A Week in Books · Anstey Harris · Beth Morrey · Book events · Book Hauls · Books · Caroline Scott · Catherine Issac · Christina Pishiris · Holly Hepburn · Literary Lowdown · Lucy Coleman · Milly Johnson · Paige Toon · Santa Montefiore · Sara-Ella Ozbek · Sarah Butler

Sarah’s Vignettes Literary Lowdown ~ 9-15 March 2020

Welcome to this week’s round-up of book life at Sarah’s Vignettes.

Keep scrolling to get the lowdown on what’s been going on here at Sarah’s Vignettes, the books I’ve been adding to my shelves, and other bookish delights. I hope you find some books here to escape with.

~ On the blog ~

On Tuesday 3rd March, I went to Simon & Schuster’s Spring Blogger Evening. This was my first blogger event at Simon & Schuster and SJ and her team really know how to put on a showcase!

There were perfectly themed cupcakes, a quiz, flat lays, author pitches and Q&As, author 2 truths and one lie (what is said at a Blogger Evening, stays at a Blogger Evening!), and good merchandise. We got to hang out with the authors, get our proofs signed and mingle. This week I wrote a blog post about the evening, the authors and their books.


Jack & Bet by Sarah Butler

On Wednesday, I shared my review of Jack & Bet by Sarah Butler. is a heartwarming story with kindness at it’s core and I am glad that I got a chance to read it.

~ On my bookshelf ~

I’ve added 2 books to my book shelf this week.

SJ at Simon & Schuster sent us a link to download Paige Toon’s upcoming novel: The Minute I Saw You . It’s not out until May 14th so I feel privileged to already have a copy to read and review.

The Minute I Saw You by Paige Toon

Some people believe that it’s possible to fall in love simply by gazing into another person’s eyes . . .

When Hannah and Sonny meet, a spark ignites that is hard to ignore and impossible to forget. Weeks later, their paths cross again, but Sonny appears distant and reluctant to meet Hannah’s eye. It soon transpires that Sonny is at a crossroads. He’s committed to making serious life changes – ones that can’t and won’t include romance.

Hannah has her own reasons for wanting to keep their budding friendship platonic. Plus, she’s only in town temporarily, housesitting for her uncle. But as the summer hots up and the chemistry between them intensifies, Hannah and Sonny discover that there’s more to each other than meets the eye…


I’ve heard a lot of good things about Saving Missy by Beth Morrey so I could resist no longer when I went to the supermarket yesterday!

Saving Missy by Beth Morrey

Saving Missy by Beth Morrey

Missy Carmichael’s life has become small.

Grieving for a family she has lost or lost touch with, she’s haunted by the echoes of her footsteps in her empty home; the sound of the radio in the dark; the tick-tick-tick of the watching clock.

Spiky and defensive, Missy knows that her loneliness is all her own fault. She deserves no more than this; not after what she’s done. But a chance encounter in the park with two very different women opens the door to something new.

Another life beckons for Missy, if only she can be brave enough to grasp the opportunity. But seventy-nine is too late for a second chance. Isn’t it?

~ On my bedside table ~

Summer in Provence by Lucy Coleman

I finished reading Summer in Provence by Lucy Coleman last night and I’ll be sharing my review here on 27th March. Doesn’t that cover just make you smile?! 🙂

Summer in Provence by Lucy Coleman

Is a change as good as a rest?

When married couple Fern and Aiden have a windfall, their reactions could not be more different. While Fern is content to pay off their mortgage and build a nest egg before starting a family, her husband is set on traveling the world.

Fern’s not much of a back-packer so, before she knows it, the idea of a ‘marriage gap year’ takes shape. And, as Aiden heads off to the wilds of Australia, Fern chooses the more restful Provence for her year out.

Set amidst the glorious French scenery, Château de Vernon offers a retreat from the hustle and bustle of normal life, and Fern agrees to help out in return for painting lessons from the owner – renowned, but rather troubled, painter Nico.

As their year unfolds in very different ways, will the time apart transform their marriage, or will it drive Fern and Aiden even further apart…

Let Lucy Coleman whisk you off on a heart-warming, sun-drenched and magical French adventure.


What books have you been reading and buying this week? Let me know by leaving a reply in the box below.

Until next week, happy reading!

Advanced Review Copy · Anstey Harris · Book events · Book Hauls · Books · Caroline Scott · Christina Pishiris · Holly Hepburn · Other Bookish Things · Paige Toon · Santa Montefiore · Sara-Ella Ozbek

Simon & Schuster Spring Blogger Evening 2020 ~ @simonschusterUK @TeamBATC #TeamBATC

Tuesday 3rd March started out as a normal day: I got up and went to work. Part way through the morning, I noticed that fellow book blogger Rachel Gilbey had tagged me in a tweet, drawing my attention to the fact that SJV, Brand Development Director at Simon & Schuster, had a couple of spaces open up on her Books and The City Spring Blogger Evening. Well, I jumped at the chance and thankfully a space was still available! 

This was my first blogger event at Simon & Schuster and SJ and her team really know how to put on a showcase! There were perfectly themed cupcakes (made by Restoration Cake), a quiz, flat lays, author pitches and Q&As, author 2 truths and one lie (what is said at a Blogger Evening, stays at a Blogger Evening!), and good merchandise. We got to hang out with the authors, get our proofs signed and mingle. Sometimes, the best days cannot be planned 😊 

Before I delve into the authors at the event and their books, I am going to side track for two minutes and explain a little about flat lays – yes, I heard some of you say earlier ‘what the hell are flat lays?!’.

A flat lay is a photo taken at a birds eye view of a collection of items laid out on a flat surface, with one item as the main focus whilst the others are decorative. Flat lays are a game changer, particularly for book photography. They have been around for a while but it’s only recently, since I’ve got more into bookstagramming – the book side of photo sharing app Instagram – that I’ve really taken notice of photo composition.

On Tuesday, the Simon & Schuster marketing team had laid out 7 flat lays for us, one for each book. They’d arranged lots of objects related to the book and placed the book in the middle. This was genius! The photos of the books below are from the flat lays. 

Now onto the books!! There are some fabulous books coming out this year from this magnificent seven.

Sara-Ella Ozbek

The High Moments by Sara-Ella Ozbeck

Up first was Sara-Ella Ozbek and her debut novel The High Moments, out on May 28, 2020. Sara-Ella read from the first few pages. It made me laugh and also made my eyes water. This is a book to watch!

Santa Montefiore

Santa Montefiore
Here and Now by Santa Montefiore

Next was No. 1 bestselling author Santa Montefiore and her upcoming novel Here and Now. This sounds like an emotional read but a heartwarming one too. It is a positive take on dementia and follows a community that comes together to capture memories for one of their own. It’s out on July 9, 2020.

Paige Toon

Paige Toon
The Minute I Saw You by Paige Toon

Then Sunday Times Bestselling Author Paige Toon told us about The Minute I Saw You, which is out on May 14, 2020. When Hannah and Sonny meet, it’s love at first sight. However, they are both trying to fight it for reasons us readers find out as we go along. This is going to be a curling up with a cuppa read.

Holly Hepburn

Holly Hepburn
Coming Home to Brightwater Bay by Holly Hepburn

Holly Hepburn, author of A Year at the Star and Sixpence, introduced Coming Home to Brightwater Bay, set on the Orkney Islands. It follows an author on her journey to find her writing mojo, a welcoming community and some love interests. We are promised a handsome viking!! Coming soon.

Christina Pishiris

Christina Pishiris
Love Songs for Sceptics

Christina and I had actually met the previous Saturday at RNA London Chapter meet-up. At Simon & Schuster, she spoke about her debut novel Love Songs for Sceptics and introduced us to Zoe, one of her main characters, through her own version of Reddit‘s ‘Am I the Asshole?’ . It’s out now in Kindle and due out in paperback in April 2020.

Caroline Scott

Caroline Scott
When I Come Home Again by Caroline Scott

Next, Caroline Scott introduced her second novel When I Come Home Again. Set in the aftermath of the First World War, a soldier has lost his memory and appeal goes out to try and find out his identity. Three women come forward claiming him as their own but who is telling the truth? I think it will be a powerful read. Watch out for this one hitting shelves in hardback from October 29, 2020.

Anstey Harris

Anstey Harris
Where We Belong by Anstey Harris

Last but not least and fresh from her RNA Award win for The Truths and Triumphs of Grace Atherton the previous night, Anstey Harris read from her upcoming novel Where We Belong. It is about a mother and son who move into a museum for a summer and the secrets they uncover. It’s out in hardback on May 14, 2020.


Thank you to SJ and her BATC team for a wonderful evening and for the very generous goody bag. I feel like part of the gang now. I cannot wait for the next S&S event!! 

A Week in Books · Adele Parks · Anstey Harris · Books · Cathy Kelly · Cecelia Ahern · Elizabeth Buchan · Elizabeth Macneal · Guildford Book Festival · Katherine Center · Lisa Jewell · Literary Lowdown · Richard Roper · Romantic Novelists Association · Stacey Halls · Tracy Chevalier

Sarah’s Vignettes Literary Lowdown ~ 13 Oct 2019

Welcome to this week’s round-up of what’s been going on here at Sarah’s Vignettes, on social media, the books I’ve been adding to my shelves and other bookish delights. Keep scrolling to get the lowdown, including the introduction of an ad-hoc section.

~ On the blog ~

Shelf Control

I took a break from Shelf Control this week. It’ll be back next week 🙂


The Familiars by Stacey Halls

On Monday, I shared my review for The Familiars by Stacey Halls. It’s a brilliant book!

~ On social media ~

For #ThrowbackThursday, I chose How to Walk Away by Katherine Center.


On Friday, I was chatting with author Rhoda Baxter over on the Romantic Novelists Association (RNA) blog. This was great fun to do! https://romanticnovelistsassociation.org/2019/10/sarah-swan-sarahs-vignettes-blog/

~ On my calendar ~

Adele Parks
Adele Parks

On Tuesday, I went to my local library to hear Sunday Times Bestselling Author, Adele Parks talk about her life, writing and her latest novel Lies, Lies, Lies. She also shared some top tips for any budding writers looking to get published. Adele is such a great speaker, I could listen to her stories for hours!


On Saturday, I went to Guildford Book Festival‘s Readers’ Day. With 7 authors, 1 host and books, books, books, it’s a mini festival in one day.

Tracy Chevalier chatting with Fanny Blake
Tracy Chevalier chatting with Fanny Blake

The day began with a brilliant opening session from Tracy Chevalier. She is a wonderful, fascinating speaker. She spoke with Fanny Blake (our fabulous host for the day) about her inspiration for her latest novel A Single Thread and treated us to a reading from the opening chapter. I am so looking forward to reading this book (find out what A Single Thread is about in the On my bookshelf section below).

From left to right: Fanny Blake, Lisa Jewell, Adele Parks
From left to right: Fanny Blake, Lisa Jewell, Adele Parks

The next session was over to the darker side of fiction and domestic noir with Lisa Jewell and Adele Parks. They both spoke about their latest novels The Family Upstairs and Lies, Lies, Lies and their contrasting writing processes.

From left to right: Fanny Blake, Elizabeth Macneal, Elizabeth Buchan
From left to right: Fanny Blake, Elizabeth Macneal, Elizabeth Buchan

After lunch, it was the turn of the two Elizabeths: Elizabeth Macneal and Elizabeth Buchan, to talk about their books The Doll Factory and The Museum of Broken Promises. I love that Elizabeth Macneal plans out her stories with the aid of a spreadsheet (I organise blog stuff with a spreadsheet!). Elizabeth Buchan shared some eye-opening snippets from her research trips to Berlin and Prague (settings for The Museum of Broken Promises).

From left to right: Fanny Blake, Richard Roper, Anstey Harris
From left to right: Fanny Blake, Richard Roper, Anstey Harris

The final session of the day had the audience laughing out loud. Richard Roper and Anstey Harris were the perfect duo to finish an awesome day with, chatting about their books Something to Live For and The Truths and Triumphs of Grace Atherton, their long journeys to publication and how the titles of both books changed for a US market.

~ On my bookshelf ~

I added 5 books (4 of them signed) to my shelves this week!

A Single Thread by Tracy Chevalier

A Single Thread by Tracy Chevalier

It is 1932, and the losses of the First World War are still keenly felt. Violet Speedwell, mourning for both her fiancé and her brother and regarded by society as a ‘surplus woman’ unlikely to marry, resolves to escape her suffocating mother and strike out alone.

A new life awaits her in Winchester. Yes, it is one of draughty boarding-houses and sidelong glances at her naked ring finger from younger colleagues; but it is also a life gleaming with independence and opportunity. Violet falls in with the broderers, a disparate group of women charged with embroidering kneelers for the Cathedral, and is soon entwined in their lives and their secrets. As the almost unthinkable threat of a second Great War appears on the horizon Violet collects a few secrets of her own that could just change everything…

The Museum of Broken Promises by Elizabeth Buchan

The Museum of Broken Promises by Elizabeth Buchan

Paris, today. The Museum of Broken Promises is a place of wonder and sadness, hope and loss. Every object in the museum has been donated – a cake tin, a wedding veil, a baby’s shoe. And each represent a moment of grief or terrible betrayal. The museum is a place where people come to speak to the ghosts of the past and, sometimes, to lay them to rest. Laure, the owner and curator, has also hidden artefacts from her own painful youth amongst the objects on display.

Prague, 1985. Recovering from the sudden death of her father, Laure flees to Prague. But life behind the Iron Curtain is a complex thing: drab and grey yet charged with danger. Laure cannot begin to comprehend the dark, political currents that run beneath the surface of this communist city. Until, that is, she meets a young dissident musician. Her love for him will have terrible and unforeseen consequences. It is only years later, having created the museum, that Laure can make finally face up to her past and celebrate the passionate love which has directed her life.

Something to Live For by Richard Roper

Something to Live For by Richard Roper

Sometimes you have to risk everything to find your something…

All Andrew wants is to be normal. He has the perfect wife and 2.4 children waiting at home for him after a long day. At least, that’s what he’s told people.

The truth is, his life isn’t exactly as people think and his little white lie is about to catch up with him.

Because in all Andrew’s efforts to fit in, he’s forgotten one important thing: how to really live. And maybe, it’s about time for him to start.

The Truths and Triumphs of Grace Atherton by Anstey Harris

Grace once had the beginnings of a promising musical career, but she hasn’t been able to play her cello publicly since a traumatic event at music college years ago. Since then, she’s built a quiet life for herself in her small English village, repairing instruments and nurturing her long- distance affair with David, the man who has helped her rebuild her life even as she puts her dreams of a family on hold until his children are old enough for him to leave his loveless marriage.

But when David saves the life of a woman in the Paris Metro, his resulting fame shines a light onto the real state of the relationship(s) in his life. Shattered, Grace hits rock bottom and abandons everything that has been important to her, including her dream of entering and winning the world’s most important violin-making competition. Her closest friends–a charming elderly violinist with a secret love affair of his own, and her store clerk, a gifted but angst-ridden teenage girl–step in to help, but will their friendship be enough to help her pick up the pieces?


I treated myself to Postscript by Cecelia Ahern. It is the sequel to P.S. I Love You and I am intrigued to find out what happens next.

Postscript by Cecelia Ahern

It’s been seven years since Holly Kennedy’s husband died – six since she read his final letter, urging Holly to find the courage to forge a new life.

She’s proud of all the ways in which she has grown and evolved. But when a group inspired by Gerry’s letters, calling themselves the PS, I Love You Club, approaches Holly asking for help, she finds herself drawn back into a world that she worked so hard to leave behind.

Reluctantly, Holly begins a relationship with the club, even as their friendship threatens to destroy the peace she believes she has achieved. As each of these people calls upon Holly to help them leave something meaningful behind for their loved ones, Holly will embark on a remarkable journey – one that will challenge her to ask whether embracing the future means betraying the past, and what it means to love someone forever…

~ On my bedside table ~

The Family Gift by Cathy Kelly

I’m currently reading The Family Gift by Cathy Kelly ahead of my stop on the blog tour on 23rd October.


What have you been reading and buying this week? Let me know by leaving a reply in the box below.

Until next week, happy reading!