Latest Reviews

karen byrom book reviewer headshot

Karen Byrom

I love to write and I love to read, so writing book reviews is the best job in the world for me!

 

What got me into journalism? After studying Latin and history at St Andrews university, I returned to my home town of Dundee, where DCT Media has been a proud presence for over 100 years.

 

I worked there in magazine journalism for over 30 years, honing my skills at My Weekly and The People’s Friend. I’ve now retired from the 9-5, but still write book reviews for My Weekly and for NFOP’s in-house magazine, along with all the reviews you’ll find here.

 

My tastes are eclectic – I love all genres from romance to detective, fantasy to thriller noir, young adult to literary fiction. Hilary Mantel, Neil Gaiman, Lisa Gardner, Milly Johnson – I’ve too many favourite authors to mention … just check out my reviews to discover more!

Full Review: https://karensbookbag.co.uk/both-of-you-by-adele-parks/. Two women go missing, two husbands fall under suspicion ... who’s telling the truth and who’s lying in this twisty, thrilling shocking thriller from the brilliant @adele_parks @hqstories @harperfiction #bookstagram #bookblogger #bookbloggersofinstagram #thrillerfiction #domesticthriller #domesticthrillernoir #secretsandlies
Full review: https://karensbookbag.co.uk/__leavethelightsoneganhughes/. a dark thriller noir with eerie sub tones might leave you as afraid as heroine Lauren to be alone at home in the dark ... a page-turning novel, ideal for Bank Holiday reading! #leavethelightson #eganhughes #thrillerfiction #domesticthrillernoir #blogtour @littlebrownbookgroup_uk @francescabanks_ #boostagram #bookblogger #bookbloggersofinstagram #bankholidayreading
Full review: https://karensbookbag.co.uk/the-summer-seekers-by-sarah-morgan/ Enjoy a road trip across 
Route 66 in the company of delightful 80-year-old Kathleen as she fulfils a bucket list wish that might also just put a painful past to rest. Great characters and an intriguing plot make this a must-read for this summer! @sarahmorganwrites @harperfictionpr @hqstories #roadtrip #route66 #popularfiction #bookstagram #bookbloggers #ageisjustanumber #summerreading
Full review: https://karensbookbag.co.uk/madam-by-phoebe-wynne/ a darkly thrilling story takes us to a remote boarding school in Scotland where the girls know more than their new teacher Rose about just what education they are getting .. explores themes of feminism in a gripping Gothic setting #phoebewynneauthor @quercusbooks #bookstagram #booklover #bookbloggers #gothicmystery #feminism #boardingschoollife
Full review: https://karensbookbag.co.uk/listening-still-by-anne-griffin/ When the dead speak, Jeanie listens ... what a wonderful life-affirming story of life, death and love set in a small Irish community by @annegriffinwriter @sceptrebooks #bookstagram #booklover #bookstagrammer #bookblogger #lifeanddeath
Full review: karensbookbag.co.uk/the-cancer-ladies-running-club-by-josie-lloyd/. #TheCancerLadiesRunningClub by @josielloydwriter is a surprisingly uplifting story of a group of friends with breast cancer who find mutual support in facing not just their illness but all the other challenges of daily life. #breastcancer #contemporaryfiction #friendship #runningclub #bookstagram #bookbloggersofinstagram #emotionaljoyousreading @hqstories
Full review: https://karensbookbag.co.uk/iron-queen-by-joanna-courtney/. I’ve reviewed #joannacourtney ‘s latest title in her #ShakespeareQueens series for #ThePeoplesFriend and my own blog - it’s such a brilliant retelling of the story of Cordelia and her sisters, set in Iron Age Britain. #bookstagram #bookbloggersofinstagram #historicalnovel #shakespeareheroines #booklovers #lovereading
Book post today promises some dark reading ... @dorothykoomson_author @emma_haughton_writes #alanjohnson @headlinebooks @hodderbooks #bookstagram #bookbloggerlife #thrillerbooks #thrillerbooksaddict #amreading
Full review: https://karensbookbag.co.uk/the-berlin-zookeeper-by-anna-stuart-2/ This dual timeline tale takes us between Berlin Zoo now and during WWII when its very survival was threatened. Will secrets hidden then be uncovered now? An intriguing, romantic and utterly enthralling story of female heroism #TheBerlinZookeeper #blogtour #historicalfiction #WorldWarII #bookstagram #bookbloggersofinstagram #netgalley @bookouture @annastuartauthor
Full review: https://karensbookbag.co.uk/the-ends-of-the-earth-by-abbie-greaves/  Every night, Mary waits at the train station for Jim to come home - but he’s been gone 7 years! Why has Jim disappeared and what keeps Mary so loyal and loving? This gentle, romantic mystery by @abbiegreavesauthor is a must-read #centurybooks @penguinrandomhouse #TheEndsOfTheEarth #mensmentalhealth  #mensmentalhealthawareness #bookstagram #bookbloggersofinstagram  #booklover #lovereading #bookreviewer
Congratulations @betholearyauthor @QuercusBooks on publication of #TheRoadTrip - a journey of discovery for one young couple. Will the road ahead lead to happiness? Don’t miss this great read. #NetGalley #bookstagram #booklover #bookbloggersofinstagram
Full review: https://karensbookbag.co.uk/the-end-of-men-by-christina-sweeney-baird/. This is a stunningly original, brilliant and prescient novel about a plague that threatens to wipe out men, leaving women  to take the helm in a post-plague world. I highly recommend a read. @christinasweeneybaird @boroughpress #NetGalley #postapocalyptic #plague #virus #theendofmen #bookstagram #bookbloggersofinstagram #lovereading #lovebooks
Full review https://karensbookbag.co.uk/cunning-women-by-elizabeth-lee/. This is a fabulous fiction story about the vulnerability and strength of two women demonised as witches in 17th century - a stunning debut from @ekleewriter @penguinrandomhouse #historicalfiction #witchcraft #debutnovel #spellbinding #bookblogger #bookstagram #netgalley
Just finished this prescient and powerful story about a plague that wipes out almost every male on the planet, leaving their grief-stricken women to sort out the resultant chaos. Don’t miss it on April 29 and see @netgalley for my review now. #christinasweeneybaird #plague #dystopianfiction #signofthetimes #bookstagram #bookblogger #lovereading #lovebooks @harpercollinsuk #netgalley #netgalleyreads
Full review:  https://www.myweekly.co.uk/2021/04/15/the-lost-hours-susan-lewis/ a dramatic murder mystery and the story of a family ripped apart by suspicion. This is such a gripping and emotional read from @susanlewisbooks @harpercollinsuk #bookstagram #bookblogger #booklover #susanlewis #murdermysterybooks #detectivefiction
Congratulation @phoebeannmorgan @hqstories on another brilliant thrilling novel that takes us with a group of four friends on a safari where there’s more to fear than wild animals! #thrillerbooks  #flawedfriendshiptale #itsajungleoutthere #bookstagrammer #bookbloggersofinstagram
Full review: https://karensbookbag.co.uk/the-therapist-by-ba-paris/  A brilliant thriller with killer twists, this dark domestic noir explores a woman’s terror as she learns her new home was the scene of a murder - and fears she may be next! @baparisauthor @hqstories #domesticthrillers #domesticthrillernoir #bookstagram #bookblogger #bookbloggersofinstagram #lovereading
So many good books out today! #TheNeverEndingSummer by @emmak67 is a nostalgic trip back to the 70s when young women were discovering a taste of freedom for the first time. Look out for it in my reviews for @my_weekly_magazine Special, on sale today #bookreviews #bookstagram #booklover #bookblogger #bookbloggerofinstagram
Dark and atmospheric - Don’t miss my review of #TheAsylum by @kazzywriter and other top books out this month in @my_weekly_magazine Special on sale today #bookstagram #bookblogger #booklover #bookblogger #gothicromance
I so enjoyed this tale of toxic friendship with two deliciously devious heroines and a tortuously twisty plot! #netgalleyreads #netgalleyreview #onemorechapter @hqstories #bookstagram #bookblogger #thrillerbooks #thrillerreads #thrillerfiction