‘A delicious, demanding departure from Doug Johnstone’ Val McDermid

Doug Johnstone fans are a force in Scottish fiction lovers to be reckoned with and their unstinting loyalty to the Skelf family is well documented. I’m sure that there a fair few of us that were a wee bit unsure about this departure from such a well-loved series and wondering how they’d find their foray into science fiction. Having loved Faultlines so much, I was definitely looking forward to reading another stand-alone novel and feeling intrigued by the #MeetSandy hashtag, I was raring to go as soon as I got my hands on it…

As ever I’m grateful to Anne Cater for inviting me on the tour and to Karen Sullivan from Orenda for always picking the best books to blog about as part of #TeamOrenda. The March weather has been far from springlike this year, and it was amazing to be able to curl up with a good book and immerse myself in the story of Lennox, Ava, Helen & Ewan – and not to forget Sandy himself. It was such an immersive read that I could not stop once I’d started, and I’m dying to have a chat with someone else who’s read it as there’s just so much to talk about…

This latest book has definitely proven that he can write astonishingly well in any genre it’s plain to see why Doug remains such a favourite with all the Orenda bloggers, both old and new. The genius in his writing is that even though we are plunged into ever more complicated scenarios in each successive read, it always feels believable due to the characters that we meet in his books and the way that he makes us think hard whilst we connect with them, and live through the twists and turns of the narrative right alongside them. This book is far from my usual genre, but I fell for it hook, line, and sinker and I’ll do my very best to make sure that as many of my book-loving friends bag themselves a copy as soon as they possibly can.

I got absolutely engrossed in the intertwined tales of these characters. Doug Johnstone’s deft handling of big ideas such as connection, humanity and resilience really do set this book apart from the other books that I’ve read this month and have proven to me more than ever that the Orenda brand is just unbeatable in its consistent delivery of genre-defying, intelligently written fiction. I am vowing to keep this spoiler free so I’ll stop myself from explaining just why I found Sandy’s story so fascinating and thought-provoking – I’ll just say that I’m sure that you’ll find the literal and metaphorical journeys in this book just as compelling as I did. I am still thinking about the final few pages now and I guarantee that you won’t be able to step away from thinking about these characters long after you’ve closed the final page.

Doug Johnstone remains one of my very favourite writers as he manages such a compelling balance between tense situations and everyday events and that’s why his writing is so very satisfying. He never sacrifices character in the name of plot and that’s why we’ve all become such dedicated fans. You want to understand the bigger picture here, but you care just as much about them as people as you do about how the loose ends will be tied up. Their lives are complex and three-dimensional, their problems are the ones caused by their complicated lives of course – but they’re also the problems that many people have struggled with in terms of life choices and relationships that make them feel like people we know and people who matter to us. You will find yourself thinking about them, even when you’re not reading about them and you will definitely not forget them in a hurry.

This book will be sure to please Doug Johnstone’s many fans – but will also bring him many many more. We were all so delighted to hear about this book being picked up by Between The Covers and I could not be more delighted to hear Doug and his books being talked about more widely. It’s very well deserved and it couldn’t happen to a nicer guy.

Buy yourself a copy of The Space Between Us this Easter, and set aside some time to really enjoy it. It’s a perfect Autumn read I can’t recommend it highly enough. It’s a strong contender for my read of the year and one that I can’t stop thinking about. It’s an absolute 10/10 from me for one of my favorite Scottish writers. I loved meeting Sandy and I know you will too. It’s fantastic to be able to share my thoughts about the book, but don’t just take my word for it – check out what these other bloggers had to say too…

Writer On The Shelf

Doug Johnstone is a writer, musician and journalist based in Edinburgh. His tenth novel, Breakers, was published by Orenda Books in May 2019, and was shortlisted for the McIlvanney Prize for Scottish Crime Novel of the Year. His previous books include The Jump, shortlisted for the McIlvanney Prize, Gone Again, an Amazon bestseller, and Hit & Run, which was an Amazon #1 as well as being selected as a prestigious Fiction Uncovered winner. His work has received praise from the likes of Irvine Welsh, Ian Rankin, Val McDermid, William McIlvanney, Megan Abbott and Christopher Brookmyre.

Doug has been Writer in Residence with William Purves Funeral Directors. He is also a Royal Literary Fund Consultant Fellow, and was RLF Fellow at Queen Margaret University in Edinburgh 2014-2016. Doug was also Writer in Residence at the University of Strathclyde 2010-2012 and before that worked as a lecturer in creative writing there. He’s had short stories appear in various publications and anthologies, and since 1999 he has worked as a freelance arts journalist, primarily covering music and literature. He is also a manuscript assessor for The Literary Consultancy and Emergents in the Scottish Highlands. He has taught creative writing at festivals and conferences and regularly at Moniack Mhor, and he has mentored aspiring writers for New Writing North and Scottish Book Trust.

Doug is one of the co-founders of the Scotland Writers Football Club, for whom he also puts in a shift in midfield as player-manager. He is also a singer, musician and songwriter in several bands, including Northern Alliance, who have released four albums to critical acclaim, as well as recording an album as a fictional band called The Ossians. Doug has also released three solo EPs. He plays drums for the Fun Lovin’ Crime Writers, a crime writing supergroup featuring Val McDermid, Mark Billingham, Chris Brookmyre, Stuart Neville and Luca Veste.

Doug has a degree in physics, a PhD in nuclear physics and a diploma in journalism, and worked for four years designing radars. He grew up in Arbroath and lives in Portobello, Edinburgh with his wife and two children.

The Close Jane Casey

The gripping new detective crime thriller featuring
Maeve Kerrigan and Josh Derwent from the Top Ten SundayTimes bestselling author

At first glance, Jellicoe Close seems to be a perfect suburban street – well-kept houses with pristine
lawns, neighbours chatting over garden fences, children playing together.

But there are dark secrets behind the neat front doors, hidden dangers that include a ruthless
criminal who will stop at nothing.

It’s up to DS Maeve Kerrigan and DI Josh Derwent to uncover the truth. Posing as a couple, they
move into the Close, blurring the lines between professional and personal as never before.

And while Maeve and Josh try to gather the evidence they need, they have no idea of the danger they
face – because someone in Jellicoe Close has murder on their mind.

The Close is easily my favourite read of the year. Hands down. Fans of Jane Casey will find much to love here and I know that it’s going to win over hordes of new fans too – who will be ecstatic when they find out exactly how extensive Maeve Kerrigan’s backstory actually is… I loved the premise of Maeve and Derwent hiding out as a ‘couple’ and started it the moment I laid hands on it. A late snowfall gave me the perfect excuse to spend the whole weekend indoors and I didn’t look up until I’d closed the final page


The foot of snow in March was a pain in the neck, but every cloud has a silver lining and three days at home to devote to reading meant that The Close has been read from cover to cover by all three members of this household with a resounding thumbs up from all concerned.  I love Jane Casey’s writing and the sense that we are right alongside Maeve as she uncovers things lurking beneath the surface in Jellicoe Close

It is a testament to her writing that the small town atmosphere of rumour and grudges is vividly brought to life on the page and we follow Maeve & Josh as they infiltrate the ‘perfect’ world of the Close.  Finding out what lurks under the peaceful outer appearance was definitely one of this novel’s strengths and I very much enjoyed their efforts to get to the truth – no matter how murky things got.

As ever, we enjoy the tiny details of Josh and Maeve’s relationship that always fee utterly authentic – and to be truthful always intrigue me just as much as the crimes that they are working on. They are perplexed by a fair few aspects of life within Jellicoe Close – and feel that there is more going on behind the pristine front gardens and picture perfect flowerbeds than meets the eye. I’m always committed to no spoliers, but I will say that their instincts are right and there is definitely a heart of darkness behind the manicured lawns and immaculate window dressings of The Close.

The Close is first and foremost a blooming good read.  I can confess that I am so invested in their relationship, even though we are on book ten, that I was absolutely more taken with their banter and one liners than I was with finding out the answers to the mysteries at the heart of the novel. I love the way that Jane Casey has allowed their relationship to grow, whilst always keeping it ambiguous whether they will ever fully give in to the simmering sexual tension which prevails.

I can honestly say that they are the best crimefighting duo there is. I absolutely loved Moonlighting as a teenager as I loved the crackling chemistry between the two protagonists – and this has the same feeling. You’ll absolutely be caught up in their relationship and I’m going to keep you guessing just as much as Jane Casey about whether book ten brings the reader any resolution to their ‘will they, won’t they’ feelings…

I heartily recommend it and would like to thank Anne Cater for inviting me to take part in the Blog Tour

If you fancy reading it yourself – and I really think you should then you can buy yourself a copy here

Can’t wait to see what Maeve Kerrigan investigates next and I’m counting down the months until number eleven is published

Writer On The Shelf

Jane Casey has written twelve crime novels for adults and three for teenagers. Married to a criminal barrister, she’s got the inside track on some of the country’s most dangerous offenders, giving her writing an unsettlingly realistic feel.

This authenticity has made her novels international bestsellers and critical successes. They have been nominated for several awards and in 2015 Jane won both the Mary Higgins Clark Award and Irish Crime Novel of the Year for The Stranger You Know and After the Fire, respectively. In 2019, Cruel Acts was chosen as Irish Crime Novel of the Year at the Irish Book Awards. It was a Sunday Times bestseller. Born in Dublin, Jane now lives in southwest London with her family.

One Moment Blog tour

An emotional read about love and trust, with an OMG ending’ Jill Mansell

One moment in time can change everything…

The day Scarlett dies should have been one of the most important of her life. It doesn’t feel fair that she’ll never have the chance to fulfil her dreams. And now, she’s still … here – wherever here is – watching the ripple effect of her death on the lives of those she loved the most.

Evie cannot contemplate her life without Scarlett, and she certainly cannot forgive Nate, the man she blames for her best friend’s death. But Nate keeps popping up when she least expects him to, catapulting Evie’s life in directions she’d never let herself imagine possible. Ways, perhaps, even those closest to her had long since given up on.

If you could go back, knowing everything that happens after, everything that happens because of that one moment in time, would you change the course of history or would you do it all again?

‘Poignant yet unwaveringly hopeful. An unmissable debut.’ Holly Miller

Am so happy to be on today’s Blog Tour for One Moment and it’s an actual tour today because I’m posting this from gorgeous Argyll this morning. It’s wonderful to be visiting a place that I associate with great books by writing about a great book here that I’m sure that so many of you are going to absolutely love!

I absolutely loved One Moment. It’s a warm and poignant read that will genuinely tug at your heartstrings and make you feel like you’ve become part of Evie’s journey forward after losing Scarlett and I know that you’ll end it – like me – feeling aware of all the things in life that we have to be grateful for and glad to have had the opportunity to think about the things that shine in your own life, whether those are friendships, family or happy moments that you have managed to hold onto even after such a challenging couple of years…

Evie was a fantastic character that you can totally believe in. When she loses Scarlett, her devastation is an easy sentiment to connect with – I’m sure lots of you will sadly find much to relate to here and it’s a wonderful thing to find grief portrayed so truthfully and unsentimentally in a book. I am glad that more writers are daring to include such ‘taboo’ subjects as grief and loss in fiction and giving so many people an insight into the way that so many people have to cope with pain, loss and trying to carve a new pathway in life and it is handled so sensitively here that I’m sure it will resonate with a great many readers.

Evie’s resilience and courage is one of the best things about One Moment. I loved the way we hear from more than one character’s perspective, and seeing things from both Nate and Scarlett’s point of view makes you feel like you really feel like you become part of this story as you read and I felt genuinely sad once I’d reached the final page and had to leave them behind.

‘ If you could go back, knowing everything that happens after, everything that happens because of that one moment in time, would you change the course of history or would you do it all again?’

Becky Hunter aka Bookish Becky has written a book that’s going to touch a lot of people.  It presents a picture of the way that we survive, whether that is individually or as part of a wider set of connections and realistically portrays the tiny victories and moments of sunlight that can permeate even the darkest days as we move through the seas of grief to find ourselves on an unfamiliar shore.

One Moment is a wonderful read, you will definitely be touched by these characters’ lives and you’ll need more than a few tissues to hand to cope with these characters’ heartbreakingly honest reflections on their loss and the way they navigate their life afterwards and I’ll be recommending this to lots of my bookish friends who I know love a book that deals with life in a thought-provoking and emotionally open way.

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Anne Cater for inviting me to participate in the Blog Tour – I certainly enjoyed this read and it’s been an honour to be part of its story – I’m totally certain that it’s going to be an amazing success. Buy yourself a copy here and meet Evie, Scarlett & Nate for yourself. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a more beautiful and moving book this year. A wonderful spring read that I won’t forget in a hurry. Becky writes like a dream and I cannot wait to see where she takes us next!

Writer On The Shelf

Becky Hunter lived and worked in London for several years before moving to Mozambique to volunteer with horses and try her hand at writing. A few years, a few destinations, and a few jobs later she had the idea that would become One Moment. Alongside writing, she now works as a freelance editor and publicist, splitting her time between Bristol and London, and constantly trying to plan the next adventure.

Please do read some of the other reviews:

A thought-provoking and moving novel about loss, love, and the unique and life-affirming power of friendship. Poignant yet unwaveringly hopefulOne Moment is a fresh look at how grief can not only break us, but put us back together again. An unmissable debut. ― Holly Miller

‘Completely involving. An emotional read about love and trust, with an OMG ending — Jill Mansell

A joy from start to finish — Sheila O’Flanagan. No. 1 bestselling author

An exquisitely written novel about grief, hope and the power of love. I loved every word. — Cathy Bramley, Sunday Times bestselling author

Beautiful, hopeful, deeply emotional, incredibly wise and wonderfully romantic. One of those books I feel stronger for reading — Cressida McLaughlin

Fantastic. Incredibly moving and very thoughtfully written — Harriet Tyce

I adored this emotional debut from Becky Hunter. It’s such a gorgeous tale of love and friendship, beautifully written and with characters you really believe in. ― Georgina Moore, author of The Garnett Girls

This stunning debut explores grief, love and friendship in a beautiful and original way – a powerful read full of both moving and joyful moments ― My Weekly

Sharp, funny, tear-jerking, so assured and well observed. What a debut! — ELizabeth Buchan

warm and thoughtful novel that skewers friendship, loss and negotiating grief in a touching and relatable way. I was completely caught up in Evie and Scarlet’s stories. — Fanny Blake

poignant, uplifting and life-affirming tale of friendship, love, grief and learning to let go. It’ll have you welling up one moment and smiling the next. And by the end, your heart will feel a little fuller. ― CultureFly

hugely accomplished debut about dying, grief and loss, but also learning to live again. It’s about love in all its forms, and, despite its subject matter, it manages to be uplifting and life-affirming. It’s a story that will stay with me for a long time. — Claire Frost

Beautiful Shining People

This world is anything but ordinary, and it’s about to change forever…

It’s our world, but decades into the future…
An ordinary world, where cars drive themselves, drones glide across the sky, and robots work in burger shops. There are two superpowers and a digital Cold War, but all conflicts are safely oceans away. People get up, work, and have dinner. Everything is as it should be…

Except for seventeen-year-old John, a tech prodigy from a damaged family, who hides a deeply personal secret. But everything starts to change for him when he enters a tiny café on a cold Tokyo night. A café run by a disgraced sumo wrestler, where a peculiar dog with a spherical head lives, alongside its owner, enigmatic waitress Neotnia…

But Neotnia hides a secret of her own – a secret that will turn John’s unhappy life upside down. A secret that will take them from the neon streets of Tokyo to Hiroshima’s tragic past to the snowy mountains of Nagano.

A secret that reveals that this world is anything ordinary – and it’s about to change forever…

In Beautiful Shining People, Michael Grothaus shows off his extraordinary gift for making you really think through his writing by making you consider the end point of technological innovations and the potential impact on the tapestry of humanity. He is that rare writer who can write absolutely engrossing fiction that makes you as interested in its ideas as its plot and I was absolutely glued to it across this last weekend in bonny Argyll. Reviewing this book in such a calm and remote location created the perfect opportunity to think hard about the ideas explored in its pages as I enjoyed the stunning sea views and the unseasonally sunny weather – it was great to have the mental time and space to explore the ideas and questions in the book with some time away from the hurly-burly of my busy working life.

Am so happy to be on today’s Blog Tour of #BeautifulShiningPeople today. It’s wonderful to be able to really dedicate time to a book when you have totally switched off from work too. I love being able to shout loudly about great reads that people might not already have come across, and was really intrigued byEpiphany Jones so was delighted to get the chance to talk about another of Michael’s books.

Thank you so much to Anne Cater & Random Things Tours for inviting me on the tour, it is always good to get the chance to read books that you might not otherwise have crossed paths with

I absolutely loved this book. It’s a compelling and thought-provoking read that will pull you into its alternative world and make you consider the way that machines and humanity intersect from a very different perspective than you might have before. It really allows you to suspend your disbelief as you join John and the enigmatic Neotnia on their journey here, as they try to navigate their way round a secret that calls everything that they’ve ever accepted into question in a way they could never have imagined…

John was a character that you couldtotally believe in. It was deceptively easy to connect with his experiences and imagine yourself in his shoes– I’m sure lots of you will have had that feeling when your choices leave you feeling completely out of your depth and you can end up in situations that you could never have anticipated. Despite the fact that John’s world is so different to ours, this absolutely incredible tale allows you to connect with him as travels to infinity and beyond in search of some truths that only Neotnia could ever have exposed him to – and become aware of some ideas which change absolutely everything

Neotnia’s determination to turn this most challenging situation on its head and try to overturn this ‘problem’ through this journey is such a clever premise. We are already living in an era where so much is possible that this no longer feels like a ‘Brave New World’ – it feels like our world – and that is the scariest thing about this book. The way that money and science can come together to overturn centuries of evolotion is a fascinating idea to explore and their decision to travel together in search of answers allows you to see the way that humanity has not changed, despite such a great deal of technilogical progress. This book will keep you up late and constantly marvelling at its endless scope for invention. It’s so plausible that you’ll forget that you’re operating in an alternate reality, and you’ll lose yourself in the incredibly realistic alternate universe that we ge to explore as they follow their pathway to try and get to the heart of the matter.

There were many moments in their journey that I really enjoyed and connected with. Again, it is due to the strength of Michael Grothaus’ writing that this creative and innovative tale remains a story where you can connect with its characters and care about what happens to them – rather than just a philosophical debate in search of a storyline. It asks serious questions about how far we are willing to go – both literally and metaphorically in search of the things that truly matter to us, and what indeed might be the cost of our developing technological landscape in terms of its impact on humanity?

This is a book that you will be dying talk about with someone else that’s read it – it’s hard to imagine a more interesting book club read and I recommend it unreservedly.  It presents a picture of a journey we are on as a society and does not pull any punches when it asks us to consider the impact on humanity that lies at the heart of human progress. I would absolutely love to see this on our screens in the future. When you read the ‘roll of honour’ below, you’ll see that there are so many fans of Michael’s writing that are far more eminent than myself – so you don’t just have to take MY word for it… you really need to follow the tour and satisfy your curiosity about the ethical minefield here by buying yourself a copy.

It’s one of the most interestingly written, intriguing and thought provoking books I’ve read so far this year, and will make you think harder than you have ever thought before about the dance of science and humanity that we are caught up in…

Do yourself a favour and order yourself a copy – It really is the definition of unputdownable and I enjoyed every single morsel of it as I devoured it in Argyll this week.

Writer On The Shelf

Michael Grothaus is a novelist, journalist and author of non-fiction. His writing has appeared in Fast Company, VICE, Guardian, Litro Magazine, Irish Times, Screen, Quartz and others.

His debut novel, Epiphany Jones, a story about sex trafficking among the Hollywood elite, was longlisted for the CWA John Creasey (New Blood) Dagger and named one of the 25 ‘Most Irresistible Hollywood Novels’ by Entertainment Weekly.

His first non-fiction book, Trust No One: Inside the World of Deepfakes was published by Hodder & Stoughton in 2021. The book examines the human impact that artificially generated video will have on individuals and society in the years to come. Michael is American…

Praise for this book:

Outstanding! Sci-fi showing how the past might impact on the future; part coming of age, part boy meets girl, with a strong sense of place and a glimpse into a (very plausible) terrifying future’ Michael J Malone
A beautiful, emotional and thought-provoking read, peppered with action and the thrill of a chase, heavy in technology, but bound by compassion’ Jen Med’s Book Reviews
A striking and strange novel, about beautiful shining people in all their strangeness – and a searing statement about the dangerously thin lines between utopia and dystopia’ B S Casey
‘Just devastatingly beautiful. It made me smile, it made me weep, it made me turn the pages faster and faster, holding my breath in suspense … quite simply immense’ From Belgium with Booklove

Love & Care Blog Tour

‘He’s in hospital again . . . and he’s not eating. Perhaps you should think about coming back to the UK,’ Brenda said. ‘I don’t think your dad will be going home again.’

Shaun is finally free of responsibilities to anyone but himself; single, with two grown-up daughters, he is just embarking on a new life in a new country when he gets a call to say his father is dying.

His mother has Parkinson’s Dementia and is in a care home. Shaun faces a stark choice: should he give up his new-found freedom, or turn his back on the woman he’d fought so hard to protect, not least from his own father?

Shaun’s mother had loved and cared for her son all her life. Could he now do the same for her?

I love books that introduce me to new stories and open my eyes to characters and situations that I haven’t experienced. I really enjoyed Love & Care and am now determined to embark upon the podcast to get even more of an insight into Shaun’s experiences and see the moments explored through these pages from another angle.

It doesn’t really matter if you have ever been involved in caring for a loved one to love this book This is no run-of-the-mill autobiography, but instead asks us to consider big questions about love and how far we will go in order to look after those closest to us. It covers many different situations and remains extremely funny whilst never for a moment shying away from the most difficult of experiences. Shaun is a deep thinker, and his reflective, honest and brave exploration of how challenging the role of a carer is will definitely open many people’s eyes and show exactly how demanding this journey can be.

This book is determined to show us what caring for a loved one involves, from a ‘warts and all’ perspective, not just as a strong and caring role model but sometimes as someone who is finding things so challenging that they literally do not know what their next step should be. It is sometimes quite difficult to read as we see the very taxing issues that carers have to deal with, both inside their homes and externally, and it increased my admiration for his character as he picked himself up, dusted himself down, and gritted his teeth in order to walk forward stronger each time, even in the face of so many setbacks, challenges and issues.

I loved its immersive quality and spent an afternoon on the window seat, totally lost in this honest and moving tale. As a family person, it was hard to read about some of the very difficult parts of being a full-time carer for someone you love and it would be difficult for anyone to finish this book without a huge amount of respect for anyone who embarks upon this journey once you begin to understand exactly how alone and helpless you’ll be bound to feel at times

I loved reading about Shaun’s journey and as I’ve said, I’m really looking forward to hearing his real-life voice on the podcast, after enjoying the book so much. I have handed this over to a former student of mine who is embarking on a care experience themself, and I hope that they feel inspired and ‘energised ‘seen’ by being able to read about Shaun’s experiences from an ‘insider’s perspective

Thank you to Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part in this blog tour and I heartily recommend that you buy yourself a copy as soon as possible so that you can enjoy this wonderfully written and thought-provoking read for yourself.

Writer On The Shelf

Shaun Deeney is a former journalist and Emmy award-winning film and TV producer. He has made current affairs programmes for ITV on social issues, including care. He is also the creator of a podcast on caring for his mother called Love and Care. Shaun has a degree in English and American Literature from Kent at Canterbury. He has two daughters and loves listening to Frank Sinatra. For more information visit

Praise for Love & Care:

A heart-warming, heart-wrenching, and beautifully humane account of loving and caring.‘ NICCI GERRARD, novelist and author of What Dementia Teaches Us About Love

‘An insightful tale of care . . . this book needed to be written.’ JO GOOD, BBC Radio London

‘A vital subject, a really strong voice and, hurrah, humour makes this absorbing reading.’ CAROLINE RAPHAEL, Radio 4’s Book at Bedtime

An eye-opening – and at times jaw dropping – account that will make you weep with its tenderness and compassion . . . A highly readable tale of redemption and a celebration of love’s many hues.‘ PAUL BLEZARD, Love Reading