Book Review: The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

“I could recognize him by touch alone, by smell; I would know him blind, by the way his breaths came and his feet struck the earth. I would know him in death, at the end of the world.”

Written by Madeline Miller and published in 2011, The Song of Achilles follows Patroclus, an awkward young prince who has been exiled to the court of King Peleus. There, he meets Prince Achilles. By all rights, their paths should never cross, but Achilles takes the shamed prince as his friend. As they grow into young men skilled in the arts of war and medicine, their bond blossoms into something deeper, despite the displeasure of Achilles’ mother Thetis, a cruel sea goddess. But then word comes that Helen of Sparta has been kidnapped. Torn between love and fear for his friend, Patroclus journeys with Achilles to Troy, little knowing that the years that follow will test everything they hold dear.

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Book Review: Greenwich Park by Katherine Faulkner

“When you have it all, you have so much more to lose.”

Set to be released on 15th April, Greenwich Park by Katherine Faulkner follows heavily pregnant Helen as she attends her first antenatal class. Helen has it all. Daniel is the perfect husband, Rory is the perfect brother, and Serena is the perfect sister-in-law. She’s also finally pregnant after years of tragedy. But when her loving husband doesn’t turn up to class, Helen wasn’t expecting to find a new friend in Rachel. Extroverted, brash, and unsettling, Rachel just wants to get to know Helen and her friends and her family. Everything about them. Every little secret…

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Book Review: The Thin Place by CD Major

Set to be released on 15th April, The Thin Place by CD Major follows journalist Ava Brent who decides to investigate the dark mystery of Overtoun Estate, a ‘thin place’ steeped in myth which the locals fear because of the secrets it keeps. Ava has no idea how dangerous this story will be for her, and before she knows it, she is caught in the house’s grasp too. After she discovers the history of a sick young girl who lived there, she starts to understand the sadness that shrouds it. But when she finds an ominous old message etched into a windowsill, she is forced to wonder what horrors the house is protecting. And what will it cost her to find out? With her own first child on the way, Ava knows she should stay away. But even as her life starts to unravel, and she receives chilling threats, the house and the bridge keep pulling her back…

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Book Review: Once Upon a Mermaid’s Tail by Beatrice Blue

Set to be released on 13th April, Once Upon a Mermaid’s Tail by Beatrice Blue follows Theodore who has a little boat and a big passion: collecting fish. He loves nothing better than discovering a new fish. But one day, he finds something he’s never seen before: a tiny creature in a beautiful shell. Ignoring the voice that tells him to leave her alone, he takes her home. But in a tank, she gets weaker and weaker. Can Theodore learn that the creature belongs in the ocean, before it’s too late?

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Book Review: The Dodos Did It! by Alice McKinley

Set to be released on 29th April, The Dodos Did It! by Alice McKinley is a funny children’s story that follows Jack who doesn’t just like dodos, he LOVES them. So when his dearest wish for a pet dodo comes true, surely Jack will be the happiest he’s ever been, EVER. Unless, of course, Jack wishes for more and more dodos. But when his new pets begin to cause complete chaos and no one believes that the dodos did it (because dodos don’t exist), everyone blames Jack for everything.

Maybe it’s time for Jack to think about wishing for something completely different…

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Book Review: Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough

“Everyone should be allowed their secrets. You can never know everything about a person. You’d go mad trying to.”

Originally published in 2017, Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough follows David and Adele who seem like the ideal pair. He’s a successful psychiatrist, she is his picture-perfect wife who adores him. But why is he so controlling? And why is she keeping things hidden? As Louise, David’s new secretary, is drawn into their world, she uncovers more puzzling questions than answers. The only thing that is crystal clear is that something in this marriage is very, very wrong. But Louise can’t guess how wrong – and how far someone might go to protect their marriage’s secrets.

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Book Review: What You Never Knew by Jessica Hamilton

Set to be released on 13th April, What You Never Knew by Jessica Hamilton follows two sisters, one living and one recently dead, who have just lost their mother. Now, forty-year-old June is shocked to find out that she has been left her childhood holiday cottage on the idyllic Avril Island in her mother’s will. June believed that the island had been sold after the summer of her father’s disappearance when she was only twelve years old. Now, it’s hers. Still reeling from the grief of losing her sister, June travels back to Avril Island in search of answers. As she digs, it takes June no time at all to realize that her childhood summers at Avril Island were not at all what they had seemed to be.

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BOOK TOUR: The Imposter by Anna Wharton

“Everybody lies.”

Released earlier this month, The Imposter by Anna Wharton follows newspaper archivist Chloe who lives a quiet life, working in the day and taking care of her Nan in the evening. She’s happy simply to read about the lives of others as she files away the news clippings from the safety of her desk. But there’s one story that she can’t stop thinking about. The case of Angie Kyle – a girl, Chloe’s age, who went missing as a child. A girl whose parents never gave up hope. When Chloe’s Nan gets moved into a nursing home, leaving Chloe takes a desperate step and answers an ad to be a lodger in the missing girl’s family home. It could be the perfect opportunity to get closer to the story she’s read so much about. But the couple isn’t all that they seem from the outside. With everyone in the house hiding something, the question is – whose secrets are the most dangerous?

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READALONG: The Shadow Friend by Alex North

“There were good memories here too. Moments that, looking back on them objectively, had been filled with light. The problem was that what happened later cast such a shadow they were hard to see.”

Originally published in 2020, The Shadow Friend by Alex North follows lecturer Paul who has never forgiven himself for his part in what happened twenty-five years ago. During their school years, Paul’s friend Charlie Crabtree brutally killed their classmate – and then vanished without a trace. Paul hasn’t been back home since. But when his elderly mother has a fall, it’s finally time for him to stop running. It’s not long before things start to go wrong, though. His mother claims there’s someone in the house, and Paul soon realises someone is following him, too. And, in a town many miles away, a copycat killer has struck. Which makes him wonder – what really happened to Charlie the day of the murder? And can anyone stop it from happening again?

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Book Review: The Giver Of Stars by Jojo Moyes

“Life is complicated. Which is why finding a little joy where you can is important.”

Published in 2020, The Giver Of Stars by Jojo Moyes is set in the late 1930s in Baileyville, Kentucky, where English-born Alice Wright makes an impulsive decision to marry wealthy American Bennett Van Cleve and leave her home and family behind. She hopes for an exciting new life but soon finds herself faced with a disapproving husband who favours work over his wife and who is dominated by his overbearing father. It’s not the adventure – or the escape – that she hoped for. That is until she meets Margery O’Hare, who’s on a mission to spread the wonder of books and reading to the poor and lost – and she needs Alice’s help. Trekking alone under big open skies, through wild mountain forests, Alice, Margery and their fellow sisters of the trail discover freedom, friendship – and a life to call their own. But when Baileyville turns against them, will their belief in one another – and the power of the written word – be enough to save them?

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Book Review: The Chalet by Catherine Cooper

Published in 2020, The Chalet by Catherine Cooper follows two timelines. The first is set in 1998 in the French Alps who two young men ski into a blizzard, but only one returns. Twenty years later, four friends go on a luxury getaway to the same resort. Each has a secret, two may have blood on their hands, and one is a killer-in-waiting. Someone knows what really happened that day. And somebody will pay.

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Book Review: Ig Pig and Og Frog! by Sophie Burrows

Set to be released on 1st April 2021, Ig Pig and Og Frog! by Sophie Burrows follows two best friends. They do EVERYTHING together, just the two of them, including playing in a super cool, crazy loud, totally rocking rock band! Until Og meets SOMEONE ELSE! And Ig starts feeling VERY left out. Find out how Ig deals with jealousy in this sparkling debut about friendship.

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Book Review: Beyond the Setting Sun by Sarah J. Dodd and Cee Biscoe (Illustrator)

Set to be published on 23rd July, Beyond the Setting Sun is written by Sarah J. Dodd and illustrated by Cee Biscoe. Set in the African Savannah, the waterholes have dried up and there has not been enough to drink for some of the animals. Ekundayo, a young elephant, struggles to understand the loss of his mother, but the support of his family help and guide him through.

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BOOK TOUR: The Hiding Place by Jenny Quintana

“Some houses have their secrets. But so do some people…”

Released on 18th March, The Hiding Place by Jenny Quintana follows adopted Marina, who was found days after her birth, wrapped in a blue shawl, in the hallway of a shared house in London. When Marina finds that there’s a flat to let in the house, she hopes that moving in might hold some clues. What if it’s not just the house, though? What if someone connected to it knows what really happened that day? Someone who doesn’t want the truth to come to light?

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BOOK TOUR: The Whispers by Heidi Perks

“A missing wife. Four friends. Who is telling the truth?”

Set to be released in hardback on 15th April and now available in eBook, The Whispers by Heidi Perks follows the disappearance of Anna Robinson who hasn’t been seen since she went on a night out with her four closest friends. She has a loving husband and a son she adores. Surely she wouldn’t abandon them and her perfect life? But what has happened to her? At the school gates, it’s not long before the rumours start. Anna’s oldest friend Grace is beside herself with worry – desperately searching for answers, and certain that someone is hiding the truth. With each day that passes, Anna’s life is under increasing threat. And as the pressure mounts, it won’t be long before something cracks…

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Book Review: His & Hers by Alice Feeney

“There are at least two sides to every story; yours and mine, ours and theirs, his and hers.”

Published in 2020, His & Hers by Alice Feeney follows newsreader Anna Andrews who is taken back to her hometown of Blackdown village to cover a case when a woman is murdered. Her ex-husband, DCI Jack Harper, is investigating the murder and soon becomes suspicious of her involvement, especially when two more murders follow that appear to have a link. But when Jack becomes a suspect himself, there’s no telling what the killer’s next move will be. If there are two sides to every story, someone is always lying, and some secrets are worth killing to keep.

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Book Review: The Switch by Beth O’Leary

“When people talk about loss, they always say you’ll never be the same, that it will change you, leave a hole in your life … But when you lose somebody you love, you don’t lose everything they gave you. They leave something with you.”

Published in 2020, The Switch by Beth O’Leary follows 79-year-old Eileen and her twenty-something granddaughter, Leena, who are both tired of life. So maybe it’s time they swapped places…

When overachiever Leena is ordered to take a two-month sabbatical, she escapes to her grandmother Eileen’s house for some overdue rest. Eileen is newly single and about to turn eighty. She’d like a second chance at love, but her tiny Yorkshire village doesn’t offer many eligible gentlemen. So they decide to swap houses for two months. Eileen can live in London and look for love. Meanwhile, Leena will look after everything in rural Yorkshire. But with gossiping neighbours and difficult family dynamics to navigate up north, and trendy London flatmates and online dating to contend with in the city, stepping into one another’s shoes proves more difficult than either of them expected.

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TV Review: Crime Scene: The Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel (Netflix) – Documentary

Crime Scene: The Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel aired on Netflix in February 2021 and is directed by Joe Berlinger (Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes). The documentary series chronicles the mysterious disappearance of Elisa Lam at the Cecil Hotel in 2013, whose final moments, which were caught on the hotel’s lift CCTV, ignited a media frenzy and mobilized a global community of internet sleuths eager to solve the case.

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Book Review: The Shadow In The Glass by J.J.A. Harwood

“I’d like to propose a bargain. I will offer you seven wishes. Whatever you ask for, I shall grant you. There are few limits.”

Set to be released on 18th March, The Shadow In The Glass by J.J.A. Harwood is a dark fairy tale set against a Victorian backdrop that follows housemaid Eleanor, who is forced to work hard under the unforgiving, lecherous gaze of the man she once called stepfather. Her only refuge is in the books she reads by candlelight, secreted away in the library she isn’t permitted to enter. One night, among her beloved books of far-off lands, Ella’s wishes are answered. At the stroke of midnight, a fairy godmother makes her an offer that will change her life: seven wishes, hers to make as she pleases. But each wish comes at a price, and Ella must decide whether it’s one she’s willing to pay it.

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Book Review: S.T.A.G.S. by MA Bennett

“It was like that bit in Beauty and the Beast when the Beast dances with Belle. Except there was no Belle. And no music. And no candlelight. Just a beast.”

Published in 2017, S.T.A.G.S. by MA Bennett follows Greer MacDonald during the autumn term of sixth form at the exclusive St. Aidan The Great boarding school, known to its privileged pupils as STAGS. Just when she despairs of making friends, Greer receives a mysterious invitation with three words embossed upon on it: huntin’ shootin’ fishin’. The invitation is to spend the half-term weekend at the country manor of Henry de Warlencourt, the most popular and wealthy boy at STAGS. But when Greer joins the other chosen few at the ancient and sprawling Longcross Hall, she realises that, with Henry’s parents not at home, the students are at the mercy of their capricious host.

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