A Week in Books · Advanced Review Copy · Anna McPartlin · Books · Cathy Kelly · Crime · fiction · Fran Cooper · Literary Lowdown · Lucy Coleman

Sarah’s Vignettes Literary Lowdown ~ 27 October 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.

~ On the blog ~

The Family Gift by Cathy Kelly

On Wednesday, it was my stop on the blog tour for The Family Gift, Cathy Kelly’s 20th novel. It’s the first book by Cathy Kelly I’ve read and I really enjoyed it. You can read my review here.

~ On social media ~

For #ThrowbackThursday, I chose The Crime Writers Association Anthology of Short Stories: Mystery Tour. It’s well worth a read, especially if you’re looking for a taster of crime fiction.

~ On my bookshelf ~

I’ve added 2 books to my digital bookshelf this week. Both of these books are proof copies for blog tours happening in November 2019 and April 2020.

Magic Under the Mistletoe by Lucy Coleman (published 5 September 2019)

Magic Under the Mistletoe by Lucy Coleman

Christmas and romance are in the air…

It’s December 23rd and while everyone else is rushing home for the holidays, workaholic Leesa Oliver is dreading switching on her out-of-office for the festive season. And it seems her equally driven boss, Cary Anderson, isn’t relishing spending Christmas at his family’s country estate either.

So together, they draft an unexpected Christmas contract: They’ll spend half of the holidays with each other’s families, pretending to be a couple. Leesa knows the insufferably good-looking Cary will make her Christmas more bearable, but what happens after the last of the mince pies have been eaten…?

Leesa signed off on a sensible business agreement, but somewhere, amongst the fairy lights and carols something seems to have changed… It seems there might just be some magic under the mistletoe this Christmas!


If you’ve read The Last Days of Rabbit Hayes by Anna McPartlin, the sequel is out next year. I loved Rabbit Hayes and I am looking forward to finding out how the Hayes family are in Below the Big Blue Sky.

Below the Big Blue Sky by Anna McPartlin (pub: April 2020)

Below the Big Blue Sky by Anna McPartlin

From the bestselling author of The Last Days of Rabbit Hayes comes a huge-hearted novel about death, family and finding laughter in the most bloody mental places.

When forty-year-old Rabbit Hayes dies, she leaves behind a family broken by grief. Her mother Molly is distraught and in danger of losing her faith. Her father Jack spends hour upon hour in the family attic, poring over his old diaries, losing himself in the past. 

Rabbit’s brother Davey finds himself suddenly guardian to her twelve-year-old daughter Juliet. Juliet might be able to fill a hole in Davey’s heart – but how can he help Juliet through her grief when he can barely cope with his own? 

Meanwhile, Rabbit’s sister Grace is struggling with the knowledge that she carries the same gene that made her sister ill, and Rabbit’s best friend Marjorie is lost, struggling to remain a part of a family she has always wished was her own now that her link to them is gone.

But even though the Hayes family are all fighting their own battles, they are drawn together by their love for Rabbit, and their love for each other. In the years that follow her death they find new ways to celebrate and remember her, to find humour and hope in the face of tragedy, and to live life to its fullest, as Rabbit would have wanted.

Below the Big Blue Sky will make you laugh, cry and shout with joy for the colourful, unruly Hayes family as they battle with the loss of their beloved Rabbit, the daughter, mother, sister and friend, who in her own crazy way taught each of them how to live, and goes on showing them how to love from beyond the grave.

~ On my bedside table ~

These Dividing Walls by Fran Cooper

I’m currently reading These Dividing Walls by Fran Cooper. I’ve wanted to read it ever since it was published in 2017. It’s set in an apartment block in Paris and follows the lives of its residents over a very hot summer. I’m really enjoying it.


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!

Alis Hawkins · Books · Crime · Recommended Reads · The Riviera Woman

None So Blind by Alis Hawkins (@Alis_Hawkins) @DomePress ~ Recommended Read ~ The Riviera Woman

The Riviera Woman

I regularly share my top reads from this blog over at The Riviera Woman.

The Riviera Woman, run by Anna Fill, helps women living or working on the Riviera live life to the full with it’s inspirational people and interesting articles.

For December, I have chosen None So Blind by Alis Hawkins. You can read my review here.

Blog Tours · Books · Crime · Review Copy · Reviews

Blog Tour, Review, Giveaway: None So Blind by Alis Hawkins (@Alis_Hawkins) @DomePress

I am thrilled to be taking part in the blog tour for None So Blind by Alis Hawkins. Thank you to Emily Glenister and The Dome Press for asking me to be involved and for sending me a copy of the book in return for an honest review. 

In this tour, I have my review to share with you and a giveaway where you can win a copy of the book. Scroll down to find out what I thought of the book and to enter the giveaway. 

~ Publisher’s Description ~

West Wales, 1850.
When an old tree root is dug up, the remains of a young woman are found. Harry Probert-Lloyd, a young barrister forced home from London by encroaching blindness, has been dreading this discovery.

He knows exactly whose bones they are.

Working with his clerk, John Davies, Harry is determined to expose the guilty, but the investigation turns up more questions than answers.

The search for the truth will prove costly. Will Harry and John be the ones to pay the highest price?

~ My thoughts ~

None So Blind is the first book in The Teifi Valley Coroner series by Alis Hawkins. Set in Wales in 1850, seven years after the Rebecca Riots, it is a story full of secrets, deceit, disguise, lies, love, revolt and so much more. I loved it!

Cleverly plotted with absorbing characters, None So Blind is told in six parts, from Discovery through to Afterwards, each section alternating between the points of view of Harry Probert-Lloyd and John Davies. Harry is an extremely interesting and well-crafted main character. Rapidly losing his sight, he is forced back home to the Teifi Valley from his work as a barrister in London. When human remains are found under an uprooted tree, he knows who they belong to and, with the assistance of his clerk, John Davies, is determined to find out how they got there. Harry and John make a great detective duo and I am excited to follow their stories through the series.

I enjoy reading both crime fiction and historical fiction but I think that this might be the first time I have read an historical crime fiction novel, and it has started something! Enter into a world without DNA to support crime solving, where horses or walking are the only modes of transport to visit suspects and witnesses, letter writing is the only way to contact people and share news. Ooh, it was fun living in this Victorian world and I didn’t want it to end. It was so easy to pick up None So Blind  and think I would just read a couple of chapters but then it was impossible to put down. It was so captivating! Alis Hawkins has a subtle way of slowly drawing in the reader to this dark world and it was a page turner from the beginning. 

I am really looking forward to finding out what Alis Hawkins conjures up for the next book in the series.

~ Where to find None So Blind ~

None So Bind  was published in November 2018 by The Dome Press and can be found at the following links:

Goodreads            Amazon UK          Amazon US

~ Giveaway ~

For your chance to win a paperback copy of None So Blind , click on the button below. The giveaway is open until 12am on 29 November 2018. A winner will be announced shortly afterwards. UK and Ireland entries only please. Good luck!! Full terms and conditions are below the entry button.

*Terms and Conditions –UK and Ireland entries only.  Please enter using the button above.  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 I reserve 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 not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Sarah’s Vignettes will delete the data.  Sarah’s Vignettes is not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

~ About Alis Hawkins ~
Alis Hawkins
Alis Hawkins

Alis Hawkins grew up on a dairy farm in Cardiganshire. She left to read English at Oxford and has done various things with her life, including bringing up two amazing sons, selling burgers, working with homeless people and helping families to understand their autistic children. And writing, always.

Radio plays (unloved by anybody but her), nonfiction (autism related), plays (commissioned by heritage projects) and of course, novels.

Her current historical crime series featuring blind investigator Harry Probert-Lloyd and his chippy assistant John Davies, is set in her childhood home, the Teifi Valley. As a side effect, instead of making research trips to sunny climes, like some of her writer friends, she just drives up the M4 to see her folks.

Alis speaks Welsh, collects rucksacks and can’t resist an interesting fact.

Find out more at www.alishawkins.co.uk and follow Alis on Twitter at @Alis_Hawkins.

~ Follow the Tour ~

Be sure to drop by the other stops on the tour!

None So Blind Blog Tour poster
None So Blind Blog Tour 
Advanced Review Copy · Anthology · Blog Tours · Books · Crime · Short Stories

#BlogTour: CWA Anthology of Short Stories: Mystery Tour edited by @medwardsbooks @the_cwa @OrendaBooks #CWAMysteryTour

Today, I am delighted to be sharing with you my thoughts about the CWA Anthology of Short Stories: Mystery Tour. Thank you to Anne Cater and Orenda Books for asking me to take part in the tour and for sending me a copy of the book in return for an honest review.

Before I share my thoughts with you, here is what the anthology is about. Continue reading “#BlogTour: CWA Anthology of Short Stories: Mystery Tour edited by @medwardsbooks @the_cwa @OrendaBooks #CWAMysteryTour”