Friday 31 March 2023

Beautiful Shining People by Michael Grothaus BLOG TOUR #BeautifulShiningPeople @michaelgrothaus @OrendaBooks #OutOfThisWorld #BookReview


This world is anything but ordinary, and it’s about to change forever…

It’s our world, but decades into the future…

An ordinary world, where cars drive themselves, drones glide across the sky, and robots work in burger shops. There are two superpowers and a digital Cold War, but all conflicts are safely oceans away. People get up, work, and have dinner. Everything is as it should be…

Except for seventeen-year-old John, a tech prodigy from a damaged family, who hides a deeply personal secret. But everything starts to change for him when he enters a tiny café on a cold Tokyo night. A café run by a disgraced sumo wrestler, where a peculiar dog with a spherical head lives, alongside its owner, enigmatic waitress Neotnia…

But Neotnia hides a secret of her own – a secret that will turn John’s unhappy life upside down. A secret that will take them from the neon streets of Tokyo to Hiroshima’s tragic past to the snowy mountains of Nagano.

A secret that reveals that this world is anything ordinary – and it’s about to change forever…

Beautiful Shining People by Michael Grothaus was published in paperback on 16 March 2023 by Orenda Books. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review as part of this Blog Tour.

As readers, and consumers, we find most things are put into boxes these days. We want to buy a book, we want to know the genre. We see a specific description, we want to buy it, or maybe it puts us off purchasing. 

Beautiful Shining People is a book that has so many elements, it is almost genre free, or maybe it's just so original that it should sit on its own, in its own specific box?

Set in Tokyo, a few decades from now, this is a beautifully written, lyrical literary novel that moved me beyond words. There's history and culture, there's up to the minute technology, there's war and there's love. There's deepfake, lies and mistrust. Most of all though, there are people. These characters are so much larger than the setting or the plot, although both of them are magnificent too. The way the author has created this world and the characters that inhabit it is just wonderful, no reader could fail to cheer these guys on. 

John is a seventeen-year-old student from the US. He's alone in Tokyo having agreed to sell his quantum code to Sony. He's going to make a lot of money, and he knows that this will change his life, and that of his mother too. John is a solitary, complex young man. He doesn't have friends to share his excitement with. He carries his own burden, both physically and also the legacy passed down to him by his parents. 

As he wanders the Tokyo streets, passing the robots, the driverless cars and the drones, he stumbles across a small cafe. The information bot had told him that nowhere was open, but this place seems to be serving.  Who John finds there will change the course of his life, his beliefs.  Goeido, a disgraced sumo wrestler; Inu, a very strange looking dog and Neotnia, a beautiful waitress who John finds beguiling. 

This is not a short novel, and it's incredibly multi layered. Detailing recent technological breakthroughs, wars between the US and China. It also looks at humanity and love and as John and Neotnia gradually get to know each other, it becomes a beautiful and exquisitely told story of kindness, compassion, sadness and secrets. 

John and Neotnia both have their own secrets and it is when John discovers the truth about Neotnia, the novel alters. It becomes a discovery, for the characters and for the reader. The author reveals so much more about the characters, and it is often heartbreaking and challenging to read, especially as you've invested so much into them. 

The inclusion of ancient Japanese culture and history, along with more recent devastations such as Hiroshima gives this novel such grounding. Amongst the new technology in the vibrant, busy city, we discover shrines and customs that are older than we can imagine. This mixture of history and up to date modernity is stunning and adds such depth.

Speculative but not science fiction, in my view. A love story, but not a romance. Beautiful Shining People is a book made for discovering, packed with characters who are so well formed, with a story that will touch the hardest of hearts. Highly recommended. 

Michael Grothaus is a novelist, journalist and author of non-fiction. 

His writing has appeared in Fast Company, VICE, Guardian, Litro Magazine, Irish Times, Screen, Quartz and others. 
His debut novel, Epiphany Jones, a story about sex trafficking among the Hollywood elite, was longlisted for the CWA John Creasey (New Blood) Dagger and named one of the 25 ‘Most Irresistible Hollywood Novels’ by Entertainment Weekly. 
His first non-fiction book, Trust No One: Inside the World of Deepfakes was published by Hodder & Stoughton in 2021. 
The book examines the human impact that artificially generated video will have on individuals and society in the years to come. 

Michael is American, currently living in London.

Thursday 30 March 2023

Camp Zero by Michelle Min Sterling #CampZero #MichelleMinSterling @johnmurrays @Yassa_Yassa #ReadCampZero #BookReview


America, 2049: Summer temperatures are intolerably high, the fossil fuel industry has shut down, and humans are implanted with a 'Flick' at birth, which allows them to remain perpetually online. The wealthy live in the newly created Floating City off the coast, while people on the mainland struggle to get by. For Rose, a job as a hostess in the city's elite club feels like her best hope for a better future.

At a Cold War-era research station, a group of highly trained women with the code name White Alice are engaged in climate surveillance. But the terms of their employment become increasingly uncertain.

And in a former oil town in northern Canada called Dominion Lake, a camp is being built-Camp Zero. A rare source of fresh, clean air and cooler temperatures, it will be the beginning of a new community and a new way of life. Grant believes it will be the perfect place to atone for his family's dark legacy.

Everyone has an agenda. So who can you trust? Could falling in love be most the radical act of all?

Thrilling, immersive and disturbingly prescient, Camp Zero is about the world we've built and where we go from here.

Camp Zero by Michelle Min Sterling is published by John Murray on 30 March 2023. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review. 

I was intrigued by the blurb for this book when it arrived.  There does seem to be a few climate change, dystopian thrillers being published at the moment, and whilst this is an imagined future, the issues raised within the story are very real. We all know about climate change, and what we've done to our planet. We all suspect what is in store in the future, in Camp Zero, Michelle Min Sterling has created a world of nightmares .... but maybe it is the future?

Camp Zero is situated in the very far north of America. It is a place that is cold, and needs to be, because the rest of the world has become far too hot to survive in. Camp Zero is a place that the creators hope will become a sanctuary, but for the people already living there, it's not a perfect home. 

Told via three perspectives; there's Rose, a woman who has moved to Camp Zero to provide 'company and entertainment' for the male workers, along with a group of other women. However, Rose knows more about the Camp and it's creator than anyone else realises. 

There are the women at White Alice - all professional and none of them named apart from their leader Sal. White Alice is a climate research station, far far North, and the women all have duties to perform and reports to relay back to base.

Finally, one main male narrator. Grant is young man from a wealthy family who is desperate to shake off the reputation of his forefathers. He wants to succeed in life in his own name, he doesn't want his wealth to define him. He's taken a job as a teacher in the Camp. 

None of the narrators are who they seem to be, and whilst the voices are mainly female, it is still a man's world in Camp Zero. There are shades of The Handmaid's Tale to this story, with the women giving up their given names, taking an alias and providing services to the men. 

It's a tough book to review, and at times it is a tough one to read. The surroundings are isolated and bleak and the pace of the story moves from very slow, to absolute racing. 

This is a book full of lyrical and at times, quite beautiful writing, about a subject that is often terrifying and also very dark.  Ultimately, a tale of survival and female strength, but also a violent and stark look at our potential future. 

Michelle Min Sterling was born in British Columbia, Canada, and now lives in
Cambridge, Massachusetts, where she teaches literature and writing at Berkley College of Music. 

Camp Zero is her first novel.

Wednesday 29 March 2023

The Space Between Us by Doug Johnstone BLOG TOUR #TheSpaceBetweenUs @doug_johnstone @OrendaBooks #MeetSandy #BookReview


Connecting will change everything…
Lennox is a troubled teenager with no family. Ava is eight months pregnant and fleeing her abusive husband. Heather is a grieving mother and cancer sufferer. They don’t know each other, but when a meteor streaks over Edinburgh, all three suffer instant, catastrophic strokes... 
...only to wake up the following day in hospital, miraculously recovered. 
When news reaches them of an octopus-like creature washed up on the shore near where the meteor came to earth, Lennox senses that some extra-terrestrial force is at play. With the help of Ava, Heather and a journalist, Ewan, he rescues the creature they call 'Sandy' and goes on the run. 
But they aren’t the only ones with an interest in the alien … close behind are Ava’s husband, the police and a government unit who wants to capture the creature, at all costs. And Sandy’s arrival may have implications beyond anything anyone could imagine…

The Space Between Us by Doug Johnstone was published on 2 March 2023 by Orenda Books. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review as part of this blog tour.

The Space Between Us was selected for BBC TV's Between The Covers series. 

Those people who follow my reviews will know that I am a huge fan of Doug Johnstone's writing. His novel 'Breakers' is one of my all time favourite books and I recommend it to all. More recently, his wonderful series about a family of women who are both detectives and undertakers has been a huge success. I adore the Skelfs. 

When I heard that his latest novel was described as science fiction, I wasn't sure what to think. I'm a fan of dystopia, and a bit of magical realism, and Johnstone did touch upon a little science fiction in his book Faultlines in 2018, so I embraced this new direction in his writing and got stuck in! 

What a wonderful, beautifully written and eye opening novel this is! Yes, there's a five legged octopus with pulsating lights that can transmit telepathic thoughts to the human characters, but oh my goodness, it really is so much more than that. 

This is a study in relationships and a fabulous jaunt through the Highlands of Scotland, with descriptive prose of landscape that will take your breath away, and incredible insight into human frailties and all that makes us human to boot. 

The three main characters; Lennox - a boy who has grown up in the care system; Ava - a pregnant woman who has spent her marriage being controlled and bullied, and Heather - a woman who is dying physically, but who died emotionally on the same day that her beloved daughter was finally killed by the cancer inside her. 

Three totally different characters, three people who are flawed yet are startlingly real. The reader may not always think the characters make the right choices, but my God, they will support them every step of the way. 

Alongside the three, there's Ewan - a reporter who is hot on the trail of this story about some sort of alien washed up on a beach in Scotland.  And then, of course, there is Sandy. Sandy is that alien, named by Lennox and considered to be more than one, referred to as 'they' or 'them'.  Sandy isn't a threat, despite what the officials that hunt them may think. Sandy is fleeing horrors too, making them just like their human counterparts. This is not an invasion, this is a refuge for Sandy.

There is so much to talk about, so much to dissect, in this book. It could be seen as a road trip through the wilds of Scotland, a chase to the end. It could be classed as an action, adventure story, but dig deep and you will find a story of humanity. A story that reflects our current world. A story that is so beautifully written with prose so powerful that it leaves you breathless at times. 

Doug Johnstone really is a master, this is genius and so accessible. Don't miss it. 

Doug Johnstone is the author of fourteen previous novels, most recently Black Hearts (2022). 

The Big Chill (2020) was longlisted for the Theakston Crime Novel of the Year and three of his books, A Dark Matter (2020), Breakers (2019) and The Jump (2015), have been shortlisted for the McIlvanney Prize for Scottish Crime Novel of the Year. 

He’s taught creative writing and been writer in residence at various institutions over the last decade, and has been an arts journalist for over twenty years. 

Doug is a songwriter and musician with six albums and three EPs released, and he plays drums for the Fun Lovin’ Crime Writers, a band of writers. 

He’s also co-founder of the Scotland Writers Football Club, and has a PhD in nuclear physics.

Instagram @writer_dougj

Tuesday 28 March 2023

The Ugly Truth by L C North BLOG TOUR #TheUglyTruth @Lauren_C_North @TransworldBooks @RandomTTours #BookReview


Melanie Lange has disappeared.

Her father, Sir Peter Lange, says she is a danger to herself and has been admitted to a private mental health clinic.

Her ex-husband, Finn, and best friend, Nell, say she has been kidnapped.

The media will say whichever gets them the most views.

But whose side are 
you on?

Told via interviews, transcripts and diary entries, The Ugly Truth is a shocking and addictive thriller about fame, power and the truth behind the headlines.

The Ugly Truth by L C North was published in hardback by Bantam Press / Penguin on 16 March 2023. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review as part of this #RandomThingsTours Blog Tour 

I flew through this book in a day! I particularly enjoyed the structure of the novel, it's told in various formats including snippets from Twitter, extracts from an interview with the lead character's father and parts of a Netflix documentary. Some of the chapters are just a few lines long, whilst others are longer. For me, this style really works, it encourages the reader to continue to read and gives various views of one theme. 

Mellie Lange entered the public eye with a bang when she was just fifteen years old. The daughter of a well known businessman, she attended the opening of his latest hotel dressed to kill. The photographs taken that night were all over the press and Mellie's life was never her own again. 

When the story begins, Mellie has not not been seen in public for months. Her father, Peter Lange, officially says that she's receiving therapeutic treatment. However, her best friend Nell and her ex husband both believe that Mellie is being held captive by her father. There's no way that she would leave her two small sons for so long, she adores those boys and whilst she may have made mistakes in the past, Mellie has always been a great mother. 

The reader learns about Mellie's life, from the night of 'that' party, through her rise to fame, her relationships, her business ventures, her marriage and then motherhood. We are also privy to the shocking behaviour of the press, and not only the mainstream media. Ordinary, everyday people on Twitter feel obliged to pass comment on Mellie; about her figure, her looks, her money .... and it's often cruel and heartless. 

As a reader, it can be difficult to know if your are in the #SaveMelanie or #HelpPeter camp. Who is telling the truth?  Is Peter really as controlling as Mellie and Nell say, or is Mellie herself the manipulator?  It's clever and there are things said by all of the characters that raise question upon question. 

A frightening look at how the media can control the public's thoughts. Especially relevant these days, after the recent 'Free Britney' campaign, and of course, the absolute train wreck that is the Harry and Megan situation here in the UK. 

North really does understand people and social issues and this is such a fabulous read. I was totally hooked from the first page and am still reeling from the explosive ending. Highly recommended. 

L.C. North studied psychology at university before pursuing a career in Public Relations. 

Her first book club thriller - The Ugly Truth - combines her love of psychology and her fascination with the celebrities in the public eye. 
L.C. North is currently working on her second novel, and when she's not writing, she co-hosts the crime thriller podcast, In Suspense. 
L.C. North lives on the Suffolk borders with her family. 

L.C. North is the pen name of Lauren North. 
Readers can follow her on Twitter @Lauren_C_North and Facebook @LaurenNorthAuthor.

Friday 24 March 2023

Dark Waters by G R Halliday #DarkWaters @gr_halliday @vintagebooks #DIMonicaKennedy #BookReview


Annabelle speeds along a deserted mountain road in the Scottish Highlands, suddenly forced to swerve. The next thing she remembers is waking up in a dark, damp room.

Scott is camping in the Scottish woodlands when he hears a scream. He starts to run. Scott is never seen again.

DI Monica Kennedy has been called to her first Serious Crimes case in six months - a dismembered body has been found, abandoned in a dam. When another victim surfaces, Monica knows she is on the hunt for a ruthless killer; but her own dark past isn't far behind.

Dark Waters by G R Halliday was published in paperback in July 2021 by Vintage. I bought my copy form a well known online retailer! 

I read the first book in the DI Monica Kennedy series; From The Shadows, in September last year and absolutely devoured it. I was delighted to read this second in the series whilst I was on holiday recently. 

Don't you just love it when an author gets better and better?  I thought the first book in this series was outstanding, but this one is even better. Halliday really seems to have got into his stride here, and yes it is as dark as the first book, and yes there are some violent and nasty murders, but he writes with such flair and imagination. Nothing is overdone, everything is necessary to the plot and I found it to be the perfect crime fiction read. 

Once again, the reader finds themselves in the Highlands of Scotland, around Inverness. The desolate and isolation of the landscape is stunningly portrayed, and some of the people who live around there are decidedly creepy .... and quite scary to be honest. 

Annabelle and Scott are visitors to area. Travelling separately, they both become victims of heinous crimes. DI Monica Kennedy has taken time away from work, to try to recover from the horrors of her last case. When she receives a call to tell her that body parts have been found, she's back to work in an instant and also depending on her team to help out. 

Meanwhile, Annabelle is attempting to take a daring route through the mountains in her BMW, and Scott is camping out in the Highlands. Both of them are just out for good times, unaware that a terrible fate awaits them. 

It's not my job to talk more about the plot, why would I when the author does it so magnificently? However, I can tell you that this is a gripping, often terrifying story, populated with characters who can only be described as evil, alongside a Detective that I'm really growing to love. In this book, the author lets us know a little more about Monica, and her story in itself is intriguing.

This is top class crime fiction and I'm really looking forward to the next in the series.  Highly recommended. 

G.R. Halliday was born in Edinburgh and grew up near Stirling in Scotland. 

He spent his childhood obsessing over the unexplained mysteries his father investigated, which has proved excellent inspiration for From the Shadows. 

The book was shortlisted for the McIlvanney Debut Prize 2019. 

G.R. Halliday now lives in the rural Highlands outside of Inverness, where he is able to pursue his favourite pastimes of mountain climbing and swimming in the sea, before returning home to his band of semi-feral cats. 

Thursday 23 March 2023

Twelve Secrets by Robert Gold #TwelveSecrets @books_gold @BooksSphere #BookReview


Ben Harper's life changed for ever the day his older brother Nick was murdered by two classmates. It was a crime that shocked the nation and catapulted Ben's family and their idyllic hometown, Haddley, into the spotlight.

Twenty years on, Ben is one of the best investigative journalists in the country and settled back in Haddley, thanks to the support of its close-knit community. But then a fresh murder case shines new light on his brother's death and throws suspicion on those closest to him.

Ben is about to discover that in Haddley no one is as they seem. Everyone has something to hide.

And someone will do anything to keep the truth buried . . .

Twelve Secrets by Robert Gold was published in paperback by Sphere on 8 December 2022. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review. 

This book has been sitting on my shelves for months, waiting to be read. My husband recently read the digital copy and loved it, so I knew it was time to read it. This was my first read of my recent holiday, and due to a five-hour delay on the flight (snow!), I managed to read most of it in one sitting. 

What a fabulous story this is and what an amazing debut from an author who really knows how to put a plot together. 

Ben Harper works as a journalist, he's very good at his job. He writes about crime and has become very successful. Ben's life has always been overshadowed by the brutal murder of his own brother who was killed, aged just fourteen, along with his friend, by two teenage girls. Ben's mother also died tragically ten years ago and it is the anniversary of this event that spurs on the whole story.

Ben's boss wants an article about his mother's death. Ben would rather not thrust his family into the spotlight again. He's had enough of that infamy and would really rather grieve in peace. However, when a murder is reported in a small town, Ben cannot help but get involved. The murder seems to be a copycat killing, relating to his brother, and when the identity of the victim is revealed, Ben knows that he has to investigate. 

The reader is taken to the small town of Haddley, the place where Ben grew up and where his family members died. The author gives various characters their own voices and the reader can never know quite who to trust.

I admit to having one of those 'sitting there with your gob hanging open' moments during one of the reveals. It's so cleverly done and everything surprised me, although really, nothing should surprise me! 

This is the first of a series and I already have a copy of the next book. I cannot wait to see what's next in store for Ben. Highly recommended. 

Originally from Harrogate in North Yorkshire, Robert Gold began his career as an intern at the
American broadcaster CNN, based in Washington DC. 

He returned to Yorkshire to work for the retailer ASDA, becoming the chain's nationwide book buyer.

He now works in sales for a UK publishing company.

Robert now lives in Putney and his new hometown served as the inspiration for the fictional town of Haddley in his thrillers, Twelve Secrets, an Irish Times bestseller, and Eleven Liars, publishing in 2023.

Wednesday 22 March 2023

The Venice Secret by Anita Chapman BLOG TOUR #TheVeniceSecret @neetschapman @RandomTTours #BookReview


One hidden painting. Two women born centuries apart. A secret uncovered.

In 2019, Rachel is stuck in a rut when she discovers what appears to be a Canaletto painting in her grandmother's loft along with a note addressed to Philippa in 1782. With help from Jake at the local art gallery, Rachel endeavours to find out if the painting is an original and uncovers a secret from the past.

In 1780, governess at Chipford Hall, Philippa is offered the role of mistress by Earl Rupert. She escapes to Venice as companion to bluestocking, Lady Cordelia who reveals a secret that changes both their lives. They do their best to keep the secret from Lady Cordelia's social circle, but their nemesis is determined to reveal all and ruin them.

The Venice Secret by Anita Chapman was published on 1 March 2023. My thanks to the author who sent my copy for review as part of this #RandomThingsTours Blog Tour. 

The Venice Secret is Anita Chapman's debut novel, and what a wonderful wonderful read it is. Expertly crafted and beautifully written, this has shot straight into my top books of the year list. 

I do love a dual-time narrative, and this author has done this so very well. It is perfectly paced, with alternate chapters moving between the modern day and then whisking the reader back to 1780. Sometimes, when reading a novel of this structure, it can be easy to become more involved with one of the time lines.  Not this this one!  Both narratives are compelling and thrilling, featuring female lead characters that are so well crafted, so likeable and strong. It's fascinating to look at how their lives differed in the two eras, yet for the male characters, not so much has changed! 

In 2019, Rachel is at something of a crossroads in her life. She's been made redundant, has split from her partner and has found herself living with her mother in the house that they inherited from her grandmother. She has very little money and desperately needs a job.  When she discovers an old painting, wrapped in brown paper, in the loft of the house, she's intrigued. There's also a handwritten note alongside it and it's clear that both the painting and the letter date back hundreds of years. Determined to discover if she's stumbled upon an original painting by Venetian artist Caneletto, she visits a nearby gallery and she and the gallery owner, Jake, embark on a journey to discover the truth.

In 1780, Philippa, the daughter of a local vicar must also find employment. Her father died leaving many debts and she and her mother must now earn their keep. Philippa is taken on as a Governess at Chipley Hall. The master of the house agrees to pay off the debts and give her a reduced income in return. When young Lord Rupert returns from his european Grand Tour, Philippa is more than a little dazzled by him. He's a smooth talker, with lots of experience and naive Philippa appears to be no match for him. 
Caneletto and his paintings form a big part of Philippa and Rupert's story. He brought them back from Venice recently and Philippa finds them to be delightful. 

It becomes clear however, that Philippa cannot stay at Chipley Hall, and accepts an offer from wealthy Lady Cordelia who intends to take her own Grand Tour, to research her latest novel. Philippa will be her companion. With mixed feelings, they set off on the tour, yet once again, it appears that Philippa has been misled, and the rich and wealthy believe that she's a woman who can be manipulated. 

Anita Chapman weaves a magical story, full of colour and life. The descriptions of the journey to Europe is at times quite terrifying,  yet the beauty and splendour of the countryside and sights are joyful. 

The modern day tale is also expertly executed. Dealing with relevant social issues that affect women, and the burgeoning relationship between Rachel and Jake, it's both compelling and intriguing. 

A story to relish and to treasure. I was totally captivated by both the plot and the writing style and can only look forward to seeing what this talented author writes next. Highly recommended. 

Praise for The Venice Secret 

'A beautifully-crafted story of love, loyalty and self-discovery, drawing together past and present in an irresistible romantic mystery.' Nicola Cornick

'Past and present intertwine in this fabulously intriguing mix of history, mystery and romance.' Celia Rees

'An intriguing tale of secrets and love.' Liz Fenwick

'Meticulously researched and a brilliant, intriguing plot that had me turning the pages as fast as I could.' Jules Wake aka Julie Caplin

'A fascinating dual time debut with enchanting descriptions of a vibrant eighteenth century Venice. Beautifully researched and interspersed with an engaging present day mystery, this was a charming read.' Jenni Keer

'A well-researched and beautifully told dual timeline story which takes the reader from present day England to 18th century Venice. Combining intrigue, romance and mystery, I was hooked from the very first page.' Clare Marchant

'The Venice Secret is a thoroughly engaging dual time story set partly in the 18th century and partly in the present. Full of romance, secrets and intrigue, it takes the reader on an exhilarating journey to solve a historical mystery - and what a journey it is! Following the chance discovery by the heroine in the present of a painting that could possibly be by the famous artist Canaletto, she sets out to prove its provenance. Along the way, she also finds herself and a new purpose to her life. Meanwhile, the heroine in the past has to navigate a difficult path between what is right and what her heart tells her to do. We follow both of them via sumptuous country mansions in the UK, across Europe and to the stunning city of Venice, the sights and sounds beautifully described by the author. I felt as though I was there, walking down those narrow alleys, visiting the famous piazzas and travelling along the canals. And as someone who loves programmes like Fake or Fortune, this book was right up my street!' Christina Courtenay

'Anita Chapman takes us on a mystery journey, linked by a painting. A strongly contrasted story with a rich mix of Grand Tours, country houses and genteel eighteenth-century behaviour, threaded with a modern-day heroine and her chaotic lifestyle. Travel from your sofa with this intriguing romance.' Angela Petch

'Anita Chapman sweeps the reader backward and forward in time in this well-researched story. Each character plays her or his part in bringing the dual timelines together beautifully. I recommend you read it!' Sue Moorcroft

'A delightful dual timeline debut. Impeccably researched and perfectly plotted with sumptuous descriptions, fascinating characters, plenty of romance and a captivating mystery. It's got everything I love in a story.' Donna Ashcroft

Anita Chapman enjoyed writing stories from a young age, and won a local writing competition when she was nine years old. Encouraged by this, she typed up a series of stories about a mouse on her mum’s typewriter and sent them to Ladybird. She received a polite rejection letter, her first.

Many of Anita’s summers growing up were spent with her family driving to Italy, and she went on to study French and Italian at university. As part of her degree, Anita lived in Siena for several months where she studied and au paired, and she spent a lot of time travelling around Italy in her twenties.
Anita likes to read journals and diaries from the past, and one of her favourite pastimes is visiting art galleries and country houses. 

Her first published novel, The Venice Secret is inspired by her mother taking her to see the Canalettos at The National Gallery in London as a child. 

Since 2015, Anita has worked as a social media manager, training authors on social media, and helping to promote their books. She’s run several courses in London and York, and has worked as a tutor at Richmond and Hillcroft Adult Community College.


Facebook Page: Anita Chapman Author 
Instagram: @neetschapman

TikTok: @neetschapman

Wednesday 8 March 2023

One Moment by Becky Hunter BLOG TOUR #OneMoment @bookish_becky @CorvusBooks @RandomTTours #AuthorGuestPost


One moment in time can change everything...

The day Scarlett dies should have been one of the most important of her life. It doesn't feel fair that she'll never have the chance to fulfil her dreams. And now, she's still ... here - wherever here is - watching the ripple effect of her death on the lives of those she loved the most.

Evie cannot contemplate her life without Scarlett, and she certainly cannot forgive Nate, the man she blames for her best friend's death. But Nate keeps popping up when she least expects him to, catapulting Evie's life in directions she'd never let herself imagine possible. Ways, perhaps, even those closest to her had long since given up on.

If you could go back, knowing everything that happens after, everything that happens because of that one moment in time, would you change the course of history or would you do it all again?

One Moment by Becky Hunter was published in hardback on 2 March 2023 by Corvus. I adored this amazing debut from an astonishing new voice in fiction. My review will be published in S Magazine very soon.

As part of this #RandomThingsTours Blog Tour I am delighted to welcome the author here today, with a fabulous guest post. 

Guest Post from Becky Hunter

Why ONE MOMENT is such a ‘moment’ for me…

I have been trying to write for over ten years, dreaming of having my name on the front of a book. In actual fact, I first tried to write a book when I was eleven, on the very first computer in our house – big and clunky and with the dial up tone we all grew to love. It was called THE GHOST, and was, unsurprisingly about a ghost – and the girl who fell in love with him (and a necklace that was a beautiful, perfect triangle, as far as I can recall). I remember writing it as a short story, and reading the story to my dad’s girlfriend at the time, who asked if it was just the beginning of a book… I vividly recall sitting at the computer and forcing my older sister, Jenny, who is nearly 10 years older than me and was much better at typing than me, to type out the story as I dictated (something my niece, Jenny’s daughter, now does to me – it all comes full circle…). We were supposed to be going somewhere and were being told to hurry up, but I was refusing to leave until we got to a certain point in the story. I don’t know how or why, but at this point I managed to do something on the computer – and I deleted The. Entire. Thing. Jenny was so cross – this had been hours of work – and I was distraught. My future bestselling novel was GONE! She managed to see the funny side and we kept going and tried to remember the story. I have no idea where THE GHOST is now, lost somewhere on a very old computer, but it definitely kindled a love of writing.

Aside from the brilliance of THE GHOST, I first seriously tried to write a book when I was twenty-one, still at university. All good writers love to read, and I was no different, and I wrote the sort of thing I was reading at the time – a YA novel with a love triangle… I was convinced it was brilliant and would be a future bestseller. Needless to say, I was wrong, but I’m so glad I had this weird conviction at the time, because it made me see it through to the end – something I certainly wouldn’t have had the courage to do if I’d known just how hard writing a book and getting it published was. I wrote two more full novels before getting an agent, and had to learn a lot. I spent hours online, looking up writing techniques, and signed up for a creative writing course, paying on my credit card and convinced that it was an ‘investment.’. When I did get an agent, I was convinced that was it – my big break. I’d also started working in publishing by this point as a publicity assistant at Transworld, but I was still very much still naïve when it came to just how difficult and competitive this industry can be. 

Despite getting an agent, that book did not sell to publishers. I was distraught. I then tried to ‘panic write’ a novel, seeing what was doing well in the market and trying to write something that fit. It didn’t work – the book was really not very good. I had a few conversations with lovely agents along the way, who I was lucky enough to meet through my job, who gave me lots of advice and told me to keep going. In the meantime, I got a bit distracted by my job – I love working in book PR, but it can be a bit all-encompassing at times, with lots of out of hours work, and a lot of time spent reading for work (a great thing – but time consuming). In 2019, I took a career break and moved to Mozambique to volunteer with horses. It was fantastic. In 2020, I was looking after six horses on an island of the coast of Mozambique, when the pandemic hit – and I got stuck there. I say ‘stuck’ but it was really the best thing that could have happened. Everyone was isolating, I just happened to be doing so on a tropical island in the Indian ocean… It was at this point that I started taking my writing more seriously. I wrote another book – it didn’t actually go on to get published (still!), but it was definitely the best thing I’d written. With that book I got my now agent, and from that came One Moment. 

ONE MOMENT is the book that finally made it – the one that has my name on it and is published, in hardback, no less – the actual dream! It was the story that felt most natural to write, and I suppose that is why it made it. I’ve always loved a touch of the speculative in fiction, but I never thought I could pull it off – and I suppose it took until now for me to be brave enough to try. I’ve also always loved love stories – but again, for some reason I just hadn’t thought to write one before, and it was only in trying it that I realised I could. I also do think those years of ‘near misses’ were all practice – hopefully my writing improved as a result, and hopefully it will continue to get better!

It's taken me a while to get to this point, but the hard work has been worth it – and I hope it means that I won’t give up, should I hit more obstacles along the writing journey! It’s such a thrill to be here, featured as a blog post, which is something I have wanted for many of my authors in the past. So, thank you for having me, and if you do read ONE MOMENT then I hope you enjoy it! 

Praise for One Moment 

A thought-provoking and moving novel about loss, love, and the unique and life-affirming power of friendship. Poignant yet unwaveringly hopeful, One Moment is a fresh look at how grief can not only break us, but put us back together again. An unmissable debut. ― Holly Miller

'Completely involving. An emotional read about love and trust, with an OMG ending -- Jill Mansell

A joy from start to finish -- Sheila O'Flanagan. No. 1 bestselling author

An exquisitely written novel about grief, hope and the power of love. I loved every word. -- Cathy Bramley, Sunday Times bestselling author

Beautiful, hopeful, deeply emotional, incredibly wise and wonderfully romantic. One of those books I feel stronger for reading -- Cressida McLaughlin

Fantastic. Incredibly moving and very thoughtfully written -- Harriet Tyce

I adored this emotional debut from Becky Hunter. It's such a gorgeous tale of love and friendship, beautifully written and with characters you really believe in. ― Georgina Moore, author of The Garnett Girls

This stunning debut explores grief, love and friendship in a beautiful and original way - a powerful read full of both moving and joyful moments ― My Weekly

Sharp, funny, tear-jerking, so assured and well observed. What a debut! -- ELizabeth Buchan

A warm and thoughtful novel that skewers friendship, loss and negotiating grief in a touching and relatable way. I was completely caught up in Evie and Scarlet's stories. -- Fanny Blake

A poignant, uplifting and life-affirming tale of friendship, love, grief and learning to let go. It'll have you welling up one moment and smiling the next. And by the end, your heart will feel a little fuller. ― CultureFly

A hugely accomplished debut about dying, grief and loss, but also learning to live again. It's about love in all its forms, and, despite its subject matter, it manages to be uplifting and life-affirming. It's a story that will stay with me for a long time. -- Claire Frost

So moving and uplifting - I have no doubt that readers will fall in love -- Emylia Hall

An engaging story about love, true friendship and sacrifice ― Candis

Becky grew up in Berkshire, UK, and has loved reading since before she can remember. After
studying social sciences at Cambridge university, this love of reading led her to a career in publishing, where she worked as a book publicist in London for several years before taking a career break and moving to Mozambique to volunteer with horses. It was here that she decided to give writing a proper go, though it was still a few years, a few more destinations, and a couple more jobs before she had the idea that would become ONE MOMENT, her debut novel.

She currently splits her time between London, Bristol and Falmouth, and works as a freelance book publicist and editor, alongside her own writing.

Find Becky on Twitter (@Bookish_Becky) or Instagram (beckyhunterbooks) - she'd love to hear from you!