blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: Salt Crystals – Cristina Bendek, translated by Robin Myers

San Andrés rises gently from the Caribbean, part of Colombia but closer to Nicaragua, the largest island in an archipelago claimed by the Spanish, colonized by the Puritans, worked by slaves, and home to Arab traders, migrants from the mainland, and the descendents of everyone who came before. For Victoria – whose origins on the island go back generations, but whose identity is contested by her accent, her skin color, her years far away – the sun-burned tourists and sewage blooms, sudden storms, and ‘thinking rundowns’ where liberation is plotted and dinner served from a giant communal pot, bring her into vivid, intimate contact with the island she thought she knew, her own history, and the possibility for a real future for herself and San Andrés.


My thoughts: this was a really interesting book, I don’t know a huge amount about South America, let alone Colombia, and certainly not San Andreś. I think because it was mostly conquered by the Spanish, it just doesn’t get covered in British schools. Which is a shame, as this book demonstrates. The island has had a complex and tumultuous history, being settled by various colonisers (including the British – no surprise there) seeking a foothold in the Caribbean.

As Victoria starts to trace her family’s history, exploring her deep connection to the island, she uncovers a rich and often quite dark history. Her ancestors were involved in settling the island – but they brought slaves with them, to farm sugar, as with much of the Caribbean, and she is both horrified and intrigued by the people she’s descended from.

The modern island is not without its problems either – arguments about water, sewage, pollution and land rage around her, she’s drawn into the politics by her friends, despite her late parents never really getting involved, she feels she should, after all it’s her home too.

Challenging and questioning history, this is a slim and intelligent book. Despite the serious nature of some of the things Victoria is learning, the tone is light and never hectoring. You feel Victoria’s surprise and horror as she uncovers the truth about her family, but also her affection for these long dead relatives. Emotions are never black or white, as Victoria learns, like the past, it’s more complicated. But as she looks to the future, to her future on San Andreś, there’s hope too, by understanding her history, she can look to shape a better future.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: Someone Like You – Rachel Dove

One broken marriage. One broken heart. One chance to meet someone new.

Hannah leaves her unhappy marriage with her daughter Ava and moves to the village of Leadsham to start afresh. She plans to keep a low profile, focusing on Ava and making a new life for them, far away from her violent ex-husband.

What she hadn’t counted on was Andrew Brody. A police officer with a strict moral code, he knows something’s wrong as soon as he meets Hannah, and he wants to help. But Hannah has been let down by the police – and men – before, and pushes him away.

But the more Hannah tries to ignore Brody, the more she’s drawn to him. Caring, kind and patient, he’s nothing like the man she’s running from. Can Hannah finally put her past behind her, and open her heart to someone new?

My thoughts: as the author says, domestic violence can happen to anyone, but maybe that person will be as lucky as Hannah, whose friend Kate helps her leave and the new home she finds is full of kind people who want to help her, if she can just open up.

She finds new friends, a new job, and a new love, if she can let him, and his dog, in. Brody is a police dog handler, Bullet his partner and Hannah the mysterious woman he’s falling in love with. Bullet prefers baby Ava – notorious as babies are for dropping food, perfect pal for a hungry pooch.

Hannah’s running scared and can’t trust anyone but as she starts to settle in to her new life and the bruises fade, maybe it’s time to. As long as her awful husband doesn’t find them.

Written sensitively and with obvious compassion, this is the best possible outcome for someone fleeing violence, and Hannah finds a new home and a fresh start. Not everyone gets that, but this is a hopeful book, written with heart.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: When Things are Alive They Hum – Hannah Bent

Set between Hong Kong, London and China in the year 2000, When Things are Alive They Hum by Hannah Bent tells the story of two sisters, the grief that shapes them as children and the lengths to which they will go to save each other as adults. Of her debut novel, Hannah says ‘My inspiration is my sister Camilla who is living with Down syndrome. Our relationship has taught me so much about love, life and grief. I do hope that some of the gifts that Camilla has given me may now be passed onto you through this story.’

Harper, born with a congenital heart disorder and living with what she calls the Up syndrome, is happily living in Hong Kong and in a relationship. On the other side of the world, Marlowe is studying a rare species of butterfly when she is called home with devastating news — Harper’s heart is failing and she has been denied a necessary transplant because she is living with a disability. So begins a journey for the two sisters, both fiercely determined to protect the other no matter the sacrifice.

When Things are Alive They Hum poses profound questions about the nature of love and existence, the ways grief changes us, and how we confront the hand fate has dealt us. Intensely moving, exquisitely written and literally humming with wonder, it is a novel that celebrates life in all its guises, and what comes after.

Born and raised in Hong Kong, Hannah Bent completed her Bachelor of Arts in Fine Art and Film from Central Saint Martins School of Art and Design in London. She undertook further study in both directing and screenwriting at the Australian Film and Television and Radio School and has a Masters in Creative Writing from the University of Technology, Sydney. She was the 2013 recipient of the Ray Koppe Young Writers Award for her novel as a work in progress. Instagram: @hannahbent_author Website:

My thoughts: this was lovely, be warned you will need the tissues though. Love is a funny, complicated thing. Marlowe loves Harper, her younger sister, and would do anything for her, but the thought of Harper dying from the heart defect she was born with causes her to spiral.

Harper is very perceptive – she can see the pain her sister is in. Pain that dates back to the death of their mother when they were both very young. Marlowe has been carrying her grief around with her.

As Harper’s condition worsens, Marlowe takes things to an extreme, desperate to save her sister. But she isn’t listening to what Harper wants. It’s only when she starts, that she understands and can stop trying to fix everything.

Beautiful, sad, and intensely moving, this was a joy to read although it made me cry. Harper’s way of seeing the world is magical and colourful, all she wants is to be happy, to be with her family, her friends, her Louis, and her Marlowe. Tender and heartbreaking, I think we all need to try to be a bit more Harper.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: This Is Us – Helen McGinn

A story about friends, sisters, motherhood and starting again – one day at a time…
Stella fell in love with Simon hard and fast. He was everything she wanted in a husband, and he seemed to feel the same way about her. More than a decade of marriage later, life is sweet. They
have three much-wanted children, a successful business, and a comfortable London home. What more could Stella possibly want?
But then, out of the blue, Simon is gone. Vanished. No one knows where he’s gone or why.
Now Stella, with the help of her friends and family, has to pick up the pieces of her and her children’s life, all the while wondering what she missed. Was her husband who he said he was, and
can she trust her own memories of their life together?
Helen McGinn’s latest novel is a love story to friendship, sisters, motherhood and starting again – one day at a time. Perfect for fans of Elizabeth Noble, Cathy Kelly and JoJo Moyes.

Helen McGinn is a much-loved wine expert on TV and in print and an international wine judge. She spent ten years as a supermarket buyer sourcing wines around the world before setting up her
award-winning blog (and now best-selling wine book) The Knackered Mother’s Wine Club. She is the drinks writer for the Daily Mail and regularly appears on TV’s Saturday Kitchen and This Morning.
Helen lives in the New Forest.

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My thoughts: as someone whose husband recently left them, I totally resonated with Stella. Although I don’t think mine has done all of the awful things Simon has. I loved her hilarious group of friends – Sarah, Lucy and Bridget, and even her supposedly uptight but actually rather nice sister too. The kids were sweet and well behaved and the dog. The trip to Florence sounds amazing (I went when I was 14 but need to go again as a grown up) and her trip to Oban to solve the mystery of Simon’s past gave her a new friend and some answers.

A really enjoyable, light hearted book about friendship, sisters, family and beginning again, but in a good way. Stella is warm and kind and knows what she wants. As we all should.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: The Rise – Shari Low & Ross King

When we bury our secrets, they always come back to haunt us…
Their rise was meteoric.
Only a few years before, they had been three friends from Glasgow, just trying to survive tough lives of danger and dysfunction.
But on one Hollywood evening in 1993, they were on the world’s biggest stage, accepting their Oscar in front of the watching world.
That night was the beginning of their careers. But it was also the end of their friendship.
Over the next twenty years, Mirren McLean would become one of the most powerful writers in the movie industry.
Zander Leith would break box-office records as cinema’s most in-demand action hero.
And Davie Johnson would rake in millions as producer of some of the biggest shows on TV.
For two decades they didn’t speak, driven apart by a horrific secret.
Until now…
Their past is coming back to bite them, and they have to decide whether to run, hide, or fight.
Because when you rise to the top, there’s always someone who wants to see you fall.
An exciting new glam thriller for the fans of Taylor Jenkins Reid, Liane Moriarty and Jo Spain

Shari Low and Ross King MBE is a writing partnership forged in a friendship of over 30 years. Scottish author Shari is the bestselling writer of over thirty novels including bestsellers My One Month
Marriage, One Summer Sunrise and The Story of our Secrets. Los-Angeles-based Ross King is a four times news Emmy award-winning TV and radio host, actor, producer, writer and performer, and is
currently the Los Angeles correspondent for ITV’s Lorraine and Good Morning Britain. They are publishing their Hollywood thriller trilogy with Boldwood, the first of which is called The Rise and is
due for release in September 2022.

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My thoughts: this was a lot of fun. I love Shari’s books and this had her trademark humour mixed with a shot of Hollywood glamour. Three friends from a rough Glasgow council estate escape their lives and with a script based on a terrible incident somehow blag their way to fame and fortune and then never speak again.

Until a journalist starts digging, wanting to write about their upbringing, dig up the past. Something they would do anything to stop. Might be time to catch up.

I was hooked, this was so good, written like a thriller but with lots in common with vintage Jackie Collins or Taylor Jenkins Reid, that behind the scenes everything is falling apart vibe, the glitz is fake feel to it. And it’s really shocking too. I won’t go into details but wow. Lots of twists you will not spot.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: All That’s Left Unsaid – Tracey Lien

They claim they saw nothing. She knows they’re lying.

1996 – Cabramatta, Sydney

‘Just let him go.’

Those are words Ky Tran will forever regret. The words she spoke when her parents called to ask if they should let her younger brother Denny out to celebrate his high school graduation with friends. That night, Denny – optimistic, guileless Denny – is brutally murdered inside a busy restaurant in the Sydney suburb of Cabramatta, a refugee enclave facing violent crime, and an indifferent police force.

Returning home for the funeral, Ky learns that the police are stumped by her brother’s case. Even though several people were present at Denny’s murder, each bystander claims to have seen nothing, and they are all staying silent.

Determined to uncover the truth, Ky tracks down and questions the witnesses herself. But what she learns goes beyond what happened that fateful night. The silence has always been there, threaded through the generations, and Ky begins to expose the complex traumas weighing on those present the night Denny died. As she peels back the layers of the place that shaped her, she must confront more than the reasons her brother is dead. And once those truths have finally been spoken, how can any of them move on?

My thoughts: this is a powerful book, as Ky (pronounced Key) tries to solve the mystery of her brother’s horrific murder, she reflects on growing up the children of immigrants, her parents are from Korea, and the legacy that leaves her and her generation with. The microaggressions, the overt or not racism, the way none of the white Australians will admit it must have been hard.

There’s also poverty, parental expectations and fears, violence, gangs and grief in the mix. Why won’t her brother’s friends or even his teacher speak up? And what does her long lost best friend Minnie have to do with it?

Ky doesn’t just advocate for her brother with the indifferent, all white, police force, she investigates, using her skills as a journalist to interview and question witnesses, hunt down potential leads and unravel the silence around the crime. Even her own parents seem reluctant to dig deeper, lost in their grief.

Powerful, compelling and moving. This is a book I won’t be forgetting soon.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: The Ultimate Village Game – Beth Merwood plus Giveaway!

Riddled with guilt and tormented by desire, Lucy Short keeps notes about newcomers to the village, but why?

The misfit with the rescue dog has a mysterious past. She’s been biding her time, plotting and scheming, and now she’s determined to get what she deserves. It won’t be straight forward.
Someone is sure to be watching her every move, and there seems to be something more sinister going on.
Mr. Lester Senior is dead. The family is in turmoil. The future of the famous village treasure hunt is in doubt, but for Lucy a new world beckons. She must stick to her task. The rewards could be huge, but will there also be a price to pay?

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Beth Merwood is a writer from the south of England. Her debut novel, The Five Things, was published in 2021.

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Giveaway to Win 1 x Paperback and 1 x e-copy of The Ultimate Village Game (Open to UK Only)
1st Prize- Paperback copy of The Ultimate Village Game
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My thoughts: I found Lucy very intriguing, her mysterious note keeping, the fact she kept herself apart from the other villagers despite how friendly they were, thankfully that didn’t last. She seemed a bit removed from reality at the beginning, just her and Morsel the dog. But working at the local retirement home and walking Morsel draws her into the lives of others and opens her world up.

The mystery of her past and her interest in the Lester family is slowly revealed, and the endless gossip never really tells anyone anything – I think that might be the real village game, not the treasure hunt that we never get to see but hear a lot about.

I really liked a lot of the villagers and the residents of the home seemed like lovely people. As odd as Lucy seemed, she was surrounded by friendly souls and comes out of her shell. I was a bit shocked when her secrets came out, it suggested a whole other dimension to her character. Clever and enjoyable stuff.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome. Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will
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blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: The Reason – Catherine Bennetto

How much is the smile from the person you love worth to you?
Brooke’s life has derailed. Her social life and career have evaporated, her daughter is desperately unhappy and being bullied at school, and, for a 43-year-old, she probably spends way too many weekends at her parent’s. But the reason for all this is no mystery. A year and a half ago, Brooke’s husband died.
But Brooke does have one secret. Her husband’s death, the worst thing that has ever happened to her, has made her unbelievably rich.
Despite her despair, Brooke suddenly realises she has the power to make her daughter’s life, and the world a little brighter.

My thoughts: this was genuinely very, very lovely. A hug of a book, something to cheer up the gloomiest Gus. Brooke is mourning her husband and worried about her daughter, Hannah. She’s turned from a smiley, rainbow of a girl into someone sad and lonely because of a bully at school. Who needed a good shake. Honestly. And the head teacher, my goodness.

Thankfully Brooke has a lovely family and great friends. She comes up with a plan to cheer Hannah up, and a whole lot of other people too. Enter #NoReason, a rainbow of joy, from free ice cream to flash mobs, surprises hidden inside books and handed out in Tube carriages.

It turns their lives upside down but it brings such utter glee and happiness to so many. If only Brooke can keep anyone from finding out she’s behind it. And there’s a possible romance in store for her too. But will it be the drum teacher or the orthodontist? I hate going to the dentists and I really want to learn to play the drums so I know who I’d pick!

If you’re feeling a bit deflated and sad, this is a lovely, fuzzy warm book and I really recommend it. Only you can’t borrow my copy – my mum already has!

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: Rock ‘n’ Rose – Suzi Holder

Now or Never…In the summer of 1960, eighteen-year-old Rose Featherstone took a trip to Memphis that changed her life. Now, Rose confesses to her granddaughter, Daisy, that she returned home with more than just memories all those years ago – she was carrying Elvis Presley’s child!
Daisy is sure the claim can’t be true, and yet, what if it is? When her grandmother passes away soon after her startling revelation and leaves Daisy with a ticket to Memphis, Tennessee, Daisy decides it’s
time to discover the truth. She’s always struggled to fit in but this trip might just show her the benefits of being born to stand out and is a moody motorcycle cop called Blue the answer to all her
Her adventures in Memphis take her behind the famous music gates of Graceland. Pack your Blue Suede Shoes for a rockin’ rom-com.

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Real rock wife Suzan, wife of former Slade frontman Noddy Holder, has written another ‘rock n’ roll rom-com’ to follow her Beatles themed debut ‘Shake It Up, Beverley’.
Journalist and TV producer Suzan once again weaves her love for music into a hilarious and heart-warming story that is uplifting and laugh-out-loud funny.
Suzan says: “I love that my books celebrate music and have been inspired by my own life experience of living in a slightly crazy, rock ‘n’ roll, rom-com world…some of the weirdest and funniest stories in the books really have happened to me!”
Suzan Holder trained as a newspaper journalist and worked on regional and national newspapers before moving into TV. She produced a variety of television news and lifestyle programmes and was
executive producer of ITV’s daytime network show ‘Loose Women’. She is a monthly columnist for Cheshire Life Magazine and appears regularly on radio.
Suzan has one son, two step-daughters and two step grand-children. Originally from the West Midlands Suzan now lives with Noddy Holder in Cheshire, they have been together for 32 years.

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My thoughts: this was a fun road trip story, alternating between the perspectives of Rose, Lily (Rose’s daughter) and Daisy (Lily’s daughter) as they slowly unravel the story of Rose’s trip to Memphis and who Lily’s father is. Is he really Elvis?

I liked the way Daisy cherishes the bond with Rose, even after Rose dies. Having lost my beloved Grandad earlier this year, it’s something I recognise. Honouring Rose by undertaking the mission to Memphis, literally following in her footsteps and trying to find out who Rose’s long lost love really was is sweet and Daisy also finds friendship and maybe even love in the land of rock ‘n’ roll.

I enjoyed this book a lot and found it engaging, fun and entertaining. I’ve never been to Memphis but it felt vivid and real, like Daisy was showing me around!

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: The Lighthouse Bookshop – Sharon Gosling

At the heart of a tiny community in a remote village just inland from the Aberdeenshire coast stands an unexpected lighthouse. Built two centuries ago by an eccentric landowner, it has become home to the only bookshop for miles around.
Rachel is an incomer to the village. She arrived five years ago and found a place she could call home. So when the owner of the Lighthouse Bookshop dies suddenly, she steps in to take care of the place, trying to help it survive the next stage of its life.
But when she discovers a secret in the lighthouse, long kept hidden, she realises there is more to the history of the place than she could ever imagine. Can she uncover the truth about the lighthouse’s first owner? And can she protect the secret history of the place?

My thoughts: this was a lovely book, with a mystery at its heart in the shape of the lighthouse’s secrets and past but it was also about the people in the village who loved the bookshop and wanted to preserve it rather than see it destroyed by selfish property developer Dora McCreedy (or McGreedy as I renamed her in my head).

Rachel and Gilly both find a safe haven in the bookshop and in the village. There’s romance in the air too. It’s such a sweet, gentle story, something I really needed and the lighthouse’s past was also lovely and a little sad. Perfect for a cosy evening reading.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.