BlogTour EVERY TRICK IN THE BOOK by IAIN HOOD @renardpress @iain_hood #BookReview

Delighted to be joining you today as part of the Blog Tour for the fabulous EVERY TRICK IN THE BOOK by IAIN HOOD.

My thanks to the author and publisher for putting the tour together and letting me be part of it all!

Every Trick in the Book

Iain Hood

There’s only control, control of ourselves and others. And you have to decide what part you play in that control.

Cast your eye over the comfortable north London home of a family of high ideals, radical politics and compassionate feelings. Julia, Paul and their two daughters, Olivia and Sophie, look to a better society, one they can effect through ORGAN:EYES, the campaigning group they fundraise for and march with, supporting various good causes.

But is it all too good to be true? When the surface has been scratched and Paul’s identity comes under the scrutiny of the press, a journey into the heart of the family begins. Who are these characters really? Are any of them the ‘real’ them at all? Every Trick in the Book is a genre-deconstructing novel that explodes the police procedural and undercover-cop story with nouveau romanish glee. Hood overturns the stone of our surveillance society to show what really lies beneath.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR



Iain Hood was born in Glasgow and grew up in the seaside town of Ayr. He attended the University of Glasgow and Jordanhill College, and later worked in education in Glasgow and the west country. He attended the University of Manchester after moving to Cambridge, where he continues to live with his wife and daughter. His first novel, This Good Book, was published in 2021.

MY REVIEW

The phrase ‘appearances can be deceptive’ comes straight to mind after reading this book and it was another fabulous reading experience thanks to the author – if you’ve not picked up his previous book, This Good Book, then go grab that as well as you won’t be disappointed!  

It’s so difficult to pin this book down to any one particular genre, and it’s one of those story that resonates so clearly with the times we are living in, where all that glitters is not gold!  We are fed images of people with the perfect lives, believing the  perception of their happiness, but in Every Trick of the Book we see that sometimes people aren’t who they say they are, and their hidden lives are much darker and this book approaches that with humour and a bit of snark, and I loved it!  It doesn’t shirk away from poking fun at everybody – right, left, media, police, celebs – and shows it all up for the hypocrisy that is often displays!

At the heart of the story are a ‘normal’ family living a very comfortable life, on the surface, following the latest causes, and then a journalist starts digging and uncovers some uncomfortable truths about their real identities, and that’s where the fun and mayhem begins!

There’s always that mystery about what is being hidden,and why,  and that kept me turning the pages faster and faster to find out, and the redacted passages just add to the confusion and head scratching!  This is a smart book and one that makes you think, makes you laugh and makes you feel that we’re all just going through life just trying to make sense of it all!  And even when we think we’ve got it figured out, we’re often far from the mark!!

This, for me, was one of those books that makes you want to re-read it almost immediately so you can pick up on those hidden messages you may have missed first time round!   A book that ticks every box for me entertainment wise, and as for Who Do I Trust?! Absolutely nobody!!

★★★★★

BlogTour SALMACIS by ELIZABETH TRAIN-BROWN #Poetry #BookReview @renardpress @BethTrainBrown

Delighted to be part of the Blog Tour today for the wonderful SALMACIS by ELIZABETH TRAIN-BROWN.  My thanks to Will at Renard Press for putting the tour together and letting me be part of it all!

ABOUT THE BOOK

As recounted by the Roman poet Ovid, a young nymph, Salmacis, one day spied Hermaphroditus bathing; consumed with passion, she entered the water and, begging the gods to allow them to stay together, the two became one – part man, part woman.

An Eclectic Pagan, for Elizabeth Ovid’s fables are more than fiction, and form a framework for exploring identity. Drawing on the rich mythological history associated with the tale of Salmacis and Hermaphroditus, and re-examining the tale through the lens of metaphor, Salmacis: Becoming Not Quite a Woman is a stirringly relatable and powerful exploration of gender, love and identity.

this is my lake salmacis, and i am the wild nymph

with a hollow in her belly and nothing between her legs

PUBLISHED BY RENARD PRESS

PURCHASE LINK

Publisher Website

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Elizabeth Train-Brown is a poet and writer whose work has been published internationally in various anthologies and journals. Their journalism on discrimination, asexuality, transgender issues and polyamory has also received widespread recognition. Outside of writing, Elizabeth follows in her parents’ footsteps as a circus performer and fortune teller. Salmacis is their first collection.

For more information follow Elizabeth on Twitter @BethTrainBrown or Instagram.

MY REVIEW

I don’t often read poetry, but when they’re as good as this then I definitely need to add more poetry to my TBR!!

This is a collection that is punchy, insightful and takes you on a truly evocative journey.  There are just 25 poems in this collection, but each makes you think and have a different experience with.  Some hit hard with their rawness, whilst others are more flowing and gentle, and that really captures the essence of the female experience, the ups and the downs and all that falls in between!

The language used I found myself really connecting to, and it also raised a few wry smiles from myself with some of the points made as it explored all aspects of the body and the world seen through the eyes of a woman.  It all flows so beautifully and I have found it to be one of those books that I keep picking up and enjoying different poems on different days, depending on my mood!  

Some of the words hit the reader right between the eyes with their darkness, whilst others soothe and let you know you aren’t alone in experiences and feelings, and I just found this to be a powerful and inspiring collection and I cannot wait to read more from Elizabeth in the future!

★★★★

Don’t forget to join the rest of the Blog Tour with these wonderful bloggers!

#BlogTour THE HOUSE ON THE HILL by CHRIS PENHALL #BookReview @rararesources @ChrisPenhall

Delighted to be with you today on the latest stop of the Blog Tour for the wonderful THE HOUSE ON THE HILL by CHRIS PENHALL.

My thanks to the author, publisher and Rachel of Rachel’s Random Resources for putting the tour together and letting me be part of it all!

ABOUT THE BOOK

Layla is calm, in control and is definitely not about to lose her serenity for the man next door!


Surely it can’t be hard to stay peaceful at one of the oldest yoga and mindfulness retreats in the Algarve, surrounded by sea, sun and serenity? Mostly, owner Layla Garcia manages it – with the help of meditation and plenty of camomile tea, of course.


But keeping her grandparents’ legacy alive is stressful, and Layla has become so shackled to the work that, for her, The House on the Hill is fast becoming ‘The Fortress on the Hill’.
Then writer Luke Mackie moves to the villa next door, bringing with him a healthy dose of chaos to disrupt Layla’s plans, plus a painful reminder of a time when she was less-than-serene. But could his influence be just what Layla needs to ‘dance like no-one’s watching’ and have the fun she’s been missing?


PUBLISHED BY CHOC LIT

PURCHASE LINKS

Kindle: The House on the Hill: A Summer in the Algarve (Portuguese Paradise Book 3) eBook : Penhall, Chris: Amazon.co.uk: Books

Apple: https://books.apple.com/gb/book/the-house-on-the-hill/id1624491748?

Kobo: The House on the Hill eBook by Chris Penhall – 9781912550739 | Rakuten Kobo United Kingdom

Google: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Chris_Penhall_The_House_on_the_Hill?id=5EVxEAAAQBAJ&gl=GB

Nook: The House on the Hill: A Summer in the Algarve by Chris Penhall | NOOK Book (eBook) | Barnes & Noble® (barnesandnoble.com)

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  Chris Penhall won the 2019 Choc-Lit Search for a Star competition, sponsored by Your Cat Magazine, for her debut novel, The House That Alice Built. The sequel, New Beginnings at the Little House in the Sun was published in August 2020. Both are available in paperback, e-book and audio and are part of the Portuguese Paradise series. Finding Summer Happiness, which is set in Pembrokeshire in South West Wales is available in e-book, audio and paperback, and The House on the Hill – A Summer in the Algarve, the third novel in the Portuguese Paradise series, is published in e-book on 28th June 2022.

Chris is an author and freelance radio producer for BBC Local Radio.

She also has her own podcast – The Talking to My Friends About Book Podcast in which she chats to her friends about books. Good title!

Born in Neath in South Wales, she has also lived in London and in Portugal, which is where The House That Alice Built is set. It was whilst living in Cascais near Lisbon that she began to dabble in writing fiction, but it was many years later that she was confident enough to start writing her first novel, and many years after that she finally finished it!

A lover of books, music and cats, she is also an enthusiastic salsa dancer, a keen cook, and loves to travel. She is never happier than when she is gazing at the sea.

Social Media Links – 

www.chrispenhall.co.uk  

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ChrisPenhall 

 Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ChrisPenhallBroadcasterWriter 

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/christinepenhall/ 

MY REVIEW

The latest in the Portugese Paradise – but easily read as a standalone – and it’s a Summer treat that transports you to the Algarve and puts a smile on your face as you watch over Layla and her struggles with keeping calm…. you’d think that would be easy for her as she runs a mindfulness retreat, but a blast from the past brings back some of her old anxiety so she’s in need of yoga and calm now more than ever!

Layla is a woman who is very business minded. Very little time for the little pleasures in life, she is focussed on keeping her grandparents legacy alive with the thriving business in such an idyllic location.  And when she’s set the task of ‘babysitting’ and ‘destressing’ a friend of a friend, her own anxieties resurface as he’s a face she remembers from her past… whether he remembers her is another matter!

Luke is a famous author and is escaping the drama of the media back in the UK, and also looking for quiet and inspiration for his latest work project.  What better than the Algarve to get away from it all.  He is reliant on Layla to give him those mindful breaks he needs to get the creative juices flowing, and he finds that spending time with her is giving him lots of things to think about – and wish she’d lighten up a little too!

As always, the setting is just wonderful for these books and the characters are well crafted and instantly pull you on their side so you want nothing but happiness for them all!  Lots of fun and drama along the way make for a wonderful reading experience!

★★★★★

#BlogTour STILL LIVES by RESHMA RUIA @renardpress @ReshmaRuia #BookReview

Hello! Delighted to be with you today as part of the wonderful Blog Tour for the equally wonderful STILL LIVES by RESHMA RUIA.  My thanks to the author and the team at Renard Press for putting the tour together and letting me be part of it all!

ABOUT THE BOOK

The glow of my cigarette picks out a dark shape lying on the ground. I bend down to take a closer look. It’s a dead sparrow. I wondered if I had become that bird, disoriented and lost.

Young, handsome and contemptuous of his father’s traditional ways, PK Malik leaves Bombay to start a new life in America. Stopping in Manchester to visit an old friend, he thinks he sees a business opportunity, and decides to stay on. Now fifty-five, PK has fallen out of love with life. His business is struggling and his wife Geeta is lonely, pining for the India she’s left behind.

One day PK crosses the path of Esther, the wife of his business competitor, and they launch into an affair conducted in shabby hotel rooms, with the fear of discovery forever hanging in the air. Still Lives is a tightly woven, haunting work that pulls apart the threads of a family and plays with notions of identity.

Shortlisted for the SI Leeds Literary Prize

PURCHASE LINK

Publisher Website

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Reshma Ruia is an award-winning author and poet. Her first novel was described in the Sunday Times as ‘a gem of straight-faced comedy’. She has published a poetry collection and a short story collection; her work has appeared in international anthologies and journals, and she has had work commissioned by the BBC. She is the co-founder of The Whole Kahani – a writers’ collective of British South Asian writers. Born in India and brought up in Rome, her writing explores the preoccupations of those who possess a multiple sense of belonging.

MY REVIEW

I found this to be an emotional, often gut wrenching, story that looks at the impact of decisions you make and the impact they have on you and those around you – with often devastating consequences.  It’s one of those books that you get so caught up in from the beginning and it’s tough to let the characters go when the final page arrives.  I’m still thinking about them now!!

PK is a man out to live life ‘his’ way and not his fathers way.  And that journey takes him from India to Manchester where he finds himself living a life he doesn’t know he wants anymore.  Business brought him success, a wife and family, but he’s reached that age where he doesn’t know what is next and nothing excites him… until he meets the wife of a rival and that ignites his passion again.

Told from the perspective of PK you really get inside his mind, and what also works so well are the letters we get to read written by his wife – seeing life from her viewpoint really adds to the drama and reality of it all.  She notices the changes in her husband but she finds it easier to discuss things in a letter with someone else, than to confront her husband and talk over their problems.  You really get that head in the sand feeling about their relationship and despite the unhappiness they are unwilling to sit down and talk things over.

The story really takes you on a real emotional rollercoaster and that is down to how well the characters are written and developed along the way.  Showing the frailty of human behaviours and how things can change so quickly allows you to connect on a personal level  as they ponder the same questions we all do in life.  

A story that packs a real punch – loved it!!

★★★★★

#BlogTour JINGLE BELLS IN JUNE by ROSIE GREEN #BookReview @rararesources @Rosie_Green88

Delighted to be with you today as part of the Blog Tour for the fabulous JINGLE BELLS IN JUNE by ROSIE GREEN!

My thanks to the author, publisher and Rachel of Rachel’s Random Resources for putting the tour together and letting me be part of it all!

ABOUT THE BOOK

 Jingle Bells in June, Little Duck Pond Café

Mackenzie Morris, newest recruit at the Little Duck Pond Café, is the perfect addition to the team. But beneath her smiles, Kenzie is hiding a dark secret. It’s the reason she fled to Sunnybrook, desperate for a fresh start that would help to lay the ghosts that haunt her.

The challenge of turning her hobby into a business is a welcome distraction, and to her relief, she finds that her range of quirky pottery mugs and vases appear to be in demand. Alone and scared when she arrived, she’s slowly making friends and starting to feel as if she belongs. Meeting a lovely guy called Aidan seems to confirm this and it looks as if love might be on the horizon.

But then Kenzie makes a devastating discovery that threatens to crush her new-found happiness. Aidan is the one person she yearns to confide in. He’s also the one person who can never know the truth . . .

Purchase Link – https://amzn.to/3jDyibP

Author Bio – 

Rosie’s series of novellas is centred around life in a country village cafe. Look out for ‘Sun, Sea & Strawberry Shortcake’, a sunshine-filled drama full of fun and mystery, out in June 2022 and including the return of character favourites, Ruby and Hudson.

Follow Rosie on Twitter – https://twitter.com/Rosie_Green88

MY REVIEW

I may have mentioned before how much I love this series, and the latest installment is another wow of a read that just gives you all the feels and creates yet more characters that you just fall in love with!

In this book we are introduced to Mackenzie who is starting off her own pottery business and it’s a blast to follow her journey – the good parts and bad too!  There are a few hiccups along the way but she’s the kind of character who has a very determined personality and you can’t help but cheer her on her way and want all the nice things to happen to her!  Especially after you read what she has been through in her life!

Making pottery is her happy space and you really get that sense throughout.  The story shows that life can take you down some very dramatic paths and there are some people you just can’t help and I liked how it showed the more serious sides to life, alongside the positive aspects of coming through such a negative time.

The characters and settings once more are a joy, and it’s nice to reunite with the Duck Pond cafe crew once more – I can’t believe we’re already at Book 21 in the series!  There’s happiness, sadness, laughs and drama and I just couldn’t put it down once I started it!! Roll on book 22!!

★★★★★

#BlogTour THE GREEN INDIAN PROBLEM by JADE LEAF WILLETTS #BookReview @renardpress @jade_leaf_w

Delighted to be with you today for my turn on the Blog Tour for the wonderful THE GREEN INDIAN PROBLEM by JADE LEAF WILLETTS.

My thanks to the author, and publisher for putting the tour together and letting me be part of it all!

ABOUT THE BOOK

The Green Indian Problem by Jade Leaf Willetts

ISBN: 9781913724528

Paperback • 208pp • £10

30th March 2022

Set in the valleys of South Wales at the tail end of Thatcher’s Britain, The Green Indian Problem is the story of Green, a seven year-old with intelligence beyond his years – an ordinary boy with an extraordinary problem: everyone thinks he’s a girl.

Green sets out to try and solve the mystery of his identity, but other issues keep cropping up – God, Father Christmas, cancer – and one day his best friend goes missing, leaving a rift in the community and even more unanswered questions. Dealing with deep themes of friendship, identity, child abuse and grief, The Green Indian Problem is, at heart, an all-too-real story of a young boy trying to find out why he’s not like the other boys in his class.

Longlisted for the Bridport Prize (in the Peggy Chapman-Andrews category)

Jade Leaf Willetts is a writer from Llanbradach, a strange, beautiful village in South Wales. He writes about extraordinary characters in ordinary worlds and has a penchant for unreliable narrators. The Green Indian Problem, his first novel, was longlisted for the 2020 Bridport Prize in the Peggy Chapman-Andrews category. Jade’s poetry has been published by Empty Mirror, PoV Magazine and Unknown Press. His short story, ‘An Aversion to Popular Amusements’ was shortlisted for the inaugural Janus Literary Prize. He is currently working on a coming of age follow-up to The Green Indian Problem.

Resource links:

Author’s website: https://jadeleafwilletts.com 

Purchase links:

Renard Press: https://renardpress.com/books/the-green-indian-problem/

Waterstones: https://www.waterstones.com/book/the-green-indian-problem/j-l-willetts/9781913724528 

Bookshop.org: https://uk.bookshop.org/books/the-green-indian-problem/9781913724528 


Blackwells: https://blackwells.co.uk/bookshop/product/The-Green-Indian-Problem-by-J-L-Willetts-author/9781913724528

MY REVIEW

Don’t you just love it when you discover a character that you take to your heart immediately?! That is what happened when I started reading the story of Green – a 7 year old boy who is very very smart, but disappointed by those around him who think he’s a girl!  He just wants to discover who he is and that isn’t easy when society keeps pushing you in a direction where you don’t feel comfortable.

Green is a switched on little boy, and  a typical kid who questions everything. He wants answers and he isn’t afraid to ask questions.  His parents live apart and he has a strong dislike for Dennis, the boyfriend of  his mum as he sees the way he treats her and knows it is very wrong. 

While Green is dealing with home issues, he’s also dealing with pressures at school and all that society throws his way expecting him to be someone he isn’t.  Set amongst the backdrop of the 80’s, I loved all the retro references and it really sets the scene perfectly.   And anyone who loves Ghostbusters is fine by me!!

When his best friend from school goes missing, Green is plunged into a dark time in his life where he just wants to find out the truth of what happened and uses his inquisitive mind to good use to get some answers and you just can’t help but be swept along with the gusto of this gutsy little boy who just wants to be himself and be accepted.

This was just an utter delight to read and really made you feel so protective towards Green.  He sees the world in very simple terms and makes you wish that more people could see things his way!!  Wonderful!

★★★★★

#BlogTour THE DAISY CHAIN by AL CAMPBELL #BookReview @RedDoorBooks

Delighted to be joining you today as part of the Blog Tour for the wonderful THE DAISY CHAIN by AL CAMPBELL.

My thanks to the author and publisher for putting the tour together and letting me be part of it all!

ABOUT THE BOOK

Kew Gardens, 1771. Four women – the first is Daisy, a talented orphaned botanical painter and scientist, newly arrived in London from Suffolk. The second is Fanny, her sister, locked in a loveless marriage with an oafish nobleman. The third, Kate, is an enslaved black lady’s maid. The fourth, Charlotte, Queen of England, uncomplaining but confined to a life bearing King George 15 children.

When Daisy meets eminent scientist Joseph Banks and not only becomes Artist in Residence at Kew Gardens, but ‘Lady-in-Painting’ to Queen Charlotte, life changes for everybody. However, whilst expecting a quiet and studious life, Daisy is unwittingly inveigled into espionage, tea smuggling and the ‘triangular trade’ by mysterious Dutchman Johannes Van der Humm.

When a fabulous flower is discovered in South Africa and sent back to Kew for the Queen’s birthday, the women little guess it offers a route to freedom. But only if Daisy can foil a plot to steal it from under the King’s nose. Who is friend and who is foe? Can she work out whom to trust before disaster strikes?

Set in an incredibly exciting period of history, The Daisy Chain is a pacy debut novel, brimming with adventure and romance.

PUBLISHED BY RED DOOR PRESS

PURCHASE LINKS

Amazon

PUBLISHER WEBSITE SHOP

MY REVIEW

This was a wonderful historical romp! Combining my love of gardening, with some strong female characters, this was an exciting read from start to finish and does a wonderful job of transporting you back in time to a fascinating period of history and takes a look back at some of the excitement while new plants were being discovered, alongside the more questionable events of those years involving slavery.


After the death of her father Daisy has no option but to move to London to live with her sister and her unsufferable husband.  She becomes governess to her niece, but her true love is her artwork and she soon finds her work gets noticed in high places.  One of those being by the director of Kew Gardens who invites her to work for them, cataloguing all the new flowers and plants.


While there she ‘blossoms’ and becomes confidante to a royal visitor and I loved how the women were at the fore of this story!  She also catches the eye of a mystery Dutchman and finds herself wondering just who to trust.. one person definitely not worthy of trust is her sisters’ husband! Awful man!!


This book worked for me on many levels – especially that of the plant links alongside the royal mix!  And the fact that the story ventures into the darker side of life at the time with slavery and smuggling really added to the mix. It also gave a good insight into the excitement of the times with new things being discovered in far off lands and brought to these shores.


An exciting historical debut – looking forward to more from this author in the future!


★★★★

#BlogTour OUR LADY OF MYSTERIOUS AILMENTS by T.L.HUCHU #BookReview #OLOMA @UKTor @BlackCrow-PR

Delighted to be with you today as part of the awesome Blog Tour for the fabulous OUR LADY OF MYSTERIOUS AILMENTS by T.L.HUCHU. My thanks to the author, publisher and team at Black Crow PR for letting me be part of it all!

ABOUT THE BOOK

Some secrets are meant to stay buried

When Ropa Moyo discovered an occult underground library, she expected great things. She’s really into Edinburgh’s secret societies – but turns out they are less into her. So instead of getting paid to work magic, she’s had to accept a crummy unpaid internship. And her with bills to pay and a pet fox to feed.

Then her friend Priya offers her a job on the side. Priya works at Our Lady of Mysterious Maladies, a very specialized hospital, where a new illness is resisting magical and medical remedies alike. The first patient was a teenage boy, Max Wu, and his healers are baffled. If Ropa can solve the case, she might earn as she learns – and impress her mentor, Sir Callander.

Her sleuthing will lead her to a lost fortune, an avenging spirit and a secret buried deep in Scotland’s past. But how are they connected? Lives are at stake and Ropa is running out of time.

PUBLISHED BY PAN MACMILLAN

PURCHASE LINK

Amazon

MY REVIEW

The fun and intrigue continues here in Book 2 of the Edinburgh Nights series, and once more I couldn’t get enough!  The odd goings on continue and Ropa is at the heart of it all again as she is keen to find out more about the underground library, along with doing all she can to assist those in need, and take care of her family!

Her life as a ghosttalker means there’s never a dull moment, and they still pop up whenever they are in need of assistance and make it very difficult for her to ignore! No matter how hard she tries! Money is at the heart of the matter for her as she wants to help out more at home, with her grandmother and sister so when she’s offered money to help investigate some strange illnesses at the hospital she can’t turn it down and it leads to some rather shocking discoveries. She goes into full ‘detective’ mode as she tries to figure out who the patient – Max – was in touch with before he became ill and what he’s mixed up in that isn’t of this world!

I loved this latest installment!  There were no lulls, there’s great banter galore and you’re just drawn into this world so easily.  It has a really fresh feel about it and plenty of snark in the humour – I do love that aspect of a story!!  It has a great mix of the supernatural, the mystery, history and all things in between, and I think the character of Ropa is such a fascinating creature! She’s pro-active, hard working and has a great sense of fairness about it.  She could easily crumble but has this inner resilience that is really empowering!

Brilliant!!

★★★★★

#BlogTour WOMEN AND LOVE by MIRIAM BURKE #BookReview @renardpress


Delighted to be with you today as part of the Blog Tour for the fabulous WOMEN AND LOVE by MIRIAM BURKE.

My thanks to the author and publisher, Renard Press, for letting me be part of it all!

ABOUT THE BOOK

Women and Love by Miriam Burke

ISBN: 9781913724818

Paperback • 224pp • £10

23rd February 2022

‘I couldn’t sleep that night; our conversation was like a trapped bird flying around inside my head. The next morning, I texted to say I wouldn’t be coming back. I lied about having to return to my country to nurse a sick relative. I couldn’t bear to see my story mirrored in his eyes, and to see what we never had. I knew he’d understand.’ 

Women and Love is a thought-provoking collection of seventeen tightly woven tales about the power of love, all its trials and complications, and the shattered lives it can leave in its wake. 

The stories explore a huge variety of sorts of love surrounding women in wildly differing settings, and features an unforgettable cast including GPs, burglars, inmates, emigrant cleaners, carers, young professionals, and many more. Navigating heavy themes, with a particular focus on LGBTQ+ experiences, including gender dysphoria and searching for a sperm donor, the stories leave the reader burning with indignation, full of empathy and wonder.

A writer from the west of Ireland, Miriam Burke’s short stories have been widely published in anthologies and journals, including The Manchester Review, Litro Magazine, Fairlight Shorts, The Honest Ulsterman, Bookanista and Writers’ Forum. She has a PhD in Psychology, and before becoming a writer she worked for many years as a Clinical Psychologist in London hospitals and GP practices. Women and Love is her debut collection.

Resource links:

Author reading on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8cxS6jL_kC4

Author’s website: https://miriamburkeauthor.com

Purchase links:

Renard Press: https://renardpress.com/books/women-and-love/

Waterstones:https://www.waterstones.com/book/women-and-love/miriam-burke/9781913724818

Bookshop.org: https://uk.bookshop.org/books/women-and-love/9781913724818Blackwells: https://blackwells.co.uk/bookshop/product/9781913724818

MY REVIEW

This is the kind of short story collection I love!  Miriam has put together a brilliantly fresh feeling to these 17 short stories, each with a snappy feel and showing love in all its’ forms – be it male, female, straight, gay, family, children.. it’s not afraid to show the good, the bad, the highs and the lows!

I found the book to have a great flow from start to finish.  Each story had a different viewpoint and I loved how the changing focus kept things zipping along – from a cleaner watching the dynamics of families she works for whilst carrying her own pain, to the divorced couple chatting over a coffee as to what changed between them, to the lesbian couple talking over having children together, and the friends reuniting at a funeral and discussing how their lives had changed.  

This really is a short story collection that has something for everyone and I found it compelling just how much you could glean from the brief glimpses of the characters as they reflected on a situation, and I think that’s what made it so relatable and interesting as a reader.  It involves day to day scenarios and shows the impact of decisions on people around them whether for better or worse.  Just the way life goes!It also does a great job of showing the irrationality of love – how it can make you overthink a situation, cloud your judgement, repeat the failings you despise in others…. humans are just really weird and make no sense at times aren’t we?!

I cannot wait to read more from this author and this is a short story collection I cannot recommend highly enough!! Go grab a copy!!

★★★★★

#BlogTour THE GIFTS BY LIZ HYDER #BookReview @LondonBessie #TheGifts @ZaffreBooks @Tr4cyF3nt0n

Delighted to be with you today as part of the Blog Tour for the fabulous THE GIFTS by LIZ RYDER.  My thanks to the author, publisher and Tracy of Compulsive Readers for putting the tour together and letting me be part of it all!

ABOUT THE BOOK

October 1840. A young woman staggers alone through a forest in Shropshire as a huge pair of impossible wings rip themselves from her shoulders.

Meanwhile, when rumours of a ‘fallen angel’ cause a frenzy across London, a surgeon desperate for fame and fortune finds himself in the grips of a dangerous obsession, one that will place the women he seeks in the most terrible danger . . .

THE GIFTS is the astonishing debut adult novel from the lauded author of BEARMOUTH. A gripping and ambitious book told through five different perspectives and set against the luminous backdrop of nineteenth century London, it explores science, nature and religion, enlightenment, the role of women in society and the dark danger of ambition.

PUBLISHED BY MANILLA PRESS

PURCHASE LINK

Amazon

MY REVIEW

From the author of Bearmout, comes this immensely enjoyable and atmospheric novel which brilliantly conveys the frustration of the female characters and demonstrates the undertones of how women were treated and dismissed so easily by society at the time.

There’s a real ethereal feel to the story from start to finish and the story of the fallen angels who appear at various points add a unique twist to the tale.  Set in 19th century London, the buzz is created by the appearance of these fallen angels who captivate and fascinate those who hear of them. No more so than those in the medical world who are overwhelmed with ideas of how these ‘angels’ can further their careers and standings.  They will go to desperate lengths to be the star of the show and make their names, no matter the cost.

It’s a book that crosses the historical element with a little magical realism to brilliantly. Set against the backdrop of showing how women were not being taken seriously no matter how well they excelled in their field, whilst the men were front and centre and using the subjects as a competition – a way to show off and claim the plaudits.

The female characters were so absorbing and watching their stories evolve was expertly crafted to give a wonderful flow and link to the overall sense of the time.  And any book that has gardening and auriculas mentioned is going to be a big hit for me!!

It’s also a book that angers as you witness these women just seen as possessions devoid of any rights and the way they were just used was indicative of the time and gives the story a great anchor as you find yourself willing the tide to turn!!

Captivating, unique and wonderful!!

★★★★★