Published: February 4th, 2021 Publisher: Bantam Press Format: Hardcover, Kindle, Audio Genre: New Adult Fiction, Contemporary Romance, Medical Romance
Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for this uplifting debut. Thank you Anne at Random Things Tours for the invitation to take part and Bantam Press for the gifted copy of the book.
CAN YOU FALL IN LOVE WITH SOMEONE YOU’VE NEVER SEEN?
Alice and Alfie are strangers. But they sleep next to each other every night.
Alfie Mack has been in hospital for months recovering from an accident. A new face on the ward is about as exciting as life gets for him right now, so when someone moves into the bed next to him he’s eager to make friends. But it quickly becomes clear that seeing his neighbour’s face won’t happen any time soon.
Alice Gunnersley has been badly burned and can’t even look at herself yet, let alone allow anyone else to see her. She keeps the curtain around her bed firmly closed, but it doesn’t stop Alfie trying to get to know her. And gradually, as he slowly brings Alice out of her shell, might there even be potential for more?
“Our scars are simply the marks of our stories. They show we’ve lived our life, and most of all that we have survived it. Don’t hide your story away in the shadows.”
Can you fall in love with someone you’ve never seen? Not even a picture? Just what is it that makes us fall in love with someone? Those are the questions explored in this wonderful debut. A sheer delight from beginning to end, I had a feeling I was going to enjoy this book but was unprepared for how much it would reach into my heart and soul. This is a book that makes you feel a rainbow of emotions, giving you a warm glow inside like porridge on a cold day
The story is told by Alice and Alfie, each taking alternating chapters. These are characters I cared about tremendously; both individually and as a couple. I was rooting for them. And while I loved both characters, there was something just a little special about Alfie. I can’t imagine anyone disliking him (even though Alice did try). He is one of those people who has a spark about them, brings joy, and makes life better for everyone he meets. He sees all strangers as a friend he just hasn’t met yet and can’t bear to see anyone suffer, so when the silent, stoic Alice arrives and initially resists his charms he is determined to find a way to help her. I loved how they were polar opposites and reading as he tried to slowly coax her out of her shell while she battles to resist.
But it isn’t just the two main characters who are so richly drawn, compelling and memorable. It’s every character. No matter how small their part, they leap from the page. Nurse Angels and Mr Peterson each have a particular place in my heart and lit up the page every time they were featured. I know I would have loved a nurse like Nurse Angles when I was in hospital for six weeks as a child. The only nurse I have any real memory of from my time there is a mean one who seemed to go out of her way to make sure we were all as miserable as she was.
Both Alfie and Alice suffered traumatic events that led them to be on the Moira Gladstone Ward and are still dealing with the harrowing physical and psychological aftermath of what happened. The author handles these issues in a raw, realistic way, but also with sensitivity and I was moved to tears a few times. But she balances this with joy, love and humour in abundance, including the sharp, witty dialogue that makes this feel so authentic.
Charming, uplifting and pure escapism, this fantastic debut would make the perfect romantic movie. I highly recommend this one. Just don’t forget the tissues. My one tiny niggle with it was how it ended so abruptly. I needed more to the story after investing so much. I have seen NetGalley reviewers talk about an epilogue that wasn’t included in my ARC so I am hopeful that including that creates the perfect end to the story.
MEET THE AUTHOR:
Emily Houghton is an ex digital specialist and full-time creative writer. She originally comes from Essex but has been living in London for the past 8 years. Emily is a trained yoga and spin teacher, completely obsessed with dogs and has dreamt of being an author ever since she could hold a pen..
Houghton’s debut novel, BEFORE I SAW YOU, is a commercial love story and will be published by Transworld in the UK in January 2021 and by Simon & Schuster in the US.
Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for this utterly heartwarming novel. Thank you Niamh at Hodder and Stoughton for the invitation to take part and my gifted ARC.
Margot doesn’t have time for love.
Will is afraid to love.
And neither of them are expecting to fall in love with Blossom: a gentle Staffy with a tragic past, a belly made for rubbing and a head the size of a football.
After their first meeting at the rescue centre, both Margot and Will want to adopt Blossom so reluctantly agree to share custody. But Will’s obsession for micro-managing and clear-cut boundaries and Margot’s need to smother Blossom with affection, means that soon they have a very confused and badly behaved dog on their hands.
Can they put their differences aside to become successful “co-pawrents” and maybe even friends? And meanwhile, does Blossom have plans of her own?
Heartwarming, uplifting, witty and absorbing, this book wraps its arms around you like a warm hug. It was just what I needed to read when I picked it up. Though I don’t know if my partner would agree as I’ve been banging on about getting a dog ever since.
Margot is thirty-six and ready for commitment and babies. Unable to find a man who’s as ready as she is and recently abandoned by her jerk of a cat, Percy, she decides to look for unconditional love at the dog rescue centre. She intends to adopt a cute, handbag-sized dog that will look good on the Gram but doesn’t bank on Blossom, the naughty staffy with bald patches, stealing her heart. The problem is Blossom has also stolen the heart of Will, who is at the rescue centre after being told by his therapist that he needs to open his heart up to others. Faced with the doggy version of the judgment of Solomon, they decide the only sensible solution is to share Blossom. But of course, things don’t run smoothly in this story about healing and finding love in unexpected places.
If you need a book that will lift your spirits when you’re down then this is the book for you. I adored this book. Yes, it’s a little cliched and predictable in places, but it is also a well-written, hilarious and tender story that gives you all the feelings. Many times I found myself sat smiling to myself like an idiot while reading and I kept laughing out loud and reading lines to my partner as it was just too funny to keep to myself.
There is no way I would consider sharing a dog with a stranger as I know I’d find it too painful, but it does make for a great story that is ripe for conflict and hilarity, which the author mines to perfection. Margot and Will are fantastic characters who are both equal parts likeable and frustrating. They are both trying to deal with their own heartaches and see Blossom as a way to do this, even if it is kind of reluctantly in Will’s case.
But the star of this show is undeniably Blossom. Like Margot and Will, Blossom stole my heart. The author’s love of dogs leaps from the pages and even if you weren’t a dog lover at the start of this book, I guarantee you will be by the end. Not only that, but if you’re anything like me you will be wanting to adopt one for yourself. We lost our old German Shepherd almost three years ago and this really didn’t help my yearning for another dog. I’ve been longingly looking at dog pictures and ads since reading this book and feel the hole left by our old girl more than ever. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!
I do like a good ‘enemies to lovers’ trope and this one was done so well that I couldn’t help but root for them and eat it up like the sappy woman I am. I couldn’t wait for them to finally get together and was going crazy with how long the author kept us waiting for it to happen. Like the secrets and twists in this story, the romance slowly unveils, raising the anticipation for the reader.
All jokes aside, this is a truly wonderful novel that I highly recommend. It was my first time reading this author and I definitely plan to read more. And don’t miss the author’s notes when you’ve finished. I promise you want to read them.
MEET THE AUTHOR:
Sarra Manning has been a voracious reader for over forty years and a prolific author and journalist for twenty five.
Her novels, which have been translated into fifteen different languages include Unsticky, You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me, After The Last Dance, The Rise And Fall Of Becky Sharp and her latest, Rescue Me, which publishes in 2021. Sarra has also written over fifteen YA novels, and four light-hearted romantic comedies under a pseudonym.
She started her writing career on Melody Maker and Just Seventeen, has been editor of ElleGirl and What To Wear and has also contributed to The Guardian, ELLE, Grazia, Stylist, Fabulous, Stella, You Magazine, Harper’s Bazaar and is currently the Literary Editor of Red magazine. Sarra has also been a Costa Book Awards judge and has been nominated for various writing awards herself.
She lives in London surrounded by piles and piles of books.
Today is my stop on the tour for this wonderful debut. Thank you to HQ for the invitation to take part and the eBook ARC.
She’s not lost. She’s just waiting to be found…
Dawn Elisabeth Brightside has been running from her past for twenty-two years and two months, precisely.
So when she is offered a bed in St Jude’s Hostel for the Homeless, it means so much more than just a roof over her head.
But with St Jude’s threatened with closure, Dawn worries that everything is about to crumble around her all over again.
Perhaps, with a little help from her new friends, she can find a way to save this light in the darkness?
And maybe, just maybe, Dawn will finally have a place to call home….
The utterly charming feel-good debut novel of 2020 to curl up with.
“And if being at St Jude’s has taught me anything, it’s that you need to find your tribe. The rest of the journey’s not designed to be a solo one. Group tickets always offer the best value.”
The Extraordinary Hope of Dawn Brightside is a truly special book. The definition of ‘uplit’, it is one of those books that feels like a warm hug or a hot chocolate on a cold day. It will make you laugh and cry. It will steal your heart and make a permanent home in your soul.
I adored the colourful cast of compelling and very real characters. I liked that the author showed their humanity and personality rather than making them a cliché. She makes their experiences leap from the page, transports you into their world and makes you live every moment alongside them.
Dawn is quite the character. She is damaged, flawed and unreliable but also hopeful, joyous and endearing. Despite being down on her luck and going through some very traumatic things, she sees the silver lining – the ‘bright side’ you might say – and encourages others to do the same. She cares deeply about others and becomes a real light in the lives of those around her. She is a character I won’t forget and I challenge anyone not to fall in love with her too.
This was a very nostalgic book for me as my father was a manager for the YMCA and we lived on-site for three years when I was twelve to fifteen. The experience made a huge impact and is a big part of who I am today. The residents became like family and we are still in touch with a number of them even now. All the memories of that time came flooding back while reading and it was clear to me that the author knew her stuff. This felt authentic. So I wasn’t surprised to learn she’d worked with the homeless and had even lived on-site too.
But while this is a very uplifting book, it also addresses serious topics such as mental health, addiction and homelessness. She examines these things on a deeper level, commenting on the perception and judgement of the homeless or with mental health or addiction issues, the underfunding of homeless hostels and the degradation of applying for sickness benefits, something I personally related to as someone unable to work because of chronic illness. But she has a talent for doing all of this without bringing the mood down, balancing gritty realism with a humour and optimism that is reminiscent of Dawn.
Addictive, heartbreaking, hopeful, evocative, entertaining, warm and emotionally resonant, this is a remarkable debut. This book has arrived at the perfect time; Dawn’s kindness and positivity is something we all need more of right now. READ THIS BOOK!
MEET THE AUTHOR:
Jessica Ryn is a former midwife and homeless resettlement worker. She has recently completed her MA in Creative Writing at CCCU, and her stories have been shortlisted for the Kimberly Chambers’ Kickstarter Award, Wordsmag and the Val Wood Prize for Creative Writing. When she’s not scribbling away, Jessica can be found meandering through the woods, reading stories that pull on the feel-strings and eating yoghurt-covered skittles. Jessica lives in Dover with her husband, two children and their high-spirited springer spaniel. The Extraordinary Hope of Dawn Brightside is her debut novel.
Published: October 15th, 2020 Publisher: Penguin UK Format: Paperback, Kindle, Audio Genre: Dark Comedy, Satire, Suspense, Psychological Fiction Noir Fiction, Humorous Fiction, Adventure Fiction, Romance, Contemporary Romance
Welcome to my stop on the tour for this darky humorous and addictive thriller. Thank you to Sryia at Penguin UK for the invitation to take part and the eBook ARC.
The sharp, smart and outrageously funny finale in the Alvie Knightly trilogy
“I’m flawed. Aren’t we all? What’s your fatal flaw? Mine? I love too much. I do crazy shit for love, mad and bad and dangerous…”
Alvie Knightly is a serial killer. After a killing spree in Italy last year she’s been laying low and evading arrest. But vengeance in the name of her now deceased lover Nino is calling, so she sets about changing her identity and luring her next victim…
What. A. Book. Darkly humorous, thrilling and addictive, Dangerous To Know is an uproarious and strangely uplifting read that I absolutely loved.
Alvie is quite the character. Hilarious, memorable and compelling, I couldn’t help but love her. Yes, she’s a killer, but she’s not a sociopath like Ted Bundy. She knows because she feels bad for some of her murders; like her hot boyfriend Nino. The author writes her with a killer combination – see what I did there? – of twisted evil, humour and emotion, and her magnetism is impossible to resist.
“I think killing her will cheer me up. I’ve been stuck in a rut this past year. I miss murder.”
Alvie takes quite the emotional journey in this book and begins to question some of her choices. Through her narrative and in flashbacks we learn more about her childhood and discover what shaped her into the person she is today. It was a deeper aspect to the story that I wasn’t anticipating, but I liked how it showed her in a more sympathetic light and gave us a more complete picture that was the opposite of her murderous deeds.
When I took on the blog tour I didn’t realise it is the final installment in a trilogy, and unfortunately I didn’t have time to read the first two books. But despite this I never felt confused as the author succinctly catches you up on past events, making it easy to read this as a standalone. That said, I will be buying and reading the other books in the series as I enjoyed this one so much.
I also liked that the author utilises one of my favourite writing techniques in this book by having Alvie addressing the reader. This technique makes it feel like you’re listening to a friend, though none of my friends are killers. That I’m aware of anyway.
Fast-paced, salacious and wickedly funny, this is an utterly brilliant book. If you enjoyed Sweetpea, then you’ll enjoy this.
Rating: ✮✮✮✮. 5
MEET THE AUTHOR:
Chloé Esposito is from Cheltenham and now lives in London. She has a BA and MA in English from Oxford University, where her dissertation focused on 19th-century feminist writers. She has been a senior management consultant, an English teacher at two of the UK’s top private schools and a fashion stylist at Condé Nast. She is a graduate of the Faber Academy and is now writing full-time.
I can’t quite believe we’re so far into the year that I’m doing September’s Anticipated Treasures. September is packed full of wonderful sounding books and picking these wasn’t easy. It was made harder than ever this month thanks to September 3rd, also known as Fiction the third – the day when 590 Hardbacks and an unknown number of Paperbacks are released. I’ll be posting two blogs about the books out that day nearer to the time so keep an eye out for those.
So, here are the twenty books I’m most excited about in September:
SYNOPSIS: A lyrical and atmospheric homage to the strange and extraordinary, perfect for fans of Angela Carter and Erin Morgenstern.
This is the story of The Greatest Funambulist Who Ever Lived…
Born into a post-war circus family, our nameless star was unwanted and forgotten, abandoned in the shadows of the big top. Until the bright light of Serendipity Wilson threw her into focus.
Now an adult, haunted by an incident in which a child was lost from the circus, our narrator, a tightrope artiste, weaves together her spellbinding tales of circus legends, earthy magic and folklore, all in the hope of finding the child… But will her story be enough to bring the pair together again?
Beautiful and intoxicating, A Girl Made of Air brings the circus to life in all of its grime and glory; Marina, Manu, Serendipity Wilson, Fausto, Big Gen and Mouse will live long in the hearts of readers. As will this story of loss and reconciliation, of storytelling and truth.
WHY I’M ANTICIPATING THIS BOOK: As soon as I took part in the cover reveal for this beautiful book I was in love. It helps that the book sounds as beautiful inside as it looks on the outside. Pre-order here
SYNOPSIS: Lucy and Jake live in a house by a field where the sun burns like a ball of fire. Lucy works from home but devotes her life to the children, to their finely tuned routine, and to the house itself, which comforts her like an old, sly friend. But then a man calls one afternoon with a shattering message: his wife has been having an affair with Lucy’s husband, he wants her to know.
The revelation marks a turning point: Lucy and Jake decide to stay together, but in a special arrangement designed to even the score and save their marriage, she will hurt him three times. Jake will not know when the hurt is coming, nor what form it will take.
As the couple submit to a delicate game of crime and punishment, Lucy herself begins to change, surrendering to a transformation of both mind and body from which there is no return.
Told in dazzling, musical prose, The Harpy by Megan Hunter is a dark, staggering fairy tale, at once mythical and otherworldly and fiercely contemporary. It is a novel of love, marriage and its failures, of power and revenge, of metamorphosis and renewal.
WHY I’M ANTICIPATING THIS BOOK: This book first came on my radar when I heard Amanda talking about it at the beginning of the year. It immediately piqued my interest and I’ve been counting down to it’s release ever since. Pre-order here
SYNOPSIS: In a peaceful retirement village, four unlikely friends meet up once a week to investigate unsolved murders.
But when a brutal killing takes place on their very doorstep, the Thursday Murder Club find themselves in the middle of their first live case.
Elizabeth, Joyce, Ibrahim and Ron might be pushing eighty but they still have a few tricks up their sleeves.
Can our unorthodox but brilliant gang catch the killer before it’s too late?
WHY I’M ANTICIPATING THIS BOOK: It’s no secret how much a love a good thriller book, and this one sounds like a doozy, I am part of the blog tour for this one and my review will be posted on September 20th. Pre-order here
The Heatwave by Kate Riordan
Published: Septermber 3rd, 2020 Publisher: Michael Joseph Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense, Psychological Thriller, Historical Fiction, Domestic Fiction, Holiday Fiction
SYNOPSIS: The Heatwave is coming . . . This summer’s perfect poolside reading – a captivating story of a long-buried family secret.
In Provence, under a sweltering sun, Sylvie returns to the crumbling family home of La Reverie. In her hand is the letter that summoned her, and by her side is Emma, her youngest daughter.
Yet every corner of the house is haunted by the spectre of Elodie, her first child. Beautiful, manipulative Elodie, whose long-ago death the villagers still whisper about.
Sylvie has tried to put the past behind her. But like the spreading forest fires, memories of Elodie seem to be creeping ever closer.Because there’s a secret Sylvie has concealed about what happened to Elodie all those summers ago . . .
WHY I’M ANTICIPATING THIS BOOK: This book just sounds amazing; like it has everything I want in a great thriller. This is another book I’m on the blog tour for so check out my review on September 1st Pre-Order here
Truth Be Told by Kia Abdullah
Published: September 3rd, 2020 Publihser: HQ Genre: Crime Fiction, Legal Fiction, Domestic Fiction, Political Fiction, LGBT Literature
SYNOPSIS: ARE YOU READY TO START THIS CONVERSATION?
Kamran Hadid feels invincible. He attends Hampton school, an elite all-boys boarding school in London, he comes from a wealthy family, and he has a place at Oxford next year. The world is at his feet. And then a night of revelry leads to a drunken encounter and he must ask himself a horrific question.
With the help of assault counsellor, Zara Kaleel, Kamran reports the incident in the hopes that will be the end of it. But it’s only the beginning…
Powerful, explosive and important, Truth Be Told is a contemporary courtroom drama that vividly captures today’s society. You will not stop thinking about it for a long time to come.
WHY I’M ANTICIPATING THIS BOOK: I loved Kia Abdullah’s debut novel and have been eagerly anticipating this follow up. I’m excited that it again features Zara Kaleel as I love a good series and she was a great character. My review will be posted as part of the blog tour on September 3rd. Pre-order here
House of Correction by Nicci French
Published: September 3rd, 2020 Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK Genre: Thriller, Psychological Thriller, Police Procedural
SYNOPOSIS: THE NEW THRILLER FROM THE MASTER OF PSYCHOLOGICAL SUSPENSE
She’s a murderer.
Everyone knows she killed Stuart Rees – why else would his dead body be found in her shed? So now Tabitha is in prison, awaiting trial.
Coming back to the remote coastal village where she grew up was a mistake. She didn’t fit in then, and she doesn’t fit in now.
That day is such a blur, she can’t remember clearly what happened. There is something she is missing, something important… She only knows one thing. She is not capable of murder.
And the only one she can trust to help her out of this situation is herself. So she must fight. Against the odds.
For her life.
Beautifully written about prejudice, loneliness and fighting spirit, this new book by Nicci French is shocking, twisty and utterly compelling.
WHY I’M ANTICIPATING THIS BOOK: I’ve been a big fan of Nicci French for many years and anything they write is an auto-buy for me. Pre-order here
After The Silence by Louise O’Neill
Published: September 3rd, 2020 Publisher: Riverrun Genre: Suspense, Literary Fiction
SYNOPSIS: Nessa Crowley’s murderer has been protected by silence for ten years. Until a team of documentary makers decide to find out the truth.
On the day of Henry and Keelin Kinsella’s wild party at their big house a violent storm engulfed the island of Inisrun, cutting it off from the mainland. When morning broke Nessa Crowley’s lifeless body lay in the garden, her last breath silenced by the music and the thunder.
The killer couldn’t have escaped Inisrun, but no-one was charged with the murder. The mystery that surrounded the death of Nessa remained hidden. But the islanders knew who to blame for the crime that changed them forever.
Ten years later a documentary crew arrives, there to lift the lid off the Kinsella’s carefully constructed lives, determined to find evidence that will prove Henry’s guilt and Keelin’s complicity in the murder of beautiful Nessa.
In this bold, brilliant, disturbing new novel Louise O’Neill shows that deadly secrets are devastating to those who hold them close.
WHY I’M ANTICIPATING THIS BOOK: September seems to be filled with fantastic thrillers and this is one of the thrillers I’m most excited about. I’m taking part in a readalong of this one with Tandem Collective UK starting next week. Pre-order here
SYNOPSIS: An extraordinary debut novel by Natasha Randall, exposing the seam of secrets within an American family, from beneath the plastic surfaces of their new ‘smart’ home. Love Orange charts the gentle absurdities of their lives, and the devastating consequences of casual choices.
While Hank struggles with his lack of professional success, his wife Jenny, feeling stuck and beset by an urge to do good, becomes ensnared in a dangerous correspondence with a prison inmate called John. Letter by letter, John pinches Jenny awake from the “marshmallow numbness” of her life. The children, meanwhile, unwittingly disturb the foundations of their home life with forays into the dark net and strange geological experiments.
Jenny’s bid for freedom takes a sour turn when she becomes the go-between for John and his wife, and develops an unnatural obsession for the orange glue that seals his letters…
Love Orange throws open the blinds of American life, showing a family facing up to the modern age, from the ascendancy of technology, the predicaments of masculinity, the pathologising of children, the epidemic of opioid addiction and the tyranny of the WhatsApp Gods. The first novel by the acclaimed translator is a comic cocktail, an exuberant skewering of contemporary anxieties and prejudices.
WHY I’M ANTICIPATING THIS BOOK: This one has only come on my radar the past week and now I can’t wait to read it! It sounds like a timely and utterly compelling debut. Pre-order here
Orfeia by Joanne M. Harris
Published: September 3rd, 2020 Publisher: Gollancz Genre: Fairy Tale, Fantasy, Romantic Fantasy
SYNOPSIS: When you can find me an acre of land, Every sage grows merry in time, Between the ocean and the sand Then will you be united again. (Inspired by The Child Ballads 2 & 19)
So begins a beautiful and tragic quest as a heartbroken mother sets out to save her lost daughter, through the realms of the real, of dream, and even into the underworld itself.
But determination alone is not enough. For to save something precious, she must give up something precious, be it a song, a memory, or herfreedom itself . . .
Beautifully illustrated by Bonnie Helen Hawkins, this is a stunning and original modern fairytale.
WHY I’M ANTICIPATING THIS BOOK: While I’ve never read anything by this author, I have heard great things and love the movie Chocolat. This book i s the third Fantasy/Fairy Tale book on this list which I think shows how much my tastes have expanded towards that genre since reading A Court of Thorns and Roses Pre-order here
SYNOPSIS: For fans of Longbourn and The Other Bennet Sister, this beautifully told story of marriage, duty and friendship follows Charlotte’s story from where Pride and Prejudice ends.
Everybody believes that Charlotte Lucas has no prospects. She is unmarried, plain, poor and reaching a dangerous age.
But when she stuns the neighbourhood by accepting the proposal of buffoonish clergyman Mr Collins, her fortunes change. Her best friend Lizzy Bennet is appalled by her decision, yet Charlotte knows this is the only way to provide for her future.
What she doesn’t know is that her married life will propel her into a new world: not only of duty and longed-for children, but secrets, grief, unexpected love and friendship, and a kind of freedom.
WHY I’M ANTICIPATING THIS BOOK: I love a good classic and I love books that are either retellings or pertain to a much loved classic, so this is right up my street. Pre-order here
SYNOPSIS: Because there’s never enough time to say goodbye…
Sylvia knows that she’s running out of time. Very soon, she will exist only in the memories of those who loved her most and the pieces of her life she’s left behind.
So she begins to write her husband a handbook for when she’s gone, somewhere to capture the small moments of ordinary, precious happiness in their married lives. From raising their wild, loving son, to what to give their gentle daughter on her eighteenth birthday – it’s everything she should have told him before it was too late.
But Sylvia also has a secret, one that she’s saved until the very last pages. And it’s a moment in her past that could change everything…
WHY I’M ANTICIPATING THIS BOOK: This one sounds like a beautiful, but emotional, read. Pre-order here
SYNOPSIS: She was ‘The Angel of the Baths’, the one woman whose touch everybody yearned for. Yet she would do more. She was certain of that.
In the city of Bath, in the year 1865, an extraordinary young woman renowned for her nursing skills is convinced that some other destiny will one day show itself to her. But when she finds herself torn between a dangerous affair with a female lover and the promise of a conventional marriage to an apparently respectable doctor, her desires begin to lead her towards a future she had never imagined.
Meanwhile, on the wild island of Borneo, an eccentric British ‘rajah’, Sir Ralph Savage, overflowing with philanthropy but compromised by his passions, sees his schemes relentlessly undermined by his own fragility, by man’s innate greed and by the invasive power of the forest itself.
Jane’s quest for an altered life and Sir Ralph’s endeavours become locked together as the story journeys across the globe – from the confines of an English tearoom to the rainforests of a tropical island via the slums of Dublin and the transgressive fancy-dress boutiques of Paris.
Islands of Mercy is a novel that ignites the senses, and is a bold exploration of the human urge to seek places of sanctuary in a pitiless world.
WHY I’M ANTICIPATING THIS BOOK: I love historical fiction. It’s one of my favourite genres and this one has ‘must-read’ written all over it. It sounds atmospheric, absorbing and intriguing. Like one I won’t be able to put down. Pre-order here
Piranesi by Susanna Clarke
Published: September 15th, 2020 Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing Genre: Fantasy
SYNOPSIS: Piranesi lives in the House. Perhaps he always has?
Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell transported over four million readers into its mysterious world. It became an instant classic and has been hailed as one of the finest works of fiction of the twenty-first century.
Fifteen years later, it is finally time to enter the House and meet Piranesi.
May your Paths be safe, your Floors unbroken and may the House fill your eyes with Beauty.
WHY I’M ANTICIPATING THIS BOOK: This book instantly screamed BUY ME and READ ME when I saw it on Twitter recently. There isn’t a lot in the description, but I am intrigued enough for this to be one of the books at the top of my wishlist. Pre-order here
Where The Edge Is by Grainne Murphy
Published: September 15th, 2020 Publisher; Legend Press Genre: Literary Fiction
SYNOPSIS: As a sleepy town in rural Ireland starts to wake, a road subsides, trapping an early-morning bus and five passengers inside. Rescue teams struggle and as two are eventually saved, the bus falls deeper into the hole.
Under the watchful eyes of the media, the lives of three people are teetering on the edge. And for those on the outside, from Nina, the reporter covering the story, to rescue liaison, Tim, and Richie, the driver pulled from the wreckage, each are made to look at themselves under the glare of the spotlight.
When their world crumbles beneath their feet, they are forced to choose between what they cling to and what they must let go of.
WHY I’M ANTICIPATING THIS BOOK: I only heard about this book two days ago, but it instantly became a must-read book when I read the compelling synopsis. It sounds like a book that will have me on the edge of my seat from beginning to end. Pre-order here
The Minders by John Marrs
Published: September 17th, 2020 Publisher: Del Rey Genre: Thriller, Suspense, Science Fiction
SYNOPSIS: Five strangers guard our secrets. Only four can be trusted…
In the 21st century, information is king. But computers can be hacked and files can be broken into – so a unique government initiative has been born. Five ordinary people have been selected to become Minders – the latest weapon in thwarting cyberterrorism. Transformed by a revolutionary medical procedure, the country’s most classified information has been taken offline and turned into genetic code implanted inside their heads.
Together, the five know every secret – the truth behind every government lie, conspiracy theory and cover up. In return, they’re given the chance to leave their problems behind and a blank slate to start their lives anew.
But not everyone should be trusted, especially when they each have secrets of their own they’ll do anything to protect…
WHY I’M ANTICIPATING THIS BOOK: It’s no secret that John Marrs is one of my favourite authors and his books are all must-reads for me. I love the sound of his latest novel as it sounds so unique and riveting. I’ve heard great things so I’m looking forward to picking it up myself. Pre-order here
SYNOPSIS: Film star Amelie Hart is the darling of the silver screen, appearing on the front pages of every newspaper. But at the peak of her fame she throws it all away for a regular guy with an ordinary job. The gossip columns are aghast: what happened to the woman who turned heads wherever she went?
Any hope the furore will die down are crushed when Amelie’s boyfriend Dave is arrested on charges of child sexual abuse. Dave strongly asserts his innocence, and when Amelie refuses to denounce him, the press witch hunt quickly turns into physical violence, and she has to flee the country.
While Dave is locked up with the most depraved men in the country and Amelie is hiding on the continent, Damaris, the victim at the centre of the story, is isolated a child trying to make sense of an adult world.
Breathtakingly brutal, dark and immensely moving, A Song of Isolation looks beneath the magpie glimmer of celebrity to uncover a sinister world dominated by greed and lies, and the unfathomable destruction of innocent lives in an instant.
WHY I’M ANTICIPATING THIS BOOK: Orenda is one of my favourite publishers and I have heard nothing but praise for Michael J. Malone. I am looking forward to finally reading one of his books and will be posting my review on September 11th as par of the blog tour. Pre-order here
Pizza Girl by Jean Kyoung Frazier
Published: September 17th, 2020 Publisher: HQ Genre: Bildungsroman, Coming-of-Age Fiction, LGBT Literature
SYNOPSIS: Named a most anticipated book of 2020 by Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Elle, Marie Claire, Time, People, BuzzFeed, Bustle, and more. Perfect for fans of Normal People and Fleabag
Great inventiveness, unfailing intelligence and empathy, and best of all a rare and shimmering wit’ Richard Ford
Eighteen years old, pregnant, and working as a pizza delivery girl, our dysfunctional heroine is deeply lost and in complete denial about it all. She’s grieving the death of her father, avoiding her loving boyfriend, and flagrantly ignoring her future.
Her world is further upended when she becomes obsessed with Jenny, a stay-at-home mother new to the neighbourhood, who comes to depend on weekly deliveries of pickle-covered pizzas for her son’s happiness.
As one woman looks toward motherhood and the other toward middle age, the relationship between the two begins to blur in strange, complicated, and ultimately heartbreaking ways.
Bold, tender, and unexpected, Pizza Girl is a moving and funny portrait of a flawed, unforgettable young woman as she tries to find her place in the world.
WHY I’M ANTICIPATING THIS BOOK: This just sounds like a book that is right up my street in every way. I love a flawed dysfunctional heroine and stories with heart and humour, which it sounds like this one has. My review will be posted on September 18th as part of the blog tour. Pre-order here
D (A Tale of Two Worlds) by Michael Faber
Published: September 17th, 2020 Publisher: Doubleday Genre: Modern Fiction, Contemporary Fiction, Fantasy
SYNOPSIS: ‘If ever a book like this was needed, it is now. Dhikilo is a splendid heroine for our time: She stands for kindness, honesty and humanity. Her triumph will have readers rejoicing’ DIANE SETTERFIELD __________________________
A modern-day Dickensian fable and a celebration of friendship and humanity, by the acclaimed author of The Crimson Petal and the White.
It all starts on the morning the letter D disappears from the language. First, it vanishes from her parents’ conversation at breakfast, then from the road signs outside. Soon the local dentist and the neighbour’s Dalmatian are missing, and even the Donkey Derby has been called off.
Though she doesn’t know why, Dhikilo is summoned to the home of her old history teacher Professor Dodderfield and his faithful Labrador, Nelly Robinson. And this is where our story begins.
Set between England and the wintry land of Liminus, a world enslaved by the monstrous Gamp and populated by fearsome, enchanting creatures, D (Tale of Two Worlds) is a mesmerising tale of friendship and bravery in an uncertain world. Told with simple beauty and warmth, its celebration of moral courage and freethinking is a powerful reminder of our human capacity for strength, hope and justice.
WHY I’M ANTICIPATING THIS BOOK: A book described as ‘a modern-day Dickensien fable’? Sold! This book sounds absolutely mesemerising, delightful and uplifting; like it has the potential to be a modern-day clasic Pre-order here
Eudora Honeysett is Quite Well, Thank You by Annie Lyons
Published: September 17th, 2020 Publisher: One More Chapter Genre: Historical Fiction, Humorous Fiction, Domestic Fiction, Coming-of-Age Fiction
SYNOPSIS: Eudora Honeysett is done – with all of it. Having seen first-hand what a prolonged illness can create, the eighty-five-year-old has no intention of leaving things to chance. With one call to a clinic in Switzerland she takes her life into her own hands.
But then ten-year-old Rose arrives in a riot of colour on her doorstep. Now, as precocious Rose takes Eudora on adventures she’d never imagined she reflects on the trying times of her past and soon finds herself wondering – is she ready for death when she’s only just experienced what it’s like to truly live?
WHY I’M ANTICIPATING THIS BOOK: This sounds like a charming and heartwarming read; one of those books that just makes you smile while reading. And anything that is compared to Eleanor Oliphant is a must-read for me. Pre-order here
The Meaning of Mariah Carey by Mariah Carey
Published: September 29th, 2020 Publisher: Pan Macmillan Genre: Autobiography, Biography
SYNOPSIS: It took me a lifetime to have the courage and the clarity to write my memoir. I want to tell the story of the moments – the ups and downs, the triumphs and traumas, the debacles and the dreams, that contributed to the person I am today. Though there have been countless stories about me throughout my career and very public personal life, it’s been impossible to communicate the complexities and depths of my experience in any single magazine article or a ten-minute television interview. And even then, my words were filtered through someone else’s lens, largely satisfying someone else’s assignment to define me.
This book is composed of my memories, my mishaps, my struggles, my survival and my songs. Unfiltered. I went deep into my childhood and gave the scared little girl inside of me a big voice. I let the abandoned and ambitious adolescent have her say, and the betrayed and triumphant woman I became tell her side.
Writing this memoir was incredibly hard, humbling and healing. My sincere hope is that you are moved to a new understanding, not only about me, but also about the resilience of the human spirit.
WHY I’M ANTICIPATING THIS BOOK: I have been a huge fan of Mariah Carey for 27 years so there was no question that her memoir would be on my most anticipated list. I can’t wait to read the truth about her life from the woman herself. Pre-order here
Are any of these on your wishlist? Which ones are you planning to read? Let me know in the comments.
Today is my stop on the blog tour for this beautiful story. Thank you to HQ for the invitation to take part and the gifted copy of the book .
‘A wonderfully hope-filled story’ Sarah Haywood, bestselling author of The Cactus
A single father gets an unexpected second chance at love in the heart-warming new novel from the bestselling author of The Library of Lost and Found.
Only his daughter Poppy knows that behind his prickly exterior, Mitchell Fisher is deeply lonely. He may have sworn off romance, relishing his job cutting off the padlocks that couples fasten to his hometown’s famous ‘love story’ bridge… but underneath it all, he’s still grieving the loss of Poppy’s mum.
Then one hot summer’s day, everything changes when Mitchell bravely rescues a woman who falls from the bridge into the river. He’s surprised to feel an unexpected connection to her, but then she disappears. Desperate to find the mysterious woman, Mitchell teams up with her spirited sister Liza to see if she’s left any clues behind. There’s just one – a secret message on the padlock she left on love story bridge…
Brimming with Phaedra Patrick’s signature charm and a sparkling cast of characters, The Secrets of Sunshine follows one man’s journey to unlock his heart and discover new beginnings in the unlikeliest places.
The Secrets of Sunshine is as heartwarming, uplifting and delightful as its name suggests and is the perfect read on sunny summer days. When I picked up this book I was in need of something lighthearted to refresh my reading pallet after a number of back to back thrillers and I couldn’t have chosen a better book for the job.
Single dad Mitchell Fisher spends his days removing love locks from his hometown’s famous ‘love lock’ bridge and his nights with his nine-year-old daughter Poppy. He is struggling to move on from the death of Poppy’s mother and still writes her love letters he will never send.
Then one day everything changes. It begins when he rescues a woman who falls from the bridge into the river and then disappears as quickly as she seemed to appear on the bridge. Feeling an unexpected connection to her, he agrees to team up with her sister Liza to try and find her, starting with a clue she left on her the lock she hung on love lock bridge…
I got totally lost in this beautiful story and devoured it in under a day. A story about celebrating love, finding, hope, overcoming grief and moving on, it was a breath of fresh air. Letter writing is a prominent feature of this story. There are the letters Mitchell writes to Anita, the ones she wrote him, and the many letters he receives from the public after being hailed ‘The Hero on the Bridge’. I loved the personal and emotional dynamic the letters added to the story and enjoyed the touching stories in the letters Mitchell received from strangers. It also made me nostalgic for the days where we took the time to write letters to each other and the joy of receiving them.
Mitchell isn’t an easy man to like at first. He is a prickly, rigid person who lives life by a strictly regimented schedule. But behind all of that he’s a man who’s had his world turned upside down, has been left brokenhearted, and is trying to do the best he can for the daughter he adores. I had a lot of empathy for him from the start but started to warm to him more as he moved out of his comfort zone and relaxed a little more. His story arc was one I thoroughly enjoyed and I loved his character by the end of the book. I found the secondary characters Liza, Poppy, Carl and Graham endearing and thought they added a lot of warmth and humour to the story.
The Secrets of Sunshine is an absolute gem. Charming, quirky, captivating and full of hope, I highly recommend this book to anyone looking for something that will brighten their day.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Phaedra Patrick studied art and marketing and has worked as a stained glass artist, film festival organiser and communications manager. An award-winning short story writer, she now writes full time in Saddleworth where she lives with her family.
Her debut novel, The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper, was translated into over twenty languages worldwide and has been optioned by a major Hollywood film studio. Her second novel, Rise and Shine, Benedict Stone (named Wishes Under the Willow Tree in the UK), is also under option in the US as a TV movie. Her third novel is The Library of Lost and Found, and the fourth one is titled The Secrets of Love Story Bridge (The Secrets of Sunshine in the UK).
Published: July 11th, 2019
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
Format: Special Edition eBook, Paperback
Genre: Thriller, Suspense, Contemporary Romance
Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Melanie Blake’s bestselling novel The Thunder Girls. Selected as one of Kindle’s eBooks of the month for April 2020, you can buy it at the discounted price of 99p until the end of the month.
Thank you to Martina at Midas PR for the invitation to take part.
Chrissie, Roxanne, Carly and Anita, an eighties pop sensation outselling and out-classing their competition. Until it all comes to an abrupt end and three of their careers are over, and so is their friendship.
Thirty years later, their old record label wants the band back together for a huge money-making concert. But the wounds are deep and some need this gig more than others.
In those decades apart life was far from the dream they were living as members of The Thunder Girls. Breakdowns, bankruptcy, addiction and divorce have been a constant part of their lives. They’ve been to hell and back, and some are still there.
Can the past be laid to rest for a price, or is there more to this reunion than any of them could possibly know? Whilst they all hunger for a taste of success a second time around, someone is plotting their downfall in the deadliest way possible . . .
A riveting page-turner that had me up until the early hours, this is the compelling story of The Thunder Girls, an all-girl band who rode high in the Eighties, amassing a string of number one singles in just two years. It all came to an abrupt end when they were disbanded by their record company in favour of launching one of their members, Chrissie, as a solo artist, leaving the remaining girls: Carly. Roxanne and Anita feeling betrayed. Thirty years later, the label wants them to reunite to perform at Rock Legends along with other Eighties artists. But can they put three decades of bitterness and resentment aside for a much-needed paycheck? And will they notice their enemy lurking in the shadows and plotting their downfall?
Entertaining, thrilling and absorbing, I devoured this novel in under a day. I was completely engrossed in the drama of the women’s lives and the various personal struggles they were facing. The characters are richly drawn. Chrissie is the stereotypical diva and while I would hate to be around her in real life, she was fun to read and lit up any scene she was in. The other women were more likeable and I felt a particular connection to Carly, probably because I have been in a similar relationship and was rooting for her liberation. I loved the group’s dynamic when they came back together. Carly, Roxanne and Anita are still reeling from Chrissie leaving them behind thirty years ago, which culminates in explosive cat-fights, bitching and histrionics that were entertaining to read and added tension as I couldn’t fathom how they’d ever manage to get along long enough to perform together.
This is Melanie Blake’s debut novel and has already been turned into a nationwide play with an all-star cast. It’s easy to see why. The Thunder Girls is the perfect book to binge read and get totally lost in this summer. And with the eBook just 99p in April it is the perfect time to grab yourself a copy.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
As one of the UK’s most successful female entrepreneurs, over the years Melanie has had two careers at the top tier of the entertainment industry. Her first 10 years were as a music manager with a roster of award-winning artists who sold over 100 million records and the second decade as one of the UK’s leading acting agents representing some of the most famous faces on British television. The Thunder Girls is inspired by her time in the music business and her second novel which is out in 2021 will be inspired by her years in the world of soap opera and drama. Her own management company, which has covered both genres, has turned over more than 30 million.
With no formal education herself, Melanie is a true champion for working class women who are so often overlooked in our society. The Thunder Girls is a celebration of women from diverse demographics and all the lead characters in the novel are over 40 and working class. As well as having written the book, Melanie has penned The Thunder Girls the play which embarks on a nationwide tour in 2021. Melanie Blake might just be the world’s biggest Jackie Collins fan. She first read Rock Star aged 9, after smuggling the copy out of the library by telling the librarian it was for her mum! Melanie was dazzled by Jackie Collin’s world where women clawed themselves from poverty into glamorous, moneyed lives. In Jackie Collins’ novels, women were bosses and winners who achieved everything they wanted and it was these novels that inspired Melanie to become her own boss and a lady entrepreneur. In 2017 Melanie’s connection with Jackie Collins came full circle, when after Jackie’s sad death she bought five pieces of Jackie’s jewellery at auction – two rings and three necklaces inlayed with morganite, citrines and diamonds – which she wears every day.