New Titles to Watch Out For!

Doire Press, based in Connemara, Ireland have got 2 brand new titles coming soon – this October. Inspired by the Covid-19 pandemic. Reviews coming soon.

Set in a fictional area of Cork City from 2016-2020, Liberty Terrace captures the highs and lows of everyday life from both before and during the Covid-19 pandemic, prompting readers to consider what it means to be human and to live within a wider community. 

A former solicitor with experience as a Census Enumerator in 2016, Cork native Madeleine D’Arcy took inspiration from the Irish Census originally scheduled in April 2021 but now postponed until 2022 for Liberty Terrace. D’Arcy has created a rich tapestry of stories all set in and around the fictional street; the residents of Liberty Terrace come and go over the years – their lives ebbing and flowing around each other in ways that are sometimes funny, sometimes dark and often both.  

The cast of characters includes retired Garda Superintendent Deckie Google, a young homeless squatter, the mother of an autistic child working part-time as a Census Enumerator, the dysfunctional Callinan family, an ageing rock star, a trio of ladies who visit a faith healer, a philandering husband, as well as a surprising number of cats and dogs.

 MADELEINE D’ARCY is an Irish fiction writer. A former solicitor, she lived in the UK for 13 years before returning to live in Cork City with her husband and her son in 1999. Madeleine’s first Doire Press short story collection ‘Waiting for the Bullet’ was awarded the 2015 Edge Hill Readers’ Prize’ from Edge Hill University in Ormskirk. In 2010 she received a Hennessy X.O Literary Award for First Fiction as well as the overall Hennessy X.O Literary Award for New Irish Writer. Her stories have been short-listed and commended in many competitions, including the William Trevor/Elizabeth Bowen Short Story Competition, Fish Short Story Prize, the Bridport Prize and the Seán Ó Faoláin Short Story Competition. Madeleine has been awarded bursaries by the Arts Council of Ireland and by Cork City Council. Madeleine was a scholarship student on the inaugural MA in Creative Writing 2013-2014 in University College Cork. Waiting for the Bullet is Madeleine’s debut collection of short stories.

Surprised by how few literary references exist for the Spanish ‘Flu pandemic of 1918/19, Man Booker Prize-nominated Irish poet William Wall decided to turn his remarkable talents to creating a poetry anthology inspired by ‘the strangest year we have lived’. 

In Smugglers in the Underground Hug Trade: A Journal of the Plague Year, Wall captures the roller-coaster of emotions from the first terrible days in Italy to the highs and lows of the lockdown in Ireland, culminating in the frightening increase in numbers at Christmas 2020.

But this is not just a book about the plague: Wall turns to nature, to love, to his beloved Cork coast and sea-swimming for solace. There are many tender memories, moments of personal inspiration, humour and hopefulness—the whole suffused with an acute awareness of the historical context. There have been other plagues and pandemics, the poems say, and we have survived: we will survive this too.

A sample from Smugglers in the Underground Hug Trade: A Journal of the Plague Year

The Silent Road

the road that passes our gate
has fallen silent
all our days in this house
thirty years and more
we have wished for this moment
and now we are bereft

WILLIAM WALL is the author of four novels, including This is the Country (Sceptre), longlisted for the Man Booker Prize; three collections of poetry; and one volume of short stories. He is the first Poet Laureate of Cork, his home city (2020/2021) and was the first European to win the Drue Heinz Literature Prize in the USA (2017). He has also won the Virginia Faulkner Award, The Sean O’Faoláin Prize, several Writer’s Week prizes and The Patrick Kavanagh Award. He was shortlisted for the Young Minds Book Award, the Irish Book Awards, the Raymond Carver Award, the Hennessy Award and numerous others. His work has been translated into many languages, including Italian, Dutch, Portuguese, Latvian, Serbian and Catalan. In 2014 William was part of the Italo-Irish Literature Exchange, organised through The Irish Writers’ Centre, which toured Italy with readings in Italian and English. In March 2010 he was Writer in Residence at The Princess Grace Irish Library, Monaco. He was a 2009 Fellow of The Liguria Centre for the Arts & Humanities. He lives in Cork. You can see more readings from William through his YouTube page here.


Upcoming Bookish Event: Essex Book Festival 6th June – 29th August 2021

 This sounds amazing and I’m hoping to get tickets to some of the events this summer being held across Essex.

Essex Book Festival is thrilled to announce its spectacular extended summer programme, combining digital and in-person events with a WORDS MATTER theme at its core.

Spanning across three months from 6th June to 29th August, the Festival will be welcoming over 200 speakers to take part in 100 events in 40 venues across the Essex, including a new international digital twinning with Emerging Writers Festival, a kindred festival in Melbourne, and the inaugural Essex Book Camp hosted at Cressing Temple Barns, home to the World’s oldest solid oak beam barn and erstwhile stronghold of the mysterious Knights Templar.  

The festival opens with its WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT ESSEX GIRLSLAUNCH, a digital event featuring three fabulously talented, feisty and fearless women of Essex: Sarah Perry, Syd MooreSadie Hasler. Join them in a candid and comic discussion as they dismantle the Essex stereotypes and reshape expectations.

Set to entertain, challenge and inspire, this year’s programme combines a series of author events tackling issues such as race, gender, and the politics of borders, running in tandem with eight intriguing artist led walks fresh off the press for 2021: In My Steps: Radical Walks in Essex;  author talks galore featuring the likes of beloved Costa Book of the Year Winner Monique Roffey, barrister, activist and debut author Alexandra Wilson, rock star-turned-author Mat Osman of Suede fame, and much loved historian Alison Weir. All shining a light on the extraordinary creativity of Essex. 

Meanwhile, this year’s first ever Essex Book Camp and festival finale, will be packed with a huge array of events, including bookish conversations and debates with Dr Hilary Jones, novelist Georgina Harding and others; family writing workshops, storytelling, dance, circus, live music, inventive eco-crafts, plus complimentary drop-in family yoga sessions to help festival goers relax into the scenic landscape of Cressing Temple Barns’ rural idyll.  In other words, an August Bank Holiday paradise for book lovers and others alike!

With events taking place in venues and locations as diverse as Jaywick Martello Tower; Clacton Library; the UK’s most extraordinary house, Talliston House & Gardens; Harlow Museum; The Witches Trail, which extends from Manningtree to Mistley; Layer Marney Tower, one of Henry VIII’s favourite Tudor palaces; Hadleigh Country Park; Canvey Heights, one of the UK’s lowest flying mountains; and HMP/YOI Chelmsford, expect the unexpected: this is an odyssey not to be missed.

Ros Green, Festival Director of Essex Book Festival, said: “We are so excited about this year’s extended hybrid Essex Book Festival, which will be taking place online and in person in 40+ venues across Essex, June 6th – 29th August. Not just because it’s actually happening – a huge hurrah to that – but because of all the great new things in the mix. Whether that’s the inspired digital twinning between our Southend-based Pop Up Essex Writers House and kindred spirit Melbourne-based Emerging Writers Festival; something we would never have considered pre-pandemic. Our fascinatingly feisty launch event: We Need To Talk About Essex Girls, featuring 3 leading Essex Girls: Sarah Perry, Syd Moore and Sadie Hasler. Get those Essex Girls jokes at the ready. Or a walk or two on the wild side with our new series of In My Steps: Radical Walks in Essex led by the likes of Ken Worpole, James Canton and Gillian Darley. Watch out for those low-flying mountains on Canvey Island! It really is all to play for in 2021, so come and join in the fun.” 

Tickets will be going on sale online from 29 April 2021

 Website Twitter #essexbookfestival

books, reviews

Book Preview: Love and Other Consolation Prizes – Jamie Ford

If you’ve read Ford’s previous works – The Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet or The Song of Willow Frost, you’ll know his milieu is the Chinese and Japanese diaspora on the West Coast of America – chiefly Seattle and San Francisco. 
Ernest Young is sold by his starving, heartbroken mother and sent by ship as a small boy from China to Seattle in the early years of the twentieth century. There, after a tough few years, he is sold again, given as a raffle prize at the World Fair in 1909. 

His winners are the owner and manager of a notorious brothel where he falls in love, twice. 

Looking back from 1962, when the World Fair rolls round again, Ernest charts his life and loves for his daughter, a reporter, keen to learn about the boy won at a raffle. 

Ford’s writing is beautiful, you are totally transported into Ernest’s life as a young man, the sights, sounds and smells of the world he inhabits is vividly brought to life. 

I’m a bit biased because Hotel is one of my favourite reads of the last few years, but this is a strong contender to pip it. 

The book will be published on the 12th of September, which seems apt for a book about recollections of summers past.

books, reviews, upcoming

Book Preview: Lady of Magick – Sylvia Hunter

Read the review of book one – The Midnight Queen here

Lady of Magick picks up two years after the events of the first book with Sophie and Gray ensconced at Oxford, Gray teaching and Sophie finally studying magic. 

When Gray is invited to guest lecture at the university of Dun Edin in the neighbouring Kingdom of Elba, Sophie quickly agrees to go with him, but something else is going on and it isn’t too long before the Marshalls are tangled up in intrigue and terror. 

Now I thought the first book was great but this one is a corker – new characters, new adventures, the return of some of my favourites from the first book. 

Hunter’s writing is gripping and the plot is fun and clever. This is a fantastic piece of not only fantasy but mystery and adventure. 

The book is currently available in trade paperback but will be officially released on 21st September – plenty of time to read the first book. 

Stay tuned for the third in the trilogy. 

blogging, life, upcoming, updates

Where did all the make up go? 

You may have noticed if you’re a regular reader that my blog’s focus has shifted slightly. There’s been a lot going on in my personal life and with my health that has taken my energy and focus. 

I haven’t been working so I haven’t been wearing much make up – although my skin care game is still strong, so I haven’t been writing about that. I also haven’t been subscribing to many beauty boxes as I need to actually use up my stash and save some money. 

However I’m hoping to share my skincare regime, faves and problem products as well as perhaps my great love of glitter soon. So stay tuned. 

If there’s anything you’d like to see here – recipes, rats, books etc just let me know. And if you’re a PR, writer or brand and want to work together, I’m friendly, promise. 

Don’t forget you can find me on TwitterInstagram, Bloglovin or drop me an email. 

blogging, upcoming




Just wanted to talk about upcoming things on the blog.
I will still blog about beauty boxes, beauty in general, books, baking and, invariably shoes (I love shoes).
But I have other interests and things I want to blog about, and as this is my blog, I will.
If you aren’t interested in a post I’ve written, skip it and come back when I write about something you keen to read about. There will always be variety.

For example, I want to talk about feminism and what it means to me, or learning yoga, or my journey through the minefield of depression and anxiety, shoes (seriously, I love shoes), trips, events, days out, why people are incapable of walking at anything but snail’s pace (my pet peeve), my new diet and healthy lifestyle, why snails make me cry and why geese are evil!
So stay tuned, keep an eye on the post tags, check out what’s new, say hi, and admire shoes with me (mmmm, new season, new shoes). 🙂