blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: The Change – Kirsten Miller

Big Little Lies meets The Witches of Eastwick—a gloriously entertaining and knife-sharp feminist revenge fantasy about three women whose midlife crisis brings unexpected new powers—putting them on a collision course with the evil that lurks in their wealthy beach town. 

In the Long Island oceanfront community of Mattauk, three different women discover that midlife changes bring a whole new type of empowerment…

After Nessa James’s husband dies and her twin daughters leave for college, she’s left all alone in a trim white house not far from the ocean. In the quiet of her late forties, the former nurse begins to hear voices. It doesn’t take long for Nessa to realize that the voices calling out to her belong to the dead—a gift she’s inherited from her grandmother, which comes with special responsibilities.

On the cusp of 50, suave advertising director Harriett Osborne has just witnessed the implosion of her lucrative career and her marriage. She hasn’t left her house in months, and from the outside, it appears as if she and her garden have both gone to seed. But Harriett’s life is far from over—in fact, she’s undergone a stunning and very welcome metamorphosis.

Ambitious former executive Jo Levison has spent thirty long years at war with her body. The free-floating rage and hot flashes that arrive with the beginning of menopause feel like the very last straw—until she realizes she has the ability to channel them, and finally comes into her power.

Guided by voices only Nessa can hear, the trio of women discover a teenage girl whose body was abandoned beside a remote beach. The police have written the victim off as a drug-addicted sex worker, but the women refuse to buy into the official narrative. Their investigation into the girl’s murder leads to more bodies, and to the town’s most exclusive and isolated enclave, a world of stupendous wealth where the rules don’t apply. With their newfound powers, Jo, Nessa, and Harriett will take matters into their own hands…

My thoughts: of the three woman I loved Harriett the most – she just doesn’t care a lick about what other people think about her anymore. They say she’s a witch, fine, she’s a witch. Jo and Nessa still worry about other people’s opinions, even as they investigate the missing girls and the super privileged community on the cliffs.

This is a shocking and brutally honest book in many ways. Women are often overlooked and undervalued. All three of these women and many others whose stories weave into the narrative have suffered, often horrifically, at the hands of selfish, cruel and overindulged men. From sexist comments and being passed over for promotion to domestic violence and sexual assault, woman suffer. And now these three are not going to take it anymore. Woe betide any man who crosses them.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: The Little Theatre on Halfpenny Lane – Clodagh Murphy

Aoife and her sisters know exactly what to do when they inherit their Great-aunt Detta’s theatre on Halfpenny Lane:

  • Restore the dilapidated building to its former glory.
  • Perform together on its stage to packed houses and rapturous applause.
  • Live happily ever after.
    But they didn’t count on Detta leaving a share in the theatre to her godson, Jonathan. Now they’ll have to persuade him to buy into their vision of stardust and magic – or find the money to buy him out.
    As they fight to save the theatre, Aoife also battles her growing feelings for Jonathan. Because she can’t let herself fall for the man who’s about to bring the curtain down on their dreams.

    Amazon UKAmazon US
  • Author Bio Clodagh Murphy lives in Dublin, Ireland. She has worked as a bar waitress, cleaner, secretary, editorial assistant, mystery shopper and movie extra. But she always dreamed of being an author, and after more jobs than she cares to (or can) remember, she now writes full-time. For more information about her books or to sign up to her newsletter, visit her website.
  • Facebook Twitter Instagram Bookbub Goodreads

My thoughts: this was a lovely story of sisterhood and theatre. The three sisters want to restore their great-aunt’s theatre, turn it into a going concern again and stage a production of Chekhov. But first they need to raise a lot of money. Luckily their aunt meant a lot to the Dublin theatre community and they’re all up for a fundraiser or two. And maybe Aoife might get through the tough exterior of Jonathan and her stage fright.

Enjoyable, funny and sweet, I knew I’d enjoy a story about a theatre (theatre kids never say die) and I was right!

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: River of Ashes – Alexandra Weis & Lucas Astor

ALONG THE BANKS OF THE BOGUE FALAYA RIVER, sits the abandoned St. Francis Seminary. Beneath a canopy of oaks, blocked from prying eyes, the teens of St. Benedict High gather here on Fridays. The rest of the week belongs to school and family—but weekends belong to the river.

And the river belongs to Beau Devereaux.

The only child of a powerful family, Beau can do no wrong. Star quarterback. Handsome. Charming. The “prince” of St. Benedict is the ultimate catch.

He is also a psychopath.

A dirty family secret buried for years, Beau’s evil grows unchecked. In the shadows of the haunted abbey, he commits unspeakable acts on his victims and ensures their silence with threats and intimidation. Senior year, Beau sets his sights on his girlfriend’s headstrong twin sister, Leslie, who hates him. Everything he wants but cannot have, she will be his ultimate prize.

As the victim toll mounts, it becomes clear that someone must stop Beau Devereaux.

And that someone will pay with their life.

My thoughts: Beau is a cruel and violent young man, he sees nothing wrong in what he does to young women or even in how he treats his mother and friends.

But the terrible things he does are catching up with him as his victims start to talk to one another and even his girlfriend, blind to his monstrous nature, turns against him. He plans to torture and rape her twin sister, but the avenging women have their own plans for him.

Dark and sometimes hard to read, discomforting and rage inducing. I couldn’t believe no one had tried to stop him before. Only once Beau started to lose the tightly controlled persona he let others see, did changes start to happen. His comeuppance came at a terrible price but at least he was finally stopped.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: The Shimmer on the Water – Marina McCarron

When you’re lost sometimes the only way to look forward is to look back…
Three women. Two generations apart. One secret they share.
Maine, 1997. As the people of Fort Meadow Beach celebrate the Fourth of July, four-year- old Daisy Wright disappears and is never seen again.
Maine, 2022. Fired from her job and heart-broken, Peyton Winchester moves back home for the summer. Bored and aimless, she finds a renewed sense of purpose when going through her old diaries she is reminded of her dream of becoming a journalist. Returning to life in her home town brings back all kind of memories – including Daisy’s disappearance when she was a young girl herself.
As Peyton begins to search for answers about Daisy’s disappearance, she finds that they might be closer to home than she thinks – and their lives become intertwined with irreversible consequences.

Buy from Amazon
Buy from Waterstones

Marina McCarron was born in eastern Canada and studied in Ottawa and Vancouver before moving to England. She holds a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Publishing degree. She has worked as a reporter, a freelance writer, a columnist and a manuscript evaluator. She loves reading and travelling and has been to six of the seven continents. She gets her ideas
for stories from strolling through new places and daydreaming. Her debut novel, The Time Between Us, came to her as she stood at Pointe du Hoc on a windy June day and asked the magical question, what if…?
Follow Marina

My thoughts: I really enjoyed this, supposedly Peyton is looking into the disappearance of little Daisy but really the mystery she’s most interested in is that of her mother, Lydia. Cold and remote, critical and clearly unhappy, she’s someone whose entire past is an intentional blank. When Peyton finds an old Christmas card, it starts her off trying to find out what happened to make her mother the way she is.

Intertwined with Peyton’s complicated summer of rediscovery is the story of Eualla, a young girl in rural Tennessee decades before, who she is and her life is a bit of a mystery to the reader but it does all make sense.

A clever, moving, complex story of mothers and daughters, of generational trauma and love.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: So Happy For You – Celia Laskey

A wedding weekend spirals out of control in this bold, electrifying, hilarious novel about the complexities of female friendship

Robin and Ellie have been best friends since childhood. When Robin came out, Ellie was there for her. When Ellie’s father died, Robin had her back. But when Ellie asks Robin to be her maid of honor, she is reluctant. A queer academic, Robin is dubious of the elaborate wedding rituals now sweeping the nation, which go far beyond champagne toasts and a bouquet toss. But loyalty wins out, and Robin accepts.

Yet, as the wedding weekend approaches, a series of ominous occurrences lead Robin to second-guess her decision. It seems that everyone in the bridal party is out to get her. Perhaps even Ellie herself.

Manically entertaining, viciously funny and eerily campy, So Happy for You is the ultimate send-up to our collective obsession with the wedding industrial complex and a riveting, unexpectedly poignant depiction of friendship in all its messy glory.

My thoughts: this is very funny and a bit silly but there’s a serious side to it as well. Set in a not-so-distant future where there’s an even more insane focus on marriage than there is now – the dating app telling women when they’re running out of time to reproduce was a particularly hellish detail, Robin and her best friend Ellie are on a collision course.

Robin hates weddings, is writing a sociology thesis on why the wedding industrial complex is so toxic and never wants to get married (thankfully her partner, Aimee, agrees) but Ellie cannot wait to be Mrs Ellie Ellison (gag).

Ellie wants Robin to be her Maid of Honour. Why on earth she asks her anti-wedding lesbian high school BFF and not one of her much more likely to agree other friends is beyond me. I didn’t have bridesmaids, and for my hen night I went out for dinner and cocktails with some friends (one of whom was a man) and my mum. I do not get the whole OTT wedding thing at all.

I don’t think Robin’s perfect though, she could just go along with some of Ellie’s requests (not the nuts ones though – the trust falls, the crazy wedding “charms”, some of the other stunts she pulls) but maybe being a little more enthusiastic for her friend might have meant it didn’t have to go quite so batshit over the wedding weekend.

Or not, I mean, some of it was hilarious, some just disturbing. Poor Ellie, I don’t actually think she’s crazy, but society has certainly made her act like she is. The huge pressure to get married, have the 2.4 children, dog and picket fence etc is huge and ugly and deeply unnecessary.

A really thought provoking and intelligent read with some really outrageous moments.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

books

Cover Reveal: Together Again – Milly Johnson

I am so excited to share with you all today the cover of Milly Johnson’s 20th novel – Together Again. Available everywhere September 2022.

Together, Again is the story of truths uncovered and lies exposed, of secrets told – and kept. It is a novel about sister helping sister to heal from childhood scars, and of finding, in each other, the love they have all been deprived of. 

Sisters, Jolene, Marsha and Annis have convened at their childhood home the huge and beautiful Fox House following the death of their mother, the cold and impenetrable Eleanor Vamplew, to arrange the funeral and sell up. Born seven years apart, the women have never bonded and are more strangers than sisters.
 
Jolene, the eldest, is a successful romantic novelist who writes templates of beautiful relationships even though her marriage to the handsome and charming  Warren is a barren wasteland.
 
Marsha, the neglected middle child has put every bit of her energy into her work hoping money would plug up the massive gap in her life left by the man who broke her young heart, only to find it never has. And now he has been forced back into her life.
 
Annis is the renegade, who left home aged sixteen and never returned, not even for the death of their beloved father Julian, until now. It is therefore a surprise to all of them to discover that Eleanor recently changed her will to leave everything to the daughter she considered a wretched accident.

Together, Again is about vulnerability and strength, acceptance and family. 

More info and pre-order details can be found here

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: And Then There’s Margaret – Carolyn Clarke

Marriage and midlife can be difficult. But when you add a controlling, manipulative and self-absorbed mother-in-law into the mix, things can get worse-much worse. Toxic, even.

When Allison Montgomery’s beloved father-in-law and long-time confidant passes away, her mother-in-law, Margaret, ‘temporarily’ moves in. From rearranging the furniture and taking over the kitchen, to undermining and embarrassing Allie at every turn, including funding her daughter’s escape, throwing a hissy fit at the mall, and publicly equating Allie’s glass of Chardonnay to full blown alcoholism, Margaret turns Allie’s life upside down causing her to bounce between a sincere desire to support her grieving mother-in-law and an intense urge to simply push her out of the nearest window.

Feeling annoyed, trapped and even a little childish, Allie struggles to avoid a complete meltdown with help from her fearless and audacious best friend, a plan for reinventing herself and enjoying a second act, and, yes, a few glasses of Chardonnay. Along the way, Allie discovers the reasons behind Margaret’s attitude toward her all these years. Does it help? Maybe…

My thoughts: I am very grateful my mother-in-law is nothing like Margaret, because Margaret is a nightmare. Actually, my grandmother is very much like Margaret. Constantly criticising, cleaning up around you while you’re still eating (she once washed a plate while I was still half a sandwich shy of finishing) and just completely out of control.

Allie can’t work out how her late sainted father-in-law managed with Margaret, and now she’ll never know. It doesn’t help that her husband Hank is next to useless at standing up to his strident and overbearing mother.

But somehow they’ve either got to get along or one of them will kill the other. Margaret is almost always in Allie’s house (change the locks!) and always looking for something to criticise. But as the family mourn the patriarch, might there be something else going on with Margaret?

Funny and highly observant of life’s idiosyncrasies, Allie and Margaret dust themselves off for battle. And we’re along for the ride.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: After Paris – Nicole Kennedy

Three women take the same Eurostar to Paris for a girls’ trip, but take separate trains back. What happened that weekend? A thought-provoking and gripping novel about trying to hold on to friendships when you start to grow apart.
Three best friends. A weekend away. And a whole lot of baggage.
Alice, Nina and Jules have been best friends for twenty years. They met in Paris and return there once a year, to relive their youth, leave the troubles of home behind, and indulge in each other’s friendship and warmth. But this year, aged thirty-nine, the cracks in their
relationships are starting to show…
After their weekend together in Paris, the three women never speak again. Each claims the other two ghosted them. But is there more to the story?

Waterstones Amazon

Nicole Kennedy grew up in Essex. She was the first person in her family to go to university, and won a place to study Law at Bristol. During Nicole’s second maternity leave she began writing poems and rhymes on motherhood and family life, which she posted to her blog ‘The
Brightness Of These Days’. She completed her first novel during her third maternity leave (because by then it was easier than leaving the house). Nicole lives in Kent with her husband and three sons.

Instagram Twitter

My thoughts: I’ve been thinking a lot about friendships recently, so this book was the perfect read for me right now. Jules, Alice and Nina meet as young women and become instant BFFs. But as the years go by, and their lives change (marriage, careers, children, successes and failures) their friendship is slightly off kilter. They no longer talk about everything, they’re all holding back.

As they each leave Paris suddenly, without speaking, their relationship flounders and it’s months before they reconnect. Months in which they all go through big changes in their lives. Mostly for the better in the end.

When they do reconnect – it’s time to tell the truth and bare their souls to one another. Whatever happens next.

Friendship can be sustaining, it can last lifetimes or it can be fleeting, as we all age and move on with our lives, very few people can say they’re still friends with people they knew as children. We have different friends at different points in our lives – school, uni, work, through hobbies and clubs.

But you do have to work on your friendships – like any connection, you have to nurture it. Alice, Jules and Nina have fallen into bad habits and when other things in their lives take centre stage, their friendship struggles. I can relate and so will many other readers. Which is why this is such an enjoyable book. Your life might not look exactly like any of theirs, but you might just find yourself reflecting on your own friends as you read it.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: Lifesaving For Beginners – Josie Lloyd

In life’s stormy waters, it’s your friends who keep you afloat…

Maddy Wolfe’s life has just capsized. After her twenty-year marriage suddenly implodes, she heads to Brighton to search for her estranged son, Jamie. But he’s nowhere to be found and for the first time, she’s totally alone. That is, until she meets the Salty Sea-Gals, a group of feisty sea-swimmers.

Seventy-two-year old Helga is determined not to slow down, while thirty-something Tor is still figuring out who she is. Bereaved Dominica is trying to find a reason to carry on, and busy mum Claire is learning to put herself first for a change.

As their regular cold-water plunges become a lifeline for them all, Maddy starts to realise that these brave women might just help her find both Jamie and herself. Together, will they turn the tide?

My thoughts: this is a lovely heartwarming book that leaves you with the warm fuzzies. All the women are at different, complicated, points in their lives, struggling with their marriages, families, aging, themselves. But when they come together for a swim in the sea off Brighton beach, it all melts away. By talking to each other and helping one another out, they begin to be a bit happier, more confident, resolved.

Their intergenerational friendship – from thirties to seventies, is lovely to see. All of their life experiences shape them and enable them to help their friends with advice and experience. It’s a bit of a hug in a book.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: Ginger & Me – Elissa Soave

Wendy is lonely but coping.
All nineteen-year-old Wendy wants is to drive the 255 bus around Uddingston with her regulars on board, remember to buy milk when it runs out and just to be okay. After her mum died, there’s nobody to remind her to eat and what to do each day.

And Wendy is ready to step out of her comfort zone.
Each week she shows her social worker the progress she’s made, like the coasters she bought to spruce up the place, even if she forgets to make tea. And she even joins a writers’ group to share the stories she writes, like the one about a bullied boy who goes to Mars.

But everything changes when Wendy meets Ginger.
A teenager with flaming orange hair, Ginger’s so brave she’s wearing a coat that isn’t even waterproof. For the first time, Wendy has a real best friend. But as they begin the summer of their lives, Wendy wonders if things were simpler before. And that’s before she realizes just how much trouble Ginger is about to get them in…

My thoughts: I liked Wendy, she’s a simple soul a bit adrift in the world. She misses her mum, who took care of her, and likes seeing her regular passengers on the bus route she drives every day. She’s lonely, and doesn’t have the social skills to easily make new friends, so when she meets Ginger, and Diane, she latches onto them.

Ginger is fourteen, never in school, lives with her uncle and has not had a very nice life. She and Wendy find a friend in each other, but Wendy’s innocence means she doesn’t really understand Ginger’s world and that leads to trouble.

I felt for both girls, Wendy’s young for her age and naive, she gets easily obsessed with things – in this case Diane, a writer who lives nearby. She doesn’t understand the difference between being polite to a fan and friendship. Which is sad.

This was a bittersweet book and I know there are quite a few Wendys and Gingers out there who need someone to look out for them, to make sure they’re OK and safe.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.