Review – Deity by Matt Wesolowski

A shamed pop star A devastating fire Six witnesses Six stories Which one is true?When pop megastar Zach Crystal dies in a fire at his remote mansion, his mysterious demise rips open the bitter divide between those who adored his music and his endless charity work, and those who viewed him as a despicable predator, who manipulated and abused young and vulnerable girls.Online journalist, Scott King, whose Six Stories podcasts have become an internet sensation, investigates the accusations of sexual abuse and murder that were levelled at Crystal before he died. But as Scott begins to ask questions and rake over old graves, some startling inconsistencies emerge: Was the fire at Crystal’s remote home really an accident? Are reports of a haunting really true? Why was he never officially charged? Dark, chillingly topical and deeply thought-provoking, Deity is both an explosive thriller and a startling look at how heroes can fall from grace and why we turn a blind eye to even the most heinous of crimes…


Often when a series of novels has been running for a while, especially with similar themes, they can become predictable, feel sluggish when you’re reading them! Yet Matt Wesolowski’s Six Stories Series, remains bold, exciting and original, because the author is a master storyteller, who always delivers compelling tales, that are absurdly hard to turn away from!

In Deity Matt Wesolowski delivers a taunt tale, that still haunts my mind days after finishing it! Zach Crystal dies in his mansion, haunted by accusations of the abuse young vulnerable girls. Those that adore him still refuse to believe the accusations and his alleged victims still speak out. Who is right? Is Zach Crystal a monster or misunderstood angel? Into this cauldron of emotions, accusations and counter accusations, comes Scott King, on-line reporter and creator of the Six Stories podcasts, determined to unravel the enigma and in doing so, becomes embroiled in a dark tale of secrets, lies and misunderstandings.

Why it works is simply that Matt’s writing style creates layers of tension and misdirection which mean that you never know, or at least I didn’t, the truth behind the stories until he decides to unveil it to you, Each interview is given room to breath and seep into your mind and by being contained within individual podcasts, allows the voice of the character to be heard distinctly by the reader. Particularly powerful in this tale, because each of Zach Crystals supporters and detractors. are so utterly believable that I flopped back and forth between feeling convinced of his guilt and then persuaded I had been too judgemental. He made each witness so credible that you doubt not just your own judgment, but that of the people Scott King is interviewing.

Now Deity is not just any ordinary thriller, its is genuinely chilling. At its heart is a darkness that pervades the story like mist enveloping the reader. I was left with the unsettling thought that the evil he is wring about might not actually be human. The scenes in the forest that wrap around the popstars home act like a barrier against the outside world and the writing leaves you wondering, if they are actually protecting the world from an evil within Zach Crystals home, or he is protecting those he draws to him like a magnet, from the nightmare living in the darkness. I may never look at forests in the same way again! I certainly know of no other writer that could write a tale, that takes it’s origin from real life cases of suspected abuse and create a well balanced, deeply disturbing and yet sensitive story, that left me haunted, disturbed and yet utterly transfixed.

You can purchase Deity directly from the publisher in their ebookstore, from Amazon and Waterstones.

You can also by going to Bert’s Books online site sign up for a Orenda Books Subscription and you will get their newest books sent to you!

You can of course order this book from any of the wonderful independent bookshops we are lucky to have!

About the author

Matt Wesolowski is an author from Newcastle-Upon-Tyne in the UK. He is an English tutor for young people in care. Matt started his writing career in horror, and his short horror fiction has been published in numerous UK- an US-based anthologies such as Midnight Movie Creature, Selfies from the End of the WorldCold Iron and many more. His novella, The Black Land, a horror story set on the Northumberland coast, was published in 2013. Matt was a winner of the Pitch Perfect competition at Bloody Scotland Crime Writing Festival in 2015. His debut thriller, Six Stories, was a bestseller in the USA, Canada, the UK and Australia, and a WH Smith Fresh Talent pick, and TV rights were sold to a major Hollywood studio. A prequel, Hydra, was published in 2018 and became an international bestseller, Changeling (2019) and Beast (2020) soon followed suit.

You can follow the author on Twitter

Review- The One Hundred Years of Lenni and Margot by Marianne Cronin

Life is short. No-one knows that better than seventeen-year-old Lenni living on the terminal ward. But as she is about to learn, it’s not only what you make of life that matters, but who you share it with.

Dodging doctor’s orders, she joins an art class where she bumps into fellow patient Margot, a rebel-hearted eight-three-year-old from the next ward. Their bond is instant as they realize that together they have lived an astonishing one hundred years.

To celebrate their shared century, they decide to paint their life stories: of growing old and staying young, of giving joy, of receiving kindness, of losing love, of finding the person who is everything.

As their extraordinary friendship deepens, it becomes vividly clear that life is not done with Lenni and Margot yet.

Fiercely alive, disarmingly funny and brimming with tenderness, THE ONE HUNDRED YEARS OF LENNI AND MARGOT unwraps the extraordinary gift of life even when it is about to be taken away, and revels in our infinite capacity for friendship and love when we need them most.


I read and love many books each year, but it is rare that I say, if you read just one, please consider a particular title. Well today I am saying just that, because The One Hundred Years of Lenni and Margot by Marianne Cronin is an extraordinary novel, moving and heart warming, beautifully written, full of wisdom and with two heroines who are perfect in everyway.

Seventeen year old Lenni who is living on the terminal ward of a Glasgow Hospital meets eighty-three year old Margot, a patient from the next ward and they form a friendship that will melt your heart. It did mine! Why? Because this novel is full of two very precious things, love and friendship. The writer has taken this theme and woven around it, a story about how when you make a connection with another human being, it is the greatest gift of all. The writing is tender and yet honest, Marianne Cronin, doesn’t pull cheap punches, she writes honestly about how death and illness don’t just affect the old and how coming to terms with our mortality is a painful and yet necessary part of life. She writes about how love is fluid and that you don’t have to be related to someone to think of them as family, of how sometimes in our darkest moments, we are truly at our most inspiring!

She takes a original idea and has created what for me is one of the finest debuts novels I have read in a long time. Her characters are so finely drawn, that I felt that as Margot sits outside the bedsit looking down the street, I could reach out and touch her, sit down next to her and place my hand in hers. When Lenni is getting angry at a nurse who insists she sits in a wheelchair, I wanted to stand behind her and cry out, don’t crush her spirit, encourage her rebellion and never make her feel she is fragile. The way Marianne Cronin writes about how both characters tell their stories through art and storytelling, to each other and those that come to care about them, brims with a tenderness that works because her writing made me love Lenni and Margot. She weaves the past in and out of the present, connects us to them and creates a relationship with both that made me care, and I felt that I could relate to their friendship on a deeply human level. Beyond the fiction , I believed in them and I believed because she made me care.

Few books reduce me to tears. Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller did, Tin Man by Sarah Winman as well The Gustav Sonata by Rose Tremain. The One Hundred years of Lenni and Margot joins that list and will stay with me, because the writing haunts my reading soul. I could read sections of it over and over and over and never tire of the story, the celebration of friendship and life. Most of all because Lenni and Margot’s lives together represent storytelling at it’s very finest.

You can purchase this novel from Amazon, Waterstones and from your local independent bookshop.

About the author

Marianne Cronin was born in 1990. She studied English and Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning a PhD in Applied Linguistics from the University of Birmingham. She now spends most of her time writing, with her newly-adopted rescue cat sleeping under her desk. When she’s not writing, Marianne can be found performing improv in the West Midlands, where she lives. Her debut novel The One Hundred Years of Lenni and Margot is to be published around the world and is being adapted into a feature film by a major Hollywood studio.

Review – The Other Daughter by Caroline Bond

You only get one life – but what if it isn’t the one you were meant to live?
‘When it finally arrived I was shocked to see it; to read the words Mum wrote about these women fighting for rights I know I take for granted. Mum was here. And while she was, something happened that changed the entire course of my life. Perhaps, if I can summon the courage, the next eight weeks will help me finally figure out what that was . . .’
When Jessica discovers a shocking secret about her birth, she leaves her London home and travels to Switzerland in search of answers. She knows her journalist mother spent time in the country forty years earlier, reporting on the Swiss women’s liberation movement, but what she doesn’t know is what happened to her while she was there. Can Jess summon the courage to face the truth about her family, or will her search only hurt herself and those around her even more?
Set across a stunning Swiss backdrop, The Other Daughter follows one woman in her search for the truth about her birth, and another desperately trying to succeed in a man’s world. Perfect for fans of Tracy Rees, Elizabeth Noble and Kathryn Hughes.


The Other Daughter by Caroline Bishop is the story of one women’s search for the truth of her past and the acceptance of her present. Written both in the present and alternately with episodes from the past, it is a moving tale about the power of secrets which have shattered her identity and world.

Caroline Bishop has delivered a narrative that is compelling to read, with a fascinating look at Switzerland’s historical treatment of women, their right to vote and control over their own bodies.  It also delves into a dark secret that once sat at the heart of the countries vision of motherhood, creating for the reader a perfect fusion of a fictionalised tale, with its roots deep in a reality so many would prefer be forgotten and buried away.  

That may all sound ‘heavy’ but it actually forms the backdrop to a well written and often emotional look at the effect that secrets once revealed can have on our perception of who we are and our place in our own narrative.  It works so well because Jessica is perfectly ‘flawed’, in that her once stable life, though not without its troubles, is derailed and she acts out character, her mental health affecting her behaviour and driving her need to solve the shocking secret of her birth.  Combining a true history with a fictional character gives her story and added emotional depth, so much so, that it is hard at times to remember she is not real, so well written is she, because the tale of her life in wrapped in the reality of so many women.  I felt heartbroken for her and so many others in this novel, because her tale has at its heart an intrinsic truth and a pain almost too painful to imagine.  Days after finishing it, my mind is still full of her story, because it is so well told and reflects real experiences, adding extra layers of pathos to Jessica’s journey and ours with her.

Caroline Bishop takes both story and character in The Other Daughter and weaves a tale that is all about redemption and every persons need to own their story, however painful the journey to find it might be. By taking back and forward from the present to the past and the origins of Jessica’s birth, she also manages to defy avoid allowing the story to feel trite. She doesn’t reveal the truth to us easily, but rather cleverly, leads us and Jessica down paths that seem at first full of revelations, but actually are a smoke screen designed to fool us and they do. So much so that the truth actually shocked me and left a feeling akin to how Jessica feels, overwhelmed and overcome.

I would recommend to all readers!  

You can purchase this novel from Amazon and Waterstones, as well as your local indie bookshop.

About the author

Caroline Bishop began her journalism career at a small arts magazine in London, after a brief spell in educational publishing. She soon moved to work for a leading London theatre website, for which she reviewed shows and interviewed major acting and directing stars. Caroline turned freelance in 2012 and a year later moved to Switzerland, where her writing veered towards travel and she has contributed to publications including the Guardian, the Independent, the Telegraph and BBC Travel, writing mainly about Switzerland, and co-wrote the 2019 edition of the DK Eyewitness Guide to Switzerland. For two years Caroline was editor of, an English-language Swiss news site, and it was during this time that she became fascinated with aspects of Swiss history and culture, particularly the evolution of women’s rights.

Review – Botanical Curses and Poisons. The Shadow Life of Plants by Fez Inwright.

Discover the folklore and history of our most malignant, toxic plants.

If you drink much from a bottle marked poison , it is almost certain to disagree with you, sooner or later. Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

Poisonings are among the most memorable deaths in history, from the Roman Empire to the Medieval era and beyond. Concealed and deliberate, it s a crime that must be planned in advance. And yet there is a fine line between healing and poisoning Paracelsus argued that only the dosage matters!

In Botanical Curses and Poisons, Fez Inkwright – author of Folk Magic and Healing – returns to folkloric and historical archives to uncover historical uses and the fascinating, untold stories behind deadly plants,witching herbs and fungi.

Beautifully illustrated by Fez Inkwright, this treasury of folklore is packed with insight, lore and the revealed mysteries of everyday flora perfect for gardeners, writers, folklorists, witches and general knowledge buffs alike!

Many of us know that some of the plants we grow in our gardens are poisonous, the Foxglove for example.  But I for one didn’t know that these majestic plants had a folklore connected to them, connected to humanities long standing history of cursing those we dislike and poisoning those we hate.

Reading this beautifully written and illustrated book, I learnt that in Wales ink made from the leaves of Fox Gloves had been painted on the floors of cottages to keep witches away, opening my eyes to the history of botany and the rich folklore of so many plants around the world.  Within it’s pages is contained a fascinating history of plants and poisoning from the Roman use of them as a tool of political assassination, through and beyond Henry VIII’s paranoia of falling victim himself. The most fascinating sections for me were where the writer explores the historical connection to women, healing and alleged witchcraft, their persecution and the hysteria around events like the Salem Witch trails. She opened up and expanded on a fascinating subject I thought I knew so much about and yet she filled gaps in my knowledge, I was not aware, where there.

Add to the breath-taking level of information we are treated to, there are beautiful illustrations that not only compliment the writing, but bring it to life. Ink illustrations can be found all through the book, which I felt were extremely beautiful and it has a a cover that not only looks extraordinary, but is a work of art in itself. But this is not all, scattered throughout the text are excerpts of poetry, for example

Lilies for a bridal bed-

Roses for a matron’s head-

Violets for a maiden dead.

Percy Shelley, Remembrance   

When you combine all of these together, you have a book that is not only fascinating, but is a work of art as well. Between the authors deep knowledge of both botany and its rich history in human society and politics and the inclusion of illustrations and poetry and you a book that an absoulute treasure and one I will proudly display on my shelf in years to come.

You can purchase this book from Amazon, Waterstones and your local Indie Bookshop!

About the author

 Fez Inkwright is an illustrator, author, and folklorist. For the past decade she has produced work for children’s books, greetings cards, and tattoo design, and, when not working as Liminal 11’s Head Designer, she now spends her time working in conservation and wildlife rehabilitation.

Review- Smoke Screen by Jorn Lier Horst and Thomas Enger

When the mother of a missing two-year-old girl is seriously injured in a suspected terrorist attack in Oslo, crime-fighting duo Blix and Ramm join forces to investigate the case, and things aren’t adding up … The second instalment in the addictive, atmospheric, award-winning Blix & Ramm series.

Oslo, New Year’s Eve. The annual firework celebration is rocked by an explosion, and the city is put on terrorist alert.

Police officer Alexander Blix and blogger Emma Ramm are on the scene, and when a severely injured survivor is pulled from the icy harbour, she is identified as the mother of two-year-old Patricia Smeplass, who was kidnapped on her way home from kindergarten ten years earlier … and never found.

Blix and Ramm join forces to investigate the unsolved case, as public interest heightens, the terror threat is raised, and it becomes clear that Patricia’s disappearance is not all that it seems…


When you read books by these individual authors, you always guaranteed stories that are first class and exciting! Put them together and you have a quality of story on a whole different level, two creative and intelligent minds having merged to deliver a story so taunt, so electrifying, that it’s impossible to turn away.

In Smoke Screen we are returning to the second in the Blix and Ramm series and it is splendid. So often writers seem to allow their writing to become predictable in continuing series, but not here. There are connections with events in Death Deserved as the storyline flows effortlessly into Smoke Screen, yet it is very much its own story. Nothing feels as if you know what is coming, because each instalment is not a mirror image of the one before, because Jørn Lier Horst and Thomas Enger have instilled within Smoke Screen a story that compliments it’s predecessor, but at the same time is feels bold and exciting as an individual story.

It gives us character development with both the personalities of Blix and Ramn being refined and explored and though the story feels fast paced, the power of the characterisation is never allowed to feel second best. This is an intelligent thriller and the characters reflect that!

Emma Ramm seems at first insecure, needy in the first few pages, but we have to remember she had a rough ride in Death Deserved and as a character that is reflected in her personality. But to simply see her as damaged and insecure, is to do her and the writing a disservice, for she is remarkably nuanced and grows with each page into a into a burgeoning investigative reporter, whose intuitive understanding of people and their motives, means she is always determined to pursue a killer! Brave, often reckless, this gets her into dangerous situations, but she is never a damsel in distress, the weak link, as so many female character’s become in thrillers. Her keen intelligence is brought to the fore in Smoke Screen, shown as she peruses the story and justice. She walks towards dangerous situation, not the victim, but the deliverer of justice for the victims.

Oh, then there is dear, determined Blix, who like Ramm is a seeker of justice and a man of integrity. Years of reading thrillers, left me a bit jaded! Most of the detectives in them are grim, insular men who stomp their way through the story, grunting at their underlings, not Blix! Within this novel his thirst to bring justice to the victims of crime really comes to the fore. He was originally involved in the investigation of of two-year-old Patricia Smeplass disappearance and never having solved it, it eats away at his soul. Smoke Screen gives him the chance to put that right and he opens up even more into the man of honesty and principle I have come to love. I respect how his connection with Ramm is explored more and how that nurturing side of his character is further delved into, not just in connection with the case, but his colleagues. Bless it be, no grunting from Blix, just encouragement and trust in his own intuition and his colleagues expertise.

Then there is the story. What can I say, two writers of immense talent are never going to deliver a dud! Jørn Lier Horst and Thomas Enger are international best sellers for a reason, they are skilled wordsmiths! From the first page to the last, I was sat wrapped up in a story that was so addictive, it felt like I was there within the landscape it was set in. I could feel the cold seeping into my bones. I was a nervous wreck whenever I perceived Blix or Ramm to be in danger. I walked down the false trails they tricked me into following and felt a tingling of excitement as I realised we were approaching the conclusion. Best of all was how both writers manipulated the quiet moments in the novel and then set off an explosion within the narrative that had me sitting bolt upright, shocked to the core and breathless with excitement.

As you may have guessed I loved Smoke Screen, so much so, the next book read, suffered in comparison to the genius on display in this addictive thriller.

You can purchase this fantastic novel from Orenda Books ebook store directly, from Waterstones and Amazon.

Why not also consider ordering from your local Indie Bookshops?

About the authors

Jørn Lier Horst and Thomas Enger are the internationally bestselling Norwegian authors of the William Wisting and Henning Juul series respectively. Jørn Lier Horst first rose to literary fame with his No. 1 internationally bestselling William Wisting series. A former investigator in the Norwegian police, Horst imbues all his works with an unparalleled realism and suspense. Thomas Enger is the journalist-turned-author behind the internationally acclaimed and bestselling Henning Juul series. Enger’s trademark has become a darkly gritty voice paired with key social messages and tight plotting. Besides writing fiction for both adults and young adults, Enger also works as a music composer. Death Deserved is Jørn Lier Horst & ThomasEnger’s first co-written thriller.

About the translator

Freelance commercial and literary translator and editor. Recipient of the National Centre for Writing’s 2019 Emerging Translator Mentorship programme. I graduated in 2018 from the University of Edinburgh with a MA (Hons) in Scandinavian Studies and English Literature and a distinction in spoken Norwegian. I am on track to receive a distinction in my MA in Translation and Interpreting Studies at the University of Manchester, specialising in Norwegian and Danish translation into English. I am currently conducting a research dissertation on Bokmål and Nynorsk neural machine translation, whilst I continue my freelance work, in which I am translating a Norwegian crime novel for Orenda Books and working on regular business-to-consumer translations for UK and Norway-based LSPs.

Review – Space Hopper by Helen Fisher

They say those we love never truly leave us, and I’ve found that to be true. But not in the way you might expect. In fact, none of this is what you’d expect.
I’ve been visiting my mother who died when I was eight.
And I’m talking about flesh and blood, tea-and-biscuits-on-the-table visiting here.
Right now, you probably think I’m going mad. 
Let me explain…
Although Faye is happy with her life, the loss of her mother as a child weighs on her mind even more now that she is a mother herself. So she is amazed when, in an extraordinary turn of events, she finds herself back in her childhood home in the 1970s. Faced with the chance to finally seek answers to her questions – but away from her own family – how much is she willing to give up for another moment with her mother?
Space Hopper is an original and poignant story about mothers, memories and moments that shape life.


When I read the blurb for Space Hopper by Helen Fisher, I thought to myself, this book was for me. It is one I can read and one I will enjoy and I did!

The things that I loved were the story, it feels original and fresh! The way the writer takes a narrative about grief and how it pervades our lives, is told with sensitivity and an honest acceptance of how it changes us all, in ways that affect us going forward with our lives. The characters are also beautifully drawn and are used with great affect to explore the question of how far would any of us go to spend one more moment with those we have loved and lost.

There have been many books that have used similar themes, but what Helen Fisher does is add something quite special into the mix, that grief is not contained within a period of time, but in fact it ripples through the days, weeks, months and years. That it can sit dormant until an event, or just a moment awakes it again, like waves on a beach, rolling in and out, as grief does for those left behind.

I lost my father when I was eighteen and for me she portrays that yearning I have to go back in time and just say one more time, ” Dad, I love you”. She also explores that endless debate I have with myself, what would my life have been like, had he not died that day. I have been truly blessed with friends and family that I may not have met if dad had not died and I would never not want them with me. But if I could have both, would that not be something to take a chance on?

It is this she covers with such insight, that a week after reading it, I still find myself wondering, would I chance one more moment with him, to seek answers about why he didn’t head the pains in his chest, he had not mentioned to me. The opportunity to frog march him to the GP, so that my adult life would not be shaped for so many years by the ache in my heart, to be able to introduce him to his granddaughter in all her wonderfulness. To stand next to me as I graduated from University and introduced him to the friends that have become family, their children a joyful part of my life. Like me Faye is happy with her family and friends, but like her, his loss weighs on my mind on times, faced with the chance to see him again and the feelings that induces, is why this book is being lauded as the debut on 2021.

You can purchase this novel from Amazon and Waterstones. But why not order it from your local indie bookshop?

About the author

Helen Fisher spent her early life in America but grew up mainly in Suffolk, England, where she now lives with her two children. She studied psychology at Westminster University and ergonomics at University College London, and worked as a senior evaluator in research at the Royal National Institute of Blind People. She is now a full-time author; Faye, Faraway is her first novel. She is currently working on her second.

Review- The Crow Folk by Mark Stay

As Spitfires roar overhead and a dark figure stalks the village of Woodville, a young woman will discover her destiny . . .

Faye Bright always felt a little bit different. And today she’s found out why. She’s just stumbled across her late mother’s diary which includes not only a spiffing recipe for jam roly-poly, but spells, incantations, runes and recitations . . . a witch’s notebook.

And Faye has inherited her mother’s abilities. 

Just in time, too. The Crow Folk are coming. Led by the charismatic Pumpkinhead, their strange magic threatens Faye and the villagers. Armed with little more than her mum’s words, her trusty bicycle, the grudging help of two bickering old ladies, and some aggressive church bellringing, Faye will find herself on the front lines of a war nobody expected.

For fans of Lev Grossman and Terry Pratchett comes this delightful novel of war, mystery and a little bit of magic . . .


One of the greatest joys of reading is how it transports you from the real world into one full of imagination and drama. The best fiction treats the reader to hours of captivating diversions. a release from the life we are living. Both a form of comfort and the best entertainment I know.

The Crow Folk by Mark Stay takes the best elements of different genres, historical, fantasy, coming of age and war stories and creates from them a story that feels both magical and adventurous.

Telling the tale of Faye Bright, who thinks she is an ordinary young lady, until she stumbles across her late mum’s diary, full of spells and a recipe for Jam Rolly Polly! From this point on she goes on a journey of self discovery and battles to save her village from the rather scary Crow Folk.

What I loved about this novel was the way the writer injects magic into his story. Something I miss as an adult reader, is a dam good adventure where realism is emboldened with the fantastical and the magical, creating a story that excites my imagination. In The Crow Folk the writer recreated that sense of wonder I had as a child reading books like C S Lewis’s The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. Like that classic, it gives us a glimpse into the past, using themes of good an evil, ranged against each other, in a battle for freedom. I found within it’s pages that same sense of wonder I found last year in the very wonderful Miss Benson’s Beetle by Rachel Joyce.

Mark Stay creates and grounds his story in the real world of World War two Britain, taking the battles of the front and reimaging them in a tale of witchcraft in a small country village. The enemy are the Crow Folk and the villagers are the army raged against them. But he never loses sight of what makes a story work, the ability to be so enagaged by all the elements of the story that the world outside the pages of the book simply drift away. Even as adults we need a break from reality, the chance to escape the bounds of this strange world we are caught in and this is what he delivers.

The characters are fantastic, besides Faye we have an eclectic bunch of villagers a few witches and best of all the heroine herself. Indomitable, brave and with just the right levels of self doubt, she’s grows over the course of the story and the writer adds some touching reflections on the loss of her mother and how it shapes the character we meet. It would have been easier to simply make her a one dimensional, all gun-ho adventure girl, but her depth of character generated for me a more nuanced reaction. Your imagination grips the rip roaring tale of adventure, while your heart swells with love because of the warmth of the relationship between father and daughter, Faye and Bertie and the villages resident witches. I was charmed by the warmth of the writing and the writers obvious love for his tale.

I would recommend this book to so many people. Adults who loved Miss Benson’s Beetle and fans of Terry Pratchetts clever use of character and fantasy.

You can purchase your copy from Amazon and Waterstones, or why not buy it from your nearest Indie Bookshop?

About the author

Mark Stay co-wrote the screenplay for Robot Overlords which became a movie with Sir
Ben Kingsley and Gillian Anderson, and premiered at the 58th London Film Festival. He is
co-presenter of the Bestseller Experiment podcast and has worked in bookselling and
publishing for over twenty-five years. He lives in Kent, England, with his family and a trio
of retired chickens. He blogs and humblebrags over at

My Wonderful Reading Year 2021 – The Journey Continues!

I know we are not where we wanted to be at the beginning of 2021, but I believe my love of reading contributed to the little bit of sanity and hope I managed to hold onto in 2020.

So I have decided to be kind to myself this year and not place too much pressure on myself to meet set reading targets or publish a certain number of reviews.

As much as I can, I’m going to make 2021 about reading for the simple joy of it. I won’t stop doing blog tours, because I love how they challenge me and at least keep me focused reading when life is stressful and I am so distracted. But I will be doing less and reading more of the books on my to be read pile and gaining some more balance back in my reading world.

So here we are in 2021 and what follows is the books that I read in January.

The Girl With The Louding Voice by Abi Dare

This remarkable and thought provoking novel deals with difficult subjects such as child marriage and slavery and yet it is told with hope and positivity. What a wonderful start to my reading year, by reading this outstanding debut novel.

The next book read was Advent by Jane Fraser, a wonderful tale of family and yearning for change.

Following this I finished my first non fiction book of 2021, Cerebral Palsy A Story by Ilana Estelle. Not the book I expected when I started to read it, but a touching account of how to find peace from the past, through acceptance and self awareness.

Then came a novel from one of my favourite thriller writers, A B Morgan’s gripping Over Her Dead Body.

Then from another much loved author I read Graham Norton, A Keeper is both an emotional read, full of tension and characters that will stay with me for a long time. As a writer he is going from strength to strength!

Then came a book with a heroine who is both feisty, vulnerable and resourceful. What a combination, I loved her and the story! Who Is Vera Kelly by Rosalie Knecht.

Next Came Space Hopper by Helen Fisher. loved the concept, I’m just not sure the writing style worked for me! But even with this, it is a great read!

I loved the Crow Folk by Mark Strong. Historical story telling with elements of fantasy and whitchraft, perfect reading.

I have mixed feelings about my last read of January The Memory Police by Yoko Ogawa. Stunning writing and narrative, just not the right time for me to be reading it I think. Futuristic, I need novels at the moment, based in less affecting times.

Well that is my January reading selection. Been bit of a mixed back, but still I have enjoyed all of them in some way. Many I have absolutely adored.

I am looking forward to reading my way through February 2021.