The Garden of Forgotten Wishes by Trisha Ashley @trishaashley @TransworldBooks #NetGalley #TheGardenOfForgottenWishes

Thanks to Ruth Richardson of Penguin Random House for inviting me to read and review this book.


The brilliant new novel from Top Five Sunday Times bestselling author Trisha Ashley

All Marnie wants is somewhere to call home. Mourning lost years spent in a marriage that has finally come to an end, she needs a fresh start and time to heal. Things she hopes to find in the rural west Lancashire village her mother always told her about.

With nothing but her two green thumbs, Marnie takes a job as a gardener, which comes with a little cottage to make her own. The garden is beautiful – filled with roses, lavender and honeysuckle – and only a little rough around the edges. Which is more than can be said for her next-door-neighbour, Ned Mars.

Marnie remembers Ned from her school days but he’s far from the untroubled man she once knew. A recent relationship has left him with a heart as bruised as her own.

Can a summer spent gardening help them heal and recapture the forgotten dreams they’ve let get away?


The Garden of Forgotten Wishes: The heartwarming and uplifting new rom-com from the Sunday Times bestseller


When Marine was a little girl her mum use to tell her stories of Jericho’s End, where she had grown-up as a child. The stories seemed quite magical to Marnie but her mother warned her never to go there. Marnie’s mum tragically died and she was young. Marine was adopted by a lovely family and grew up happy with a ‘sister’ that became her best friend.

After a disastrous marriage, she needed a complete get away from it all and a new start. When a dream job came up in Jericho’s End including accommodation, it is all too good to miss, after all, no-one will know who she is, will they? This is a beautifully written uplifting story by Trisha Ashley, who always seems to make me want to be the leading character in all her books. Marine is a lady that you just want to find a fairy tale ending.

Jericho’s End is one of those small places that is steeped in family history passed down through the generations. So it isn’t just the gardens that Marine goes digging about in. My imagination ran wide with this book and all the lovely, and at times, strange characters that the author had brought to life.

I swooned over Ned, wanted to eat ice cream continually and cringed at Wayne and his dad! It all made me feel like the place was cut off from the real world, all cocooned in its own haven but it is always too easy to forget whose is on the outside of the village.

A lovely, lovely story again. I always finish reading with a sigh and a smile with these books.

I wish to thank the publisher and NetGalley for an e-copy of this book which I have reviewed honestly.


Trisha Ashley

Trisha Ashley writes romantic comedies and her latest novel, The House of Hopes and Dreams, which is published by Transworld, is her eleventh consecutive Sunday Times Top Ten bestseller. Her novels have twice been shortlisted for the Melissa Nathan award for Romantic Comedy and Every Woman for Herself was nominated by magazine readers as one of the top three romantic novels of the last fifty years.
She is from St Helens in West Lancashire, and believes that her typically dark Lancashire sense of humour in adversity, crossed with a good dose of Celtic creativity from her Welsh grandmother, has made her what she is today…whatever that is. Several of her novels are set in rural West Lancashire, West Yorkshire and Wales. They frequently explore aspects of the three F’s that are a constant in her own life: Food, Flowers and Friendship and include delicious recipes at the back.
Nowadays she lives in North Wales and is the founder member of NW Novelistas Ink, a group of twelve novelists, several of whom are bestselling, who meet regularly in North Wales; she is also one of the trio of authors called The 500 Club, along with Leah Fleming and Elizabeth Gill.
She is a long term member of the Society of Authors and a member of the Welsh Academi.
Trisha has a website at where you can sign up for her newsletters, and an official fan site at where you can find out more about her, or see a complete list of her books. You will also find her on twitter as @trishaashley and

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Remain Silent by Susie Steiner @SusieSteiner1 @HarperCollinsUK @BoroughPress #NewRelease #NetGalley #RemainSilent

Remain Silent: The gripping new literary thriller from the Sunday Times bestselling author (Manon Bradshaw, Book 3) by [Susie Steiner]


The dead cannot speak.

A body is found hanging from a tree in Cambridgeshire, a note attached saying ‘The dead cannot speak’. It’s impossible to say whether it was murder or suicide –  was Lukas silenced, or driven to end his own life? And either way, who is responsible?

But they still have a story to tell.

DI Manon Bradshaw is assigned to investigate, but local tensions are running high and it becomes increasingly difficult for her to untangle what happened. Are others in danger, and will solving the puzzle of Lukas’ death help to save them?


Remain Silent: The gripping new literary thriller from the Sunday Times bestselling author (Manon Bradshaw, Book 3)


This is the third book in the DI Manon Bradshaw series but my first. The story begins when Bradshaw is taking her two-year-old son for a walk in the park and discovers a man hanging from a tree. The note makes it unclear whether it is suicide or murder. All the note says is ‘The Dead Cannot Speak’.

It is clear that Bradshaw is feeling pretty washed out, middle-aged, having a young son and a teenager, dealing with her husband’s illness and continuing working, be it on cold cases. That was until now. Now Bradshaw is put as the lead in solving what has happened to the dead man, an immigrant called Lukas.

The story drops back to follow how he and his best friend on how they came to leave the home town that held no real future for them in Lithuania and head for the UK. The horrors of falling for the sweet talk of a ruthless gang promising wealth and opportunity. What they got was their passports taken from them, told they owed huge debits and enforced to living in disgusting conditions, little food and long hours doing work no-one else wanted. The pair, along with their housemates were forced to catch chickens with no protection or thought of their well being. People fell ill and simply disappeared. Leaving wasn’t an option. Leave and your family gets a visit.

This is a gritty hard-hitting story that you just know goes on all over the country. It is big business that keeps migrants as slaves like hamsters in a wheel that they can’t get off. The migrants are hated as locals protest about them taking over the areas they live in, bringing house prices tumbling. It seems that everyone wants to get on the bandwagon and have a chunk of them. The migrants are living in misery.

It is not all doom and gloom as Bradshaw certainly has her moments. She is witty with her one-liners and had the ability to make me laugh with her look on life and what to do about it.

A very well written hard-hitting story that left me feeling quite helpless.

I wish to thank the publisher and NetGalley for an e-copy of this book which I have reviewed honestly.


Susie Steiner

I’m the author of three novels and have just finished my fourth – yes, Manon Bradshaw will be back in 2020.
My second novel, a literary crime novel called Missing, Presumed was chosen for Richard & Judy’s book club and was one of 2016’s bestsellers. It has, to date, sold more than 250,000 copies and won a Nielsen silver bestseller award. It was shortlisted for the Theakston’s crime novel of the year, picked by the Wall Street Journal for its top ten mysteries of the year, and was selected as a Guardian book of the year by Sarah Perry, author of The Essex Serpent. Missing, Presumed introduces detective Manon Bradshaw, who returns in the sequel, Sunday Times bestseller Persons Unknown. This novel was also shortlisted for crime novel of the year by Theakstons. The third in the Manon Bradshaw series is on its way.
My first novel, Homecoming, is a family saga set on a sheep farm in north Yorkshire and is not a crime novel.
Before writing novels, I was a Guardian journalist. I was a journalist for 20 years and on the Guardian’s staff for more than ten years. I grew up in London and studied English at uni. I live in London with my husband and two children.

TWITTER: @SusieSteiner1

Remain Silent: The gripping new literary thriller from the Sunday Times bestselling author (Manon Bradshaw, Book 3) by [Susie Steiner]

The Winter of the Wolf by Martha Hunt Handler @fsbassociates #TheWinterOfTheWolf #NewRelease #BookReview

Firstly I wish to thank Michelle Fitzgerald at FSB Associates’ for inviting me to read and review the Winter of the Wolf by Martha Hunt Handler.


A tragic mystery blending detective work & spirituality. An exploration in grief, suicide, spiritualism, and Inuit culture, Winter of the Wolf follows Bean as she searches for the truth of her brother Sam’s “”suicide.”” Unconvinced her loving brother could commit such an act without warning, Bean pulls herself from her grief to become a part-time detective and shaman. With assistance from her friend Julie, Bean retraces Sam’s steps and delves into his Inuit beliefs, seeking clues from beyond material understanding. Both tragic and heart-warming, this twisting young adult novel will not only have readers diving deep into the customs of native peoples, but also gaining a greater understanding of the effects of suicide and loss. Bean is an empathetic and driven fifteen-year-old who readers will quickly gravitate toward and follow as she struggles with family tragedy, high school drama, and understanding the people around her. Through Bean’s eyes, Winter of the Wolf urges readers to seek out the truth-no matter how painful-in order to see the full picture. An environmentalist and award-winning author, Martha Handler has brought together two important pieces of her life-the death of her best friend’s son and her work as president of the Wolf Conservation Centre-to craft an empathetic and powerful story with undeniable messages. Martha’s passionate debut novel will capture the hearts of a young audience.


Winter of the Wolf


This book can be read in a few hours but it will be one that imprints itself in your mind and doesn’t go away. I love to read something that is different, something that stands out from the crowd, yet I can still connect with at my level. This is such a book.

Bean, the only daughter in the household and youngest child at 15 years old, is the central character of the story. You could say it isn’t about her it is about her brother Sam but is it a journey of discovery as she finds a Sam she didn’t know. We are after all unique to everyone in every relationship we have with them. We all have numerous personalities.

Bean and Sam have a very special connection between them that they don’t have with their older two brothers. In fact, the closeness they have is rare between siblings to this degree. Sam is at one with nature and practices Inuit Cultural ways. He really knows how to work the system at home too and can wiggle his way out of most situations if dealt with by his mother. His father is much stricter.

After a really bad day where everything that can go wrong does, Sam is found dead in his bedroom and it is put down to suicide, something that his sister Bean cannot accept.

Bean has her own journey of discovery in this story. I loved her character and the way she went about hunting down the truth, especially respecting her brother’s beliefs and ways. I was fascinated with the Inuit Culture as she used her own knowledge he had taught her and discovered paths she never thought she would need. The author joins nature and the old ways of the tribes combined with good old investigating to get to the truth.

This is a heartfelt read, at times I felt helpless and sad myself but it is so much more. It is about moving on and finding peace with yourself and others. Beautifully written.

I wish to thank Michelle Fitzgerald of FSB Associates and NetGalley for an e-copy of this book which I have reviewed honestly.


Martha Hunt Handler

Martha Hunt Handler grew up dreaming of wolves and has always understood that her role in this lifetime is to tell stories and be a voice for nature. She has been an environmental consultant, a magazine columnist, an actress, and a polar explorer, among other occupations. When she and her four children relocat

Red from Los Angeles to New York more than twenty years ago she began to literally hear the howls of wolves. This marked the beginning of her work advocating on behalf of wolves at the Wolf Conservation Center ( Winter of the Wolf is Martha’s debut novel.

You can learn more about her at

Facebook at Martha Hunt Handler

Instagram at @marthahunthandler.

The Move by Felicity Everett @ittymay @HQstories part of @HarperCollinsUK #NetGalley #TheMove #NewRelease #BookReview

The Move by [Everett, Felicity]


From the author of THE PEOPLE AT NUMBER 9, a new story of nightmare neighbours…

Can you paint over the cracks in a marriage?

Karen has packed up her life and is making The Move. She’s on her way to the idyllic country cottage which her husband has painstakingly renovated for her. They’re escaping the London bustle and the daily grind. And they’re escaping their past.

A fresh start in a beautiful, peaceful village. It will be different here, right?

But something is awry. The landscape, breathtaking by day, is eerie by night. The longed-for peace and solitude is stifling.  And the house, so artfully put together by her husband, has a strange vibe. Now that Karen is cut off from her old friends and family, she can’t help wondering if her husband has plans of his own, and that history might be repeating itself.

From the author of the bestselling The People at Number 9 comes a dark and redemptive tale of a rural dream gone wrong…


The Move


The story begins after the main event that brought Karen and Nick to the affluent side of this picture-perfect village from the hustle and bustle of London, where there is a tight circle of ‘those who have’, that seems to rule the roost. Karen had a mental break-down in London and is still recovering, the only thing is, is that her husband was a major contributor, not that he would admit to that.

The story centres around Karen and how she sees the people around her. She is certainly not fully recovered, with everyone under suspicion as she reads more into everything they do. The story is quite a way in when it drops back to a more detailed explanation of what had gone on.

Nick doesn’t do much to help Karen, in fact, he seems to pour oil on the fire. I didn’t like Nick much although he loved himself enough to make up for it. When their son returns home unexpectedly, I felt he wasn’t much better. Demanding and spoilt, he was just another person to use Karen as a doormat.

Things are happening in the house which you wonder if someone is trying to push her over the edge. Where there really isn’t much ‘care in the community’ to help her get better. A look into domestic noir and a troubled mind.

I wish to thank NetGalley and the publisher for an e-copy of this book which I have reviewed honestly.


Felicity Everett

Felicity Everett grew up in Manchester and studied English Literature at Sussex University. She worked in children’s publishing in London, whilst raising a family and is the author of more than twenty works of children’s fiction and non-fiction. After a short career break, Felicity returned to writing full-time and in 2011 published her debut novel, The Story of Us, a funny and touching account of the friendships forged between five women at University in the 1980s. Her second novel, The People at Number 9, published in April 2017, is a dark satire on sex, envy and betrayal in the suburbs. Felicity has recently returned from a few years living in Melbourne, with her husband and now lives in Gloucestershire. Her new book, The Move, out in January 2020 is a gothic tale of marriage and mental instability set in the dark heart of the countryside.


Twitter: @Ittymay


The Move by [Everett, Felicity]

The Sin Eater by Megan Campisi @panmacmillan #NetGalley #TheSinEater #BookReview #NewRelease

The Sin Eater


The Handmaid’s Tale meets Alice in Wonderland in this gripping and imaginative historical novel about a shunned orphan girl in 16th century England who is ensnared in a deadly royal plot and must turn her subjugation into her power.

The Sin Eater walks among us, unseen, unheard
Sins of our flesh become sins of Hers
Following Her to the grave, unseen, unheard
The Sin Eater Walks Among Us.

For the crime of stealing bread, fourteen-year-old May receives a life sentence: she must become a Sin Eater—a shunned woman, brutally marked, whose fate is to hear the final confessions of the dying, eat ritual foods symbolizing their sins as a funeral rite, and thereby shoulder their transgressions to grant their souls access to heaven.

Orphaned and friendless, apprenticed to an older Sin Eater who cannot speak to her, May must make her way in a dangerous and cruel world she barely understands. When a deer heart appears on the coffin of a royal governess who did not confess to the dreadful sin it represents, the older Sin Eater refuses to eat it. She is taken to prison, tortured, and killed. To avenge her death, May must find out who placed the deer heart on the coffin and why.


The Sin Eater


Set in England in the sixteenth-century social care and a welfare system are hundreds of years away. So when orphaned May is hungry, when hungry really meant that she hadn’t eaten anything at all, not just peckish, she stole a loaf of bread. Fourteen-year-old May was captured by the baker’s son and put into prison with about 20 other girls, who had committed various crimes, waiting for their fate from the court.

When you know how harsh these sentences are for such crimes it really makes you realise how desperate these young girls are. Some head for the gallows while everyone else is sentenced except May. May is summoned and told that she is to become a sin eater. Sin eaters are the bottom of the pecking pile, shunned and looked down on as vile creatures but everyone needs a sin eater when they were on their death beds. Each of their sins was represented by different foods and as the dying person confessed their sins the foods were left for the sin eater to eat them away. At the front of the book, you can read what sin different foods represented. It is fascinating.

May was marked so that everyone would know what she was. One thing was for sure, she would never be hungry again. She was sent to live with another sin eater to learn the trade. Everyone from the poor to the highest needed to confess their sins. In high places, there were literally secrets to die for.

It is hard to believe that this is a debut novel. The historical detail of the era is spot on, the attitudes and cruelty of the time shocking. There were punishments that were horrific, lack of care for children sickening and superstitions that people feared. It made for a dark read most of the time but I loved how the story twisted. The second half of the book went from fascinating to jaw-dropping. I loved the historical figures that were in the story and the consequences.

This really is a must-read. Brilliant new author, can’t wait to see what else she brings out.

I wish to thank NetGalley and the publisher for an e-copy of this book which I have reviewed honestly.


Megan Campisi

Megan Campisi is a playwright and novelist. She has previously received the French Alfa and ADAMI prizes for her plays, which have been performed in France, China and the United States. In 2019 she received a Fulbright Specialist Award to give master classes at Tatbikat Theatre in Turkey. She holds a BA from Yale and a Diplôme (MFA) from L’Ecole de Théâtre Jacques Lecoq in Paris. She lives in Brooklyn with her family. The Sin Eater is her first novel.


Night Falls Still Missing by Helen Callaghan @hecallaghan @MichaelJBooks #NetGalley #NewRelease

Night Falls, Still Missing by [Helen Callaghan]



On a cold, windswept night, Fiona arrives on a tiny, isolated island in Orkney.

She accepted her old friend’s invitation with some trepidation – her relationship with Madison has never been plain sailing.

But when she approaches Madison’s cottage, the windows are dark. The place has been stripped bare. No one knows where Madison has gone.

As Fiona tries to find out where Madison has vanished to, she begins to unravel a web of lies.

Madison didn’t live the life she claimed to.

And now Fiona’s own life is in danger . . .


Night Falls, Still Missing


This is one of those creepy gets under you skin reads. When Fiona travels from Cambridge to Orkney after receiving a phone call from her best friend Madison saying that she needs her, she isn’t there to meet her when she gets there. When Fiona makes her own way to the cottage where Madison is supposed to be staying, no-one is there. Fiona is becoming pretty angry at this point. It is dark and cold then she finds the door is unlocked and goes in. Madison has been working on an archaeological dig with a very prestigious team and it seems that they thought she was ill not missing.

Now there is more than a couple of strange characters on this island, from people that own the cottage to the team that Madison worked with. Throw in a court order against a very unsavoury ex-boyfriend that turns up and it makes for quite a lot of possibilities, none of them looking good.

I really enjoyed this story, the atmosphere that the author created and the isolation that felt like it was controlled by the weather and the tides. It seemed like everything was working against Fiona finding out where her friend was. This is a very clever story that made me think. Loved the ending.

I wish to thank NetGalley and the publisher for an e-copy of this book which I have reviewed honestly.


Helen Callaghan

My name is Helen Callaghan and I write fiction whenever I’m left unsupervised. I live in Cambridge amongst teetering piles of books.

I’ve always written, it’s my one constant. I was at various points a student nurse, barmaid and drama student. Eventually I settled into bookselling, working as a fiction specialist and buyer for a variety of bookshops, and did that for nearly ten years. In the end I became restless and studied for A-levels at night school. I achieved a place at Cambridge University as a mature student, where I studied Archaeology.

My debut novel, Dear Amy, was a Sunday Times bestseller and my second novel, Everything Is Lies was published in 2018. My latest, Night Falls, Still Missing, will be available in July 2020.

Twitter: @hecallaghan

Night Falls, Still Missing by [Helen Callaghan]

Something to Live For by Richard Roper @richardroper @orionbooks #PaperbackEdition #SomethingToLiveFor #FindYourSomething

I am delighted to re-share my review with you today to celebrate the publication of the PAPERBACK edition of Something to Live For by Richard Roper.


‘A perfect, quirky summer page-turner. A life-affirming debut’ The Sunday Times
‘Funny, moving and thought-provoking – I loved this’ Clare Mackintosh
‘If you loved Eleanor Oliphant, try this brilliant new read’ Fabulous



Everybody likes Andrew. But they don’t really know him.

They know what he’s told them – that he’s happily married with two kids. Living the kind of life that’s either so boring it’s true, or so perfect it’s a lie . . .


Peggy arrives in Andrew’s life in a burst of kindness and possibility. For the first time in ages, Andrew feels alive again. So now that he has everything to lose, can he risk it all and tell Peggy the truth?

A big-hearted story about love, loneliness, and the importance of taking a chance when we feel we have the most to lose.


Published by Orion Fiction on 23 July 2020

in paperback £7.99, eBook £4.99 and audio £19.99

Something to Live For: If you loved Eleanor Oliphant, try this brilliant new read: the most uplifting, funny and feel-good novel of the year!


This is one gem of a find, that will take you on a journey of the life Andrew would love to be living, which is far from his reality.

In a moment of madness, Andrew went from being a lonely 42-year-old man living on his own to a successful family man with a beautiful career wife, two adorable children and even a dog. It was just chit-chat at an interview, where he never thought he would be successful enough to get the job in question. But that friendly get you relaxed chatter took him off guard and well made him a hit with his now new boss! The pretense had to continue, it was simply too late to say there were no wife, kids or dog.

Andrew took his work role so serious, he was the person that had to go to the former homes of anyone found dead, dig round in their belongings and past to see if there were any life policies, bank accounts, hidden money or long lost relatives that could cover the cost of a funeral. He did it sensitively after all this could be him one day.

Wow! wow! wow! this story really gets under your skin! It kind of exaggerates even more Andrew’s loneliness and makes his life even more empty because of the family he has created. I could feel his love for them grow the more it went on. The lives that he would have wanted for his children and wife. Then someone new arrives at work.

This story knocked the wind out of me, made me sad, made me laugh and made me think about what is important in life. It may sound funny to start with but it really goes much deeper. What a crazy and wonderful character Andrew is, too scared to live and have a real life because of his past. There is certainly a coldness between him and his estranged sister, which just doesn’t make sense at first because he is a caring man. When a whirlwind, in the form of a new work colleague, comes into his life it could be the ruin of him and his made-up family or the end of the rainbow he really deserves.

Beautifully written and heartfelt. Highly recommended.


Richard Roper

Picture the scene. It’s Monday morning and you’re making a cup of tea when someone casually asks how your weekend was.

‘Oh, I just had a quiet one,’ you’ll say, because the truth was you spent the last 48 hours eating crisps and performing Torvill and Dean’s Bolero routine with your confused cat. What I’m trying to say is that we all tell white lies. Unfortunately for Andrew, the protagonist of this book, his has got rather out of hand, leaving him with a choice: stay where he is – lonely, unfulfilled, but comfortable – or tell the truth and risk his life falling apart for a chance to be happy.

Andrew’s story is inspired by an article about the council workers who deal with situations when someone dies alone. Their days are spent sifting through the ephemera of those who’ve slipped through the cracks. While the council workers are required to make funeral arrangements, they are under no obligation to attend them. Yet they do, sometimes dozens a year, just to make sure at least someone is there. Sometimes the smallest gestures can be the most meaningful.

This is Andrew’s story. I hope you like it.

Twitter: @richardroper

Something to Live For: If you loved Eleanor Oliphant, try this brilliant new read: the most uplifting, funny and feel-good novel of the year! by [Richard Roper]

The Truth Must Dazzle Gradually by Helen Cullen @wordsofhelen @MichaelJBooks #BlogTour #NetGalley #TheTruthMustDazzleGradually @penguinrandom

Firstly I wish to thank Syria Vardaharajan for inviting me on this Blog Tour for The Truth Must Dazzle Gradually by Helen Cullen.


On an island off the west coast of Ireland, the Moone family are shattered by tragedy.

Murtagh Moone is a potter and devoted husband to Maeve, an actor struggling with her most challenging role yet – being a mother to their four children. Now Murtagh must hold his family close as we bear witness to their story before that tragic night.

We return to the day Maeve and Murtagh meet, outside Trinity College in Dublin, and watch how one love story gives rise to another. And as the Moone children learn who their parents truly are, we journey onwards with them to a future that none of the Moones could predict . . .

Except perhaps Maeve herself.

The Truth Must Dazzle Gradually is a celebration of the complex, flawed and stubbornly optimistic human heart.


The Truth Must Dazzle Gradually: A beautiful and poignant Irish love story


Although the story begins in the present day it feels like it is much further back in time. Murtagh, his wife Maeve and their four children live on a small island off the Irish coast, where life is pretty basic and the elements feel extreme. It seems more like the end of the story but tragedy is re-setting their lives in a new direction.

The story drops back to how the couple met thirty years before, the obvious differences between them and the choices that take them to the island and their lives together. You know early on that things are not normal in this household but there is a stigma that makes the family battle on turning a blind eye to gossip and accepting what life has thrown at them.

Maeve’s thoughts and feeling pour out from the chapters, her battles that exhaust her mentally and physically. The author captures how the lives of this not so normal family are affected. It is beautifully written, it is raw, heartbreaking, full of love and moving on. It is fear of having what you have and fear of losing it. It is life.

I wish to thank NetGalley and the publisher for a copy of this book which I have reviewed honestly.


Helen Cullen

Helen Cullen is an Irish writer living in London.

Her debut novel, THE LOST LETTERS OF WILLIAM WOOLF was published in 2018 by Penguin Random House in the UK, Ireland, Australia and South Africa and published in the USA by Harper Collins in 2019. The novel has also sold in translation to numerous foreign markets including Germany, Italy, Greece, Russia and Israel.

In addition, Lost Letters has been optioned for television by Mainstreet Productions whose past successes include Downtown Abbey and Broadchurch. Helen was also shortlisted as Best Newcomer at this year’s Irish Books Awards.

Helen’s second novel, THE TRUTH MUST DAZZLE GRADUALLY, will be published in May 2020 by Penguin Random House in the UK, Ireland, Australia and South Africa and in August 2020 as THE DAZZLING TRUTH in North America by Harper Collins.

Before writing, Helen started her career with Ireland’s national broadcaster, RTE (Ireland’s national broadcaster) where she worked in radio broadcasting before moving to London in 2010. She subsequently worked for companies such as the BBC and The Times before her most recent role in Google where she worked before signing her publishing contract.

Helen wrote the first draft of her debut novel, The Lost Letters of William Woolf, while completing the Guardian/UEA novel writing programme under the mentorship of Michele Roberts. She holds a B.A. Communications from Dublin City University, an M.A. Theatre Studies from University College Dublin and an M.A. in English Literature at Brunel University in London.

Helen is now writing full-time, working on her third novel and will commence a PHD in 2020.

Twitter: @wordsofhelen

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House of Straw by Marc Scott @marco1918253109 @BOTBSPublicity #Blog Tour #HouseofStraw

Firstly I wish to thank Sarah Hardy of Book on the Bright side Publicity and Promotion for inviting me on the Blog tour House of Straw by Marc Scott

House of Straw by [Marc Scott]


‘Beautifully brutal, dark and twisted’
Traumatised by the tragic death of her twin brother, Brianna falls into a state of deep depression, isolating herself from the world and all those that care about her. When a twist of fate reveals that she has a half-sister she finds a new purpose in her life and sets out to find her sibling, desperately hoping she can fill the void left in her world.

Poppy has not enjoyed the same privileged lifestyle as her sister while growing up. Abandoned into the care system at the age of eight, she has encountered both physical and sexual abuse for most of her life. Passing through the hands of more care homes and foster families than she can remember, the damaged product of a broken upbringing, Poppy has never found a place to feel truly safe. Kicking back at society, she turns to drug abuse and acts of extreme violence to escape from reality.

When the two siblings are finally united, they discover that they have much more in common than their DNA. Their paths are shrouded with sinister secrets of betrayal and regret and both girls share a deep-rooted hatred for one of their parents. As the dark truths of their lives are unveiled they realise that nothing can ever be the same again…  


House of Straw


Wow, now this story has a flavour of nature versus nurture about it as you follow the lives of two half-siblings, sisters who have the same father, and how each of them turns out. The story begins with tragedy. I really can’t imagine what life would have been like if my brother had died but I think you must feel like part of you has been torn away when that sibling is a twin. Brianna or Bree as she will only answer to and Jamie were extremely close to the point of a few steps too far and their mother had worryingly separated them. But one particular night in a terrible fluke accident that they were both involved in, Jamie died. Bree fell into a severe depression.

Poppy, her older half-sister that she hadn’t known the existence of, had a very hard life and after her mother died her father put her in care at just age eight. Poppy suffered abuse throughout be it in a foster home or communal children’s home. Not long out of prison she was pulling her life together on days her abusive boyfriend wasn’t pulling her down.

The story drops back to how and when their mothers crossed the path of their father and the stories of each of their childhoods and the relationship of Bree and Jamie. Bree and Poppy seem opposites in everything, to begin with. Bree is desperate for a sibling connection while Poppy wants no hangers-on.

There is something really disturbing that niggles you as you read, a clever story, and explicit writing, impulses and twists. I became entwined in it all, pulled in and invested in the two oddball sisters’. I am smiling because I know them now. This is quite a story and quite an ending.

I wish to thank Books on the Bright Side for an e-copy of this book which I have reviewed honestly.


Marc Scott was born and bred in the heart of East London. His dark and gritty writing style has earned him much praise with readers. 

He worked in the film and video industry for more than twenty years, the highlight of which was spending twelve months based in Hollywood, organising marketing campaigns for a UK film distributor. 

More recently he spent several years working with young offenders as part of his role associated with the court service. It was during this time he became deeply moved by the tragic story of one young girl who was struggling to come to terms with the neglect and abuse she had suffered throughout her life. Her tragic case inspired him to write his first novel HOUSE OF STRAW. 

The book has already received excellent reviews from bloggers and buyers and his second book is planned for release at the end of 2020. 

His favourite book is Birdy by William Wharton, which he confesses to have read at least half a dozen times. He also enjoys the works of Kazuo Ishiguro. ‘I love authors that can find something that is extraordinary in ordinary people’ he says. ‘A reader wants to feel like a bystander all through the journey and that only happens if they can feel an emotional attachment to the main characters’. 

Marc lives in Buckinghamshire and has three grown-up children George, Marissa and Amie. He says his daughters have been the main motivation behind his love of writing. ‘I always run everything past them. Their honest appraisals definitely keep me on the right track’ he says. 

He is a keen sports fan and has an undying passion for Leyton Orient Football Club.

TWITTER: @marco1918253109

The Minders by John Marrs @johnmarrs1 @DelReyBooks #BookReview #BlogTour #NetGalley

Firstly I wish to thank Isabelle Ralphs for inviting me on the Blog Tour for The Minders by John Marrs.

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Five strangers guard our secrets.
Only four can be trusted…

In the 21st century, information is king. But computers can be hacked and files can be broken into – so a unique government initiative has been born. Five ordinary people have been selected to become Minders – the latest weapon in thwarting cyberterrorism. Transformed by a revolutionary medical procedure, the country’s most classified information has been taken offline and turned into genetic code implanted inside their heads. 

Together, the five know every secret – the truth behind every government lie, conspiracy theory and cover up. In return, they’re given the chance to leave their problems behind and a blank slate to start their lives anew.

But not everyone should be trusted, especially when they each have secrets of their own they’ll do anything to protect…


The Minders


This story begins with tension that never goes away throughout the book. Set in the not too distant future technology has overtaken itself with hackers being able to break just about any encrypted code and steal its contents, so the government had come up with an idea of loading all their secrets, past and present onto various forms of transport and keeping them constantly moving. By air by sea and by boat, robotically driven while being watched by a specialised team, that is until a specialised team try to invade one of the vehicles. Well, that doesn’t work out well for them but it is the end of the line until a more viable method is found.

Hence the minders, five ordinary-looking people who have extraordinary minds. The chosen five are given the opportunity to leave their pasts behind and start again. There are a few rules, they cannot contact anyone from their past and they cannot tell anyone about what they are doing. They must not contact each other or divulge any of the secrets. In return, they will really want for nothing.

This is a hit the road running story that turns into a marathon that never stops. The story-line is superb, the likelihood possible and the outcome so believable. You really have to read this yourself, you will find out about each of the carries. You will play detective and you will be stunned like I was. I was like a rabbit in headlights, mesmerized by what was in front of me but totally thrown by what was behind it all.

This is a book you won’t put down, a book you won’t forget. a book that would make great TV.

I wish to thank the publisher for an e-copy of this book which I have reviewed honestly.


John Marrs is a former journalist from Northamptonshire, England, who spent 25 years interviewing celebrities from the world of television, film and music for national newspapers and magazines.

He wrote for publications including The Guardian’s Guide and Guardian Online; OK! Magazine; Total Film; Empire; Q; GT; The Independent; Star; Reveal; Company; Daily Star and News of the World’s Sunday Magazine.

He recently gave up his job to write novels full time. His first car at the age of seventeen was a three-door, Ford Escort with a Batman sticker in the rear windscreen. He thought the sticker was cool at the time.