Book reviews, Thriller

Thicker Than Water by Rachel McLean – Book Review



Six years after floods made her family homeless, Jess Dyer has found safety on the wild North Yorkshire coast. Her sister-in-law Ruth is forging a role as doctor to their community of refugees and the rock around which the family revolves.

But the family is haunted by memories of the journey north and the loss of their mother Sonia. And their community is under attack from the local population.

When Jess answers a distress call at sea, she brings strangers to their village and puts Ruth in jeopardy. Jess must calm the community, mount a rescue mission and keep her brother Ben from tipping into insanity.

Will she succeed? And will she find Ruth before it’s too late?

‘Thicker Than Water’ is a gripping thriller about family, belonging and revenge.



Thicker Than Water is the debut novel by author Rachel McLean. A post-disaster thriller.

Set in the near future on the North Yorkshire coast and the UK has flooded, the Thames Barrier breached and a lot of the country is now under water…..the survivors have settled into small isolated communities, scraping a living from the land and what they can find. 

They have set up a kind of government where a steward is in charge, but most decisions are made by discussions and votes. Jess is the new steward but her brother, Ben is very upset as he feels he she has stolen his job…how important is family ? And will the be able to resolve their issues?

Ben’s wife, Ruth was a vet but now administers to everyone using the meagre supplies they have…

One night, Jess sees a distress signal at sea and the community manage to rescue three men from the freezing water, and get them to land. There is some discussion as to what to do with them , but they find somewhere far them to stay…while discussion continues…..

But……then they disappear….and some of the women with them, including Ruth…

This is where the story really gets going….there’s kidnap, secrets, and a daring rescue attempt. Who is Robert ? What is his relationship to Ben? 

A really gripping thriller with so much happening to keep you totally engrossed…..wonderful expressive writing. I’d love to know more about how the country fell apart in such away and I’ll be looking out for more by Rachel McLean that’s for sure….

Thank you to Rachel’s Random Resources for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour and for the promotional materials and a free copy of the ebook  in exchange for my honest, unbiased review.

Buy a copy here

Author Bio


My name’s Rachel McLean and I write thrillers that make you think.

What does that mean?

In short, I want my stories to make your pulse race and your brain tick.

Do you often get through a thriller at breakneck pace but are left with little sense of what the book was really about? Do you sometimes read literary fiction but just wish something would damn well happen?

My books aim to fill that gap.

If you’d like to know more about my books and receive extra bonus content, please join my book club at I’ll send you a weekly email with news about my writing research and progress, stories and bonus content for each book. And I’ll let you know when my books are on offer.

Social Media Links –




Purchase Links:

UK –

US –

Book reviews

In Exile by Alexandra Turney – Book Review



No one in this city has believed in me for two thousand years. I’m unknown and unloved. And I’m very, very ill.’ He sighed, and the sound chilled her blood. ‘Give me your hand.’

Dionysus, god of wine and divine ecstasy, is reborn in modern Rome. He doesn’t understand how or why he’s come to be here – a pagan god in a city where he has no believers. But when he meets fifteen-year-old Grace during a chance encounter in the Ghetto, he realises he has found his first new follower.

This is the beginning of Grace’s secret life, as she and her friends overcome scepticism and fear to become his worshippers, drinking his wine and taking part in bacchanals across the city. As the melancholy god lives out his exile, his teenage followers find they have everything to lose. And after the first bloodshed, they know that there’s no turning back…



Grace is bored, it’s Summer in Italy and everyone is on holiday….while wandering she comes across a man, he claims to be Dionysus, an ancient god……somehow here in modern day Rome !!

Obviously she doesn’t believe him….that would be madness…. wouldn’t it?

But she soon changes her mind and soon recognises what he is. Her friends Sara and Caroline return from their holidays and she tells them all about Dionysus……and he is now glad to have these ‘nymphs’ to feed him…

Dionysus is the god of grapes and wine, but he is also the god of ritual madness and religious mania and he will lead the three teenagers to something new…….

This is a beautifully written tale by Alexandra Turney, of lost innocence, the building of a religious cult and how easy it is to influence the impressionable young, worse for wear due to wine and a smooth talking, charismatic being……. Just what are they capable of and do they fear the consequences? A scary thought. 

A quite extraordinary tale, which brings a bit of ancient mythology to the  modern day…..

Thank you to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour and for the promotional materials and a free copy of the ebook  in exchange for my honest, unbiased review.

Buy a copy here 





Alexandra Turney grew up in London and studied English Literature at the University of Oxford. Her love of Romantic poets (and pasta) inspired her to move to Rome, where she has lived since 2013. She works as an English teacher and freelance writer. In Exile is her first novel.


Paperback: 320 pages

• Publisher: Unbound Digital (24 Jan. 2019)

• Language: English

• ISBN-10: 1789650062

• ISBN-13: 978-1789650068


Book reviews

This Strange Hell by C J Sutton – Book Review



A suited man runs from a burning tower in Melbourne as bodies rain down upon him.

Before the city’s millions can compose, he boards a train into the countryside. Hiding his identity and changing his appearance, the man finds his way to Sulley Ridge, a lawless town in the heart of the harsh Victorian outback.

The following day, a burned man wakes up in a hospital bed. Surging with rage, he speaks a name. Within an hour, the suited man’s face is across every screen in the country. It’s the greatest manhunt Australia has ever seen.

But as he tries to camouflage in Sulley Ridge, he soon realises the town has its own problems. Under the iron fist of a violent leader, the locals are trapped within slow and torturous decay…

As we learn more about the night of the burning tower, the connection between the suited man and the burned man threatens to leave a trail of destruction across the state.

Here is the story of a man on the run from his past, as the line between sanity and evil is danced upon.

Here is the tale of This Strange Hell.



Where do I start? This is a tale of the power of fear…….of corruption, brutality and also of the strength and kindness of strangers.

Brady Lockhart, he ran away from the inferno of Barron Tower…..he is named by the burned man as the arsonist. The media and people vilify him and he is hunted by everyone.

He runs, changes his appearance and decides to look for work in a small rural town, Sully Ridge. He’s taken in by Wallace, who rents him a house but he knows who the man really is ……he also knows about the $1000000 he has stashed.

The man is now aware of Siphon, the brutal, violent and cruel gang leader who is running the town, he demands ‘rent’ from everyone…..if they don’t pay the consequences are dire…..just ask Wiggles…

The man decides to help the locals (a bit of a Magnificent Seven ….) and joins the gang but with an ulterior motive.

BUT The Burned man has found out where he is and is now on his way….!

I can’t say more for fear of spoilers…..but I will say this is a very well written book, the many characters and their back stories will have you cheering them on, crying with them and feel their bruises….it’s brutal, bloody and violent but there’s also the goodness of people to bring some hope…..a real credit to C J Sutton’s creative writing…..I can thoroughly recommend it….

Thank you to Rachel’s Random Resources for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour and for the promotional materials and a free copy of the ebook  in exchange for my honest, unbiased review.

you can preorder a copy here…out on 15 March




About the Author


C.J. Sutton is a writer based in Melbourne, Australia. He holds a Masters in journalism and creative writing and supports the value of study through correspondence. His fictional writing delves into the unpredictability of the human mind and the fears that drive us.

As a professional writer C. J. Sutton has worked within the hustle and bustle of newsrooms, the competitive offices of advertising and the trenches of marketing. But his interest in creating new characters and worlds has seen a move into fiction, which has always pleaded for complete attention. Dortmund Hibernate was his debut novel, released by Crooked Cat Books on July 18. It is available now –

His new novel, This Strange Hell, will be released on March 15.

Social Media Links –

Instagram: @c.j.sutton



Book reviews

The Serial Dater’s Shopping List by Morgen Bailey – Book Review



Are you looking for the perfect summer holiday read?

Then you’ll love this laugh-out-loud comedy about the highs and lows of dating.

Izzy is a journalist who usually writes a technology column for a local newspaper. Her somewhat-intimidating boss William sets her the task of dating thirty-one men, via an internet dating site, all within a month, and writing about it for the paper.

Having an active, though fruitless, social life with her friend Donna, Izzy knows what she wants in a man, so creates a shopping list of dos and don’ts and starts ticking them off as she meets the men.

Follow the ups and downs of the dating process including Tim ‘the Weeble’, whose date leads Izzy to see banoffee pie in a whole new light, Lawrence the super-skinny social worker, Felix with his bizarre penchant for Persian Piranhas, and ‘the music maestro but don’t talk about dead pets’ Jake.

By the end of the month, will Izzy have met Mr Right?



Izzy is a writer for a Northampton newspaper, she usually writes a tech review column and is a bit of a tech nerd…… Then, William,  her boss gives her a new assignment….she is to write about dating by taking on 31 dates in 31 days… she sets up an online dating profile…….and so it begins. 

Izzy writes a shopping list of do’s and dont’s (which could really be Wants and don’t wants). Such as don’t smell, don’t smoke a pipe, don’t sweat like a pig ….and do’s ….be tall, be kind, be fun and be tall amongst many others.

She really takes her task seriously and meets all manner of guys in some of the funniest encounters….it made me snort with laughter at times, while others were just grim….’weeble’ for one ! I used to live in nearby Milton Keynes, so I know some of the Northampton area….such as Sixfields which added to the fun for me personally. 

Will Izzy find the ‘one’ when ploughing through the mish mash or is he a little closer to home ?

I really liked Izzy and Donna, great characters and some excellent writing by Morgen Bailey….if you’ve experienced internet dating or blind dates this will probably bring back some cringey memories and more than a few laughs too. I loved it.

Thank you to Books on the Bright Side for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour and for the promotional materials and a free copy of the ebook  in exchange for my honest and unbiased review

You can buy a copy here



Author Bio:


Morgen Bailey (Morgen with an E) is an author (of novels, short stories, writing and editing guides), freelance editor (for publishers and indie authors), writing tutor (in person and online), Writers’ Forum magazine ‘Competitive Edge’ columnist, blogger, speaker, and co-founder of Northants Authors. 

The former Chair of three writing groups, she has judged the H.E. Bates Short Story Competition, RONE, as well as the BBC Radio 2, BeaconLit, and Althorp Literary Festival children’s short story competitions. She also runs her own monthly 100-word competition. 2018 events include talks and workshops at Troubador’s Self Publishing Conference speakers, workshops and panels at Delapre Book Festival, interviewing and workshops at BeaconLit, and NAWG Fest with her ‘Editing your Fiction’ weekend residential course.

Morgen can be found on Twitter, Facebook, and many others. Her blog is, and email address

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