A Week in Books · Advanced Review Copy · Blog Tours · Book Hauls · Books · Crime · fiction · Libby Page · Literary Lowdown · R.C. Bridgestock · Rebecca Ley · Recommended Reads · Review Copy · Reviews · Rory Clements

Sarah's Vignettes Literary Lowdown ~ 13 January – 19 January 2020 #SundayBlogShare

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 ~

Payback by R.C. Bridgestock

On Tuesday, I shared my review of Payback by R.C. Bridgestock. This is the first book in a new series from husband and wife co-authors Robert and Carol Bridgestock and I loved it! It is a professional, all-consuming crime novel that left me wanting more.

~ On my bookshelf ~

I’ve added 1 book to my shelf this week. It is a digital advanced review copy of For When I’m Gone by Rebecca Ley, which is due to be published on 14th May 2020. This is Rebecca’s debut novel and, although I think it will be tough to read emotionally, I’m looking forward to discovering her writing.

For When I’m Gone by Rebecca Ley

For When I'm Gone by Rebecca Ley

A life cut short. A grieving family. A mother’s guide to surviving without her…

On the surface Sylvia and Paul’s marriage is perfection: she is beautiful, alluringly spiky and brilliantly clever, he is a devoted and doting husband and father to their two young children, Megan and Jude.

When Sylvia is diagnosed with terminal cancer at 38, she knows that she must help Paul navigate the chaos of family life in her absence and that the time has come for a secret she has kept from him throughout their marriage to finally be aired. Sylvia starts to write a manual: a guidebook to their shared domesticity.

As Paul learns to live and love without Sylvia, he realises the extent of her legacy and finds himself indebted once more to his extraordinary, difficult wife, for saving them from an even greater tragedy…

FOR WHEN I’M GONE is about what it means to leave life unfinished, as well as the compromises of a marriage and motherhood. Inspiring and heart-breaking in equal measure, this debut marks Rebecca Ley out as a stunning new talent.

~ On my bedside table ~

Hitler's Secret by Rory Clements
The 24-Hour Café by Libby Page

Yesterday, I finished reading Hitler’s Secret by Rory Clements. Watch out for my review tomorrow. I’m going to read The 24-Hour Café by Libby Page next.


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 · R.C. Bridgestock · Review Copy · Reviews

A Sarah's Vignettes Book Review: Payback by R.C. Bridgestock (@RCBridgestock) ~ @DomePress #BlogTour

I am thrilled to welcome you to my stop on the Payback blog tour. I loved this book and I am so excited to be able to share it with you.

Thank you to Emily Glenister at The Dome Press for inviting me to take part in the tour and for sending me a proof copy of the book in return for this honest review.

Before I share my review with you, here is what Payback is about.

~ Publisher’s Description ~

Charley Mann left Yorkshire for the Met and a fast-track career – but now she’s back, she’s in charge and the area’s first young, female DI.

Her hometown, the Yorkshire countryside, and her old friends all seem unchanged but appearances can be deceptive.

When a brutal murder is discovered, Charley is forced to question everything, and the interest of her ex – reporter Danny Ray – doesn’t make it easier.

~ My thoughts ~

This is the first novel I’ve read by the crime writing duo R.C. Bridgestock and I loved it. I am really pleased that I have discovered their excellent writing at the beginning of the DI Charley Mann series.

I’m quite partial to watching a British detective tv drama and that’s what Payback feels like. My imagination was the screen. There is such a high level of detail that I could see the story vividly – even the bits I didn’t want to see.

R.C. Bridgestock’s wealth of police experience is evident throughout the story. Payback is a step by step account of police process and procedure, from crime scene, informing press, setting up the incident room, press conference, to following up on leads, interviewing suspects, closing a case. Most of one chapter is the post mortem on a body. It is brilliantly done and felt like a scene from Silent Witness. 

DI Charley Mann is the protagonist and our narrator. I really warmed to her. She is in her late twenties and has just returned from working in the Met to her home town where she has a lot to prove as the youngest DI in her area. As the story progresses, we learn about Charley and what makes her tick. I feel we have only just touched the surface with Charley’s story and there is a lot more to come from her.

All of the characters are well developed. There are old time police officers, young police officers wanting to make an impression on their new boss, the station cleaner that looks after everyone and so on. I felt a part of this police station and investigation.

Payback is a brilliant, professional, all-consuming crime novel that has left me wanting more. I am really looking forward to the next book in the series. I highly recommend this book!

~ Where to find Payback ~

Payback by R.C. Bridgestock

Payback by R.C. Bridgestock was published in the UK by The Dome Press on 9th January 2020. It can be found in all good bookshops as well at Amazon UK, Amazon US and on Goodreads.

~ About R.C. Bridgestock ~

R.C. Bridgestock is the name that husband and wife co-authors Robert (Bob) and Carol Bridgestock write under. Between them they have nearly 50 years of police experience, offering an authentic edge to their stories. The writing duo created the character DI Jack Dylan, the ninth book of which was published by The Dome Press in 2019, along with their backlist.

Bob was a highly commended career detective of 30 years, retiring at the rank of Detective Superintendent. During his last three years, he took charge of 26 murders, 23 major incidents, over 50 suspicious deaths and numerous sexual assaults. He was also a trained hostage negotiator with suicide interventions, kidnap, terrorism and extortion. Bob was seconded to a protracted enquiry investigating alleged police corruption in another force. He worked on the Yorkshire Ripper and Sarah Harper murder, and received praise from Crown Court Judges and Chief Constables alike for outstanding work at all ranks, including winning the much-coveted Dennis Hoban Trophy.

As a police civilian supervisor, Carol also received a Chief Constable’s commendation for outstanding work.

The couple are the storyline consultants / police procedural on BAFTA-winning BBC1 police drama Happy Valley and series 3 of ITV’s Scott and Bailey, and are presently working with Scott Free Production scriptwriters on two commissioned TV drama series.

The couple pride themselves on being up-to-date on past and present day UK police procedures, and as a result, Bob is regularly sought by UK television, radio and national and local newspapers for comment on developing major crime incidents etc. They have also taken part in BBC Radio 4 (Steve) PUNT P.I.

Carol and Bob are also patrons and ambassadors for several charities.

~ Follow the tour ~

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

Payback Blog Tour
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