Posted in most Anticipated 2021

Most Anticipated 2021! Paris While It Slept by Ruth Druart.

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing 23rd February 2021

ISBN: 9781538735183

On a platform in occupied Paris, a mother whispers goodbye.
It is the end.
But also the beginning.

Santa Cruz 1953. Jean-Luc thought he had left it all behind. The scar on his face a small price to pay for surviving the horrors of Nazi occupation. Now, he has a new life in California, a family. He never expected the past to come knocking on his door.

Paris 1944. A young woman’s future is torn away in a heartbeat. Herded on to a train bound for Auschwitz, in an act of desperation she entrusts her most precious possession to a stranger. All she has left now is hope.

On a darkened platform two destinies become entangled. Their choice will change the future in ways neither could have imagined.

Beginning on an ordinary day and ending on an extraordinary one, WHILE PARIS SLEPT is an unforgettable read.

Wow this book has some incredible reviews and I’m so lucky to have an ARC that I’m going to read over Christmas. Sarah is on a train bound for Auschwitz when she passes her baby son to Jean-Luc. He has been tasked with repairing a fault on the train, while the passengers are still on board. He takes the baby, and with his friend Charlotte he makes his way over to the USA, starting a new life on the West Coast. Nine years later, Samuel is growing up fast and Charlotte and Jean-Luc are the only parents he’s ever had. However, Sarah survived Auschwitz, and along with her husband has spent the last few years searching for her son. One morning, the police come knocking at Jean-Luc’s door. The narrative switches between 1953 and how to reconcile what has happened, to 1944 and how Sarah has survived to find her son, and what Jean-Luc and Charlotte went through to make a new life for the son they handed on a platform nine years ago. Regular readers will know about my late in-laws complicated war history. My mother-in-law had a family of half siblings in America, since her family had been torn apart in Poland. Each half of the family thought the other was lost. I can’t wait to tell you more about this book.

‘Both epic and intimate, this unexpected story had me completely and utterly enraptured. You’ll have your heart in your mouth and tears on your cheeks as it reaches its rich, life-affirming conclusion’ Louise Candlish 

While Paris Slept made me think and cry and rage and smile at mankind’s capacity for both beautiful, selfless love and terrible, heartbreaking cruelty. Prepare to be thoroughly engrossed in this compelling book’ Natasha Lester

‘What a book… Emotional and heartrending…absolutely phenomenal. I was on tenterhooks throughout. A wonderful achievement’ Jill Mansell

Beautiful. Powerful. Unforgettable. A stunning portrait of the brutality of war and the tenacity of love. In the tradition of Virginia Baily’s Early One Morning and M. L. Stedman’s The Light Between Oceans.

Posted in most Anticipated 2021

Most Anticipated 2021! The Split by Laura Kay.

A brilliant, heart-warming and intensely funny story of love, heartache, friendship and family. Perfect for fans of Marian Keyes and Beth O’Leary.

Brutally dumped by her girlfriend, Ally is homeless, friendless and jobless… but at least she has Malcolm. Wounded and betrayed, Ally has made off with the one thing she thinks might soothe the pain: Emily’s cat. 

After a long train journey she arrives home to her dad in Sheffield, ready to fold herself up in her duvet and remain on the sofa for the foreseeable. Her dad has other ideas. A phone call later, and Ally is reunited with her first ever beard and friend of old, Jeremy. He too is broken-hearted and living at home again. 

In an inspired effort to hold each other up, the pair decide to sign up for the local half marathon in a bid to impress their exes with their commitment and athleticism. 

Given neither of them can run, they enlist the support of athletic, not to mention beautiful, Jo. But will she have them running for the hills… or will their ridiculous plan pay off…?

I’m looking forward to this book so much. Even the proof cover is funny and gives you a good idea of the offbeat humour inside. I also loved that it’s a romantic, comic novel about a same sex relationship – this should just be a norm, but in my reading experience is quite rare. I was also drawn in by the promise of a long train journey with a cat to Sheffield. Sheffield is very local to me, and once on a journey back from Liverpool I was sat on the middle platform at Sheffield station, drinking a chai tea and people watching. On the next platform down was another bench where a young man was desperately trying to get a fighting cat back into a cardboard box. I stood up to help, just as he managed to get it in the box and close the flaps. On the final stretch of my journey I remember wondering what on earth had made the man take a train journey with a cat in a cardboard box? Even more, what had possessed him to take the cat out at a major railway station on the middle platform. I now know that books are borne out of such inspiration!!

Laura Kay wrote the book because she had been fed up of not seeing herself represented in romcoms, and placing a queer character as the heroine, rather than the token funny friend is refreshing. It had always been there in her head. She says she’d been writing the book in snippets and phrases for a long time, but was finally pushed into writing the book because she wanted to read it. She wanted to represent friendship between two queer characters in her depiction of Ally and Jeremy. Most importantly she wanted to write about cake, which is one of my favourite subjects. This book is heartfelt, warm and very funny, plus it addresses that terrible conflict of loving a horrible pet that simply cannot stand you. What more could you want for 2021? Look out for my full review on publication.

Meet The Author

Laura has an MA in American History from the University of Sheffield and works as a writer and editor. She lives in London with her wife and cat. This is her debut novel.

Posted in most Anticipated 2021

Most Anticipated 2021! Everything Happens for a Reason by Katie Allen.

Publisher: Orenda 10th June 2021. ISBN: 978-1913193614

Mum-to-be Rachel did everything right, but it all went wrong. Her son, Luke, was stillborn and she finds herself on maternity leave without a baby, trying to make sense of her loss. When a misguided well-wisher tells her that ‘everything happens for a reason’, she becomes obsessed with finding that reason, driven by grief and convinced that she is somehow to blame. She remembers that on the day she discovered her pregnancy, she’d stopped a man from jumping in front of a train, and she’s now certain that saving his life cost her the life of her son.

Desperate to find him, she enlists an unlikely ally in Lola, an Underground worker, and Lola’s seven-year-old daughter, Josephine, and eventually tracks him down, with completely unexpected results. Both a heart-wrenchingly poignant portrait of grief and a gloriously uplifting and disarmingly funny story of a young woman’s determination, Everything Happens for a Reason is a bittersweet, life- affirming read and, quite simply, unforgettable.

I can’t wait to read this because I’ve experienced pregnancy loss and I know how hard it is to make sense of the overwhelming grief. People throw platitudes at you when they don’t know what to say, so I can understand how Rachel latches on to this one and can’t let go. Any reason, even the improbable, is often better than the bottomless pit of unknowing. How could this much loss and grief have no real reason? People queued up to tell me that I was young and would have lots more chances to have a child – as if the one I’d lost was merely a doll replaceable by a new purchase. I also blamed myself, because I’d been working as a counsellor at an MS charity, and had volunteered to help them price up and place stock in their new charity shop. I’d been moving boxes and bending up and down. I was convinced for months that I’d caused the loss of my baby. I always bond with a character when there’s a common experience at the heart of things. I just know I’ll be reading this with the tissues handy.

Posted in most Anticipated 2021

Most Anticipated 2021! Girl A by Abigail Dean.

#GirlA #MostAnticipatedBooks #NewBooks2021

Publisher: Harper Collins

Publication Date: 21st January 2021

ISBN: 0008389055

‘An astonishing achievement.’ JESSIE BURTON

‘Gripping, beautifully written perfection.’ SOPHIE HANNAH

‘A masterpiece.’ LOUISE O’NEILL

‘Girl A,’ she said. ‘The girl who escaped. If anyone was going to make it, it was going to be you.’

Lex Gracie doesn’t want to think about her family. She doesn’t want to think about growing up in her parents’ House of Horrors. And she doesn’t want to think about her identity as Girl A: the girl who escaped. When her mother dies in prison and leaves Lex and her siblings the family home, she can’t run from her past any longer. Together with her sister, Evie, Lex intends to turn the House of Horrors into a force for good. But first she must come to terms with her six siblings – and with the childhood they shared.

Beautifully written and incredibly powerful, Girl A is a story of redemption, of horror, and of love. If you liked Room, My Dark Vanessa and We Need to Talk About Kevin, you will love this book.

Meet The Author

Abigail Dean was born in Manchester, and grew up in the Peak District. She graduated from Cambridge with a Double First in English. Formerly a Waterstones bookseller, she spent five years as a lawyer in London, and took summer 2018 off to work on her debut novel, Girl A, ahead of her thirtieth birthday. She now works as a lawyer for Google, and is currently writing her second novel, The Conspiracies.

Girl A sold in the UK after a 9-way auction, and also sold in auction in the US. The novel has since been acquired in 23 other territories, and television/film rights have sold to Sony. 

Abigail has always loved reading, writing, and talking about books. You can follow her on Twitter and Instagram @AbigailSDean

Posted in most Anticipated 2021

Most Anticipated Reads! Home Is Not A Country by Safia Elhillo.

#Books2021 #MostAnticipated #HomeIsNotACountry #MakeMeAWorld #BookLove #BookBloggers

Release Date: 2nd March 2021

Publisher: Make Me A World

ISBN: 0593177053

Oh my goodness I can’t stop looking at this gorgeous cover! It is absolutely stunning and stopped me in my tracks as I was scrolling through Twitter. Then, once I read the premise, I knew this had to go on my TBR list for next year.

Nima doesn’t feel understood. By her mother, who grew up far away in a different land. By her suburban town, which makes her feel too much like an outsider to fit in and not enough like an outsider to feel like that she belongs somewhere else. At least she has her childhood friend Haitham, with whom she can let her guard down and be herself.Until she doesn’t. 

As the ground is pulled out from under her, Nima must grapple with the phantom of a life not chosen, the name her parents didn’t give her at birth: Yasmeen. But that other name, that other girl, might just be more real than Nima knows. And more hungry. And the life Nima has, the one she keeps wishing were someone else’s. . .she might have to fight for it with a fierceness she never knew she had.

Early reviews suggest that the author has created an incredible world around her main character, using words like ‘lush’ and ‘magical’. I’m so looking forward to a different reading experience – the book is written in verse. It also has some of my favourite themes, such as how we construct an identity for ourselves, finding our place within a family and a culture. Categorised as YA, I think this is a book that will transcend that label and be read by teens and adults alike.

Meet The Author |

Safia Elhillo is the author of the poetry collection The January Children, which received the the 2016 Sillerman First Book Prize for African Poets and a 2018 Arab American Book Award.

Sudanese by way of Washington, DC, she holds an MFA from The New School, a Cave Canem Fellowship, and a 2018 Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Fellowship from the Poetry Foundation. Safia is a Pushcart Prize nominee, co-winner of the 2015 Brunel International African Poetry Prize, and listed in Forbes Africa’s 2018 30 Under 30. She is a 2019-2021 Stegner Fellow at Stanford University.

Posted in most Anticipated 2021

Most Anticipated Reads! The Last House on Needless Street by Catriona Ward


Publisher : Viper; Main Edition (18 Mar. 2021)

ISBN-10 : 1788166167

When Stephen King recommends a book, we all have to listen! ‘It’s a true nerve shredder that keeps its mind-blowing secrets to the very end’.

‘Books like this don’t come around too often. I would say I inhaled this in one, but I think I was too busy holding my breath throughout. Bravo’ – JOANNE HARRIS

‘A chilling and beautiful masterpiece of suspense. I was completely enthralled’ – JOE HILL

This is the story of a serial killer. A stolen child. Revenge. Death. And an ordinary house at the end of an ordinary street.

All these things are true. And yet they are all lies…

You think you know what’s inside the last house on Needless Street. You think you’ve read this story before. That’s where you’re wrong.

In the dark forest at the end of Needless Street, lies something buried. But it’s not what you think…

This book was already on my radar, but now I’m dying to read it! Early reviews describe it as ‘deeply disturbing’ and an ‘atmospheric gothic thriller’. All of the elements seem familiar, I feel like I’ve read books like this before but I’m promised something completely different, raw, visceral and terrifying. There simply isn’t a bad review about this book. I suppose I shouldn’t have expected anything less from the Shirley Jackson and August Derleth award at the 2019 British Fantasy Awards. This made her the only woman to have won the prize twice. Reviewers praise the structure, the multiple narrative voices, and the satisfying, unexpected ending.


CATRIONA WARD was born in Washington, DC and grew up in the United States, Kenya, Madagascar, Yemen, and Morocco. She read English at St Edmund Hall, Oxford and is a graduate of the Creative Writing MA at the University of East Anglia. Her gothic thriller, The Last House on Needless Street, will be published March 2021 by Viper (Serpents Tail).

She was a Guardian best book of 2018 and her debut Rawblood (W&N, 2015) won Best Horror Novel at the 2016 British Fantasy Awards, was shortlisted for the Author’s Club Best First Novel Award and a WHSmith Fresh Talent title. Her short stories have appeared in numerous anthologies. She lives in London and Devon.

Posted in most Anticipated 2021, Uncategorized

Most Anticipated Reads. Madam by Phoebe Wynne

New Trailer #StartTheFire

Published: 18th Feb 2021

ISBN: 1529408725

Publisher: Quercus

Today on the blog it’s my pleasure to share the trailer for one of my most anticipated reads of 2021.

Light a fire they can’t put out..

Caldonbrae Hall has sat on top of the Scottish cliffs for 150 years, as a beacon of excellence in the ancestral castle of Lord William Hope. This boarding school for girls promises pupils they will emerge ‘resilient and ready to serve society’.
Rose Christie, a 26-year-old Classics teacher, is the first new hire for the school in over a decade. Rose feels overwhelmed in the face of this elite establishment at first, but soon after her arrival she begins to realise that there may be more to fear than her own ineptitude.
Rose stumbles across the secret circumstances surrounding the abrupt departure of her predecessor – a woman whose ghost lingers over everything and who no one will discuss – she learns that there is far more to the school than she has been led to believe.
Rose begins to uncover the darkness at the heart of Caldonbrae; a battle that will threaten her sanity as well as her safety…

A brooding, mesmeric novel with a feminist kick…

This has certainly whet my appetite for next February, and the book can be pre-ordered at all the usual outlets.

Coming February 2021. #StartTheFire

Posted in most Anticipated 2021

Most Anticipated 2021! The 100 Days of Lenni and Margot by Marianne Cronin.

#The100DaysOfLenniAndMargot #Doubleday #Books2021 #MostAnticipated

Published: 18th February 2021

Publisher: Doubleday

ISBN: 0857527193

Synopsis | Life is short – no one knows that better than seventeen year-old Lenni Petterssen. On the Terminal Ward, the nurses are offering their condolences already, but Lenni still has plenty of living to do. When she meets 83-year-old Margot Macrae, a fellow patient offering new friendship and enviable artistic skills, Lenni’s life begins to soar in ways she’d never imagined.

As their bond deepens, a world of stories opens up: of wartime love and loss, of misunderstanding and reconciliation, of courage, kindness and joy. Stories that have led Lenni and Margot to the end of their days.

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 it most.

My Thoughts | As soon as I read the synopsis for this book I knew it was meant for me. This is the type of world I understand; the kingdom of the sick. Not that I have a terminal illness, but I do have a life limiting illness and that puts me into a different bracket in society. I don’t do a 9-5, I have to spend a lot of time at home and I have no idea what the next day will bring. It’s a strange place to be; to have life in front of you, but knowing there are now limits to how I live and possibly how long I live for. It’s about learning to live, while dying.

That’s what Lenni and Margot understand. While the nurses are already saying their goodbyes, Lenni and Margot are making friends and learning how to carry on living. I love the idea of this cross generational friendship, because I do believe we can develop deep connections outside of our own age bracket. We have so much to offer each other. Older people bring their wisdom, experiences and perspective to the table. Whilst younger people can replenish a life with energy, knowledge of popular culture and technology that can enrich an older person, establish connections and reduce isolation. Also both are aware that they have limited time so put their all into the friendship, as well as the new experiences it brings. It sounds like a tearjerker, but one that that’s also uplifting and full of life lessons we could all do with learning.

Biography | Marianne Cronin is the author of ‘The One Hundred Years of Lenni and Margot, which took me six years to write and I’m very excited that their story is now reaching readers. Before She started working on writing fiction full-time, she worked in academia and has a PhD in Applied Linguistics but she doesn’t use the title ‘Dr’ on official documents because She’s scared of being asked to help in a medical emergency and having only a thesis on linguistics to help. She likes to write at night and when not writing, she can be found trying to be funny in various improv groups or watching her recently-adopted cat sleeping under my desk.

Follow the author at:

Instagram, @itsmariannecronin)

Twitter: @itsmcronin