A Week in Books · Adele Parks · Afia Atakora · Ayisha Malik · Books · Brian McGilloway · Emily Gunnis · Literary Lowdown

Sarah's Vignettes Literary Lowdown ~ 16-22 March 2020

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

How are you? It’s been a weird week, hasn’t it. It’s also been a relatively quiet week here on the blog. I have been fortunate though to receive some lovely books from publishers. They are all detailed further down in this blog post.

Please stay safe during this time and I hope you find lots of great books to lose yourself in. Reading can provide the perfect escape at any time but, for me, it’s needed more than ever right now.

~ On my bookshelf ~

I’ve added 4 books to my bookshelf this week, all due for publication in April and May. It’s going to be an awesome couple of months for reading if this little lot are anything to go by.

This Green and Pleasant Land by Ayisha Malik

This book is already out in hardback and digital. It’s due to be published in paperback by Zaffre on April 30th. I’ve read such good things about Ayisha’s writing that I am really looking forward to reading it.

I’ll be sharing my review for This Green and Pleasant Land here on publication day 🙂

This Green and Pleasant Land by Ayisha Malik

In the sleepy village of Babel’s End, trouble is brewing.

Bilal Hasham is having a mid-life crisis. His mother has just died, and he finds peace lying in a grave he’s dug in the garden. His elderly Auntie Rukhsana has come to live with him, and forged an unlikely friendship with village busybody, Shelley Hawking. His wife Mariam is distant and distracted, and his stepson Haaris is spending more time with his real father.

Bilal’s mother’s dying wish was to build a mosque in Babel’s End, but when Shelley gets wind of this scheme, she unleashes the forces of hell. Will Bilal’s mosque project bring his family and his beloved village together again, or drive them apart?


The Lost Child by Emily Gunnis

This one is already out in eBook and is due to be published in paperback by Headline on April 16th. I loved Emily’s first book The Girl in the Letter so I am sure The Lost Child will be just as good. I’ll be sharing an extract here on April 4th.

The Lost Child by Emily Gunnis

Her mother was the victim. Her father was the suspect. She was the only witness…

Rebecca Waterhouse is just thirteen when she witnesses her mother’s death at the hand of her father in Seaview Cottage.

But what else did Rebecca see?

Years later, Rebecca’s daughters Iris and Jessie know their mother will never speak of that terrible night. But when Jessie goes missing, with her gravely ill newborn, Iris realises the past may hold the key to her sister’s disappearance.

With Jessie in trouble, Iris must unravel a twisting story of love and betrayal in her mother’s family history.

Only then will Seaview Cottage give up its dark and tragic secret…


Just My Luck by Adele Parks

This is Adele Parks’ 20th novel and I am thrilled to both have a copy of the book and to be on the blog tour. I loved Adele’s last book Lies, Lies, Lies and I have been itching to read this one as soon as I first heard about.

Just My Luck is due to be published in paperback by HQ, HarperCollins on May 14th. I’ll be sharing my review here on the same day 🙂

Just My Lucy by Adele Parks

It’s the stuff dreams are made of – a lottery win so big, it changes everything.

For fifteen years, Lexi and Jake have played the same six numbers with their friends, the Pearsons and the Heathcotes. Over dinner parties, fish & chip suppers and summer barbecues, they’ve discussed the important stuff – the kids, marriages, jobs and houses – and they’ve laughed off their disappointment when they failed to win anything more than a tenner.  

But then, one Saturday night, the unthinkable happens. There’s a rift in the group. Someone doesn’t tell the truth. And soon after, six numbers come up which change everything forever.

Lexi and Jake have a ticket worth ÂŁ18 million. And their friends are determined to claim a share of it.


Conjure Women by Afia Atakora

Oh, hello, beautiful book cover 🙂 I’m really intrigued by this book. The publisher thought I’d enjoy it because I’ve read The Familiars by Stacey Halls.

Conjure Women is due to be published in hardback by 4th Estate on April 16th. I’ll be sharing my review here on April 18th.

Conjure Women by Afia Atakora

The pale-skinned, black-eyed baby is a bad omen. That’s one thing the people on the old plantation are sure of. The other is that Miss Rue – midwife, healer, crafter of curses – will know what to do.

But for once Rue doesn’t know. Times have changed since her mother Miss May Belle held the power to influence the life and death of her fellow slaves. Freedom has come. The master’s Big House lies in ruins. But this new world brings new dangers, and Rue’s old magic may be no match for them.

When sickness sweeps across her tight-knit community, Rue finds herself the focus of suspicion. What secrets does she keep amidst the charred remains of the Big House? Which spells has she conjured to threaten their children? And why is she so wary of the charismatic preacher man who promises to save them all?

Rue understands fear. It has shaped her life and her mother’s before her. And now she knows she must face her fears – and her ghosts – to find a new way forward for herself and her people.

~ On my bedside table ~

The Last Crossing by Brian McGilloway

I’ve 100 pages left to read of The Last Crossing by Brian McGilloway. I’ll be sharing my review here on April 11th.

The Last Crossing by Brian McGilloway

Tony, Hugh and Karen thought they d seen the last of each other thirty years ago. Half a lifetime has passed and memories have been buried. But when they are asked to reunite – to lay ghosts to rest for the good of the future – they all have their own reasons to agree. As they take the ferry from Northern Ireland to Scotland the past is brought in to terrible focus – some things are impossible to leave behind.

In The Last Crossing memory is unreliable, truth shifts and slips and the lingering legacy of the Troubles threatens the present once again.


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!

A Week in Books · Advanced Review Copy · Amelia Henley · Andi Osho · Anna bell · Blog Tours · Book events · Book Hauls · Books · Brian McGilloway · fiction · Jeffrey Archer · Jessica Ryn · Jo Piazza · Josie Lloyd · Libby Page · Literary Lowdown · Louise Hare · Nadine Matheson · Polly Crosby · Review Copy · Sairish Hussain · Stacey Halls · Tom Ellen

Sarah’s Vignettes Literary Lowdown ~ 27 January – 2 February 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, the upcoming novels I’ve been hearing about and other bookish delights.

~ On the blog ~

The 24-Hour Café by LIbby Page

On Friday, I shared my review of The 24-Hour Café by Libby Page. This book truly touched my heart.

~ On my calendar ~

HQ New Voices Fiction Showcase

On Wednesday evening, I went to the HQ New Voices Fiction Showcase. We heard from 15 authors about their upcoming novels and even got to take home the books we want to read and review. You can find out all about the evening and the books here.

~ On my bookshelf ~

I’ve added 7 books to my shelf this week.

I got a copy of Kane and Abel by Jeffrey Archer in my local WHSmith for ÂŁ2! My mum said I would enjoy it so I will give it a go soon.

Kane and Abel by Jeffrey Archer

Kane and Abel by Jeffrey Archer

They had only one thing in common . . .

William Lowell Kane and Abel Rosnovski, one the son of a Boston millionaire, the other a penniless Polish immigrant – two men born on the same day on opposite sides of the world, their paths destined to cross in the ruthless struggle to build a fortune.

Kane and Abel is the marvellous story, spanning sixty years, of two powerful men linked by an all-consuming hatred, brought together by fate to save . . . and finally destroy . . . each other.


Thank you to Emily Glenister and The Dome Press for sending me a copy of The Last Crossing by Brian McGilloway ahead of the blog tour in April.

The Last Crossing by Brian McGilloway

Tony, Hugh and Karen thought they’d seen the last of each other thirty years ago. Half a lifetime has passed and memories have been buried. But when they are asked to reunite – to lay ghosts to rest for the good of the future – they all have their own reasons to agree. As they take the ferry from Northern Ireland to Scotland the past is brought in to terrible focus – some things are impossible to leave behind.

In The Last Crossing memory is unreliable, truth shifts and slips and the lingering legacy of the Troubles threatens the present once again.


At the Showcase on Wednesday, the lovely team at HQ let us take home the books we want to read and review. Whilst all of the books from the evening are in my write-up post, I’ve listed below the ones I picked up.

The Family Tree by Sairish Hussain

The Family Tree by Sairish Hussain

Your roots can always lead you home…

Amjad cradles his baby daughter in the middle of the night. He has no time to mourn his wife’s death. Saahil and Zahra, his two small children, are relying on him. Amjad vows to love and protect them always.

Years later, Saahil and his best friend, Ehsan, have finished university and are celebrating with friends. But when the night turns dangerous, its devastating effects will ripple through the years to come.

Zahra’s world is alight with politics and activism. But she is now her father’s only source of comfort, and worries she’ll never have time for her own aspirations. Life has taken her small family in different directions – will they ever find their way back to each other?

The Family Tree is the moving story of a British Muslim family full of love, laughter and resilience as well as all the faults, mistakes and stubborn loyalties which make us human.


This Lovely City by Louise Hare

This Lovely City by Louise Hare

The drinks are flowing. The music’s playing. But the party can’t last.

London, 1950. With the Blitz over and London still rebuilding after the war, jazz musician Lawrie Matthews has answered England’s call for help. Arriving from Jamaica aboard the Empire Windrush, he’s taken a tiny room in south London lodgings, and has fallen in love with the girl next door.

Touring Soho’s music halls by night, pacing the streets as a postman by day, Lawrie has poured his heart into his new home — and it’s alive with possibility. Until one morning, while crossing a misty common, he makes a terrible discovery.


As the local community rallies, fingers of blame are pointed at those who had recently been welcomed with open arms. And before long, London’s newest arrivals become the prime suspects in a tragedy which threatens to tear the city apart. Immersive, poignant, and utterly compelling, Louise Hare’s debut examines the complexities of love and belonging, and teaches us that even in the face of anger and fear, there is always hope.


The Extraordinary Hope of Dawn Brightside by Jessica Ryn

The Extraordinary Hope of Dawn Brightside by Jessica Ryn

She’s always looking on the bright side…

Dawn Elisabeth Brightside has been running from her past for twenty-two years and two months, precisely.

So when she is offered a bed in St Jude’s Hostel for the Homeless, it means so much more than just a roof over her head.

But with St Jude’s threatened with closure, Dawn worries that everything is about to crumble around her all over again.

Perhaps, with a little help from her new friends, she can find a way to save this light in the darkness?

And maybe, just maybe, Dawn will finally have a place to call home…. 


The Illustrated Child by Polly Crosby

The Illustrated Child by Polly Crosby - cover to be revealed

Romilly lives in a ramshackle house with her eccentric artist father and her cat, Monty. She knows little about her past – but she knows that she is loved.

When her father finds fame with a series of children’s books starring her as the main character, everything changes: exotic foods appear on the table, her father appears on TV, and strangers appear at their door, convinced the books contain clues leading to a precious prize.

But as time passes, Romilly’s father becomes increasingly suspicious of the outside world until, before her eyes, he begins to disappear altogether. With no-one else to help, Romilly turns to the secrets her father has hidden in his illustrated books – realising that his treasure hunt doesn’t lead to gold, but to something far more precious…

The truth.

The Illustrated Child is the unforgettable, beguiling debut from Polly Crosby.


All About Us by Tom Ellen

All About Us by Tom Ellen

One moment in time can change your life forever…

Ben’s always loved the holidays but with his marriage to Daphne on the rocks, this year they’re missing their usual magic. So when his old flame Alice gets back in touch, Ben can’t help wonder: did he make the right choice all those years ago?

Yet everything changes on Christmas Eve when a twinkly-eyed stranger sells Ben a mysterious watch, the hands frozen at one minute to midnight. Opening his eyes the next morning, Ben is astonished to find that he has been catapulted back to 5th December 2005: the day he first kissed Daphne, leaving Alice behind.

Now Ben must make the biggest decision of his life, all over again. But this time around, will he finally find the courage to follow his heart?

All About Us is a deeply moving novel about love, loss and heartbreak — and how, with the help of a little magic, it’s never too late to find the one you’ve been searching for.

~ On my bookshelf ~

The Foundling by Stacey Halls

I’m currently reading The Foundling by Stacey Halls. Watch out for my review this month.


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!