A Week in Books · Advanced Review Copy · Anna McPartlin · Blog Tours · Book Post · Books · fiction · Literary Lowdown · Lucy Foley · Rachael English · Romantic Novelists Association · Sarah Butler

Sarah’s Vignettes Literary Lowdown ~ 24 February – 1 March

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, on social media, the books I’ve been adding to my shelves, and other bookish delights.

~ On the blog ~

The Guest List by Lucy Foley

On Saturday, I shared my review of The Guest List by Lucy Foley. It’s an outstanding read and it deserves all the numerous accolades it has already received – it was only published 10 days ago!

~ On my calendar ~

RNA London Chapter Leap Into A Love Story event

On Saturday evening, authors from the Romantic Novelists Association (RNA) London Chapter invited book bloggers to their #LeapIntoALoveStory meet-up event to celebrate the last day of Romance Reading Month. It was also part of the RNA’s 60th Anniversary celebrations. I had a great time chatting all things writing and books with fellow book blogger Rachel Gilbey and the RNA authors.

~ On my bookshelf ~

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

Next month, I’m taking part in the blog tour for Below the Big Blue Sky, Anna McPartlin’s sequel to The Last Days of Rabbit Hayes. I loved Rabbit Hayes so I’m looking forward to finding out how the Hayes Family are doing. I think it will be an emotional read but if The Last Days of Rabbit Hayes is anything to go by, it will be a beautiful, compassionate and uplifting read.

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.

Below the Big Blue Sky by Anna McPartlin

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 a 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.


I was thrilled to receive a signed copy of The Paper Bracelet from Rachael English. I adored The American Girl and The Night of the Party so I am excited to read Rachael’s latest novel. It’s already out in Ireland and it comes to the UK on July 9th.

The Paper Bracelet by Rachael English

The Paper Bracelet by Rachael English

For almost fifty years, Katie Carroll has kept a box tucked away inside her wardrobe. It dates from her time working as a nurse in a west of Ireland mother and baby home in the 1960s. The box contains a notebook holding the details of the babies and young women she met there. It also holds many of the babies’ identity bracelets.

Following the death of her husband, Katie makes a decision. The information she possesses could help reunite adopted people with their birth mothers, and she decides to post a message on an internet forum. Soon the replies are rolling in, and Katie finds herself returning many of the bracelets to their original owners. She encounters success and failure, heartbreak and joy. But is she prepared for old secrets to be uncovered in her own life?

~ On my bedside table ~

I’m currently reading Jack & Bet by Sarah Butler and I’ll be sharing my review here on 11th March.

Jack & Bet by Sarah Butler

Even the longest marriages have their secrets . . .

Jack Chalmers is a man of few words, married to a woman of many. He and Bet have been together for seventy years – almost a lifetime – and happily so, for the most part.

All Jack and Bet want is to enjoy the time they have left together, in the flat they have tried to make their home. Their son Tommy has other ideas: he wants them to live somewhere with round-the-clock care, hot meals, activities. Bet thinks they can manage just fine.

When they strike up an unlikely friendship with Marinela, a young Romanian woman, Bet thinks she has found the perfect solution – one that could change Marinela’s life as well as theirs. But this means revisiting an old love affair, and confronting a long-buried secret she has kept hidden from everyone, even Jack, for many years.

Tender, moving and beautifully told, Sarah Butler’s Jack & Bet is an unforgettable novel about love and loss, the joys and regrets of a long marriage, and the struggle to find a place to call home.


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 · Blog Tours · Books · fiction · Lucy Foley · Review Copy · Reviews

A Sarah’s Vignettes Book Review: The Guest List by Lucy Foley (@lucyfoleytweets) ~ @HarperCollinsUK ~ @annecater #RandomThingsTours #BlogTour

I am thrilled to be sharing my review of The Guest List by Lucy Foley with you today. I loved The Hunting Party so I jumped at the chance to get my hands on a copy of The Guest List.

My thanks to Anne Cater for inviting me to be a part of the blog tour and to Jen Harlow at HarperCollins, for a copy of the book.

Before I share my review with you, here is what The Guest List is about.

~ Publisher’s Description ~

On an island off the windswept Irish coast, guests gather for the wedding of the year – the marriage of Jules Keegan and Will Slater.
 
Old friends.
Past grudges.

 
Happy families.
Hidden jealousies.

 
Thirteen guests.
One body.

 
The wedding cake has barely been cut when one of the guests is found dead. And as a storm unleashes its fury on the island, everyone is trapped.

All have a secret. All have a motive.
One guest won’t leave this wedding alive . . .

~ My thoughts ~

Ooh, just reading the blurb gives me the chills – and this book has a lot of them!

The Guest List is a classic whodunnit, with an Agatha Christie vibe. It is set on Cormorant Island, a remote island off of the Irish coast, where the only way on and off is by boat – and that’s when the weather is behaving itself. It’s the perfect setting for the wedding of the year but also for tragic events to unfold.

The Guest List begins on the evening of the wedding party where a body has been found on the island. The story then plays out between the day before and the party. It is told from the points of view of 5 characters: Jules, the bride, Olivia, the bridesmaid, Hannah, the plus-one, Aoife, the wedding planner, and Johnno, the best man. They really are an interesting bunch, each with their own stories and memories of the past. The closer it gets to the wedding, the more tense the atmosphere becomes and the more unsettled the characters are.

The island is a character in itself and acts as the catalyst for the events that unfold. The island’s remoteness and isolation plays with the characters, tormenting them. They feel trapped and, bit by bit, their true colours begin to show and decades old secrets and grudges emerge.

Lucy Foley has a brilliant way of creating an atmosphere in very few words. She is an intelligent and accomplished writer. Like The Hunting PartyThe Guest List is an outstanding read and deserves the numerous accolades it has already received (it was only published nine days ago!). I am already looking forward to the next book.

~ Where to find The Guest List ~

The Guest List by Lucy Foley

The Guest List by Lucy Foley was published in Hardback by HarperCollins in the UK on 20 February 2020. It can be found in all good bookshops as well at Amazon UK and on Goodreads.

~ About Lucy Foley ~

Lucy Foley

Lucy Foley studied English Literature at Durham and UCL universities and worked for several years as a fiction editor in the publishing industry, before leaving to write full-time. The Hunting Party, an instant Sunday Times and Irish Times no.1 bestseller, was Lucy’s debut crime novel, inspired by a particularly remote spot in Scotland that fired her imagination. Lucy is also the author of three historical novels, which have been translated into sixteen languages. Her journalism has appeared in ES Magazine, Sunday Times Style, Grazia and more.

~ Follow the tour ~

Be sure to drop by the other stops on the The Guest List blog tour!

The Guest List blog tour poster
A Week in Books · Book Hauls · Book Post · Books · Cover Reveal · Daisy James · fiction · Literary Lowdown · Lucy Foley · Sheila O'Flanagan

Sarah’s Vignettes Literary Lowdown ~ 3-9 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, and other bookish delights.

~ On the blog ~

The Cornish Confetti Agency by Daisy  James

On Thursday, I supported Daisy James with revealing the cover for her upcoming novel The Cornish Confetti Agency.

~ On my bookshelf ~

I’ve added 1 book to my shelf this week.

I’m taking part in a blog tour next month for Her Husband’s Mistake , Sheila O’Flanagan’s latest novel, which is out in paperback on 5th March 2020. Whilst I’ll only be sharing some content as part of my stop, the lovely people at Headline Review still sent me a copy of the book to read and review here at a later date. I can’t wait to read it!!

Her Husband’s Mistake by Sheila O’Flanagan

Roxy’s marriage has always been rock solid.

Her Husband's Mistake by Sheila O'Flanagan

After twenty years, and with two carefree kids, she and Dave are still the perfect couple.

Until the day she comes home unexpectedly, and finds Dave in bed with their attractive, single neighbour.

Suddenly Roxy isn’t sure about anything – her past, the business she’s taken over from her dad, or what her family’s future might be. She’s spent so long caring about everyone else that she’s forgotten what she actually wants. But something has changed. And Roxy has a decision to make.

Whether it’s with Dave, or without him, it’s time for Roxy to start living for herself…

~ On my bedside table ~

I’m currently reading and enjoying The Guest List by Lucy Foley. Watch out for my review on 29th February.

The Guest List by Lucy Foley

On an island off the windswept Irish coast, guests gather for the wedding of the year – the marriage of Jules Keegan and Will Slater.
 
Old friends.
Past grudges.
 
Happy families.
Hidden jealousies.
 
Thirteen guests.
One body.
 
The wedding cake has barely been cut when one of the guests is found dead. And as a storm unleashes its fury on the island, everyone is trapped.

All have a secret. All have a motive.
One guest won’t leave this wedding alive . . .


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 · Blog Tours · Book events · Book Hauls · Book Post · Books · Crime · fiction · Glynis Peters · Laura Jane Williams · Libby Page · Literary Lowdown · Lucy Foley · Review Copy · Reviews · Rory Clements

Sarah’s Vignettes Literary Lowdown ~ 20 January – 26 January 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.

~ On the blog ~

Hitler's Secret by Rory Clements

On Monday, I shared my review of Hitler’s Secret by Rory Clements. It’s a gritty, dark, historical spy thriller that took me on quite a journey. 

On Thursday, it was a pleasure to promote The Orphan Thief by Glynis Peters.

~ On my calendar ~

An Evening with Libby Page and Laura Jane Williams

On Thursday evening, I went with fellow book bloggers Meggy, Rachel and Karen to An Evening with Libby Page and Laura Jane Williams at Waterstones Piccadilly, London.

It was publication day for Libby Page’s latest novel The 24-Hour Café and she joined author Laura Jane Williams to celebrate it. It was a fun evening, hearing all about Libby’s inspiration for the story, her love of outdoor swimming and her writing.

~ On my bookshelf ~

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

At the event on Thursday, I took the chance to get a signed hardback copy of The 24-Hour Café . It looks lovely alongside my signed hardback of Libby’s debut novel, The Lido.

The 24-Hour Café by Libby Page

The 24-Hour Cafe by Libby Page

Welcome to the café that never sleeps. Day and night Stella’s Café opens its doors for the lonely and the lost, the morning people and the night owls. It is many things to many people but most of all it is a place where life can wait at the door. A place of small kindnesses. A place where anyone can be whoever they want, where everyone is always welcome.

Meet Hannah and Mona: best friends, waitresses, dreamers. They work at Stella’s but they dream of more, of leaving the café behind and making their own way in life.

Come inside and spend twenty-four hours at Stella’s Café; a day when Hannah and Mona’s friendship will be tested, when the community will come together and when lives will be changed…


The other book I added to my shelf this week is a hardback copy of The Guest List by Lucy Foley, out on 20th February. The lovely people at Harper Collins kindly sent me a copy to read ahead of the blog tour next month. I am so excited to read it. I loved The Hunting Party, Lucy’s debut, and The Guest List sounds just as good.

The Guest List by Lucy Foley

On an island off the windswept Irish coast, guests gather for the wedding of the year – the marriage of Jules Keegan and Will Slater.
 
Old friends.
Past grudges.

 
Happy families.
Hidden jealousies.

 
Thirteen guests.
One body.

 
The wedding cake has barely been cut when one of the guests is found dead. And as a storm unleashes its fury on the island, everyone is trapped.

All have a secret. All have a motive.
One guest won’t leave this wedding alive . . .

~ On my bedside table ~

The 24-Hour Cafe by Libby Page

I’m currently reading The 24-Hour Café by Libby Page and can confirm it is good! Watch out for my review this Friday, 31 January.


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 · Blog Tours · Book Post · Books · Cathy Kelly · fiction · Giveaway · Hans Fallada · Kathleen McGurl · Linn B. Halton · Literary Lowdown · Lucy Foley · Rosanna Ley · Rowan Coleman · Stacey Halls · Sylvia Day

Sarah’s Vignettes Literary Lowdown ~ 1/09/2019

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 Stationmaster's Daughter by Kathleen McGurl

On Monday, I shared my review for The Stationmaster’s Daughter by Kathleen McGurl, as part of the blog tour. It’s a poignant story set between 1936 and present day. I love a time slip novel!


Shelf Control

On Wednesday, I took part in a meme run by fellow book blogger Lisa over at Bookshelf Fantasies called Shelf Control. The idea is to choose a book on your bookshelf that you haven’t read yet and talk about when you got it and why you want to read it.

This week, I chose Last Dance in Havana by Rosanna Ley.

Last Dance in Havana by Rosanna Ley

On Friday, it was Sarah’s Vignettes stop on the blog tour for Butterfly in Frost, the latest novel by Sylvia Day. I didn’t have time to read this one for a review so I hosted a giveaway to win a copy of the book.

Butterfly in Frost by Sylvia Day

~ On social media ~

Last weekend, author Rowan Coleman asked readers who had reviewed her latest novel The Girl at the Window if they would be brave enough to film a few words to be included in a promotion video for social media. I and a few others summoned up the courage and did it. Here’s the final version:


For #ThrowbackThursday, I shared the link to my review for The Secrets of Villa Rosso by Linn B. Halton. This is a great story and Linn has a way of writing characters that I connect deeply with.

~ On my bookshelf ~

I added 3 books to my shelf this week.

In October, I am taking part in the blog tour for Cathy Kelly’s 20th novel, The Family Gift . On Tuesday, I received a little gift from Orion: a proof copy of the book and a some chocolate.

The Family Gift by Cathy Kelly

The Family Gift by Cathy Kelly

The Family Gift by Cathy Kelly

Freya Abalone has a big, messy, wonderful family, a fantastic career, and a new house.

But that’s on the outside.

On the inside, she’s got Mildred – the name she’s given to that nagging inner critic who tells us all we’re not good enough.

And now Freya’s beloved blended family is under threat. Dan’s first wife Elisa, the glamorous, manipulative woman who happily abandoned her daughter to Freya and Dan’s care and left the country, has elbowed her way back into their lives.

But Freya knows that when life gives you lemons, you throw them right back.

Can Freya put her family – and herself – back together? Find out in Cathy Kelly’s warmest, wisest and funniest book yet…


I may have been lured into my local Waterstones yesterday – it doesn’t take much at all!! I bought a gorgeous hardback copy of The Familiars by Stacey Halls and another of Penguins Modern Classics to add to my growing collection : Alone in Berlin by Hans Fallada.

The Familiars by Stacey Halls

In a time of suspicion and accusation, to be a woman is the greatest risk of all . . .

The Familiars by Stacey Halls

Fleetwood Shuttleworth is 17 years old, married, and pregnant for the fourth time. But as the mistress at Gawthorpe Hall, she still has no living child, and her husband Richard is anxious for an heir. When Fleetwood finds a letter she isn’t supposed to read from the doctor who delivered her third stillbirth, she is dealt the crushing blow that she will not survive another pregnancy.

Then she crosses paths by chance with Alice Gray, a young midwife. Alice promises to help her give birth to a healthy baby, and to prove the physician wrong. 

As Alice is drawn into the witchcraft accusations that are sweeping the north-west, Fleetwood risks everything by trying to help her. But is there more to Alice than meets the eye? 

Soon the two women’s lives will become inextricably bound together as the legendary trial at Lancaster approaches, and Fleetwood’s stomach continues to grow. Time is running out, and both their lives are at stake. 

Only they know the truth. Only they can save each other.


Alone in Berlin by Hans Fallada

Alone in Berlin by Hans Fallada

Inspired by a true story, Hans Fallada’s Alone in Berlin  is the gripping tale of an ordinary man’s determination to defy the tyranny of Nazi rule. This Penguin Classics edition contains an afterword by Geoff Wilkes, as well as facsimiles of the original Gestapo file which inspired the novel.

Berlin, 1940, and the city is filled with fear. At the house on 55 Jablonski Strasse, its various occupants try to live under Nazi rule in their different ways: the bullying Hitler loyalists the Persickes, the retired judge Fromm and the unassuming couple Otto and Anna Quangel. Then the Quangels receive the news that their beloved son has been killed fighting in France. Shocked out of their quiet existence, they begin a silent campaign of defiance, and a deadly game of cat and mouse develops between the Quangels and the ambitious Gestapo inspector Escherich. When petty criminals Kluge and Borkhausen also become involved, deception, betrayal and murder ensue, tightening the noose around the Quangels’ necks …

~ On my bedside table ~

The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley

In last week’s round-up, I mentioned that I had just started reading The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley. I finished it in 3 days! It’s a great read and I’ll be sharing my review on here soon.


FRANCE magazine, NB, Writing magazine

I sometimes take a bit of a break when I’m in between books so I have been dipping in and out of the latest issues of FRANCE magazine, NB, and Writing magazine.


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!

A Week in Books · Ali Pantony · Books · Carol Drinkwater · Claire Dyer · Cynthia Bond · Elizabeth von Arnim · F. Scott Fitzgerald · fiction · Kathleen McGurl · Literary Lowdown · Liz Fenwick · Louise Jensen · Lucy Foley · Nadiya Hussain · Non-Fiction · Rowan Coleman

Sarah’s Vignettes Literary Lowdown ~ 25/08/2019

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 things. Keep scrolling to get the lowdown.

~ On the blog ~

Shelf Control

On Wednesday, I took part in a meme run by fellow book blogger Lisa over at Bookshelf Fantasies called Shelf Control. The idea is to choose a book on your bookshelf that you haven’t read yet and talk about when you got it and why you want to read it. This week, I chose Ruby by Cynthia Bond.

~ On social media ~

Last Friday, you may remember I supported author Louise Jensen with a little teaser for her new book The Family . On Tuesday, I took part in the cover reveal. What a fab cover it is!!


For #ThrowbackThursday, I shared the link to my review for The Last Day by Claire Dyer. This book was one of my reading highlights in 2018. It is beautiful.


A bank holiday weekend is ideal for reading a book or two, so I shared a few of my recommended reads from this year over on Twitter:

The Girl at the Window by Rowan Coleman ~ The House on the Edge of the Cliff by Carol Drinkwater ~ The Path to the Sea by Liz Fenwick ~ Almost Adults by Ali Pantony

~ On my bookshelf ~

I added 2 books to my bookshelf this week and 1 to my mum’s cookery book shelf.

I bought my mum a copy of Nadiya Hussain’s new recipe book:Time to Eat. Have you been watching the tv series? I love it! I’m looking forward to trying out some of Nadiya’s recipes.

Time to Eat by Nadiya Hussain

Feeding a large family and juggling a busy career can be anxiety-inducing so Nadiya has crafted over 100 recipes to take the stress out of cooking and put the joy back in to every meal.

There are recipes for rushed weekday evenings and those relaxed Sunday afternoons, as well as kitchen hacks and time-saving tricks to make every breakfast, lunch, and dinner, a little simpler.


I popped into WHSmith to buy a copy of FRANCE magazine and came out with said magazine and two books from the Penguin Modern Classics collection. They were in a ‘Buy One Get One Half Price’ offer…what’s a bookworm supposed to do!

The Enchanted April by Elizabeth von Arnim

The discreet advertisement in The Times, addressed ‘To Those who Appreciate Wistaria and Sunshine’, offers a small medieval castle for rent, above a bay on the Italian Riviera. Four very different women – the dishevelled and downtrodden Mrs Wilkins, the sad, sweet-faced Mrs Arbuthnot, the formidable widow Mrs Fisher and the ravishing socialite Lady Caroline Dester – are drawn to the shores of the Mediterranean that April. As each, in turn, blossoms in the warmth of the Italian spring and finds their spirits stirring, quite unexpected changes occur.

The Enchanted April, published in 1922, is a witty and delightful depiction of what it is like to rediscover joy.


Tender is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald.

Between the First World War and the Wall Street Crash the French Riviera was the stylish place for wealthy Americans to visit. Among the most fashionable are the Divers, Dick and Nicole who hold court at their villa. Into their circle comes Rosemary Hoyt, a film star, who is instantly attracted to them, but understands little of the dark secrets and hidden corruption that hold them together. As Dick draws closer to Rosemary, he fractures the delicate structure of his marriage and sets both Nicole and himself on to a dangerous path where only the strongest can survive.

In this exquisite, lyrical novel, Fitzgerald has poured much of the essence of his own life; he has also depicted the age of materialism, shattered idealism and broken dreams.

~ On my bedside table ~

The Stationmaster's Daughter by Kathleen McGurl

I finished reading The Stationmaster’s Daughter by Kathleen McGurl. Watch out for my review tomorrow.


Last night, I started reading The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley. Although I’m only 7 pages in, I like what I’ve already read. The premise of this book is great: right at the beginning we know there has been a murder (not a spoiler) but we will only find out who the victim is and the murderer at the end. I can’t wait to see how this plays out!! I shall report back.

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

Until next week, happy reading!