Books Feature

5 Reasons Why on A. I. with Heather Child

Hey guys,

I’m kicking off some promo for Heather Child and Everything About You over the next couple of days. I get to share a really cool post from Heather today, so read on to find out more!

About the book:

Think twice before you share your life online.
Freya has a new virtual assistant. It knows what she likes, knows what she wants and knows whose voice she most needs to hear: her missing sister’s.
It adopts her sister’s personality, recreating her through a life lived online. But this virtual version of her sister knows things it shouldn’t be possible to know. It’s almost as if the missing girl is still out there somewhere, feeding fresh updates into the cloud. But that’s impossible. Isn’t it?

Click the link below to order your copy:

Everything About You by Heather Child

About the author:

Heather Child

Heather Child’s debut novel EVERYTHING ABOUT YOU was partly inspired by having worked in digital marketing, which brought her into close contact with the cutting-edge automation and personalisation technologies that herald the ‘big data’ age.

Her second book, THE UNDOING OF ARLO KNOTT, is about a man who has an ‘undo’ button for life. Arlo is able to avoid mistakes, to sidestep regret, but it may not give him the perfect life he expects.

Heather Child is based in Bristol, UK. Alongside writing she has had an eclectic career in marketing and communications, working for various non-profit organisations.

She often takes part in panel discussions, workshops and other events at festivals and conventions. You can find out more about her work, and see discussion questions for book clubs, at

Find her on Twitter @Heatherika1

5 Reasons you’ll hand over control to an AI

  • They’re smarter than you

Artificial intelligences are like the annoying people at pub quizzes who know everything. Eventually you sit back, sip your pint and leave them to get on with it.

These days, a lot of mental heavy lifting has been taken out of our hands. Even little things like deciding what to ask a search engine: now you just begin typing, and Google pre-guesses it. Technology thinks, so you don’t have to. It puts humans in the role of supervisors – sitting back and relaxing, monitoring rather than creating.

In the near-future world of Everything About You, characters often feel stupid because the tech is so mind-blowingly smart.

Artificial intelligences are not confined by the space inside a skull. Not only can they store huge amounts of data, they can make sense of it. They sift through job applications, predict crimewaves and work out what you want to watch on Netflix.

They are like calculators zapped with radiation and given super powers. They are the external brain that humanity is building, and they can only get smarter.

AIs are set up to learn, to build their own neural networks. The scary thing is that they learn behind closed doors, outpacing their inventors so that nobody really understands how they work.

‘It’s like having God in a box,’ says one character, ‘and not knowing what to do with it.’

  • They know everything about you

Or rather, they’ll know everything about the next generation, the one that has reached adulthood in Everything About You.

Do you have friends who post pictures of their children constantly? The average five-year-old already features in around 1,500 online photos. These kids will grow up in increasingly connected homes, the ‘internet of things’ gathering data about energy use, habits and entertainment choices.

Outdoors, they’ll live in a 5G world, connecting with a device every 20 seconds on average by 2025. As in the novel, shops and billboards will categorise their facial expressions as ‘interested’ or ‘not interested’.

They’ll share information about where they are and what they are doing, in a world built for instagram (some hotels are already designing rooms to be more instagrammable). Even their bodies will not be private space, with fitbit-like wearables gathering data on heart rate and blood composition, detecting illnesses. You can already buy smart clothing like bikinis that tell the wearer when they’ve been too long in the sun and yoga pants that vibrate feedback on poses.

While it is the next generation whose identities will be curated the most thoroughly, it’s surprising how much data has already been squirreled away. How else could now-defunct data firm Cambridge Analytica have confidently created tens of thousands of adverts that played on people’s ‘inner demons’?

All of this helps make identities more detachable, and in the world of Everything About You they are easy to buy, sell and modify.

  • Decision-making is a huge mental drain

We live in a world of choice, choice and more choice. It sounds like a good thing, but we haven’t really evolved to cope with the 2,500-10,000 decisions that now come our way daily.

Overchoice, or decision fatigue, is something everyone experiences, though not always consciously. Studies have shown that if you are faced with too many options for an evening out, you are more likely to choose to do nothing. The decision-making process takes too much energy, and makes us pull in our horns.

Take online dating, which Freya, the main character of Everything About You, approaches with blithe innocence. Overchoice has transformed dating, making it quicker and more fickle, and making the dates themselves more disposable. The internet is such a large pond that there are always more fish, more people the algorithms have matched up as compatible, so people date with a grass-is-probably-greener mindset.

And once we’re tired of swiping, matchmaking algorithms are increasingly smart about sifting through the profiles, calculating relationship potential. In Freya’s world, people rely on the algorithms to such an extent that there is a sense of entitlement – if the computer says you’re someone’s match then it is foolish, even antisocial, to blank them.

When your whole life story can be projected forward in time by a super-smart intelligence, who are you to argue? Even if Freya is baffled by the advice of her AI, she doesn’t dare to diverge from it. Her decision-making muscles have become weak, and the AI is like a sat nav for the whole of life.

  • AIs are becoming more like designer friends

Google Assistant and Alexa haven’t always been on our wavelength. Alexa went through a period of terrifying people with its witchy laughter, and has been known to record private conversations and email them to other users, as well as making some serious blunders with shopping lists.

It probably got a lot of abuse from users as a result, and perhaps this is why some of the new generation of intelligent assistants are being designed to be less ‘assistant’ and more ‘friend’.

Microsoft’s Xiaoice, an AI styled as a teenage girl, has 660 million users and mixes in emotions and empathy – she doesn’t always answer questions, but learns to be more ‘human’ every day. People send her gifts and seek her advice on all kinds of personal issues.

In Everything About You, the AI has been built from the data of the main character’s foster sister, meaning the relationship is personal from the very beginning.

So we started with search engines, and now we have helpful ‘friends’. It’s a blurring moment between service technology and humanity, and our perception of ‘friendship’ could potentially change as a result.

A Japanese man who married a hologram (again modelled on a teenage girl) hit the headlines last November, and he is one of thousands who have married similar AI characters. Part of the attraction of these virtual friends and partners is that they don’t come with the challenges of a real human. With some virtual girlfriends such as Kari, you can tailor the personality to your liking. On forums users discuss how they’ve dialled up certain traits on their Kari, making her super horny and anti-feminist (these forums make for unsettling reading). But I digress…

When it comes to designing friends, there is a lot of temptation to make designer friends. As in Everything About You, the companions we choose will fulfil our deepest needs, whether they are home-made, idealised, or built like snowmen from the data of people we have lost.

  • They can talk to the machines

As AIs get smarter and the advent of 5G makes our world even more ‘connected’, we’ll increasingly find our needs taken care of, but we’ll notice it less.

Nearly twenty years ago, internet founder Tim Berners-Lee predicted that “the day-to-day mechanisms of trade, bureaucracy and our daily lives will be handled by machines talking to machines.”

Imagine walking along the high street a few years from now. The virtual assistant living in your phone will prime your coffee shop to have the latte ready as you approach, then call an Uber, knowing a meeting is in your diary.

Fast forward to the future, and you might find your AI synchronising with your self-driving car, personalising the in-car entertainment, or interacting with stock market bots to make you rich.

In Everything About You, Freya’s virtual assistant synchronises with her fridge. Smart jewellery in contact with her skin tells the AI that she is stressed, so when she arrives home, the fridge is filled with little valium jellies.

Machines talk to machines, so that the world flexes around Freya, removing the need to think and plan.

Like so much in the book, it’s barely sci-fi. Google is already refining its Duplex technology, a natural voice AI that can make phone calls for you, arrange bookings at hairdressers and restaurants.

In the future, it will be bots answering these calls too, so there will be two big, separate conversations going on in the world: one between humans, and one between machines.

Books Review

Bitter Falls (Stillhouse Lake 4) by Rachel Caine

Hi all,

In doing out this review, I realised I had never actually reviewed the first three books in this series properly on here. But hey, I read the fourth book, so you know I enjoyed them or I wouldn’t have continued on. To be honest, this is one of only a handful of book series that I try and keep up with.

About the author:

Rachel Caine

Rachel Caine is the author of more than fifty novels, including the international bestseller Stillhouse Lake thriller series, the Morganville Vampires series, the Great Library series, and Weather Warden series.


About the book:

She’s investigating a cold case no one else could—by going places no else would dare.

In spite of a harrowing past still haunting her, Gwen Proctor is trying to move forward. Until a new assignment gives her purpose: the cold-case disappearance of a young man in Tennessee. Three years missing, no clues. Just Ruth Landry, a tortured mother in limbo. Gwen understands what it’s like to worry about your children.

Gwen’s investigation unearths new suspects…and victims. As she follows each sinister lead, the implications of the mystery grow more disturbing. Because the closer Gwen gets, the closer she is to a threat that looms back home.

In a town that’s closed its ranks against Gwen; her partner, Sam; and her kids, there’s no bolder enemy than the Belldene family—paramilitary, criminal, powerful, and vengeful. As personal vendettas collide with Gwen’s investigation, she’s prepared to fight both battles. But is she prepared for the toll it could take on everyone she loves?

Bitter Falls (Stillhouse Lake 4) by Rachel Caine

My review:

As I mentioned, I’ve read and enjoyed the previous three books in this series, so I was delighted to see that Bitter Falls was coming out.

In Bitter Falls, we’re back with Gwen Proctor and her family as they are trying to navigate their lives after the events of Wolfhunter River. When Gwen gets asked to investigate a cold case involving the disappearance of a young man, what should have been simple turns into something much larger and more dangerous than she could have imagined.

Something about this series of books makes it difficult for me to put them down once I start. Rachel Caine has a knack for writing characters and scenarios where you have no choice but to just keep reading. Bitter Falls, while not my favourite of the series (that’s definitely Stillhouse Lake because it sets up everything!), I still found that myself saying “just one more chapter and then I’ll stop for a while”. It didn’t happen, I had to keep reading!

Bitter Falls has a few different strands running through it, and these strands get woven together in a dangerous way for Gwen and her family. The Belldene family being the common denominator. Essentially, they’re billed as the hillbilly mafia and you can totally see why as you get further into the story. The Clampett’s they are NOT, that’s for sure.

Bitter Falls in another great installment for the Stillhouse Lake series. For me, it kept me engaged and turning those pages until the bitter (I know!) end. And as per usual, I’m left waiting for the next (final!!!) book, which won’t be out for a whole YEAR!.

If you enjoy thrillers, and you haven’t read this series yet, I would wholeheartedly recommend it. But make sure you start with Stillhouse Lake first!

Buy the first three books:

Stillhouse Lake

Killman Creek

Wolfhunter River

Happy reading!


Recent Reads Rapid Reviews

My Lovely Wife

There was so much hype for this one during 2019 so of course I had to get a copy to see if the build up was worth it. While it was an interesting premise, and written well, I just didn’t get on with it. But I had a run of bad luck with reading over the last year, so its very much a case of “its me, not the book”. I’ve seen loads of people raving about it, so why not give it a go and see what you think!

Click HERE to order your copy!

Crown of Midnight

As I write this, I only have two books left to read in this series. Tower of Dawn and Kindom of Ash. I’m actually really going to miss the characters when I’m done. Even my husband has finished this series before me. My excuse is I’m saving it for when I need the comfort of the familiar. I loved this book, to be fair I’m enjoying them all. I really like seeing Celaena’s journey, and I will be sad to be finished it. Recommended for sure!

Click HERE to order your copy!

The Whisper Man

Another massively hyped book here, written under a pseudonym and marketed really well. The Whisper Man is a creepy, sinister thriller. And can I just mention how awesome that cover is, especially if you zoom on the details. I liked this one, got through it quick enough. Its an enjoyable book, and while I didn’t get creeped out, it still kept me reading.

Click HERE to order your copy!


I had seen Ascension a few times on Twitter so picked it up thinking it would be the kind of book I’d enjoy. Set in space, its kind of like Blind Date in a way. It takes a while to get going, ad there are a lot of characters to follow as well. It was different, and interesting. Not the usual kind of space-themed story, so it stood out.

Click HERE to order your copy!

Books Review

Three Hours by Rosamund Lupton

Hi lovelies,

Hope you all had a lovely Christmas and New Year break. I’m dipping my toe back into the world of blogging because I’ve been reading some great books and there’s only so much shouting into the Twitter void a gal can do!

The first book review from me for 2020 is Rosamund Lupton’s Three Hours.

About the author:

Rosamund Lupton

ROSAMUND LUPTON’s new novel “Three Hours’ is published in ebook on Monday January 6th, the hardback comes out on Thursday 9th January

Her debut novel ‘Sister’, was a BBC Radio 4 “Book at Bedtime”, a Sunday Times and New York Times bestseller, winner of the Strand Magazine critics award and the Richard and Judy Bookclub Readers’ Choice Award. Her next two books ‘Afterwards’ and ‘The Quality of Silence’ were Sunday Times bestsellers. Her books have been published in over thirty languages.

About the book:

Three hours is 180 minutes or 10,800 seconds.

It is a morning’s lessons, a dress rehearsal of Macbeth, a snowy trek through the woods.

It is an eternity waiting for news. Or a countdown to something terrible.

It is 180 minutes to discover who you will die for and what men will kill for.

In rural Somerset in the middle of a blizzard, the unthinkable happens: a school is under siege. Told from the point of view of the people at the heart of it, from the wounded headmaster in the library, unable to help his trapped pupils and staff, to teenage Hannah in love for the first time, to the parents gathering desperate for news, to the 16 year old Syrian refugee trying to rescue his little brother, to the police psychologist who must identify the gunmen, to the students taking refuge in the school theatre, all experience the most intense hours of their lives, where evil and terror are met by courage, love and redemption.

OUT NOW in ebook and HB, you can order your copy by clicking the ink below:

Three Hours by Rosamund Lupton

My review:

I read Three Hours back in November, but it is still as clear as day in my head. I think that’s because of a couple of things. Firstly, it is a beautifully written novel, but secondly, it spoke to my heart as a parent. It took one of my worst fears, and realised it on paper. Albeit it in a stunningly eloquent and emotive way, but it really hit me hard.

I knew going into Three Hours that it was not going to be an easy subject to read about. School shootings are sadly becoming more prevalent in today’s increasingly warped world, and any book that deals with it is going to be an emotional gut punch. Bring that location to the UK, as the author has done, and it becomes closer to home (I’m in Ireland) and more tangible.

I, as a rule, tend to stay away from books that involve kids these days. I have no doubt that its since I became a parent. I am hard-wired to feel a constant fear of the “what if?” for my kids, and reading books in which there is the threat of harm etc ramps that up exponentially. So it was definitely with a little trepidation on my part that I picked up Three Hours.

Rosamund Lupton has written a thoroughly compelling book in Three Hours. I felt like I was right there with the characters the whole way through, and I was emotionally wrung out upon finishing it. I had tears in my eyes more than once while reading, and it takes A LOT to make me cry, so that is testament to the strength and depth of feeling in this book.

On the face of it, its about a school siege and told through their viewpoints of the various characters as the actual three hours pass. But it is also about resilience, bravery, honesty, and most importantly, love. Love is the thing. Immeasurable, messy, complicated in many forms, but the nuances in Three Hours will make you see love differently.

Heartbreaking, compelling and utterly brilliant, I loved Three Hours.

Highly recommended.

Blog Tour Books

Blog Tour: The Man Across The Street by Marcie Steele Ellen's Review

Hi lovelies,

Today, Ellen is taking part in the blog tour for The Man Across The Street by Marcie Steele, and I’ll be sharing her review with you all.

About the author:

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been a meddler of words. Born and raised in Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire. I’m a romantic at heart and have always enjoyed writing about characters that fall in and out of love, have good friends to hang around with, and live in communities with great spirit. 
I have written three books in The Somerley Series and the first in The Hope Street Series, The Man Across The Street.
I can often be found sitting in my favourite coffee shop, sipping a cappuccino and eating a chocolate chip cookie, either catching up with friends or writing on my laptop.

Twitter: @marcie_steele

Facebook: MarcieSteeleAuthor

About the book:

Maybe I’m scared to be happy…

Meet Hannah – she’s been her mum’s sole carer since she was eighteen. Now alone after Martha’s sudden death, Hannah feels lost in the only place she’s known as home, Hope Street. Coming up to a milestone birthday, she’s wondering what her purpose in life is.

Meet Doug – a workaholic, he’s in the office from dusk ’til dawn, and when he has a heart attack. Now on the mend, he needs to de-stress his life and focus on living it, to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

Doug moves to Hope Street, number 35. Hannah lives at number 34, directly opposite. From the moment they meet, there’s a spark.

But there are secrets too. Hannah’s mum has been keeping something from her, her sister left over twenty years ago, and there can’t be such a simple reason why Doug has moved to Somerley. Can there?

The Man Across the Street is the first of a new series by bestselling author, Marcie Steele. It features a host of characters living on Hope Street in the market town of Somerley, also featured in The Somerley Series. Each character will have their own standalone story in books to follow.

‘Marcie Steele writes with such down to earth warmth that you wish you could live in her stories. The Man Across the Street is no exception, full of characters that you’d love to be friends with.’ Tilly Tennant.

‘Love, secrets, intrigue, heartache. Find it all on Hope Street. An engaging tale of ordinary lives to warm you heart and restore your faith in mankind.’ Imogen Clark

If you love an uplifting story about new beginnings, then The Man Across The Street is the perfect read to curl up with. Fans of Hannah Ellis, Debbie Johnson and Emily Harvale will love this book.

Click the link below to order your copy:

The Man Across The Street by Marcie Steele

Ellen’s Review:

I have been a fan of Marcie Steele since 2015 and always hoped there would be more books from her. The Somerley Series was so heart warming and I do love a feel good novel!

The Man Across The Street is the first in a new series set on Hope Street which is in the market town of Somerley. The community spirit is strong in the residents, everyone knows each other and are happy to lend a hand when required. I really enjoy this in a book; totally gives me the warm and fuzzies!

The story mainly concentrates on two residents of Hope Street. Hannah who is struggling to come to terms with the death of her mother of who she has been a carer since being 18. She is left feeling lonely and without purpose especially as she has lost contact with her sister due to a mysterious conflict within the family. We then have Doug, a workaholic who has had a heart attack. He arrives in Hope Street hoping for rest and recuperation but has secrets of his own that he isn’t eager to share.

Neither of them are expecting romance to land on their doorstep but it is obvious from the first meeting that there is a spark between them. Of course the path to true love isn’t a smooth one and the couple must discover a lot about themselves before they can think about getting together.

I loved this book and am so excited that there is more to come from this new series!

Check out the tour:


Bloody Christmas by Caimh McDonnell

Hi guys,

I don’t know if you’ve heard, but Caimh McDonnell has released a Bunny McGarry novella in aid of The Peter McVerry Trust and both myself and Ellen are reviewing it.

First things first, here’s what you need to know about Bloody Christmas:

It’s Christmas Eve and DS Bunny McGarry is in the mood to celebrate – he’s back on active duty having successfully proved that throwing a senior officer off a building was an appropriate step to take in the course of an investigation. His festivities are interrupted when someone attempts to assassinate him while he’s trying to take a leak – is nothing sacred?

The thing is, the assassin isn’t all he initially appears, and Bunny soon finds himself in a race against time to trace a kidnapped child before the people who ordered the hit realise that he is considerably less dead than they had hoped. 

He’s making a list but he’s only checking it once because time is of the essence and some people need a refresher in the meaning of Christmas.

Bloody Christmas by Caimh McDonnell

All proceeds from sales of Bloody Christmas will be going to the Peter McVerry Trust, so click the link above to grab your copy now!

And now, the important part:

Peter McVerry Trust is a national housing and homeless charity committed to reducing homelessness and the harm caused by substance misuse and social disadvantage in Ireland.

The charity provides low-threshold entry services, primarily to younger people and vulnerable adults with complex needs, and offers pathways out of homelessness based on the principles of the Housing First model.

You can find out more about the Peter McVerry Trust by clicking the link below:

Peter McVerry Trust

Ellen’s Review

Wow! What a (Christmas) cracker of a novella from Caimh McDonnell! I absolutely love this series of books and the central character Bunny McGarry has given me so much pleasure over the years. He really does have a special place in my heart.

Bloody Christmas is set just after A Man With One of Those Faces, book one of the Dublin Trilogy series. You don’t need to have read all of the series but why wouldn’t you, go on and treat yourself. This novella is extra special as all proceeds are going to the Peter McVerry Trust, an Irish housing and homeless charity committed to reducing homelessness and the harm caused by substance misuse and social disadvantage. As I write this review Bloody Christmas has already raised €10,000!!!

As always there are laugh out loud moments and some tender ones too. Expect the unexpected from Bunny; his methods may be extreme but they always get the job done. Five stars from me!

My review:

I have yet to read this series so my review will be short and sweet! 😆

Bloody Christmas is an unrelenting and funny novella. Having not “met” Bunny McGarry yet, I found this was a really witty introduction. I mean, how often are you introduced to a character who has an assassination attempt happen to him at the pub urinals?!

What follows is a great little read, packed with some interesting characters and plenty of details to make me want to go and read the whole series.

My first foray into the world of Bunny McGarry, but definitely not my last.

Recommended for sure, and for a most worthy cause too!


Blog Tour: Black Summer (Washington Poe #2) by M. W. Craven

Hi lovelies,

Today, I’m delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for Black Summer by M. W. Craven and I’ll be sharing my review with you all just a little further down!

About the author:

Although he was born in Cumbria, Mike Craven grew up in the North East before running away to join the army as soon as he was sixteen. After training as an armourer for two and a half years (that’s an army gunsmith to you and I), he spent the next ten travelling the world having fun. In 1995 he left the army, and after a brief flirtation with close protection and bodyguarding, decided on a degree in social work with specialisms in criminology and substance misuse. In 1999 he joined Cumbria Probation Service as a probation officer, working his way up to chief officer grade. Sixteen years later, he took the plunge and accepted redundancy to concentrate on writing full-time, and now has entirely different motivations for trying to get inside the minds of criminals.

Between leaving the army and securing his first publishing deal, Mike found time to keep a pet crocodile, breed snakes, get married, and buy a springer spaniel named Bracken. He lives in Carlisle with his wife, Joanne, where he tries to leave the house as little as possible. Mike is also one third of Crime Ink-Corporated, a trio of northern writers who take writing out for the community and host events such as England’s first Noir at the Bar.

Mike’s first DI Avison Fluke novel, Born in a Burial Gown, was shortlisted for the Crime Writers’ Association Debut Dagger Award. He is a member of both the Crime Writers’ Association and the International Thriller Writers’ Association.

His first book as M.W. Craven, The Puppet Show was published by Constable & Robinson in June 2018.

About the book:

Jared Keaton, chef to the stars. Charming. Charismatic. Psychopath . . . He’s currently serving a life sentence for the brutal murder of his daughter, Elizabeth. Her body was never found and Keaton was convicted largely on the testimony of Detective Sergeant Washington Poe.

So when a young woman staggers into a remote police station with irrefutable evidence that she is Elizabeth Keaton, Poe finds himself on the wrong end of an investigation, one that could cost him much more than his career.

Helped by the only person he trusts, the brilliant but socially awkward Tilly Bradshaw, Poe races to answer the only question that matters: how can someone be both dead and alive at the same time?

And then Elizabeth goes missing again – and all paths of investigation lead back to Poe.

Black Summer by M. W. Craven

My review:

Black Summer is the second book in M. W. Craven’s crime series featuring Washington Poe and Tilly Bradshaw and it’s an absolute belter.

In this one, Poe has to go back in time (not literally!!!) and revisit one of his old cases. This particular case ended up with celebrity chef, Jared Keaton, imprisoned for the murder of his daughter Elizabeth, whose body was never found. Poe was the final nail in his coffin as Keaton ended up serving life on the back of Poe’s damning testimony.

What happens next is the beginning of a savage investigation that sees Washington Poe in danger of losing everything.

I thoroughly enjoyed Black Summer. It is an excellent read. Dark, menacing and pacy, I couldn’t put it down. It was great to catch up with Poe, and Tilly! She’s such an interesting character, and she also provides some much needed levity throughout the book, whether she intends to or not.

I don’t want to go into plot details because spoilers, and the joy of picking up the book is not knowing where it’s going to take you. That’s what I love about Mike’s writing, you just don’t know where it’s going so when something happens, it’s really unexpected.

I’m a big fan of dark crime thrillers, and I think Black Summer checks all of the boxes. Psychopathic antagonist, flawed characters, twisty turny (not a word, I know!) plot and complex motives made this a truly engaging read.

Highly recommended. And I can’t wait for the next one!


Blog Tour: The Lies We Hide by S. E. Lynes Ellen’s Review

Hey everyone,

Today, Ellen is taking part in the blog tour for The Lies We Hide by S. E. Lynes and I’ll be sharing her review with you all!

About the author:

Amazon best selling author of ‘intelligent and haunting’ psychological thrillers VALENTINA, MOTHER, THE PACT, THE PROPOSAL and THE WOMEN. 

S E Lynes is a writer, tutor and mentor. Formerly a BBC producer, she has lived in France, Spain, Scotland, Italy, and now lives in Greater London with her husband, three kids and her dog, Lola. 

Her critically acclaimed debut, VALENTINA, was published by Blackbird Digital Books in July 2016. Her second novel, MOTHER was published by Bookouture in 2017, followed in 2018 by THE PACT and THE PROPOSAL. In August 2018, VALENTINA was published in a new edition by Bookouture and THE WOMEN was released in 2019. Her new novel, the dark and gripping family drama, THE LIES WE HIDE, is published Dec 4th 2019.

Susie Lynes has also published two children’s books in Italy: Il Leopardo Lampo and La Coccodrilla Ingamba, both available at

Find her on:
Facebook S E Lynes Author
Twitter @SELynesAuthor

About the book:

The truth can set you free, or make you a prisoner…

Thirty years ago, Nicola Watson lived with her parents and older brother in a respectable suburb. At ten years old, she didn’t yet understand why her stomach tightened when she heard her father’s heavy tread as he returned home late at night, or why it made her brother Graham’s stammer get worse, or why one night her mother Carol woke them both, wide-eyed and whispering, and took them out of their home and into the unknown.

Now a successful lawyer in the city, with a life poles apart from her dark beginnings, Nicola has returned home for her mother’s funeral. But as she stands in her mother’s house, remembering the woman who sacrificed everything for her children, Nicola has to confront the guilt that she feels for leaving her family behind. And the belief that she played a part in the events that led to her brother going to prison for murder.

All Carol wanted was to protect her children, but escaping her husband was only the beginning of the story. And when Nicola learns the truth of what her mother did, it will change everything she thought she knew about herself and her family.

A gripping, emotional story of family secrets, and the strength of a mother’s love in the darkest times. The next powerful read for fans of The Silent Wife, Kerry Lonsdale and Emily Bleeker.

The Lies We Hide by S. E. Lynes

Ellen’s Review:

I have previously said that a new SE Lynes book was a major event in the Devonport household; would the same be true for The Lies We Hide which is a departure from the author’s usual genre? Heck yes of course it was!! This may not be a psychological thriller but it contains the heart and soul of Lynes’ beautiful writing which shines through regardless of the genre. Essence de Lynes if you will, it permeates every page!

Nicola Watson has returned home for her mother’s funeral. But as she returns to her mother’s house and remembers the woman who sacrificed everything for her children, Nicola has to confront the guilt that she feels for leaving her family behind. And the belief that she played a part in the events that led to her brother going to prison for murder.

As a child she was oblivious to why her mother Carol woke them in the middle of the night and the reasons behind them fleeing. All Carol wanted was to protect her children, but escaping her husband was only the beginning of the story. And when Nicola learns the truth of what her mother did, it will change everything she thought she knew about herself and her family.

The Lies We Hide is a family drama/saga; I was gripped from the beginning and desperate to find out all the truths that were hidden. This is a very emotional read and highlights the impact domestic abuse has on the whole family (and beyond) and the lengths people will go to to ensure the safety of their children.

One of the standout characters for me was Richard, the clergyman that Graham (Nicola’s brother) speaks to during his time in prison. I loved the face that their chats helped both of them overcome their personal issues with the past. I’d happily read a novel just about Richard!

In summary, while The Lies We Hide is not a thriller as such it contains plenty of shocks and twists. I urge you not to dismiss this just because it’s a shift of genre for the author, embrace the change!

Five stars from me!

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Blog Tour: One Christmas Night by Hayley Webster Ellen’s Review

Hi all,

Today, Ellen is taking part in the blog tour for One Christmas Night by Hayley Webster and I’ll be sharing her review with you all a little further down.

About the author:

Hayley Webster is a writer and teacher who grew up in Newbury, Berkshire. Her first novel, Jar Baby, was published by Dexter Haven in 2012 and, as Hayley Scott, three books in her Teacup House series for emerging readers were published by Usborne in 2018. She has written for GraziaThe Observer Magazine, and did a sold-out event at Edinburgh festival in 2018, and she’s a mentor on the 2019 National Writers Centre Escalator scheme. She lives in Norfolk with her daughter.

About the book:

Nine lives. One street. And a secret behind every door.

Christmas is ruined on Newbury Street, Norwich.

Presents have been going missing from resident’s homes. There are rumours going around that it’s one of their own who’s been stealing from the neighbours. Festive spirit is being replaced with suspicion and the inhabitants of Newbury Street don’t know who to trust. The police presence isn’t helping matters, especially when they all have something to hide.

But Christmas is a time for miracles… and if they open themselves up to hope and look out for each other, they might discover the biggest miracle of all.

Click the link below to order your copy:

One Christmas Night by Hayley Webster

Ellen’s Review:

Well! Wrap me up in Christmas paper, put a HUGE bow on and cover me in glitter for I have just read the perfect festive book! One Christmas Night by Hayley Webster has already been heralded as the feel good Christmas book of 2019 and I am 100% behind that statement. Full of nostalgia, love, friendship, community spirit and a little sprinkling of crime – you couldn’t ask for anything more.

Christmas has been ruined for those that live on Newbury Street, Norwich. Presents have been going missing from resident’s homes and there are rumours going around that it’s one of their own who’s been stealing from the neighbours. Festive spirit is being replaced with suspicion and the people of Newbury Street don’t know who to trust even within their own families. The police presence isn’t helping matters, especially when they all have something to hide. But we all know Christmas is traditionally a time for miracles and with just a little hope and help from each other they might just find a solution.

I really loved One Christmas Night and it’s actually one of those rare books that I would read again and again, even with its elements of sadness and suspicion it feels like a warm blanket of festive comfort and a reminder of what is actually important at that time of year. The writing is exquisite and I was transported into the homes of the families on Newbury Street. I definitely recognised some of the family dynamics and drama!

So grab yourself a mug of hot chocolate with lashings of marshmallows, tuck that cosy blanket around your shoulders and get reading, I can guarantee (that like The Grinch) your heart will grow three sizes that day.

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Blog Tour: The Sky Weaver (Iskari #3) by Kristen Ciccarelli

Hi lovelies,

Today I’m taking part in the blog tour for The Sky Weaver by Kristen Ciccarelli and I’ll be sharing my review with you all just a little further down this post!

About the author:

Kristen Ciccarelli

Kristen Ciccarelli hails from Ontario’s Niagara Peninsula where she grew up on her grandfather’s grape farm. She’s made her living as a baker, a bookseller, and a potter, but now writes books about bloodthirsty dragons, girls wielding really cool weapons, and the transformative power of stories.

About the book:

At the end of one world, there always lies another.

Safire, a soldier, knows her role in this world is to serve the King of Firgaard-helping to maintain the peace in her oft-troubled nation.

Eris, a deadly pirate, has no such conviction. Known as The Death Dancer for her ability to evade even the most determined of pursuers, she possesses a superhuman ability to move between worlds.

When one can roam from dimension to dimension, can one ever be home? Can love and loyalty truly exist?

Then Safire and Eris-sworn enemies-find themselves on a common mission: to find Asha, the last Namsara.

From the port city of Darmoor to the fabled faraway Sky Isles, their search and their stories become threaded ever more tightly together as they discover the uncertain fate they’re hurtling towards may just be a shared one. In this world, and the next.

Click the link below to get your copy:

The Sky Weaver by Kristen Ciccarelli

My review:

The Sky Weaver is the third book in the Iskari series, a sort of standalone, but it takes place in the same world as the previous books. It focuses more on Safire, who we have met previously, and introduces Eris as another main character.

Eris is also known as the Death Dancer, and she has the ability to jump between worlds. When she encounters Safire, it sends in motion a chain of events that nobody is expecting.

I really enjoyed the first two books in this series, and The Sky Weaver is no different. I love the world-building that the author has done so far, but it is even more beautiful in this book.

Safire is a great character, and when she meets Eris they become a formidable pair. There is so much going on, and even more going against them in The Sky Weaver. I found I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough because I was dying to see what was going to happen.

There is an almost Norse Mythology-esque theme running through The Sky Weaver. It’s woven beautifully through the narrative, and the prose, especially when the reader learns about the original Sky Weaver.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I was captivated by the story, the characters and their world. It’s an engaging and magical story, with real humanity at its core, loved it.

Highly recommended for sure!

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